Monday, 8 November 2010

Vince defends Cable Prices

A battle is unfolding between a politician and the founder, CEO and Chairman of one of the most infamous companies in the world!
The story really begins at the Liberal Democrat party conference, but that's another tail we shall start at the first strike:
4/11/2010 is not a day that is likely to go down in history but perhaps it should for this is the day that Vince Cable stood up to Economic evil incarnate; Rupert Murdoch. Calling upon all his powers as business secretary Vince struck a blow against the evil monopolist holding to his vows for free markets and standing against his Conservative superiors In other words, the business Secretary intervened in the free market to prevent a take over.

News Corporation is the 3rd largest media conglomerate in the world, but what is really dangerious about News Corporation is its monopoly grip on media in certain countries. In the UK it owns the Times, the News of the World and The Sun that's a total of 37% of national news paper market. Then it also owns  17.5% of ITV and 39.1% of Sky and perhaps surprisingly it owns US social networking site Myspace. From an economic, political and social perspective this is dangerous! In a sense it was News Corps holdings that lead the attack on Ex-PM Brown and rallied the support for David Cameron so attacking news corp a brave move by Lib Dem Vince Cable? VERY brave.

Vince Cable spoke in his party conference speech that the economy must be managed through strong competition policy, not the Labour idea of a large state but equally not the Conservative blind hope in completely free markets, at least the Liberal Democrat seems to be true to his words in this case. He argued the move by Murdoch to take complete control of Sky would create too much market power for News Corp and be damaging to the consumer. He said that the monopoly power News corp would gain would see unfair price rises for customers. Much more than this, he reffered it to OFCOM for further investiagtion! Vince may even be moving to split Murdocks empire in half!

As I said before the attack on Murdoch is very brave, he is a powerful man to make an enemy of. Murdoch is a strong ally to the Conservative party making Vince an unpopular man within the coalition, but also Murdoch could be provoked into using his media power against the Liberal Democrats. However while it seems politically stupid short term, long term Vince puts himself in good stead, within the party and their voters he will better respected after all the liberals never really had a love for Murdoch! In this sense what has he got too loose, Murdoch was never going to be his ally so why not hit him while he can.

Its not only an economic and political move though, if Vince Cable splits up News Corps holding in the UK he will answer the cry's of many saying that Murdoch influence is dangerously strong. One man controlling a huge proportion of the media means one man and voice his opinions loudest, which history tells us is very dangerous.

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  1. If you think Vince Cable has 'put himself in good stead with voters long term', you've been failing to view the bigger picture mate.

    Cable made a small electoral killing earlier this year, namely by appealing to the dissident left - Old Labourites who felt alienated by Blair's Thatcherite bullshit. He did so by first of all announcing that he would abolish tuition fees, and then claiming he would in fact spend more rather than cut, to ensure economic recovery. Safe to say, as soon as he got to power, both these proved to be lies, damned lies. He justified this sudden 'change of opinion' on the basis that Labour lied to the country on the size of the deficit - the same week that the ONS - the branch of the government that actually has all the statistical data regarding the deficit - announced our debt had actually lessened since Labour left office.

    You could argue the LibDems didn't win the election and so shouldn't have any say in policy, but neither - on the basis of a majority-mandate - did the Tories. It was up to the LibDems, who relied on the old left and leftist student votes, to provide a check on the Tories, who would inevitably piss our welfare state up the wall at first opportunity, as they always do. Cable, Clegg, the lot of them, all failed. Come the next election they'll be gone, the public have seen through their lies and we'll not see them back for a long, long time.

  2. Saying that though, keep up the good work. Good to see young socialist-thinking students writing analytical, balanced articles.

  3. Your point of Lib Dem votes coming from left-wing supporters alienated by Tony Blairs Central swing is something that show have but didn't occur to me! Thanks thats really going to help with my study on political bias on economic policy (E.g: conservative philosophy: elitism: focus on debt that is not a real problem: attack equality with regressive policy) .
    I agree with you that the Lib Dems have betrayed nearly every aspect of their electoral manifesto. Although I do find my self shifting towards the Cable idea of competition policy rather than a large state. Cable seems to show some remorse and stomach against the Torys i just wish he would come out and speak the truth about his opinions on their policies. What can you expect though, they sold their soul for PA and the devil did not even give them that.
    I means a lot that you commented, thanks. Please do come back, if you get time. I love to get opinions and debates going.

  4. No problem pal, keep up the good work.

    As for Cable's 'competition policy', I wouldn't be so sure; if we're assuming for argument's sake, that greater competition results in a healthier economy, why hasn't the government truly tackled the market oligopolies that have arisen in bus travel - which have also resulted in various monopolies at local level - not to mention supermarkets, petrol/oil fuel venders and the soft drinks market?

    I'd say this case of intervention is a prime example of government pandering to large corporations, which hold such huge political power on no democratic basis whatsoever. If the numerous other media outlets had not written to Mr. Cable, asking him to prevent Murdoch's Sky bid as they did, do you think he'd have done anything? Maybe, though possibly not, with the threat of an anti-coalition media nowhere to be seen.

    Increasing it seems, politicians are becoming a fickle, power-hungry bunch, prepared to do whatever's necessary to gain votes, or public opinion. As the famous quote reads from Edmund Burke, we elect MPs for their political judgement only, and our representatives in the commons 'betray' us if they sacrifice this to our own opinions. It's rather scary that the last Prime Minister you could honestly did not succumb to popular opinion, was Margaret Thatcher. This the woman whose ruthless policies of de-industrialisation, and deregulation among other things resulted in prolific income inequality which continues to this day, a growth in the aggregate(between breadline and core) poverty which continues to this day and the mass deskilling of labour.

    You could argue Cameron's got a bit of iron about him, slashing away at the state as if it were some sort of scab on his knee, though I suppose times are different - dealignment theory is rampant, social class is no longer of great importance in people's eyes, election turnout has been falling heavily for years, we're in a post-materialistic age; put simply, maybe people don't care enough about politics anymore? And this offers Cameron much more room political, to be so extreme. Thatcher had to do it in times of much greater social divide, and thus the political risk was greater.

  5. Voter turn out has been increasing though, recently:
    I find a lot of young people I come across do care about politics but don't seem to have loyalty to a particular party. Politicians should hold to their opinions, although you could argue Tony Blair did when he went to war..
    Income inequality was the fall out of Thatchers reforms, but benefits are not the best way of solving it.... although this Governments idea of just abandoning equality and slashing benefits is also not the right approach. After reading the Spirt Level i do believe we should be doing must more to solve inequality.

  6. The small increase to 65% is nothing though, considering we had turnouts of 80-70% a few decades ago.

    And I think benefits are a must - all you'll get what happened in America pre-Roosevelt in times of economic depression, where huge pockets of poverty appear all over the country - the infamous 'Hoovervilles'. Put simply, the rich among us are wealthy enough to ensure the poorest among us can all have a stable, basic yet modern standard of living, and they should do so, it's one of the most morale concepts we as humans have ever thought up.

    As for benefits in the UK being too generous, similar to some sort of permanent holiday payment, the average amount a single person on benefits receives is roughly £65 a week, disregarding any children they have. That's £65 a week to pay for gas, heating, electricity, water, food and all other necessities one requires. Ask anyone who is on benefits, and they'll tell you just how hard it is to get by, and only via the strictest budgeting of money can they do so. Unemployment benefit in this country is a wage to survive, not a holiday payment, not a handout to those who 'can't be bothered' yet simply a wage by which one can survive. Fair? Most certainly.

    As for Iain Duncan Smith's claim that 5 million people are on unemployment benefits, his figure accounted for those on incapacity benefits, single parents and home carers.

    Frankly, this is laughable. The economic definition of unemployment: "Those who are out of work, yet are willing and able to work". This is the accepted definition by all brands of economists, that's your Keynes, your Adam Smith and even your Friedman, who in fact suggested that all those who are able and willing to work, will always be in work. The figure of '5 million' accounts for those claiming incapacity benefit, lone parents and carers - all of whom are clearly NOT as 'able' to work as the rest of us, and who by the very morale code our country has been founded on, we should always support.

    There are currently 1.4 million people unemployed in the UK. That's the claimant count, that's how many people are patently ABLE to work, not those unfortunate enough to be disabled, or to be a single parent, those who are as I stated before, clearly ABLE to work. Don't believe the Tory propaganda that suggests otherwise.