We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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

Samizdata quote of the day

“The trouble is that what the markets demand – a credible plan for getting debt back to sustainable levels – is the opposite of what the voters want to hear. Perhaps regrettably, when markets and politics collide, it is always the markets that end up winning. Today’s fantasy world of still-growing public expenditure can last only as long as markets are willing to lend on reasonable terms. Governments are perfectly happy to rely on bond markets to support their grandiose social ambitions when times are good, but when the going gets tough, they become a growing source of frustration and complaint. George Brown memorably blamed the gnomes of Zurich for the sterling crisis of 1964, never mind that it might have been solidly grounded in economic fundamentals. President Clinton’s campaign manager, James Carville, became so angry about the pressures for deficit reduction that he snapped that if there were such a thing as reincarnation, he would want to come back as the bond market, because it was more important than the Pope.”

Jeremy Warner.

He seems to be taking the line that ultimately, “we get the governments we deserve”. Well maybe, maybe not. The problem with this sort of argument is it begs the question of what “we” is being discussed. It is a disheartening experience to watch as so many of my fellows seem willing to vote for a bunch of statist buffoons. I feel no sense of kinship, no sense of “duty”, to a country inhabited by those who seem to have given up on basic facts of reality. And so I repeat the point I made a few weeks ago here: for a genuine patriot, an obvious option is to get out of this country. My plan B is still very much on the cards.

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Alice

    “George Brown memorably blamed the gnomes of Zurich”

    Actually, it was Harold Brown. Seems that the UK equivalent of Bush Derangement Syndrome is stalking the land – Brown Derangement Syndrome.

    Anyhoo, Mr Warner should have paid attention to the recent US Tea Parties. Lots of citizens demanding LESS from their governments. It is the politicians themselves who seem to be Stuck on Stupid (another memorable phrase), wanting to do MORE.

  • Alice

    Harold Brown? Harold Wilson, of course.

    Brown Derangement Syndrome strikes again!

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Alice, George Brown was a senior labour politician in the 1960s in the government of Harold Wilson. Brown was a famous drunk and there are legendary stories about him.

    Jeremy Warner’s quote was accurate.

  • Alice

    WikiPedia is always a suspect source. Still, Wikipedia quotes: “British Labour Party politician Harold Wilson, then Shadow Chancellor, in 1956 when he accused Swiss bankers of pushing the pound down on the foreign exchange markets by speculation”, speaking in the House of Commons.

    Wilson’s sentence, reportedly from Hansard: “On September 5th, when the T.U.C. unanimously rejected wage restraint, it was the end of an era, and all the financiers, all the little gnomes in Zürich and other financial centres, had begun to make their dispensations in regard to sterling.”

  • Laird

    I don’t want to get into the argument over who coined the “gnomes of Zurich” phrase*, but to go back to JP’s original point, I think the “we” in that sentence refers to the entire electorate of a nation. At least, that’s what I mean when I say it. Taken as a whole, we’re stupid and/or apathetic and/or ignorant enough to believe their nonsense and elect these clowns, and to acquisce in their evil. Collectively we’re getting just what we as a society deserve. It doesn’t matter that not every individual member of the polity deserves the result.

    If you adopt Plan B you simply cease to be a member of one “we” and join another. Good luck with that. Leviathan strides the earth in triumph, and there aren’t many places to hide (and certainly not for long).

    Warner is correct; eventually the markets will win, and (as Kipling (Link) warned) we’ll once again witness “the Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.” I don’t think it sounds like a whole lot of fun.

    * Most citations on the Internet seem to credit Harold Wilson, but I have my doubts that he was clever enough to come up with it himself. My bet is that he cribbed it from someone else, and George Brown is a credible suspect. Still, it’s probably older than him, too; I think I’ll start a rumor attributing it to Frédéric Bastiat. Or maybe HL Mencken.

  • Alice

    How about Hans Christian Andersen? Gnomes ‘n all.

  • I remember nothing about gnomes by H.C. Andersen.

  • Alice

    Me either. But he did do a good line in fairy tales, which is reasonably close.

    Actually, I had been thinking of suggesting Tolkien. But do we really want to go through that whole gay hobbit discussion again? Especially when we are trying to sort out our Browns.

    Maybe I should start taking life more seriously.

  • CFM

    Anybody want to buy some more gnomes, trolls, ogres and gooey slimy parasite worms? We got a shitload of ’em in D.C. at the moment.

    Oh, all right then. We will indeed pay you to take them.

  • tranio

    I’m very fortunate that I left the UK for good in 1965, spent 3 years in Africa then emigrated to Canada. My wife and I both had parents in the UK but Vancouver is just 10 hours from Heathrow with daily flights. In the final years I would go over twice a year. I did consider Australia but the distance from the UK deterred that idea.
    I’m now a Canadian citizen with Canadian born children. Am I ever glad that I emigrated. Gordon Brown appears worse than Harold Wilson ever was.

  • But do we really want to go through that whole gay hobbit discussion again? Especially when we are trying to sort out our Browns.

    Yes we do, precisely for that very reason.

  • Paul Marks

    So Mr Warner is claiming that if someone said the following they would not get many votes:

    “Government spending is not a long term stimulus to the economy – in fact borrowing one Pound in every four Pounds of government spending is pushing this nation towards bankruptcy. And taxation is not too low – it is vastly too high.

    This means we must reduce government spending – not just reduce a bit of waste (which is what all politicians tell you), but actually stop doing various things we are doing now.

    This is no place for “regional govenment” in any shape of form, we just can not afford it.Nor can we afford all the qwangos and “exectutive agencies” – in fact total government employment (and PAY and benefits) must be cut back to 1997 levels (in terms of buying power) AT ONCE. Please remember that the level of government employment and pay in 1997 was in fact very HIGH – so to cut things back to the level of 1997 is hardly harsh.

    And we can not afford to spend good money on the E.U. either – and the idea that they will launch a trade war against us if we leave is absurd (they did not even dare do that against Greenland when it left the E.U. – is Britain more of a soft touch than Greenland?). And, I am afraid we can not afford our various wars either – we do not have the money to support the troops properly and to send them into battle without proper support is CRIMINAL.

    As for the Welfare State the idea that we can automatically INCREASE health and education spending every year is absurd – any politician who says we can do that is a liar and such a politician is spitting in your face with their lies”.

    I think the people would react to such honestly by voting in such a party a landslide.

    Yes – even people who knew they were going to get sacked would vote for such a party.

    As people did for Harris in Ontario – the shock value of honesty should not be underestimated.

    Tell the people the truth – if they fail to support the truth at least one has done all one could.

    Remember – to be voted in without saying that serious cuts are needed and then to try and make them is hopeless, no MANDATE is fatal.

    Of course the Conservative party should have been preparing the ground for quite some time – rather than going on with absurd crap such as ” the crises is the fault of the bankers” and “we need to get the banks lending again” and the rest of the leftist “mainstream” media and academia narrative.

    It is a bit late to try and do all this in a week – still Mr Cameron has another chance on Thursday night.

    When Mr Brown talks about how important government spending is for the economy – Mr Cameron must CONTRADICT him. He must say that the orgy of government spending is destroying the economy.

    If Mr Cameron is not prepared to stand up to Mr Brown (and Clegg and “Vince” Cable) then he might as well not go to the debate.