A little about me and the aim of this blog

I’m in my 40s (don’t want to have to remember to update this on an annual basis!), male, Christian, married with grown-up kids, politically-engaged (member of the Labour and Co-operative Parties) and increasingly socialist as I see the world around me getting less just and more exploitative. I work in international business, travel a lot and have a knack for analysis. Hopefully, a little of that will come through in this blog, where I’ll probably mostly look at the political big issues of the day.

George Orwell said that in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. I hope to provide some revolutionary truth to counteract the double-speak that politicians and ‘leaders’ use to try to fool us, to get us to acquiesce or co-operate in things we would reject if we knew what they really meant. The best antidote for bad or deliberately misleading information is good information – so if you think what you read here is good information, please spread the word.

I support CAP (see capuk.org if you have debt problems!), Compassion, Tear Fund, Foodbank and social action/social justice generally. Oh, and Twitter – which contrary to my expectation gives me a lot of links to useful information and isn’t all just fluff.

In fact, Twitter played a big part in my starting this blog. I’ve always been politically engaged, and tried to pick up information for myself where possible. But the stream of mis-/disinformation the current excuse for a government is constantly pushing out to people is intended to fool the electorate and keep them onside while the government gets on with its destructive, ideologically-driven program of dismantling many of the things that are best about the UK. So I’ve started this blog with the aim of pulling together important information I come across via links on Twitter and from other sources into something that, if not quite soundbite-sized, is at least clear and structured enough for people to digest – and which combats the propaganda out there.

I hope I’m successful in that aim – and then next time you hear a misleading line being peddled by a politician, the right alarm-bells will start ringing and you’ll know that all that they’re saying is not what it seems.

Oh, and please sign these petitions and spread the word about them:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/petition-for-a-motion-of-no-confidence-in-the-uk-coalit.html

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/petition-to-repeal-the-health-social-care-act-nhs-a.html

Thank you for visiting and reading!

96 responses to “A little about me and the aim of this blog

  1. Hey Sir, this is all very much spot on. I’ve been thinking about putting a short-ish book together with a load of ideas on how to solve / ease many of these problems. I’d really appreciate it if you could take a look at some of the ideas etc as you seem to have an excelent grasp of statistics and relevant examples etc, also you seem like a good guy. I’ll test most of my stuff on the blog once it’s ready (although bear in mind I only signed up today!) I could email you some stuff if your up for it? In the meantime cheers for your efforts on here! Thanks. Phil.

  2. I’m sorry – but your comments about ‘ the mess that labour created’ being a myth are completely untrue. Most of the public cannot tell the difference between ‘ the national debt ‘ ‘deficit’ and ‘national debt as a % of GDP ‘ Politicians mix them up together in one big soup so that everybody is confused.The raw statistics are as follows :

    - In 1997 the National Debt stood at £348 Billion. This level of national debt took 300 years to reach this level ( increasing most in that period due to funding two world wars)

    - In 2003 , it was still only £347 billion — but thereafter it took off as Labour’s spending ballooned under the label of ‘ investment’ ( in other words borrowing )

    - By the end of Labour’s term , the National Debt had increased to £600Bn ( plus , it must be said , there was also a sizeable amount of “off balance sheet ” debt that Labour had also accrued ie unfunded public pensions, PFI etc ) but the momentum of their inept economic policy meant that this debt was growing at a rate of around £150 Bn a year. Eventually it is now forecast to reach 1.5 trillion by 2015.

    THIS MEANS THAT A NATIONAL DEBT WHICH TOOK 300 YEARS TO REACH 348 BILLION GBP HAS EFFECTIVELY BEEN QUADRUPLED BY LABOUR BETWEEN 2003 to 2010, AND IN THE FIVE YEARS AFTER THEY LEFT POWER, DUE TO THE MOMENTUM OF THEIR POLICIES IN THOSE 7 YEARS, AND THE COMPOUND INTEREST PAID ON THIS DEBT. THIS DOES NOT EVEN TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE NATIONAL DEBT WHICH THEY LEFT OFF HE BALANCE SHEET – A CASE OF FRAUDULENT ACCOUNTING !

    Wall Street can bet on the credit worthiness of countries through credit default swop instruments. If labour ever get back in , these will start to spike, taking bond interest rates with them, and in a year or two the UK will be in the same position as Greece and Spain. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE !!!!

    • Labour’s spending from 2003 onwards was perfectly reasonable in the economic context of the time. The worldwide financial crash caused debt to balloon almost everywhere.

      The primary reason for the increase in the UK was the bank bailout – which Cameron and co approved and supported, so they’re really in no position to blame Labour or to use the ‘inherited mess’ mantra. But they’re not worried about being hypocrites, so they do anyway.

      By 2010, the economy was recovering again under Labour – and that recovery was killed stone-dead by the ideological foolishness of the Tories and their Libradoodles. I’m no fan of New Labour, and PFI was idiocy. But the Tories’ jibes are nonsense – and we’re nowhere near the positions of Greece and Spain.

    • David,

      I’ll try to ignore the wilful misrepresentation of your piece, and also ignore the CAPS LOCK ON school of political retardation to ask you one easy to understand question: please describe how a country which has its own sovereign currency can be like Greece or Spain? It’s a shame that your economic illiteracy is so appalling – but your IQ-lite rants are quite funny for those of us who know something about economics, and economic recent history.

      • Simon,

        I will try to ignore your condescending sense of superiority, and ask you what your qualifications are in economics ? by the way, do you dispute the figures for the national debt – in fact do you even understand the difference between ‘national debt’ and ‘ deficit’ ?

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  4. Skywalker – why exactly as the third most indebted nation in the world are we ‘ nowhere near the positions of Greece and Spain ? ‘ Interest rates for on government bonds Greece in 2009 were about 2% – slightly more than they are now for the UK,. By 2011 they were 14%.Translated to our current annual interests payments of around 50 billion GBP a year, such an increase for us would mean interest payments of around 400 billion GBP per year. This could happen in just one or two years, as with Greece. I will answer your questions from your other other email in more depth shortly – but in the meantime I suggest that you study how much welfare payments were in 1997 vs 2010 and then multiply this difference by 13. Then add interest and compound interest – you will need a formula for the latter, but you and your friend Simon Carter know all about economics !!

    • Britain was not in any sense ‘bust’ in 2010, nor in any danger of being unable to service its debts. It also had a growing economy until the Tories and LDs got their hands on it.

      Not only that, but Britain has its own currency. As a last resort, it could devalue to resolve the situation, or issue money, which would have the same effect.

      ‘Worse than Greece’ etc is just a load of misleading bollocks for propaganda purposes.

  5. By the way – interest and compound interest are the keys to understanding why the national debt which labour left in 2010 will result in a national debt of 1.4 trillion in two year’s time. I will leave you and Simon Carter to work out the necessary formulas to see why this is so – after all you are both professors in economics supposedly.

    • You appear to be a complete idiot. Please describe how cutting and retarding a state’s ability to grow economically reduces debt or deficit. I doubt that you can. And I very much doubt that you can describe how a state with its own sovereign country can go bankrupt, but do have fun trying, “professor”…

  6. Fiirstly – just about devaluation – the currency has already heavily devalued since 2008. The argument that we cannot go bust ‘because we are Britain ‘ is rubbish. We have had low interest rates on government bonds for 30 years, and that is the ONLY reason that we can currently keep our heads above water. As the state massively spends more than it receives in taxes, the shortfall is paid for via government IOUs ie bonds. As we pay interest on those bonds, how do you think we raise the money to even pay that interest ? The answer is that we issue more bonds to other creditors. It’s called a Ponzi scheme. Labour massively increased the working of this Ponzi scheme.

    Going to the banking crisis, which you blame labour’s overspending on. The fact is that both the Tories and labour wanted light touch regulation. I believe that the crisis would therefore have happened regardless of who was in power. Darling actually handled the situation quite well ( he was the only decent labour politician ) and the amount paid for nationalising various banks was about 125 billion. As those same shares are now worth a lot more than when they were purchased, the taxpayer is likely to make a profit. This is therefore not the source of the overspending.

    In reality this is where the overspending came from :
    - Spending on the NHS went from about 40 billion in 1997 to 92 billion in 2009. I have worked out that relative to 40 billion in 1997,labour spent 209 billion in total extra over the 12 years. This extra spending has to be paid for via bonds, which attract about 2 % interest and compound interest. Here’s the site to check these figures :
    http://www.civitas.org.uk/nhs/download/NHSfinances.pdf

    - Spending on social security went up from 140 billion a year in 1997 to 190 billion a year in 2010. I have calculated that relative to 140 billion a year in 1997, labour spent about an extra 190 billion in total over those 12 years. The extra spending started really from about 2002 onwards. By 2010 they were spending 50 billion a year more on social security than in 1997.

    - By 2010 the public sector was increased by 850,000 workers earning an average of £28,000 a year.This adds about 25 billion a year on to the national debt. Over the course of 12 years I would guess that it added ( as it gradually increased ) a minimum of 150 billion GBP on to the national debt . It also means that the unfunded public sector pension liability increases – this is now at about one trillion GBP with the country having no means of paying for it !

    Therefore extra spending on social security ( paying for Polish children in Poland, benefit claimants living in houses in Kensington etc ) comes to 209 billion over 12 years, social security to 190 billion, and the extra public sector workforce to around 150 billion. A grand total of 550 billion over 12 years of extra spending. Compare this with a total national debt of 350 billion in 1997 ! This increases our annual interest bill from about 15 billion in 1997 to about 45 billion today. The total annual increase in spending ( NHS, national security, extra public sector workers and extra interest ) relative to 1997 is an extra 147 billion pounds year, most of which is unfunded and has to be paid for by government bond financing.

    Also – and this is a crucial point – the coalition cannot suddenly restore social security spending and spending on public sector workers overnight back to 1997 levels. Even mild cuts are met with howls of outrage. Hence all future governments are saddled with labour’s extra spending, and to try and reduce it will result in that party being voted out of power. Hence 5 years after it has left office, labour’s overspending will add around three quarters of a trillion pounds to the national debt !

    Quite simply this country has been enjoying a standard of living which it has not been earnt – in other words was not covered by tax receipts. Government bonds are the state equivalent of an individual using his credit card to enjoy a standard of living which he he does not deserve to have based on his earnings.

    If interest rates go to a more normal 5% instead of less than 2% which we enjoy today, labour’s 150 billion a year of extra spending will pretty well bankrupt the country . Imagine what would happen if they reached 14 % as in Greece – we would have interest payments of about 400 billion a year – nearly a third of our total economy !

    I’m afraid the politics of the student union does not work in the real world. Credit default swaps are effectively futures bets on a nation’s credit worthiness – if Wall St starts to go long on these bets for the UK ( as in Greece, Spain etc ) our interest rates could go through the roof overnight !

    Sorry to have to inject some reality into your blog Skywalker !

    • Your figures don’t add up, as I’ve shown in my other response. Labour had committed to increased spending on the NHS etc. The vast majority of social security spending is on pensions and working benefits to offset low wages. We could and should save a fortune by making employers pay a living wage so that the state doesn’t have to top up people’s incomes. But topping them up is better than leaving people in poverty, which this government is apparently quite happy to do.

      Labour were voted into office for 13 years based, among other things, on promises to increase spending in areas like the NHS, so they had a democratic mandate for doing so and it was the will of the people. That’s neither reckless nor irresponsible.

      Your comments about Polish people and benefit claimants living in Kensington (oh, the horror of it) reveals a lot about where you’re coming from, David. You’ve either absorbed, or else freely embraced, the Tory spin and propaganda instead of looking at the real problems of inequality and injustice.

      As for the 3/4 trillion pounds, it’s just nonsense. As per my other response, the pre-crisis debt under Labour – even after the managed increase in public spending – was still lower than under the preceding Tory government as a % of GDP, and even with the spending increase had only increased from its lowest point of around 29% to around 35% over a period of 5 years. Hardly a runaway increase.

      If you haven’t got anything new to bring to the discussion, please stop, as it’s time-consuming to keep answering the same points over and over.

  7. ‘The total annual increase in spending ( NHS, national security, extra public sector workers and extra interest ) relative to 1997 is an extra 147 billion pounds year, ‘ I meant ‘ social security of course !

  8. So maybe you can analyse my figures above, and explain why these are incorrect ? Do you admit that labour massively increased spending on the NHS, social security and public sector wages or not ? I haven’t even touched on the PFI ( which is relatively minor ) If you can explain why my figures above are wrong then your ‘myth of an inherited mess’ might have some basis of fact. If you can’t explain the above figures, then you have to put aside your ideological brainwashing, and admit you are plain wrong ! I have already explained why blaming the banking crisis is a false argument to take one example…

    • I’ve been babysitting my nephew, so no opportunity to get into a more detailed discourse. Your argument doesn’t stand up. From my post ‘The Myth of the Inherited Mess’, which I believe you’ve read:

      “This handy graph shows the changes in UK national debt since 1999 (2 years after Labour came to power). It shows something very interesting. In the years from 1999-2002, the UK’s national debt SHRANK to the lowest point it has been since well before Labour took over, right through to the present day. In fact, although not shown on this graph, the debt when Labour took power – the ‘inherited mess’ from the previous Tory government! – was higher than at any time during Labour’s tenure until the 2008 global crash.

      “From 2002, the graph shows a gradual, managed increase, over a period of 6 years, from about 29% to about 35%. This is the period when Labour – as they had promised to do – started to increase investment in great, beloved British institutions like the NHS, as well as in other public services. This gradual increase was no problem – it was controlled, deliberate, affordable. And it was still lower than it had been under the preceding Tory government.

      Of course, in 2008, something drastic happened. There was a global financial crisis that hit virtually every country in the world – hard. National debt increased – but, as the IMF report linked above confirms, this increase was NOT due to excessive public spending! National income fell, and this inevitably pushed up the amount of borrowing. But here’s another thing – without being in the same kind of sudden meltdown, the misguided austerity policies of the coalition government have kept the debt growth-line steep! That’s because those policies are shrinking the national income far further and faster than spending could or should ever be cut. The way out of the current problems is to stimulate growth – and that’s not compatible with austerity budget-slashing.”

      It wasn’t reckless, nor uncontrolled, nor excessive. And at its pre-crisis peak it was STILL lower than it was under the Tory government that preceded it.

      You just keep parrotting the same figures and argument back at me. But the facts don’t say what you want them to say.

  9. To show a balanced argument, you need to show the growth of the national debt – not just debt expressed as a % of GDP. This table is the one you should look at.Notice how the national debt takes off like a rocket after 2001 : http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_debt

    For the first 4 years labour did actually shrink the national debt -in fact for the first term Brown fiscally prudent. The massive overspending started after 2001 when labour was relected, as the graph I have linked to clearly shows. At a time when GDP growth was healthy ( though mainly driven by consumer consumption and financial services ) the labour government decided to run up large deficits – after all Brown had famously ‘abolished boom and bust…’ The national debt in 2007 ( prior to the recession hitting ) was already at about 600 billion, having been at 350 billion when the Tories left power. Therefore the overspending was already in full swing prior to the credit crunch hitting us in late 2007/ early 2008. The national debt took 300 years to reach 350 billion in 1997, and just 10 years to reach 600 billion in 2007 – nearly a 75% increase in just one decade ! This really puts the full picture over of labour’s total fiscal incompetence and irresponsibility.

    The reason why the national debt is so important is that it determines our national interest payments to creditors on state bonds. A meaningless figure of debt ratio to GDP does not reflect this. To a large extent the creditworthiness of a country comes down to whether it can service its interest payments – just the same as an individual with credit cards. The big danger to the UK now is that that bond interest rates will start to shoot up, instantly doubling, trebling – or worse – our current 50 billion pound a year interest payments. The end result might be us having to be bailed out again ( as happened under labour in the 70s ) by the IMF. If labour get back into power, there is a serious danger that the money markets will start hiking rates on UK gilts.

    The wealth creating part of the economy is the private sector, and this can be strangled by the growth of state spending. Quite simply, the state does not spend money in the economy as wisely as an individual does with his or her own money. Creating an expensive state with high taxation, is like taking a blood transfusion from your left arm, putting it in a tray, spilling some of it, and then injecting it in your right arm. Taxing people heavily, and then letting the state spend that money in the economy is the same kind of thing. If you are spending other people’s money, do you really think you would take as much care as if you were spending your own money ? This is why statism ( socialism ) does not work quite simply – just look at France’s economy right now. ( the next country likely to go into crisis )

    • The rate of climb in cash terms is LESS steep up to the crash than it was under Major – and not much more steep than it was under Thatcher. So your assertion that Labour were overspending is just not factual.

      Even on your own graph, it’s only at the crash that the curve climbs more steeply than under the previous Tory government. And since Labour brought the debt/GDP ratio DOWN for the first 5 years of their term while GDP climbed, they were spending within their means all through.

      Increasing spending in a planned way, to meet electoral promises, is not foolish or irresponsible. The promises got them elected, so Labour were acting on the expressed wish of the British people.

      Let’s leave this now, as you’re just repeating yourself.

    • Isn’t it rather the case that we should look at the proportion of the UK’s balance of payments and gross national product that is now made up of financial trade rather than industrial production to account for why the national economy was so affected by the banking crisis? Since the 80s our industrial production has declined significantly, and I don’t think the blame for this can be attributed to overspending, though admittedly I am not an economist.

      • It’s certainly nothing to do with overspending. It was a planned attrition to shift production to cheap centres overseas, reducing employment and therefore allowing downward pressure on wages while increasing corporate profits. The results are clear if you do a search on ‘who benefits from a Tory recovery’ on the blog.

  10. In fact the increase in the national debt from 350 billion in 1997 to 600 billion in 2007 actually took place in just 6 years, given that labour were actually fiscally responsible up to 2001. So it took 300 years to reach 350 billion, and just six years to add another 75% extra to reach 600 billion…completely extraordinary ! Bear in mind that in 2002 Brown also sold off much of our gold at rock bottom prices. Has any human being ever wrought so much carnage on the UK economy ?

    • Look at the first debt/GDP graph here:

      http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-myth-of-the-inherited-mess-52/

      Debt was around 38% of GDP in 1999 (it doesn’t go back to 97) and about 36% in 2007. So over the period you talked about, Labour managed the debt DOWN relative to income up to the crash.

      If debt as a cash figure rose by that amount, then our GDP rose by more. While GDP certainly rose over those 10 years, it wasn’t by 75%, so your figures are flawed.

      Either way, Labour managed the economy well – if you spend more because you’re earning more, that’s not reckless. Labour even brought the debt down below 30% by 2002 – and then ramped up spending to meet promises on the NHS etc for which people had elected them.

      Your arguments don’t stack up – and you keep just repeating exactly the same figures all the time, so please either say something different or don’t say anything. I normally approve every comment on this blog, but I’ll have to make an exception for you if you just keep parrotting the same thing.

  11. By the way, re ‘ social fairness’ you can never achieve social fairness through bankrupting a country. In such a scenario you achieve equality through national poverty and collective shared misery – just ask the Greeks !

    • Since the UK has never been close to being ‘bankrupt’ or ‘destitute’, in spite of constant Tory assertions to the contrary, it’s an irrelevant statement.

      • ‘Since the UK has never been close to being ‘bankrupt’ or ‘destitute’, in spite of constant Tory assertions to the contrary, it’s an irrelevant statement.’ Was it Liam Byrne that said ‘ there is no money left ‘ ? If you had 100k in credit card debts, but were still able to get people to lend to you, so that you can still service the interest on the existing debt, would you say that is insolvency ? Of course it is – but until you formally register as bankrupt, you could still argue that you are solvent. The fact is that the UK sells bonds in order to service its 50 billion a year in interest payments to creditors. If that’s not insolvency, then what is ?

      • Byrne’s comment was idiotic – but it was flippancy, because the Tories had campaigned hard on the nonsense ‘almost bankrupt’ idea. It was foolish to give them the comment to misuse, but it doesn’t make the bankruptcy proposition any more accurate.

  12. You are also parroting – what you mean is that you cannot debate things rationally. This is my last email , as you have proven to me that left wingers cannot use their rational faculties.
    To summarise, you are wrong because :
    1) You only refer to debt as expressed as a % of GDP. This gives a misleading impression, as the GDP ‘ growth ‘ figures under labour were boosted artificially by debt fuelled consumer spending, and the financial services industry. It’s like saying that you are earning more because you have just transferred £50,000 from your credit card to your current account, and can therefore afford to borrow more.
    2) Even though you have a table in front of you to prove it, you cannot
    accept how much the national debt rose between 2001 to 2007,This is sheer denial which borders on stupidity. The graph backs up the figures I mentioned for increases in spending on the NHS, Social security and the extra wages for 850,000 state workers. which is where the main damage happened. Right now we spend over 200 billion a year on welfare which is ruinous.
    3 ) To quote you : ‘ If debt as a cash figure rose by that amount, then our GDP rose by more. While GDP certainly rose over those 10 years, it wasn’t by 75%, so your figures are flawed.’

    This proves that you have not understand what I wrote. I was referring to the percentage rise in the NATIONAL DEBT from 2001 to 2007 versus the national debt in 1997. Ie 600 billion versus 350 billion. I was not referring to GDP, or debt as a percentage of GDP. I have concluded that you do not know the difference between ‘national debt’ and ‘ national debt as a % of GDP ‘ Like most people, you are confused by the difference between ‘ deficit’ ‘national debt’ and ‘debt as a % of GDP ‘ Most people in the UK are economically illiterate.

    Sorry – but If you censor this post then it will simply prove that your flawed reasoning has been exposed as nonsense !

    • I have no need to censor it. I acknowledged your graphs on cash-terms debt – but they don’t say what you want them to say, even without any reference to debt as a % of GDP.

      Readers can assess our arguments for themselves and see who they think makes sense.

      • Why not ? The extra national debt of 250 billion from 2001 to 2007 backs up part of the extra 550 billion in overspending which I have claimed happened under labour vs 1997 levels. If you look at extra spending on the NHS and Social Security, you will find that the greatest increases were in labour’s last two years in office. Add the extra interest accrued, and the extra 25 billion a year on 850,000 more state workers, and you can easily see where the other 300 billion comes from. The graph of the national debt explosion backs my figures up totally.

      • There was no ‘national debt explosion’ until the crash. GDP now is around £1.5 trillion. Let’s assume it was around the same in 2007. Debt as % of GDP increased by 5 percentage points, give or take. 5% of £1.5 trillion = a total increase of only around £75bn over 4 or 5 years.

        Controlled growth, planned and intentional. No ‘explosion’.

        Where are you getting your figure of 25bn for 850k workers, btw?

  13. Part of the 550 billion in extra spending was soaked up by tax receipts, but most of it was paid for by issuing government bonds ie state debt.

    • Debt as a % of GDP rose only by a few %. GDP grew, but not by all that much. So there’s an error somewhere in your figures by the looks of it.

  14. You are assuming that the extra spending which I mentioned was all converted into government bonds. Some of it was absorbed by taxation- after all, under labour the tax burden went from 294 billion per annum in 1997, to 517 billion in 2008. Of course such high taxation has impacted on our competitiveness in the world economy – hence our current feeble growth rates. Despite these huge tax hikes, the national debt grew from 350 billion in 1997 to 750 billion by the time labour were kicked out in 2010. These latter figures are indisputable I am afraid. So some 400 billion of this overspending had to be accounted for by bonds, which has therefore massively increased our annual interest payments – now bigger than the entire defence budget.

    As I mentioned before, GDP growth under labour was smoke and mirrors. Household debt in 1997 was 780 billion. By 2010 it was 1.45 trillion – a virtual doubling over labour’s term. This created a consumption led growth, fuelled by debt and rising house prices, rather than growth based on increases in manufacturing and exports. Banks created huge leveraged balance sheets to fuel the city boom, under the useless supervision of the FSA ( a quango created by labour )

    I admit that my figures are inaccurate however, as they have not included the extra spending on education – up from 45 billion in 1997 to 75 billion per annum in 2009, Nor have they included extra spending on law and order – up from around 20 billion in 1997 to around 35 billion in 2009. Also the spending on transport infrastucture – up from around 9 billion in 1997 to about 21 billion in 2008. People would not mind so much if this extra spending had created actual improvements in these services, but in education to take an example, the UK ranked much lower in the 2006 edition of the OECD’s PISA international ranking of educational performance.than it did in 2000. Productivity within the NHS fell between 2001 and 2005 according to ONS figures,

    Also, I have not included the off the balance sheet national debt which is as follows :
    - PFI : 91 billion.
    - Unfunded state sector pensions : 1.071 trillion.( this liability was increased by labour )
    Nuclear decommissioning : 73 billion.
    Network rail : 20 billion.
    Northern Rock : : 100 billion.

    I have not added together the total figures from NHS, social security, state worker wages, education, law and order and transport infrastructure relative to spending in 1997, to get a grand total of extra spending between 1997 and 2010. I would guess though that it would be getting on towards three quarters of a trillion pounds. As I said before, some of this was absorbed by the massive tax hikes under labour, but the rest of the extra spending makes up the extra 400 billion in the cash national debt compared to 1997. As for the off the balance sheet national debt, that adds about another 1.4 trillion to the grand total. No business would be allowed to keep these figures off the true balance sheet – so why should government ?

    All I can say is that It’s a shame that socialists did not listen to Callaghan in the late 70s when he admitted that tax borrow and spend does not work !

  15. By the way, as the Bank of England holds about 25% of all government bonds, the other effect of so much national debt has been a huge expansion of the money supply, thereby devaluing the currency and raising the possibility of future inflation.

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  17. Pingback: Chris Huhne: The Latest Lying Politician | Think Left·

    • David Goldsbore is probably the first person to inform you that your beloved labour came into power with a national debt of 350 billion, and left power with a national debt of around 800 billion. If you don’t care about this now, and are too ignorant to understand anyway, then you will care when the IMF eventually takes over running the UK economy. This inevitability will be speeded up by the return of the labour cretins to power. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

      • No, he’s far from the first person to parrot that rubbish. You’ve bought into a myth, and you’re ignoring the fact that the debt went up because of the bankers – prior to that it had come down substantially from what Labour inherited from Major’s govt.

      • The debt in 2007/6 was already at 555 Billion – an increase of 200 billion from when labour came into power. This was before the banking crisis, which anyway happened because of labour’s light touch regulatory policy. Who gave a knighthood to Fred Goodwin ?

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  19. Labour banned all members from joining other political parties to get rid of Militant members back in the early 90′s. So how can you be a “member of the Labour and Co-operative Parties”?

    • There are ‘Labour and Co-operative MPs’! Labour and the Co-op are sister parties, and joint membership is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged.

  20. It’s wake up and smell the coffee time – I dare all left wingers to read this article, and finally wake up to reality.: http://info.moneyweek.com/urgent-bulletins/the-end-of-britain
    I would stress again, that labour came into power with a UK national debt of 350 billion GBP, and left it at around 750 billion, plus all the stuff fraudently left off the balance sheet ( PFI, public sector pensions etc ) You can talk about debt as a % of GDP as much as you like, but you have a total lack of grasp of the whole subject. I challenge you to leave this post rather than resorting to communist style censorship !

  21. No – I must give you credit for not censoring. I just can’t understand why reasonably intelligent people cannot understand the reality of the economic mess in the UK. The reality is that labour reduced the national debt from 350 billion to 323 billion by 2001. This is because they got into power by saying that they would adopt the previous government’s spending plans. They then stepped out of the trojan horse in 2002, and proceeded to wreck the finances.By 2004 the national debt was 424 billion. By 2006 it was 510 billion. By 2007 it was 554 billion. This was all before the financial crisis, when light touch regulation was letting the city run rife. Finally they left power with the national debt at 784 billion. None of this includes the off the balance debts. To put all this into proportion – it took 300 years to reach a national debt of 350 billion by 1997. In 1980 the British state spent about 100 billion a year – now it spends about 700 billion. It’s all total madness !

    • We have a lot more people – and a lot more retired people, who represent the vast majority of the welfare bill. Add in inflation, and the difference isn’t that much.

      • Skywalker – I do respect the fact that you respond to posts, and do not censor awkward people like me.
        I need to say however that under labour ( I will not capitalise the name of a trade union pressure group ) the welfare spending went up from 122 billion per year to 200 billion. This is probably the biggest single damage which they inflicted on the national finances. To give an idea, this extra 78 billion per year multiplied by four and a half years would total 351 billion – the total of the entire national debt when labour took power in 1997. This national debt took 300 years to reach this level !! As this extra spending had to be borrowed, you can also factor in interest for this, In 10 years this total extra spending would amount to 780 billion ( half the size of the economy ) plus interest and compound interest. If we had to pay more normal interest rates on government bonds of say, 5 % ( rather than the current extremely low 1.8 % on 10 year gilts ) then over 10 years we could add another 213 or so billion pounds in interest to the national debt, based on the extra 78 billion per year of spending on welfare. This does not take into account compound interest ! By the way, we are borrowing at the kind of rates today that we borrowed at in Victorian times – these kinds of historically low rates will not last for much longer ! In 1982 we were paying rates of 14 % ! That would turn our current interest bill into hundreds of billions, and we would face privatising the NHS and annulling public pensions in order to survive….

      • I’ve lost count of how many times you’ve posted the same claims, David – and they’ve been debunked just as many.

        As for capitalisation, an organisation that represents millions of working class people who need representing, or a group devoted to, and funded by, the interests of a small number of incredibly wealthy backers. Hmmmm, tough choice to see which one deserves its capital letter..

    • Sorry – but I don’t see where the ‘debunking ‘ has come in. In fact there hasn’t been even a rational counter argument to what I have written.
      It’s pretty simple ;
      - Did it take 300 years for the national debt to reach 350 billion ? answer -yes
      - Did labour leave that national debt when they were kicked out after 13 years at around 800 billion ? Answer – yes.
      - Did labour keep even more national debt ( fraudulently) off the balance sheet ? Answer – yes.
      - Did welfare spending go up from 122 billion per annum to 200 billion under labour – Answer-yes.
      So how have you debunked any of this ?? How you can think that labour didn’t wreck the national finances, in the midst of all these facts is beyond me ! Dream on Skwalker.

      • David, if you keep repeating the same old shoddy argument, I’m going to have to mark you as ‘spam’. I’ve already explained, more than once, why your use of raw numbers doesn’t say what you want it to.

    • Skwalker – if you had concern for the fact that half the world’s population lives on less than a Dollar a day, then I could perhaps respect you. Britain still has a very high standard of living compared to many countries in the world ( though this may not last if interest rates rise ) The fact is that the label ‘working class’ is outdated. Most are now middle class- a process which accelerated under the ‘evil ‘ Margaret Thatcher.. Why do you think that so many working class people voted three times to keep MT in power ?

      Even people on benefits in the UK enjoy a far better standard of living than most of the world’s poor. £25,000 maximum benefits cap for a family would seem like a fortune to Chinese living in rural areas, or in the slums of Rio.

      In my opinion the whole leftist argument about standing up for the downtrodden in the UK is no more than a type of intellectual snobbery amongst the Guardian reading, liberal thinking chattering classes. For many it started with further education, when it was considered cool to have marxist and left wing views – a way of gaining acceptance and kudos in the student union. As most people are desperate to be accepted by their peers, this idealism of ‘ fighting for a cause ‘ carries on sometimes into middle age and beyond. People just never grow out of it unfortunately. If you present them with true economic facts, their fanatical idealism and ideological dogmatism prevents them from even considering what is being put in front of them. Hence your inability to explain any of the facts which I have posted on here relating to labour’s total economic incompetence.

      • David, you haven’t the slightest idea what I’ve seen in places like Africa, which is plenty, nor what I’m concerned about in those places, which is also plenty. Your whole ‘we should be grateful for what we’re allowed to have in this country because it’s worse elsewhere’ is the same nonsense that’s behind the government’s ‘make work pay by turning unemployment into destitution. The solution to making work pay is to make work pay – not to reduce benefits. Similarly, the right response to poverty in, say, Sierra Leone is not to sink down to join them in it, but to do what it takes to bring them up to what we have.

        The fact that more extreme poverty exists somewhere does not in any way excuse the ‘robbery writ large’ that Cameron and co are perpetrating on the vast majority of the people whose best interests they pretend – poorly – to have at heart.

        As for your ‘explanation’ of left wing views – you just went from looking like a foolish bombast to looking like an idiot.

  22. Sorry but the site is a harvester.

    The site is run by a US citizen and judging by the registered owners surname, is either Chinese or Korean.

    The test results are the same to bolster young ego’s and get the “results” emailed to themselves by providing an email address.

    This site has absolutely nothing to do with the government in the UK.

    • Socialists clearly don’t have manners ! Your handle is an appropriate one….

    • We saw at the time of MT’s funeral how intolerant, offensive and nasty many elements of the left wing are in this country. Hopefully voters will remember this come election time. I notice Sickofitall that you can’t come up with any valid counter-arguments – just personal abuse. This is always the case when people aren’t capable of rational debate.

      • It’s typical of the right to try to spin people’s perfectly reasoned and justified outrage against the canonisation of Thatcher, not to mention the cost! A time of austerity, except for dead Tories..

  23. Pingback: How to demonise and demoralise jobseekers in one meaningless test | Steve Walker | Latest News ChannelLatest News Channel·

    • I do indeed lol! In my defence, I’d probably had about 4 hours sleep when I wrote this (much like now, in fact!). Thanks, fellow pendant! Duly corrected now..

  24. Skwalker – you are living in the past.Socialism was relevant in the early 20th century, but now it is an anachronism.At one time it had a function to help lift people out of the poorhouses, but the idea of some modern type of working class struggle going on is just ridiculous. The hated MT was voted back into power twice by large swathes of the “working class ” who in fact became very well off middle class people during those 11 years.

    Even Kinnock once mentioned in a speech in the 80s that it’s impossible to mobilise the working class to class war when they are earning so much…It’s interesting to speculate on whether labour – out of pure desperation – subsequently decided that they needed to import a new client electoral base, by opening the borders to mass uncontrolled immigration, so as to replace their lost working class vote within the UK.

    It’s also interesting to see these dedicated socialist leaders earning millions once they leave office. Not content with bankrupting the UK, blair and brown have now gone on to make millions for themselves by suddenly embracing capitalism and the market economy. It’s not what people say that counts – it’s what they do, and in this case actions really do speak louder than words ( or socialist principles )

    This is interesting too :

    ” Neil and Glenys Kinnock received more than £10million in pay, allowances and pension entitlements during their time working at the European Union in Brussels.
    The astonishing figure can be revealed after a Mail on Sunday investigation into the couple’s lavish lifestyle funded from the public purse.”

  25. Funny – your answers are always the same – no attempt to ever respond through proper debate, just chickening out with ‘ find a new tune etc. ‘ I laughed at balls tonight being torn to pieces on by Jeremy Paxman. When asked what a saving of 100m would represent versus the deficit, balls didn’t have the faintest idea. Paxman responded with ‘ try a thousandth. ‘

    JP was also making fun of labour’s sudden affinity with ‘iron fiscal discipline’ given that balls once wrote a speech for brown with just these words in it….what a joke. Socialists just don’t do maths or numbers it would seem, and bask in a weird form of economic illiteracy.

      • UK 10 year government bonds have now just hit 2.3 % having been 1.4 % a few months ago. just what what I was was warning about a few threads back. As the QE taps are turned off by the Fed, watch those gilt interest rates soar. I can see a time in the near future when the UK interest bill will reach 100 billion a year…quite something when you think that the entire national debt in 1997 was just 350 billion. I’m glad that the Daily Mail pointed out in its editorial to the delusional Balls – in reply to his ludicrous assertion that labour didn’t overspend – that the national debt was 350 billion on 1997 and 900 billion when labour were kicked out. Even I didn’t place the national debt at such an astronomical figure at the point that labour existed – I actually thought it was 800 to 850 billion.

      • And almost all of that 2010 figure was because of bank bailouts approved by the Tories and which would have led to far worse if not implemented.

        ‘The Fed’? Are you forgetting which country you’re in, David? You’d probably be very at home there.

        Please stop repeating the same old worn-out figures that have been thoroughly debunked. I have far too many more worthwhile things to address..

      • I think David is lonely. You are very kind and patient (something Tories aren’t used to) and he can’t get enough. :)
        Speaking as a middle class but now living in poverty thanks to this government, I’m glad you stand up for us against the propaganda. The only people benefiting from ‘austerity’ are the super rich. It all feels like a big con. While the banks & big business go on conning us and avoiding taxes and taking more and more out of this country, more people are in fuel and food poverty – rents are sky-high, wages low and I actually can’t believe the way we are treating the sick and disabled in this country. Shameful. The banks caused this situation, the super rich are cashing in on it and now societies most vulnerable seem to be paying for it and it’s designed that way. I don’t think people like David realise how bad it’s getting or what the agenda is to which he contributes to by believing the propaganda. He talks a lot of figures and costs but totally ignores value and human costs. Ignoring value and human costs usually means things will cost more in the future as the fabric of society crumbles and more band aids are needed. It’s an expensive way of running a country. It’s like ignoring a water leak in the home to save a tiny bit of money then having to pay out a fortune to fix rot, mould and flooding down the line. In the corporatocracy we currently live in it’s only going to go one way until democracy and human decency returns.

    • Always interested to see accusations of non-argument during an argument. Also that “we” are governed by good sense whereas
      “you” are driven purely by ideology. Could I humbly suggest, merely as an example, that a properly collaborative (as opposed to marketised) NHS would not only be fairer, more accessible, more effective and more efficient … but also cheaper. In other words you can be for a socialised Health Service for ideological reasons (ie it is right, even if it did cost more) or because it is actually the best of all the options that present themselves for running it. On this particular issue, the “right” have to explain why marketisation has been pursued despite the detriment to equity, efficiency, effectiveness and the overall cost. It must be ideology. Hence the current approaches are legitimate if HMG says “we’re fed up of being responsible for the NHS so we’re privatising it” but not otherwise. This comment is simply to illustrate that the “left” does not have the monopoly on ideologically driven policy. It is also worth reflecting on what principles underlie the ideology in each case.

    • David, Jeremy Paxman (and David Frost before him) is an expert at rattling any politician no matter their political colour. Indeed he will go to heart of the matter which is why people who don’t like him call him a rotweiller.

  26. Pingback: A little about me and the aim of this blog | this 'n that·

  27. The RSS live feed has stopped updating as of a couple days ago. Is this only me or is there a bug ? I use win 7 and firefox, have re-installed the feeds and firefox but no joy. Great blog by the way.

    • Thank you! And thanks for letting me know. I’ll have a look and see if anything stands out as changed, but otherwise I think I’m at the mercy of WordPress!

  28. Democracy is alive and kicking, judging by this blog. What book do you recommend most about the way we have arrived at where we are economically? What book is best for reading and interpreting statistics? I am a layperson but interested.

    • Thank you! In terms of understanding the overall picture economically, I can’t recommend ‘The Shock Doctrine’ by Naomi Klein highly enough.

      For reading and interpreting statistics, I don’t know any specific books! Just careful reading of the numbers, sensible reasoning and a lot of fact-checking! But for understanding the Mid Staffs/NHS stats, read Prof Jarman’s and Roger Taylor’s testimonies to the Francis public inquiry. Heavy going but very instructive if you read carefully.

  29. The old grey cell isn’t working very well. I meant to also say George Orwell is right. Plus 1984 and Animal Farm are excellent reading for today, newspeak and doublespeak are here and we should be beware…

  30. Sorry the first blog is questions for Mr Walker not Mr Goldsbrough.. Interesting though the “debate” is I feel Mr G has verbal diarrhoea.

  31. Hello, I am very impressed and inspired that you successfully campaigned to have a rogue psychologist investigated by the HCPC. I have been trying (for 15 months) to get the HCPC investigate a psychologist who abused me but got no where. Do you have an email address for me to contact you to seek your advice on this?

  32. Hi, just landed here, and lovin’ it already.
    Mr. G. above, poor soul, says Socialism is too passé and no longer relevant in the 21st Century. I have finally realized the ulterior reason for this whole global economic exercise: to make it relevant again. It’s just that the poor dogs need our chins to bite, otherwise they’ll start on each other, and that’ll surely be a no-no.
    Oh, and by the way, if anyone persists in seeing what’s happening as circumscribed to the nation-state (any nation-state) or within geopolitical groups of nation-states, they’re going to be choking on a ton of bricks some time very soon. The same policies that are being pursued in UK are being pursued everywhere. Absolutely *everywhere* in the “developed” world. It has nothing to do with “the state” anymore, and that is the sad truth – because, how exactly do you fight globally fleeting shadows?

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