I suppose aphorisms have dominated politics since the Peloponnesian War, but actual politics demands more than slogans, no matter what people like Edward Snowden have to say about it. Economic globalization is a real thing that is occurring, something that every candidate in the U.S. presidential election is putting their heads in the sand about, too. But yeah, let’s raise those tariff boundaries. They tried that after WWI, too. screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-10-27-34-am

The actual plan to grow the British economy, I’ve read, is to drop corporate taxes by half to keep banks in the country.

~ by Servetus on October 23, 2016.

27 Responses to “Whatever”

  1. I can’t believe he fell for May’s slogans, and I can’t even see a convincing connection between what he writes and her speech in that clip. It’s such ugly rhetoric when it’s clear that ‘the people’ (as in all of them, not just the leavers) are only very partially represented in what’s happening at the moment. And does she (or he) seriously believe that you can turn back the clock and suddenly go back to the (supposedly) ‘golden days’ when the UK was at the height of industrialisation? Times have changed, there’s lots of cheaper competition, and the UK will lose a lot of what they’re enjoying as EU members, be it free access to EU markets or the generous financial support of their farmers, scientists, artists etc. by the EU. The banks are already looking for alternatives to London, a lot of companies have stopped all investment in the UK. I’m well aware that a lot of British people are looking at this through rose-coloured glasses, but I would have thought he’d be more realistic and critical of politicians’ rhetoric. What a turnaround.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. This post reflects nothing but lack of information and lack of reflection on available information. I would never say “actors shouldn’t talk about politics,” but for anyone who believes that, this kind of statement is a good example of why. I think the third news report on NPR news this morning was about banks abandoning the UK before Christmas or shortly after — much more significant than a report about a mfg “Renaissance” that is impossible under current circumstances.

      I could go on and on about the historical reasons why manufacturing is in desuetude in the UK and why it won’t come back, but neither he nor Theresa May are listening to me.


    • I couldn’t agree more. I was in turns confused, surprised and disappointed by his post. I seriously thought he’d forgotten the sarcasm emoticon until I didn’t anymore and then I just wished he had not shared this post. Sigh.


      • He could have said something about the disaster in Calais and been relevant and also not on the wrong side of history. Then again, maybe he was afraid of a pile-on a la Gary Lineker.


        • Yes GL and Lily Allen were both subject to considerable online abuse after speaking out about Calais.

          Who knows what news item does or doesn’t make him comment on Twitter. Neither his political views not his tweeting behaviour are clear to me.

          Things were so much easier pre-Twitter when I admired how seriously he takes his craft (read: swooned when he appeared on my telly!) and didn’t have to worry that I might not agree with RL-Richard!


          • I am not even so much worried that I would agree or disagree with him (unless he moved outside the general political spectrum and expressed some insane view) as much as I am troubled about knee-jerk comments like this. I mean, of course I agree that it would be good for people to have solid jobs that keep them in the middle class, but mfg in the UK is at the moment a non-starter (especially since they are about to cut themselves off from easy access to one of their major export markets). It’s not a sort of “think before you speak” issue. I live with someone who spouts political slogans and easy solutions. Politics is really important to me and this kind of talk about it is discouraging.


  2. What on earth is he on about again. There is barely any manufacturing left in the UK thanks to all governments since Thatcher. The unions are also frightfully powerless and will be even less so after Brexit. Who and with what money is that regeneration supposed to happen. Investment is low and the uncertainty of Brexit doesn’t help at all. And were would the manufacturers sell? Nobody I spoke with in the last couple of months as a positive outlook on the UK economy. The pound is so low that its painful (especially as an expat). On leaving the EU the UK will even need to reapply for WTO membership etc., even NATO I think. Will he come back and start paying taxes here again to ensure that HMRC has sufficient revenue to play with? Not to mention the whole rhetoric coming from the Tories. It is disgusting IMO. To even publicly utter the idea (at the Tory’s party conference non the less) of forcing companies to provide lists of foreign staff is beyond the pale. Even India gave them and their lofty ideas a smack down last week by reminding the UK government that the British Empire is long gone, and whatever treaty there may be it will have to be beneficial for India too. Apologies. Getting worked up again. Better go and get my tea and biscuits 😉


    • Or maybe the May government plan is to deflate the British economy so severely that the UK becomes an attractive site for relocation of manufacturing. You can put maquiladoras right on the Calais border. (sarcasm)

      This post is kind of a new low for me. (Surely he hasn’t missed the vicissitudes of the “Made in America” campaign?) But it’s so full of mistaken assumptions that it’s not worth unpacking unless, as you say, one wants to get worked up. I’m going to try to split our rhubarb plants today.


      • Oh yeah, Calais is another hot topic. Can’t wait to see May’s face when Holland tells her that the previous agreement is history and border control has to move to the UK.

        I don’t want to get you worked up, but what is the current vibe regarding the election in the US? I’m still somewhat worries that we’ll face a similar disaster as with the Brexit referendum, although the press (or maybe because of the press) seems to say that recent polls favour Clinton. Yet when I speak to some US friends here in London, they don’t seem keen on either candidate and are still not sure what to do.

        Have fun with the rhubarb 😉


        • I think the key difference from Brexit is that this presidential race has never polled as a tossup or within the margin of error except for a few days after the RNC. She’s always polled ahead of him and/or well ahead of him. Nate Silver is giving her an 85 percent chance of winning right now. With exception of the far Right press, everyone is more focused on Donald’s manners and extreme statements than they are on the wikileaks revelations. I’m not excluding the possibility that something really horrible could come out of that, but we haven’t seen it so far.

          As far as what the vibe is — very negative. I personally really like Clinton and I think that as long as the Senate flips Democratic again (which Silver gives it a 3/4 chance of doing) she will be a very effective president, if not the most original thinker. She cares about the domestic issues I care about. The biggest risk I see is that we will be dragged into war in Syria. (I won’t get into how self-contradictory the party positions on this are).

          But I think it’s correct to say that most Americans dislike both candidates.


    • 😦 wordpress seriously needs an edit button… Sorry about the grammatically messy reply above.


  3. Irony (I hope)🤔


  4. The thing with manufacturing is that to do it cheaply, western countries rely on automation, which does not help the unemployed. Trump says that manufacturing is dead in the US, but in fact US manufacturing output is at an all time high even though it is requiring fewer workers. I am not sufficiently familiar with the UK economy or impact of Brexit, but in the US workers are either going to need some specialized skills or work in the relatively low-paying service sector. The politicians selling a return to manufacturing or coal mining or the like cannot possibly deliver — it is hard to imagine they believe their own rhetoric.


    • Agree re: automation. And i don’t believe the discussions about coal that I hear, either. I think it’s something politicians think they have to say — they’ll just pretend that that sector is not expensive and dangerous and gradually out-competed by other energy markets.

      Around here we have a labor shortage in both agricultural (dairy) and service. Almost every restaurant I drive past has a sign up looking for employees. Dad and I had a long talk about this on our car trip last weekend — one simply can’t afford to work for what the restaurants are paying unless one has other sources of income (i.e., teenagers and retirees or people who are providing second incomes to their families), and not everyone can milk cows. It frustrates me no end that we hear all this stuff about how markets work (and take away well paying jobs) but the big corporations refuse to acknowledge a basic rule of supply and demand, i.e., if you have a labor shortage, the first way to address it is to build supply by increasing wages. (Admittedly this is probably being affected quite concretely by US monetary policy and the failure to raise interest rates. Yellen seems interested to see if she can actually succeed in generating wage inflation.)


  5. Oh well shrug Good luck with that!


    • Seriously.

      Actually some of the manufacturing that left the US in the 80s and 90s came back during this last recession (furniture in North Carolina, apparently). But that was not a sign of economic health — that it became cheaper to produce there than in China!


  6. To extend a massive benefit of the doubt to him, his region of the country voted to leave. It looks like his county of Blaby voted to leave as well. Plus they do manufacturing there but not heavy industry – more like food products.

    Whatever measures they do to keep banks in London is not going to affect how these manufacturers deal with Brexit. Their main problem is importing in materials because of falling pound. But their strength will be exporting – their Made in Britain products – because of the low pound. To be honest I looked at the Leicester Mercury and I don’t see Richard’s views as too different than what economically motivated leavers (i.e. Ones not motivated by immigration) are now saying. They want investment in manufacturing and infrastructure.

    I do agree with you that the strength of British economy is not in manufacturing but manufacturing is important outside London, and lowering corporate taxes is not going to keep British manufacturing alive if they can’t afford the raw materials.

    Mainly I see it (i.e. as emplified in
    Richard’s tweet) as rats aboard a sinking ship trying to put on a brave face.

    But the alternative is to renounce Brexit, and it looks like they will go ahead and invoke article 50 to say they carried out the will of the people, and then likely renounce it once negotiations begin.

    But Richard does have terrible timing in retweeting May at a time when she’s coming under increased criticism from all sides including her own cabinet.


    • I don’t believe I said that I thought investment in banking would save manufacturing; I said it was the actual plan to grow the economy (or, I should have said, at least save what is there now). Brexit will, ironically, accelerate the process that was already underway of moving the UK economy definitively away from manufacturing, because the cheap pound is not going to help them sell abroad if they suddenly have tariff barriers to all of their major markets. They still can’t compete with Asia in terms of price of exported goods (not if they hold their wage level). Their best bet would be high end goods, but of course that’s always dependent on whether wage levels in their export markets hold so that people can afford to buy them.

      If they are going to increase their depending on manufacturing, they need to deal with the automation problem (someone refers to this above), because increased manufacturing output these days actually means fewer workers. They also need to deal with the fact that British productivity is horrible (I think worse than the US) and actually declining, and no one has succeeded in explaining why.


    • I would be so pleased if they renounced! For me, a German citizen living and working in England, Brexit means nothing but uncertainty and worry. Gahhhhh. 😪


  7. Nonsense, sorry to say that. Both all her stuff and sadly in this case his too. I would hope it is the distance and lack of detailed information which made him say that. Apologies for not reading everyone else in detail and going into more debate, but i have taken to working with my back to the TV screens with the news on at work because i just can’t stand it and i don’t want to live in a constant state of rage and disappointment. I’m yet to hear any sense in what the government is currently doing or any sensible plans for the future. And not only the government, anyone else for that matter. There is no going back to manufacturing on a mass scale (in terms of jobs) and the UK has stopped being competitive in manufacturing a long time ago (on a scale that would make a big difference economically, not talking about isolated, high end success stories) and this is a service driven economy. The only advantage is that this is a slightly more flexible economy than many others of the size (mainly because of more flexible labour market), but this is only a small ray of hope for the long term and maybe mid term future. In the short term there are just no good economic news to be had, however people try to get drunk on cold water as my gran used to say. Anyway, i better stop here as i’ll end up needing anti-depressants if i get into this every day on the long run 😦 I already feel like i’m living in a constant nightmare for the last few months 😦


    • As long as the answer is government policies in the direction of “them that’s got shall get” we’ll all be in this trouble. The news tell me night after night that if the wealthy get wealthier they will invest in creating opportunities for ordinary people and it’s just not true. I see no evidence that it’s true.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. For example i very much doubt any of these people realise what the impact of 10-20% increase in food prices, particularily fruit and veg would mean for a lot of people who will have to choose between bread and milk and fresh veg/fruit 😦 Because they have never had to make a choice like that in their life. Their mind just won’t go there. And there are a million things like that. It’s a discussion we’ll be having increasingly over the next few years and constantly. And with a lot of people becoming even worse off the voting by the next election which isn’t all that far off can become much more extreme… I wish they would stop using bombastic slogans and giving people false hope 😦


      • 😔 yes! They live in “ghettos” and they have no Real conection with reallity.


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