Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Newsnight: Paul Mason Cannot Make Things Add Up

It has been very strange watching the mainstream media try to make their ridiculous first take on Alistair Darling's remarks stand up i.e. that the British economy is in worst state since 1948. Paul Mason pointed out three or four Tory chancellors who had faced and failed to negotiate worse in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But still he pressed on.

The supposed Darling quote does not make sense. The real one referring to the troubles of the world economy - trebling of oil price, USA-centred credit crunch, food and commodities inflation etc - makes perfect sense and is a matter of fact no brainer. So enough already with the UK economy schtick.

The Guardian sub-editor who wrote Saturday's headline omitting the word "World" in front of "Economy" should be vilified for setting off an irrational slide in the pound. No doubt Guido's friends in the city will be out hoovering up undervalued sterling very shortly if they haven't started already. Billions to be made. Has anyone seen Georg Soros at the casino recently?

Da Fink made a couple of good observations. That everything Labour do right now is being covered in an unfair disaster movie context. And that the idea of ensuing announcements being presented as "relaunch" should be resisted.


Anonymous said...

Partly triggered by your own knee-jerk defence of Labour's economic mismanagement and the reaction to the Alistair Darling gaffe/bust of honesty, I listened to and read all the press reports over the weekend.

Every single news source reported that Darling was referring to the UK economy. They added that he thought this was mostly due to world events but the "worst in 60 years" remark was applicable to the situation in this country.

Darling had every opportunity the following day to rebut the interpretation that had been put on his remarks. Not only did he not do so but he appeared on TV to reiterate them and to claim credit for being honest.

Other Cabinet members had equal opportunity to come to his aid. Not one did so. Jack Straw in particular made absolutely no effort to claim that Darling was not referring to the UK.

Many Labour MPs appeared in various media on the subject - some to commend him others to condemn him. But all of them concurred that Darling's entire motive had been to talk about the UK economy - hence the reference to 2 million unemployed by Christmas etc.

Until Sunday night that is, when Tony Lloyd (the management nark that is also Chair of the PLP) tried desperately to put on the spin that you have been, dismally, trying to foist on us.

PS I don't think Finkelstein used the word 'unfair' on Newsnight. That would totally change the meaning of what he did say. Nice try though, Chris.

Chris Paul said...

I didn't say Da Fink used the word "unfair" either but that was his implication, obviously.

Darling's remark makes absolutely NO SENSE applied to the UK economy direct. It is a stretch applied to the World Economy in fact. But that makes more sense and is clearly what he was on about.

Once the meme was established by the Guardian headline, other papers muscling in by cribbing from early editions, and instantaneous 24/7 media coverage it is hard to shift it. As you say, they have all gone with it, even though it is ARRANT NONSENSE.

Darling has said this kind of thing over and over again. In fact he's being shown on BBC News 24 right now saying that he said the same at his Mansion House speech.

This is what Da Fink was saying. There is a corrosive media feding frenzy just now. Labour could do with some big hitting media management right now.

Chris Paul said...

PS Contrary to your assertion there have been plenty of attempts to point out the obvious reference to the world economy and indeed the parallel claim that the UK economy IS IN GOOD SHAPE to survive and prosper.

Anonymous said...

It makes EVERY bit of sense to view his remarks in the context of the UK economy. TAHT'S THE ONLY POSSIBLE REASON FOR HIM SAYING IT. That's why he hand-picked a journalist to visit his holiday retreat. That's why he has been commended for his honesty. That's why he referred to there may be 2million unemployed by Christmas.

He knew exactly what he was saying and so did everybody else. It seems odd that you seem to know what he meant better than he did.

Ditto Finkelstein. You said "Da Fink made a couple of good observations. That everything Labour do right now is being covered in an unfair disaster movie context."

And when that instant rewrite was pointed out, you say, "I didn't say Da Fink used the word "unfair"."

Oh yes, you did.

Again, you seem to know what somebody means better than they do themselves. It's quite uncanny.

Anonymous said...

To quote your good self

"And he (Darling) clearly stated that our economy is in a good place to handle the challenge. He had said the same many times before without the hysteria and the city gang profit taking."

Exactly. So what was the difference this time? Could it be that he had said something new entirely? Is that why he specifically refers to 2 million being out of work by Christmas? Is that why he was effectively stating that the previous claims that the UK had "seen an end to boom and bust" were nonsense?

Wasn't that the whole bloody point of the exercise - talking down expectations. I agree with you that he did it rather too well and allowed the currency dealers to have a field day, but, no doubt, some of it will flow back to the Labour Party in donations. Every cloud, eh?

Why did he make no effort on Saturday to clear up what he actually meant in the face of his comments being 'misinterpreted' by the whole of the print and broadcast media?

And when exactly was John Leslie accused of racism?

Chris Paul said...

John Leslie racist? What are you on about? He's got enough on his plate without that.

Darling said nothing he didn't say in June EXCEPT this 60 years quantification which is certainly nowhere near correct for UK and dubious for the world too.

This interview was misrepresented on the cover of the Guardian and most of the further coverage was OF THAT STORY rather than the real deal.

Of course he is trying to manage expectations. That's perfectly sensible. But when there are dire examples of the UK economy in far worse trouble under Major and Thatcher in 70s, 80s, 90s what you are saying - along with most of the MSM - JUST DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

Clearly the wrong end of the stick being used to beat us up.

I did not quote Da Fink. But I stated my view that he thought this was an unfair prism through which everything good, bad or indifferent was being reported.

Perhaps Danny would bob over and put me right if I'm wrong. You may disagree but it is not my job to present your views ahead of my own.

Anonymous but not brainless wrong headed pedant said...

Who is this utter twat Chris? Do you know? If so please name and shame the argumentative tosser. How on earth would two million unemployed if that happened or 7% base rate compare with four million and 20%? How would a couple of flat or fractional down quarters compare with years of that under Tories and within this generation?

Diablo said...

Boys, boys...calm down! Just read the latest OECD report on the UK going into (already is?)recession - the only one of the G7 countries, they say.

Just hope it's not half true because whoever is running this country will have to take some pretty drastic actions to turn things around in the very near future that no one will relish.

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul 31/08/2008
"According to OECD, the UK is in the best position of all to deal with the position"

Press Assocation 02/09/2008
"As the OECD issued its most dire warning on the British economy yet, predicting it will fall into recession in the second half of the year"

Chris Paul 31/08/08 - when accused of stealth editing his own posts when he realises he has droppoed a bollock
"I posted "accused racist" (re John Leslie) from the get go"

Chris Paul 02/09/2009
"John Leslie racist? What are you on about?"

Chris Paul 02/09/2008
Da Fink (Danny Finklestein) made a couple of good observations. That everything Labour do right now is being covered in an unfair disaster movie context"

Chris Paul later on 02/09/2008
"I didn't say Da Fink used the word "unfair"."

Good. Because he didn't. That would have completely altered the point he was making.

As for Anonymous but not brainless wrong headed pedant's comment. The the 2 million unemployed prediction is for the end of this year. That doesn't mean it will end there. Got that?

Or do I have to draw you a diagram? Would it be simpler for you in pictures?

But the gold star for sheer mind-numbing mendacity must go to you, Chris, for your claim that the entire responsibility for the run on sterling should be pinned on a lazy sub-editor at The Guardian.

Diablo said...

Yeah! Go for it anonymous! You've got Chris on the back foot now.

But don't you sometimes feel, when you read his twaddle, that you are part of some reality blog experiment? The pitch must have gone something like this: "Why do rational and intelligent people get drawn into trying to have a sensible discussion with a complete and utter wally? Wouldn't it be interesting to see how much time and energy they would put into trying to prove he is talking absolute and total crap?"

You get my point? Don't encourage the poisoned dwarf....