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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]


I see the UK Chancellor, Alistair Darling, is making the point in the House of Commons that the financial crisis will not deflect the government from bringing about a low-carbon economy, despite the fact that such a change, by definition, will be costly. I am watching his statement in the House right now. He has also referred to the current economic climate as if it were an outbreak of a virus or a meteorite impact from outer space.

There is a risk that these people are sincere about all this. That, in fact, is the danger: not that such folk are liars and charlatans, but that they actually mean it.

13 comments to Priorities

  • Actually, the financial crisis will help Darling et al. bring about that low-carbon economy. By putting all the proles out of work, they’ll keep the proles from being able to consume those carbon-producing jet-jaunts to Spain or Greece.

    We can’t have those uppity proles having cheap travel.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Some of them do really mean it, while others I’m fairly sure don’t. I think these sorts of things tend to happen as a result of back-room manoeuvring – “continue to support us on X and we’ll pass loopy-insane scheme Y for you.” I’ve long suspected that the smoking ban and hunting ban came out of the same sort of old-Labour/new-Labour deal.

    Up until now, the barking were ignored and the business of putting the rhetoric into practice quietly resisted. But with the passing of the Climate Change bill, I’m concerned that the resistance has collapsed.

  • But if we clap loud enough, Tinker Bell WILL live!

  • Brad

    Whether new regulations of any kind are truly meant, or is simply a way for the crafty gain power and access and skims, the result is the same – screwing the lid down even tighter. I always assumed that our parasitic class new some boundry beyond which they knew they couldn’t go (even as it was well beyond what they should). I don’t think that is the case anymore. Just as with anything economic, there are immutable boundries/laws that will always come into effect. If the parasitic class continues to unleash force and coercion via taxes and regulations, there will reach a point where people will have little or nothing to lose by pushing back.

    Thus far, at least here in the US, I believe most people felt that they had more to lose so they bore the humiliation and theft that has gone on. But if our own parasites think that they can take 45+% in taxes, lien upwards of $375,000 more, rig the money supply so that I lose half of my savings in ten months time, have the prospect of even more being taken in taxes to make up for their specific bailouts, face the prospect of the market going down even further, AND plan on dragging the economy down even further with Green Laws, I will have little left to lose by fighting back. I have two young children, and if this is what I have to face from here on out, I can’t imagine what sort of hell they are in for. If the parasitic class keep this up they will soon learn just how far they can push. Even docile domesticated animals will give you the horn or the teeth when pressed. I wouldn’t recommend pushing very much further.

  • Ian B

    Of course they mean it. Anyone who thinks they’re only pretending to believe it for nefarious purposes really hasn’t got it. We’re not up against deliberate evil, we’re up against madness- a far more dangerous and difficult to defeat foe.

  • Jerome Thomas

    I think most politicians don’t even know themselves whether they ‘really’ believe the nonsense coming out of their mouths. Forming opinions for their political usefulness is utterly natural to them. They may hold them with complete sincerity yet drop them the moment the pop-cultural winds are start blowing in a different direction. Asking whether they ‘are sincere’ is as uninformative as asking if a teenage girl is sincere in her enthusiasm for whatever inane fashion trend has come down the pike this week.

    The nature of Politics attracts and selects for competitive, ambitious and other-directed but basically unreflective people.

  • Ian B

    I think you’re mistaken, Jerome. Socialism is fundamentally about believing things; it’s an evangelical ethical movement. The central belief is the belief that the world can be “made a better place” and the world is going to be made a better place whether the world likes it or not.

    Different socialists have different ideas about what this better world would be, and what people should be forced to do to make it so- some socialists are health cranks, some are nature cranks, some are economic cranks. But what they all share is profoundly crankish beliefs and a messianic fervour to implement them, and a belief that the use of government force to do so is not just a pragmatic strategy but their absolute moral duty.

    If we were actually up against corruption and conspiracy, our task would be relatively easy. But what we are up against are believers, a surging tide of utopian zealots. They really do believe in the crankish notions they spout.

  • Kevin B

    I had cynically assumed that HMG, (or rather a succession thereof), had made such a balls up of energy planning that the cuts in carbon emissions were more or less forced on us.

    I’d guessed that they’ve looked at the figures and seen that as North Sea Oil and Gas runs out and the price of buying gas from Russia and then paying them carbon credits to burn it would make it too expensive to base our economy on, and that the cost of even trying to build new Nuclear plants is prohibitive thanks to the planning issues involved; and don’t talk about Coal!

    And now Ian B tells us that they really mean it!

    I have plenty of trees in my back garden, but the task of cutting them into logs, let alone protecting them against my neighbours – who are mostly patio and car-port gardeners – may be beyond me in my declining years.

    Still, there’s always the floorboards.

  • Ian Bennett

    There’s almost a crossover between what Ian B says and what Jerome says. It was noticeable with Tony Bliar, and has since become a NuLab characteristic generally, that he actually believed what he was saying virtually all of the time, but only at the time. The previous week, or the following week, he had a totally different opinion, but he was sincere when he said it.

  • tdh

    Candor, saying what you are thinking (benefit of a great doubt in this case), isn’t honesty, the discipline of thinking so as to be consistent with reality (which implies and can be guided in part by an effort towards internal consistency of thought, as well). Jump down the Orwellian memory hole and end up in Wonderland.

    O lampae, o canes!

  • Lynwood

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.
    Mark Twain

  • Otto

    Ian B., time you got your own website or promoted to contributor status.

    Reader, if you are from across the Pond or elsewhere abroad, you can learn a great deal about the UK just from reading his comments alone.