Today Gordon Brown warned “Either governments co-operate internationally or the unfettered markets will fail us again”. Funny that. He was quite keen on unfettered markets a few years ago. Then again, one has to follow fashion. How awful it would be if Mr. Brown wore big kipper ties or polo neck sweaters or advocated light touch regulation or declared that he had abolished boom and bust.
Ah, abolishing Boom and Bust, that was Brown’s last idea. He failed of course but he’s already forgotten about that and is onto his next big idea: Global Regulation. Just today the Telegraph reported that: “The Prime Minister called for international co-operation on a ‘global solution’ to an economic crisis which he said was caused by the banks and not by governments. Meetings of the G8 and G20 in the coming months should agree common rules on banking liquidity, supervision and rewards.”
This goes to the core of why Gordon Brown is incompetent. This goes to the core of his neurosis. Mr. Brown is a narcissist. He believes he is one of histories “Great Men“. Remember the Freudian slip where he claimed that he had saved the world?
All economists know that the abolition of boom and bust is akin to the alchemists attempts to turn lead into gold. Any statesman should understand that getting global regulation for the banking system is also out of the question. Yes, Mr. Brown, we all know it would be a good idea for the United Nations to dictate fiscal policy to Greece. We all know that the UN should be able to ensure the liquidity requirements of China. But what if the UN wanted to dictate regulation to British banks?
The UK will not even join the Euro so we are not going to hand regulatory powers to any international body. Just last June the City Minister, Lord Myners, warned that “European proposals on banking regulation could hand greater political control of Britain’s vital financial services industry to the EU if left unchecked.” Yet Gordon Brown thinks he can reinvent The Man From Uncle. What next we have to ask? A perpetual motion machine perhaps?
Gordon Brown has a Napoleon complex but he is more Tommy Cooper than Napoleon. Endlessly claiming he can perform miracles but endlessly cocking it up. Just like that. Just like Dostoevsky’s “Idiot” you just know he will knock over the Chinese Vase.
Mr. Brown has a massively over rated view of himself. He is impractical and lacks judgement because his vainglorious naivete always makes him go for an idealistic and unattainable solution. In short, the man is a fool.
Meanwhile the BBC, to my mind, are doing an excellent job covering the admitedly insipid election.
They have a web page with an “Election Calculator”. This allows you to adjust the share of the popular vote that a party might gain to see how that would “translate into seats” as they say. Of cousre this will be based on assumptions and algorithms but it is quite interesting that you have to wind the LibDems up quite considerably before they start getting any seats. In one scenario I ramped the popular vote up to 37.3% for the LibDems (Con:30.6%, Lab:24.7%) yet still the LibDems did not have more seats that the Tories or Labour. I’d say the electoral system needs to be changed.
I have been in favour of proportional representation in the past but I do think it would be a mistake to break the MPs link with their constituency. At least if all else fails it is possible to go and sit in front of your MP and harangue him. So these days I think that we should move to a Single Transferrable vote for the common and have PR for the House of Lords. However, I would have long terms for the H of L to allow them some independence from the party whips. I’d have the election at the same time as the Commons but only every other election would you get to vote for the Lords.