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It's Time For Brits To Stop Fawning Over US Politics & Set Our House In Order
Luke Turner , November 7th, 2012 09:17

From the reaction to this just-completed American election, you'd think that Britain was the 51st State. Luke Turner argues that it's time for us to stop looking over the Atlantic, and prepare for 2015 in our own back yard

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To we British, America remains an exotic place. In the world of noise and perplexing art in which the Quietus operates, American musical turns will always get an easier time in the press. No matter that many peddle second-rate anodyne infantilism evoking a return to teenage days - the overarching countercultural narrative over the past decade has been America good, Britain bad.

This is an imperialism of excitement from across the Atlantic that extends from anything from music to film to cars to fast food into, far more troublingly, politics. Over the course of this election it has been a source of worrying fascination to me just how much more engaged many of my peers (seen through the prism of social media) seemed to be with the US election.

Of course, all global citizens need to take an interest in what happens on the other side for the Atlantic. Though arguably a nation in decline, America is still top dog, and a Romney presidency would have had implications for us all, just as Obama's second term will. Yet it was hard not to find distasteful the constant stream of British citizens urging their American friends to 'do the right thing' and back Obama, as if one .gif graphic of how skewed to the wealthy or against minorities Republican policies are would actually change anything. Was it not, as Sam Spokony argued in his excellent piece on the elections and Storm Sandy yesterday, merely symptomatic of social media's role in making us feel better about ourselves. I certainly have not noticed in my list of Facebook friends any Guns N'God-loving homophobe lunatics who might need a patronising post of encouragement to do their duty for the rest of the world. It's a longer, different debate, but one of the great dangers for political discourse online is how we are all presented with the illusion of being able to communicate to the world, yet never reach outside a limited, actually very physical, realm.

Yet this morning, after the pips on Radio 4's news bulletin seemed to go on for an age, I certainly felt an enormous sense of relief at the news that Barack Obama had been elected for a second term. Turn on the laptop and peruse Facebook and Twitter and whoop, there we are again, hundreds of Brits pontificating as if they'd been on the campaign trail in Ohio, bringing home the bacon for Barack.

I do not recall such an enormous outpouring of disgust, worry, outrage, anxiety on the morning of Friday, May 7th 2010 when I awoke to find the strong likelihood of a Conservative government. Partly this was perhaps a sense of resignation after the New Labour administration finally wheezed its last. There was certainly the much-expressed sense of 'ah well, it doesn't matter who's in charge, they're all the same anyway', a blatant nonsense proved by the wrecking ball policies and lethal incompetence of the Tory and Liberal Coalition.

Destruction of public healthcare systems, climate change denial, tax breaks for the rich, environmental destruction, warmongering foreign policy, sexist language in the very seat of power, cuts to arts and culture, welfare provision stripped back for those who need it most, endemic corruption among an out-of-touch elite... these are not only the things that America has escaped by voting in Obama over Romney, but what is going on in Britain right now.

And what of this portrayal of Romney and the Republicans as somehow so extreme and alien they become bogeymen, slavering red white and blue blood as they scream a perversion of Christianity, and rob the food from the hands of the poor? Let's all laugh at Romney not knowing where Syria is, while ignoring the dunderheads in our own Parliament. Where is the outrage directed against the current Conservative leadership and potential next leader, Boris Johnson? They are all cut from exactly the same cloth as Romney and Ryan. David Cameron's skill before the last election was in presenting the big lie that he and his party were different from what had gone before - it took just months in power for that illusion to be stripped away.

It's part of our British character to assume that everything is crap and always will be. It's our national sensibility to be in decline, to carp and moan, to think that things will never get better (which is why the joy expressed at Labour's '97 victory was such an aberration). This is why we look to America to provide the excitement, the quick fix, the euphoria, the sense of, well, yes we can. It's just another part of the American Dream, really, like Coca-Cola, the myth of the West, shopping on Fifth Avenue, the glamour of Hollywood, signs for diners by the freeway, sunshine, and another Best Coast download. Indeed, it's also the case that in Barack Obama, hanging out with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen, even doing the odd turn himself at the American songbook, they have a figure who is the final emergence of American concepts of stardom into the stuffy world of politics... whereas our opposition leader is Ed Miliband, a man I respect but whom I fear will struggle to communicate in this climate.

America has been lucky to escape what would surely have been socially divisive Romney Republican administration. Check your optimism before it gets carried away, too - we have to hope that Obama has a more fruitful second term, and actually starts to get to grips with issues like climate change that were so ignored during his first, and indeed during the election campaign until Sandy delivered a pertinent reminder. Rather than now feeling smug that those terrifying blue rinsers in another country have to spend four years licking their wounds, the aftermath of the American election ought to be a wake-up call for the British electorate. Our politicians are not all the same. 2015 gives us the opportunity to undo the butchering of the NHS, the arts, our libraries, and support for the disabled, the sick and those failed by our education system.

A glance at the current Labour front bench team shows that there won't be any fizz in the next British general election - our non-presidential system ensures that, and this is arguably a good thing. As Blair, now Cameron and unfortunately imminently Boris (oh look, he's just put up public transport fares) prove only too well, personality politics are best avoided. It's huge mistake for British voters, as many are this morning, to hanker after a homegrown Obama. But we will be faced with a very important choice in 2015. Just look at the destruction the Conservatives have wrought without a full mandate this time around, and be very afraid of what they might do with one. The excitement will be in the small details, the work that we can all put in to change Britain. Are you registered to vote come 2015? Are you actually going to engage with the politicians and manifestos of the different parties, rather than trot out the line that they're all the same? There can be no change without participation - and that means going beyond the easy clicks and platitudes of your tiny social media bubbles and networks of the like-minded. It's time to let the Americans get on with their business, and focus on what is happening within our own 7,773 miles of coastline. After all, there is no such thing as a boring place.

Emily West
Nov 7, 2012 11:31am

I think you're missing the fairly basic point that the US elections provide great TV viewing, and one of two teams to get behind. It's more that people tap into this basic entertainment format than that they give a fuck about US politics and not UK ones...

"I do not recall such an enormous outpouring of disgust, worry, outrage, anxiety on the morning of Friday, May 7th 2010 when I awoke to find the strong likelihood of a Conservative government.", definitely true in my experience too, but I've lost count of how many times I've logged into facebook to see people celebrating and commiserating the winners and losers of yet another reality TV show that I don't follow.

It's an extension of this, it's just entertainment.

That's not to say at all that I don't think people should be further engaged and encouraged to engage with the UK political process, it's just that I don't think that this is what the British love for the US elections is about.

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Joe K
Nov 7, 2012 11:45am

I don't have time to read this at the moment, but the headline alone points to this article being an oasis of conscience in a desert of British political hypocrisy.

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Charless Ubaghs
Nov 7, 2012 11:48am

Luke, the echo-chamber of social media is not a new thing. People have been at it for far longer than the day Zuckerberg slipped on his fleece and pronounced "Let there be like." Humans generally seek out like minds and that behaviour pattern is evident from every die-hard Guardian or Telegraph reader to the stern sorts who gravitate to The Quietus...

Saying all that, right-on to the call for genuine participation.

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Luke Turner
Nov 7, 2012 11:49am

In reply to Emily West:

Hi Emily, that's an interesting point well made - it does seem that people follow the US election as a sport, complete with the matches (ie debates) and trips to Hooters (ie rallies). A permanent desire to be entertained rather than engaged or confronted is certainly part of this, though I'd argue not all - for the reasons above.

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Huw
Nov 7, 2012 12:02pm

Hi Luke,

Interesting piece and admirable sentiments.

Aside from the debatable reasons for peoples' interest in the US presidential election, there are a couple of things I'd take issue with here.

Firstly, at the last election, the number of registered voters that turned out was 65%, up 4% from 2005 to and 6% from 2001 (the election that recorded an all-time low in post-war elections). In this historical context, the arguement that the British electorate are apathetic doesn't stand up.

Also, while the coalition government has been destructive and toxic, Labour has stated that they will not be reversing any of the cuts, has supportive of the role of Police & Crime Commissioners, and arguably began the transformation of the NHS to a medicare style system that the Health & Social Care Bill inaugurated.

Do these things not suggest problems of a much more fundamental nature?

Either way I agree on the point of participation, but am just intrested as to what sort of participation you think that should be. Don't mean to bludgeon!

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Timmy Poddles
Nov 7, 2012 12:06pm

..i seem to remember pretty much every left winger i know voting liberal democrat thinking they actually stood a chance of a majority and therefore ushering in this government. I bet the writer of this article did too.

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Luke Turner
Nov 7, 2012 12:14pm

In reply to Timmy Poddles:

nope, I voted Labour.

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Jonny Air
Nov 7, 2012 12:40pm

A very important difference between the two main parties in the US and the UK is what you could term 'social policy'. In America there are still huge differences between the two. Pro-life vs pro-choice for instance. Over here there are no such differences anymore (thank god). Instead we have mainly economic ones (i.e where money should be spent/cut). This makes for an all together dryer climate of debate and is less engaging for most people than 'persecute gay' vs 'don't persecute gays'.

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Mof Gimmers
Nov 7, 2012 12:45pm

"I do not recall such an enormous outpouring of disgust, worry, outrage, anxiety on the morning of Friday, May 7th 2010 when I awoke to find the strong likelihood of a Conservative government."

Maybe this says more about the social networking circle that surrounds you because I absolutely recall mass-outrage, worry and nausea that the Tories had got in. I also remember blanket coverage of the election (the first time we had televised debates between the main three parties) and as many people staying up too late on a school-night to watch the votes roll in.

One major difference, from what I can see, between American and UK politics, is that Stateside, the political machine is much better at engaging people to vote. That extends beyond the American borders. Everyone was interested in this one. It isn't just a UK thing.

One thing that really sticks in my craw is that people who aren't normally into politics get swept up by Presidential Fever and, in the fallout, these people are sneered at, rather than encouraged. I'd like to see more people saying 'Like the US vote hoo-haa? You'll LOVE the UK one! Jeremy Vine dressed as a robot cowboy and people mocking MPs in PE halls!' etc.

Basically, I think it is pretty lazy and largely wrong when people say 'Shame we don't care about our own elections' because we do.

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Dr Up
Nov 7, 2012 1:16pm

An excellent piece, Luke, and one which neatly articulated my vague feeling that far too much prominence was being given to this election thousands of miles away far more eloquently than I could have.

Some of my more social media literate chums actually appear to have stayed up all night last night watching this election, as they were busy posting updates on Facebook until around six this morning.

Absolute madness. Despite shifting patterns, it remains a fact that almost half of the UK's exports are bound for Europe, with the rest of the world making up the remaining 55 per cent or so. That being the case, I'd argue we should be more engaged and aware what's happening nearer our own doorstep than on the other side of the planet, irrespective of our ties by language to the USA.

I'm as pleased as the next man that Obama won another term as he generally appears to be less of a hateful, ignorant rich prick than Romney. But it's massively overstating the importance of the office of the President of the United States to claim this is some sort of victory for right-thinking people worldwide, as very little he says or does will have any impact whatsoever on the lives of ordinary people on this side of the Atlantic.

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Nov 7, 2012 1:22pm

"It's part of our British character to assume that everything is crap and always will be. It's our national sensibility to be in decline, to carp and moan, to think that things will never get better." I seem to remember, gee'd on by the media, folk getting ludicrously excited about the Olympics and how it demonstrated that Britain was great (for a time) and that we'd showed the world. Like the presidential elections, it was a gripping show but then people just get back to the treadmill.

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Philip
Nov 7, 2012 1:38pm

"Destruction of public healthcare systems, climate change denial, tax breaks for the rich, environmental destruction, warmongering foreign policy, sexist language in the very seat of power, cuts to arts and culture, welfare provision stripped back for those who need it most, endemic corruption among an out-of-touch elite... these are not only the things that America has escaped by voting in Obama over Romney"

Most of these things are already happening under Obama. He's made it pretty clear that he intends to 'reform' Medicare and social security, which almost all informed people take to mean cuts. The warmongering is so self-evident as to be unworthy of comment. Not climate change denial perhaps but certainly inaction which is essentially the same thing in practice. He extended the Bush-era tax cuts to the rich and his future plans mean they keep almost all of that even when it 'expires'. The proportion of national wealth taken by the wealthy has increased under Obama and it's demonstrably due to his policies, not the recession. He's already cut funding to arts and culture. Meanwhile one of his Supreme Court appointees voted to place further restrictions on abortion, Obama himself intervened to prevent under-17yo girls accessing over-the-counter contraception and added the Hyde Amendment to the healthcare bill, and White House advisor Anita Dunn said Obama's White House was a 'hostile environment' for women. That's not to mention that women are disproportionately affected by the foreclosures which Obama personally allowed to go ahead, despite an offer of a moratorium on them which was favoured by Hillary Clinton.

Obama is no friend of anyone 'progressive'. The best that can be said about him is that he's not Romney.

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Dave
Nov 7, 2012 1:40pm

In reply to Luke Turner:

and you're proud of that for some reason?

LibDem was the only true alternative last time round. The only reason it didn't work out was that fence-sitters crapped out at the last minute and voted Labour.

Labour! more right wing than some Tory govts of the past.

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Sam
Nov 7, 2012 1:40pm

Good writing, but I think you have been hoodwinked by the media. First of all, why is Obama any better than Romney? Obama has been responsible for more deaths across the globe than president Bush. He has resorted to executing people without a fair trial. His healthcare reform was empty, reinforcing the insurance companies dominance. He has begun the attack over control of the Internet. He still supports Israel. The guy is a fucking fraud. Race has pulled the wool over American citizens eyes, the symbolism of a black man in the white house was pretty powerful indeed. If you want to believe that, every black american has now been stripped of their 'innocence'.

As far as looking to our own situation, yes this is important, but it is just as important to acknowledge and try to understand what goes on in the rest of the world. But if you actually believe the Labour party would be doing anything much different than the Conservatives right now you are very much mistaken. If you disagree just look at what is happening across Europe. As for the NHS, it was being eroded way before the Conservatives came to power. And yes, I was and am disgusted by the Conservatives being in power, and will talk politics all day long with anyone who gives me the time of day, but when you see the glazed look come over someones eyes when you do, its probably better to buy another drink. If you want to talk about Britain, lets look outward for a second and discuss Diego Garcia and then you will realize that the Labour Party are perhaps just as atrocious as the Conservatives, and maybe the reason we are obsessed with American politics is because we are owned by America. Whinge over.

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Sam
Nov 7, 2012 1:45pm

In reply to Dave:

Scratch a liberal sniff a conservative.

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Sam
Nov 7, 2012 1:49pm

In reply to Philip:

Good points. Don't you mean Obama is not a mormon? Dumb da dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. Apparently Obama is a Atheist. He is a good liar isn't he?

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Dave
Nov 7, 2012 2:20pm

In reply to Sam:

whereas scratch a Labour voter and you'll get a real socialist...yawn.

get real, you and your Dalston buddies might think socialism's alive and well, but you are completely deluded.

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Sam
Nov 7, 2012 3:42pm

In reply to Dave:

Bollox, I don't vote Labour. If you read what I wrote you would find that I particularly detest them. I don't have any buddies in Dalston either. I agree with you that the previous new Labour government was more right wing than previous Tory Governments. You only have to look at their overturning of the High Court decision that the British citizens of Diego Garcia have a right to return to their homeland that was stolen off of them by Britain and America to realize that that Labour Government didnt even respect the British judiciary. This is basically an act of a totalitarian government. Funny how it wasnt reported much at the time. Kinda hurts to think you live in a democracy when you don't. Labour/Liberal/Conservative Obama/Romney what's the fucking difference eh? They are all dictated to on which policies that actually matter are carried out. Look at the liberals, their own 'policies' are a laughing stock. Ironically right now it is financial institutions directing the Europe and soon to be American wide policy of cuts to the welfare system etc... ad infinitum

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G
Nov 7, 2012 3:56pm

And all the while...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/24/obama-terrorism-kill-list

Pleased Obama has won for sure but there are some more than troubling things going on. Scary things.

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Mark T
Nov 7, 2012 4:11pm

In reply to Charless Ubaghs:

> People have been at it for far longer than the day Zuckerberg slipped on his fleece and pronounced "Let there be 'Like'."

That line could have easily been lost in the shuffle, but I sincerely hope that it does not. Well done.

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Dan John
Nov 7, 2012 4:17pm

Of course promoting mass cynicism is a form of control, psych. 101.

In the UK there is a consensus amongst the parties for public spending cuts, the only valid question is how fast, reducing our politics to economic theory, a bit dry and technical for most. In the real world though the very real welfare cuts don't fall on a sufficiently large and sufficiently vulnerable sub-section of the population to be electorally that important. It's obviously a feature of democracy that as long as a high enough percentage of people are ok you can screw the minority to a degree. Hence in the US the candidates hardly ever talk about the 'poor', it's always the 'middle class', there simply aren't enough poor to be worth pitching to and hence their concerns are sidelined. Sad, but true, and the politicians know that not enough middle-class people care about the poor enough to make it worthwhile.

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Matthew Kaufman
Nov 7, 2012 4:24pm

What's that old Beyond The Fringe joke? "In America they have, much like us, a two-party system. They have the Republicans, who are the equivalent of our Conservative party. And they have the Democrats, who are the equivalent of our Conservative party."

That was, what, 1959? 1960?

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Nov 7, 2012 4:26pm

In reply to G:

scary indeed, obama has spent more on the military budget than any other american president. He has also positioned nukes in the South-China sea, a direct threat to China. Very worrying.

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Nov 7, 2012 4:37pm

In reply to Dan John:

Yep you gotta applaud the conservatives organisational ability to direct people to thinking more about themselves than the need for social welfare. That is what the main objective of the cuts is, because it is certainly not a means to reduce the deficit or curb recession, as any economist will tell you, it has the opposite effect. Do you think the middle class is becoming the new lower class? Seems that way in America, say that over here and you might be lampooned! Not that we know much about poverty compared to some other places in the world...

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Dan John
Nov 7, 2012 4:55pm

In reply to :

I don't really blame the Conservatives or conservative power structures, I blame people, I blame the public probably more. I'm not sure the point of welfare cuts is to enforce this idea more, if we had no debt or yearly debt interest payments we could actually spend more on welfare and yet less on total public spending. Though of course there haven't been any net public spending cuts even after taking off debt interest and the automatic stabilisers. http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2012/10/fiscal-policy

There is no austerity overall, so the idea austerity is to blame for the slow recovery is erroneous. The way you distribute the money (like the article alludes too) may be more important (i.e. the workless poor are more likely to spend rather than save compared to the in-work). Sure you can argue not spending enough is to blame, i.e. we should borrow more, but that's another long argument.

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Nov 7, 2012 6:13pm

In reply to Dan John:

To suggest there is no policy of austerity is ridiculous. It acts just as much on the British mindset as on the national debt. Think about yourself, don't worry about others: the push towards privitisation.

Those are most definitely conflicting statistics, and undermine the notion of austerity. But I believe the majority of the cuts have been aimed at future welfare spending (as well as what I mentioned above), so theoretically there will be no instant reduction in public spending. Our government instantly appeased the international money markets by falling to the idea of cuts, and your final point is what I was alluding to, to help ourselves out of recession. We have struggled under national debt for the entire history of our nation, but this is the first time it has been suggested that cuts and austerity is the way out. Think about the 1945 Labour government and the social welfare they enacted under the biggest amount of debt ever facing a British government...

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Apop
Nov 7, 2012 9:04pm

Someone already mentioned it - just two choices here in the States. And both sides like to paint the battle as good versus evil - who doesn't like a good ol' fashioned battle of good versus evil? Then we wake up the day after the election and realize "oh, there's President Obama, there's House Speaker Boehner, neither bends an inch". Billions spent on the election and we're right where we were yesterday. I like following British politics 'cos it doesn't make me ill like when I follow and participate in our own. Me thinks that is where your fascination with our politics resides as well.

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Phil Jim
Nov 7, 2012 11:18pm

In reply to Apop:

I disagree, two parties heading in the same direction, the course of both of their politics is in a sense predefined. The President of the USA is a patsy, for financial and military institutions, has been since Roosevelt. The whole idea of a vote in a democracy makes you feel as though you are contributing towards social change when it more so appeases your desire for change through your 'participation'. If you voted Democrat, the irony of your participation is that now you are directly linked and involved with the deaths of thousands across the globe.

Obama's greatest victory for America has been to crush the anti war movements, and silence the left. Because a 'black' man is president the dissenters are appeased. Shit, even michael moore was pro obama. That reflects his victory, the guy aint black, he's a tanned white man. Good vs Evil? That is the embodiment of america, a system without set beliefs but enraptured by a highly moral code. After Bush Obama reinforces this morality, he is the beacon of light moralizing the american system. Thus dissent ceases. Why don't you ask how this idea of good vs. evil, these morals fit into the world of Pakistani, Afghanistani, Yemeni civilians taken out by his drones. If you voted Obama, your responsible.

If I was American and lived in a swing state I might be very much tempted to vote Republican to shake the left out of its slumber. As for not having any other choice, what about the Green Party, SWP, Libertarian party etc etc...

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Apop
Nov 7, 2012 11:43pm

In reply to Phil Jim:

I agree with a good deal of what you've written Phil Jim - my comment was aimed at one of the questions posed by the article, why are some Brits so fascinated by the US election? Both parties paint it as a good versus evil battle when in fact neither is the case. Makes for good tv that way tho.

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Fielding Melish
Nov 8, 2012 1:40am

In reply to Philip:

This is filled with an inordinate amount of bullshit, but then it also has the stink of somebody who voted for Jill Stein, or even Roseanne Barr (yes, friends, Roseanne was on the US ballot for president) because 'they're all the same'.
Thanks for voting for Nader in 2000, shitheel.

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Kyle Kane
Nov 8, 2012 1:43am

In reply to Phil Jim:

I bet you cut and pasted this article from 'AdBusters'! Congrats! You're an anarchist! Did you get a Guy Fawkes mask tattoo on you're balls?

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Nov 8, 2012 2:27am

In reply to :

Well, there's lots of issues there. Firstly the GDP to debt ratio needs to be looked at as this is distorted in GDP bubble times. Also the interest rate on the debt as a percentage of GDP needs to be considered (low now and historically low compared to most post WWII times and 1945) and the bond yield curve and expected bond yield curve. Also this is affected by the potential for growth, which seems less than the post-WWII UK, and demographic issues and monetary policy. The gilt market is in a bubble that means a global recovery would actually be a problem in this area due to global macroeconomic problems that simply didn't exist in 1945. (whether the offset from a global recovery would be greater is debatable again) http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/7238833/this-is-going-to-hurt/

I agree most of the welfare cuts haven't fully bitten. Maybe public spending will fall in real terms in the next couple of years, but then the economy will be growing steadily probably so the austerity = no growth narrative will be broken entirely (for the UK's specific case. Places like Greece have different macroeconomic issues that DO mean austerity causes recession).

Martin Wolf of the FT thinks the situation is so bad that we have a choice between stagnation or inflation and that we should chose inflation (of ~<10%),>

The idea that borrowing always equals growth I find hard to believe. If it was we'd just keep borrowing money forever? If we get more growth than we need to compensate for the increased debt why would we ever stop? I believe this was the Brown idea as he had 'eliminated Tory boom and bust' via a new hyper-efficient globalised financialised economy. Sovereign states with their own central banks do get into trouble (like the UK with the IMF in the 70's with various caveats), we need the affordable money from the markets.

This is not to say I agree with the welfare cuts, the DLA stuff I definitely oppose. The focus should be on finding more money from corporations, I'd say if a company has a physical presence in the UK they should be forced to pay corporation tax on their profits, or get banned from operating. Also try and soften the race-to-the-bottom problem.

Anyway, enough for now.

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Nov 8, 2012 2:31am

In reply to :

part of my comment got lost, can the system cope with '(~<10%)'>

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Nov 8, 2012 2:32am

In reply to :

No it can't, how annoying, it removes the rest of the paragraph after it.

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Dave
Nov 8, 2012 11:15am

In reply to Sam:

Apologies Sam, I agree with much of what you said in that last paragraph.
For me, it seems big business leads everything nowadays, fucking shameful.

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Phil Jim
Nov 8, 2012 12:07pm

In reply to Kyle Kane:

Nope, he's tattooed in my cunt, that paragraph is tattooed to my balls. Not sure what ad busters is, i'll check it frank.

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Howard
Nov 8, 2012 4:44pm

It's also part of our British character to value a sense of humour above other virtues. Whereas American people seem to understand that sometimes it's important to be sincere and taking things seriously is often for the good, in Britain if we're presented with anything that asks for seriousness the almost instinctive reaction is to just take the piss. We then applaud ourselves for our ability to laugh at things never questioning the impotence of this response or considering the possibilty that what's on display is not so much an abundence of humour as a chronic lack of maturity. Hence something like feminism can never gain enough of a foothold (" they're all so humourless blahblah etc ") and Boris Johnson as PM is a horribly real possiblity ("but you have to love him - He's soooo funny clicheyawn etc ").

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Patrick
Nov 9, 2012 12:49am

I don't really agree with most of the points, they're all based on assumptions eg that people didn't kick up a fuss when DC was elected - is that true? My newsfeed was full of objections. The idea that people post these things to feel better about themselves is half right at least for me: to stay optimistic I want to know that there are people who feel the same way as me, makes me feel better about the world, and myself - that seeking of consolidation is human nature, the assumption that the poster is talking to the people who hold different views isn't necessarily true. The idea that we should put our own house in order before being interested in what our most powerful ally is doing is odd too, we can do both surely (especially if we're expected to follow them into wars that they decide to wage)

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PrimlyStable
Nov 9, 2012 7:28am

"I do not recall such an enormous outpouring of disgust, worry, outrage, anxiety on the morning of Friday, May 7th 2010"

The weekend after the election, thousands of people marched through London, pleading with the Lib-Dems not to form a coalition with the Tories and demanding a fairer voting system. Since then, the capital's streets have been filled by protest after protest after protest against tuition fees, cuts, and so on. My Twitter and FB timelines are a daily diet of complaints about Boris Johnson, and the LibCon "wrecking ball". National newspapers spent most of the last month laying into the government because the chief whip had been "dunderheaded".

But I guess little facts like that would've undermined your patronising waffle.

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Dan John
Nov 9, 2012 4:20pm

Politics = Economics. And most of lefties actually believe there is overall austerity in net public spending causing the slow growth. This simply isn't true.

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evan
Nov 9, 2012 4:45pm

As an American who has spent a lot of time in Britain, including going to school in London, I find it amazing that 'our' elections generate so much more apparent interest than 'your' elections.

I'd guess that 50% of this is due to the fact the we still argue over basic rights and privileges that most of Europe resolved half a century ago - reproductive rights, for instance... or the right of someone who has a lowly job (like a janitor) to be guaranteed reasonable access to healthcare.

These are still controversial topics in the US, and its nothing but a national disgrace that a Republican that supports healthcare for the children of an illegal immigrant has no chance securing a nomination from his party, even a local election. That sort of stance, you see, is pro-socialism and simply encourages illegals to stay...

It might be interesting to watch overseas, but living through it is nearly unbearable.

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Think About It
Feb 13, 2014 8:00pm

I agree. Just look at it. The United States is by any objective measure the worst country in the industrialised world. Worst health care, worst educational system, total joke of a kangaroo court judicial system, most unrepresentative government that is just a hand puppet of big corporations and billionaires, basically no worker rights, easily the most belligerent nation in the developed world... THIS is the country you want to fawn over and follow like a puppy dog?? America is a garbage dump.

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