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Discussion > No Socialism Please, We're British

Britain 2015
After the Balcombe protesters have all been outed as plain clothes policemen with a taste for hippy girls and boys in beads and handwoven smocks, fracking finally gets underway. All the companies involved are American, using equipment made in Germany by engineering companies which have converted from making nuclear and solar power equipment. The workforce consists of Croatians working for a company based in Sicily which mysteriously manages to undercut everyone else while supposedly paying the minimum wage. (British trade union members are anyway banned from working in carbon intensive industries). The British take their cut by offering rented rooms to the Croatians for two thirds of their wages (a nice little undeclared earner for homeowners with a spare room since Zachary has gone to university). The fracked gas is sold to India in a complex deal which reduces Britain’s carbon footprint, by a company with dozens of recently retired DECC mandarins on the board. The considerable tax revenues from this bonanza are used to provide social security benefits for the unemployed overpriced British workers (including Zachary) and tax cuts for Zachary’s parents whose only source of income is the rent in cash from Borislav.

France 2020
Development of fracking is delayed in France by the need to first overthrow the government and beat 200,000 green protesters into submission. It is run by a state-owned monopoly which has mysteriously survived the European Union ban on state-owned monopolies and which is headed by a coterie of French engineers who all went to the Grande École Supérieure de l’Administration de la Supériorité Française with the President and the Prime Minister and their respective mistresses. The gas is sold to the British (the French don’t need it because of their nuclear industry) and the profits used to buy up the rest of Britain.

What’s the matter with you lot?

Aug 7, 2013 at 7:29 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff, your first sentence is ambiguous. You might wish to consider a re-write to avoid a possible action for libel!
Can't fault the rest of it. I have never known a country with such a collective death-wish as the UK in the last 15 years. Personally I blame Tony Blair though I believe correlation is not to be confused with causation so I may be wrong.

Aug 7, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

It pre-dates Tony Blair by decades. It looks as if there is a cadre in politics, in all parties, which does not see success for the country in the same light as the rest of us. Which sees trans-nationalism and supra-nationalism as some sort of saviour which will eventually expunge our 'shameful history'.

Aug 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

So it wasn't just for the weather that you moved to France...

Aug 7, 2013 at 12:44 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The impetus behind the move to France came from Madame (combined with the fact that our daughter lives in France) who was tired of having me pick up the morning paper each day and find two more reasons to get the hell out of the UK.
She reckoned that since my French is not as good as hers I wouldn't know whether France was going to hell in a handcart just as fast as Britain by reading the French newspapers and so she might get at least a couple of years respite from the grumpiness!
There are other benefits though oddly enough the weather is not all that much different, though somewhat warmer.

There has been a cadre in politics, including academia, the civil service and the trade unions, since I was born. In the 50s/60s the word was 'Butskellism' and sometimes described as 'managing decline'. Sir Humphrey was master of the art along with assorted 'real' people like Heath, Wilson, Jack Jones and Hugh Scanlon all of whom refused to take any of the decisions that might have set Britain on the road that could have stemmed the decline and left it to the only conviction Prime Minister since Churchill to take the opprobrium.
And of course as soon as she was out of the way everyone crawled back into their feather beds again.
Blair was the major culprit because he, pushed along by Campbell, was only interested in getting re-elected and nothing else mattered. By that time most of the UK laws were made in Brussels and gold-plated in Whitehall anyway so he could play the poseur (except that it wasn't an act) and nobody noticed.

Aug 7, 2013 at 3:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I should point out that this is a plea for long-term thinking about the economy, rather than for socialism, but it wouldn’t have made such a good title. And any praise for French politicians is firmly tongue in cheek. If the French manage to make Ariane rockets, Airbus and high speed trains while we’re content with Dyson vacuum cleaners, it’s not because of socialism, but because of a certain national pride and a dose of delusions of grandure, together with the fact that the heads of EDF, SNCF etc. really did go to the same élite schools as the top politicians and civil servants.
In reality it’s hard to imagine that the French will ever get fracking. It’s illegal at the moment (can you imagine a law against horizontal drilling?) and when the minister of industry suggested it might happen one day, when it could be done “ecologically” he was firmly slapped down by the President.

Aug 7, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

France is not going to hell in a hand cart, it arrived there the same day Francois Hollande came to power.
You do a disservice to the UK when you put us in the vacuum cleaner bracket ^.^ We design and build nuclear powered submarines, stealth drones, we have a world class surveillance centre at GCHQ, we are building two world class carriers and world leading AA destroyers in the Type 45s. We discovered/invented Graphene, the new Sabre engine which will allow travel at Mach 8 in the atmosphere and a lot more in space and ARM chips power most of the world's smartphones.
We are a tiny nation but we creamed the world in the Olympics and at cricket, darts and tiddlywinks!

Aug 7, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Registered CommenterDung

By rights we should have gone bust by now. We financed the endless party in the 80s and 90s with the family jewels of water, gas, electricity and gold. Isn't our debt bigger than we could ever pay and growing? The only thing keeping us afloat is nearly everyone else is in the same boat or worse. I'm not entirely sure who has any money left. I know much of it comes from the Middle East where rich Arabs have been selling oil for all it's worth. They don't want to see us crash either because they've stashed all their money here in case they face a revolution and have to do a runner. London is the place to flee to apparently. France has dropped in poplarity since the burka ban.

Since all that's keeping us going is banking we've had to let it give us a good rogering and then say thankyou for the unwelcome experience.

The in/out debate with Europe will put the cat amongst the pigeons. I'm not sure whether it would help or hinder us. Certainly if it was well managed we could... oh hang on I did say 'well managed'...

And then we go find a load more goodies in the basement. Granny seems to have stashed gas stocks ans shares and not told us. Will we blow it on a bloated NHS and benefits culture we don't need? Of course we will. The country is in serious need of a grown up at the helm.

Aug 7, 2013 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Dung - as great as Britain is (or could be) we're still ruled by those who are content to sell our heritage, our knowledge and our experience to the highest bidder instead of exploiting them for the benefit of the indigenous population. Lions led by tw@ts springs to mind.

Aug 8, 2013 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

Thanks chaps for a most entertaining discussion. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Aug 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Coe