Saturday 15 August 2009

Have I just read the Scotsman's most ludicrous article ever?

After reading the paper for more than thirty years, I think that I may have done just that.

Steve Glover's piece seems to be connected with the International Television Festival. Let's start here:

But here, unlike most European countries, there's no real difference between the two likely future governments
OK. So far so good. But here's the next bit:
Each passionately subscribes to a form of free market militancy that seems uniquely ill-chosen for the exigencies of the current recession. We're left with a choice between two leaders, each of whom belongs, in world economic terms, to the same faction of the free market Taleban
Can any sentient person think that Britain's two main parties are wedded to the free market? Since 1997 Labour has waged a relentless attack on the freedoms of the British public. The "free market" is simply freedom in action. It's what people do when the government doesn't step in and control things. Just because Labour has sweetheart deals with certain private companies doesn't mean that we enjoy a free market. Just the opposite in fact. And as for the Conservatives, one only needs to see how scared they are of any discussion about the NHS. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives (not to mention the bizarrely named "Liberal" Democrats) have any understanding of what a free market means.

Nor has Mr Glover.

But it gets worse:

The real political power, though, lies not in erasing a conversation but in not allowing it to take place at all. The unlikely father of this technique is surely the Austrian aristocrat and economist Friedrich August Von Hayek. If you've never heard of him, you've seen more than enough of his ideas on television.
Well I have indeed heard of Hayek, and, unlike Mr Glover I suspect, I met Hayek, and I have read all of his books. But I don't recall hearing about Hayek's career as a television producer...

Here's the next bit:

In common with many intellectuals between the wars, Hayek condemned the rise of the new Nazi state. What was unique about his critique was that he felt the Nazis were too left-wing, accusing them of socialism by other means.
Give us a break! Here's a clue Mr Glover: Nazi means National Socialist.

Glover continues:

Hayek, having endured decades of rejection by the political and academic elites as, well, frankly, a headbanger, found a saviour for his theory of monetarism in General Pinochet of Chile, but Pinochet's initiation of the idea resulted in economic catastrophe.
Not quite. Pinochet adopted the "monetarist" policies of Milton Friedman, not Hayek's theories. The term "monetarism" is associated with Friedman's Chicago School of Economics, not with the very different Hayekian Austrian School. Does Glover understand the difference? Besides, what "economic catastrophe" happened in Chile anyway?

Then we get this:

Hayek argued that all western civilisation as we know it advanced from the ownership of private property. This is an impressive and persuasive thesis. Indeed, the only thing it lacks is any evidence whatsoever to support it.
"Persuasive" but without evidence! Look around the world Mr Glover.

Here's the next bit:

Nevertheless, its assumptions underlie the Thatcherite slogan, "The Property Owner's Democracy". This is a phrase that becomes ever more oxymoronic the longer you think about it, but it inspired our hard-of-thinking television programmers to launch an entire genre.

The intemperate rush into heavy debt, and subsequent tragedy fuelled by Location, Location, Location and its endless imitators that saturate our television schedules, has slowed.

And what precisely has this to do with Hayek? Austrians believe in the abolition of state-created fiat money, which is the root cause of the property boom and bust.

Let's ignore Glover's Alabamaphobia * and his blaming Hayek for "Dragons' Den" and "Gok Wan", but consider Glover's odd theory that connects Hayek with neo-conservatism. I suspect that Glover doesn't have a clue about what the term neo-conservatism actually means. Nor does it seem likely that he's read one of Hayek's most famous essays: Why I am Not a Conservative.

(* America's third blackest state)

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Neil Craig
It is amazing the way the media are pushing the line that the current recesion is an example of the failure of our free enterprise policies. The only way it casn be maintained that on the spectrum from free enterprise to statist we are anywhere on the "right" side is by pretending countries from Ireland to the BRICK countries don't exist. This is something the media find it remarkably easy to do.

17 August 2009, 11:19:36 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
Afraid it's the same BBC (apart from more coverage of Rangers, Celtic, Rangers, Celtic Ran...). 
It really was an extraordinary article, wasn't it? I wonder if Glover banged his head in a bizarre skiing accident when in Austria sometime.

17 August 2009, 07:21:39 GMT+01:00
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Do you get a different BBC, Channal $ that us poor english people? You must also have different political parties than us. 
We unfortunately have three social democratic parties, that pander to a fabian broadcasting media. 
What do I need to qualify for an entry visa into the scottish utopia as described ( I will never call Mr Broon a mad scotmans agian - will find some other exoression with mad in if it helps) 
God help us such ignorance is national within our cultural elites and betters

16 August 2009, 22:16:07 GMT+01:00
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Andrew Ian Dodge
So Hayek like his heavy metal? Woah, another reason to like the great man. 
A truly nutty piece of writing in the once sensible Scotsman.

15 August 2009, 22:34:46 GMT+01:00
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Sam Duncan
I sit here stunned. That is absolutely bizarre. I used to think the Scotsman was slightly less insane than its Guardian-wannabe competitor the Herald. Mr. Glover has single-handedly disabused me of that delusion.

15 August 2009, 20:02:36 GMT+01:00