THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Stefan Molyneux debates the role of the state
Happy Fourth of July

Of butterflies, wheels and the dangers of feeble jokes

Twitter joke trial – timeline | Law |

The Guardian sets out a helpful timeline of the Paul Chambers Twitter joke fiasco; the emblematic story of a butterfly being broken on a wheel by the pompous, humourless and insufferable henchmen and thugs of the British state. Read it and weep.

There is no money to meet the various obligations the state has undertaken in the name of this and future generations, but there are endless funds to pursue this idiotic  prosecution. Or if there aren't, the Bank of England will quantitatively ease some into an approximation of existence adequate to fool the stupid.

More worryingly, it is clear that my inside source in the judiciary is right to tell me that the ranks of judges were stuffed during the Labour years with politically correct socialist placemen to whom there is nothing wrong - not to mention un-English and disgraceful - in deploying the full majesty of the law to punish mere words. A decent judge would have thrown the case out and flayed the police and prosecutors verbally for wasting his or her time.

The lower ranks of our judiciary  are now an embarrassment to the Common Law, to the nation and to the (trust me, not-easily-embarrassed) legal professions. Let's hope the higher ranks put things to rights today.


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No, his thesis is that taxation should be used to regulate aggregate demand, that it cannot fund government spending - and that we should concentrate on doing what we want to do with government rather than imagining we are constrained by meaningless ratios. His specific suggestion is to reduce payroll taxes.

I strongly reccomend the whole thing.

In fact, I beg you to,


Mark, you over-estimate my ability to comprehend 160 page theses at short notice. Suffice to say that I skimmed the first couple of pages.

His thesis seems to be that government creates money from thin air places it on a spreadsheet then taxes the populace to "create" this money-sounds about right, and is currently being tested to destruction by most western governments. The results are observable, the taxpayers are impoverished and eventually adjust their lifestyles to avoid all taxes. The economic system grinds to a halt with massive deficits and serious social inequalities.

Thats quite a system, sounds very similar to the expansion of home ownership backed by mortgage backed securities that other genii promoted which caused the current depression.

Judging the level of competence shown by your politicians and bankers, and the woeful interest paid for savings I seriously question why anybody would keep their money in a bank in Europe.


james higham

with politically correct socialist placemen to whom there is nothing wrong

And I know one of them and his private life would make a hot novel.


Tom, Sorry, Tom, LDR, Lance... a rose by any other name would surly be as sharp witted ^_^ I meant you. Must be your doing that post about women divorcing for no good reason subconciously confused me.


Left wing v right wing is a silly distraction.

Camoron is as bad as Miliband is as bad as Clegg, Brown,Blair,Wilson or Heath. I am interested in prudent leaders who can balance a budget as well as 1950's housewives used to.

Since you pointed it out, he is wrong, how can more debt be a solution to a debt problem? If that were true Robert Mugabe would be a folk hero worldwide.


Why don't you tell me, at the same time look up national personal indebtedness (credit cards, mortgages, overdrafts)


"Cities can go bankrupt, countries in a currency union might go bankrupt, but countries like Britain, with their own currency can't"-as usual you are talking technicalities, so UK cannot go bankrupt, quite right, there is no Chapter 11 equivalent for countries, however the effect is the same, you default or repudiate debt then nobody wants to lend to you-does that sound like bankruptcy? Your only recourse then is the IMF.

You may consider my solution mad, (I agree that it is madness that brings you to this point of dire decision-making) but really that is irrelevant I have no affect on your future at all, what I am parrotting are the IMF's likely requiremnets based on previous experience


If I was less than clear about bond rates and interest rates I apologize but once again you hang your argument on a technicality, fact is high levels of public debt, increasing deficits, will inexorably result in bond buyers requiring higher rates to offset risk, compare Greece to Germany.

Apparently my comments about considering orphans and widows rather than civil servants and politicians (or the real economy as you think it to be) is disagreeable to you . If I may so it reveals your collectivist mindset.

As to whether austerity has worked, we do not know, it has not really been tried yet, though minor attempts by the Thatcher government did seem to have positive results..


Here is another extreme left winger for you;


What is the national savings?


How do you explain the fact that there is an inverse relationship between the size of government debt and the interest rate paid on it? 
Do you know that Germany has about the same public debt as the UK? That Japan with 200 percent debt has tiny interest rate, that America pays a lower interest rate than ten years ago despite increasing debt, that the same pattern can be seen everywhere?
Cities can go bankrupt, countries in a currency union might go bankrupt, but countries like Britain, with their own currency can't - not alone that, but interest rate payments need not be a problem. 
It is people's hard work which keeps public services running. You are proposing a mad solution where we will all be worse off and people willing to work will not be allowed to, all in order to protect some meaningless ratio - interest rates don't rise with public debt and "downgrades" have no effect on issuers of currency. 
If people wish to save, is there anything we can do to stop this? Will refusing to facilitate his saving make things better? 
Anyway, your attempts to protect savers at the expense of the real economy will fail - is austerity actually working, anywhere?


BTW, debt is now £1,064,492,500,000+

A mere £380,500,000 more since the conversation started.


Suboptimal , here is MY interpretation of the issues, understand there are many options that can achieve the same aims, but basically I am in the camp that thinks you have to start cutting the deficit to zero AND start paying off portions of the debt at the same time-admittedly that is a minority view, for our purposes lets concentrate on just bringing the deficit to zero immediately. Politicians (and others) will snort and say that is unneccessary, I disagree.

Repudiating debt-the problem is that the bailout of banks now sits on UK's books (unlike Iceland) and guarantees have been given, so you do not have the luxury of seperating bank debt from national debt.(lucky bank shareholders, poor taxpayers, foolish politicians). You wish to repudiate all government debt, thats brave, you have just elected to wipe out a huge amount from insurance co's and investment co's bottom lines. Widows and orphans will suffer, smug politicians will congratulate themselves until next election when there will be bloodbath. China might not be too impressed-this could get messy.

Reducing services-if you want to reduce the deficit to avoid increasing bond rates then "something has to give" what is the "something"-welfare? military? EU payments? To get an idea of the enormity of this task see here

You have a shortfall between revenue and spending of £175.3B in 2010, recent govt updates have cut back the prospective revenue growth rate so that number is optimistic in the extreme likely to come in approx. £200B deficit.

Optimistically, repudiate debt interest payments of £42.9B and there is still a shortfall of £175.3-42.9=£132.4B so what do you want to cut NHS health and education? Yes it is really that drastic, but no fool would suggest that, cut all other departments+foreign aid? That does not mean cut the paperclip budget, it means delete those ministries, fire all the employees, sell the furnture and board up the windows and doors, hear the howls from the entitled classes.

Balancing your budget to mid nulab proportions is an option and is very likely the one that will be selected but understand that justs buys you time until the disaster once agains rears it head. Lets just say I am NOT as confident as you are that services can be maintained close to existing levels.

Currency controls-
An example of the UK government in 1966 restricting the amount that citizens could exchange their money into foreign currencies (which might have preserved its value against inflation) There is already a large constituency that believes that the government owns all money, in difficult times this philosophy becomes dangerously real. Desperate times require desperate measures, the Greeks and Italians understand this and have parked their savings in Switzerland and Germany.

Other undesirable consequences-well lets just refer to what has happened in the UK in the last fifty years, Currency devaluation, wage and price controls, restricted work-week, energy rationing, petrol rationing, need I go on? Some of these were directly attributable to union activism but the root causes were a desire to protect against hyper-inflation, caused (arguably) by excessive government expenditure.

What I was trying to explain to Mark is that there are real consequences to decisions, if you and he want to repudiate all debt understand there are consequences that are likely to rough and brutish. The option of getting expenditure under control will also be extremely difficult and involve pain. Perhaps the real question is, who should suffer the widows and orphans or the civil servants and politicians?

Suboptimal Planet

"You can repudiate it (which might not be such a bad idea-like Iceland)"

I'm in favour of outright repudiation of all government debt.

AFAIAA, Icleand didn't do this, they just refused to take on additional debt in order to bail out their banks.

"but you have to understand that you will then need to close schools, reduce the police force and fire services"

I'm not convinced by this either.

To balance our budget all we would need to do is roll spending back in real terms to the early/mid New Labour years.

Most of the NuLab expansion was bureaucratic, and I'm sure the civil service wasn't lean and efficient before they came to power, so I'm confident that we could preserve or even improve front line services while rolling back spending.

"have restrictions on how much money you can take on vacation and many other undesirable consequences"

Can you explain why currency restrictions would be a necessary consequence of default, and what the "other undesirable consequences" would be?


Keep on believing in the goodwill of government, you may yet be reliant on them for food stamps like much of the population of the US.

"People are lending to some reliable and prudent governments at negative interest rates"- you are correct, why do you think they do not extend that confidence to Greece, Italy, Spain, UK? Perhaps there is a hint there, what do you say?


So in the course of a day you have have moved from your generation repudiating all debt, to accepting you "might owe" the debt.

All the rest of the reply is nonsense, and if you wish to regard the debt as "nothing" then that "nothing" is all that is currently keeping your social services running. You can repudiate it (which might not be such a bad idea-like Iceland) but you have to understand that you will then need to close schools, reduce the police force and fire services, have restrictions on how much money you can take on vacation and many other undesirable consequences. Google Stockton Calif, Vallejo Calif, Detroit and read what happens when your type of thinking is practised. Maybe you literally need to see the lights go out and the work-week shortened to 3 days-a-week (as they did in the UK in the 1970's) to understand.

BTW UK debt is now £1,064,111,000,000+, that tells me (and the money lenders keeping your services running) quite a lot about government incompetence, lack of industrial output, welfare reliance, and why future loans are going to cost more.


For every borrower there must be a lender - in the end it nets to zero. The only way the debt of society as a whole (which equals savings) can have an effect on the consumption of future generations is if its existence somehow reduces real production/investment.
Obviously the younger might owe the debt to the older generation, we might see a movement of real wealth from poor to young - children working so that their parents might retire? Do we have any choice but to support our ageing parents?
The debt itself tells us nothing.

The debt itself tells us nothing.


Hahahaaa, thats right Mark your generation is too precious to pay off the debt, they will give you a "Mark cannot pay his debt today, he is fishing" ticket, and everything will be fine.


Say what?! Debt is defined as an obligation to pay in the future. You are just winding us all up now, surely?


OK, as long as we recognise at future generations will not be paying for government debt.


In my opinion, there is absolutely no way the government will allow depositors at a high street bank to lose their money in nominal terms, though we may have it inflated away (in which case keeping it under the bed will be even worse). The 80000 guarantee is meaningless - are you really telling me the government will allow a business to lose millions through no fault of their own? Just isn't going to happen.
Obviously in the long term, I know the government wants to seperate the high risk casino from the high street utility bank - seems like a good idea. Basic banking services should be heavily regulated utilities.

People are lending to governments at negative real return at the moment. How is that a problem for the government? It is a problem for investors because it means there are no good investment opportunities.


If a government borrows money today for current, not capital, expenditure on terms that the debt is payable, probably having been repeatedly refinanced, during the lifetime of taxpayers yet unborn (or alive but neither voting nor paying taxes) then mine seems a reasonable way to express it.

On your other point, "there is no new value to be represented by money, so any new money will merely dilute the current stock" might be a more accurate statement, but - again - outside academia I think it's a reasonable shorthand to express it as I did.


That's the second time you've called me James. Are you lost, Moggsy? This is The Last Ditch, not Nourishing Obscurity. B^)


It was apparent some years ago that the judiciary had been politicised. It is, however, interesting that you have confirmation of this.
The judges currently in office are of the Nazi sort to whom the dignity of the law (not to mention their own) overrides common sense. I recall Justice Moses suggesting that juries should play a much smaller role in trials-no doubt because they are not "the right sort". The reverse, of course, is the truth and it is the jury which should be paramount-the judge is just the civil servant there to guide them.
Leveson is of that ilk and we can expect some extremely repressive proposals from him.


Anyone who has standard English as their first language would have to have something wrong with them to think "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" was menacing or serious.


James, I think you have "some hope" and "no hope" like they say with the judges.

Mark, I read your stuff and all I get out of it is "________" it makes that little sense. Nice that Cascadian is being patient with you and explaining things one more time.


Mark...£1,063,186,800,000+ debt and rising every second, no credible plan to reduce it, and I predict an imminent credit downgrade (which will cost you more to service the debt). Banks teetering, I should withdraw your cash if I were you.

I know you have a strange concept of money, but the people that you owe this debt to, do not, they expect repayment in currency-if you default they lend no more and you need to start cutting government services drastically.

Ignore reality and it will be extremely painful.

Tom-Sorry, like many other words in the English dictionary has taken on a strange meaning only applicable to a certain level of the apparatchik, sorry works when explaining poor decisions like starting wars, allowing children in care to be murdered or gross fiscal malfeasance. It does not work for plebs making ridiculous jokes that they are in no position to carry out, the plebs must experience the full force of the "law". It is time for the plebs to arm themselves with shotguns and express a willingnesss to use them on the officers of the "law". It worked at Bunker Hill.


How is it possible for fuure generations to pay for current spending, except where that spending results in reduced investment?
"There is no money" - ridiculous. You might say "there is no more productive capacity" but in this case, that would be untrue.

Quantative easing won't have much effect unless there is a demand for loans

Did you see my comment on the other post?

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