September 7th, 2011

MPs Take the Can Back

You wait for ages for a good letter in the FT and suddenly two come along at once. It’s not just the eminent economists telling it like it is about the 50p tax rate this morning, but also another healthy dose of reality from the CEO of brokers Tullett Prebon, Terry Smith:

“To the ordinary person in the street, the idea that we can rescue ourselves from a crisis caused by excessive borrowing by borrowing even more must seem mad. In this respect they are possessed of far more common sense than those who are currently advocating just such a course of action and purport to be our leaders… The first step in rectifying this situation should be to make a clear and unambiguous statement about the actual debt the UK is carrying.”

Once messy public sector pensions, PFI and banking guarantees are taken into account, Smith believes out debt to be £3,589,000,000,000. MPs are reporting that their very own can arrived in the post this morning from Smith.  To keep on kicking:

Guido is amused…


  1. 1
  2. 2
    Dudley Zoo says:

    Gordon Brown is still a wanker

  3. 3
    Afghanistan Banana Stand says:

    Never mind kicking a can – how about kicking McRuin down the road.

  4. 4
    Glyn H says:

    Tories should push this for all it is worth; and what was the same figure in 1997?

  5. 5
    IED Dector man says:

    Thumbs up.

  6. 6
    Dick the Prick says:

    It would be funny if there was anyone in government who gave a shit but they couldn’t give a flying fuck

  7. 7
    pootle says:

    why would you employ anybody directly when as soon as they walk through the door you have so many obligations to them as an employer?

    The compliance cost is a real cost, as real as raw materials

  8. 8
    Sophie says:

    And still pro EUSSR Heathite David Cameron will not stop the massive fraud committed against the Brtitish taxpayers by his dear colleagues in the Fourth Reich.

    When will the real Conservative Party move against him?

    He could not win a majority agaisnt Mcmental – with grassroots Tories now sick to death of hug a hoodie Cameroon liberalism he will get even fewer votes next time – if he is at the helm.

    If rusty is Tory leader at the next GE then be prepared for Red Ed as PM – I am not the only Conservative who will be voting UKIP at every opportunity until the two faced duplicitous liar & fruad Cameron is gone – & his cabal of neo liberals too.

    Blue Labour out.

  9. 9
    Call me Dave - eco loony and subsidy junkie says:

    What was the carbon footprint of producing so many wasteful empty cans?

  10. 10
    Backwoodsman says:

    Whats the Rupert Murdoch angle on this story ?

  11. 11
    Alex says:

    £3,589,000,000,000 is probably a little on the high side. I would say it was closer to £3,000,000,000. I would be interested to see Terry Smith (great man)’s calculations. Whatever it is it is still a big number.

  12. 12
    Sophie says:


  13. 13
    Sophie says:

    Blue Labour?

  14. 14
    william says:

    Not many people set up a new unit fund with low charges and put £25 m of their own money in.

  15. 15
    Sir William Waad says:

    I think you missed a 000 there. Three billion quid is the deficit for about a week.

    No nation ever taxed its way to prosperity or borrowed its way to solvency.

  16. 16
    rt. hon. Dave Cameron MP (Likud) says:

    Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! The seasonally adusted price of rent boys fell 1.2% in August, against expectations of -0.2%. Gideon, Alan Ducan, David Laws and I are having a crafty circle jerk to celebrate! Expect the boss-eyed bogtrotter will be delighted too.

  17. 17
    Grumpy Old Man says:

    A lot less than jetting to Canapes in Cancun or starting a war in the ME.

  18. 18
    bergen says:

    That’s around £60k for every man ,woman and child in the country-or nigh on a quarter of a million for each four person household.

  19. 19
    boss-eyed bogtrotter says:

    oy vey! I mean, feck off!

  20. 20
    Loungelizard says:

    Hancock and Zahawi have it wrong….More girls on the trading floor would increase Bum and Bust, a very basic law of economics!

  21. 21
    Steve Miliband says:

    Milton Keynes is wrong on so many levels

  22. 22
    AC1 says:

    All that extra plant-food will make 650 tomatoes ripen 1 day earlier and use 50 liters less water.

  23. 23
    Grumpy Old Man says:

    That didn’t stop Gordo, O’ Bummer, Gillard and the EU from trying. According to Blinky Ed, it hasn’t worked ‘cos we havn’t been doing it hard enough.

  24. 24
    Gawd Help Us says:

    Unfortunately it doesn’t take account of the fact that the people who “purport to be our leaders” don’t actually give a shit but are only there for the ride on the train.

  25. 25
    AC1 says:

    “We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. ”
    Winston Churchill

  26. 26
    Dick the Prick says:

    My Somali neighbours owe a few million, then.

  27. 27
    Grumpy Old Man says:

    Wasn’t it a woman who came up with the idea of bundling all those toxic mortgages together and selling them as an asset?

  28. 28
    AC1 says:

    So just a little less than the average house debt….

    High house prices (i.e. Low house affordability) makes you think you’re richer when you’re really poorer.

  29. 29
    Anonymus says:

    Tomato ripening is not controlled by CO2.

    Why are you concerned about saving water?

  30. 30
    jgm2 says:

    Quite so. I’m of the opinion that the bravest (or most stupid) people in the UK are not firemen or police officers but anybody nuts enough to actually start up a business and employ somebody else.

    Imagine suddenly being on the hook and responsible for every idiot thing they might get up to. Or not do. Or refuse to do. And then if you realise you’ve made a mistake hiring them, find that you cannot now get rid of ‘em without the threat of racism or sexism or some other fucking -ism.

    Plus VAT-this, P46-him, CT-that, IR35 t’other, h&S, compliance-this, licence-that, insure this, submit-that and on and on…

    No wonder the UK is fucked.

  31. 31

    Depends on how much unfunded pensions obligation you take into account. You could just as easily calculate it to be £7tn. (BTW Your estimate is underexpressed by 1000x)

  32. 32
  33. 33
    AC1 says:

    It’s not gender it’s basic maths.

    The regulator pushed reserves to zero, and created a commons in the credit market.
    This created the standard tragedy of the commons whereby everyone wanted the most debt.
    Mass Systematic Debt pushed interest yields down, eventually to below the real risk rate.
    From there systematic bank default is inevitable.

  34. 34
    James says:


    The problem was actually caused by excessive private sector debt and asset price bubbles built up under the last Labour government, egged on by Gordon “no more boom and bust” Brown and Labour’s bankster fraudster friends.

    I wish political commentators would understand the difference between public and private debt.

    Given that there is now excess public and private debt and both are deleveraging, and our export markets have also dried up, it is very difficult to see where any economic recovery is coming from.

    50% income tax, while not good, is completely irrelevant to our main problems which is reforming and cleaning up the banking sector and writing down bad debt. However the quality of political debt on both left and right is so poor I’m not sure we have the political will to do what is necessary.


  35. 35
    MrAngry61 says:

    Excellent letter, surprised that the pinko Pink’un printed it.

    Loved the barbs at Martin Wolf, Balls, Obama etc – and the tin can prop was class. Even the reptiles might remember that in their Post In trays.

  36. 36
    Tell it like it really is says:

    This is the best and clearest resume I have seen so far of what the present dire financial situation of this country is.

    As far as soaking the rich is concerned, do tell, Limp Ds, when was the last time you saw a poor person creating jobs and employing people?

  37. 37
    Politics for cretins says:

    It’s only those claiming benefits who are actually keeping the country afloat by washing their incomes through the system.

  38. 38
    Fat Controller says:

    Time to pull the emergency cord and chuck the freekloading MPs off.

  39. 39
    Tax Payer says:

    Our leaders know exactly what is hapening in the economy.

    Unfortunately, they have neither the balls nor the wit to sort it out.

  40. 40
    AC1 says:

    Increased CO2 makes plants grow faster and also use less water.

    BTW 97.265% of statistic are made up, however the above is true.

  41. 41
    MrAngry61 says:

    But it is temperature related. Just the waste heat from the Storm Shadows that the RAF dropped should make the Indian Help crop ripen faster

  42. 42
    Wheels of industry says:

    If could also be claimed that if it weren’t for all the forged blue disabled badges out there there would be very few deliveries to essential businesses going on at all these days

  43. 43
    MrAngry61 says:


    “if two wrongs don’t make a right, try three”

    Richard Nixon (according to the letter)

  44. 44
    Anonymus says:

    The point was that irrational over risky behaviour causes the bust.
    “everyone wanted the most debt” is the step that would have been prevented by a more sober and reflective behaviour.

    On the other hand some sort of absolute determinism like you show there, as if you fully understand economics as if it was a simple mechanical implement, is a bit of a boy thing.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    AC1 says:

    “We contend that for a nation to borrow itself into out of debt is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. ”

  47. 47
    Anonymus says:

    CO2 is rarely the limiting factor in plant growth. You’d be better off sticking to bullshit.

    I bet you haven’t actually paid attention to any sort of mathematical model for that, and are quite content to see a picture of a seedling grown in ridiculously high %s of it.

    Again, why should you be concerned about saving water?

  48. 48
    Rip van Wrinkle says:

    It’s called ‘progressive’. It’s what Fabian’s do. Destroy the private sector. Think it’s not done on purpose?

  49. 49
    Grumpy Old Man says:

    Ah! So the root cause of our troubles was not naked greed by amoral bankers, but the irrisistable power of immutable market forces? Fred the Shred and Salvator Mundi as victims is an idea that takes some getting used to.

  50. 50
    David Laws Lib Dem fiddler says:

    Guido, why can’t MPs use the olympic village accommodation instead of having second homes and all the expenses related to them? A question posed to me by a child. At the moment I can’t think of a good reason why they should not- except self serving greed etc etc.

  51. 51
    Tim Vine says:

    Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.

  52. 52
    Grumpy Old Man says:

    Balls doesn’t have the wit to sort it out, either.

  53. 53
    Anonymous says:

    and so many roundabouts

  54. 54
    Tax Payer says:

    No – he’s (she’s?) saying that the conditions were created whereby greedy people could thrive.

    If I leave my garage open, it will be robbed eventually. Both myself and the thief have responsibility for that.

  55. 55
    AC1 says:

    No it wouldn’t have. The credit market turned into a commons. I suppose as a girl; maths, logic and consequences are beyond your abilities.

  56. 56
    AC1 says:

    I’m saying
    The government loved all that tax that expanding credit caused, even if it wasn’t in taxpayers interests….

  57. 57
    Road Rage says:

    Beware of circular arguments

  58. 58
    Anonymus says:

    zero marks for comprehension.
    I’m male, just not as far up the autism specrtum as you are.

    And what the fuck is “credit market turned into a commons” supposed to mean. It didn’t suddlenly change from one thing to another.

    And if risks and interest rates were the wrong way round, how long did that last. Again, it doesn’t change from one thing to another because noone has calculated the risks that accurately. its something that just isnt possible.

    Theres incertainty. And if you can’t cope with levels of incertainty that makes you sound like gordon brown.

  59. 59
    Brownites says:

    There is no fucking deficit Ok?
    If you say that word again we will fucking deck you OK?
    C*nts, the lot of you. We know what we are doing so just fuck off.

  60. 60
    imnumbervi says:

    Perhaps but there’s probably a benefit form for that.

  61. 61
    nadine suckmeoff says:

    “self serving greed etc etc” – got it in one

  62. 62
    The BBC's unofficial spokesperson says:

    You heard the man.

  63. 63
    nadine suckmeoff says:

    what goes around comes around

  64. 64
    Hugh Janus says:

    You know that, I know that, we all know that – except those incompetent prats in NuLiebour and the Limp Dumbs.

  65. 65
    Voice of Reason says:

    The CBI and wealthy individuals keep requesting the scrapping of the 50% tax rate saying we need these people to ceate jobs etc. The problem is that there are far too many wealthy people that would benefit from a reduction who don’t create any jobs at all – civil servants, judges, celebrities – especially BBC celebs – bankers, footballers, local authority executives, hospital managers (who are actually reducing jobs!) etc.

    They should keep the 50% tax for all those rich people earning over £150,000 but offer substantial reimbursements to those true business people and entrepreneurs who actually create jobs.

  66. 66
    Voice of Reason says:

    Weird. Please explain that.

  67. 67
    Hugh Janus says:

    “No – he’s (she’s?) saying that the conditions were created whereby greedy people could thrive.”

    Unfortunately most of them still do, if the obscene salaries paid to senior local government and quango staff (to name just several hundred) is any guide. Despite all its grand promises, this government has yet to really get stuck in, as so many of us are crying out for them to do.

  68. 68
    Gordon the Tax dodger says:

    I see Gordon is still dodging the 50p tax rate by syphoning all his non MP earnings into his own limited company, that he set up when he was prised out of Downing street.

  69. 69
    eric says:

    There’s no need to forge them.

  70. 70
    Penfold says:

    Well, well.
    Politicians have never allowed reality to interfere with their experimentations before, and as Gordo and NuLab have explained for the last 13 years, its investment not expenditure.
    Not that we’re ever going to see any dividends from this investment of course, so I do wish Terry all the best with this, but suspect that our politicoes will look askance and consider him some sort of weirdo.

    Balls in the meantime is probably frothing at the mouth, straining against the chains and ready to spout his usual meaningless drivel in support of the anti status quo.

  71. 71
    Anonymous says:

    As Maggie discovered with that retired computer planner, when they were plotting” Keep the light Burning” ,when she was plotting to help the Photo shop Open, by getting the green welly mob to post the photos for him by hand, all over illegals wanting more pay ,some one must remember THAT.. well they discovered it was” not Gov. job to provide people Work” so they Didn’t ,and that led to the Miners strike

  72. 72
    Labour: Still and always the nasty party says:

    After a few exchanges on twitter with die hard Labour supporters, activists and party members, I can say I’ve had a very grisly glimpse of their murky and grubby mindset. They truly are the nasty party. They have no conscience because they possess the same mentality of a sociopath, which is: whatever we do is ok because we’re the ones doing it, and it’s only wrong if others do it. That is why Labour supporters still worship Tony Blair despite the fact he’s a criminal of global proportions. I’ll say this though. I do admire their ingenuity in successfully hoodwinking millions of northern working class idiots into believing they still give a fuck about them. They sit at home calling the Tories baby eating monsters, while the Labour top brass quaff champagne in their second homes with the Islington set.

  73. 73
    Mike Hunt says:

    and even worse is hiring a woman of child-bearing age. Anyone who does this is certifiable.

  74. 74

    Economic Terrorists are the Government. Couldn’t run a corner shop never mind a country. Cut the TAX take and let us get back to work. If any Political Twonk is reading this. CUT TAX. Fix the economy, stop the Fraud and respect the Rule of LAW. Something you can all do to get us back to work. You wont have a choice but it will be better now than Later.

  75. 75
    AC1 says:

    That’ll be why people with greenhouses go to great pains to increase the amount of CO2 in them, and commercial growers station them next to power stations for the CO2, waste heat and night power for lights.

    Give it up, you’re talking crap (as an anonymong must do) about CO2, and about economics. Best return to your knitting.

  76. 76
    Anonymous says:

    Keep on spending & let’s hide as much as we can from the general public, that was & is the Labour mantra ! The train has well & buffers but the Unions, Milibandwagon & Blinky haven’t noticed yet!

  77. 77
    AC1 says:

    I’m saying a banking sytem with high reserves is controlled, and a credit market without reserves is a commons.

    It’s not difficult to understand. Most here do. It seems only anonymongs in touch with their female side have problems.

    Even the BASEL 3 people understand what they did wrong. The first thing they did was go for 8% reserves.

  78. 78
    Fiscal Gerrymandering says:

    Things cannot stay as they are

    We have a choice

    We can take the Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown route of merging all our debts, assets and national sovereinty together so the people who got into this mess can assume omnipotent powers (that we could never reverse) to make it all better.


    We stop financing Europe, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and start looking after our own people with the very limited resources we have left.

    Bleeding heart/iron fist authoritarianism or pragmatic allocation of actual resources?

    make your choice

  79. 79
    Fiscal Gerrymandering says:

    Currency Wars, Trade and the Consuming Crisis of Capitalism

  80. 80
    SpAd says:

    In the comments under Luke Bozier’s article on LabourList about taking more responsibility for the cuts, someone wrote:

    Why aren’t Labour striving to be the party of small business and enterprise? It’ll lead to a stronger economy and a coherent plan will provide a refreshing alternative to what the government are saying.

    How ludicrous that aspiration is, when the Left’s natural instinct towards business is to stymie it at every turn. Labour will never be the party of the small hardworking entrepreneur – they’re the party of red tape, regulatory bodies, rights for piss-taking employees and taxes on everything.

    More than anything though, the biggest obstacle it faces is that the Labour Party f*cking HATES the idea of people doing well for themselves without any help from the State.

  81. 81
    Mike Hunt says:

    You have to if you are white, no other way of getting one.

  82. 82

    Just a side Note, You cant CUT the TAX can you? Too many commitments. WAR ON DRUGS, BENEFITS, PUBLIC SECTOR WAGES, GOLD PLATED INDEX LINKED PENSIONS, last but not least. WAR WITH OUT END IN AFGHANISTAN. 5 NEW CHINOOKS COMING IN 2015. Hope the smack business was all worth all the trouble?

  83. 83
    Sleepless in Kirkaldy says:

    So is Milton Jones

  84. 84
    John Moss says:

    Try 65.8% income tax.

    With employer and employee NI at 13.8% and 2% respectively a busines has to have nearly £300 in income to pay somebody paying the “50% top rate” enough to leave them with £100 in their pocket.

    If we want a simple, dynamic, revenue and growth generating tax system, we should have £10k personal allowances with a 40-45% flat rate above that. A 50% rebate for income from pensions and 25% rebate for income from self employment means pensioners and the self elmployed are no worse off and we all benefit from the growth it generates.

  85. 85
    John Moss says:

    Can we fix it – yes we CAN!

    is that my coat……..

  86. 86
    Anonymus says:

    Greenhouses: yes I know. how much by.

    No numbers. you’re busted.

  87. 87
    Anonymus says:

    “a credit market without reserves is a commons.”

    Only if bankers are fuckwits.

  88. 88
    Fiscal Gerrymandering says:

    Fiona Millar says all they need is a good state education delivered on a level playing field so no one gets an unfair advantage over anyone else no matter what their talent might be.

    Average and homogeneous – that’s the answer

  89. 89
    The Observer says:

    £3.5 trillion is still too high. USA is given as $14 trillion but could reach $35 trillion in a few years.
    Our full committments could be approaching £3 trillion.

  90. 90
    Fiscal Gerrymandering says:

    “What was the carbon footprint of producing so many wasteful empty cans?”

    A lot less than the daily interest on £3,589,000,000,000 of debt

  91. 91
    Fiscal Gerrymandering says:

    Got solution yet?

  92. 92
    Crowing Bob says:

    Hear Hear.

  93. 93
    SpAd says:

    That’s the root of Labour’s problem with regard to enterprise. Small businesses can only be set up by people who are very good at something. So good in fact, that others are prepared to hand over money to obtain what they offer.

    For Labour though, one person being far more accomplished in a particular skill than another simply draws them to conclude that – somewhere along the line – something was “unfair”.

    This is what happens when an organisation’s heirarchy is entirely staffed by witless bum-scratchers drawn from under-performing Councils.

  94. 94
    Fiscal Gerrymandering says:

    Hancock and Zahawi are asserting men are less moral than women?

    The problem is the takeover in the last 15 years at the top of all banks and corporations by lawyers and accountants rather than industry experts.

    The accountants want maximum profits for minimum cost for the shareholders they serve and show few no morals about how they achieve it – it’s not personal, it’s business!

    The lawyers want to ensure they are not legally liable for anything and will deny and abdicate responsibility where ever they can.

    These two morally absent, avaricious professions are responsible for the mess we are in.

    More or less women in the boardroom is unlikely to make a difference.

  95. 95
    Anonymous says:

    I expect my banker to be amoral. Neither immoral nor acting non-commercially on some private moral critera. I expect the regulator, overseen by the government, to set limits on the amoral based actions.

  96. 96
    Anonymous says:

    What has education done for you Stephen Fry ? “pause”. It enables me to see though the Bullshit .

  97. 97
    I Hate Blue Labour says:

    Last month Mr Osborne said “there’s not much point in having taxes that are economically inefficient”

    So why isn’t road tax scrapped and just added to petrol/diesel?

    Or won’t that benefit the 320,000 out of 60,000,000 like scrapping the 50p rate would?

  98. 98
  99. 99
    John Brightel says:

    I tell you all one thing. If I was lucky enough to earn over £150K a year, I’d pay the 50% rate of tax quite gladly.

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