Friday, February 25, 2011

What Recession?

No the best of weather today. I'm supposed to be doing a regular photo survey or an area on the river at Tilbury and it's not looking too hopeful.

I lost my patience with the Labour opposition at last night's council meeting as they carped on about the recession being the fault of global bankers and that the last Labour government wasn't in any way responsible for the catastrophic levels of debt that challenges the future of this country.

For those with short memories, interest on Government debt is greater than all the country's mortgages put together and the last Labour government spent more on welfare than it received in income tax in the financial year ending in March 2010. As it could not raise enough in taxes, it simply borrowed the nation into financial oblivion, expecting our grandchildren to pay the enormous debts that accompanied extravagant initiatives such as PFI.

The biggest myth of the 21st century is that public spending stimulates growth. In fact 20th century history proves pretty conclusively that state monopolies deprive the public of choice and they always have done. The worst example of this being our management-heavy, sacred-cow, the National Health Service which offers some of the worst outcomes in the developed world.

A large state apparatus only concentrates poverty and mass unemployment and is the norm where you find them. It's true of any country where the socialist experiment like Cuba or Venezuala has demonstrably failed. Uncontrolled capitalism isn't much better but there is a compromise and that involves a much slimmer public sector and not one which is cynically used to hide unemployment in the private sector. As an example, in Scotland, 61% of all jobs are public sector, in Wales that's 77% and in Northern Ireland, that's reportedly a staggering 81%. Who pays for all this bureaucracy when income tax receipts are insufficient? The answer comes with the most uncontrolled and extravagant borrowing in British history and when Cllrs Poole and Nicholson ('The recession is a Conservative myth') grin across the floor and point to all the fine new hospitals and schools built by the last Labour government, I say fine but was it right to blindly maintain an 11.6% fiscal deficit after the biggest economic crash of 60 years and who pays for this going forward? The answer is my grandchildren and yours, through years of austerity ahead.

Returning briefly to the council's budget that maintains the level of council tax and our essential front-line services at a time of deep cuts to the grants available to our chronically benefits dependent community, not one member of the Labour opposition had any suggestions as to what they would do, other than focus on the lack of money for the Walpole Bay lift; one item out of £1.7 million the council had to find in savings.

In the end , I'd had enough and told them that, I've sat relatively quietly and always politely since 2007 listening to them but what they did in the past under Harold Wilson perhaps, isn't important or even useful. It's today that matters, 2011 and I can't find one person on the opposition Labour front bench who has any ideas or grasp of finances, beyond objecting and mouthing party slogans. Collectively, they are in my opinion, quite unfit to lead donkey rides along Margate beach, let alone be left to influence or direct the fate of this island in the most difficult period of the last sixty years!

Finally, last night, I was shown an unusual new website that hasn't been indexed by the search engines next. It's a Wordpress design with a URL, "clivehartmustgo" and appears to represent a collective effort by web-savvy, local Labour supporters to force him out him in favour of the deselected Mark Nottingham! I can't recall the exact URL but I'm sure it will pop-up soon! Local Labour does appear to be coming apart at the seams but if I'm absolutely honest, I haven't found one Labour councillor who supports Mark Nottingham yet. Quite the opposite in fact, so if they do see him as 'leader in Waiting',they are keeping it very quiet.


Will Scobie said...

Labour did actually have ideas but for some reason the Tories were against them.

Reducing the expenses of Councillors was rejected by the Tory group. I bet they didn't even think about reducing this when they looked at the budget.

Also the idea that no staff member should get a pay rise from the budget while others are losing their jobs would save the council money. It would not be easy to do, but again I bet the Tories didn't even think about this. Is it fair that top officials are gaining thousands in their salary while other people are losing their jobs.

Is this budget fair? no

Was it well thought through? no

You say Labour had no ideas on what to do about the budget, but both of the above points were amendments that the Tory group voted down. You seem to be misrepresenting the meeting last night to try and vilify the Labour group for a lack of ideas.

No party is going to be able to deliver a budget that everyone will be happy with as these are figures and cuts that are unbelievable. All that the Labour group was asking was that two simple principles be followed:

1. because there are cuts everywhere else, we as councillors should also face cuts.

2. nobody should be gaining from somebody else losing their job!

DrM. said...


The council's legal officer explained why we could not do that and you know full well that proper supporting direction from Government is on the way to achieve rather more than the useless soundbyte of last evening.

Labour had no ideas..and the press release this morning demonstrates it. You are an intelligent educated lad and an exception. Do you really believe that a single person on that front row has the skills to direct the future of this island?

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear someone like Will Scobie, who to many is at last a green shoot of sense in the local Labour party, toeing the clapped out party line.

Will, whatever your centralist views on our country's governance, take a long hard look at our local party representatives and ask yourself if they are fit to run Thanet.

Go further and read around on blogs, the concerns of normally Labour supporting folk over Clive Hart's leadership. Don't really expect someone of your age to come straight in and pull a leadership coup but be careful you do not align yourself too closely to that Hart led group. You could become irretrievably tarnished or even thrown to the wolves as too bright like Mark.

Ken Gregory said...

Any name tags to go on the Donkeys in your picture Simon?

Friend of Sandy said...

Mr Gregory leave the naming of the donkeys to the local ratepayers and see what you get,you might well find that Conservative Party members like myself have different ideas to you and Dr Moores

Will Scobie said...

To be fair to 'friend of Sandy', they didn't specify which Sandy they were talking about!

Also they have a good point and it is something that both of us, Simon, should remember. We can judge each others front benches as much as we like, but essentially our analysis means little. The public will decide who they think is best to govern Thanet, such is democracy.

Bluenote said...

Friend of Sandy, if I were to write that as a devout and long standing Labour supporter I think Simon Moores is a first class bloke and Clive Hart is a joker, would you believe me. Of course not so please have your opinion, to which you are entitled, without the pretence factor. You are no more a Conservative than I am a Socialist.

DrM. said...

I think you'll find him elsewhere in other guises, 'Friend of Mark' possibly too"

True about the public Will and the qualities of the Labour cabinet should give them room for optimism. Remind me which one has had any management or business experience in the real world please which might inspire just a little confidence?

Andrew said...

Oh Will, you are such an idealist. It would be wonderful if your vision of democracy were true but unfortunately it isn't.
Come May, 2 out of 3 people entitled to vote will find something that they deem better to do with their time on election day and Ward councillors will be returned having garnered the support of 6% of their electorate. As has been discussed before being a councillor is a pretty full time job and, by and large, only the retired or politically professional have the time to devote to it. Simon and one or two others are the exception to the rule. This in general means that the same old people end up on the council, so someone like you has the potential to inject some fresh blood into proceedings. However, 21st Century politics has to get away from the finger-pointing sectarian nonsense that we have now or it will become more and more inconsequential and its exponents more and more despised. Young people of your generation have the opportunity to say that we need a new politics and you are in a unique position in Thanet to start the ball rolling. No more party lines. No more Whips. No more vested interests except those of the electorate as a whole.
12:33 is right; beware the company you keep.

Anonymous said...

The one on the far end looks very familiar! The one in the middle has very neat hair and one nearest doesn't look too bright.