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February 05, 2011



Think you might be taking it too literally. He is just vaguely advocating deleveraging I think.


The answer to your question Chris is that Clegg is engaging in mindless properganda which is content free.

It is obvious to any fool with a tiny familiarity with economics as you say that one mans saving is another mans debts. Debt is not an evil in itself providing there is a stream of income to pay it off arising over time. At the macro level borrowing affects the future income of society and so the amount of revenue available to pay the debts off. Which is why the National debt is a good thing rather than a problem. If state debt boosts future output and state income than more debt is good not bad.

Just as a firm may borrow to increase future income and profits of the firm. So can the state. Equally Clegg not only has no grasp of financial economics but comparative advantage may make it a good idea to import goods from china. Our real income is what we want to maximise as JS Mill put it as that is the objective of economics! Lots of cheap imports from china increases my income in real terms so why would I want to buy less from China? And if I can import via borrowing Chinas' savings evan better! Thanks to the Central committee being stuck in Mercantilist mode we gain from forced saving.

Off course maybe I am wrong about clegg and he and cameron are very badly educated. So all the private schools fail the market test!

David Ellis

Maybe he is just assuring the international money men that Britain will honor the £1 trillion in toxic bonds it took on in the bail out when and as they mature even if they have to cut every single service, destroy millions of jobs and end welfare. There is no Plan B and they are not for turning. Not yet anyway.


So the success of the German exporting machine is entirely due to weakness of the Euro? Really?


Or perhaps you're talking about short-term "accounting identities" and Clegg is talking about long-term aspirations? Whether the latter are realistic is another matter, but perhaps an adult debate about it is in order?


I agree the only interpretation (well the one both you and I have) is that he is calling for a permanent current acount surplus. But does it need a weaker currency - Germany and Japan suggest otherwise (perhaps it needs a weak economy, or more weak domestic demand, but this doesn't seem automatically to mean a weak currency).

It seems to me with an aging population there is a case for permanent current account surpluses, although it's quite a radical shift.


Debt is not wrong in itself as long as you are sure to receive regular money incomes to pay it off. This guy is only making some propaganda.

Tom Addison

@lostinmidlands. An adult debate? Not acting like a stuck up prick would be a good start.

mick greenhough

For about 50 years the Lib Dems wanted Proportional Representation (PR) as that would have more than doubled their number of MPs.

They now want Preferential Alternative Voting (PAV).


PR would now probably result in UKIP gaining more MPs then the Lib Dems and the slight possibility the UKIP could even gain more MPs that the Labour Party as well.

i.e. if the 2010 election had been PR the Libs would have had 150 MPs instead of 57. However if the 2009 EU election results were repeated in our next election under PR then the Libs would probably have about 84 seats and UKIP 110.

Our Political Elite cannot possibly risk that so the only option we will be allowed will be Preferential Alternative Voting.

What’s This All About Then?
Electoral Voting Systems
Considerable dissatisfaction is being worked up with the traditional British system of First Past the Post. It was quite satisfactory in the past when there were only two or three main parties. It now has now several anomalies.

* There are some 45 million UK citizens entitled to vote. In 1997 NuLabour won an election with a domineering majority of 241 MPs when less than 24% of the electorate voted for them. In 2010 the Lib.Dems are in government with only some 16% support of the electorate.

* There are few critical marginal constituencies, totalling less than 1/2 million voters, that can effectively decide which party wins the election.

* The Government continues in power even when the electorate has completely lost confidence in them. Once elected there is no easy mechanism to remove them for 5 years however grossly unsatisfactory, incompetent or deceitful they may be if they have a large enough majority.

* Many of the electorate vote on historic and tribal loyalties that are, more often than not, quite out of date and no longer valid.

* Northern Ireland has 18 MPs with a total of 1.2 million voters while UKIP has no MPs despite gaining nearly 1 million votes.

* Political parties are now split horizontally with self selected Elites in charge who have very little in common with their rank and file supporters.

* The Elites of all the main parties are now so similar that most could easily swap parties with hardly any noticeable difference.

There has been considerable agitation by the Lib.Dems for Proportional Representation over the last 50 years as it would have almost doubled their number of MPs. They are forcing a Referendum on an alternative voting system as a condition of their support for the coalition keeping the Conservatives in power. Now in government they want PAV not PR.

Why? This leaflet explains the various voting options and their significance.

1. First Past the Post.

The country is divided into Constituencies of roughly equal numbers of voters. At an election the candidate who gains most votes wins. The rest get nothing.

Pros * Direct and personal relationship between the MP and his voters.

* Gives Independent candidates a chance, albeit a small chance.

Cons * ‘Safe seats’ make those who vote for other parties or independent candidates to be essentially dis-enfranchised. In those constituencies, many decide that it is ,therefore, not worth bothering to vote.

* When there are many candidates the winner may only have the support of a very small % of the electorate.

* A government with a large majority can behave in a very incompetent, arrogant or undemocratic manner without restraint.

* Sponsored MPs in safe seats enables Unions and Big Donors to exercise considerable unfair and undemocratic influence.

* Lends itself to allowing the government of the day to Gerrymander the constituency boundaries to affect the vote in their favour.

2. PAV Preferential Alternative Vote

The winner is decided as follows:

* Voters mark candidates on the ballot paper in order of their preference with the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.

* Votes are counted by tallying the first preferences (in the same way as First Past The Post).

* If no candidate has an overall majority then the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. The votes on that paper for the second preferred candidate are then counted at full value for that candidate.

* This process repeats until one candidate obtains the majority of votes over the remaining candidates.

Pros * Fairly simple system but more complicated than First Past the Post.

* More fair than the First Past the Post

* Maintains the personal relationship between the MP and the voters.

Cons * Usually ensures governing coalitions will always stay in power.

3. AV+ Alternative Vote plus

The AV part is the same as the AV system to elect an MP for a constituency. The + part is an extra vote for the party of your choice at county level

Pros * Considerably more fair for the voters than First Past the Post or AV.

* Gives the voter a choice of voting for his preferred party but also for an MP of a different party if he feels him to be a good person.

Cons * Possible conflict of authority between the two MPs if of different parties.

* More complicated but allows Independents a chance to win a seat.
4 PR Proportional Representation

All parties are represented in parliament to the proportion of the value of their national vote. i.e 10% of the total national vote then 10% of the MPs.

Pros * Small parties with sufficient support can get MPs in parliament.

Cons * A non-party Independent will have no chance of being elected.

* There is no personal connection between the MP and local voters.

* The Party Elite has complete control over who will be an MP
5 European Union system

England is divided into 9 Regions (or Gaus). Parties prepare lists of selected candidates before the election. Depending on the % of votes won in that Region the appropriate number of candidates from the top the party list become MEPs.

Pros * A Region has several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) (about 8) - depending on the number of voters in that Region.

* Enables the smaller parties to get MEPs

Cons * The elected MEPs are little more than a ‘rubber stamp’ for the edicts of the unelected European Commission who have complete control.

* No personal connection between the MEPs and those who voted for them (you need not even know their name). You only vote for the party.

* The Party Elite has absolute control over who goes on the list

* The Party Elite will always ensure that their names are at the top of the Party List. No mavericks or individualists allowed.

* Eventually only a few Pan-European parties will be allowed so it will be very difficult for new parties and no Independent candidates at all.

* The unelected Commission will be able to ban parties of which they disapprove.

6 Interval Elections (best option for the public)

A ‘First Past the Post’ election every 5 years. At end of year 2 the 50 most marginal seats will face re-election. If pre-election promises are broken or ignored or the government is failing then the voters can quickly call them to account.

Pros * Significantly shifts power from the Political Elite and puts it firmly in the hands of the electorate. This will encourage many more to vote.

* The governing Elite will have to continually take the wishes of the electorate into account throughout their 5 years in office.

* Keeps the direct relationship between the MP and the constituency.

* very simple to understand

* Allows Independents a chance to win a seat in parliament.

Cons * It could cause considerable chaos if the winning government in the General Election only has a small majority and have reneged on their election promises. If they have kept faith with those who voted for them then any political disturbance will be at a minimum.

The Elite Politique running the Parties will only allow a Referendum for a system that will ensure their continual survival without too much accountability. Indeed Preferred Alternative Vote is the only alternative in the proposed Bill as this gives the coalition and the current Elite the best chance of staying in power.

By far the best option for the public would be the Interval Elections. Perhaps there should be a Referendum first so the electorate to decide which system we would prefer or several alternatives on the voting paper.

However all this may well be pointless. Brussels already makes 70-80% of British law that bypasses Westminster. The Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1st Jan 2009 and these two clauses are now very relevant.

Articles 8A-1 to 4. Prepares the way for the abolition of Westminster. They will also abolish our Conservative, Labour and Lib-Dem Parties. It's the old EU constitution I-46-4 word for word. Only Pan European Parties will be allowed. The Madrid conference defined this in 1999 as parties with voters in 10 or more former nations. Our parties count voters in just one nation. Goodbye to the Lib-Lab-Cons. Only pro-EU parties will be funded. UKIP and other anti EU parties will not be funded.

Interval Elections is by far the best option for the public - no 6

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