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Rock and a hard place: UKBF gets ready for the election

  1. Westminster
    Francois Badenhorst

    Francois Badenhorst Deputy Editor Staff Member

    Posts: 82 Likes: 16
    6 |

    It seems apt that this divisive political era - three major votes in two years! - would culminate in one of the most viciously fought elections in memory.

    Amid all of the political nastiness, we’ve also had to cope with the horrible events in Manchester and London. When June 8 comes and passes, it will be a welcome respite from the tumult.

    But we’ve still got some ground to cover. Two days out from the polling booth, we’re in for a bumpy landing. Despite contestations from the Lib Dems and the SNP, this election really is about Labour and the Tories (SNP will perform powerfully in Scotland, of course).

    So what are we facing? The fork in our path is between PM Corbyn or PM May. You couldn’t conjure up two more different (or polarising individuals). Corbyn inspires an incredible zeal in his supporters (many of them young). His critics, however, are just as passionate in their contempt of him.

    May is an altogether more beguiling figure. She’s not necessarily popular. Her awkwardness when dealing with the public is emblematic of her personality. If this was a personality contest, she’d most likely suffer a landslide loss to some of the other more likeable candidates.

    But this isn’t a personality contest, is it? And for a large swathe of the electorate, May’s robust, steady administration of this country is exactly what we need as we head into our post-EU future.

    For others, including many on the forums, both parties represent a profound dysfunction. “I don’t think either leader or party is inspiring. In fact, I think they both show how woeful UK politics is at present,” said The Accountancy Lab.

    Fisicx wryly noted that he didn’t watch the recent Paxman interviews of the candidates because “I think all of them are about as much use as a chocolate fireguard”.

    A choice of economic doctrine

    No matter what we think of these men and women, we know one thing for certain: one of them will lead our new ruling party.

    For the business owners of UKBF, the fundamental question is what will happen to the economy. Paul Norman put it bluntly: “I am more interested in the creation of a more predictable, more stable, economic environment in which to operate.”

    Given the two likely winners, we’re presented with two competing economic programmes. Each with its own negatives. Corbyn, unsurprisingly, has been ferocious in his attacks on austerity economics.

    If they win, Labour has promised to open the sluices. In the short term, as Scott-Copywriter points out: “Corbyn's spending spree would have had the effect of increasing economic growth.

    “But unfortunately he had to pair that with a huge increase in corporation tax and the aim of increasing the NMW to £10 per hour.” Corbyn’s policy is predicated on the idea that increased taxes necessarily equals a greater tax intake. That’s not always the case.

    As Scott-Copywriter adds: the UK’s corporation tax income increased from £44bn in 2010-11 to £56bn in 2016-17 despite the rate being slashed by 7%.

    But then there are the lingering issues of the Tory policies, too. The Conservatives have repeatedly promised a surplus. This surplus has yet to appear. Despite their failure to reach surplus, they haven’t yielded on their austerity economics.

    The fact is some households - not all of them - have seen their disposable incomes dip. Female lone parents, for instance, have been one of the hardest hit. The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) charity shows that by 2020, female lone parents are set to lose 26 percent of their disposable income on average.

    Newchodge raised a similar concern: “To my mind, one of the big issues that the Tories' austerity has caused is less spending. If people have barely enough to live on, they will not spend because they can't. If people have millions and millions in the offshore tax havens, they won't spend because there is nothing they need.”

    It’s not quite that simple, though (when is it ever?). Scott-Copywriter, who argues eloquently in favour of a centrist approach, admits “with Labour in charge, GDP growth will be higher than what it currently is under the Tories”.

    “That's to be expected,” he writes, “more people will have more money to spend”.

    “But the downside is that borrowing will go back up, the national debt will rise at a faster pace, and interest rates will go up faster (not great for mortgages or discouraging saving).”

    There’s a lot to consider. But as this debate deepens - Corbyn’s Keynesian economics or May’s neoliberal agenda - there are some who aren’t convinced by either choice. It was UKBF’s rabble rouser, The Byre, that represented this viewpoint.

    “The trickle-down effect does not exist! (This is an old economist's chestnut of fallacies, rather like the lump of labour.) Rich people spending money does very, very little to improve the lot of the poor. However, there is a percolate-up effect, in which a more affluent general population raises the wealth of the whole nation including the rich.

    “It is convenient for the right to believe in the trickle down effect, just as it is convenient for the left to believe that if we tax the rich, we automatically benefit the poor. Both assumptions are based on fallacies, but sadly, politicians are so stupid, that they base entire policies on nonsense like this.”


  2. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 5,026 Likes: 1,997
    If I am to be the resident rabble-rouser - I demand a rabble worth rousing!

    (Waits for a rabble - sound of crickets, a tumbleweed drifts slowly past, followed by - nothing. Oh well.)

    But two things are definite 'givens' -

    1. Wholesale nationalisation leads to economic disaster. We know this as a certainty and we only have to look at what happened after the war to the newly nationalised car, train, transport, steel and coal industries to see the long-term effects of this species of lunacy.

    2. Austerity is even worse! Fortunately, this example of rank stupidity is so destructive, that the negative effects are felt within a few years and it has to be dropped pretty quickly! The government spends less, the economy slows down within months and tax revenues fall faster than the spending cut-backs.

    In viewing the Corbyn v. May tryst, I am reminded of the words of Oscar Wilde, describing fox hunting - "The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible!"

    No doubt the unspeakable and the inedible will both seek to finance their own private stupidities by either printing money or raising taxes - or both! Except that printing money leads to inflation and a fall in the value of the currency and raising taxes slows down the economy. Of the two, printing money is the most dangerous - think of the Weimar Republic!

    (Printing money does not lead to economic collapse if you are Robert Mugabe and any signs of civil unrest and opposition ends suddenly as people mysteriously explode. Zimbabwean politics! Get involved! Dull, it am not!)

    But I am hoping for May to win, so that we can have a 'Hard Brexit' and run the UK economy straight into a brick wall!

    Imagine the glorious chaos, as the thousands of trucks a day deliver goods that suddenly have to be processed in customs sheds we don't have, stored in bonded warehouses that are not there and all inspected by customs officials that do not exist!

    And the same chaos will be happening in Calais, Dublin, Holyhead and Ostend and possibly even in Newry, as the Irish border closes.

    A Hard Brexit and WTO rules? Great - the UK then would be the only country on Planet Earth that is not in some sort of trading bloc. Even the leaders of North Korea (when they are not biting the office carpet, facing a firing squad for not laughing loud enough at Our Dear Leader's jokes, or just disappearing under suspicious circumstances) realised that they need to trade with their neighbours, if they want to survive!

    I like chaos. So come on Theresa, baby! Give me some of that Hard Brexit!

    Give me back my broken night
    My mirrored room, my secret life
    It's lonely here
    There's no one left to torture

    Give me absolute control
    Over every living soul
    And lie beside me, baby
    That's an order

    Give me crack and anal sex
    Take the only tree that's left
    And stuff it up the hole
    In your culture

    Give me back the Berlin wall
    Give me Stalin and St. Paul
    I've seen the future, brother
    It is murder

    Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
    Won't be nothing
    Nothing you can measure anymore
    The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
    Has crossed the threshold and it has overturned
    The order of the soul
    Posted: Jun 6, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    Posts: 948 Likes: 75
    Hard or soft, the views of other states also count.
    Posted: Jun 6, 2017 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  4. atmosbob

    atmosbob UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 2,539 Likes: 579
    I also read this week's Observer. A detail that is not yet mentioned is that our trade with the EU includes many small amounts of goods. Mixed pallet loads are common. A score of senders to a score of importers all on one truck. Nearly a year after the referendum and not one thought has been given to the problems caused by this one small detail.
    Posted: Jun 6, 2017 By: atmosbob Member since: Oct 26, 2009
  5. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 5,026 Likes: 1,997
    And that is just one of many, many such minor details, none of which have been prepared for or thought through.

    I was talking to the former UK correspondent for 'Die Welt' last month and he made the same observation. Dover's cargo terminal handles nearly one thousand tons of containers each and every day. Add to that all the trucks coming over on the ferries. Then add all the containers and trucks using the tunnel. Now add all the freight coming to all the other ports from Holland, Belgium, France - it is about 500m tons a year for both imports and exports.

    Only Rotterdam could handle any kind of sudden demand for customs processing. All the other ports are just not geared up to anything like that capacity. None of the UK ports has the physical capacity and there is nowhere for them to build that capacity, even if the whole nation were to pull together.

    Th few ports that have got the space for building new customs processing sheds (e.g. Grimsby) do not have the harbour space for the ships.

    Then there are all the companies, forwarders, supermarkets, air freight and all the others - suddenly they would have to find staff able to fill in carnets and all the other bumf that goes with customs processing.

    And that is just one small aspect of what has not been thought through.
    Posted: Jun 7, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  6. Francois Badenhorst

    Francois Badenhorst Deputy Editor Staff Member

    Posts: 82 Likes: 16
    You know, I hadn't thought of this at all. So this would be small businesses doing this kind of export/import? The problem being that these mixed loads would be too complex for a customs office to handle?

    This is fascinating. You couldn't possibly put me in touch with this guy? This could be a very interesting story to cover on UKBF.
    Posted: Jun 8, 2017 By: Francois Badenhorst Member since: Aug 25, 2015
  7. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 5,026 Likes: 1,997
    PM sent.
    Posted: Jun 8, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013