They still don’t get it, do they?

Over and over, again and again, both right and left are getting it wrong.  When will they finally see?   Take this, for example, from the usually clearthinking TPA:

On Tuesday we revealed new research on the cost of unnecessary staff at local councils. We identified non-frontline workers doing jobs that could be cut without putting frontline services at risk and produced a full list of how many Climate Change Officers, Political Advisors, Diversity Officers and European Officers are working at each council.

Yes, no doubt there are masses of non-jobs in councils, in the civil service – everywhere.   Now, have the TPA and others considered what will happen when those jobs are axed?  Fine, we save lots of dosh and that magical deficit is reduced. Very responsible.

Where do those thrown out of work go?

They go onto the dole, don’t they? Because the job market is tight and there’s no industry start-ups anywhere, no business climate – “no nuthin”. So the welfare queues become bloated, which yes, is a reduction of substantial proportions overall but and this is the big But:

That then puts pressure on the councils for housing benefits and on the dwp for mortgage protection. So the result of the “savings” is that there are no net savings, plus you’ve created a situation you were attempting to end.

You can’t start axing jobs unless there is somewhere for those people to go which doesn’t come back on the taxpayer via a backdoor.  In other words, there has to be industry first, businesses, shops.  Now, if you’re heartless and don’t care about those hundreds of thousands out of work, at least consider that they are now costing you in dole money and housing benefits, via your taxes and council taxes.

43 comments for “They still don’t get it, do they?

  1. Sue
    October 16, 2010 at 07:00

    Nope, sadly they still live on planet Communist Utopia!

  2. Rossa
    October 16, 2010 at 07:45

    In the paper this week there were over 750,000 of the “new” unemployed and only 430,000 jobs, so a shortfall of over 300,000 jobs already.

    I would suggest you are half right James on the costs in that while taxpayers’ money will be used for their benefits it will cost less per head than salaries, NI, car or expenses if they get them and pension contributions.

    JSA is only £65 a week and mortgage assistance for new claimants is up to £600 a month and you have to wait 3 months to get it. So around £10k max.

    Whatever the headline numbers say there are also all the unemployed (for more than one year) hidden away on the New Deal scheme or like me they are about to me farmed out to a 3rd party company and will no longer be included in the unemployment statistics.

  3. October 16, 2010 at 10:29

    Same thought occurred to me, too, James. You need to axe jobs of people who (a) are paid from the public purse but (b) are so well-paid that dumping them saves more than you lose in tax, NI, pension contributions, UB, housing benefit, redundancy settlement and (in many cases) early access to pension benefits, which latter may include contractual enhancement in these circumstances and (c) despite being so well-rewarded are doing something that doesn’t need to be done.

    Also include in your calculations the loss of turnover, profits, tax/NI and possibly entire business of people who depend on the discretionary expenditure of employed people; plus the benefits then payable to such former business people and their probably consequentially fragmented families.

    Since the underlying problem is decades of monetary and asset inflation, swelling debt and increases in income to service it all, then perhaps the way down is debt cancellation, asset deflation and income reduction so that our workers can begin to compete with their Eastern counterparts?

    Or (which could have the same effect) currency debasement without proportional increases in asset values and wages – but when trading partners do the same, the debt owed to them remains the same, doesn’t it? So don’t we then get domestic inflation, loss of real wealth and economic stagnation?

    I think I’m trying to square a circle. Is it a case of “you can’t there from here”?

  4. October 16, 2010 at 11:13

    So… basically… you’re saying that the public sector is too big to fail… mmmmmh… where have I heard that before?

  5. October 16, 2010 at 11:33

    No, Harry, you utterly and completely misunderstand me. What I am saying is that the sysem as a whole is bien farcie unless we tackle debt more radically. Can we please get away from this four-legs-good-two-legs-bad doctrinal crap about the public sector?

  6. steve
    October 16, 2010 at 13:59

    The TPA would argue that by reducing the size fo the public sector, you reduce the size of public debt. This in its turn reduces the long term (not short term) interest rates in the economy therefore encouraging more businesses to invest. They would suggest that you cannot increase growth without cutting the deficit.

  7. October 16, 2010 at 14:40

    Sackerson… I was addressing the topic, not your post.

  8. October 16, 2010 at 15:57

    HH – sorry, I (partially) misunderstood you in that case. But James seems right to me in presenting it as a budget conundrum.

    What’s happened is that part of an enormous private sector deficit has been moved to the public sector. The dirt’s just been pushed under the carpet, it hasn’t been got out of the room.

    Some of the problem has been Labour compensation for private sector unemployment by creating positions in the public sector, but quite a lot of it has been caused by propping up the private sector banking industry with huge taxpayer-funded subventions.

    But how did we get here, with vast debt, inflated unproductive assets (61% of the nation’s net worth tied up in housing) and uncompetitively-priced labour? The roots of it go far further back than 1997. People are trying to turn this into a 4/legs/2 legs dichotomy between Labour/Conservative or public/private sector, but the tragedy is that we’ve been rogered by decades of economic mismanagement under governments of both colours.

  9. Patrick Harris
    October 16, 2010 at 17:07

    If they are worth the big salaries and perks and bonuses they should be good at starting businesses:
    Build trawlers and begin the road back to England being self sufficient in sea food.
    Start up shoemaking companies.
    Start up cloth manufacturing to supply the start up rag trade.
    Start up a motor cycle manufacturing business.
    What about a giant National car manufacturing business.
    etc, etc.
    We would seem to have a surfeit of unemployed hands all willing to work even if they are Poles, Czechs, lithuanians, latvians etc.
    I would love to see some one start to build ships in the north east and north west.
    Simples, tsk.

  10. October 16, 2010 at 18:17

    People are trying to turn this into a 4/legs/2 legs dichotomy between Labour/Conservative or public/private sector, but the tragedy is that we’ve been rogered by decades of economic mismanagement under governments of both colours.

    A lot of people believe that without any idea of how our establishments were bent to the same aim leaving a shadow of the right with no room to manoeuvre.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1225637/How-Kremlin-hijacked-Labour-Diary-Kremlin-insider-reveals-hold-Soviets-Labour-politicians.html

  11. October 16, 2010 at 19:17

    Sorry not to comment all day but I was at work and have just got home now. I’ve read all the comments and if I might pull out one paragraph:

    The TPA would argue that by reducing the size of the public sector, you reduce the size of public debt. This in its turn reduces the long term (not short term) interest rates in the economy therefore encouraging more businesses to invest. They would suggest that you cannot increase growth without cutting the deficit.

    The TPA are not wrong, of course but they’re arguing as economists, not as human beings. “Reduce the public sector”, in economic terms, makes perfect sense but that’s where most economists stop.

    What they don’t seem to recognize is that in the process of doing this, it throws workers out of work who have little chance of becoming reemployed in the private sector. In human terms, these people are going to be on the dole and vying for housing benefits/mortgage cover, which average out to about £550 a month. Now, add the dole to that – 2 x £129 + about £30 and it all comes to around £838 p.m. Multiply that by 12 and we get £10 056.

    Clearly that’s less than the £18 000 the clerk was earning, by a fair margin. So yes, the state saves but at the cost of transferring taxpaying workers [even public sector workers pay tax and NI contributions, plus council tax] to dole and it doesn’t end there.

    There is the little matter of the council tax waiver of around £1000 p.a., which means the councils are paying out, rather than raking in.

    Plus no one has any incentive to get out of it and if they could, there are no jobs, as Rossa pointed out. Perhaps the worst aspect of this is that we, as a country, are then languishing because consumpotion by that unemployed sector now goes down and industry and business can’t build if no one’s buying.

    And so on.

  12. Patrick Harris
    October 16, 2010 at 19:44

    People never stop buying, even apples sold on the pavements of America during the great depression, if you build it and it’s good you can sell it, the circle has to start somewhere.

  13. October 16, 2010 at 20:05

    Some of the above will be in tomorrow’s post, esp. Wolfie’s vid. “So… basically… you’re saying that the public sector is too big to fail… mmmmmh… where have I heard that before?”

    Not in the least, Harry – I’m saying that there is a human cost. Sue, Rossa, Patrick and Sackers – thanks.

  14. October 16, 2010 at 20:50

    industry and business can’t build if no one’s buying.

    And this of course leads to more job losses in the private sector and so the spiral continues.

  15. Rossa
    October 16, 2010 at 20:52

    James. Your figures are right for someone being made unemployed now or since 2009 I think it is. And I would point out that that is a tax free amount. The clerk on £18,000 gross would not get that as his/her net wage after tax and NI, so the gap is not as big as you make think.

    Problem is that there is now an increasing number who are getting less than the £838pm you have stated. Some of us are on £586 a month or £7,033 a year and that will start to have an impact by the turn of the year as I have said in other comments.

    Anyone with a mortgage of more than £100k or is locked into a higher interest rate than the 3.2% paid by the DWP and who has been out of work for 18 months or more is going to get to a point where their house will be repossessed. You only have to owe the financial equivalent of 3 months mortgage payments in arrears for legal action to take place.

    So on top of all the workers going onto the dole will be those further down the line who will effectively become homeless as there isn’t anywhere for them to go. Not everyone has family and friends that can take them in.

    Maybe there are those that think that that is what some people deserve. Problem is if they have to rehoused or put up in a hostel or B&B or something then the costs of that will be a lot higher than paying the mortgage interest in the first place. It is short termism at its worst.

    We are getting it in the neck all ways round and there is no way out of this vicious circle unless, like me, you can set up your own business or land one of the few jobs paying more than the 18k you mention.

  16. October 16, 2010 at 21:03

    Higham wrote: ‘Plus no one has any incentive to get out of it and if they could, there are no jobs, as Rossa pointed out. Perhaps the worst aspect of this is that we, as a country, are then languishing because consumpotion by that unemployed sector now goes down and industry and business can’t build if no one’s buying.

    You are Colly Kibber and I claim my Maynard Keynes.

    Joking aside, there is going to be a human cost but that is unavoidable. The economic cost of the public sector is throttling private enterprise (by which I do not mean big business capitalism but the ingenious efforts of the garden shed inventor) and has become insupportable. The human dimension to this is that life has become drab and irritating, and for me at least, almost insufferable. I used to believe in the greater good but I’m fifty four and I’m going down for the third time, quite literally, and I’m desperate for some of the fresh air of real liberty and real creative freedom that I recall from my boyhood. If millions of unproductive people (no one working in the public sector pays any tax) have to suffer a drop in their living standards so that I can f It’s going to hurt but the English have suffered far far worse for to safeguard their liberty, and, to quote a popular slogan from the eighties, there is no gain without pain. My circumstances are very difficult at the moment, and I have just had to scrap my car (it was towed away today) because I cannot afford to keep it any longer. My wife’s car is off the road because we cannot afford to repair it. We have no other income but hers at present and our rent takes almost half her salary. We are struggling to survive but I am not claiming benefits. I’m working on an idea that may change our fortunes and if, and it’s a big if, it works it won’t be a quick fix. I wouldn’t have it otherwise. If it’s worth having it’s worth working for and if I can bring it off I can say that no one gave it to me, I got off my arse and made it myself.

    I agree with Patrick Harris: We cannot afford to carry lame ducks any longer. We must, as a matter of urgency, return to a position of personal self-reliance. If that means soup kitchens and tent cities in the short-term then so be it (and I may well be in that situation soon myself). We are becoming a third world country and we need to be reminded how it is one survives and succeeds in such a situation.

  17. October 16, 2010 at 21:10

    Oops, a chunk missing there. That’s not like me at all. The line in question should have read: ‘ … if millions of unproductive people … have to suffer a drop in their living standards so that I can flourish then so be it. It’s going to hurt but … ‘.

  18. October 16, 2010 at 21:23

    Here we have the opposite situation: our little town hall employs as many people as the one in Rome and they haven’t been paid for 2 months ‘cos there’s no money!

  19. October 16, 2010 at 23:40

    Well what will we do when we reach “end-game”?

    http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=169279

    Sackers provides the only remaining solution :

    Since the underlying problem is decades of monetary and asset inflation, swelling debt and increases in income to service it all, then perhaps the way down is debt cancellation, asset deflation and income reduction so that our workers can begin to compete with their Eastern counterparts?

    All roads now lead to pain. There is no way out.

  20. October 17, 2010 at 02:50

    “…so well-paid that dumping them saves more than you lose in tax, NI, pension contributions, UB, housing benefit, redundancy settlement…”

    You would lose nothing in tax and NI as the funds for public sector workers to “pay” come, ultimately, from the tax and NI of those in wealth-generating work. Indeed you would save the cost of all the churn; each time the government takes money, it wastes much of it in administration costs. Public sector workers should pay no tax, because that “payment” is a costly myth. They should also not vote, because they have a clear conflict of interest with taxpayers.

    The tortured logic of the original post is the reason why it’s so dangerous that the state’s dependents – i.e. public sector workers and the otherwise economically inactive now hold the balance of electoral power.

  21. October 17, 2010 at 10:07

    You’ll not get argument from me on that, Tom you can call it tortuous logic but the bottom line is that very few are looking at these people as human but rather as a “sector”. I’m not referring to the fat cats sponging off the taxpayer in the quangocracy but to the clerk on £14 grand a year who will now be unemployed.

    I repeat – do we wish to have an enormous [maybe 25% of the workforce] dole culture? Or should the government’s first priority [and yes, I’d like to see a skeleton government too but let’s get realistic here] be the incentivization of business?

    So far, few in the comments thread seem to think that’s the first priority.

  22. October 17, 2010 at 10:16

    @Tom Paine: simplistic. You seem to imagine that because I (partly) work in the public sector I’ll vote Labour. Never have. But I despise the well-heeled amateurs who’ve picked up the baton from New Labour. Perhaps we need to look more closely at the education and professional qualifications of politicians, since they too are salaried employees of the State they mismanage. On your logic, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote, either.

  23. October 17, 2010 at 10:19

    @Wolfie – thanks for your support. Reassures me that I haven’t gone entirely Deolali. But I could wish that, with your insider insight, you’d start posting again.

  24. October 17, 2010 at 17:39

    @sackerson: I can’t imagine why you seem to imagine that I seem to imagine anything about your voting habits or employment. I knew nothing of either until you just told me. Indeed, I didn’t know you existed at all.

    I was making a perfectly serious political (and moral) point that it’s wrong for people to be able to gang up (under the banner of “democracy”) on a productive minority in order to take their money from them by force. And a very simple economic point that the Treasury does not “lose” the taxes of public sector workers who become unemployed, because it had to give them the money to pay those taxes in the first place.

    Anything else you inferred is your own problem.

  25. October 17, 2010 at 19:11

    TP: “They should also not vote, because they have a clear conflict of interest with taxpayers. ”

    That’s why.

  26. October 17, 2010 at 21:32

    I may have misunderstood Tom Paine but I think his point was not that public sector workers will necessarily vote Labour but that they have a clearly vested interest in voting for whichever party indicates that it will preserve or expand the public sector. I don’t think that is an unreasonable point to make but we should not ignore its corollary, which is that those engaged in the productive sector of the economy have a vested interest in voting for whichever party promises to further their own particular interests. It is, however, unreasonable to advocate the disenfranchisement of public sector workers merely because their perception of their interests may conflict with those of net tax payers.

    I do think that we need to rethink the concept of universal suffrage but we need to be wary of arguments that advocate disenfranchising groups merely because their interests may not be ours.

  27. October 18, 2010 at 00:23

    Thanks, William. Yes, that’s my point. Certainly, Labour is the proven enemy of all prudence and thrift but the slightly less-Left Coalition is also dickering about action to reduce government expenditure and pay off its unsustainable debts. May I suggest respectfully that’s because it fears the votes of those on its payroll?

    Charlotte Gore expresses my view on the moral issue of just whose money it is more amusingly than me by far (though I don’t claim she reaches the same conclusion about voting rights). I do wish those who demand taxpayers’ money is spent on X or Y would understand they are demanding that others are forced to work for them. Well worth a read here – http://bit.ly/cz7IjF

  28. October 18, 2010 at 01:08

    Tom,

    I would like to explore further what exactly is meant by left and right as in what defines the left from the right.

    But more importantly for now…

    The coalition is just floundering around and not being in control of the situation.

    I think that is partly because the two parties want to stay in control as a government but they have conflicting ideas.

    Which brings it back to the fears of the votes generally, not just on it’s payroll and how they can stay in control.

  29. October 18, 2010 at 02:17

    CherryPie, the only two things the Coalition parties agree about are that cuts are (a) necessary and (b) political suicide. They are faced, thanks to Labour and – pace you and sackerson – to the client vote that Labour deliberately grew to the electoral tipping point, with a choice between destroying their party and destroying their nation. Forgive me for fearing they will continue to pay pass the parcel with this time bomb and hope (as Labour did towards the end) that it will go off in the hands of their political enemies.

    I am sorry if any public sector workers here took offence at my suggestion that they should not be entitled to vote. I mean no disrespect. I am not suggesting that they are in any way inferior. It’s just that if a company director (however valuable his contribution may be) has a personal financial interest in a proposal to spend the company’s money, he is expected not to participate in any board vote on it. It doesn’t mean he is inferior or even that he would necessarily vote to damage the company. It’s just the right thing to do in the case of a conflict of interest. Of course he must express his opinions freely and advocate his desired outcome, but not vote.

    This is the same thing, at a national level.

    As for William’s point that net taxpayers have self-interest too, that’s true. However, their self-interest happens to align with that of the country (i.e. prudent, efficient and – if possible – productive use of public funds). Any other use of those funds damages them, but does not damage (at least not so directly or immediately) those on the public payroll. A director whose interests are aligned with those of his company does get to vote.

    Nor am I against debt per se. Borrowing to fund capital investments, the value of which will persist after the loan has been repaid is fine. I would argue that every government in my lifetime has failed to borrow enough to maintain and develop transport infrastructure, for example. That’s why Britain is now a hell to move about in – at great economic loss because of all the potentially productive time that is wasted in traffic jams. But (as we all know in our personal lives but seem to forget at the national level) borrowing to meet current expenditures is the road to penury. That is what this government is now doing. It is doing it because if fears the decisively large public sector (and public dependents) vote will punish it if it doesn’t.

    I can understand no-one likes the idea of a tax-paying qualification to vote. It smacks of the 18th Century property qualifications we all tutted about in history lessons. But I think those who oppose it have an obligation to tell net contributors to the Treasury how else this country can be made safe for them to stay and keep working.

    I await other suggestions with interest and will withdraw mine the moment I read a better one.

  30. October 18, 2010 at 06:57

    “You can’t start axing jobs unless there is somewhere for those people to go which doesn’t come back on the taxpayer via a backdoor.”

    There are jobs. They are just not the well-paid, feather-bedded diversity/climate/social media jobs that they have enjoyed under Labour.

    So they retrain, and if necessary, move and/or accept a lower rate of pay. Just like all the private sector workers have had to do…

  31. October 18, 2010 at 07:13

    Julia, they are not employing the older worker, post-50. I know this to be so because I’ve been working in that area. I had your attitude and Tom’s and Charlotte Gore’s to the situation but then I saw so many of that age actively trying and Julia, employers are not looking at them, fobbing them off with all sorts of reasons.

    Yes, there are jobs. Check Total Jobs or Jobsite or Monster or JSP or whatever. For a start, there are 10% of those where they’d look at you, in your area of expertise. They also tell you that 400 applied for that vacancy. I recently went for a minor retail job [manager] and they had 186 for it, of whom ten were in the running.

    Those 186 were current managers, previous managers, workers currently in retail and then the unemployed who had worked in the area. There were also those wishing to transfer [me], on the strength of managerial experience in another sector. Then there were the long term unemployed, forced by the DWP to seek anything.

    The administrative costs of that latter you can imagine.

    Now, a few of those people decided to club together to set up a business and of course, the government and council had them clobbered before they began. The banks refused to lend.

    They were knackered. Plus they’re angry – so much experience and talent gone to waste. Tom, this is for Tuesday’s post:


    I can understand no-one likes the idea of a tax-paying qualification to vote. It smacks of the 18th Century property qualifications we all tutted about in history lessons. But I think those who oppose it have an obligation to tell net contributors to the Treasury how else this country can be made safe for them to stay and keep working.

  32. October 18, 2010 at 13:21

    Totally agree on the costs of trying to start a business – if the coalition wasn’t the soft authoritarian waste of space that we all know it is, then THAT is where they’d focus the most effort. Slashing the red tape.

  33. October 18, 2010 at 14:16

    James, I could not be more sympathetic. No-one wants the waste of human potential we are now facing. But the thinking in your post is part of the problem, not the solution.

    Public jobs are now, on average, better paid than private sector ones Yet they still come with the job security and pension schemes that used to over-compensate for lower pay. Employers offering market wages and competing in real markets can’t match it. They have therefore re-engineered their businesses to be capital, not labour, intensive (or have offshored the employment they generate). Foreign capital is generating millions of jobs in China, while (ironically) Communist-run state enterprises here focus on flashy capital projects that produce little or no employment.

    At the bottom end of the labour market back in Britain, state benefits price labour onto its sofas. At the top end, the civil service prices it away from wealth-creation. It’s bad news all around. Combine that with the costs and risks created by “employment rights” and you make it just too risky to expand private businesses.

    I come from the area where you now live. I know one business on a convenient bus route to you that could be doubled in size even today. The owner has made a conscious decision to turn away new customers so as to keep it a zero employee business (all work is done by him and his son). He doesn’t want the grief employment law brings. Besides he’s getting on and, if he built up its capital value, half of it would be taken in tax when he dies, forcing his son to sell. This way, his son can stay in business and take his own decisions later on as to whether to grow.

    I know another local business that expanded and then scaled back when the owner experienced all of the above plus the health and safety inspectors demanding bribes. It’s tragic. The owner had the nous and the balls to build a business, but found himself spending more time complying with stupid laws than making money. He’s spinning his entrepreneurial wheels. Atlas has already shrugged.

    I know a third business in your area closed down by a local authority abusing its powers to try to force the owner to sell the land on which it stood cheaply. I advise that landowner and we have deliberately stripped it of all value by legal techniques so that it can pass on his death at zero tax. The heirs will get the value back later by reversing our actions. In the meantime, the employment the old business generated is gone. Don’t blame us, blame the job-secure bureaucrats who threw their weight around in a Labour rotten borough.

    So long as many business people prefer to keep under the tax and employment law radar, your chances of private sector employment are sadly limited. As I said when we were last together, your best chance is to start your own – zero employment – business. I think you have the right stuff and you have nothing to lose by trying.

  34. October 18, 2010 at 15:41

    Sigh, yes. It’s so wrong, isn’t it? Not trying to start up, I mean and I’m sure going to explore this in the area but the barriers, the obstacles. Fine, having been in business before, there are always barriers, employment law etc and there are taxes and local payments. Not squealing about that but it’s this draconian “kill us off before we start” that gets me down.

  35. October 18, 2010 at 22:08

    Tom – sorry for my intemperate earlier comments, you know I’m a bear. But New Labour did not base its votes on the benefit class, who are less likely to bother to vote. Nor, according to Simon Schama, was the Revolution fostered by the poor or even the middle class. It’s the (self-thinkingly) secure idiots who push each other and themselves towards the noose. In the USA, the second Revolution hasn’t (yet) happened, because the middle class will insist on identifying their interests with those of the rich. In reality, people tend NOT to vote purely out of self-interest.

  36. October 19, 2010 at 00:32

    Tom,

    I am still awaiting your explanation of what defines left from right…

  37. fake
    October 19, 2010 at 12:40

    Your talking about the red tape businesses have to jump over, and what kills enterprise.

    Who enforces that red tape, who creates it?

    The same people you want to keep on for the sake of keeping them employed.

  38. October 19, 2010 at 14:04

    Hmmmmmmm.

  39. October 21, 2010 at 04:39

    @CherryPie, I am not sure why this is my responsibility (it’s not as if I invented the political shorthand of the English language) but you set me an interesting test. The dictionary definitions of “left” in the political sense are all (perhaps unsurprisingly, as dictionaries are often edited by academics on the public payroll) quite complimentary.
    According to them, leftists are “liberals” (US English) or “socialists” (UK English) keen on radical reform and defending the interests of workers. By this definition, I am a leftist!

    My definition would be that a leftist is someone who believes the state will more often do a better job of giving people what they want than will the market. A rightist is someone who believes the opposite.

    I am a rightist because I believe markets are economic democracy; the collective expression of what people actually want (as opposed to what they say they want when they are asked and want to appear “noble”). I am certainly no leftist because I don’t accept the right of others to take decisions for me that I can make myself without damaging the interests of others (and I don’t accept others – apart from my family – have a legitimate “interest” in sharing the fruits of my labour or capital).

    Apologies for the delay. I thought I should think a bit and try to answer seriously, rather than off the cuff. I would be interested in other peoples’ definitions (including yours).

  40. October 21, 2010 at 22:09

    Hi Tom,

    I wasn’t meaning that it was your responsibility. I just wanted to explore what you meant by left and right and how that related to public sector workers not being allowed to vote.

    I am not at all offended by that by the way but it did strike me as an authoritarian sort of thought. Which made me want to explore the idea further because I know that is not your way of thinking.

    Your definition:

    My definition would be that a leftist is someone who believes the state will more often do a better job of giving people what they want than will the market. A rightist is someone who believes the opposite.

    This is the traditionally accepted view of the difference between left and right. Along with free markets and non distributed wealth versus distributed wealth etc.

    My views on this are much better fitted to the political compass way of looking at politics. Defining left and right as an economic scale and introducing libertarian and authoritarian on the social scale.

    This is why I always struggle when people talk about ‘New Labour and the current Tory party views as being different. They are very much in the same ball park in the political compass model which is to the right on the economic scale and authoritarian.

    Now getting back to the thought that people in the public sector shouldn’t vote. I think that leads to the thin end of the wedge. All groupings in society have the option for voting for the party that best meets their needs. For example; Old age pensioners, married couples, single people, unemployed etc etc. Should we ban them from voting too?

    Now that moves me on to James’ follow on post which I have issues with too 😉

  41. October 21, 2010 at 23:11

    Tom Paine: You’ve pulled.

    Cherie: Thrown something to sink your teeth into, in an age of carnivores, you prove your credentials by choosing the vegetarian option. Can you service a Maserati?

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