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Being away

I’m sitting in the 18th floor of a tower block somewhere subtropical, overlooking the sea. Currently I’m inside, but with the large bay windows open, getting some evening sunshine – I may shortly head out to the terrace for full-on last rays action. On the minus side, I’ve been working today, but it hasn’t been absolute hell. Almost pleasant, even.

Meanwhile, back in Britain… I hear the weather has been OK, in the sense of ‘only quite cold and only a bit rainy’. I hear the entire world and their dog has gone into spasms of lunacy after a daft fat bigot got vaguely humiliated on a TV show, but also picked up a few new idiot fans (even though a similar-looking bigot with the same views is accepted and awarded as a national newspaper columnist with barely any fuss from anyone).

On that one, I’m glad I wasn’t around for the debate. As far as I can make out, the assembled Great And Good [*] made a stupid and ignorant man look stupid, ignorant but also victimised, whilst actually agreeing with his fundamental thesis (“immigration is terribly bad and BNP voters are right to be concerned about it, so we’ll make our already-lunatic-hard restrictions even tougher”).

It’s another reminder of how, if you’re a socially liberal supporter of a market-driven economy with around-OECD-average levels of taxation and regulation [**], free migration and free speech, who also thinks that UAF are a daft bunch of tossers, British politics at the moment is a bit depressing.

The fact that the mainstream parties are engaged in a deeply stupid (tough on crime, tough on immigration, ‘too many human rights’, ‘we must cut the deficit now’) consensus on most issues is hardly surprising. The fact that the far Right are scumbags is pretty much definitional. But what else is there? The Greens don’t believe in markets and are more or less the opposite of liberal; the left-of-Labour narrative hasn’t yet been set but is unlikely to focus on social liberalism (if it did, I’d excuse the economics); and to the extent that the Lib Dems have expressed an opinion on anything, they’re mainstream-consensus.

And I’m frankly bored of London, bored of long work-weeks and infinite stress from above and below, bored of endless overpriced drinks in the same pubs, bored of the Tube, bored of mornings, bored of blogging (see: number of posts on this blog that aren’t Twitter roundups).

The sun’s setting. I’ll head outside. It’ll be pleasant. It’ll be different. It’ll be warm.

I could stay here.

[*] yes, I’m aware of the irony in using the words ‘great’ and ‘good’ to refer to Jack Straw.

[**] including banking regulation. The reason we and the US are so screwed right now is due to underregulation in the banking system; it has absolutely no bearing on the vast majority of companies that aren’t banks, and using it as an argument against market capitalism is Just Silly. Using it as an argument against dogmatic US Republican-style deregulation is exactly right, and should be done, but even the current Tory leadership isn’t daft enough to advocate that.

  1. October 25, 2009 at 3:26 am | #1

    You should totally stay there – I hear from reliable sources that it's a pretty nifty country to be living in these days. Not that we're trying to get rid of you from over here, mind you, but maybe you could do a comparative on the reciprocal immigrant experience.

    Agree with your take on banking regulation, and how all the breastbeating about how failure in financial markets signals a broader failure across all capitalist markets is just hyperbolic bullsh*t. Methinks I have a blog post coming up on the form of financial regulation going forward – have some interesting ideas developed from the inside.

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