Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Brown Doctrine: A How-To Guide

10. Fail to prevail in Leadership Contest. Tell anyone who'll listen the Chancellor of the Exchequer is the most important job in the world. Piss in Mandelson's and Campbell's drinking water at every opp.

9. Use Smoke and Mirrors (Service Cuts, Outsourcing, partial privatizations, PFIs etc) to make budget look better than it is. Take credit for global economic happenstance and serendipity.

8. Support transfer of Monopolies from public ownership to private ownership leading to real losses in service and markedly higher prices.

7. Pursue beggar-thy-neighbor tax policies vs. continental "friends" (admittedly leading to Chelsky football pre-eminence)

6. Pursue beggar-thy-neighbor regulatory policies vs. other financial centres (England rules! Franco-Germanism Sucks!!)
5.5 Encourage Stealth invasion of France via Ryannair and EasyJet.

5. Encourage and Stoke Biggest Housing Bubble in the World (Yay!! Isn't this grrreat!?!? More Champers greenbelt invasion all around)

4. Encourage and Stoke Biggest Shadow-banking, Hedge Fund, Private Equity bubbles leading [temporarily] to raging bulls in
the market for leased Aston-Martins, and East-European call-girls. (New Labour: "Your welcome....send cheques here...)

3. Express Bewilderment and Derision at the mention that anything is wrong. (Bubble? What bubble...?!?)

2. Ignore the "POP!!" and Subsequent Loud Hissing. (Our banks our just fine thankyouverymuch)

1. X-Broon-Man To The Rescue: ("ahm gannae teck the lead on this - ah told yah so's fer ever this was gannae blow" - "Jings! 'ave ah gottae do evrythin' by me bloomin' self?")


Macro Man said...

Cassie, you've left out the most egregious (for a market practitioner) of them all:

1) In a bear market for gold, announce that you've got 500 tons to sell before you've managed to shift a single ingot. 2) Watch the price collapse. 3) Sell all your gold at 20 year lows 4) Over the next decade, watch gold rise fourfold.

Gordon has compared himself to Churchill....he forgot to mention that that is Churchill the dog (in the adverts), not the statesman....

"Cassandra" said...

Thanks for reminding me of that MM. It was indeed an epically bad trade - presumably why he foresaked the City in favor of politics in the first place.

Perhaps, in keeping with his twisted logic, he was trying to generate a tax-loss for the state to carry-forward against errrr ummmm ... itsef?!?!?

The thing is, if you google GB for images, one will see that he really is quite is quite funny, amusing and entertaining - something lost by his overly-taciturn media image...

Blissex said...

90% of this is a description of Thatcher and Blair too.

Ah, in the list of dubious policies that have been pursued in most OECD countries you have also omitted controlling labour costs with attacks on the unions and with large scale immigration, and the constant drive to massage all sorts of statistics, not just the PSBR.

While I also think that point 9 (smoke and mirrors) was shameful, it was a strategy by all OECD governments to reduce the power of the bond market to strangle "growth" policies, by fooling bond market participants that public debt was under control. But then perhaps the bond market was right :-).

The ostensible economic policy that Brown has pursued (points 9 to 2) has been "the City consensus", and even more so "the Washington consensus".

Landes quotes Voltaire as saying:

«What has made England powerful is the fact that from the time of Elizabeth, all parties have agreed on the necessity of favoring commerce. The same parliament that had the king beheaded was busy with overseas trading posts as though nothing were happening. The blood of Charles I was still steaming when this parliament, composed almost entirely of fanatics, passed the Navigation Act of 1650.»

In other words Brown cannot govern against the national (and international) consensus of the elites, unless the populace support him, and the populace (by which I mean the petty bourgeousie, the narrowly self-interested middle class voters) regarded points 9-2 above as the best thing ever!

As to being constrained by the elite consensus, I was both moved and saddened when Brown stated, as he was about to get the PM role, that the establishment should not fear him because he had been thoroughly corrupted and his ideals debased by decades in London.

As to that however Brown has a great achievement: that even if corrupted, he has still tried to pursue in a covert way policies friendly to the poor and the low paid. With misguided and complicated, subterfuges, but still with excellent outcomes.

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