Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cast Out Of Heaven

Over on Compass the far left , in the person of David Baines are ,as usual , telling us we ought be Swedish , Danish or at any rate Scandinavian. ......

World Values Survey conducted by the University of Michigan ....Happiness relies on freedom from constraint and access to choice. Denmark comes out top in the survey in a grouping with the rest of Scandinavia. Social Democratic societies of Scandinavia enjoy ...‘increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self-expression and quality of life' populations are not only simply surviving but living freer lives as active-participants in their countries (Inglehart 2006)..

I have been offering some helpful advice about importing alien species into an old country

In Kieron O'Hara’s excellent “After Blair” . the author teases out the sceptical roots of what might be termed c-onservatsim , often in creative tension with Libertarianism in the Conservative Party . One of the threads picked from the weave is the principle of limited knowledge . .The Conservative may follow an old winding path. The socialist or latterly New Labour managerialist cannot bear this insult to his Promethean ambition and immediately sets about the construction of a new shiny road .On each occasion such highways sink without trace in the forgotten swamp the Conservative sagely nods and pulls on his pipe. Muttering contentedly .. “Will they never learn” . This is why he is so deeply satisfied when the splendidly logical plans ( like tax credits) fall into comic chaos when they meet the real world .

The failure of galloping intervention under Brown has convinced many of the enduring wisdom of the sceptic. From public sector professionals to over regulated business to politicised police the cry is , “Just for gods sake , leave it alone for a second will you..”. So despite its antiquity such instincts have a currency today. Conceive then of the disdain with which silly essays by would be Guardian columnists picking aspects of country as if they could be poured undiluted into ours are regarded. They are ‘conceits’ both in the metaphysical and modern usage .Bourgeois entertainments with amore than wiff of the parochial.

The aforementioned tax credits show the good and bad of New Labour . It was conceived to vault what Keith Joseph called ‘The poverty trap’ , now the “underclass”. This is very much a live issue as 90% marginal disincentives and life expectancies of 54 in Glasgow East ,after ten years of redistribution ,attest. The Labour Party were well aware that means tested benefits would have distorting effects but instead of reducing tax at low-levels they increased “Targeted” hand outs at ever higher levels In principle , if you accept the Marxist derived preference for state intervention , this was a good idea . In practice however it has been calamitous

The overpayment fiasco (comprehensively predicted by the newly despised civil service ) ,sprung from the ignorance New Labour appeared to have about the American shrub from which their cutting was taken . There, deep individualist roots and the practice of personal tax returns had developed an acceptance and competence at handling personal finance at low levels of income. Here the crazed and hubristic notion that those involved would learn to fill in the sixty pages requited promptly and correctly inevitably lead to misunderstanding . ( This is not the only problem but the only one that concerns me here) The left’s charming infatuation with Scandinavia (now we have overtaken Germany as a tax and spend country) is founded on a fundamental error about the limits of knowledge. Its very form is an admission of defeat.

Polls are showing that Glasgow East may well fall to the SNP despite Harriet Harperon`s belated appeasement of Catholics over the embryology bill . If it does then Brown may well have to go. After Brown the challenge for the left is to start talking about what the state should ‘not’ do here .Each Compass essay advising this or that twiddle of the knobs tell me that a period in opposition if not a reformed Party political geography will be required .Be brave oh miserable lefties .The first instinct of we Tories having been cast from heaven was to cling to comforting fundamentalism. It will , I assure you , sink without trace carrying the Labour Party with it .


Old BE said...

My brother's other half is Danish and he is dreading the thought of bringing up their kids in Denmark. Effectively they are nurtured by the state and there is little involvement and responsibility from parents. It's no wonder NL love the idea so much.

Newmania said...

Is that right BE, I know little of it . Whenever i have lookd at some suppsed role model it turns outobe an illusion, Sweden for example

Old BE said...

I didn't until I heard my bro worrying about it. It seems like such a "nice" country at face value.

I agree, there seem to be few easy fixes, but then I can't help thinking we should at least try other ways of doing things.....

asquith said...

You are correct in nailing the tax credits system, which as bloggers such as Clairwil who are at the sharp end can tell you is a disaster. I can claim such expertise through my voluntary work at Citizens' Advice (bet you can imagine me doing something like that... can't you...)

It would have been a far better idea to raise the tax threshold, as that would have saved on admin costs.

The present system gives people back their own money, charging a full-time worker on the minimum wage some £40 and giving him back £40.

It also discriminates against the uner 25s (who get nothing), the childless (who always get a raw deal, because Labour have targets for "child poverty" rather than realising that it's adults who are poor & wondering how to end such a situation)... & those who don't claim, because they have never heard of it or fear overpayment.

Yes, raise the tax threshold, get the admin staff off the government's books as they do nothing useful & into the productive economy instead of make-work. Even the dole costs less than paying someone to basically punch low-paid private sector workers in the face.

It should be much easier to come off benefits & into work, & that can be achieved by reducing the role of the state.

It is my firmly held conviction that there is nothing inevitable about Glasgow East's deprivation, or Stoke's deprivation, or anywhere else's, & it can be turned around.

But the time has come to move away from socialism. Labour have always believed in using the state to control the economy, the difference now is that they are in love with large corporations, effectively turning them into branches of the government conspiring to maximise profits & regulate small enterprises out of existence whilst preventing their workers from bettering themselves.

Troughing, mypoic twats the lot of them. & the authoritarianism stems from their urge to enlarge the state at all turns. But the Tories are not immune to this either, as they have often tried to use the state to control society. It is to be hoped that Cameron will do less of this & be an improvement on Brown, but will he?

You will doubtless wish to welcome me, as I have not commented here before now, & perhaps you could even knob along to my new blog.

asquith said...

You may notice, & be interested to observe, that I have become steadily less socialist as I have realised that the ends I support are not achieved by the state, & various systems such as tax credits & what have you have been pushed to the limit & have made things worse. I am a latter-day convert, though I'm some way off joining you on the Tory benches ;)

Newmania said...

Ooo an Asquith I am honoured. I am only an occasional blogger now( I have young children). I will be curious to see what you have to say , you are certainly an unusual Liberal

The Liberal Party is developing from what was Labour lite if the truth be told especially the younger elements. What amazes me , glancing to the supposed left ,reading some New Labour things is just how right wing New Labour are Terrifyingly hawkish in foreign affairs whereas Conservatism advocates care and well. Conservatism. Brutal about slicing an dicing what 'is' beneath the scythe of the "Market" just as they were about 'the state'. Conservatives enjoy fulminating about the nation and tradition but never actually want to risk hurting anyone avoidably . It’s a far humbler frame of mind and I can see it would not be a young person’s thing

You comments on tax credits are all good and I agree a great opportunity to really change things for the better has been squandered

asquith said...

I have got to whisper that I am not really affliliated to the Liberal Democrats now, because you lot have all convinced me that it isn't compatible with liberalism to be part of a pro-EU party. There are some extremely good liberals there, but they seem to suddenly go mad on that issue, so I've had to part company with them.

But I am not, & probably never will be, a Conservative, & I am not a libertarian because they're just so obsessively ideological, so I'm homeless now. I would have voted for Paddick in the London election, but I can't stomach a pro-EU government.

I feel relieved that I can go round slagging off everyone rather than being tied to a party :)

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