“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.”
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.