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Charles Moore in the Telegraph on why the Left might be right

(24 Posts)
Laugs Sat 23-Jul-11 11:28:25

I have to post and run, sorry, but thought I'd highlight this fascinating article by a traditional Conservative journalist in today's Telegraph

robingood19 Sat 23-Jul-11 11:35:18

Yes, Laugs, there are Tories with original thoughts. (But not many)

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 11:36:54

Very good article, but worrying too for our "debased democracies".
What happens if the people don't regain faith.
Very good comments by the Telegraph's readers.

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 11:42:51

I find it hard to believe he means what he says. Has he only just discovered that there are crooks and rackets going on, powerful people who subverted democracy and the system? He is or was the editor of the Daily Telegraph, surely he knows what goes on. The ordinary person in the pub has been saying for years that there are a lot of crooks near the top, has he only just caught up? Many News of the World readers knew it was a game, but somehow he has only just found out.

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 11:47:14

Fascinating article. Good to see a right wing commentator pointing out the lie of 'free' markets. But some of the posts underneath from extreme right-wingers desperate to retain their world-view are hilarious. There's one who lists Hitler as a left-wing ruler!

TartyDoris Sat 23-Jul-11 12:08:25

I don't understand it at all. Why do people want to give the government more power after the events of recent weeks? We should be putting stringent limits on the powers that government have.

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 12:20:05

Exactly, TartyDoris, and that is a right wing policy as opposed to the big state policies of the left. He claims that the left is right and is correct over the centralized European bank's power, but it is the right that wanted freedom, sovereignty and self-government, it is the left that supports the EU centralisation plans and the EMU. It was Gordon Brown and Obama on the left that bailed out the bankers. It was Sarah Palin on the right who opposed the banking bailout. It was right wing Eurosceptics who were against the EU and EMU and who wanted limits on EU and state power.

He claims the left is right, but at the end says that the left's remedies are useless. So if the right is wrong and the left is useless, what does he want?
He talks of "debased democracies", is he warning of the end of democracy?

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 12:23:16

sorry European single currency rather than EMU

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 13:25:38

Was Obama in power when the financial crisis hit? I thought it was Bush at that stage.

Europe isn't a left v. right issue - not in this country, anyway. Ken Clarke's all in favour of integration, Tony Benn has been opposed right since the original referendum in the 70s.

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 13:38:14

Bush was in when it started, but Obama was in when they did the bank bailout.

Good point about Tony Benn and Clarke etc. But the only real opposition politically that had any power on governments was teh eurosceptic right, whom Major called "bastards". It is also the right wing UKIP. Cmaeron and Clarke etc. are not eurosceptics and Benn etc. on teh left had no real influence over Blair and Brown. There are lots of left wingers like Scargill and Benn who agree with right wing eurosceptics about the EU's democratic deficit, but they didn't have much power to change things.

It is strange that Charles Moore, right wing editor of the Telegraph, says that the left were right over the Europena Central Bank etc. and fails to mention that conservativism of the right (Bill Cash etc.) was against the EU central bank power.

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 13:41:09

oh, UKIP are a bunch of nasty fuckers off on the sidelines. Their leader has boasted openly about screwing the taxpayer with expense claims that make our own dear MPs look like amateurs.

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 13:44:32

Maybe, but they are a political movement against EU power over the UK. Yes, the expenses of EU MEPS are probably much higher than the ones in our parliament.

Laugs Sat 23-Jul-11 21:05:38

I thought I got it up until the final paragraph, when he writes "One must always pray that conservatism will be saved, as has so often been the case in the past, by the stupidity of the Left. The Left’s blind faith in the state makes its remedies worse than useless."

Am I being really stupid? Can anyone explain this to me? It's like he's suddenly turned against his argument without giving any reasoning for the other side (except the presumption that his readers will be right-wing and think the left stupid and useless anyway).

claig Sat 23-Jul-11 21:27:00

He is showing us the conspiracy of the rich against the poor and the conspiracy of the powerful against the weak. He says he never realised it before, and that the left's claims about the powerful rich elite is correct. He tries to tell us that conservatism has failed because like him, it never realised what was happening. He says he prays that conservatism can be saved, but also that the left's remedies are useless.

It is clear that he has not been converted to a left wing world view. I think he is warning us what may be around the corner if conservatism cannot be saved. He implies that in these difficult times democracy may even be a luxury.

'They seemed to take for granted the underlying robustness of their country’s economic and political arrangements. This is a mistake. The greatest capitalist country in history is now dependent on other people’s capital to survive. In such circumstances, Western democracy starts to feel like a threatened luxury.'

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sat 23-Jul-11 21:48:45

"It's like he's suddenly turned against his argument without giving any reasoning for the other side"

...he's a journalist? grin

Less cynically; Cognitive dissonance - the brain process that covers up the difference between what you believe about the world, and what you observe about the world.

"It looks like the Left were right about all thes things. Hmm."
<insert sound of needle skipping on vinyl>
"Lucky the left are always wrong, otherwise I'd have to change my world view!"
....aaaaaand relax.

TartyDoris Mon 25-Jul-11 00:14:47

The left elite and the right elite are one and the same.

niceguy2 Mon 25-Jul-11 10:14:28

I don't think there's any earth shattering revelation here. I remember when I was studying economics at A level and I asked my teacher which economy was best? Capitalism or Communism. The answer unsurprisingly is neither.

Unregulated, unbridled capitalism is no better than the extremes of communism. The problem with communism wasn't the theory, it was in practice human beings are flawed and easily corrupted. To be honest it's the same here. But instead of elite politico's being a law unto themselves, it's the rich.

But this doesn't mean we should chuck away capitalism just because we've hit some problems. We saw during the cold war, a controlled economy go toe to toe with a market economy and the markets won convincingly. Instead we should be looking at ways to improve our current system so the excesses are controlled better.

In my opinion, we have two main problems now.

1) The rise of the multinational company means that they can now hold governments to ransom. They are sometimes bigger than entire nations and just by threatening to shift jobs & revenue to another country, the impact can be so severe that really it's akin to blackmail. Or in News International's case, instead of money it's media coverage (good or bad).

2) Government's have lost sight of the fact that budgets need to be balanced over a lifecycle. So running a deficit now is long as later you realise you need to run a surplus. Running a deficit for 30 years, no matter how well intentioned and small percentage is not. Bleating about economic growth being the saviour is just bullshit and akin to me saying I can overspend because I'll probably get a payrise soon.

The first need politician's to reach global agreements so that multinationals cannot play one country off against another.

The second needs politician's to stop messing with the economy for their own electoral means. Just like they used to mess with interest rates. The government has no money. It can only tax us. So any nice new pet projects they have. They can only fund them by raising taxes. Stop it!

I admit, those ideas are probably as fanciful as world peace. But in my opinion that's what it takes. But on balance, I'd still rather live in the imperfect world of capitalism than the totalitarian regime of communism.

LucaBrasi Mon 25-Jul-11 14:21:43

bush was president at time of bailout, not obama

edam Mon 25-Jul-11 14:24:20

thank you Luca, thought so! But interesting to see how many right-wingers fail to mention it, or have conveniently forgotten it.

Callisto Mon 25-Jul-11 16:05:06

Bush was a train crash though, all of his policies were deeply flawed. I don't care much more for the likes of Sarah Palin either and I don't think that either are particularly representative of right-wingers. The basic right-wing tenet fo small government, small taxes, big personal responsibility are not wrong. But the way in which a person seeks to put these things in place can be very destructive. On the other hand, I think that big government is in itself a dangerous and destructive thing. Any government that takes away personal responsibility will end up with a public who expect the state to provide and fix everything with the result that taxes have to be ever higher to meet the demands of the public.

claig Mon 25-Jul-11 16:32:26

sorry, I was wrong, I couldn't remember the details. TARP started under Bush but it was Obama who carried on with it and enacted it

It was right wing Republicans who were holding it up and voting against it. That, of course, doesn't include George Bush et al. George and Obama etc. were all in it together.

Mellowfruitfulness Thu 28-Jul-11 13:27:39

Niceguy, I agree with your No 1, but I'm not sure about No 2. When you talk about politicians not messing with the economy, does that mean you are against more government regulation of the banks?

I can't believe how the bonus culture of the whole financial sector doesn't appear to have been even dented by the crisis.

niceguy2 Thu 28-Jul-11 13:34:30

No I'm fine with politician's to regulate for the long term interests of the country/economy. That should be their job. Just not for political purposes.

So for example in the past, it was commonplace for government's to set interest rates to best suit their political goals rather than economic. Labour's (correct) strategy of letting the BoE be independent is a good example of politician's not meddling.

Mellowfruitfulness Thu 28-Jul-11 14:13:30

I see. Well, I agree with you on that (I'm not much of an economist, though).

I think that is the one huge flaw inherent in any democracy: any ruling party's first priority has to be to stay in power, and in a democracy that means that you have to take the people with you. (It's also the great strength of democracy). The problem is the government decides something, then tries to persuade us it was the right thing to do by trying to manipulate the media (although the media also manipulate the government, obviously).

What I think they should do is ask us first, and then go with what we decide! In Switzerland they have referendums on everything, which slows things down a lot, and I'm not advocating that (because you have to be well-informed on an issue, so opinions can still be manipulated). What I think is that think-tanks made up of experts and people who are involved with, say, the NHS, should be consulted and the government should go with what they decide - which isn't what happens now. More consultation.

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