Shock therapy for Britain?

26 Sep

Has the shock doctrine, set out in chilling detail in Naomi Klein’s classic of that name, well and truly caught up with the UK? Road tested in Chile by the CIA installed regime of that delightful chap, Augusto Pinochet – and, inter alia, making South Africa’s triumph over apartheid a largely pyrrhic victory while sending life expectancy into freefall as an overnight oligarchy got stinking, premier-league-soccer-team-buying rich in Russia under Boris Yeltsin – are its sacred precepts of disaster capitalism what now guide the demented Truss Government?

A government, recall, led by a woman who lied about her education and is the embodiment of Groucho Marx’s quip …

I got principles. And if you don’t like ’em; well, I got others …

… and who as foreign secretary, a job for which you’d think a sliver of geographical knowledge might come in handy, had reassured the world that Britain was “supplying and offering extra support to our Baltic allies across the Black Sea”.

A government which also houses such bastions of moderation as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir John “free markets” Redwood. You can’t but wonder if the Rees-Mogg, a Brexit fundamentalist who in his day job as an investment advisor told clients to get their lucre out of Blighty, 1 is right this minute assuring overseas speculators that now, with sterling a gnat’s whisker from dollar parity, is the time for hostile take-over of UK firms going for a song.

I could go on, really I could. Couldn’t we all?

Meanwhile and back to my point about Naomi’s shock doctrine coming to Britain, here’s a view from the far side of the pond. Writing today in the Guardian – What is Kwasi Kwarteng really up to? One answer: this is a reckless gamble to shrink the state – Adam Tooze, professor in economic history at Columbia University, opens with this …

Markets have delivered a devastating judgment on Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-cutting mini-budget. The pound has collapsed to historic lows. And investors have sold UK government debt, driving the price of bonds down and the effective interest upwards at a rate not seen since the currency crises of the 1950s. The combination of the two is particularly worrying because it signals what some fear could become a comprehensive loss of confidence in the pound and UK assets.

You might ask how it could be otherwise. How did the government expect the markets to react when it followed a giant energy crisis-fighting package, roughly costed at £150bn, with a further £45bn in tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich? It also delivered this news at a time when inflation is running faster than at any point since the 1970s and flouted the need for vetting by the Office for Budget Responsibility. What did it expect?

… offers this halfway through …

If [the markets] had found the Kwarteng vision of economic policy plausible, rather than selling off sterling in response to the mini-budget, they would have bought into sterling on the expectation of profiting from higher interest rates. Instead, investors simply want out of what looks to most analysts like a doomed experiment. To hold sterling assets they are now demanding what some are calling a “moron risk premium”. To hold debts issued by such an incompetent government requires a reward.

… and concludes with this:

Did the Truss government unleash this avalanche on purpose? That is hardly what the “moron premium” suggests. But we should certainly expect them to turn the crisis that they have created against the public sector in pursuit of their misbegotten vision of a small-state revolution.

I like that last remark especially. The one about turning the crisis they created to their own advantage. Ruling classes are rather good at that, aren’t they?

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  1. “… the Rees-Mogg, a Brexit fundamentalist who in his day job as an investment advisor told clients to get their lucre out of Blighty …”  Relying on memory, I can’t track down the evidence for my claim but this is close enough for me.

3 Replies to “Shock therapy for Britain?

  1. Problem is, the Trilateral Commission Starmer alternative, which has been prepared in the wings over the past several years, is no better.

    Leaving aside the pantomime of a Conference which is so controlled that an opening rendition of God save the King receives no hostile reaction we have a Loyal Opposition which is selectively banning a Jewish woman elected to the NEC from Conference along with feminists and women’s groups at a time when it looks like Eddie Izzard is to be shoehorned into Sheffield Central, possibly (?) on an All Women Shortlist?

    At present I have seen no info as to whether last night’s fringe meeting of the LWD was once again surrounded by screaming and screeching entitled hordes of exceptionalist black pampers and similar men’s supremacy movement thugs.

    Either way, with the exception of the beyond help handmaidens, the organisation which still pretends to be a Labour Party is set to to lose the vast majority of women as well as those sections of the “left” who still inhabit the reality based community.

    Seems the only alternative is to hunker down and hope the Russians and the Chinese sort out our dysfunctional unfit for purpose elites and their hangers on.

    • Good to have you back Dave. Been somewhere nice?

      The Corbyn antisemitism smears? I see ‘our’ media have given the Al-Jazeera revelations a massive swerve.

      Eddie Izzard in Sheffield. I’ve followed that from corner of one eyeball. Is this Labour ‘moderate’ likely to be selected and elected? If s/he does a Jeffrey Archer or Jonathan Aitken or Michael Elphick, will s/he go to Holloway?

      • Crete, as it happens. Which means I got to miss the imposed and compulsory all day national lamentation competition.

        However, I seem to have come down with a case of hives during the week and am now covered from neck to foot in itchy red blotches. Not helped by a scar/bruise on the bridge of the nose as a result of a sloppy moment of tiredness after a long days travel (where everything was late all the way along the route) in which I failed to coordinate feet and hands after loading the luggage in the car by failing to move the legs as the arms brought down the hatchback door.

        At which point I experienced an acute desire to lay down on my back on the car park ground of the hotel for a short period. A hangover without having to spend any money – A Yorkshireman’s dream!

        Sheffield Central is likely to be a done deal – knowing the way these things work. Whilst the Greens have made inroads in some Council Ward seats in that patch in recent years the focus is likely to bring the black pamper brigade of both Party’s behind EI regardless of normal Party allegiance.

        Which leaves ‘Posy Parker’ and her recently advertised challenge. Which I’m picking up from various places is, for a number of valid reasons, somewhat problematic.

        I would expect EI to take the seat as well as the selection on the basis of the info I have to hand so far.

        As for what happens in the event of a Jeffery Archer et al situation it seems reasonable to anticipate that the fact that certain categories of people sit at the very top of the artificially created hierarchical pyramid of oppression means they are and will be forever untouchable. Consequently, my guess would be nothing would happen other than the standard ‘nothing to see here.’

        Anyway, the rate things are going right now with the current pantomime I’d put money on EI being PM by the end of next year. We’ve had every other traditional character a panto Dame/Principle Boy should complete the set.

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