THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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The state can do no wrong

The View From….2007

The View From…Moscow at Conservatives Abroad : The View From….

The past is another country. Back in 2007, living in Moscow, I was persuaded to contribute the linked piece to the Conservatives Abroad website. I guess I had still not fully accepted at that point that I was no longer a Conservative. I had pretty much nailed where the country was going, however;

The only reason Britain’s levels of taxation (now higher than Germany’s) are not bringing the economy to a halt, is frothy unsustainable growth driven by rising consumer debt. British consumers owe more than all other Europeans combined. They owe more than the total sovereign debt of Africa and South America. Economic growth depends on them borrowing more. And this is now called “prudence”.

Given how clearly I perceived the problem, I was still foolish however. I did not have the foresight to sell my house, cash in my pension savings and buy gold. I simply did not anticipate the breathtaking effrontery with which democratic governments, egged on by a decisive bloc of voters facing well-deserved beggary, would be prepared to pillage the prudent to buy votes. Yet I should have done, for I had seen it happen before.

Years ago, when I was a hard-working young family man of limited means and many outgoings, my wife and I lived in the other half of a semi-detached house from a retired industrialist and his wife. They were a lovely old couple and charming neighbours. Labour's hyper-inflation of the Denis Healey/IMF bailiffs era had reduced them from comfortably living on the interest from their life savings to genteel poverty on devalued and dwindling capital. This was the same inflation that wiped out the mortgages of my parents' generation, allowing them to pay for good houses with bad money.

My neighbours' life of work had been plundered to pay off others' debts. It was trans-generational piracy. Little did I know, foolishly confident as I was in the (then) political success of the doctrine of monetarism, that I was looking at my own fate. Yet "quantitative easing" is nothing but a fancy name for such inflationary policies and the gods of the marketplace will not be fooled by euphemism.

As the virtual printing presses continue metaphorically to hum on both sides of the Atlantic (and as mounting government debts increase the temptation to pay the moneylenders back in bad coin) have I once more seen the future?