Monday, March 28, 2011

Some decisions will have to be taken

We are to have a ring of steel for the royal wedding in a month's time. Goody-goody. Then again, what else can one expect when a few hundred spoilt brats, calling themselves anarchists can destroy quite so much property, terrorize people who are going about their business, in fact, running businesses that bring in the money badly needed by this country? In the meantime, the Met is going through its usual agonizing self-analysis. Did they know this was going to happen and when did they know it? Why did they not warn the likes of Fortnum and Mason about the impending occupation? And so on, and so on. The only cheerful aspect of it all is that there is a good deal of agonizing among those who were on that march and those who organized it. Should they support the idiotic and self-indulgent UK Uncut and other suchlike juvenile manifestations or should they actually stick to the point they were trying to make, which is that any cut in the public sector, however miniscule will reduce this country to the lowest depths of Dickensian hell? There is no possibility of them actually understanding basic economic facts, I fear. Meanwhile, Chris Blackhurst of the Evening Standard has written a couple of excellent articles. In one he doubts that "Britain is open for business" if business is going to be treated the way it was on Saturday.

The message from business after these latest riots is clear and unequivocal: the authorities must get a grip. That comes not just from those directly affected by the violence - though the voice of one of them shook with anger when I spoke to him yesterday - but from all commerce.

There is already sentiment enough that somehow in this country we're anti-business. Standing back and letting this happen reinforces the case. Whatever the argument about tax avoidance - and it is worth remembering that avoidance is entirely legal, evasion is not - the proper forum for the debate is not in Oxford Street or Piccadilly, with thugs and their sticks and cans of spray paint in attendance.

There is a feeling in the business community that the Government's response was not as condemnatory as it could have been. And bosses are not so much concerned by the loss of earnings or damage to their property - they can cope with that; what most bothers them is the trauma suffered by their staff.

Let's face it, the louts who are so upset about tax avoidance and the possible effect that might have on the "wretched of the eart" are not going to be bothered by the trauma suffered by hard-working staff. Mr Blackhurst also has a go at Miliband minor and his ridiculous pretence that people demonstrating, however peacefully and legitimately, for their salaries and pensions are, to be compared in any way with those who had fought for civil rights and against apartheid. (Or for some kind of basic freedom in Egypt or China.)

That would have been fine, Ed. Except Saturday was not caused by a revolt against discrimination but the result of squandering of the public finances by your Labour predecessors.

Not only is it not in the same league, but the very thing of which you were complaining was brought about by your party and - as a former minister in the Labour Government - your colleagues. You acknowledged as much when you said "some cuts" were necessary to balance the books.

Because he is not in power, Miliband does not have to spell out those measures. He can leave it to others to take tough decisions, hoping that every move they make bolsters his standing in the polls.

He said: "David Cameron, you wanted to create the Big Society - this is the Big Society."

Not true, Ed. Of the private sector that actually creates the wealth in this country, there was neither sight nor sound.

Of course, up the road from Hyde Park, businesses were being trashed - and not just the ones that arrange their tax affairs perfectly legally to minimise payments. Anything marked "profit-making" was fair game for the braying mob. "Class War" they sprayed on windows and doorways, while less than a mile away, Ed Miliband (son of an academic, Oxford University and virtually his entire career at the coalface of the Westminster political village) was rousing the faithful.

Apart from the academic parentage the same can be said about the Conservative and Lib-Dim leadership. No wonder business is feeling beleaguered.


  1. To be honest, all I can see is a young couple's wedding being spoilt by idiots, not nice.

    As for Labour supporters, they really are a bunch of thicko's aren't they? Do they have any concept of where the money comes from?

  2. It was in a way good to see what kind of people will be working as 'reasearchers' and personal assistants for ministers next time Labour are in power.

    The worrrying thing is the move to oligsrtchic collectivism around the free world.

  3. I agree - it is about more than just cuts. We need to re-balance or social and economic system and people's thinking from the public sector to the wealth-creating private. On a private forum I pointed out that tax avoidance is very different from tax evasion and is, merely, people minimizing legitimately their tax bill. Those of us who buy ISAs in Britain do the same. I was told that it may legal but it was immoral. Because, apparently, the money we earn belongs to the state. A lot of people think like that. Scary.