Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cameron: Now With Added Demagoguery

I've said it before, and doubtless I'll say it again, but the defining feature of Cameron is not just that he is consistently appalling, but that he always manages to be appalling in a different way.

We've had already Cameron sliming social conservatives and shafting libertarians, now meet David Cameron: economic populist. Yep, all we need to do is get those nasty banks to stop charging so much and everything will be fine. Hmmmm.....turns out it's not just mortgages going up. Doubtless, Cameron will be asking farmers to drop their prices too, m'kay ?

Even for someone like me, who thinks economics is just astrology for the aspergers demographic, there is a certain obvious problem with trying to strongarm businesses into selling their products at below cost. Folks are coming to the end of their current deals and facing their monthly costs rising ? Well, yes, that would be the whole 'end of deal' thing. If your bank won't offer you a completive new deal then it's time to move on. Britain isn't short of financial institutions. That's not to say that coming off a 4.75% fix won't sting, but there are options out there to minimise the pain - or at least they will be unless some idiot politician forces banks to loan out money at a loss.

Of course, there really are nutters out there who think the banks all get together to keep the price of money artificially high - much as both Marx and Hitler did - but you'd think even the Cameroonatics had too much class to pander to this lunacy.

Aside from anything else, there really is an epic amount of humbug here. Cameron wants improved data sharing to prevent vulnerable people getting into debt. Fine, but wasn't it people like him who've spent years babbling about 'social exclusion' ? Which is it ? Are bankers fascist pigs who only want to deal with zillionaires, or are they fascists pigs seducing poor, dumb bumpkins into debt (and, by the way, doesn't this desperation to make even marginal loans imply that the market is already kind of cut throat) ?

Ditto, one reason why folks might lose their homes are the restrictions on the level of income support for mortgage payments in the event of redundancy - as brought in in 1995 by Mr Cameron's own party. Hey, maybe you think people should self-insure, but that hardly meshes well with the idea of Cameron forcing everyone in the country to take a stepped-rate product.

But that's not even the biggest part of it. No matter how rates have shot up, mortgage costs are still dwarfed by something rather closer to home for Cameron and friends. Never mind the mythical secret cabal of bankers sneakily keeping prices up just so they can get filthy rich, you really can't switch to a cheaper government. Ditto, when it comes to excess, I'm not sure any bank can match the government, with its hordes of five-a-day coordinators, recycling czars and sundry other bottom inspectors. How come Cameron isn't calling for council tax increases to be staggered ?

Yes, hold the e-mails Cameroonies, I'm aware that this might all just be fan service, Cameron indulging into a bout of sub-Clintonian feeling-of-pain, but that just emphasises his unfitness for government. Whatever specific policies Cameron does, or does not, push through will count for naught just as long as the wider culture is contaminated by the kind of toxic anti-free market canards that Cameron is flirting with here. How on earth can anyone reconcile calling for more personal responsibility with pushing deranged conspiracy theories about banking cabals ripping off the ordinary guy in the street ?

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