The Church of St Andrew Undershaft (1532) with the Swiss Re Building (the Gherkin) (2003) behind in St Mary Axe in the City of London
I was interested by this interview with Daniel Hannan. I thought it would be good to link to it here from Calling England’s blog.
Dan Hannan is an interesting man, with a formidable brain and I have respect for what he says. I particularly enjoyed his speech in the European Parliament when, in front of the Prime Minister, he told him like it was, or at least like he saw it with no holds barred. Can you imagine how angry and humiliated Brown must have been at that?
But, I would have to say first off that I think he was wrong in his first assertion that socialist government always ends up like this. It’s only in Britain it always ends like that. Social Democracy has been pretty successful elsewhere in Europe.
He’s right, of course, about the bankers in that they have us over a barrel. They can do whatever they want and we can't do a damned thing. If they break the banks again next year, then we will have to bail them out again. These banks are far too big to go bust, and we need the money that they generate. If we tax them they can go to Singapore, Tokyo, Switzerland or wherever, lock stock and barrel. They can, and according to some, they will. The City will be left with a load of very desirable property, heading for dereliction. And we have built an economy with huge dependence on Financial Services.
So, here we are over this barrel. I’m interested in how we pay off the money we had to borrow to bail them out the first times. I accept that my understanding of economics is as meagre and naive as was Mrs Thatcher’s when she told us that she would run the country like she ran her household. So, I’m just asking how we do it. The next government will have to face this problem, and I imagine that they will not be in favour of a massive tax on wealth earners.
The people who have none of this global freedom of movement are the poor and the moderately off.... They haven’t got us over a barrel. Are we going to tax them more, reduce their pensions? They are nice easy targets, and in apathetic Britain they will probably put up with it, turn their heating down, eat less, and stop buying treats and moan a lot.
If we cut public spending, then we will have more unemployment, a lot of the moderately off will join the poor. The “economically inactive” figure is already at around 8 million. That’s costing a huge amount in welfare benefits, but it also causes considerable social problems: drugs, drunkenness, crime, prostitution, derelict shopping and town centres. Look at what happened in the industrial belt of Scotland when heavy industry was closed down in the 80s. Where will we find 8 million plus private sector jobs?