missing: 198 middle-aged men

I am beginning to think I was a little harsh on Simon Heffer yesterday. After all, it’s got to be tough; not only has the entire structure of policies, assumptions, and style he’s devoted his entire working life to just been demonstrated to be utter drivel, but who else is even trying?

Seriously. I’m sure there used to be a Conservative Party somewhere around here. You know – blue rinses, die hards, wets, dries, One Nation, Policy Exchange, Eurosceptics, backwoodsmen, Notting Hill set, John Redwood. That lot. Hey, only last week, they were still trying to save the Bradford & Bingley with magic central bank ponies. But now? Not a peep.

In fact, you’ll find far better commentary on the crisis from the Daily Mash than you will from anyone even vaguely on the Right. The field has been left entirely to the professional economists, and the broadest possible Left.

But it’s not just that; it’s the whole of world conservatism. The US Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Bank and the Fund, the Republican Party – none have the least credibility.Who now remembers when the IMF was feared by all right-thinking people? If you want to know about the world economy, you ask some random blogger called “Tanta”; if you want practical advice you ask Tom Scholar of HM Treasury and, well, Gordon Brown, who is suddenly basking in international respect. If you want cash you ask the Bank of Japan. And we’re asking the Afghan government for assurances over the fate of POWs we might hand over to them….assurances that the Afghans won’t let the Americans have them, because we don’t trust them not to commit a war crime.

Again, the Daily Mash is more cogent than the global conservative movement:

Emma Bradford, an office manager from Luton, said: “Whenever things were going well there was always this voice in the back of my mind saying, ‘make the most of it because sooner or later it’s all going to be completely fucked by some bastard Americans’.

“I just assumed I’d be horribly maimed as a knock-on from one of their insane, catastrophic wars, but instead they have, in the most beautifully co-ordinated fashion, demolished the system that provides me with a job, a home and the vague hope that life may not an elaborate waste of time. I’d applaud them, if only I wasn’t so weak from all the nauseating terror.”

I mean, what do you do as a British Tory if you can’t credibly speak for the City, the Landed Interest, or the Americans? Perhaps you do what Greasy Phil Hammond just did:

“This accelerating decline in house prices will inevitably lead to wider negative equity and more repossessions .”

In other news, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury and one-man real estate lobby said that heat flows from a hotter to a cooler body, 2+2=4, and that he is a pathetic excuse for a politician who doesn’t deserve to lick the boots of the civil servants at his putative department who are putting this lot back together.

I can’t be the only one who’s noticed that Brown’s “national economic council” is built exactly on the traditional civil service handbook for a war cabinet, nor that it looks a lot less like a gimmick now than the week it was born. Nor that spotting the possible use of ATCSA2001 to recover Landsbanki UK assets is just the kind of thing we pay them for. Bank bailouts: expensive. Depression: worse. The Home Civil Service: priceless.


  1. dan

    ooooooooo I don’t know about that. Worstall has been noisily completely misunderstanding the problem with credit default swaps, claiming that anything that has ever been said about the role of money in macroeconomics originated with Friedman, advocating arbitrary fiscal rules and opposing further financial regulations on the grounds that some school or another has stopped putting Marmite on toast. I only wish I was making the last one up.




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