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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Gordon Brown is delusional - but so is Labour

This is what he said at his monthly press conference:

"There was a failure in the American regulatory system. Now I am very happy to say that our regulatory system has been a better system, but it is still not good enough to meet the changing challenges of the times."

The whole essence of socialism is that some politicians think that there is a better world that can be created and only they are able to take us there.  Actually it was a problem shared with Hitler and any number of despots.  What these people lose are the self-critical and analytical faculties that are needed to survive in the "real world" - the world where there is no executive power to keep control, where people may not necessarily do your bidding and you have no control over them.  Such is the world of business. 

To survive in the commercial world it is necessary to spot and correct the weaknesses in a business.  This implies the ability to make both critical, honest and realistic assessments of the state of play. Politicians do not always have these qualities, but think they can survive by browbeating their opponents, the population or both.  Socialists who have a notion of some ill-defined utopia, which they know they woill probably never achieve, but because this is their mindset they seem to lose, or perhaps have never had any ability to grasp back of the envelope calculations end estimates.  Have you ever wondered why there are so few socialist politicians with a background in science, mathematics or engineering?

The best example I can give is the example of the 9/11 death toll. In the days immediately after 9/11 when Blair was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with GWB, his ministers were spouting ridiculous numbers of British dead (over 700 from J Straw) when a little common sense and a reality check would have shown the extreme unlikelihood that more than 10% of a sample of thousands of people selected at random in Lower Manhatten would be British citizens.  Sure enough over the following weeks the number dropped to 600, 400, 300, 200 and then the government announced that there were "fewer than 100" British dead. 

There are actually 72 names on the memorial in Grosvenor Square, but once you discount the people Bermudans and Barbadians (technically British), the former Ugandan Asians who went to the US on British passports but never actually lived in the UK, the long term emigrants who took US passports etc, you arrive at a smaller number, perhaps less than 50.

In itself, perhaps the whole episode might not seem important. Perhaps the government deliberately inflated the figures, perhaps they let the press run with the worst estimates or perhaps they really did think there were 700 British dead.  What it showed was that nobody in the government said "Hang on a minute, do you really think that 10% of the people in and around the WTC were British.  That doesn’t sound likely. Look at the people on any New York street.  Does it really look as though 1 person in 10 is a British passport holder? It might be better to say that there would be thousands of British citizens in Manhattan at any time, but that the number in the WTC would be a relatively small percentage of those killed."

So it is an unimportant story, but it illustrates perfectly how socialists have never been very familiar with reality.

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