ALAN FRANKLIN COMMENTS: In 2006, when Pat and I wrote Goodbye America, Goodbye Britain, it was obvious to us that our mostly Godless, indulgent, secular societies were finished. Now more commentators are realising that there may NEVER be a recovery, that success is not guaranteed, and that from now on it is a rapid descent into unemployment, bankruptcy, food shortages and riots.
There are many reasons why God is judging our two nations in particular, and these are set out clearly in our book, starting with abortion, poor treatment of Israel and rampant immorality and perversion.
The fact that we have been so materially successful for so long just shows how much patience God has had with us, giving us time to repent. There is no sign of that, so now we are set to reap the whirlwind as the perfect financial storm breaks round our silly heads.
We will look back on 2008 as the last of the good years. Unless there is massive repentence and a change of course in both our nations, which I think highly unlikely, it is a toss up which of our countries will be first to glug down the plughole. Now here is a take on the situation from a secular writer in The Daily Telegraph. First, Christina Speight comments:
This is a desperate plea from Heffer and I endorse it completely. British opposition leader David Cameron’s New Year message is a missed opportunity to issue a call for immediate sacrifices to save the future of the nation. Most of the media and the blogs are making the traditional New Year’s silly lists of this that and the other. So few seem to have noticed that the Titanic is sinking - fast.
The Sun newspaper today recognises the two nation state we have become and calls for action. The Tories must rise to the occasion
The Tories must give us cause for hope in 2009
David Cameron and George Osborne have to start making the case for sacrifice, cuts and an end to living beyond our means.
By Simon Heffer
An email arrived for me the other day from a businessman, a shoe manufacturer, who asserted: "It could be that Britain may never recover." It is not an unusual sentiment. For the past two or three months, I have had several such messages each week. They are now more plentiful. The shoe manufacturer told me how he ran a big firm through the downturn in the 1970s, and how he knows what it is like not just to confront economic adversity, but to have to make staff redundant.
He was in no doubt about what the Government should do: "This generation must pay for the rewards it has taken or there may be nothing left for the next."
He was affronted by what he called the "five-plus million unaffected public sector workers" (the figure is more like six-plus million), the "pyramid system" of the state pension, where those receiving one are funded not by contributions they have made in the past, but by revenues contributed by those in work today.
He talked of the suffocating pile of debt, the empty order books, the collapsed currency, the disincentive of penal taxation and excessive regulation all helping to prevent recovery. He forecast, with some justification, the transition of our economy into one akin to the Third World, where the printing of money (the only policy, if it can be dignified with that term, that Gordon Brown seems to have) leads to hyperinflation, and thence to failures of infrastructure, law and order and democracy.
He interjected that I might think he exaggerated, but countered with the fact that few predicted the present economic debacle, [One organisation that did was the Bank of England in 2006. They predicted then what would happen unless urgent action was taken. Gordon took no notice and failed to act - - see mine yesterday “IMPORTANT - Proof that Brown's inaction caused the crisis” -cs] so it was unsurprising that they should not have predicted a greater catastrophe yet. He argued that, without a massive reduction of debt, the contraction of the public sector and an end to the culture of rewarding failure, we are finished.
That this reader took the trouble to write all this down for my private consumption I took as an indication of the devastation of morale among our people at exactly the time when we are wandering around wishing each other a happy new year. For most, it won't be, precisely for the reasons set out so articulately by my correspondent. His view is shared by countless others who have to deal with that most crucial (and, by this Government at any rate, most uncomprehended) matter of wealth creation. They have noted, from the sharp end, what a group of prelates quite accurately described as the scandal of economic policy in this country now, and its sheer immorality.
And one or two have also grasped how, despite a belated and limp entry on to the battlefield last weekend, George Osborne and the Conservative Party still show no signs of getting it either. If the pessimists who say we cannot recover are to be proved wrong, there has to be a severe shift of policy before the damage becomes irreparable.
We are at a truly significant moment. The Government has no desire to gauge the temper of the British people; the Opposition is still plainly scared to do so. This is a disconnection for which the Government, at any rate, stands liable to be punished when, eventually, there is a general election. I have no idea whether Mr Brown will call one in the year about to start. I suspect that, if he does not, his career in high politics will be over within 18 months. The polls suggest he and his party are already behind, not because of any genius on the part of the Tories (they have yet to display any such thing) but because of the mounting awareness of our economic failure and the consequent devastation of morale.
Yet for all his denial, the Prime Minister may perhaps see that it will be harder for him to convince the people of the need for him to have a new mandate when another million or so of them have lost their jobs, when hundreds of thousands more businesses have gone under, when tens of thousands of houses have been repossessed: when, in short, the full extent of his economic disaster can no longer be obscured, and when the completely dishonest Mandelsonian line about it all being the fault of the Americans has been exposed, even to the most dimwitted of our fellow Britons, as being entirely bogus.
The Tory party, to help itself and the country, has to suspend its fantasy that the public sector is untouchable. The resentment of the free ride being taken by the client state is fast turning to anger. It is inequitable, outrageous and economically suicidal for all the burdens to be borne by the private and productive sector when the public and unproductive one is coming through the worst economic crisis for 70 years with just the odd bruise.
The Conservatives must understand, and enunciate, three things: that those in socially unproductive roles in the public sector may also lose their jobs; that spending and borrowing will, in these conditions unprecedented in most of our lifetimes, have to fall; and that increases in taxation, in whatever form they take, will serve only further to depress an economy rather than to give it the kick start for which it is crying out.
The Tories have simply failed to highlight not merely the responsibility that ex-Chancellor Brown bears for the present disaster, but also the importance of stimulating wealth creation if we are to get out of this mess. It is vital they do this not merely to score points against a failed administration and its leader, but to put some confidence into the electorate that what they might do instead would be any better.
This is perhaps the single most important political task of the year to come. Failure for the Tories, as I have written before, would not just entail personal catastrophe for some of those responsible: it would, more to the point, be appalling for the country and for generations yet unborn.
The need for sacrifice, for cuts, for the end of living beyond our means, for the end of protected status for the clientele, all seems so blindingly obvious. The act of leadership required to start to articulate and implement it should not be that difficult. Most of the people of this country are realistic; most of them understand that we have to start creating wealth again if we are to put this terrible period in our fortunes behind us. Most of them want an equality of sacrifice between the public and private sectors in undertaking the necessary restructuring, because most of them are fair-minded, hard-working people. Above all, most of them, like the shoe manufacturer, see time is running out, and the ultimate betrayal cannot be allowed to happen.
I keep thinking of Matthew Arnold's phrase, in a much-quoted letter to Arthur Hugh Clough in a similarly dark and restive period in the 1840s, about "the absence of great natures, and unavoidable contact with millions of small ones". The great natures are certainly wanting; but it takes only a few in high places to have small ones to keep this country from its economic salvation, and to force through instead that ultimate betrayal. In the end, it will be up to us, as vocally as we can, to try to stop this. Happy new year; or, rather, bon courage!