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 – What decline looks like on the page

What, in any event, does one say about the future of a country like this? The image that increasingly comes to mind when I dwell on these issues is one of an attic in a dilapidated country house, dusty and mildewed, with many old spider webs strung between the rafters. Brittle and frail, these strands of gossamer still somehow cling to the physical realm, and to physical existence, because the still, stale air does not contain quite enough movement to dispel them into nothingness. But all it will take is one decent breath of wind, one strong draft from a suddenly opened window somewhere else in the house, for them to be swept away forever.

That is how I envisage our political class and the chattering classes which surround them. They are of such thinness and intellectual fragility that they could be knocked over by a feather, and all we are really waiting for is to find out where the coup de grâce will come from and whether it will be economic, social, military, or something else entirely. To return to a different analogy, the feeling is increasingly one of wondering not whether the future is going to hurt, but how much – whether it will be equivalent of a knife or a bullet wound. We’re coming to the end of something, and we all know it; in this respect the promise of a ‘new Britain’ does seem somehow to be prophetic, although one strongly suspects that ‘renewing our democracy and rebuilding our economy’ are unlikely to be on the cards for a long while yet.

David McGrogan

A great realignment is coming; but what will start the avalanche and what comes next? We will only know looking back afterwards.

21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – What decline looks like on the page

  • Stonyground

    Is out of control government debt likely to become an issue? Surely they can’t continue with the reckless overspending for ever. At what point do they find that they just can’t borrow any more? Since the government aren’t even trying to balance the books, what happens when those working in the public sector and those on benefits or state pensions can no longer be paid? I would imagine there would be a bit of an unpleasant reaction from those affected.

  • What he doesn’t really mention is how the Tories squandered a decade and a half of government. I think that’s a sign of their fundamental weakness.


  • Roué le Jour

    In a sane world, the first order of business for an incoming government would be to reduce spending to something the taxpayers can afford, but unfortunately we don’t live in a sane world.

    The bureaucracy is like a trophy wife spending faster than her formerly rich husband can earn it. All western countries will have to follow Milei or see their economies collapse.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Pete North recently wrote that our monarchy has failed to protect British sovereignty being given away to foreign institutions. The church isn’t protecting our faith. Politicians cannot be trusted.

    We need more power to govern ourselves. As Pete says, parliamentary sovereignty is part of the problem.

  • Mr Ed

    Assuming that these figures are accurate, the Conservatives took office in Q2 2010, and the debt figures by 2019 are:

    Debt under Conservatives 2010-19
    15 November 2019 by Tejvan Pettinger
    From 2010 to 2019, total gross government debt (1) increased by £643 bn from £1.2 trillion to £1.8 trillion.

    UK Public sector debt

    2010 – £1,194.3bn
    2019 – £1,838.2bn
    A more helpful statistic is to consider debt as a percentage of GDP

    In 2010 Q2, public sector debt was 64.7% of GDP
    In 2019 Q3 public sector debt is 80.3% of GDP

    So spending was exploding before the ever-so-helpful excuse of the pandemic.

    The UK national debt in Q1 2024 is per the same source in January 2024 (some newer official stats are not released, due to the General Election I believe).

    UK National Debt
    21 January 2024 by Tejvan Pettinger
    The UK national debt is the total amount of money the British government owes to the private sector and other purchasers of UK gilts (e.g. Bank of England).

    In Jan 2024, UK public sector net debt was £2,685.6 billion or 97.7% of GDP
    This is the highest level of public sector debt since 1961.

    So on average, the Conservatives have added to the National Debt to the tune of around £106,521,000,000 a year (rounded down) or around £3,370 per second in which they have been in office.

    And millions of people will vote tomorrow for 5 more years of this approach. In economic, but not moral terms, they do not deserve to be able to eat, as they are rejecting rational economic activity, even if they do not realise this themselves.

  • Steven R

    Like the US, it seems the UK’s only options are a party that says the right things and then proceeds to do the opposite or the party who says they want to do as much damage as possible in the name of fairness and equality and all those other buzz words and can be counted on to do exactly that.

    The West is not going to vote ourselves out of this mess.

  • John

    Indeed Steven,

    And yet this blog is inundated by commenters explaining their reasons not to support the only party with even a minuscule chance of starting to reverse this disastrous situation because they don’t like something our equivalent of Orange man (the original, not post-debate Orange Brandon) has said.

    That’s why we don’t deserve and won’t be getting nice things in our lifetimes.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Not true at all. There are 4 parties to vote for. If we stick to the mainstream parties, what you say is true. But we have an alternative.

  • Stuart Noyes

    In the 2015 general election, approaching 4 million People voted UKIP. Any predictions for Reform tomorrow? I hope they double that or more.

  • staghounds

    It can go on like this for a long time yet. You selected this in what, 1911? 1928? The U. S. did in ’32.

  • And yet this blog is inundated by commenters explaining their reasons not to support the only party with even a minuscule chance of starting to reverse this disastrous situation because they don’t like something our equivalent of Orange man (the original, not post-debate Orange Brandon) has said.

    I already post-voted Reform, I really don’t see any other option.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Too lazy to make the short trip?

  • Paul Marks

    Given the stranglehold on power of officials and “experts” (look what the Bank of England did to Prime Minister Truss and how the media made the very name “Liz Truss” an insult – with a tidal wave of lies and abuse, eaten up by the public who love to blame things on a scapegoat), there is not going to be reform of this state (state and partner corporations) dominated society.

    There remain two possibilities – either this system of fiat money and Credit Bubble finance (for both government, the Welfare State, and the partner corporations) will continue – or it will not.

    If it continues it will “evolve” (although there is nothing “natural” about this “evolution” as it is carefully planned) into an international system of governance, everywhere in the West much the same, with digital currency (which is the logical end point of fiat money) and total control of every aspect of human life by government and the partner corporations (hence so many corporations now showing open hatred and contempt for customers, as toxic-racist-sexist-homophobe-transphobe-Islamophobe-climate-deniers – because soon, the corporate managers reason, “customers” will be told what to spend the digital money on, so will have NO CHOICE so there will be no need for the partner corporations not to show hatred for ordinary people).

    Or this system of fiat money and Credit Bubble finance will collapse – taking both the Welfare State and the partner corporations with it.

    Sadly, at this point, there does not seem to be a third alternative.

    None of the above just applies to the United Kingdom – it applies to many, perhaps all, Western countries.

    Sadly I do not see a situation where real reform, as it seems the President of Argentina is doing, is going to happen in Western Europe or North America – the establishment of officials and experts (government and corporate) is just too strong here.

    So either the present system will carry on – and “evolve” (a carefully planned “evolution”) into full fledged international totalitarianism, or the present system will collapse – with all the suffering such a collapse would mean (remember most people are now totally dependent on the Western Welfare States – the suffering a collapse would mean would be truly horrific).

    Let us hope that I am mistaken.

  • Paul Marks

    Just as the partner corporations are dependent on the flow of Credit Money (created from nothing) – both from government contracts and the banks and other financial institutions. So ordinary people are dependent on the health service (even though it does not work well), benefits (including pensions) and-so-on. In all Western countries – including the United States – yes in the United States most health spending is really from the government and people are dependent on government pensions and so on – and the corporations are totally dependent on the drip feed of Credit Money created from nothing.

    If this system collapses, the suffering will be horrific.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course if President Trump does return to the Whitehouse and manages to get Congress to follow policies similar to those of the President of Argentina – then I will have to eat my words about the chances for reform being slim-to-nil.

    And I will be very happy (yes happy) to eat my words – to admit that I was wrong.

    As for the United Kingdom – it is best not to think about what is going to happen here, it can not (now) be avoided. The horror of collapse appears to be inevitable under the government to be elected today – the suffereing will be terrible.

  • Stonyground

    I suspect that enterprising people will find ways to carry on doing business.

  • Roué le Jour

    Here in Thailand if the pols don’t behave the generals take over for a while. It’s a pity that this option is not available in more “civilized” nations. It keeps the pols on their toes.

  • GregWA

    I wonder if one of the breezes that blows away those spider webs is another pandemic? But this time a real one. Chinese made like the last one (maybe they didn’t make the virus, but they sure as hell incubated it and unleashed it on the world). I’m not saying a pandemic would be the only thing pressing on the spider webs, just one of the pressures.

    And remember, the ChiComms and other enemies carefully watched our response to COVID.

    Gleefully watched I imagine.

    And then went to planning.

    Or is my tin hat letting in too many conspiracy ideas?

  • Too lazy to make the short trip?

    Not that I need to justify myself to you, but I’m travelling if you must know, hence the postal vote.

  • Paul Marks

    Stonyground – my father was very enterprising, very hard working and intelligent, he was still broken.

    Bad things can happen to good people – and a lot of good people are going to suffer, unless they are rich enough to get out of the country.

    Most people do not have large bank accounts overseas. And operating in a Black Market economy means dealing with vicious criminals – that tends to turn out badly, no matter how intelligent someone is.

  • Paul Marks

    This is not just the United Kingdom – this is the Western World generally.

    Look what is happening in France – where the Marxist/Green Alliance that is the “Popular Front” thinks that President Macron, of all people, is too free market.

    By the way – the “far right” National Rally also opposes pension reform and so on – they are not vicious lunatics (which the “Popular Front” are), but they are hardly free market either.

    As for the United States – the last President to cut government spending, from a peacetime total, was Calvin Coolidge – no President since then (almost a century ago) has done so.

    The vast Credit Money supported Corporate State that America is in 2024 can not be sustained.

    Ditto the other Western nations.

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