Posts Tagged ‘James Ruddick’

George and Dave’s old curiosity shop

21/08/2012, 07:00:25 AM

by James Ruddick

Alistair’s Darlings imploring to George Osborne, delivered this past weekend, will not fall on deaf ears for the obvious reason.   It will do so instead because it makes a fundamental mistake in assuming that George Osborne is remotely interested in its subject matter of economic growth and prosperity.  He isn’t.  Osborne is the first chancellor in history who places social transformation before economic performance.  He is a kamikaze chancellor.  He knows his policies will ultimately wreck his career.  Yet he believes his self-immolation serves a higher calling.

Make no mistake, this recession now belongs to Osborne.  It is no longer the fault of the banks, of the Eurozone or the Royal wedding, the bad weather, the extra bank holiday, the last government, the global financial crisis or any of the other fake alibis conjured up by the government.  This recession is his and his alone.  It was manufactured in the treasury by his own hands.  It was made, one might even say sculptured, for a noble Tory purpose – to render the public sector unaffordable so that it can be closed down for good.

In that sense, it must not be subject to any amelioration of the kind urged by Alistair Darling until it has done its work.  It must just burn through the system.  When it has finished, in Margaret Thatcher’s words, “there will be no such thing as society.”  That is its purpose.

Conservatives have never made a secret of their longing to abolish the welfare state and the NHS and to outsource their services to Wall Street and the City.   It is the stuff of Tory wet dreams: creating a world that genuflects to Herbert Spencer, a world in which the impeccable sanatoriums of the privately insured sit next to the charity hospitals coping with everyone else, a world where big society volunteers dispense the only care the disabled can get; where those who suffer misfortune or dispossession are punished, made to wear orange suits and pick up litter, where only poor children are educated inside the state sector, in dilapidated halls miles from the chrome and smoked glass of the “free schools” fast-tracking middle class children to golden lives.

Until George’s recession, this always proved to be a doggedly elusive world.  It was the hinterland that Margaret Thatcher and her cronies spent their days marching towards – her voice crashed through the octaves whenever she thought it was in sight.   But Thatcher never got there.  She made the mistake of generating too much cash through looting the public utilities – gas, electricity, water, telecoms – to ever plausibly close the public services on financial grounds.

She couldn’t abolish hospitals en masse when the treasury was awash with so much stolen money it could barely launder it.  For decades the Tory party found itself caught between its two most fundamental instincts – its idolatry of greed and its hatred of the human instinct for community.  And greed always won.

But then came Rupert Murdoch’s new generation of lieutenants – Cameron, Osborne, Duncan-Smith.  If anything, they were even more enthusiastic about the destruction of public services than Margaret Thatcher.  She at least had lived through the war.  They had lived through fights over the pâte levée feuilletée in stately homes.  And they were never going to repeat her mistakes.

If the public services were to be dismantled it could not be done during a boom.   Full blooded recovery was an enemy of opportunity.  A slump, by contrast, provided an irresistible decoy.  Public services become too expensive. Wall Street comes to tea.  Barely settled into the treasury, George Osborne set to with the kind of financial terrorism that had every leading economist scratching their heads.

It was not an easy achievement, reversing Labour’s recovery.  George had to work long and hard to undo the strong, steady growth he inherited. Obama and Brown had both employed what was universally recognised as the only strategy for ending a recession and repaying debt: adrenalise the economy with investment, then withdraw support as it improved and begin gradual deficit reduction using the rising tax receipts.


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Vive la France, the truth is about to catch-up with Cameron

09/05/2012, 07:00:17 AM

by James Ruddick

The truth is out there, and not even a smooth and accomplished liar like David Cameron can hide it.

The truth is that you pay off more debt through growth  than through austerity.  It’s a plain fact.  History confirms it again and again.  Right now, in the US, where Obama snubbed austerity, the economy has not only come out of recession, but is booming, and the creditors, getting bigger and bigger monthly cheques, are swooning with surprise and delight.

Of course you never hear this in the UK media, which is lazy and self-interested and in thrall to the austerity lie of the hard right.  You never hear that growth means more tax receipts and less deficits.  No reference is ever made to the period after the Second World War when the whole of Europe was broke and in ruins, and yet boomed back within five years on Keynesian growth.  Hush hush, that.

But now the lie is about to be exposed because the French people, sometimes a more sophisticated electorate than our own, have junked austerity and voted for growth.  Unemployment in France will now fall, tax receipts will rise, consumer demand increase, debt repayments accelerate.  It is what always happens.  This is a disaster for Cameron and the Tory lie machine.  Voters in Britain will see the extent to which their leader has duped them.  They will realise that had we kept Labour’s economic recovery of 2009 going we would now have repaid more national debt.

As the truth emerges, we will at least have front row seats.  It’s a small consolation but it’s not to be sneered at.  We can watch the excruciating pay-off from this particular commedia dell’arte – David Cameron climbing the spiral staircase with the mob trailing behind him.  The coalition is already teetering and his backbenchers, knowing the voters are going to sack them at the first opportunity, want his head.  He has no answer.  He finds himself in waters that are unchartered for him: no one now believes a word he says.  There will be an election before long and he will lose.  And who can feel sorry for him? He has been discovered secretly poisoning the patient he was supposed to be caring for.


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James Ruddick bids farewell to Nick Clegg

06/08/2010, 08:05:05 AM

Let me be the first to wish Nick Clegg well in his new life outside British politics. Is this premature? Not at all.  Clegg will begin this new life – probably back in the corridors of Brussels – much sooner than he or anyone else realises.

Clegg’s political demise has already started. He may have secured an AV referendum for his party during negotiations with the Tories, but he secured nothing for the electorate except pain. On the only issue of importance facing the country – how and when to retrench – Clegg sold out. And for that alone, he is doomed.  He finds himself deputy prime minister in a government which has smashed the recovery with a single 40 minute speech.

And the stalled recovery – confirmed by the latest Markit and YouGov data – is only one feature in the pincer movement that is sealing Clegg’s fate. As our economic problems set in aspic, the electorate will start to feel the first wave of the cuts – the cuts that Clegg was hired to ameliorate; the cuts which he has unblinkingly sponsored. There will soon be vast numbers of casualties staring shell-shocked and limbless into the lens of the Sky News camera, all of them looking for Clegg’s phone number. Some aspect of the hacking and sawing will be felt by every family in Britain, especially the seven million who voted Lib Dem. (more…)

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The week Uncut

10/07/2010, 06:21:52 PM

Another week in the race is over. As the contest rolled into July, five people said the same things they said last week, to some slightly different people, and one man got ready to say lots of things about two people, which a great many more people will read.

It was the week that Burnham didn’t quit, Balls didn’t smear and Michael Gove broke the hearts of millions of children, enraged thousands of teachers, disappointed hundreds of parents, and made one man very angry indeed. 

In case you missed them, here are half a dozen of Uncut’s better-read pieces of the last week:

“It was like looking at bambi. So I shot him.” Watson on the moment he lost it with Gove

Ed Miliband’s taste in music causes an argument in the Uncut office*

Bounder doesn’t think Nick Clegg’s Your Freedom is big or clever

James Ruddick thinks the Tories are storing up glory by trashing our past

Nick Palmer argues Ken Clarke isn’t wrong, he just doesn’t mean it

John Woodcock on Ed Miliband and why he is wrong about flexible labour markets

*By office we mean Starbucks

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James Ruddick says the Tories are storing up glory by trashing our past

08/07/2010, 09:51:41 AM

The next election is already being lost.  And the one after.  And indeed the one after that.  John Kennedy once said: “We can’t know where we’re going until we know where we’ve been.”  Well I’m old enough to have been here before: it was the summer of 1979 and Margaret Thatcher was busy rewriting the last Labour government as the Worst Moment in History.

She succeeded – big time – and her rewrite kept Labour out for a generation.  It didn’t matter that the disasters which had led to the fall of the Callaghan government – the biggest since World War II – were not Labour’s fault (there had been an international oil crisis, then a US gold crisis, then another oil crisis, then European stagflation). (more…)

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