Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Fri, 2010-11-12 15:01

Martin Durkin, maker of TGGWS, has done it again. In a TV documentary last night on Channel 4 he makes clear the economic catastrophe that awaits the west and demonstrates that capitalism and a small state are the solutions. The hero of this documentary is "John James Cowperthwaite" Financial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1961 to 1971, a disciple of Adam Smith. Cowperthwaite's introduction of free market economic policies are widely credited with turning post-war Hong Kong into a thriving global financial centre. He is celebrated for abolishing most taxes, keeping income tax low and the size of the state small.

Any suspicions that Durkin is some sort of underground Marxist, as some have alleged, is completely demolished here.

Watch it when it comes to your screen.

For now here are some clips from youtube. For those living outside the UK, watch them while you can:

Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story

"Film maker Martin Durkin explains the full extent of the financial mess we are in: an estimated £4.8 trillion of national debt and counting. It's so big that even if every home in the UK was sold it wouldn't raise enough cash to pay it off.

Durkin argues that to put Britain back on track we need to radically rethink the role of the state, stop politicians spending money in our name and introduce, among other measures, flat taxes to make Britain's economy boom again.

This polemical film presented by Martin Durkin, brings economic theory to life and makes it hit home. It includes interviews with academics, economic experts, entrepreneurs, no less than four ex-Chancellors of the Exchequer and the biggest stack of £50 notes you'll never see."

( categories: )

Clarke and Dawes

Marcus's picture

Quantitative Easing Explained

Marcus's picture

#7 on this weeks viral chart.

Hayek vs Keynes and Friedman...

Marcus's picture

Watch the whole thing here!!!

Marcus's picture

Sounds GREAT

gregster's picture

Thanks for that Marcus.

James Delingpole...

Marcus's picture

November 2010 | by: James Delingpole

Rallying cry

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story (Channel 4, Thursday) was unquestionably the most important programme that will appear on British television this year.

"At the root of all this is a terrible culture malaise. There’s a widespread belief — lovingly nurtured, daily, by the BBC — that if the government didn’t take ever greater chunks of our income and spend it on ‘vital’ areas like health and education, social injustice would prevail and the nation would go to hell in a handcart.

Yet, as Durkin showed, this has not been the Hong Kong Chinese example. There, thanks to the groundwork of perhaps the 20th century’s most able and farsighted administrator — a British civil servant called John Cowperthwaite — Hong Kong has been run since the 1960s on impeccably classical liberal lines. The top rate of tax is 15 per cent; the poor don’t pay any. The economic growth it has experienced as a result has been spectacular, but not to the detriment of the poor (who remain perfectly well looked after) nor to public services such as the transport system (shinier, cleaner, vastly superior to our Moscow c.1950-style Underground because — true Arthur Laffer principles — low-tax regimes bring in more to the Exchequer than high-tax regimes.

In 2007 Durkin’s Great Global Warming Swindle became the first programme on British television really, properly to lay into the corruption, mendacity and flawed science of the Climate Change industry. It rubbed an awful lot of eco-fascist noses up the wrong way because the grisly truth had never been spelt out with quite such brutal, unapologetic accuracy.

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story will, I believe, prove similarly offensive not only to the Polly Toynbee-style Guardianistas who’ve always yearned secretly to turn Britain into a Soviet command economy, but also to those Conservatives still foolish enough to believe that Cameron’s Coalition has any serious answers to the mess we’re in.

It was just the rallying cry the cause of classical liberalism needed. And it couldn’t have come at a more desperate moment in our nation’s history. Hooray for Durkin!"

Telegraph blogger James Delingpole wins Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism

By Damian Thompson
November 12th, 2010

"At an awards ceremony in New York last night, James Delingpole was announced as the winner of the 2010 Bastiat Prize for Online Journalism for his Telegraph blog.

This is great news. James’s posts on the Climategate scandal made a huge international impact on the debate over global warming, raising serious questions about the scientific basis of some of the more extravagant predictions of environmental apocalypse.

Also, it is fair to say, the scandal gravely damaged the reputation of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which was accused – on the basis of leaked emails – of manipulating data in order to exaggerate the extent of global warming.

After James’s posts appeared, generating in some cases over a million page views each, the scientific consensus over climate suddenly appeared a good deal more fragile than it had previously, as even some supporters of the global warming thesis concede. (Others, in contrast, splutter with rage at the mere mention of Delingpole’s name.)

A word about the Bastiat Prize: it’s a heavy-hitting award by the free-market International Politics Network, given for both print and online journalism. This is the second year running that a Telegraph blogger has won the digital prize: Daniel Hannan was the 2009 winner. Judges in previous years have included the Nobel Prize Winners James Buchanan and Milton Friedman, and also Margaret Thatcher; this year they included Douglas Ginsburg of the US Court of Appeals and the science writer Matt Ridley."

Responses from left-wing press...

Marcus's picture

"Last night offered more in the same vein. This time Durkin had Britain's economy – particularly its "bloated" public sector – in his sights. The country is £4.8 trillion in debt. Every man, woman and child owes £77,000. George Osborne's cuts are laughably inadequate – what we need to do is cut public spending by half and invest in the private sector, the wealth generators rather than the tax consumers, instead.

Obviously I have not the time, space or qualifications to consider the validity of this here, but as television it was decidedly odd. On one hand, it brought the economic theory brilliantly to life. I may not agree that public services are a drain on private industry, that Hong Kong is the best of all possible worlds, or wish to lick the bottom of my lifesize statue of Adam Smith every time I pass it, as you suspected some contributors did, but it's nice to see how a worldview that encompasses all this works.

It was even persuasive at times, as all hermetically sealed arguments can be, but eventually you did begin to wonder – if the presenter and talking heads were so convinced of their argument, why couldn't they let it be tested? No alternative views were allowed, apart from a few minutes of Brendan Barber, head of the TUC, and Alistair Darling offering frankly dismal performances in the face of hostile questioning from Durkin. The tone – polemical intent nothwithstanding - was relentlessly, numbingly shrill."

"His stock-in-trade is sensationalism. It's all a little schlocky, a little too convenient, but it is entertaining. Talking heads arguing for flat taxes (a motley crew of right wingers: Kelvin MacKenzie, Nigel Lawson, faces from City AM and the Taxpayers' Alliance) were interspersed with Durkin acting out a variety of sketches to illustrate his point. The Government's cuts were compared to a man bailing out an overflowing bath with a tiny cup. The size of the debt was illustrated with a graphic showing what it would look like were it piled up in £50 notes – £4.8 trillion, as it turns out, goes a very long way, past the top of London's Gherkin, past any hovering aeroplanes, past, even, the circling satellites, right up into space. The stack, says Durkin, would reach a height of 6,561 miles. If you were to chuck it out of the window, one note at a time, you would be there for 3,000 years.

Like a good teacher, Durkin draws you in. He makes the economics interesting and he convinces you – often against your better judgement, frequently only momentarily – of his point of view. His is the self-styled "common sense" of the tabloid knee-jerk, peppered with easy equations and convenient catchphrases. Public sector workers are tax consumers, he says, service workers secondary tax consumers. Entrepreneurship creates tax revenue, but taxes dampen entrepreneurship. Even the NHS should be dismantled, he reasons, in favour of a competitive system with insurance for the poorest. It's a nice argument to make when you've got enough to get by, but not one that's likely to win him many friends. After all, as he all too frequently reminds us, the public sector is rapidly dwarfing the private."

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.