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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... 09:26 - Feb 9 with 1336 viewsNthQldITFC

Trying to keep party-specific politics out of it (please), why do many of us feel that this country (not exclusively perhaps) is falling apart?

Listening to R4 this morning hearing horrifying stories about waiting times for GP appointments, cancer appointments, ADHD medication supplies etc., etc., and then looking at infrastructure decay in general, I don't think that there's the slightest doubt that the UK is in a deep societal crisis - stating the bleeding obvious perhaps. It really feels like we are falling apart.

So why cannot the UK as an entity keep those basic health and infrastructure services functioning as a basic requirement of being and being seen as a civilised modern-ish country?

Simplistically, it seems to me that technological advances should have made and still be making it easier and 'cheaper' for the UK to provide all of that as an accepted base-level cost to the economic model of the country. Standard of living in terms of basic healthcare and infrastructure should always be increasing due to science and technology should it not?

So to my ignorant mind the fundamental reason for the decay, is that a higher and higher percentage of the fruits of 'the economy' is being creamed off by the already wealthy (or even the already moderately wealthy) when other UK citizens are suffering so badly and the basics are decaying. Essentially increasing greed at most levels of society is outstripping increasing economic activity.

All of this is blindingly obvious I suppose, but is any of it fundamentally wrong? Is there a genuine reason why things have to be this way? If not, then the consciences of those of us driving this overbalancing of the UK economy (at all levels) should be absolutely screaming out at us to force a different way of doing things.

It's up to us to force change.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:37 - Feb 9 with 1283 viewssoupytwist

Blimey, good luck with this.

I read a recent thread on Twitter which posted a picture of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at the Yalta conference. It argued that rather than thinking that was the apotheosis of British global power and trying to maintain that position, we should have realised that it was the peak. We needed to accept that our power was on the wane and wouldn't be able to compete with the emerging superpowers. Could be something in that.

Personally, I look at what Norway did with North Sea oil and wonder what might have been if we'd handled that enormous windfall differently (not that I'm any expert on what it's like to live in Norway).
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:42 - Feb 9 with 1251 viewsredrickstuhaart

Impossible to keep politics out of it. At least part of the answer is about priorities and choices made.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:43 - Feb 9 with 1251 viewsJ2BLUE

Haven't really got time to write the post I would like to write but a few points:

The Tories are like that person you know who has maxed out their credit card and then when they make the minimum payment they see it as room to spend on something new. Instead of cutting national insurance they should have used that money on the NHS/army/terrible roads etc etc. I know it was a bribe from the Tories and less money coming in will limit Labour as well but we badly need some grown ups in government.

Technology was supposed to benefit us all. Of course that is not really happening. Things like self service checkouts should be taxed at 50% of the salary of the human they are replacing (I know this needs some work but you get the idea). That way the big supermarkets etc would save money and the new 'national fund' would be getting a contribution each month. That fund could then be used to pay for essentials...you know, like every household in the country.

Our political system is broken. Party politics is toxic. The only thing the two main parties care about it power. They do anything to get it and anything to keep it. We are just not going to see the radical changes needed to transform society.

Truly impaired.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:43 - Feb 9 with 1246 viewspositivity

agree with that, there's undeniably a demographic element too with an ageing population.

this means that we have to put in more money just to stand still, whereas we've consistently cut in recent times. we need to pay more taxes in a fairer way to plug the gap, but no party will get elected on that.

inevitably this means we're on a lower tax/poorer services death spiral

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:47 - Feb 9 with 1223 viewsNthQldITFC

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:37 - Feb 9 by soupytwist

Blimey, good luck with this.

I read a recent thread on Twitter which posted a picture of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at the Yalta conference. It argued that rather than thinking that was the apotheosis of British global power and trying to maintain that position, we should have realised that it was the peak. We needed to accept that our power was on the wane and wouldn't be able to compete with the emerging superpowers. Could be something in that.

Personally, I look at what Norway did with North Sea oil and wonder what might have been if we'd handled that enormous windfall differently (not that I'm any expert on what it's like to live in Norway).


But I'm not talking about international power, or competing with emerging superpowers, or exploiting fossil fuels for maximum financial gain, I'm talking about almost the antithesis of that attitude.

I'm talking about turning away from selfishness and rebalancing.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:50 - Feb 9 with 1209 viewsRadioOrwell

Because all of those things need paying for. But even mentioning that you need to pay for it with taxation seems to be an instant vote killer.
We want stuff but don't want to pay for it.

Also there is a massive, concerted transfer of wealth from not just the poor but from the middle to the rich.
The equivalent of 16k per adult in this country was spent through covid. If you didn't have 16k in your pocket at the end of it, someone else had it.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:51 - Feb 9 with 1202 viewsNthQldITFC

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:43 - Feb 9 by positivity

agree with that, there's undeniably a demographic element too with an ageing population.

this means that we have to put in more money just to stand still, whereas we've consistently cut in recent times. we need to pay more taxes in a fairer way to plug the gap, but no party will get elected on that.

inevitably this means we're on a lower tax/poorer services death spiral


Yes, that should have been in my question:

Can we provide all of those basics to an ageing demographic by rebalancing our national economic model if many of us are willing to change and accept that chasing after personal wealth at all levels of society is killing us.

Many of us would need to step outside of our personal preconceptions and egos to answer that question honestly, I think.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:53 - Feb 9 with 1190 viewsNthQldITFC

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:42 - Feb 9 by redrickstuhaart

Impossible to keep politics out of it. At least part of the answer is about priorities and choices made.


I think you can keep politics out of the mechanics of the question initially - can it be done mechanically?

(But then of course politics has to handle it, and the business of politics would have to change radically to do so.)

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:54 - Feb 9 with 1174 viewssoupytwist

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:47 - Feb 9 by NthQldITFC

But I'm not talking about international power, or competing with emerging superpowers, or exploiting fossil fuels for maximum financial gain, I'm talking about almost the antithesis of that attitude.

I'm talking about turning away from selfishness and rebalancing.


I take your point, I did go off on a bit of a tangent but those things were symptomatic of our attitudes at the time and embedded/enabled the kind of behaviours you see now and decry.

Could we have seen how it would turn out at the time - no. Have there been opportunities since then to take another path - yes but the way we've been for the last 150 years has meant that they weren't taken.

Were there external factors that meant our room for manoeuvre was limited anyway - yes.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:55 - Feb 9 with 1167 viewsMattinLondon

In very simple terms - there is no long term planning for anything. Labour win, Labour abolishes Tory policy, the Tories win, the Tories abolish Labour policies. Everything is built for the five year Parliamentary cycle.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:59 - Feb 9 with 1138 viewsNthQldITFC

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:54 - Feb 9 by soupytwist

I take your point, I did go off on a bit of a tangent but those things were symptomatic of our attitudes at the time and embedded/enabled the kind of behaviours you see now and decry.

Could we have seen how it would turn out at the time - no. Have there been opportunities since then to take another path - yes but the way we've been for the last 150 years has meant that they weren't taken.

Were there external factors that meant our room for manoeuvre was limited anyway - yes.


Not disagreeing with your take on the history at all.

Question is: Could the economics work in the future as I've described?

Secondary and more practical question is: How on earth could we force, and cope with the conflict of, 'the change'?

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 10:01 - Feb 9 with 1118 viewshype313

5 Year political terms mean that no sooner are they in Power, they are looking at keeping in power for the next election, rinse and repeat.

The NHS/Armed Forces should be kept away from political parties and have a more cross party agreement in place.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 10:07 - Feb 9 with 1088 viewsNthQldITFC

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:50 - Feb 9 by RadioOrwell

Because all of those things need paying for. But even mentioning that you need to pay for it with taxation seems to be an instant vote killer.
We want stuff but don't want to pay for it.

Also there is a massive, concerted transfer of wealth from not just the poor but from the middle to the rich.
The equivalent of 16k per adult in this country was spent through covid. If you didn't have 16k in your pocket at the end of it, someone else had it.


I'm not rich, but I would support higher taxation which cost me my luxuries in order to maintain and improve the basic infrastructure of the country.

But that has to come with an utterly transparent, incorruptible sea change in the transfer of wealth - i.e. it starts flowing the other way.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 10:16 - Feb 9 with 1067 viewsGuthrum

It cannot be blamed upon a small number of wealthy people alone.

Over the last 40 years, most homes have become filled with that technology (much of it in the entertainment sphere). Not cheap, especially when you add in the subscriptions to keep them running. People want more money to spend on themselves. So wages are pushed up and taxes down.

It costs more to employ staff and there is less revenue to do it.

Couple that with privatisation and a requirement to pay shareholders is introduced. Those shareholders not just being the rich, but also pension funds, savers and charities .

Money is being leached out of the system, but frequently to worthy destinations.

What's the solution? Similar to the climate crisis, people need to give up some of their leisure activities and comfort in order to pay for the services they want. It may well prove cheaper for them in the long run, qs the burden is spread.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 10:25 - Feb 9 with 1044 viewsNthQldITFC

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 10:16 - Feb 9 by Guthrum

It cannot be blamed upon a small number of wealthy people alone.

Over the last 40 years, most homes have become filled with that technology (much of it in the entertainment sphere). Not cheap, especially when you add in the subscriptions to keep them running. People want more money to spend on themselves. So wages are pushed up and taxes down.

It costs more to employ staff and there is less revenue to do it.

Couple that with privatisation and a requirement to pay shareholders is introduced. Those shareholders not just being the rich, but also pension funds, savers and charities .

Money is being leached out of the system, but frequently to worthy destinations.

What's the solution? Similar to the climate crisis, people need to give up some of their leisure activities and comfort in order to pay for the services they want. It may well prove cheaper for them in the long run, qs the burden is spread.


Yes, the system we have is a reflection of, and is supported by, all of our desires and expectations over the last few decades. We haven't yet accepted en masse that the expanding model cannot keep working in an increasingly constrained environment.

We are not being honest with ourselves.

We need to be brave and start making personal sacrifices AND change our political-economic system if we want to survive.

As you say, much like the climate emergency.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 10:29 - Feb 9 with 1033 viewsSuperKieranMcKenna

I could write thousands of words on this but fundamentally my opinion is the short term it’s politics has led to deep and fundamental weaknesses in our economy:-

-over reliance on the tertiary / services sector has led to an imbalanced economy. Hence we were hit hardest of our European peers during COVID. Whilst we shut our economy down Germany were still churning out cars and other advanced exports (medical equipment etc). This has also led to the north being hit hard as our former industrial base.

-controversial one but over reliance on foreign workers. In my industry I’m seeing lack of opportunity for youngsters to start a career. Since it’s easier and cheaper, the default is often to recruit an experienced worker from abroad rather than train people up for a career. Appreciate there are other factors in other industries such as the NHS where the government did away with funding.

-globalisation has led to a race to the bottom. We’ve exported our industry in order to be able to buy cheaper stuff at the cost of good jobs and security of supply chains. Likewise, globalisation has led to companies having bigger balance sheets than entire countries which means they hold so much political sway and drive down workers rights. Various legal mechanisms mean money has not borders and it’s easy for capital to move offshore to tax efficient jurisdictions.

-housing has become unaffordable not only in the UK, but most of Western Europe driving up the cost of living and lowering standards of living. There are many factors at play here, rapid population growth, commercialisation of renting, and more people living in single person households.

-underinvestment in public service in the UK has choked off growth. It is only a factor in the other underlying weakness of the economy - other Western European peers are stagnating even with government spending. Worth noting though that even the hyper capitalist US is increasing investment in new infrastructure.

There are many other factors at play but these are complex issues which need more tan an electoral cycle to resolve - unfortunately there’s little prospect of that changing.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 11:04 - Feb 9 with 956 viewsChurchman

An interesting post. As I see it, the country had a post war opportunity, but this was limited by the staggering cost of the war, not just financially but the toll it took on the country’s infrastructure (road, rail, power etc).

However it still managed to create the Welfare State — the most civilised thing this country has done since 1832 (Great Reform Bill and final abolition of slavery). It also created housing to replace war damage and slums. Ok none of it was perfect but the intent was there.

The thing missing was investment. Investment in for example shipbuilding - if you can create liners in Italy, why not here? If it’s cheaper to weld new ships (Liberty ship style), why were we still riveting them? Even the last of the Clyde shipyard owners admitted they never invested, they just milked the asset while the rest of the world, bar America, was recovering.

If the Americans were building cars in large factories and the VW creating new ones why were we trying to build Minis and others over several worn out sites (Longbridge, Cowley etc)? It took the railways 40 years to recover from WW2, not helped by Beeching whose interest lay in road transport. It was topped off by at point of recovery railways were sold off piecemeal. Just a couple of examples, but it’s mirrored everywhere. We have amazing people in this country. Shame about the support.

How much investment has there been since 2016 Brexit? None. A worker in this country is no less capable than anywhere else. Proof? Take a look at the productivity of Sunderland’s Nissan plant compared to peers across the world.

Then there is politics. By any measure the current people are only interested in their own narrow world. They are wedded to the long disproved theory of trickle down economics, just as Thatcher was wedded to monetarism - which was the equivalent of solving a problem with the electrics by burning your house down. She wasn’t interested in infrastructure either.

Our services including education and military have been deliberately run down/allowed to rot. Why? Because they don’t care. If you are short of money, that’s your fault. If you want it, pay for it. Work harder. It’s a very Victorian ideal. Grab what you can. Look after number one. Take Austerity and their war on the public sector. No economist would say it was good for the economy. Of course it wasn’t. It was a political decision.

Their predecessors weren’t much better, but at least some of them were in politics for the right reasons even if I disagreed with how they went about it. We have politicians since probably the end of the 1950s who have been short termist, directionless and basically clueless. I don’t like the look of the opposition, but given the disaster the current mob will leave, I hope there is some intent to use your words to force a different way of doing things.

In summary. A crippling lack of investment in just about everything including training and education. A lack of will to tackle anything but short term problems. A growth of political lies, deceit and corruption mirrored by a growth of epic incompetence. Lastly, a class system that is alive and well - you only have to listen to the mutterings of the likes of Cameron, JRM and the wannabes like Sunak to see it. A monarchy of course helps sustain the right of privilege. The world moves on. We do not.

This country has a large £3tn economy. The opportunity is there. The people are there and most are good. The principle of progressive taxation is sound and quite frankly if that means I have to pay more to help with change, so be it.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 11:05 - Feb 9 with 955 viewsGeoffSentence

Privatised public services are another thing that are fecking us up. We are still paying tax payers money for trains, water, electricity et al, but large chunks of that are going into the pockets of investors rather than being invested in the services themselves. Not good value for the tax payer.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:05 - Feb 9 with 830 viewsPendejo

5 mins left of lunch break...

In short public services are non-profit making, generating little or no income; NHS, Police, Fire etc. No profit = no value, but they're what we collectively pay taxes for. The pool of premiums of the many concept.

The recent pillage of the public purse simply highlights the wastage; if that money had been re-invested everything would be better, and current Gov would be re-elected. But because they area corrupt bunch of sociopaths they went for a short term money grab rather than a long term stop feed. Every inch the modus operandi of the hedge fund?

Oops veered into politics

Ultimately what "they" fail to understand, for the economy to be buoyant it needs the majority to have some NDI spending and saving simultaneously. However, the housing as a commodity attitude has funneled money into the pockets of a few who like collecting wealth, and if it trickles down, I mean it is exactly that a feint trickle rather than a healthy stream.

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:25 - Feb 9 with 788 viewsSouthfieldsBlue

A few reasons, which I hope I keep non political.

Collapse in economic growth since 2007-8 - average growth in the UK and the Western world in general is severely below the pre 2007-8 trend level, this means there is less money being generated to spend on the public sector than could have been assumed.

Demographics - Old people cost a lot of money and there are a lot more of them than there used to be compared to the working age population. This is reflected in NHS spending which has gone from about 1/8 of public sector spend in 2000 to around 1/3 now. That leaves less for everything else. Not saying that it's not justified, just that it does squeeze out money for other parts of Government.

The planning system - its so incredibly difficult to build basically anything in this country, be that housing, labs, infrastructure etc that acts as a huge drag on economic growth and quality of life (seen credible estimates suggesting we would be growing at 3% a year with a less restrictive planning system) this difficulty also increases the costs of building so on the rare occasion things do get built they have are more expensive than in comparison to other countries for both supply and regulatory compliance reasons.

Those are probably thr big 3, all to some extent interlinked.
[Post edited 9 Feb 13:31]
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:29 - Feb 9 with 766 viewsChurchman

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:05 - Feb 9 by Pendejo

5 mins left of lunch break...

In short public services are non-profit making, generating little or no income; NHS, Police, Fire etc. No profit = no value, but they're what we collectively pay taxes for. The pool of premiums of the many concept.

The recent pillage of the public purse simply highlights the wastage; if that money had been re-invested everything would be better, and current Gov would be re-elected. But because they area corrupt bunch of sociopaths they went for a short term money grab rather than a long term stop feed. Every inch the modus operandi of the hedge fund?

Oops veered into politics

Ultimately what "they" fail to understand, for the economy to be buoyant it needs the majority to have some NDI spending and saving simultaneously. However, the housing as a commodity attitude has funneled money into the pockets of a few who like collecting wealth, and if it trickles down, I mean it is exactly that a feint trickle rather than a healthy stream.


Don’t forget that the money people who work in the public/non profit making sector are paid is reinvested in the economy so in a meaningful sense, it does generate income.

Building infrastructure in itself doesn’t generate income. It’s why tories don’t believe in it. Yet infrastructure provides the means for business to operate and income to be generated, yet the private sector won’t provide it. It has to be done with public money.

There needs to be a balance in all these things.

As for wealth trickling down, it never has and never will. If you pay a £1m bonus to a multi millionaire, where does the money go? Not into the economy because they already have more money than they can ever spend.
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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:42 - Feb 9 with 721 viewsDanTheMan

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 09:50 - Feb 9 by RadioOrwell

Because all of those things need paying for. But even mentioning that you need to pay for it with taxation seems to be an instant vote killer.
We want stuff but don't want to pay for it.

Also there is a massive, concerted transfer of wealth from not just the poor but from the middle to the rich.
The equivalent of 16k per adult in this country was spent through covid. If you didn't have 16k in your pocket at the end of it, someone else had it.


"The equivalent of 16k per adult in this country was spent through covid. If you didn't have 16k in your pocket at the end of it, someone else had it. "

This is very important.

We don't have it, the Government doesn't have it. It's not hard to guess where that money went.

And then who paid for the inflation that caused?

The lower and middle classes are being consistently kicked by those above.

Whilst I'd be OK paying more in tax, it seems increasingly obvious to me we shouldn't be looking at more tax on workers but on those who earn their wealth through assets, dividends etc. Stuff where they just sit back and watch the money roll in whilst offering nothing else to society.
[Post edited 9 Feb 13:44]

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Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:52 - Feb 9 with 692 viewsChurchman

Economics: This might be too simplistic to answer in these terms but... on 13:25 - Feb 9 by SouthfieldsBlue

A few reasons, which I hope I keep non political.

Collapse in economic growth since 2007-8 - average growth in the UK and the Western world in general is severely below the pre 2007-8 trend level, this means there is less money being generated to spend on the public sector than could have been assumed.

Demographics - Old people cost a lot of money and there are a lot more of them than there used to be compared to the working age population. This is reflected in NHS spending which has gone from about 1/8 of public sector spend in 2000 to around 1/3 now. That leaves less for everything else. Not saying that it's not justified, just that it does squeeze out money for other parts of Government.

The planning system - its so incredibly difficult to build basically anything in this country, be that housing, labs, infrastructure etc that acts as a huge drag on economic growth and quality of life (seen credible estimates suggesting we would be growing at 3% a year with a less restrictive planning system) this difficulty also increases the costs of building so on the rare occasion things do get built they have are more expensive than in comparison to other countries for both supply and regulatory compliance reasons.

Those are probably thr big 3, all to some extent interlinked.
[Post edited 9 Feb 13:31]


Spending to GDP

https://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/exp@FPP/USA/JPN/GBR/SWE/ESP/ITA/ZAF/IND/

U.K. 44%, Sweden 47%, Spain 47%, Germany 49%, Italy 56%, France 58%. I don’t think in an economy as large as ours that it is about the money generated to spend, but what proportion we choose to spend.

As for NHS and social care spending we spend less per capita than our peers. I don’t know the breakdown of what money is spent where, but I do know having seen it first hand that an axe has been taken to things like tax collection, justice, crime and just about everything else so maybe the pie has shrunk in relation to NHS spending, but it doesn’t mean it’s sufficient.

You have to remember political priorities. I asked years ago in the treasury why so many specialist tax collectors who brought in many times their salary cost in unpaid taxes were being kicked out (early retirement). I was told headcount was number one priority. Money? Not interested. We can always print money I was told. My NCA chum who was going after bad guys big money had his team ripped up. He left. He was told serious crime was not a government priority. Headcount is.

The lesson of this is that when politicians say there isn’t the money to fund services, I don’t believe them. Believe me they found it fast enough when they got frightened as they did when faced with the armageddon of Brexit. The budget was literally unlimited. This is not fantasy on my part. It’s in Select Committee records.
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