What price there’ll be a Labour Government after 2015? What good might come from a Labour Government after 2015?
The press barons may choose to ignore the goings on at the Old Bailey for the time being, but they can’t for much longer. Day by day and brick by brick, a skyscraper of compelling evidence is being built by the prosecution, and absorbed by the jury…and thus far, it seems to be dominating the landscape of this Hacking conspiracy trial. It began at the end of October, and so we should be able to assume that, by mid April at the latest, the jury will be asked to retire and consider their verdicts on seven counts of illegal privacy invasion and conspiracy to pervert justice.
Andy Coulson was David Cameron’s top aide in Downing Street, and Rebekah Brooks a close personal friend with unparalleled access to Rupert Murdoch’s ear. Also closely allied to Newscorp on several different levels are Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, and Jeremy Hunt. All have clouds following them around in relation to police enquiry spiking, educational sponsorship bribes, and improper behaviour during the BSkyB bid. All stand threatened if, at any point, one or both of the accused goes for a plea bargain in return for further cooperation with those parts of the Met police not already too besmirched themselves by the influence of Newscorp corruption at the highest levels.
If the dominoes start to fall, the Conservative Party will be in all kinds of trouble: today, the MRS Chairperson Jane Frost (herself a committed Thatcherite and ex BBC high-up) has openly accused Grant Shapps of misusing confidential data in order to aid Tory Party electioneering, and at least two other sources have confided to me that a storm is still brewing on the subject of improper commercial use of NHS data in which – as Secretary of State for Health – Jeremy Hunt is bound to be de facto implicated. In turn, Hunt’s close liaison with Murdoch’s son James could represent a risk to him if Brooks were to spill the beans on what really happened during 2009 in New York…or during the BSkyB bid in 2011/12.
Of the two serious leadership contenders, Boris Johnson is at most risk. Not only is he suspected by some Met police officers of dragging his feet on the Elm House paedophile scandal (one of the main suspects has contacts at every level in the contemporary Conservative Party’s senior ranks) he could face justice perversion charges in relation to Hackgate. He is also suspected by some of being central to a conspiracy to accept London education funds in return for legal immunity for senior Newscorpers…and even perhaps of having enjoyed a long-term sexual liaison with one of the senior Hackgate players.
Further, some allege BoJo’s fingers stretched out to prod Plod into action on celebrity arrests by the Met on wobbly charges of sexual abuse, and that Grant Shapps has intevened inappropriately at various stages to push for such prosecutions. The trials thus generated are allegedly all part of a concerted campaign at the highest levels of Government to get the BBC into disgrace, and a Newscorp-controlled BSkyB into its job as the Nation’s natural broadcaster.
As The Slog posted recently, so far George Osborne has been the Invisible, friction-free Mr Graphene in all this: but even his seeming invulnerability might be threatened by the spat now openly taking place between him and Shapps as to the approval of the Bingo ad shambles. And while voters were distracted by the upcoming Budget as evidence emerged of naked politicisation of the planning process at Ebbsfleet, it is now clear to anyone who’s awake that the Tory donation from Britain’s construction sector is encouraging an unacceptable level of flood risk in future Government plans for mass house-building in the UK. Having hogged both the Ebbsfleet and 200,000 new houses glory in recent days, the Chancellor is going to find it very hard to back out of the limelight on that issue.
But it is, I still think, the lies, half-truths and consequences of the 2014 Budget that will hoist Mr Osborne well above his current facade. He told the House last Wednesday, for instance, that “the deficit is falling”, but as a Treasury insider, he must have known about the February figures showing the opposite to be true. This is, however, small-fry in relation to the changed name of NI contributions – and pension ‘reforms’ that only serve to fuel the suspicions of those who see the State about to renege on every last one of its citizen welfare commitments; and these in turn are tiny tiddlers compared to the Moby Dick about to swamp Chancellor Ahab’s treasure ship.
I refer of course to the globalist pile-up stretching well beyond these shores. The atrocious January export figures served only to highlight that, despite grand-sounding schemes and hilariously massaged figures, Britain is hugely exposed to the fiscal disasters about to roll around the planet. We make near to nothing, we grow even less, and such expertise as we have (it being largely financial scamming of one form or another) will hit our trade balance harder than most when the fiat currency/central bank printing/Western debt levitation illusion finally falls apart in full view of the audience. (One foretaste of the scale of this was offered up by the terrifying fact that, despite an economy only a small fraction the size of America’s, Britain’s initial 2008/9 bank bailout costs were even higher than Washington’s).
The monsters heading George Osborne’s way will have a whale of a time and, in due course, I believe they will sink the Conservative Party’s election hopes without trace. Of course, nothing is certain any more in the insane asylum that is our global financial “system”. But Osborne will be a very lucky man indeed if none of the following land on his poop deck during the remaining 11 months before the 2015 General Election:
1. New EU bailouts of Greece and the Ukraine, and worsening political anarchy in Spain and Italy. We may now be exporting more to the world outside the EU than inside it, but the EU is still far and away the single biggest trading partner we have….and it is a continent-wide economy kept upright purely by Signor Draghi’s infernal machine stapling its claws to the cage-perch.
2. The inevitability of rising borrowing costs. People look askance when I say this, but I have been saying it since 2011 and it remains true: further evidence of economic collapse, faltering US recovery, Chinese banking mayhem and further ClubMed horrors will stop the unnaturally cheap nature of sovereign borrowing in its tracks. Draghi can manipulate ClubMed yields and the Fed can feed more QE under the table to US business, but neither of them has much room for maneouvre now. Tapered QE will stop emergent markets emerging, and stop China dead. That in turn will collapse Australia’s mining dependent economy. On the other hand, more QE will keep the stock markets balanced in the air, but scare the bond markets.
There is no longer a happy medium: there is only the rock and the hard place. Western living standards are being maintained at the moment by using fiat paper to cover the cracks, but it can’t reverse the reality of shrinking world trade. Bond yields must rise, and savings vehicles must start to bear interest: otherwise, financial firms cannot make a turn, and medium net worth older savers cannot consume. When borrowing costs rise alongside falling export incomes, the Western tightrope will snap…and nobody will fall harder than Britain.
3. Citizen revolt once the bank failures appear, and bailins are attempted. My best estimate at this point – based on fairly simple maths, and very experienced opinion on three continents – is that four US, two British, one French, one German and two Italian banks are limping along on a hand-to-mouth dripfeed basis. They cannot possibly all escape – and the minute two have gone, the casualty events will expand rapidly as confidence evaporates, liquidity dries up in the heat of fear generation, and the myth of ‘netted’ derivatives becomes the reality of infinitely colossal insolvency.
In that context, two things will happen. First, we can all kiss goodbye to our £85,000/€100,000 EU customer guarantees, as these clearly cannot be honoured and an effective bailin enacted. George Osborne’s ridiculous illogic of the fantasy difference between a taxpayer and a creditor will be revealed as a naked king, and then all Hell will break loose.
I doubt if, at first, violent revolt will happen in Britain: we are either too polite, or too thick, in roughly equal measure. But it will in Greece, Italy and Spain. And at some point, it will in France and the US. What makes these last two hugely influential nations most likely to smash the five-humped camel’s spine is that American citizens are armed to the teeth, French citizens will not shrink from direct Unionised action, the US is central to – it still effectively owns – the global financial system – and French unwillingness to play the EU game when it’s no longer using their ball will not just send the eurozone to the bottom of the ocean: it will scupper the Union as we know it today.
The net result of even a milder version of what I’ve outlined in the four points above would have the following bottom-line consequences. First and foremost, it would decimate pretty much every developed country’s ability to pay its borrowing and import bills through the medium of export development. Or put another way, it would turn Theodore Levitt’s ridiculous global mercantile jigsaw into so much sawdust, and collapse the fiat currency system. Secondly, it would pauperise and potentially render desperate whole swathes of Western citizens who currently regard themselves as anything from comfortably off to almost bombproof. Third, it would once and for all vapourise the myth that, without bankers and their surreal array of financial instruments, planet Earth’s inhabitants would be suddenly exposed to something truly awful…but something still, five years after Hank Paulson’s dire warnings, completely undefined. In fact, the overwhelming conclusion of most Earthlings – left to themselves – would be that banker derivatives, swaps, leverages and credit targets were at least 90% responsible for the quicksand event.
In short, it would – I think it will – blow away Osborne’s smoke, and smash his mirrors, in time for the electorate to hopefully chuck him out in May 2015.
But while the past is always a table set before us in faded photographs, the future will always be a moveable feast.
In the penultimate paragraph of the above analysis, I used the phrase “left to themselves”. But it goes without saying that, especially in the UK, the electorate will be given a serious amount of stick and carrot as things worsen. Every kind of propagandic, financial bribery and legal pressure will be applied to ensure the majority behaves itself. Nobody knows what will happen once the peaceable majority slips into being a smaller and smaller minority; but in the meantime, the Establishment would be mad not to start with the carrot.
We have already had Help to Buy houses, drink beer and play bingo. If he can keep his hard-edged Bank of England Governor in line, I have little doubt that Mr Osborne will try to twist and spin the data from here on such that it suggests “vulnerable” older people can have a little more interest on their savings, and younger “hard-working families” can pay a little less tax.
While he’s at this game (the same play, ironically, that re-elected Macmillan in 1959) Newscorp, the Barclay Brothers and the Express/Mail circus will continue to propagate GM crops of banking excellence and British innovation which will, together, sweep the world….some time very soon.
But the stick is equally evident. The established link between GCHQ and ISPs in the UK rivals if not exceeds anything the US NSA can muster. We have also seen the gagging of social cause groups whose strong tendency is to encourage Leftist voting…as well as an abortive attempt to swamp online commentary in risk-free vexatious libel suits. And further, we’ve had the assault on legal aid, nothing less than an attempt to starve out those liberal members of the legal profession who prefer justice to huge fees.
While most people were oggling the Budget last Wednesday, Boris Johnson’s water cannon proposal (for which he has no electoral mandate whatsoever) was fisted through the London Assembly. And as I blogged two months ago, sales of portable riot-control fencing to Britain’s police forces are through the roof.
I read two days ago an interesting and yet ultimately unconvincing online markets blog that suggested “financial repression could carry on like this for another 25 years”. I think it could’ve done in sixteenth century Spain, but not in the 21st century West. No: to keep up the financial repression, in a media-rich society Governments must indulge in socio-political repression as well. Erdogan has already demonstrated this rule by banning Twitter in Turkey; and during the UK’s Croydon riots two years ago, both MPs and police pressed for SMS to be controlled more closely, in order to make riots less epidemiologically unpredictable.
In that context, I wonder whether Britain’s democratic Left has, on its own, the stomach for the fight. My suspicion is that the Ed Miller Band will do everything in their power not to look radical, and not to suggest anything novel. The reasons for that are twofold: first, they’re too scared of alienating braindead Middle England; and second, they don’t have any ideas that are either radical or novel. Process driven by fear doth not a winning election strategy make.
As long-suffering regulars here know only too well by now, I would like to see the emergence of an anti-neoliberal alliance that was neither Left nor Right, but nevertheless economically, culturally and constitutionally radical. The Left clearly isn’t going to join in, and the Faragists will slim down the potential numbers of such radicals still further.
Increasingly, I expect another hung Parliament, more horse-trading….and then impotent banality. While this would be infinitely preferable to unrestrained Goveism, it doesn’t inspire me a lot. My hope is that the bankruptcy (in every sense) of neoliberal tosh will, by the end of this year, be there for all to see – be they perceptive or not. My fear, however, is that a muddled Labour Government might merely be the prelude to Arthurian neo-Nazis.
We shall see.