I always said I’d leave the country if George Osborne became Chancellor…

…and so it came to pass. I booked my holidays months back so I had no idea I would be going to Vancouver for three weeks the day Boy George’s ‘Emergency Budget’  gives the country a good dose of the Shock Doctrine.

I do intend to return to Blighty, Icelandic volcanoes permitting, as ‘ripping off  for the rich’  is just as prevalent in British Columbia as it is in the Home Country.  Can’t get away from these scams it appears.

I won’t say much more about the current political situation on Airstrip One, except to quickly refer to the new head of the ‘Office for Budget Responsibility’ Alan Budd, who advised the Conservative Government throughout the 1979-97 period. A monetarist, Budd advised the Thatcher Government, and has had this to say about how he thought his economic advice was used:

I was involved in making a number of proposals which were partly at least adopted by the government and put in play by the government. Now, my worry is . . . that there may have been people making the actual policy decisions . . . who never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation.

They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and raising unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes — if you like, that what was engineered there in Marxist terms was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.

Now again, I would not say I believe that story, but when I really worry about all this I worry whether that indeed was really what was going on.

Is that a  ‘I told you so’ I heard from Karl Marx’s grave in Highgate Cemetry?…

As I intend to sunbathe, drink and idle my worries away for a few weeks I don’t think I’ll be posting much until late-ish July. In the meantime here are some links and stuff you may want to have a gawk at.

That’s the size of the Gulf of Mexico slick (H/T: Olly Shykles) at the moment. No wonder BP is not keen on people going down to the beaches of the southern US. In this it is being helped by the state (more on why the idea of ‘Big Business v Big Government’ might be a faulty paradigm to understand life in the West  can be found here).  Nor does it seem keen on helping the families who died in the initial stages of the disaster. As for the fatuous hoo-haa about how ‘British’ BP is: I wonder how many people could find the country the Deepwater Horizon Rig is registered in?

You may be interested in reading Naomi Klein on the disaster too.

I don’t think they are equivalents, but this might just annoy the right people…

Both the USSR and US have sent their military into the Afghanistan in recent times. I’m sure their actions have nothing to do with the raw material resources there. The USSR’s Afghan adventure hastened its collapse. Will similar actions by the US cause its demise?

Two US dissidents who judge Obama by the same criteria as they did Dubya have been interviewed: Glenn Greenwald in print and Naomi Wolf on radio. Evidence that the dissident ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ in the US might be combining on useful issues, such as the wars, the bail-out and civil liberties (including threats to internet freedom) is discussed here.

Ever noticed the same talking heads advising Government, appearing on the TV and radio, writing books and putting their name to magazine and newspaper articles? You could have well spotted a ‘Flexian’!

Finally, before I do my last bit of packing, two rather more cultural offerings. First, one undoubted  good thing about the current World Cup is that it annoys some of the right people. Second, my friend Madam Miaow is branching out into food blogging, which you may find to your taste (very bad pun intended).

That’s it- enough…Vancouver here I come! Expect normal service in three weeks or so!

‘Spot me- win a prize!’ (not open to Vancouver residents…sorry!)


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