T Nation

'Soviet' Britain Swells Amid the Recession



The study of ?Soviet Britain? has found the government?s share of output and expenditure has now surged to more than 60% in some areas of England and over 70% elsewhere.


The state now looms far larger in many parts of Britain than it did in former Soviet satellite states such as Hungary and Slovakia as they emerged from communism in the 1990s, when state spending accounted for about 60% of their economies.


Hardly suprising. The industry in these areas died out (coal, steel, auto manunfacturing,) this led to unemployment which led to cheap available labour, the government then moves Admin type jobs there. Add into this the nationalisation of Northern Rock due to it failing and you have the figures that you see.

Labour would argue that the blame lies with Maggie Thatcher destroying the industries in these areas as part of her bid to wipe out the power of the Unions.

The Tories would argue that the industries were already dead and Thatcher just signed the death certificate.

You have to go back a lot earlier than 1997 to see the root causes. That said, it has been monumentally bungled every since.


Didn't Marx predict all of this? And didn't he think crap like the soon-to-be Soviet Union to be an abomination?


I am still in awe of this:

We are officially approaching Sowjet Union like government spending in some parts of Europe.


UK is very badly run and has been for decades. This place is disintegrating and likely going to collapse. I have no idea how they plan to pay back all the money they are borrowing to cover their mismanaged country, nor how to pay the pensions, health care for decades to come.

I am not even sure what this country produces except whisky (2nd biggest export) ... and bullshit. By bullshit I mean unregulated banking - and man, that worked out real well didn't it thatcher?

I cannot believe the amount of welfare here. Irresponsible teenage girl gets pregnant, gets given a house. And a pension. Wooohoo! That's clever.

At least here, the amount owed is only 1/10th what USA owes. For now.


as far as the 1/10th of the same debt goes, America has a much larger population to help pay off our debt. And it seems like the UK is going to get a lot more strain put on the system because immigrants are coming there in droves, and not working.

best of luck.


Food and drink are pretty high up on our exports as are arms. We are also leaders in engineering, finance (London being the largest financial centre in the world) and pharmaceuticals.

220 billion pounds of export in 2007 or almost a third of the size of US exports which given that our debt is a tenth of yours actually puts the country in a stronger financial position.

Our debt is double our exports, your debt is 10 times your exports.


Yeah UK is is much better position than USA, but UK not in a good position.

The financial sector here is bollocks. It has grown because it is deregulated ie they do as they please. And look where that led us. If they ever regulate it, it will move to another country. If they don't, it will continue stuffing around. My point is, the financial sector isn't based on what it should be - it has been based on bullshit. I cannot emphasise this enough.

You are right I forgot about the arms trade.

UK is a leader in engineering and medicine. I wish that more effort was in these areas and the economy was based around manufacturing more.

Population size isn't a bonus when that is an aging population, soon to be non-productive and nothing but a further drain on the economy. Note I have nothing against this/pensions, but the pension schemes have collapsed/are collapsing because the money was gambled away by morons.


This should answer the question for anybody who believes the government is the answer when it comes to recession relief. Has this obscene government intervention helped? Doesn't look like it to me.


Actually, the vast majority of immigrants in Britain are working harder than the natives. You should learn a fair bit more about a country, or spend some time there, before tossing out comments like that.


Financial regulation in the UK is actually pretty tight and getting tighter by the year, having had to work in an FSA regulated environment I can assure you of that.

Yes the situation in the UK is rough but it is no way as bad as the media would have you believe (neither is the situation in the US.)

As for lazy imigrants, that stereotype is way out of wack.


London won't be a financial center for much longer because Brussels has dictated that banking rules across the EU will be standardized. Once London's banking rules are put inline with Frankfurt, London is finished. All that business will transfer to Dubai.

You Guardianistas are something else. You lie and spin everything that relates to the job performance of the Labour government just so it won't look as bad as it really is. No one knows what Britain's national debt really is because of Gordon Brown's extensive use of creative accounting methods, like the Private Finance Initiative.

Lack of Transparency

PFI contracts are off-balance-sheet, meaning that they do not show up as part of the national debt as measured by government statistics such as the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR). The technical reason for this is that the government authority taking out the PFI contract pays a single charge (the 'Unitary Charge') for both the initial capital spend and the on-going maintenance costs. This means that the entire contract is classed as revenue spending rather than capital spending. As a result neither the capital spend nor the long-term revenue obligation appears on the government's balance sheet. Were the total PFI liability to be shown on the UK balance sheet it would greatly increase the UK national debt.

Even supporters of PFI have now recognised that this lack of transparency is an issue. For example, in 2007 Neil Bentley, the CBI's Director of Public Services, told a conference that the CBI was keen for the government to press ahead with accounting rule changes that would put large numbers of PFI projects back on the government's books. He was concerned that accusations of "accounting tricks" were delaying PFI projects[30


Because there are a lot of communists in government. ie Almost all (if not all) of the British Labour government's front bench is made up of communists.

Then there is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that no one in Europe wants to admit to. Times have changed. The world has become a very different place since the end of world war two. The world economy no longer centered solely around the US, Europe and Japan.

Now there is China and India to compete against. But Europe keeps pushing for work rules that are unrealistic to compete with technologically advanced countries filled with motivated populations that are hungry and want to make money.

Europe needs to come out of it's state of denial.


You obviously haven't looked into export figures. More specifically what they exclude. America's largest export doesn't show up in official statitics. Our debt is probably more like 4 times exports.


You really are dumb. I have repeatedly stated that I hate Tony Blair and I have never voted Labour.

I have also stated that the guardian is a left wing mouthpiece that I have very little time for, I do read the sports section though because it is better than that in the times, the paper that I normally read. The times has however steadily been turning to junk over the last 10-15 years and is now pretty close to the Sun but just with longer words.

Just because I don't think that every human being should be running round with a collection of guns doesn't mean that the US economy isn't more fucked than the UK one.

In real terms though they are both fucked as are all economies at the moment because they are all so interlinked.

By the way, given that you get your information from wikipedia and the daily xenophobe you are in no position to talk to anyone about obfuscation of information.


Sifu, to come out and call the labour front bench communist is just plain ignorant, many of the barbs that have been thrown at them are based on them being too centerist.

I doubt that without checking wikipedia you coul name more than 2-3 Labour front benchers let alone give a breakdown of their political ideology.

China and India (along with a number of developing nations) represent a fantastic opportunity for Europe, the USA and Japan in terms of new markets that are opening up. The problem is scare mongering not competition or lack of opportunity. The problem is short sited people who struggle to accept that they are part of an interconnected global economy. People who still want to focus on their own back yard.


Interesting, what is excluded?


Obviously you don't read the British newspapers on a daily basis like I do. In November the Telegraph ran a list of the 100 top left wingers in Britain.



Prime Minister

Despite his ongoing travails, there is no doubt that Gordon Brown?s grip on the Labour Party machine and the levers of power is still strong, albeit diminishing. His ability to wreak revenge on those who gainsay him is still legendary. His ability to remain in pole position in twelve months time is far less certain.

    Foreign Secretary

There?s little doubt that David Miliband?s reputation and influence have been enhanced over the previous twelve months. The very fact that he has made clear he won?t be reshuffled to the Treasury demonstrates his power. One of the few Labour intellectuals who is able to articulate a vision, the next twelve months may well tell if he has the courage needed to go all the way in politics.

  1. (+13) ED MILIBAND
    Minister for the Cabinet Office and Manifesto Co-ordinator

Ed Miliband threatens to eclipse his older brother. In his role as manifesto coordinator he has impressed party activists and unions alike and he is one of the few senior Labour figures who is able to give an inspirational speech without notes. He remains close to Gordon Brown and was horrified by the aftermath of his brother?s Guardian article.

    Chair of Labour Party and Leader of House of Commons

Last year, we asked if Harriet Harman?s reinvention could last. It has, and the some. One of the few to have the courage to tell Brown when he?s wrong, though she is frequently overruled, she has cemented her position as the party?s conscience. Nevertheless, while Brown hears what she says, he rarely listens. There is little doubt that Harman would be a candidate in the Brown succession, and after her surprise win in the deputy leadership election last year, few now underestimate her.

    Joint General Secretary, Unite

The former leader of Amicus is no less influential in his new joint-leader position within the massive new Unite trade union. An archetypal devil-may-care old style union leader, Simpson has it within his power to create real industrial problems for Gordon Brown. His public dismissal of David Miliband just before the TUC Conference was a deliberate attempt to show his union?s political muscle.

    Director of Communications, UNITE

The reemergence of Charlie Whelan as a major political player has caused much heartache among Blairites. But he has been deployed by Gordon Brown behind the scenes to cobble together deals, and he was behind his boss Derek Simpson?s destruction of David Miliband a fortnight ago. He has also persuaded his own union ? and others ? to keep the Labour Party afloat financially.

  1. (-7) JACK STRAW
    Secretary of State for Justice

Having run Gordon Brown?s leadership campaign, Jack Straw has proved he?s the great New Labour survivor. However, in recent months the Prime Minister has become wary of his motives. His gradual distancing of himself from Brown has not gone unnoticed either by the PM or political journalists.

  1. (-1) ALAN JOHNSON
    Secretary of State for Health

Johnson emerged from the Deputy Leadership campaign slightly damaged by not winning, but his cheeky chappy appeal across the Labour Party ensures continuing inference. The only leading Labour Minister Conservatives genuinely fear, he may have been rather too early in ruling himself out of any future leadership contest.

Then there was this version of the list that was produced where the communist backgrounds of several of the most prominent officials in the Labour government were detailed.


The Daily Telegraph has recently printed their list of the top 100 British Left-wingers. A closer look at the upper echelons of the list reveals some interesting facts about our lords and masters and their true ideological leanings.

  1. Gordon Brown

At No.1 in the traitorous hit parade is the man himself, Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It is often said of Brown that he wasn?t an avowed Communist in his youth, unlike many of his New Labour colleagues.

While not a card-carrying member, Brown?s choice of subject for his PhD at Glasgow University gives some clues as to his true political leanings. Brown wrote his thesis, and later a biography of James Maxton, an Independent Labour Party MP, a man Brown has admitted to being ?fascinated? by. As well as being a conscientious objector who was sent to prison during WWI, Maxton was an extreme-left winger who even went as far as to pen a glowing biography of the man who had provided the inspiration and influence for Maxton?s own political viewpoints; Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. Better known to posterity as Lenin.

  1. David Miliband

Just behind Comrade Brown is Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Milband?s father Ralph was a leading Marxist theoretician who had entered Britain illegally with his father Samuel Miliband, a former Red Army soldier, in 1940. A leading figure of the Communist left in Britain, Ralph Miliband is buried in Highgate Cemetery close to his idol, Karl Marx.

Ralph also spawned the entry at No.4 in the Top Left-Winger list, David?s brother and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ed Miliband.

  1. Harriet Harman

Often referred to as ?Harriet Harperson? due to her extreme politically correct views, Harman often takes her far-left views to absurd, and sinister, lengths. She is virulently anti-family and has questioned whether ?the presence of fathers in families is necessarily a means to social harmony and cohesion.? Her advocacy of the racist practice of ?Positive Discrimination? is well documented and Harman has sought to extend this biased employment strategy even further.

  1. Derek Simpson

Lumbering Union dinosaur Derek Simpson comes in at No. 9. Simpson is joint General Secretary of the enormous new trade union, ?Unite.? A card carrying member of the Communist Party of Britain, Simpson has also used his members? money to conduct an obsessive campaign against the BNP, and Unite was one of the chief organisations behind this year?s violent left-wing protests against the BNP?s Red White and Blue festival.

  1. Charlie Whelan

Gordon Brown?s spin doctor cum political enforcer of choice and Director of Communications for Simpson?s Unite union, Whelan just fails to make the top 10 of shame but his credentials as a loony lefty are impeccable. A Champagne Socialist who went to a public school in Surrey, Whelan was a long serving member of the Communist Party, only leaving it in 1990 as he tried to establish a career within the Labour Party.

  1. Jack Straw

Former Foreign Secretary and current Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw?s career has been on the wane of late, but he still manages to make the top 20 list of the bad, the very bad and the downright ugly.

A proud and vocal communist during his formative years, Straw once went to Cuba as leader of the National Union of Students to meet his hero, future Chilean communist dictator, General Allende. British diplomats in Chile cabled the Foreign Office in London concerning Straw?s presence, calling him a ?troublemaker?acting with malice aforethought? and branded Straw?s juvenile far-left politics as ?depressingly immature.?

  1. Alan Johnson

The Secretary of State for Health is considered by many to be a future leader of the Labour Party. A closer look at Johnson?s dodgy background reveals why. A former militant leader of the postal workers? union, Johnson joined the Labour Party. But he made no secret of his true political affiliations: ?I was more CPGB [Communist Party of Great Britain]. I did consider myself to be a Marxist ? I read more chapters of Das Kapital than Harold Wilson.?

  1. Baroness Shriti Vadera

Readers may have noticed the ?hideously white? nature of the list so far. But fear not, Britain?s non-indigenous loony lefties are first represented at a rather lowly 28 by Shriti Vadera, Gordon Brown?s somewhat ironically titled ?economics guru.? But we?re sure that with a good dose of ?positive discrimination,? Mrs. Vadera will be in the Top Ten in next year?s list.

Congratulations to all the former communists, crypto-communists, quasi-communists and current communists that have made the list. We can all look forward to a year ahead where they will further pursue their internationalist, anti-British agenda in the hope of moving up a few spaces in next year?s list.

I read a lot of different news sources. I don't have the time or motivation to sit around anally memorizing everything I read.

You need to lay off of the Koolaid.

China has not been an opportunity at all. They had over a billion people living in grinding poverty who couldn't afford to buy anything that we made. The only market they had to offer was a massive job market that would work for next to nothing. The only thing they are consuming is our manufacturing jobs.

India is a much better case than China in regards to dealing with us fairly, but they can out compete Europeans and Americans in the labor market. In short they are educated, they are smart, they are hungry and they will work for a lot less.

A European who only works 36 hours a week and who takes a months vacation in the summer cannot compete. Especially when a sizable chunk of his salary is confiscated to pay for ridiculously lavish social programs. And all the governments in Europe can think to do is bring in new work rules that make them even less competitive than they already are.


OK, now I am actually laughing out loud. You are quoting the BNP. Have you any idea who the BNP are? Do you get your USA political information from the Klan?

You have totally underlined my point, all you are doing is searching and posting anything that comes up without a clue of what it means.

Boo Hoo, people in poor countries are stealing all the US jobs. That is such a shortsighted viewpoint. Mind you, if you think your average European is working a 36 hr week and taking a month off in the summer then you obviously are delusional.


I thought you would like that. Just remember he who laughs last, laughs best.

Yes, they are the fastest growing political party in Britain. They are the party that all the other parties are afraid of. They are the future.

No I don't because the Klan is a racist organization.

Actually the BNP website gets more web traffic than any other British political party website.

It is not just American jobs that are going to China and India, European jobs are affected even worse. With those jobs goes the ability to maintain the standard of living that we have become used to.

There is no boohooing or shortsightedness involved. Europeans more than anyone else have got to lower their expectations in life. It is a simple matter of logic that if European workers are going to compete with third world workers in a global labor market then they are going to have to learn to accept third world wages and they are going to have to accept third world levels of social welfare. Because there will not be any money for something better.

But you do have a point Europeans are greedy and expect way too much. ie The council housing in Britain often times isn't as nice as the houses on millionaires row in Hampstead Heath but it is far superior to a slum in Mumbai. It costs money to keep welfare dependents in better conditions than a slum in Mumbai, but that money has to come from somewhere. Usually it's taxes from working people. Which means that businesses have to pay people more than they would if they relocated. The British and the rest of Europe need to lower their expectations so they are more consistent with Munbai.

Here is some information on working hours in Germany.


Working hours in Germany are 35.5 - 40 hours and are spread weekly over a five day period

Merit increases for an employee are not uncommon in the private sector. Wages are calculated on a monthly average. Most businesses include a 13th month's salary, some a 14th as well, to be paid to the employee at Christmas, and extra money before the annual summer vacation.

Federal law requires a legal minimum for holiday time of 18 workdays for adults, and 25 - 30 days for young adults up to the age of 18 years. However, due to collective bargaining agreements, 70 percent of all employees enjoy at least six weeks of paid vacation, and most of the others get between five and six weeks. However, virtually every company offers its employees a 30 working day holiday allowance per year.