As Gordon travels by plane, Hannan follows by YouTube…

In many respects becoming an MEP is equivalent of being sent to Siberia… However, my colleague at the Telegraph Dan Hannan may have just sprung himself from jail with a video of his withering attack on Gordon Brown in the Brussels parliament… There is now talk of him being considered as a candidate for the safe seat of Woking… Nadine Dorries notes on the Tories own Blue Blog it was the top viewed video on YouTube yesterday… By my calculations he’s put on another 200,000 since yesterday lunctime… For good or for ill, that’s politics as a viral industry…

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  • kensei

    I stopped listening at the point he started going on about people being born with £x,000 debt. This is so intellectually dishonest I can’t bear listening to any politician that uses it.

  • Mick Fealty

    So tell us why Ken… that would be more effective politics…

  • I have to say that he is a very good speaker, and delivered a strong message clearly and eloquently. And that is not something that you can say about most politicians.

    Is he going to become the pin-up boy for the Eurosceptic right?

  • Rory Carr

    “Rhetoric, rhetoric, my career is based on rhetoric”.

    To which we might reply, “Enough, enough, my kingdom for a nuff”.

  • fin

    never liked the tories, BUT, he summed up the general mood of the country, and his blog is a cracker aswell, I might even vote for him. However in he UK I don’t see Davey saving us or that they’d have left us in a better place had they been in charge.

    The tories use to accuse new labour of pinching their policies (I agree) how sickening for Labour supporters to see Blair telling bankers how much better off they were under Labour, and Gordon having Maggie in for tea at number 10.

    You posted a thread a few days ago regarding ideas from the public to get Ireland back on track, and I think you mentioned this wasn’t happening in the UK, well, this is why, none of the parties in the commons at the moment can save us and they’re scared that the great unwashed might think the unthinkable and decide on something new.

    There is a stench of decay around Westminister, MP are behaving as they did under Major and stuffing their pockets with cash while they can.

  • kensei

    Splendid quiote I got from another forum:

    William Vickrey, Nobel Prize winner (Economics):

    Deficits are considered to represent sinful profligate spending at the expense of future generations, who will be left with a smaller endowment of invested capital. This fallacy seems to stem from a false analogy to borrowing by individuals.

    Current reality is almost the exact opposite. Deficits add to the net disposable income of individuals, to the extent that government disbursements that constitute income to recipients exceed that abstracted from disposable income in taxes, fees, and other charges. This added purchasing power, when spent, provides markets for private production, inducing producers to invest in additional plant capacity, which will form part of the real heritage left to the future. This is in addition to whatever public investment takes place in infrastructure, education, research, and the like. Larger deficits, sufficient to recycle savings out of a growing gross domestic product (GDP) in excess of what can be recycled by profit-seeking private investment, are not an economic sin but an economic necessity. Deficits in excess of a gap growing as a result of the maximum feasible growth in real output might indeed cause problems, but we are nowhere near that level.

    Even the analogy itself is faulty. If General Motors, AT&T, and individual households had been required to balance their budgets in the manner being applied to the federal government, there would be no corporate bonds, no mortgages, no bank loans, and many fewer automobiles, telephones, and houses.

    There was a deficit before the crisis, and there will remain a deficit thereafter. Money spent servicing debt is money that cannot be spent elsewhere, true, but as pointed out above that is not the whole story. The size of the debt is largely irrelevant. What matters is if we can service the debt and increasing the deficit is good policy. Many other countries run much, much higher per capita deficits than the UK; Japan was up over 130% at one point I believe. That is probably not a good idea, but the world did not collapse. And I think Mr Hannan knows all taht quite well.

    Spinning the “each child owes x” line is scaremongering and a sidestep to the important debates. As soon as a politician starts using it I just switch off.

  • Jimmy

    Dan Hannon tells it like it is, he is a thorn in the side of the EU, brilliant and concessive as usual, taking on corruption and the Democratic deficit. The derisory smiles of Brown were sickening like an arrogant criminal saying to his interrogator, ‘go ahead and prove it’. I Hope Browns legacy is the first PM not to have won a General election, looks increasingly likely now.
    I regularly look forward to his column in the ‘First Post’. This link is on EU corruption.

    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/?storyID=20644

  • Dave

    Typical Keynesian wafflemongering from Vickery which uses its own error of analogy to obfuscate public sector borrowing with private sector borrowing. While it is true that private enterprise has the skill and focused purpose to borrow money to invest it in generating greater wealth, that is not the case with public sector borrowing and with, specifically, the public sector borrowing that Dan Hannan is referring to. The legacy of public sector borrowing is debt, not wealth. It is also true that the taxpayer is left with the burden of that legacy. While Dan divided the amount of public sector debt by the number of citizens, he should have divided it by the projected number of taxpayers to get the true horrifying level of burden that these Keynesian jackasses have inflicted upon the productive members of society in order to support its parasites.

  • kensei

    So I stomached it all. 6th form rant and I don’t see that either BBC or ITV should be making a big dela fo it.

    For the record here are debt to GDP ratios by country:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt

    The UK clearly has some room to run deficits. It could be better certainly, and as far as I’m aware there is a structural deficit which is a problem but even if you accept debt is automatically evil, that’s a somewhat big hole in most fo his argument.

    I am also nto sure the UK remains the worst placed. The speed at which Germany moved into trouble due to its over reliance on exports was scary.

  • kensei

    Dave

    Complete bollocks, frankly. A school or hospital built by the state will generate economic activity as surely as a house built by the private sector. Automatic stabilisers act a break on the tendency for downturns to get into self perpetuating cycles. Multiplier effects do exist and have been observed and documented.

    The objection is not typically that public sector borrowing does not have economic impact, it is that it is hard to time correctly (especially in comparison to monetary policy) and it crowds out private sector activity. Well we have basically hit the zero bound on interest rates, a huge producivity gap and a long, long recession where a 6 month or even year gap in impact will not make a lot of difference.

    The debt burden is also not usually tackled by paying it off, it is done by growing the economy so it become relatively less important. The US did this very effectively after WW2. What is debt? It is moving money from a time you have it to a time you don’t. this an be a good or bad idea, depending on what you do with it.

    Please stick to ranting about sovereignty: there you almost make sense.

  • dewi

    Jimmy – Callaghan never won an election. Ken – dpoesn’t include network rail debt (bigger than that of New Zealand), PFI commitments and public sector pension liabilities.

  • Dave

    Kensei, you have modified your argument. You now claim that the state squandering money is a worthwhile activity because not all of it is squandered. True, some of it will be returned to the state to be re-squandered, but it won’t generate wealth, only debt. Getting anything less than 100% return of investment is a sure way to go broke. If in doubt, ask the bookies how they make their money. Leave the business of wealth creation to businessmen, and stick to what you are good at: begging the state to tax the wealth-creators and spend their money on those who haven’t earned it. Government is never a creator of wealth, only a distributer of it.

    “Even now, after 35 years of membership, few Britons understand the nature of the European project.

    They still think of it as a disagreeable business that takes place across the Channel – expensive, undemocratic, corrupt, but far less immediate to them than, say, the admissions policy of their local school.

    In fact, the EU is a domestic, not a foreign issue: its institutions pass 80 per cent of our laws, even in areas that have no conceivable international dimension: the ban on vitamin supplements, car seats for 12-year-olds, HIPs, fortnightly recycling (mandated by the EU’s Landfill Directive), the nonsense of fitting different stamps to different sizes of envelopes (the Postal Services Directive), the rigmarole involved in opening a bank account (the Money Laundering Directive)…”

    Good link, Jimmy. And Dan Hannan is right on the money again. A wider problem than “simple ignorance” is deliberate propaganda (and the EU spends 2.4 billion of your money every year to promote its anti-sovereignty, integrationist agenda via propaganda). In Ireland, we also have a situation where 160 out of 166 TDs are Europhiles who conspire against the people to promote the transfer of the peoples’ sovereignty to the EU. For example, there is a bi-partisanship policy in operation in the Irish parliament that censors all debate about the merits of EU membership. They also promote the bogus impression that EU membership is a financial advantage to Ireland wherein economic success was made possible by EU grants, despite accounting for a tiny fraction of GDP and despite EU membership keeping the farming industry in the economic dark ages of grant-dependency and the utter decimating that has occurred in the Irish fishing industry (with the EU extracting more than three times the value in stock from Irish territorial waters that Ireland ever received in grants).

    In the UK, a similar policy of cover-up applies by government wherein they do not refer to how much of domestic law is not imposed from the EU rather than devised by the people in accordance with democracy, promoting the bogus impression that the UK people still determine their own law via their parliament. By the way, one other example of EU law that is on its way via transport policy is a law that will require all drivers to drive with their lights on during daylight hours in order to make them more visible. Great, except that it will make motorcyclists invisible (who currently drive with their lights on under UK law), and result in a large number of fatalities among that group. When that happens, expect the UK government to make no mention of that law being imposed by the EU, pretending instead (as they did with the Railtrack network and the emergency number change fiasco) that it was UK democracy that devised it.

  • kensei

    Dave

    Kensei, you have modified your argument. You now claim that the state squandering money is a worthwhile activity because not all of it is squandered. True, some of it will be returned to the state to be re-squandered, but it won’t generate wealth, only debt.

    No, I have said absolutely nothing of the sort. I simply said debt and public spending is not inherently evil. Your statement is so wide sweeping it is trivial to disprove — think of the industries supported the US Military, for example.

    but this link from Krugman is perhaps relevant:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/i-do-not-think-that-word/

    the government builds a bridge, the boost to aggregate demand comes not because people are “tricked” into feeling wealthier but because the government is building a bridge.

    Even if ultimately all we get is debt, that might still be a worthwhile price to pay if it means we exit the crisis sooner.

    I think you may just wnat a opportunity to vent or spout personal certitudes. If so, find someone else.

    dewi

    Jimmy – Callaghan never won an election. Ken – dpoesn’t include network rail debt (bigger than that of New Zealand), PFI commitments and public sector pension liabilities.

    Interesting, though I’d guess that Network rail debt is somewhat less secure than proper sovereign debt.

  • Dave

    Well, I now withdraw my objection and yield to your wisdom.

    I will follow your irrefutable logic in future. Now I see that wealth is created by government, it follows that the more money a country borrows, the richer it becomes. Therefore, we need only arrange a 500 billion overdraft for our moronic tossers wise men of government to squander on pet projects invest in wealth creation, and sit back and watch the investment grow into trillions. When it has grown into trillions, and the government has turned us all into millionaire citizens, we will wonder how we could ever have believed that wealth creation was a unique skill that only a small number of clever entrepreneurs possessed.

    I suppose, along the road to our discovery, we’ll realise that those entrepreneurs were a hindrance to effective state-capitalism, and we’ll have cut them out completely by the time we’re all state-created millionaires.

  • frustrated democrat

    Dave

    I would give up Kensei will never see that borrowing by a government does not create wealth it creates debt that has to be repaid by the wealth generators.

    The government’s only income is from ‘taxes’ ‘fees’ or ‘charges’ of one form or another, when they borrow or spend more they need to increase the above when they borrow or spend less they can reduce the above.

    Building a hospital generates jobs and wealth in the short term but in the longer term it has to repaid from taxes.

    We need to make serious cuts and make them now to stop passing the buck to the next 2 or 3 generations, we owe them that – if we have to suffer then that is our own fault not theirs. We just cannot afford the current standard of living we enjoy and to continue with it is not an option.

  • kensei

    Dave, FD

    Consider infrastructure spending by the government. We’ll take rural electrification. There was a substantial cost to doing that, which in many case scame out of puublic funds. That is a cost. But having done it, it provided opportunities for commerce that did not previously exist. People in the country found they wanted electric radios and cookers and washing machines. You may give credit to the people taht acme up with thos einnovations, but the government spending was a necessary condition for the expansion. Similarly, the US government funds many advances in technology through the military that are later commercialised. Look at the Manhatten project or the space program. Yes, clever people work out how to commercialise these things. But those innovations would not exist without the government spending in the first place. A well planned social safety net will act as a stabiliser for aggregate demand during downturns and prevent perfectly viable businesses being destroyed in a self perpetuating cycle. In that case government spending doesn’t create wealth, but it sure as hell protects it. Lastly government has responsibilities taht go beyond the purely financial. It might be entirely rationale not to provide old age pensions. But morality and conscience suggest we do anyway.

    Neither of you are addressing the points at hand and are instead rabitting on without thinking. Context matters. I am not recommending that the government borrow indefinitewly, nor I am suggesting that large parts of the economy should be moved to the public sector. I am stating that temporarily increased borrowing may be appropriate in the given circumstance. There are trade offs involved but the debate needs to be on those terms not scaremongering about debt and fiures on what people theoritically owe that make little sense anyway under a progressive tax system.

    Building a hospital generates jobs and wealth in the short term but in the longer term it has to repaid from taxes.

    It is amazing to me that you can write this and still not get it. What is debt? It is shifting money form a time when have it but don’t need it to one when you don’t have it but do need it. We are in the middle of a downturn. We need jobs and taxes created now, not later. Once the economy turns up and we start growing again, we can more easily cut back on public spending and afford interest payments.

    We need to make serious cuts and make them now to stop passing the buck to the next 2 or 3 generations, we owe them that – if we have to suffer then that is our own fault not theirs. We just cannot afford the current standard of living we enjoy and to continue with it is not an option.

    Cutting government spending in a downturn will reduce aggregate demand and there will be large deficits anyway. If you are really serious about it, you’ll need to start serious cutting: get rid of the NHS, remove old age pensions, start charging for education, hike taxes on everyone. That is not the type of society I want to pass on.

    We need to manage as best we can to get out the crisis, then responsiblely manage the finances so that overtime the ecionomy grows faster than debt, and we leave things in a good condition to our kids. The budget doe snot need balance every year, but over the medium term we get in a better position. The US did this very successfully after WW2. That means in the future not doing things that we otherwise might like to. But we need out of this crisis first.

  • politico

    whether you agree with Dan or not all credit to him for an excellent concise tearing apart of Brown

    Maybe ask him over to have a go at the Dodd’s deficit

  • kensei

    whether you agree with Dan or not all credit to him for an excellent concise tearing apart of Brown

    Er, what?

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘these Keynesian jackasses have inflicted upon the productive members of society in order to support its parasites.’

    Dave is just parroting oore of the same neo conservative shite that even Greenspan now admits was mistaken . As for the parasites ? When I look around the world the only parasites that I see are the likes of Madoff ,Freiling (Madoff’s blind auditor and accountant :(, Stanford , Enron , World Comm, Anglo Irish Banks , Haliburton , Blackwater , and many others who are either behind bars or on their way to jail .

    These are the real ‘parasites ‘ in our democracy and if there was justice instead of law , Maddoff and his ilk would be facing not 150 years in jail but the guillotine or the hangmans noose or hanging upside down from lamposts a la mussolini . Madoff destroyed tens of thousands of lives by his criminal activities . And it’s not over yet here are yet more of his ilk who have yet to face the limelight and when his ‘accountant ‘ sings then Madoff’s entire family will be jailed for the rest of their naturals no doubt.

    Well worth a read is FIASCO by former ‘derivatives ‘ trader Portnoy .

    Kensei ,

    It is ahem NOT amazing Dave doesn’t get it. Just like the AIG thieves and the rest of the gang still in ‘denial ‘ his comments are par for the neo conservative Friedman School of ‘economics ‘ which btw has it’s origin in the philosophy of a Russian emigree ‘nutter’ from Tsarist /Communist Russia. Dave won’t be happy until there are 12 million homeless in the USA and a similar ratio in the UK and Ireland and until there is a world wide depression , a break up of the EU, and lots of not so funny little men with swastika armbands coming to power in various countries with the sole aim of ‘removing ‘ the parasitic class who have almost singlehandedly destroyed the worlds economy through overweening greed , recklessness, and monumental stupidity over the past two decades .

    I trust he’s contacted the Swiss Embassy as regards their present asylum laws just in case his madcap wishes come true 🙁

    As for Hannan above – Good soundbite and a crowd pleaser something probably the Tories will need come an election . Theres a youtube out there with Hannan ‘congratulating ‘ Ireland for voting against Lisbon. Wonder what his take will be when Ireland votes YES in June ?Presumably Hannan and his ilk on the Tory right would like nothing better than to see Ireland returned once more to complete dependence on the UK market and polity .

    I’ve some news for him – The Irish Republic has no desire to become another ‘Northern Ireland ‘ and be a financial burden on the English taxpayer . We’ll leave that to the ‘True Brits’ in the north eastern corner of this island 😉 We all know HMG is in bad shape now and the future is frim and the pound is sinking but we also know that sooner or later the ‘market ‘ will reverse .

    There’s some great opportunities even now for those who want to make a few bob on the coming better regulated and more ‘responsible ‘ Wall St as cowed and nervous Wall St /corporate America are having to face the fact that Obama means business and that he has the support of the vast majority of moderate minded Americans .

    America is moving to the left for the next decade at the very least . Friedmanism and or Republican neo conservatism /born again shitology and all their criminal spin offs are seen now for what they always were – a license for sophisticated criminals to gamble with the pensions and savings of millions of people around the world for their personal profit.

    Margaret Thatcher once said there was no such thing as ‘society ‘. Many of these ‘financial ‘ criminals believed her . Had they continued to have their way they would have stolen everything they possibly could until there was nothing left except a ruined world 🙁

  • Harry Flashman

    Wow, GF, you’re all over the shop with that last post aren’t you? Firing away blindly at all the usual suspects without a clue as to what you’re actually saying.

    So just to put your fevered mind to rest let me help you out with a few points; neither Alan Greenspan (an appointee of Democrat president Bill Clinton) nor Milton Friedman were “neo-conservatives”, got that? I do appreciate that in the Student Union hothouse you inhabit “neo-conservative” means “bad American person I don’t like who is suspiciously Jewish” but in actual fact it is a political term relating to US foreign policy and has diddly-squat to do with economics.

    OK?

    Good, now to Madoff, he was a crook, plain and simple, nothing to do with economics or politics, he was a con-man, a con-man with very strong connections to the Democrat Party in the US but there is nothing to learn from him about economics any more than there is to learn about rail transport policy from Ronnie Biggs.

    Now to your general point, if you can point to me where Milton Friedman suggested that the best economic model was massive public spending backed by unlimited government borrowing I will concede that old Milt is guilty but unfortunately this catastrophe has everything to do with Clinton and Greenspan aided by Blair and Brown and nothing to do with Reagan and Thatcher, sorry old chum I know truth hurts but them’s the facts of life.

    As to your positively absurd suggestion that America is “moving left”, the Teleprompter in Chief’s poll ratings are sinking like a stone, he is now below where Bush was at the same time in his presidency, his Treasury team are way in up and over their eyeballs in a mess and his foreign policy initiatives are collapsing around him. Obama has managed to achieve in sixty days what it took Carter to achieve in four years. Watch the elections in 2010, it will be a wipe out.

    The magic has worn off my friend; the Americans have looked behind Obama’s curtain and are horrified to see that there’s nothing there.

    Me? Im stocking up on pop-corn, Obama’s crash and burn is proving to be better entertainment than Eastenders.

  • Kensei

    HF

    Now to your general point, if you can point to me where Milton Friedman suggested that the best economic model was massive public spending backed by unlimited government borrowing I will concede that old Milt is guilty but unfortunately this catastrophe has everything to do with Clinton and Greenspan aided by Blair and Brown and nothing to do with Reagan and Thatcher, sorry old chum I know truth hurts but them’s the facts of life.

    We ignore the hyperbolic rant on what Friedman wanted and what Clinton did since I do not like to indulge people setting up their own straw men. But Reagan had nothing to do with debt? God you are so wrong it’s off the charts. A bit like what Reagan did the US national debt.

    the Teleprompter in Chief

    Good to see you are keeping up with the latest ridiculous right wing talking points, there Harry.

    A teleprompter? OMFG!!!!!