Category Archives: corruption

Britain is debased, dishonoured and debauched, and Brexit is no cure

Britain’s social model

The condition of England, Dalrymple writes, is a terrible warning to the rest of Europe. We’re not talking about Brexit but about the social devastation caused by a combination of the welfare state and a certain type of culture, by comparison with which Brexit is a trivial matter.

A British teenager, for instance, has a trio of parents:

  • the State
  • its mother
  • television & internet

Britain’s social capital

An Englishman’s street is his dining room. Britishers eat almost as much on the street as at home. And because they are antisocial, they drop the fast-food rubbish around them as cows excrete in the fields.

Dalrymple’s objection to the welfare state as practised in England is not that it is economically unsustainable — though it might be — but that it has exercised a profoundly corrupting effect on the human personality.

Britain’s social future

 

A blueprint for all that was most harmful to development

The currency was called ‘pictures of Nyerere’

Julius Nyerere’s Tanzania, writes Dalrymple,

illustrated best and most clearly the politicisation of life that foreign aid promoted.

It was regarded by silly Western intellectuals as

a beacon to Africa, if not to the world. Mwalimu, or Teacher, was admired because of his apparently modest manner and lifestyle. Because of the uncritical high regard in which he was held, the economist Peter Bauer called him ‘St Julius’.

What had Teacher taught, and what were the miracles that St Julius had wrought? The country

was impoverished, with young men walking around in Western women’s coats, sent out in bundles by charities from Europe. There was nothing to buy. The currency was called ‘pictures of Nyerere’. Everyone was thin except for members of the Party of the Revolution, who were inclined to be portly. You could tell a party member in the countryside by his girth.

Party of the Revolution

Dalrymple explains that every 10th household had a 10-cell leader,

a man whose certificate of political reliability it was necessary to secure even for a child to continue beyond a certain age at school. This became a system of bribery that reached into the tiny interstices of life. It created, in conditions of penury, a cadre who were not only the eyes and ears of the régime, but loyal to it for the small advantages it gave them. (One thinks here of Freud’s phrase, the narcissism of small differences.)

Nyerere

was adept at talking the language of left-wing European intellectuals, while blinding them—in all conscience, not a very difficult thing to do—to the natural consequences of the forcible collectivisation of peasant agriculture and the removal of millions of people from where they were living, on the supposition that it was only thus that equal and equitable development could take place while the government provided the population with its inestimable services.

The maintenance of this system required tyranny and corruption even on a micro-level. Dalrymple had a patient, an Indian trader,

who had contracted tuberculosis in a Tanzanian prison, to which he had been sent for six months during one of Nyerere’s so-called economic crackdowns, conducted by the army to search out people who had supposedly dealt on the so-called black market (which Bauer would have preferred to call the open market). My patient—one of a class of admirable people, small merchants who had begun their careers by bringing a few simple consumer goods to remote rural areas where it was still possible to be attacked by a lion, and who had gradually reached a modest prosperity—had been found to be in possession of six cups and saucers for which he did not have a receipt.

Foreign aid paid for this iniquity. (Dalrymple also was a small beneficiary of the aid, buying his first house from the proceeds.) The collectivisation

was predictably such a disaster, economically, that there was only one solution: more foreign aid. 90% of the people lived on the land, but still the population could not feed itself, and produced practically no cash crops, they being subjected, if grown, to forced requisition by state marketing boards.

Nyerere recognised the nature of his system when he explained why he refused to devalue the currency.

Such a devaluation would have destroyed his powers of political patronage, for access to foreign currency to favoured persons was a way of ensuring their loyalty. ‘And I would lose everything I have,’ were Nyerere’s precise words.

 

On Feigned and Factitious Diseases

England, land of malingerers

Dalrymple enjoys Hector Gavin’s 1843 work, which, he notes,

says something that has resonance in a land such as ours in which the numbers of sick people have so overtaken the numbers of the unemployed, to the delight of government statisticians, doctors, and the unemployed themselves.

Gavin writes:

Medical certificates must not be compared as a practice (as they have been) to that of alms-giving; in the best hands they are liable to great abuse; and however pure and disinterested the motives, much evil not infrequently results from them—none more than the inevitable depreciation of the medical character, which cannot fail to follow from their being given in a careless or lax manner.

Dalrymple comments:

This is enough to make one blush.

How many of the English are pretending to be ill in order to be able to live on handouts? In Britain, Dalrymple points out,

we have the remarkable situation where we have more invalids than after the First World War: 3m, of whom 2m could probably work.

It is, he says,

a fraud on a large scale: deeply corrupting of the recipients, who wrongly believe they are sick; the government, which shifts people out of the unemployment statistics; and the medical profession.

The entrepreneurial parasitism of benefit recipients is, he explains,

not recognised by naïve bureaucrats. The recipients know how to manipulate things to get the maximum benefit; they are reacting to incentives.

Dalrymple books a flight

Attempting to purchase an airline ticket online, Dalrymple finds that with each click of the mouse, the cost rises, until it reaches 25 times the advertised fare. He is

angered in a way that I should not have been if the final cost had been asked of me in the first place. I suppose that by now, having bought many such tickets, I should be used to the sharp practice, but I am not. It irritates me.

Dalrymple is aware that he will be charged a card fee even if he uses his debit card. But the airline finds a wheeze to misrepresent its fare. It charges £6 for a seat.

Could I have avoided this charge if I had volunteered to stand rather than sit? I could not: I had to have a seat. In what sense, then, could the original fare properly have been advertised at £X rather than at £X+£6?  In none that I could fathom. I have known British government ministers more honest and straightforward than this.

The website gives Dalrymple what it calls the ‘total cost’ and asks him to press the ‘continue’ button if he agrees to it. He does so, only to discover that the next page has added a further £6 — for reasons that he is unable to determine.

He comments:

Sharp practice, if not outright dishonesty, is bound to grow in a society in which personal trust and honour are replaced by law and the legal adjudication of obligations. Everyone then does what he can get away with, for a reliance on the law as the sole determinant of the permissible destroys all sense of shame. Small wonder that ‘Cheat, that ye be not cheated’ seems increasingly to be the rule by which we live.

I hug the masses. I feel their pain

Competitive compassionate gesturing — and calls for taxpayers’ cash and property

The Grenfell Tower fire, writes Dalrymple,

could not have come at a better time for Jeremy Corbyn.

Dalrymple notes that while the Labour leader is

a natural hugger of potential voters, Theresa May is not. And what establishes the depths of a person’s compassion for victims more indisputably than a hug?

Corbyn, indeed,

senses that he is but a compassionate gesture or two away from occupying No.10.

Time for some good old Leninist expropriation

This Marxist says that he is angry at what happened, which he links to

what is known as fiscal austerity—that is, when government spends only 108% of tax revenue, instead of the much higher percentage that he favours.

Of course, Corbyn

skated over the part played by the public sector in the tragedy.

A filthy, degraded country

England, Dalrymple points out to an interviewer, is a corrupt country. Not in the way that, for instance, Italy is corrupt, but morally and intellectually corrupt, which is worse.

  • The educational system has been ruined
  • There are large social problems (of which public drunkenness is an example)
  • The country is the dirtiest in Europe — Britishers routinely fling rubbish out of car windows to pollute the beautiful countryside, for instance

There has been a cultural revolution in the country, making it quite the opposite of what it once was.

He who would rule us

Who would have heard of Jean-Claude Juncker had he remained a corrupt, utterly mediocre former prime minister of Luxembourg?

The failing unitary European state

Dalrymple notes that the European Union is

  • corrupt
  • bureaucratic
  • cumbersome
  • archaic
  • inhibitory of enterprise
  • economically dysfunctional
  • undemocratic

He points out that

its two most recent major innovations, the single currency and free movement across borders, have been disasters for many of its members.

Britain’s bogus charities

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 08.53.05When you give money to a large charity, writes Dalrymple,

you are not so much being generous as voluntarily paying more tax, for many charities are de facto subcontractors to the State. The government is usually by far the largest single donor.

Therefore you should remember that

he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Such charities, Dalrymple points out, are

misrepresenting themselves to the public.

It is not only financial corruption that you should fear, he says,

but even more the moral corruption of which this dishonesty is an example.

For the European élite, high tax is an intrinsic good

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Not a happy ending

Every country, Dalrymple points out, ought to

use the means at its disposal to solve its own problems that arise from history and culture.

Yet a large part of the so-called European project is the plan for a

fiscal straitjacket, accompanied by transfer payments from one country to another.

Glancing at the newspaper the Monde, Dalrymple comes across an article on the subject of la tentation du paradis fiscal that carries the heading

Après le Brexit, le Royaume-Uni fait le choix des charmes dangereux du dumping fiscal

This is a reference to an idea floated in some parts of the UK government that corporate tax might be cut to 15%. ‘Fiscal dumping’ here means

levying a tax rate on corporate profits lower than that of other nations.

Some people, Dalrymple ventures,

might call this competition.

The Monde‘s use of the term ‘fiscal dumping’ is telling, says Dalrymple, about

the dirigiste European political élite mindset. They cannot say a priori what rate is ‘correct’, but terming a 15% corporate tax rate ‘dumping’ implies that there is a correct rate.

The implication is that national differences in tax rates are inherently wrong, and that the tax rate ought to be high, even if a lower rate results in a higher take.

One might think that the main attraction of high tax rates is the distress they cause to those who pay them.

Dalrymple explains that the belief in a ‘correct’ tax rate

can only mean a belief in the uniformity of tax rates in Europe, and in overruling each individual country’s preferences and needs. Uniformity implies the need for a centralised authority over which there could never be the slightest democratic oversight. There is no European people to elect a European government, and never will be.

Official tax rates and effective tax rates may differ.

A system of concessions, exceptions, and bribery is likely to flourish where rates are high and it is worth avoiding and evading tax. A corrupt or flexible polity with a high tax rate may impose less tax in reality than an honest one with a low tax rate.

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