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Greater Britain

Clear the national debt by rebranding
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Britain had a national debt whilst it had an Empire, and yet the parts of the empire which were granted independence did not take with them a proportional share of the national debt. This seems like a really good deal for them, and an opportunity for us today. As debt repayments rise above 37 billion pounds a year, it is time to look at more cost efficient methods of handling the debt.

My modest proposal is that we take just one billion of the 37 wasted billions of pounds to drive through the full independence of all parts of Great Britain other than a small flat in Wanstead, those parts leaving Great Britain being known as Greater Britain and the part remaining retaining the name Great Britain.

To permit the changeover, the national government will be established in the Wanstead flat, the nation of Greater Britain will be established, the Queen and all her assets will be transferred to the new nation and Great Britain will declare itself a republic. Now, Great Britain retains all national liabilities and debts taken on by former governments, and the Queen has transferred all titles and national assets to Greater Britain.

The national debt is now confined to the small flat in Wanstead, which will now declare itself bankrupt having no possible way to meet the repayments, and give all national assets to its creditors as the fullest possible payment.

Greater Britain may now continue without wasting stupid amounts of money on debt repayment, being entirely free of the national debt, and only slightly damaged through the loss of the flat in Wanstead. Which had dry rot and squatters anyway.

vincevincevince, Jul 05 2010

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[coprocephalous, Jul 05 2010]

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       if all nations seem to be in debt - who has all the money then?
po, Jul 05 2010
  

       I think it's corporations - who seem to have a whole lot of bad credit, innit?
Custardguts, Jul 05 2010
  

       Rich and powerful people, hence their disinclination to sort out all the problems.   

       [vvv] this idea is basically called 'default' and is not a new idea, and is generally a bad idea as it tends to massively piss off your creditors.
pocmloc, Jul 05 2010
  

       But a lot of the banks substantially operate from here. Why not just threaten them?
nineteenthly, Jul 05 2010
  

       [pocmloc], not default, just moving almost all the debt-laden land outside the entity responsible for the debt. The basis is historical as it has been done many times in the past with the granting of independence. Neither national debt nor international obligation have been transferred to the independent nations created, yet assets, equity and sometimes even additional sums for 'reparation' and the like have been paid.
vincevincevince, Jul 05 2010
  

       There's always the "What's a few quid between friends anyway? I'll buy you a beer sometime..." approach.
wagster, Jul 05 2010
  

       Rockall.   

       [+]
8th of 7, Jul 05 2010
  

       It's not a new idea - people have been chopping up and parcelling off bits of legal entities for years. Fine, but if you did this, the creditors would still be defaulted on, and so would think twice about lending again. Since credit is a measure of trust, you wouldn't be solving anything here.
zen_tom, Jul 05 2010
  

       // Fine, but if you did this, the creditors would still be defaulted on, and so would think twice about lending again//
Seems to be working out OK for Man Utd and Liverpool.
coprocephalous, Jul 05 2010
  

       And banks and governments. In fact the whole credit system is in danger of looking like a sort of playground swap-shop for big kids.
wagster, Jul 05 2010
  

       I don't know about football, so I'll steer clear of that, but in terms of banks and governments, Greece is a good example of a government that's being forced not to default on account of its membership to the Euro. Yes they're being bailed out by the other member states (primarily Germany) but not without some pretty stringent strings attached.   

       The quickest and easiest way to relieve your national debt is to devalue your currency with a tidy bit of inflation. Members of the Euro don't have that luxury unfortunately, at least not individually.   

       It is interesting to see which governments are going down the 'austerity' route, and which intend to pull the inflationary-wool over their constituent's eyes -and maybe one is a precursor to the other.
zen_tom, Jul 05 2010
  

       //the creditors would still be defaulted on, and so would think twice about lending again// They are being defaulted on by Great Britain, not Greater Britain. The latter will have all the assets and a very very good debt:equity ratio. Suggesting that a newly independent state should be held responsible for the national defaulting of the nation which formerly ruled them, and which took place after independence, is frankly ridiculous.
vincevincevince, Jul 05 2010
  

       //the whole credit system is in danger of looking like a sort of playground swap-shop for big kids//   

       Congratulations on stating the bleedin' obvious!   

       Has it occurred to anyone else that al least part of the problem arises from those who take vast amounts of money from the world's economies via the money markets and other scams, without producing anything throughout their entire lives?   

       (+) For making a mockery of a system which has long lost sight of it's original purpose.
Twizz, Jul 05 2010
  

       //Has it occurred to anyone else that al least part of the problem arises from those who take vast amounts of money from the world's economies via the money markets and other scams, without producing anything throughout their entire lives?//   

       Frankly, no. Since the great money-lending houses of the Medici, various Crusading orders such as the Knights Templar, and Hospitalier and the bourse of medieval Europe - banks, bankers, traders and other financial types have been bringing democracy, increased trade, wealth and social services to millions of people, for hundreds of years. (They also financed wars and those involved exerted more than their fair share of political power, but that's another issue) Finance is something that's a cornerstone of the European civilisation - without it, everything would fall apart. It's like blood, it doesn't perform anything in the body, except keep it running.
zen_tom, Jul 05 2010
  

       One of the big groups of institutions that have this money, and who would suffer great losses if there was a default, is the big pension funds. i.e. you and I (well not I since I have no pension) would suffer in the future. That's what all this debt really is about; we have consumed far too much stuff, and have paid for it with promises of future productivity. Now either we start producing stuff, or we default, or we keep juggling the smoke and mirrors and hope that no-one notices.
pocmloc, Jul 05 2010
  

       //a cornerstone of the European civilisation//   

       [zen_tom], you know as well as I do that's only half the truth. As you may remember, I used to do broadly the same kind of work that you do, and we both know that this cornerstone of civilisation is also Belgian dentists dodging their taxes, American gangsters laundering their drug money, Gulf Arab princes hiding God-knows-what behind their pseudonyms and, most of all, little cliques of blokes in suits lining up "killings" which may not necessarily promote the extension of trade, wealth or social services to millions of people.
pertinax, Jul 05 2010
  

       At first read I though this was a genius idea, then reading some of the annotations I realised that, although it strikes a chord it is simply unworkable, thanks to the savvy lenders who would ultimately know that the people running Greater Britain are those who defaulted Great Britain's debts. Bankers are not stupid.   

       This is one of those situations where we all know there's a problem, but the solution doesn't seem any more palatable. My bun goes to the fund for juggling smoke and mirrors.
Tulaine, Jul 05 2010
  

       As for the idea, it is extensively baked by individuals, and has been since ancient times. You can read about one such case in the letters of Marcus Tullius Cicero, back when he was still just a small-town lawyer with delusions of grandeur.
pertinax, Jul 05 2010
  

       [pertinax] - granted, with any technology comes the ability for use and misuse - and I did nod in that direction with my parenthetised bit about wars and an inequitable share of power. It might, at this juncture, be worth considering what the other cornerstones of European Civilisation are.   

       Candidates might indeed be; war, drugs, taxes (and hence the dodging of same) trade, and a structured method for the general expedition of power.
zen_tom, Jul 05 2010
  

       //fund for juggling smoke// I want to invest in that! Where do I sign?   

       \\Candidate cornerstones of European Civilization\\ Shirly colonialism deserves a separate place on the list, though arguably it's covered under the other rubrics.
mouseposture, Jul 05 2010
  

       Zen_Tom, I am happy to accept that finance is a necessary part of trade and possibly of democracy. What I object to is the vast swathes of the 'finance' industry which have become disassociated with the business of actually investing in business and deal in money for it's own sake. It is these organisations and individuals who leech from the economy as a whole and whose profit comes at the expense of the pension funds.
Twizz, Jul 05 2010
  

       If the problem is debt, the solution is repayment. Why does such a self-evident and simple statement sound like lizard-men conspiracy theory nuttiness?
pocmloc, Jul 05 2010
  

       [Twizz] accepted, there is some question over the appropriate level of profits gained in the activities you describe - especially when subsidised by government. I'd still argue that some level of 'abstract' finance is necessary - derivatives, options and futures after-all came about as a means of smoothing prices of primary commodities, providing a stable basis on which producers can operate - that's a good thing - and is the raison d'être for those one-time removed products in the first place. And what's good for producers is good for pension funds (and let's not forget that some pension funds may also align themselves with these products) - These products are just a method of providing insurance - of managing risk (which is what finance is all about at a fundamental level)   

       What is problematic is when this decoupling of a market from its underlying assets allows for bubbles to form, and inevitably burst - dragging down everything else in the process. But with every positive, there's a negative to offset it. If there's a method of avoiding this negative aspect while keeping hold of the positive, the person who invents it stands to be well lauded.
zen_tom, Jul 05 2010
  

       Annex Sealand.
Cedar Park, Jul 06 2010
  

       //Annex Sealand.// Redundant' to [8th_of_7]'s anno.
mouseposture, Jul 07 2010
  

       About two-thirds of UK Government debt is held in the UK (by banks, pension funds, private individuals etc). So, when 'Great Britain' defaults on it's debt, 'Greater Britain' might possibly go bankrupt as a consequence. So, it seems to me, that your Wanstead squatters will be holding 'Greater Britain's' genitals in a very uncomfortable grip indeed!
DrBob, Jul 07 2010
  

       [DrBob], if that is the case, then I regret this whole idea has been overkill. Do you mean to say merely nationalising all banks and pension funds based in the UK could put a serious dent in the national debt?
vincevincevince, Jul 07 2010
  

       Of course. If the state owns the banks that lent it the money then there is no debt. Assuming nationalisation without compensation to the shareholders, that is.
DrBob, Jul 07 2010
  
      
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