Monday, 30 May 2011

Why we should be nice to people, especially those we don't like.

Since joining this ragtag bunch of misfits known as the left wing, I have noticed a rather unsavoury trait that seems to plague it, and I'm not talking about that the songs suck compared to the fascist songs I used to listen to although they do, but rather the fact that for an ideological wing that seeks to promote love, equal treatment and whatnot, some elements seem rather prone to preaching hatred.

While admittedly, this isn't as much of a problem in the mainstream left as it is in those rather unpleasant SWP types that plague the area near my university library, it is still there under the surface.While I enjoy a good satirical joke, I do tend to shy away from the more vulgar ones that are based more on the depiction of Conservatives as a kind of goblin in a cave, grabbing as much money as they can regardless of how it affects others, in a manner rather worryingly similar to old Jewish stereotypes. While I do concede, some members of the Conservative party are rather unsavoury characters, at the same time many of them are most likely rather nice people who the only difference between us is political persuasion. Granted some may counter this by pointing to their political persuasion and screaming "EVIL!" in a voice that would give a banshee a headache, while some of the less crazy elements of our ragtag bunch of misfits would eruditely point out the flaws in the Conservative ideology and use this as elements of their unsavoury nature. I will address these two approaches separately.

1. To the partisan Banshees: Be quiet, you are making the rest of us look bad.
2. To the erudite: If they seek to pursue a program, based upon their ideology, that will result in a negative outcome, remember "Hanlon's Razor" which states that we must "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.". Remember that our opponents are, like us, human and are as such capable of being swayed by facile arguments.

Finally I have a few reasons as to why we should be nice to people, even if they are mistaken in their view of what the correct course of action is.

1. It makes them more likely to listen- This is rather a simple point, as I'm sure all of you are more likely to listen to the views and points made by someone who is polite to you than someone who calls you evil. If we are to convince people as to why they should follow a more left wing ideology then we have to start treating them as human beings.

2. It's kind of a duty- A key part of left wing ideology pertains to the idea that poor people are just as good as rich people. Our argument is undermined if the left, regardless of where on the income scale they are from, has reason to be seen as a rabble.

3. Its nice- While manners may at time seem rather "Victorian", I would prefer to live in a society with them than without. Just its a good thing to hold the door for people, to let the elderly have your place on the tram and to help people when they drop things, it is also a good thing to be friendly towards other people, regardless of ideology.

(note: I do aim to do a bit less moaning about how we need to get our shit together in my next blog, and a bit more advocation of economic policies)

These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which was true in my time, just as it's true today. Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!  - Abraham Lincoln. (Kinda)

Monday, 23 May 2011

On Huey Long part 1: State politics

Just thought I'd do a quick blog on someone who is fast becoming one of my favourite historical figures, Mr Huey Pierce Long, and before anyone makes that joke, no he is not a porn star, although if he had dropped his first name he would have had an awesome name for one. Also sorry if this gets a bit gushy.

Huey Pierce Long August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935, certainly provides an interesting example of the radical economic and political renaissance that made the 1930s such a beautiful and horrifying time in world history. Originally a lawyer with a habit of taking on cases against big business, often proudly stating that he "never took a case against a poor man", Huey first entered politics by being elected to the public service commission, where he continued his attacks on big business. Huey unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1924, losing he said due to rain making the dirt roads that his primarily rural voter base had to use to get to the booth unusable. Don't worry I will get to the point soon, bare with me.

After his eventual election in 1928 Huey quickly began firing his political opponents from any office he could and replaced them with his supporters, bullied state senators and effectively became the Dictator of Louisiana, even after he stopped being Governor. But the thing is, it worked. Due to him having absolute power he managed to abolish a poll tax that prevented the poor from voting, started night schooling programs that taught over 100,000 formerly illiterate adults to read, broke the political monopoly that big companies, especially oil interests, had, provided free school textbooks for children at a time when many parents couldn't afford to buy them and gave the state one of the most modern road networks in America. He also established scholarships for less well off students and some credit his strong regulation of the banking sector as the only reason the majority of Louisiana's banks stayed solvent. He also moved many of the mentally ill out of prisons and into newly funded institutions, increased funding for health care and provided free immunisation to 70% of the population.

While he later went into national politics and intended to run for president before his assassination, this blog shall focus on Huey's impact on his home state.

The problem with looking at Long with modern eyes is that we tend towards frowning upon firing people who don't agree with you and bullying elected representatives, and rightly so, but can we really say it was wrong in this instance? If not for his willingness to break the rules he would never have got anything done, but at the same time we have rules for a reason. But I feel that we socialists can probably cut him some slack based on the following points.
1. Before Huey, the state was de facto ran by big business and the wealthy, with the poor living in very bad conditions and many of them unable to even read which prevented upwards mobility. This was not a state of affairs that could morally be allowed to continue.
2. The poll tax prevented the poor from overturning this state of affairs through legal means. Hence Louisiana can be said to have been in a state of Plutocracy, rather than Democracy. This latter point is especially relevant due to the idea held by many on the left that when there is no legal means for the people to remove a government and a system that keeps them in the dirt, they must turn to other means.
3. Huey was basically better than a revolutionary if you think about it. While many revolutionaries have to start wars and kill people in order to get control and then when they do they turn out to be not much better than the oppressors they just overthrew, Huey took control without killing anyone and then once he dealt with the problems of his state with an efficiency that Hitler and Mussolini could only dream of.

So in conclusion I shall end this first part of my look at Huey Long, which by the way may not have a part 2 for a while as I'm probably going to blog about something else after this although the next one about him will be an analysis of his Presidential plans, by stating that despite his dictatorial tendencies, Huey Long was a man who knew what was wrong and knew how to fix it and never let the law get in the way of justice and so I say he is a historical figure worthy of admiration by socialists. Plus he exchanged death threats with a KKK leader, which is freaking bad ass.

Sometimes you have to ignore the rules. I'm not in this business to protect the rules, I serve justice. - Batman

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The case for Tripartism

Blog time again, and today I'm gonna be writing about a, in my view superior, method of handling industrial relations, and I'm not talking about the Tin Man dealing with his racist uncle, no I am instead talking about dealings between employers and employees.

The method I am referring to, as you will have guessed from the title, is tripartism. While this is a general term referring to cooperation between the state, workers and business, I am using it in this context to refer to the idea that things such as wage rises, price rises, working conditions etc, should be set by agreement of these 3 groups rather than the present situation where the state simply sets a minimum and the two other groups wage a needless battle to decide the rest. Not only does the current system promote hostility between business and workers, it also impacts negatively on all three parties as well as everyone else through the problems caused by strikes and even the threat of strikes. This is one of the many reasons I advocate tripartism, better that representatives of each group sit down and make an agreement that all parties must follow rather than have two of the parties simply war with each other over every little thing. And in a suddenly abrupt transition, I shall now list the arguments for tripartism.

1. Prevention of strikes. Strikes are a disruptive and destructive force that hurts everyone, except maybe for sellers of picket signs those guys actually do quite well out of it. Rail strikes for example harm the public transport sector, which is the exact opposite of what we want to do, what with the environment and all, as well as disrupting the sectors of the economy where those commuters work. Energy sector strikes have an even worse effect, no one needs reminding of such atrocities as the three day week and rolling blackouts. Also lets not forget that the strikes harm the workers themselves, many of whom have families to feed, families the workers shouldn't have to jeopardise the welfare of just so they can negotiate for better conditions.

 2. Stability. The guarantee that there will be no strikes, as well as the ability to negotiate long term contracts, gives business and workers a greater degree of stability and ability to plan in the long term. Also the stability will make our exports seem more reliable, making foreign firms more likely to make deals with British firms.

3. Controlling inflation. This is is a slightly unusual benefit of tripartism, if price and wage rises have set borderlines then we can control inflation, allowing for an expansionary fiscal policy without its effect being eroded by inflation, as well as the positive impact low inflation has on peoples real income, investment and pensions. I may come back to this at a later date when I discuss the fact that the Bank of England has about the same effect as a witch doctor on inflation.

4. Standardisation. If there are pre-set agreements across the industry, we can avoid or at least lessen the rather unpleasant situation whereby two people can be doing the exact same job at the same level of skill but there can exist a great disparity between their pay and conditions.

5. Gives all parties a chance to put forward their case. Self explanatory really, and I don't just mean its obvious, I literally cannot think of a way to expand on that, hence I am using this as filler.

So there are what I consider to be the main arguments in favour of tripartism, maybe they have swayed you, maybe not, maybe your a robot just learning of its own existence and learning at an alarming rate, in which case I am impressed by modern science, but that's not the point.

Live with a man forty years. Share his house, his meal, speak on every subject, then tie him up, and hold him over the volcano's edge. And on that day, you will finally meet the man. - Xiang Yu

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

On the Labour Party

 Okay first actual blog time, not really sure how to do this, most of my old blog was just me ranting about how much I hate Ben Bradshaw which I can't even remember why I do, but thats not the point. Anyway, 1 2 3, here we go, Bedlam Bedlam, HO HO HO.

What with my recent new-found appreciation for democracy, there comes a new problem and I'm not referring to the lack of cool uniforms, although that is rather annoying. No I am in fact referring to the problem that I must now enter the world of political parties. After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that I should probably join Labour, as they are likely to be more receptive to my Keynesian economics, they are the party that in my view has the most potential to rebuild this country. It should be known that I bear no ill will towards the other parties, simply that they aren't what I'm looking for, I am not going to engage in the kind of "ZOMG TORIES EAT BABIES!" nor "LIB DEMS PUT G-23 PAXILON HYDROCHLORATE IN OUR AIR!" vulgarity that is making politics in this country unbareable. But while I am a future Labour member, I'm gonna join just as soon as I get to my new address in Manchester to avoid paperwork, I am not a Labour supporter.

There are various reasons why a description of myself as a Labour supporter would be inaccurate, firstly their last government, which while not awful, was pretty irresponsible. The fact they were running a deficit during boom times is ridiculous, it doesn't take a genius to work out that if  expenditure exceeds revenue at the point where revenue is at its highest and expenditure on unemployment benefit is at its lowest then obviously this is unsustainable. While this spending probably did a lot of good, I'm not disputing that, I'm simply saying that those  who thought that was viable in the long run without tax increases were living in a fantasy world, probably one filled with double rainbows and robot unicorns.

Some would respond to this by saying "That was the old leadership, theres a new leadership in the Labour party", fair point, but this leads to my second reason for not being a Labour supporter, the current Leadership. No I'm not talking about the fact Ed Miliband is about as inspiring as a deflated balloon, but rather the fact that at the moment the Labour party doesn't really seem to exist for any reason other than to be the Labour party. For example, if you take a walk over to the party website ( then you will notice a number of headings; Home, News, Ed Miliband, Our People, Support Us, Conference 2011 and membersnet. There is not however a heading called "Policies", all the website seems to do is whine about the government. Seriously is this what politics has come to? Am I the only one who sees how ridiculous this is? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. It seems that the Labour party is taking the idea of being "the opposition" a little too seriously and have become nothing but whiney little girls. For comparison lets look at the BNPs site ( The third heading is policies. Also the UKIP site ( There is also a heading called policies. In fact lets look at a few other parties and see which have a list of policies on their site.

The Green party:
The SNP:
Plaid Cymru:
The Liberal Democrats:

Seeing a pattern here?

Now this may seem harsh, to be fair it is, I have pretty much just attacked the party I intend to join, but the Labour party shouldn't see this as me whining about them, as unlike them I am going to actually say what they should be doing instead. So here are the areas I feel Labour has "room for improvement", to use that frightfully politically correct term they used in high school.

1. The aforementioned lack of policies. This is really annoying, rather than simply moaning about "BLOODY TORY BLOODY CUTS" the party should say "Here is what we would do, here is why we would do it and here is what we hope it would achieve". Its not really that hard to do, I mean its the kind of thing you learn in high school.
2. Attitude. There is a problem with the fact the Labour party seems too in love with sound bites and spin, as well as this rather annoying habit of using shortened versions of their names to sound cool. Listen "Tony", "Ed" and "Ed", you're not cool, you never will be nor will I. Politics isn't about being cool. Politics has nothing to do with being cool, hence there was no Arthur Fonzarelli MP.
3. Be the "Labour party" not the "Not the Conservative party". While this is kind of a retread of the first point, I feel its important. Stop defining yourself by your opposition to the government, define yourself by what your intend to achieve and how you intend to achieve it. Stop trying to make politics into some kind of war.

Basically the party, like Bishop Brennan, needs a kick up the @&$£, but that is not to say its all bad, the party has a lot of potential, and I believe that if it starts acting like a grown up political party it could do wonders for the country. So m'yeah if you could just go ahead and sort out those things I talked about by the time I join that'd be great.

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. - O'Brien. (1984, George Orwell)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Lets get this awkwardness out of the way

Well heres the first blog, its not really about anything other than that I now have a blog. Which in retrospect you are already aware of otherwise you wouldn't be reading this and if you're reading this you are probably aware of who I am, but for those of you who aren't I shall provide a brief outline of who I am and what I am likely to blog about.

Basically I am Thomas Hyde, also known as hamsterwaffle, wobblebolt or Emperor Barbossa V, depending on where you know me from. I am an economist, but this blog will not pertain solely to economics, it will also cover other topics such as politics, history and how awesome the music of Genesis is. I used to be a fascist, but am no longer, now I have drifted towards the left. Basically I'm a bit like Mussolini in reverse, except I wasn't born upside down at a petrol station.

Also a warning, I am sometimes prone to making obscure references for like, no reason and like to end with quotes I like.

Anyhoo, hope you enjoy.

The greater the man, the less is he opinionative, he depends upon events and circumstances. -Emperor Napoleon I.