The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Neoliberalism

Sunday, 12th July 2015

The verdict on Osborne’s ‘one-nation budget’ as regards inequality appears to be that it will perpetuate the forty-year trend in the wrong direction. That is, on the average householder’s ledger, the amount credited by an increased minimum wage will be less than that debited by decreased tax credits.

In a speech in February 2011, David Cameron criticised ‘state multiculturalism’ on the grounds that it has ‘encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other’. In 2015 we must ask how great must be the disparity between rich and poor before one says the same of ‘state neoliberalism’?

Cameron was right in that speech to say that ‘we need a clear sense of shared national identity that is open to everyone’, but that’s not possible if we remain, either culturally or economically,

Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws. (Sybil, or The Two Nations by Benjamin Disraeli, Cameron’s predecessor as party leader and prime minister)

Excessive inequality is its own sort of multiculturalism, and fighting it would be the properly conservative thing to do.

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Wednesday, 15th April 2015

A controversial freelance historian speaks out about the Tories’ hopes in Scotland:

I am sure the Tories don’t need me as a friend but it’s in their interests that I’m saying these things. They should ask themselves the question, ‘why have they been so hated for thirty years that there has been rout after rout in constituency after constituency?’, and it’s the one question they seem to be very shy of.

Saturday, 11th April 2015

With suggestions of new toll roads and a system of paying upfront to see one’s GP, the shifting of rail financing from tax-funded subsidy to individual passenger, and an obsession with choice in all things, the Tory’s intend to create an economy in which everyone pays meanly for his own and no one else’s; in which, as the lady saith, ‘There is no such thing as society.’

In fact, their socio-economic vision for Britain is summed up in the whinge–boast catchphrase of Richard Herring: ‘I paid a pound!’

The Tories are creating an I-paid-a-pound! economy.

Friday, 14th November 2014

Progressive, n.

Pronunciation: /prəɡˈrɛsɪv/
Etymology: < post-classical Latin progressivus capable of or relating to forward motion.

1. A person holding progressive, avant-garde, or liberal views; an advocate or supporter of political progress or reform. Now hist.
2. Polit. Contronymous to sense 1: A person holding conservative, old-fashioned, or anti-neoliberal views; a critic or opponent of political relapse or ‘reform’. Cf. Conservative, n. sense 1.

Tuesday, 28th October 2014

An open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport:

Dear Mr McLoughlin,

Earlier in the year, I was thinking about the history of New Cross and New Cross Gate stations, opened just ten years and six hundred yards apart by rival entrepreneurs – the Britain being forged in the white heat of the Industrial Revolution was no place for restrictive practices. However, I argued that though our own age is one of free-marketeering white heat regained, it is also inevitably one of restrictive practises; and that, as such, our railways remain in the private sector either through blind faith or (heavily in)vested interests. Now I know how pushy it looks, to quote yourself, but I did relevantly continue,

The trains are overpriced and overfull, supply is not meeting demand; but it’s no longer possible, as happened in 1849, for a group of entrepreneurs to rock up somewhere and compete by actually building. Today’s train operating companies expend all their white heat in competing franchise bids, but once the franchises are awarded they continue as complacently as the nationalised system supposedly did.

Having passed through private and nationalised railways, we’re now stuck with the worst aspects of both: the disadvantages of monopolies, but without the advantages of having them run for the public good. A third way indeed.

I would like provisionally to withdraw this scathing speech and suggest an experiment. Given that we have at our disposal a veritable parliament of train operating companies, squawking for franchises, let’s put their go-getting capitalism to the test.

While a small number of the stations that fell under the Beeching Axe have since been reopened – funded by local councils and government agencies – most of them remain closed. So given that public money is tight, lets give the TOCs – from Abellio to Virgin – carte blanche to raise money from private investors and put forward proposals to reopen and run old branch-line stations. This should be a win–win: if they prove themselves the entrepreneurial equals to the London and Croydon Railway of old, then a few towns will get their stations back; and if they prove themselves to be supinely rent-seeking organisations, then that’ll settle the matter and we can bring back British Rail without delay.

Yours sincerely,
Donald Pincher, SE23.

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