IDS the Merthyr expert

The Western Mail reports on Iain Duncan Smith’s comments on the lack of mobilty of Merthyr people.

Mr Duncan Smith said people in Merthyr “didn’t know if they got on the bus, an hour’s journey they’d be in Cardiff and they could look for the job there”.
He added: “We need to recognise the jobs often don’t come to you. Sometimes you need to go to the jobs.”
Dai Havard, the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, said: “These ministers have a stereotypical view of Merthyr Tydfil and of the Valleys in general.
“First you had Norman Tebbit’s ‘on yer bike’ now you’ve got Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘on yer bus’. This is a man from the Home Counties who hasn’t got a clue about the Valleys.
“These issues are not simple, in fact they are hugely complex and difficult. It’s all very well saying ‘these jobs are in Cardiff so get on a bus’, but what bus? If you’re working a shift pattern and you’re starting at, say, 2pm then there is no bus.
“This doesn’t play to the reality it plays to a stereotype.”
Jeff Edwards, the leader of Merthyr council, said: “If Mr Duncan Smith really wishes to reduce dependency on benefits, his Government needs to continue to support [our council] in encouraging private sector investment into the region and creating local employment opportunities.
“He’s welcome to come to Merthyr anytime – there’s a daily bus from London.”

Inside Mario Basini defends his town with some style:
A letter to IDS

…The first journey of an engine on rails occurred in Merthyr – a joint enterprise between two men of genius, the ironmaster Samuel Homfray and the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick. It was the beginning of the railway era without which the Industrial Revolution, and therefore modern civilisation, would not have been possible.

Merthyr produced great writers and journalists in Welsh and English, including the Berry brothers, Lords Camrose and Kemsley, who between them owned newspapers like The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times and The Sunday Times and made them into the institutions they are today. They and their eldest brother Seymour were dedicated supporters of the town, unlike the newspapers they helped to create.

The fight for workers’ rights and a decent wage grew to maturity here. The red flag as a symbol of Labour was first raised during the 1831 Merthyr riots. The first Labour MP, Keir Hardie, represented the town.

Merthyr’s energy and enterprise helped shape the modern world, making your thinly- veiled accusations of impotence and laziness, appear the calumnies they are.

What is really depressing about your words, Mr Duncan Smith, is their obtuseness, their failure to show even a schoolboy’s understanding of Merthyr’s great past and its present predicament…..

From Merthyr to Cardiff is an hour on the train with 13 intermediate stops. The Tories are on the verge of cancelling the electrification of the Great Western Railway. That would be the precursor to the electrification of the Valleys network – where the benefits of rapid acceleration and decelerating would really effect journey times. I reckon electrification could knock a quarter of an hour off the Merthyr Cardiff journey…So how about some practical help Mr Duncan Smith?

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    One of the less publicised disadvantages of having the Tories back in power is the serial resurrection of the politcally deceased Tory politicans to positions of influence.

    The only good thing to say about the return of IDS is that it sounds like he will help to hasten the political demise of those who are responsible for his ill-timed resurrection.

  • Big Bad Bob

    To ask a really innocent question, in what way does any of the above actually prove IDS wrong?

  • Athelstan

    The article states that “From Merthyr to Cardiff is an hour on the train with 13 intermediate stops”, and the author clearly considers it unreasonable to expect Merthyr people to make such a journey to work.

    Many people have far longer journeys when commuting to work in London and other English cities. It is these people, many of whom work a twelve hour plus day when including commuting time, who pay the taxes that help support South Wales.

  • Norman Tebbit was IDS’s predecessor as MP for Chingford, fact fans!

    So the Chingford Skinhead defines the ConDems for a new generation.

  • maehara

    From Merthyr to Cardiff is an hour on the train with 13 intermediate stops.

    Not much worse than the train from Bangor to Belfast, then. Can’t say that strikes me as much of a problem.

    <Insert rant against Translink here>

  • Dewi

    Derry to Belfast in 2hr 22 mins is a disgrace to be honest. That’s longer than Cardiff to London

  • Cymro

    IDS is right to raise this issue. An hour journey with 13 stops is a Tube journey in London. It’s also very predicatble that Labour will play this hurt personal feelings card when they’ve been in power for 13 years and forever in Merthyr and are solely responsible for the mess the town is in.

    More can be done in terms of travel etc. but the nub of IDS’s remark was that a meat processing factory opened in Merthyr a few years ago, and were unable to find enough local people to work there. They had to employ workers from Easter Europe … a longer bus commute from Poland I would suspect.

    There’s deal – the state need to create the right conditions for investment, jobs, infrastructure – people are right to raise that; but the other side is that the state (i.e. tax payers) need to feel that other people are willing to make an effort to get a job.

    Dai Havard’s comments about shifts etc are all very well, but I’d guess the person should either move to Cardiff or share a lift or buy a second hand car – that’s what people tend to do Dai Havard. All jobs are awkward especially for those with families so why are Merthyr people expecting to be excempt and then why does Labour always fly the flag of class jingoism when they know many other working people in the Valleys communities are saying exactly the same thing as IDS.

  • Dewi

    Why pick on Merthyr though? Are Merthyr people genetically disposed to idleness and stupidity? The history suggests not.

  • Drumlins Rock

    How very dare he!!! besmirching the Welsh valleys industrious heritage. Grow up children who cares what example he gives, he could have said get the train from Smallville to Metropolis, lets try discussing what he said, should the jobs go to the workers or the workers to the jobs?
    It not a simple debate and should be discussed, a deserves to be much more than a spat over an obscure communities nose be put out of joint.

  • In August Chris Grayling was bragging that unemployment in Wales was falling — by a massive 0.9% in Merthyr Tydfil. Leaving the figure at a mere 15%.

    In passing, Grayling owns four houses within the M25, but manages to declare his wealth at only £½million, so is one of the six members of the 29 cabinet members not a millionaire.

    Meanwhile, that hour down IDS’s yellow brick road there are all of a total of hundred jobs, on the books at the Cardiff Job Centre. Alas, even there the main employments, such as scaffolder, require a degree of skill,

    A+B ≠ C

  • Dewi

    Merthyr obscure? You jest surely?

  • Don’t worry, Cymro @ 3:32 pm, even the London commuter shares the pain. Those 13 stops on the District line might take you from Dagenham to Whitechapel.

    Blasted Boris is about to up your daily ticket by 74%.

    But only class jingos would complain.

  • Drumlins Rock

    outside of wales… its about as significant as Lurgan

  • DC

    Truth is there is a money making machine called City of London where access to jobs there is so exclusive that elites need only apply – usually public schooling is the lowest common denominator for those working at the top.

    Trouble is this financial services sector in London has heavily filtered out recruitment practices, it is elitist yet creates around 25% of all tax receipts, during the good days – but it only employs around a million people out of 28-30million people employed across UK. Sadly 1 million people employed there have companies or employers that create around 10 of GDP.

    And this financial sector is where the ridiculous salaries are being earned fuelling the uber-rich top 1-2% of society, a strata where frankly the other 98% haven’t a hope in hell in reaching or aspiring to.

    Yes the market does create freedoms over the state, but it only works true to form whenever there is private capital available.

    Where does IDS think the private capital is coming from – given these uber-rich just play the markets than think about industry and producing things for sale?

    Perhaps he should be opening up the financial services sector or push more pay down from the top to the bottom towards the cashiers and banking staff, those frontline workers – who live in the community, not in Rooney-esque Nouveau-Rich villas.

    Otherwise, society needs a proper welfare safety net, more so now than ever because the tide of private capital has gone out.

  • Drumlins Rock @ 4:51 pm:

    That echoes Groucho Marx: Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

    And about as relevant.

    Merthyr borough has a population of 55,000: Lurgan might stretch to half that amount. Lurgan has received squoodles of public investment over the decades: Merthyr qualified for kicks in the teeth (most recently Hoover).

  • DC

    Systemic failure should be repaid by the system which caused it. Financial services system crashed through its own miscalculations and incompetence, yet our public money bails it out.

    Now we all must be given reminders of welfare claims and the expense.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  • Mr Brightside

    We should just take this one step further and get everyone to move to London.

    Though what I would like to see is improved infrastructure so that people can remain in their communities but work elsewhere. For NI this would mean expansion of services at City airport, a proper train to Dublin and motorway from Belfast to Derry.

  • Drumlins Rock

    and Lurgan has has 23,000 and has suffered… well we all have suffered from Lurgan, but anyways the lets try discussing the main subject and not the sideshow.

  • pippakin

    The man may have retired but the idea is almost part of the genetics of the tory party.

    To be fair when I lived in London it used to regularly take two hours or more to get to work. It was public transport but there were the traffic jams, the packed trains. Its all something Londoners are used to.

    Not sure how the mindset can be dealt with. Instinct says make IDS live on unemployment benefit, no car or expenses for a year and see if he and his still feel the same way.

    It is no good telling people to get the bus to work when at best the buses are unreliable and anyway there is no work to go to.

  • Cynic

    That’s really shocking – imagine asking people in Wales to travel to work. Why during the day they might end up more than 30 mins from their Mam – social disgrace that is.

    They could of course move closer to the jobs – its only in Cardiff after all and most of the housing in Merthyr is social housing. If they did move, in applying for jobs, they would then also get over the stigma that many people in the capital feel attaches to those living in Merthyr

  • Ah, Cynic, out trolling again.

  • GreenBack

    what idea is ‘almost part of the genetics of the tory party’?
    work being an inconvenience?

    “Not sure how the mindset can be dealt with. Instinct says make IDS live on unemployment benefit, no car or expenses for a year and see if he and his still feel the same way.”
    How about people get a job. The vast majority of people dont work for love and they struggle on their commute because they have to earn money.
    Why is someone entitled unemployment benefit because getting to work is a pain in the arse?

  • DC

    Yes people of Merthyr should travel to work and be encouraged to do so much like the financial services sector should be encouraged to repay what it borrowed off the taxpayer. Perhaps over the next 4-5 years.

    So come on you disabled people get out and work and the financial services sector pay back the money given to you via nation-wide taxation off the pleb-like subordinates living under your capitalist system.

    Pay back the money borrowed bankers – pay it back as well.

  • In the ’70s, as a borough councillor and parliamentary candidate, I was occasionally subbing for the local MP when he was off chasing a safer seat and was unable to take his weekly surgery.

    Some strange, even amusing cases cropped up.

    I recall one in particular: the South Wales ex-miner who needed a certificate signed, that the pneumoconiosis hadn’t finished him off … yet.

    Sure, there are so many on disability and sickness who could be back at work tomorrow. And those who can’t (or who can’t find jobs) lose all benefits after a year and become dependent on the spouse.

    Isn’t it great to live in a caring, sharing society?

  • pippakin

    GreenBack

    The problem is there is hardly any work and most of what jobs there are are low paid. It is no good: getting on your bike or catching the bus to get to work if there is no work!

    The mindset I was referring to is the persistent idea in tory circles that poverty is the fault of the poor who would all no doubt find work as cleaners and waiters if they would only get off their back sides.

    The people in Merthyr are no different to the people in, say, Southend, but Southend can commute to London and Merthyr cannot.

    a) there’s not much work there

    b) Fares are expensive

    c) People have families and often going out to work at 6.00am and not getting home until 9.00pm is out of the question.

  • Cynic

    Not at all. Every been to Merthyrr? Or the Rhonda?

  • Rory Carr

    And what will an inemployed man find when he takes the bus to Cardiff to seek work?

    “The number of claimants in Cardiff increased from 4,355 in December 2007 to 6,735 in December 2008, an increase of 2,380, or 54.6%. This compares with an increase of 56.3% for Wales as whole over the same period.”

    Oh, and the figures for December 2008 released by Cardiff Council research Centre for unemploument taht includes “travel to work” areas outside Cardiff:

    Cardiff (Travel to Work Area) 12,636

    IDS must be of the impression that these figure have somehow dramatically reversed since 2008 and that there are instead now 12,000 plus jobs going abegging in Cardiff. Perhaps someone should tell him.

  • Rory Carr

    Typos: unemployed in first paragraph and that in third paragraph.

    Apologies.

  • Rory Carr

    And, I see: unemployment in third paragraph.

    I blame the arthritis (and the lack of an editing facility).

  • On your Anglo-phonetic spellings, no and no.

    On the other hand, my excursions and sight-seeings across South Wales go back to the ’50s by BR Western Region, en route to and from the Innisfallen at Fishguard, before age allowed me to graduate to Lambrettas

    Much more recently I came up the Ely Valley Road to Rhondda, cut back through Maerdy to Aberdare (the Wetherspoon house, Yr Ieuan Ap Iago, was worth the visit). From there to Merthyr, taking the Heads of the Valley Road across to Nantybwch to pay my respects to (the memory of) Nye and Michael’s “Number 10” at Tredegar, before picking up the A40 at Abergavenny.

    Next?

  • Munsterview

    And that mobile financial capital while primarily based in London ( Edinburgh still has a significant input ) will go to high growth economies with low labor costs, which means other than in the financial services per se , there will be little job creation in areas outside of London and the Home Counties !

  • lover not a fighter

    I would’nt be a huge fan of Norman Tebbit (not very likely)

    But I honestly believe that even a chingford skinhead would be embarassed to ask some one to get on their bike/or bus for the rewards that a minimum wage job brings these days.
    If you took the cost of the weekly travel ticket and other sundry costs that go along with employment then the poor unfortunate would have sweet feck all left.

    Sadly probably all of the politicians and the media brown nosers pushing this “attack the poor” agenda would not separate their ares cheeks to expel some methane gas for what they expect the minimum wage workers to work all week for.

    Who/where is their a voice for those that are expected to work for these pathetic wages ?

  • That’s not entirely true.

    For many tangible products, once transportation is factored in, products from the low-wage economy of places like South Wales compare favourably with imports from southern Asia.

    The differences are, of course, supportive government aid and a servile work-force.

    Now remind me why the current Tory rhetoric is once again about breaking the unions.

  • Munsterview

    Another piece of no little interest on this side of the pond from the weekend edition of Wealth Daily. There is apparently another monumental housing finance crisis similar to the ‘Sub Prime’ welling up in the US.

    Given the internationalization of capital, this coming crisis involving the collapse in value of another estimated two million housing mortgages cannot but provoke another financial crisis in London financial circles.

    This new tranch of two million homes is over 85% of the two point three million already defaulting as result of the sub-prime collapse.

    This cannot but have an additional devastating effect in international finances. The White House and Obama are apparently standing chest deep in that large river in Egypt on this one and still furiously spinning as the water just keeps on rising !

    Carmon it would appear, has not factored this into his equations, at least not into any accounts that I have read. Should be, to say the least, interesting.

    ************************

    Abstract from wealth daily………….

    And there’s overwhelming “spin” that these are merely paperwork problems.

    The funny thing is that those claiming it’ll “work itself out” have no clue regarding the liabilities associated with this stuff. A Washington Post article explained:

    “If the basic principles of property law have been violated here… it may be extremely difficult to fix,” said a source involved in government oversight of financial institutions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the uncertainties involved. “There is a chain of questions that no one seems to know the answer to.”

    Even the Financial Times tell us:

    This scandal is a mirror image of the lax and often improper lending practices that grew up in the years before the 2008 financial crisis as Wall Street raced to extend mortgages in order to have fodder for asset-backed securities. They never took seriously the importance of lending soundly and thoughtfully to homeowners.
    Sham documentation and clerical gaffes aside, the systemic risk here is troubling.

    No one knows how many fraudulent mortgages and proceedings are out there…

    Some banks are acknowledging there’s a multi-billion dollar disaster on the books, not just a paperwork headache.

    Other banks — like Bank of America and GMAC — are getting back to the business of foreclosure.

    And why not?

    These banks need these homes off their books. With more than two million homes in foreclosure and another 2.3 million delinquent, the banks can’t go on making no money.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Who/where is their a voice for those that are expected to work for these pathetic wages ?’

    Once upon a time there used to be trade unions and a Labour Party . Now the ‘unions’ are mostly toothless except for the public sector ones and the Labour Party has to kow tow to the City . Thats all that the UK has left to help ‘create’ the eh Big Society 🙁 It did’nt work during Thatcher’s time . When all was said and done by the time she was forced out of office the percentage of GDP that was based on government expenditure had’nt changed – the pound was in crisis and the UK had said goodbye to it’s mines , most of it’s mid sized engineering industry and a lot of it’s manufacturing base . Having placed all bets for the future on the City of London the British people have now been betrayed by the Banks for the past decade or more and the politicians of all parties have been too busy building moats around their mansions or gouging on perks and expenses to notice 🙁

    Time for a new Magna Carta to defend the people’s rights against the modern day robber barons !

  • Greenflag

    ‘We should just take this one step further and get everyone to move to London.’

    In fact that is the ultimate logic behind IDS’s remark . So how about a million Scots , and half a million Welsh and a million Geordies and Scousers and Yorkshire folk and 200,000 assorted ‘Taigs and Prods ‘ from NI moving to London and the South East in order to reduce the Exchequer’s bill for the ‘regions’ ?

    I’m sure IDS’s could see that such a move would make perfect sense and Londoners of all shades would welcome an influx of mostly ‘white’ english (of a kind ) speaking immigrants who would help create the ‘big society’ by filling all those highly paid job vacancies in the City and elsewhere and who will be so grateful for Mr IDS’s good advice about moving and finding instant well paid employment that they’ll Tory to a man come the next election ;)?

  • Greenflag

    ‘it used to regularly take two hours or more to get to work.’

    And presumably two hours back which is 20 hours a week or 960 hours a year or 24 working weeks multiply that by the number of Londoners who do similar and thats a lot of wasted time .

    I believe that in Los Angeles and New York that two hour plus journeys are not unknown . My best ever commute was 7 minutes and the second best in Africa was approx 10 minutes .

    I enjoyed London as a teenager working summers living in Chelsea and commuting to the West End (the Number 19 or 22 or the Flying Dutchman the 137 would suffice ) and it was’nt bad but then I usually avoided the rush hours and it was for just a few months .

    The French are now protesting against an increase of the retirement age to 62 from 60 while millions of Americans expect to be still working into their 70’s and maybe 80’s having had their pensions and retirement funds looted by Wall St . It doesn’t seem to have dawned on either French or American authorities or policy makers that if people retire earlier jobs will open up for younger people and help reduce the high unemployment rate for college graduates etc.

    I don’t believe our Governments know how to tackle the issue plain and simple and anyway Wall St won’t let them 🙁

  • Kevin Barry

    Dewi,

    I really enjoy your posts; they’re well thought out and informative and as such, since they’re about Wales (a place, for my sins, I know very little about) I really enjoy them.

    I think the point that’s being made by you and many others is that the people of Merthyr would get on a bus/bike to Cardiff for work if their was any decent, well paid work there. As Simon Jenkins has noted in the Guardian quite a bit, the money that the government has been giving to railway companies is a form of a middle class subsidy.

    I think that this money should be given to people on lower incomes to subsidise their transport costs for trains/buses/bikes/whatever. Coming from a working class area myself, the vast majority of people want to work, do not want to live on benefits and want to better their lot. They are willing to travel for that.

    But it boils down to simple numbers. If you go on a bus to Cardiff for minimum wage and on returning to Merthyr you are less well off than if you were on the dole their is something wrong here. Someone (I suspect Cynic, I could be wrong) would say that the problem is with benefits being so generous, but someone living on £100 a week is not generous. You need better paid jobs in Cardiff, a living wage is what’s needed

  • Cynic

    Then on your half hour drive through you will obviously have noticed what a dump it remains. Generally very nice people …awful town let down by years of economic mismanagement and numpty Labour councillors

  • Cynic

    I agree on the living wage issue but in my experience in South Wales people aren’t prepared to be mobile – or to be fair, those over say 40 aren’t prepared to be mobile.

    As for the living wage per se…..as I said, I totally agree but collectively across the UK we have to compete in may areas internationally. If we don’t, we are dead economically. Thats not just about wages – its productivity too – but we aren’t that good at either

  • pippakin

    Greenflag

    Very true! It is as if some very powerful institutions/banks etc want to somehow readjust the west downward.

    The fastest journey from Covent Garden to my home (Ilford Essex) by bus was fifteen minutes one new years eve. I had been working. I got the bus at 11.45 pm resigned to missing the celebrations. The other half dozen or so passengers were like me, Cinderella’s trying to get home before the clock struck. The bus hurtled along empty roads! We all started looking at our watches and smiling. I rushed to my house as the clock struck and every door in the street opened to welcome the new year! My Muslim neighbours gave me a glass of champagne! It was a happy new year!

    Nothing to do with the thread but London as few relate it.

  • Dewi

    Return Merthyr to Cardiff is £6.30. How does that compare with London fares?

  • Mr Brightside

    When in power, Labour were castigated by the Tories for ‘bulldozing the north while concreting the south’ and turning their backs on regeneration of northern towns and cities, which ultimately hinges on provision of employment. .

    With the loss of traditional industry, many places (even Belfast??) have lost their reason to exist. And no one seems to knows what to do.

  • Lyn David Thomas

    As someone who has lived in both Cardiff and Merthyr I know both areas well…. I work for a large company from Cardiff, whose office includes a large number of people from the Valleys, and yes from Merthyr. The train service is expensive and infrequent – so say nothing of unreliable. And where are these jobs? Cardiff has a very high proportion of public sector jobs, its a capital city, so that is inevitable. Aren’t these exactly the jobs being cut? The rest, well there is a large entertainment sector, ah yes S4C has just had a huge cut in its budget – with massive knock on effects on the independent tv production sector. Ok there is hospitality – mostly minimum wage and split shifts – great how does that play out when the trains stop mid evening for people in Merthyr? Oh and if you work outside the Bay or the City centre then there is another bus journey to add on, so maybe another hour traveling a day. The Welsh government should improve transport in Wales,,, great, this is the body that has just had its capital budget cut by 41%.

    Oh and as for moving to Cardiff rather than commuting, well where are the people to live? Most of the flats that have been thrown up in recent years are beyond the pockets of the unemployed, either to buy or to rent, so where do they go?

    The employment issues of the Valleys need more than sound bites, they need sustained investments, infrastructure improvements, electrification of the valleys lines and most of all jobs.

  • Cynic @ 7:34 am:

    Ah, how much happier were those jolly, hymn-singing miners and their families, living in picturesque back-to-back terraces, paying tied rents to the coal-owners, dropping dead from TB when it wasn’t miner’s lung. The tin bath in front of the kitchen fire! The delightfully-ethnic middens at the street end, with the evocative slag-heap looming just beyond! And all illuminated by those fragrantly-romantic gas lamps!

    Along come do-gooding socialists and ruin all that! What a shame!

  • Cynic

    Newbury to London – about an hour – is £19 off peak single. Towns about 30 mins out around London eg in Herts are about £10 single off peak. Its much cheaper on the Tube Network with Oyster

  • Cynic

    What we do is evolve and look for other industries with new business models where the geography isn’t such a handicap. Nobody says its easy but the Irish managed it for 25 years

  • Dewi

    Thank you

    Newbury to London is 52miles
    Merthyr to Cardiff is 22miles

    Both journeys take an hour which is partly my point.

  • False comparisons.

    Newbury to London is over fifty miles. Merthyr to Cardiff is only around twenty. I make that about the same in £/mile. The different is that the Great Western line is one heck of a lot better equipped, and at far greater public expense (the First Group got over £350 million in subsidies last year, of which £264 million appeared on the balance sheet as profits).

    However, Merthyr (with the rest of Trenau Arriva Cymru) is about to have its rail service re-nationalised. The new owner will be … Deutsche Bahn.

  • Greenflag

    ‘It is as if some very powerful institutions/banks etc want to somehow readjust the west downward.’

    Not so much they want to -more a case of the best returns are to be made in the east -(Asia) and the emerging BRIC economies .

    In the 18th and 19th centuries Ireland (most of it outside the Belfast area) was not worth investing in by capital . Far better returns were to be made in the slave trade in the West Indies and Africa , in sugar , and above all in India -the eh jewel of the Empire .

    The economic establishment then did not give a rats arse about economic development across Ireland -as long as the food supplies and soldiery were ‘produced’ thats the most that could be expected .

    It’s no different today . The City of London does not give a rats arse about Scunthorpe or Merthyr Tydvil or Wigan or Belfast and they don’t even have to with regard to Dublin or Connacht .

    Capital is amoral . It will go to wherever it can get the best possible return on investment -even to feudal monarchies and one party authoritarian states .

    Can capitalism or more properly modern day financial capitalism be reformed before it returns large parts of the world to totalitarian extremism of the right or left ? I don’t know but I suspect not . Unlike the 1930’s it seems to me that neither the USA nor the UK have the political leadership that could initiate much less execute the necessary reforms. .

    Both countries are now more politically polarised particularly the USA . So if enough Boston Tea partiers are elected in the USA and the Democratic majority in Congress is overturned then you can expect another few years of economic stagnation as well as legislative stasis .

    Of course what happens in the USA will have ramifications in ROI and NI . The only bright economic news is that the German economy powers ahead with expected GDP growth of 3.4% mostly due to a rise in manufacturing exports .

  • pippakin

    Greenflag

    One of the things the west has been exporting is jobs. As a result there are less jobs, less industry, but we are still the major consumers. In order for the west to continue to be consumers there needs to be a recognition of the need for industry to remain in the consumer areas. It makes sense that where there is less work there is less consumerism. and that affects the emerging economies almost more than it affects the consumers. We could get by with less of this or that, emerging economies need the consumer market. without which they will remain third world nations.

    Big government needs big income, less jobs mean less income. I’m not sure at this stage what the answer is but turning western countries into nothing more than service providers and tourist destinations is not it.

  • Kevin Barry

    Cynic, I agree with a lot of what you have said above. The UK workforce is renowned for not being as productive as our continental counterparts, one of the reasons why we have a long hours culture.

    But I would be wary of a rush to the bottom whereby we slash wages to make somewhere like South Wales akin to Guandong (I hope that’s spelt right), which I am sure most people would not want.

    With a living wage should be increased productivity and work in areas that can be charged at a premium

  • SW

    Only because he was part of a Sky News documentary over the summer hosted by Jeff Randall which spent some time in Merthyr trying to better understand the root causes of worklessness and incapacity in the part of the country (yes, the claimant count there is particularly high). From what I remember it took some young people as a case study and they allowed cameras to follow them in their search for work. It was actually quite interesting and provided some challenging intellectual food-for-thought, and some of the people did get work in the end, with a little flexibility on their part. Pity Welsh Labour decided to turn it into a cheap political football.

  • Greenflag

    Kruggers tells the UK what to expect from the budget .

    excerpt ,

    ‘Instead, it was all about the apocalypse looming if Britain failed to go down this route. Never mind that British debt as a percentage of national income is actually below its historical average; never mind that British interest rates stayed low even as the nation’s budget deficit soared, reflecting the belief of investors that the country can and will get its finances under control. Britain, declared Mr. Osborne, was on the “brink of bankruptcy.”

    What happens now? Maybe Britain will get lucky, and something will come along to rescue the economy. But the best guess is that Britain in 2011 will look like Britain in 1931, or the United States in 1937, or Japan in 1997. That is, premature fiscal austerity will lead to a renewed economic slump. As always, those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

    The full eh monty at eh

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/22/opinion/22krugman.html?_r=2&ref=paulkrugman

  • Cynic

    So the trains will then run on time!!

  • PaddyReilly

    I think you’ll find very few Derry residents work in Belfast as a consequence

  • Except that IDS was referring to a commute and not an economic migration. Sorry to step in with pesky fact, let the giddy regionaires continue…

  • Redfellow is your argument that it’s always been a shithole?

  • ‘Kruggers’ is a lunatic.