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Sunday, 7 August 2011

The dawning of a new age

There are two cogent opinion pieces, both in the Telegraph, this morning that usefully summarise where we are. Peter Oborne catalogues the reasons for our dilemma and the failure of an adequate political response whilst Janet Daley reasons that State (or Super State) engineered redistribution of wealth has virtually killed the goose and that the initial inequality of outcome that is a product of true meritocracy is actually the only way to universal betterment. Neither pretend that the changes to come won't be arduous, painful, traumatic and turn the UK and Europe on its head, but both also offer a tantalising glimpse of a post-watershed world, the dawning of a new age. And it's as exciting as hell. 

And a note on the banks. UK banks are still holding, or hiding, some $10 trillion of truly worthless derivatives. The problem remains that not only do the banks not know who is holding what but neither do the markets. To base a recovery on a mutual self-delusion that the banks are solvent is insanity - certainly unsustainable. Confidence won't return to the banking sector until the banks crash, taking their junk with them, and are replaced by unencumbered institutions. An excellent analysis from the 92 year old Anna Schwartz published in the WSJ some time ago is really required reading. Governments are reacting as though this were a replay of the 30s, a liquidity crisis. It isn't. It's a credibility crisis. 

All governments are essentially reactive. Cameron was said recently to be furious (hard to imagine) at an analysis that recently demonstrated that Whitehall spent just 40% of its time on the government's agenda, with 40% spent on Brussels-determined matters and 20% on the mandarins' own agenda. But whereas Whitehall is either insulated from or impervious to the zeitgeist, politics isn't. The almost universal dissatisfaction  with the central State, its institutions and agencies coupled with a growing antipathy for the large corporations is enhanced by a growing yearning to redefine ourselves as a nation and a people, a yearning reflected throughout Europe and that manifests itself as nationalism, anti-immigration and cultural awareness. If parties want votes, they need to reflect the mood. 

And whether Christian or Humanist, our civilisation requires that during the coming turmoil we don't forget the corporal works of mercy; the sick must be cared for, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, prisoners comforted, the dead buried, the thirstful given quench, captives ransomed and the harbourless given safe port. But we're talking soup-kitchens and cast-off clothing depots here rather than a Welfare State that guarantees a new 42" plasma TV and Easyboy recliner for the indolent because the bloody Joseph Rowntree Trust defines these as 'basic human essentials'. 

Policing, too, must change. Those who have enjoyed an easy ride for so long will riot, burn cars on the streets, loot and thieve and we must prevail against them. Last night's events in Tottenham are just an amuse-bouche for the events to come. Men may even need to form themselves into local bands to share the burden of community defence; on a rota day we'll finish work, snatch a bite of supper and don our kevlar vest and helmet and grab our baton for a night on duty. This will change utterly the role of the full-time police. We'll all be 'specials'. 

But beyond all of this is the prospect of a new Britain, a nation reborn. To start with we'll be poorer. We'll be leaner. We'll make do with less. Human relationships rather than the latest consumer fads will prevail. But we'll have reaffirmed our control of our lives and of our national destiny - and this will bring riches to eclipse all the pain, all the endurance and all the loss. A new age.  


Greg Tingey said...

Worse, our present PM, has just given the game away completely:

1975 is 36 years ago
A longer interval than that between 4th August 1914 and the end of the Berlin Airlift .....

Cameron, like all PM's since 1979 is a traitor, and in his case, more than one way - all the others have "merely" cut our defences.

Barnacle Bill said...

I hope it is a New Britain sans the European ties.
However, I think we might have to spill some politician's blood to see it.

Greg Tingey said...

A properly conducted hanging should produce no blood.
All you need is Rope & a Lamp-post.

Anonymous said...

Bring it on, some will die, the joker in the 'pak' is just that.

Delphius1 said...

Raewald, I agree with you on the banks. I've said since the start of this crisis that the financial sector just don't know how much toxic debt is out there, thanks to it being repackaged several times over in various nefarious ways.

Without being able to quantify the scale of the debt, there is uncertainty. Without certainty there can be no stability. Without stability, there can be no growth.

This crisis will be decades long because it will take that long for the debt to work its way out of the system.

It would be nice to say there was some mechanism to flush it out of the system, but unfortunately it seems so well hidden that this is an impossibility.

The decades ahead will be rough financially. Spare a thought for our children and grandchildren who will never know the prosperity we took for granted and instead will have to live through the poverty created by our generation's greedy, conniving elite.

Thank you Gordoom Brown said...

Delphius, I fear this will not be an orderly transition and it will not take decades. I think it will be violent and short, by the end of the year I expect many of the familiar bank names to have disappeared, I should not be surprised to see denominations of bank notes with very many zeroes. The "underground" economy will flourish and government taxes will whither to zero.

Politicians will be powerless.

Anon 2 said...

Before reading this, I'd been thinking along similar lines, Raedwald. In considering the need for a new Christian reformation, however, I'd missed the polarity you see as "Christian or Humanist." Perhaps that's because, in our 16th-century Reformation (and before) many Christians were humanist (cf Erasmus, or even More).

Which is to say that Christianity can be compatible with the gentler aspects of humanism---just not with atheism and its propensity for making gods of men. Now I'm wondering if it isn't precisely that latter dynamic which has led us to this pass...?? Maybe we should re-adopt Judaeo-Christian synthesis, rather than indo-european-thesis and atheist-antithesis!

Anonymous said...

"atheism and its propensity for making gods of men."

Isn't it Christianity (and to a lesser extent Buddhism) that made Gods out of men?

I don't see any sign that atheists would want to do that. There is always the temptation to look for a Great Leader, some knight on a white horse who will lead the Nation out of its troubles. Such dictators are dangerous, and we are actually better off with mediocre politicians such as Cameron. They are more easily reigned in by the voters.


Delphius1 said...

The Elite may chose to enslave another generation or two before the masses wake up and regain control.

I fear the timeframe won't be in months, but years before it happens.

Its been three years since the collapse of the banks and the public still don't have a clue as to what is happening.

Wishful thinking won't make revolution happen while the media continue to ignore the truth.

outsider said...

You are right that this is the dawning of a new age. But these commentators seem to have missed the key event. This was China's caustic criticism of the US and its advice/demand that the US get its economic house in order. The world's biggest creditor has asserted itself and I fancy that will come to be seen as one of the symbolic turning points of history.

There is a great deal of daft hysteria around and Mr Oborne and Janet Daley, no doubt like others, have taken the opportunity to flog their own favourite hobby-horses. No light is shed.

It is nonsense to suggest that Germany, France, the Netherlands or Scandinavian countries (all of which have "advanced" social security systems)are in an appalling economic mess. But they might be if they bail out the rest of the eurozone. Angela Merkel is surely right to let the markets sort out the Italian and Spanish bond markets. Let them establish equilibrium prices. If Spain and Italy have to pay 6 1/2 per cent (a modest rate after local inflation) that will provide them with the incentives to cut deficits and follow the German model of restructuring. If interest yields rise to an irrational 10 per cent, that will be the time for aggressive counter-speculation. Meanwhile, let these governments borrow as short as they can.

Our Anglo-Saxon countries have the biggest problems, born of delusions of grandeur. The UK's is the most intractable but the least immediate. If any politicians ever get round to realising this, they will find that we have already lost or thrown away most of the tools for digging ourselves out of the hole, except that we still at least have sterling.

Greg Tingey said...

"outsider" has valid points.
Germany, in particular is well-placed to weather the storm, particularly since their Constitutional Court is almost certainly going to block propping up" Club Med".

As for "Anon 2"
What we need is not "christian reformation" but the death of religion, all religion.
It doesn't matter whether it is christian, muslim, judaism, or communism, they are all dangerous irrational lying cruel blackmails, perpetrated on a gullible and fearful population, for the purposes of CONTROL by an un-elected so-called "elite"