Friday, 7 November 2014

Current Politics Briefly Explained With Poker Analogy

There's trouble at t'mill in Ed Miliband's Labour camp, with pressure from some of his party members for him to stand down. Of course, most of us know he's not Prime Minister material, but I find these disgruntled Labour party members' behaviour quite peculiar, given that Ed Miliband is perhaps the best magician in politics right now: he's managed to make his party favourite for the next election while simultaneously having the worst policies in modern Labour Party history (I'll leave it up to you whether you want to include Clement Atlee's socialist party as modern history).

In terms of policies and political credibility, the current political landscape is roughly along the lines of this poker hand analogy. UKIP has about the equivalent of Jack high; The Liberal Democrats have a pair, as do The Green Party; Labour has two pair; The Conservatives have an eight-high straight, and The Libertarian Party has a full house.

Unfortunately, with the current backdrop we live in a nation in which many don't understand the rules of poker. There are an emerging number of hardcore Brits who think high cards trump all other hands; many neo-socialists and Gaia demagogues who think poker is about acquiring pairs; many who over-inflate straights, and a great many who haven't got to grips with the true value of a full house.

Alas, there isn’t a Royal Flush party (I doubt any bunch of humans could create one) – but if there were ever to be a party that would be roughly equivalent to having a four of a kind hand, it would be a party that understands all of the following. That….

Capitalism and science are the primary vehicles for improving people's prosperity, well-being and living standards all over the world.

Heavy regulation is bad for the economy, as it usually hurts the people the policies intend to protect.

Price controls create scarcity; they do not help those struggling to pay their bills.

Small business subsidies are a crass interference in the market of supply and demand.

The minimum wage creates unemployment, hikes up prices and places an unfair burden on employers of low-skilled workers.

Market forces shield workers from discrimination far more than governments do.

The banking industry suffered because it was too heavily regulated, not because it was left 'unfettered'.

Chancellors don't really ever balance the budget or induce growth.

Tax cuts are not what cause deficits.

In the arms race between green governmental policies and greener scientific and technological capabilities, the latter is almost sure to win out.

Inefficiency, waste and poor management are predictable features of public sector, nationalised and government-owned services.

Having a 'trade deficit' does not mean that the country is poorer because of it.

Protecting British businesses over foreign ones hurts other British businesses as well as foreigners.

Buying cheaper products from abroad is better for our country's people, not worse.

Protectionism, import tariffs and farm subsidies help a privileged few, but they make everyone else poorer.

Without interest income there'd be virtually no investment at all.

Big governments create too many hidden costs and only relatively few superficial benefits in the free market.

* Photo courtesy of