Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Simon Jenkins: Why Brexit economic forecasts are specious

I have a good deal of time for the IFS and yes, I know how much EU funding they get. I'm not accusing them of corrupt practice or of distorting evidence. The fact is, one can find economic evidence that supports just about whatever hypothesis one can dream of. Sun-spots and the price of oranges? Done. Tie-width and hysteresis-driven efficiencies in the financial markets? Done. All IFS have done is take the Remainian assumptions from loads of other studies and apply them to a hypothetical scenario that probably only considers about 4% of the correlative factors it should do. Still, don't take my word for it - Simon Jenkins has it nailed in the Standard.
The Treasury has, for the duration of the referendum campaign, switched from being a respected economic institution to being a lobbyist for Project Fear. Its notorious apocalypse algorithm looked like a schoolboy spoof, with its subscripts and squiggles “proving” Brexit would cost every household £4,300. (Didn’t the Treasury once prove that EU regulation cost households virtually the same?) 

The Treasury thesis appears to be that the shock of Brexit would make Londoners poorer, interest rates higher and deter immigrants and rich foreigners from buying or renting houses in the capital. Prices would therefore fall. That is certainly plausible. Whether this would be a “shock” scenario for most Londoners is surely moot.

We are now entering a world in which economists simply seek predictions to support prejudices. The Treasury assumes that Brexit would lead to a fall in the pound. But surely that would make houses cheaper for foreigners to buy and push at least some prices back up? Why does Osborne not warn of a Brexit “soaring house price shock”?
In particular, he dismisses Osborne's claim that London house prices would fall by 20%
These imponderables are clearly too great for any sensible person — but not apparently today’s highly politicised Treasury. The wisest remark perhaps comes from Johnny Morris of the estate agent Countrywide, who says simply: “Brexit would be an unprecedented turn of events, with a wide range of possible outcomes.” That is economist-speak for “no one has a clue”. 
So, everyone from blokes in the saloon bar to social commentators have worked out that these economic forecasts are Drek. Let's admit we simply don't know what Brexit would bring - but we can cope with it. In any case, the argument for Brexit is not economic but moral; it is cowardly, unpatriotic and immoral to allow British sovereignty to be stolen by a cohort of profoundly anti-democratic and unelected EU officials. This is about Freedom, not geld.

We should have hanged Hirohito in 1945

We should have hanged Hirohito in 1945, and shedloads more Jap war criminals, too, and strung-up the Shinto priests who brainwashed the Japanese people. The cold war, of course, got in the way of justice, and we let Japan off when they promised to cut-down on bayoneting babies and hosting head-chopping competitions using Chinese prisoners. The Chinese have never forgotten the atrocities, the appalling cruelties, the inhuman violence and the mindless primitive savagery of the barbarian native Japs and neither should we - I recommend both the BBC series 'Horror in the East' parts of which are available on YouTube,and the book of the same name.

You won't know anything about the Rape of Nanking if you're Japanese. The Japs have heavily censored both school textbooks and official histories to whitewash their war-guilt. To those of us in Europe used to not only memorials to the victims of Nazism around us but to an active and vigorous educational programme to ensure such things cannot re-occur such official cover-ups are shameful and dangerous. Japan's weasel-worded non-apologies could have been written by Elton John's libel lawyers. 

And now as that mendacious fool Cameron leaves for Japan for his last G7 meeting before having to quit UK politics in failure and disgrace, Jap PM and Shinto-addict Shinzo Abe wants to drag the UK into the Jap war-crime whitewash by bringing G7 leaders along to a nationalistic Shinto war-shrine. Cameron of course is simply too ignorant of history to realise the significance. His advisers are not. And if I see the dough-faced moron grinning inanely on TV reports at the shrine, I think I will vomit.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Does Cameron take Euro-expats for fools?

The latest output from the Lie Factory is a stark warning that residence and property rights of UK nationals in Europe may be at risk. Does he take us for fools?

For a start, there are many, many more EU nationals resident in the UK than UK nationals resident in the EU. Like the million Poles whose boost to their own nation's GDP is substantial. Does Cameron really imagine that the Home Office will be telling all the Polish Sklep owners, the French IT businesses in London, the German and Italian caterers and restaurateurs that they must sell up and go? Even Cameron isn't that mad.

The principle that applies, and that will apply in the event of Brexit, is that those already established will retain whatever rights they have at the time of divorce, and that legal changes will only apply to future residents. 

Sorry, Dave, you're a nasty lying little spiv with no future and a shit political reputation. You will go down along with Gordon Brown as one of the UK's least effectual PMs. Now piss-off and get out of my road - I'm voting Leave, and so I'm sure will many expats who can see you for the lying hound you are. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

A month is a long time in politics

On 25th April, after the first round of the Austrian presidential election, I wrote;
I think the second round next month may be less dramatic, and the entire non-right wing vote will unite behind the green candidate, Van der Bellen, to give Austria a new President - a largely symbolic figurehead here where most power is devolved to the Chancellor and Länder.
I thought at the time it would pan out at 45% Hofer - 55% Van der Bellen - and would never have imagined that Hofer was within a hair's breadth of the Presidency. And the Chancellor to whom much power is devolved was then Werner Faymann, who, I wrote, had just scored a 72% approval rating for closing the Balkans migrant route. 

Well, even though I got Van der Bellen right, I didn't foresee Faymann's surprise resignation after the first round. His about-turn on migrants was too little, too late. A big tree felled. Just goes to show that a month is a long time in politics - and there's everything still to play for in the Euro referendum. 

And Hofer has everything to be cheerful about. The Austrian presidency shares many of the characteristics of the American vice-presidency in terms of its value vis-a-vis a pitcher of warm spit. The real prizes are the likely seats in the Federal parliament and the Länder governments to come - and my chum who sits as an MP for a Viennese constituency for the OeVP is actually safer than most of his colleagues. 

And still the BBC knows crap-all. I see their website has just compared Hofer's FPOe to Hungary's skinhead Jobbik party - when in fact the FPOe are a little to the left of Victor Orban's governing Fidesz. Maybe they should send a journalist to Europe to find out what's going on.  

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Why Cameron can lie so blatantly

The lies are coming thick and fast from the Number 10 / Whitehall Lie Factory - and becoming more and more outrageous. The Remainian campaign is descending to something beyond parody - no lie is too absurd, too incredible or too risible for Team Cameron to use. 

And the reason why is simple. If the Remainians win, no one will ever prove they were lying or not; they're throwing everything into winning, blind to the reality that if they lose, and none of the lies are proved true, they will have destroyed not only their own political careers but what ever residual consideration remains for political probity in the UK. In other words, they see no political future for themselves at all if out of the EU.

And that should sear itself into the minds of the electors; Team Cameron is only playing for its own selfish benefit, not for Britain's future.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Labour's war on the Working Class

Labour's war on the working class is as old as the Party; a strong, independent and bloody-minded British working class was never going to become a compliant tool of the ex-public school Fabian socialists. The war had one aim - to destroy working class communities, make the working class utterly dependent on the State and inculcate socialist Internationalism to replace the 'crude' national identities valued by the working class. 

God knows how, but a documentary 'Last Whites of the East End' somehow got past the Stalinist censorship at the BBC to get made (they must have made and edited it in secret, surely?). Once made, and known about, the BBC realised they would create a greater controversy by not showing it - so it's been reluctantly scheduled for 22.45 on Tuesday. With the hope that it will then quickly slip from the national memory.  To be frank, I still don't believe they will show it - I think they will use the Referendum as an excuse to pull it from the schedules.

And what are Labour so scared of about a proud and independent working class? I've written about this before:-
Arthur Seldon, who founded the IEA with Ralph Harris, was born Abraham Margolis in the East End of London to Russian-Jewish refugee parents. They both died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. He was adopted by a cobbler, Pinchas Slaberdain, and his wife Eva. He grew up with the great depression in the East End, and knew the harsh reality of poverty at first hand. He recalls when he was nine or ten his foster father died to leave him and his foster mother provided for by an insurance policy. He says he learned that even the poor, if left alone, were doing things for themselves. He said:

I was appalled by the insensitivity of governments to the efforts of the working classes to help themselves - the belief that they could not do all the necessary things. They were most anxious to ensure that they used all the opportunities of insurance to safeguard their families in times of sickness and loss of work. I began to sense a sort of anti-working class sentiment in all political parties. They wanted the State to do these things. They didn't like people to do things for themselves. They thought that ordinary people weren't capable. They forgot all the history of the working classes.
Ralph Harris, too, came from a working class background. He recalled when his mother died finding four policies in a shoebox - a funeral benefit policy for each of her children. "The working class feared they wouldn't have the money to bury their dead, so you could take out for a penny halfpenny a week an insurance policy to pay five pounds; four children, four policies, sixpence a week altogether and five pounds on it." Harris believed in something that was about human dignity;
Liberty carries with it individual responsibilities. Responsibility for yourself, and hopefully your family and as far as possible your neighbours. But it does throw responsibility onto our own shoulders. Well, that's what living means; it doesn't mean shrugging off responsibility and taking soft options.
In the years before the 1911 National Insurance Act, the working classes were served by a network of friendly societies, savings and loans clubs, mutuals and insurers that provided an alternative to the old Poor Law provision; their growth and popularity reflected a striving for that human dignity that is at the heart of a congruent society and nation.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Euroluvvies sign chain letter shock

A group of Euroluvvies, some of whom may be known outside the UK, have signed a chain letter in support of the EU. Some of them may even know what the EU is. Others, I suspect, think it's something their agent signed them up for, like Equity or RADA, that can help them get work. The full text of the letter is reproduced below

"We, the B-list luvvies of Britain, urge the readers of the Guardian to support the EU. This vital arts funding body has paid for productions that no commercial operator, government department, UK funders or angels would support. 

Without the EU, Smarg Humply would never have been able to mount 'Being', an exhibition of his own turds excreted over a year, at the ICA last month. Tip Issleg would never have been able to produce 'Medea' in Nazi SS costume at the Donmar and Benedict Cumberbatch would never have secured the 'Sofas R Us' pricebuster advert. 

Just being in the EU makes luvvies more imaginative and allows the creative juices to flow more lubriciously, not to mention allowing opportunities for heavily subsidised Eurofilms in Lithuanian, British Council freebies in Venice and broadening the minds of the vast majority of British luvvies who can't imagine a world beyond Soho"

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

German Left debates suspending elections / defying the Constitution

Der Spiegel is one of the few lefty organs for which I have a genuine regard. It has high journalistic principles and is strictly honest in a way that the Guardian, for instance, is not. Der Spiegel prints stories that often conflict with overt leftish interests, on the basis that if the German left loses honesty (as the British left has done) then it is finished. And thus it must have agonised a little about bringing into the light of day a fundamental debate that is being held amongst the German left. The question is whether the threat of German electors voting for AfD is great enough to justify suspending elections or contravening the 'eternal and cast iron' provisions of the post-war German constitution. 

I urge you to read a good piece by Dirk Kurbjuweit. He uses the jargon 'populist' to mean anyone getting more votes than Europe's old dying parties, and is open to the reality that the change in democratic opinion is not confined to Germany; France, Austria, Poland and Hungary are all moving in the same direction. But who decides when the people's democratic choice is undemocratic? Do the parties that occupy the centre-ground rejected by the voters have that right?

He is also frank that the insurgent parties are not members of the cosy and sclerotic political club that has run Europe into the ground over recent years - the new parties cannot be relied upon to join the cross-party institutional democratic corruption that has so befouled European democracy. And that is the real fear of Europe's entrenched establishment - and the stakes are high enough for them to subvert democracy, overturn constitutions and ride roughshod over democracy. 

To Der Spiegel, we must be thankful for the warning and hopeful that the malign powers will allow democracy to prevail - whatever the result.