A looming crisis

Friends for now

John Maynard Keynes said that “not one man in a million” was able to understand the process of inflation. If we are to give credence to Keynes’ view, it appears that the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King is certainly no exception.

In January 2011 the inflation rate was above the Bank of England’s target range for the 13th month running, requiring King to write an open letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne explaining why. As in his November 2010 letter to the Chancellor, King blamed a number of “temporary effects”, namely “the rise in VAT relative to a year ago, the continuing consequences of the fall in sterling in late 2007 and 2008, and recent increases in commodity prices, particularly energy prices”.

One could be forgiven for detecting a certain sense of déjà vu here. In November’s letter King blamed the failure of the Bank to meet its inflation target on “temporary influences” including “the restoration of the standard rate of VAT to 17.5% in January, past rises in oil prices and the continued pass through of higher import prices following the depreciation of sterling since mid-2007”. Indeed, looking back at his letters from August, February and May last year, we see VAT rises, oil prices and depreciation as the villains of the inflationary piece back then as well. We also find a similar reassurance that they will only have a “temporary impact” (August 2010), are a “short-run factor” (February 2010), or will be “temporary effects” (May 2010). Temporary seems to be a long time in King’s economic thinking.

The truth is that the monetary policy of the Bank of England is itself inflationary. Interest rates were slashed from 5% in September 2008 to an unprecedented 0.5% in March 2009. When you stop to think how this works it’s obvious that inflation will be the result.

The interest rate is the price of money. Like any price it is determined by supply and demand factors. If you want to reduce the price of something, in this case the interest rate, you supply more of it, in this case money. Via Open Market Operations central banks buy bonds from commercial banks and pay for them with newly printed (or digitally created) cash thus lowering interest rates. But, obviously, if the amount of money sloshing around in an economy increases at a greater rate than the amount of goods or services in it the prices of those goods and services will rise, creating higher inflation. Quantitative easing has simply poured more fuel on the smouldering inflationary fires.

This inflationary monetary policy risks torpedoing the coalition government’s economic strategy. The whole point about the austerity drive is to try and keep private sector borrowing costs down. Following the crowding out theory of government spending, there is held to be a fixed amount of money which can be borrowed at any one time. The more demand there is for this money then, like anything else, the higher the interest rate or, to repeat, its price. By restraining government spending, demand for these funds will be lessened and the price (interest rate) will fall.

This could be negated by the Bank’s monetary policy working via another economic mechanism, the Fisher Effect. If inflation is at 5% over a year then £100 lent to on January 1st will be paid back on December 31st with £100 but, crucially, it will only be able to buy the equivalent of £95 worth of goods today having lost 5% of its value. To compensate for this a lender charges 5% interest on the loan so that she is repaid £105 on December 31st which buys the same amount, £100 worth, of goods today.

If, however, inflation rises then so does the interest rate to protect the purchasing power of the loaned money. Thus, the important interest rate in an economy is not the nominal rate but the real rate which is the nominal rate minus expected inflation. From this we can see that the nominal rate is the real interest rate plus expected inflation. This is the Fisher Effect. A rise in expected inflation caused by the Bank of England’s loose monetary policy will lead to a higher nominal interest rate negating any effects of the coalition’s austerity drive.

Markets are already upping their inflation expectations and charging more to lend. In six months the yield on 10 year Treasury gilts has risen 1% to 3.87%. In so far as the Bank of England’s inflation erodes government debt George Osborne might be secretly grateful for these figures on the one hand. But, on the other, if inflation causes a spike in interest rates undoing the coalition’s work, the Treasury will be gunning for the Bank.

This article originally appeared at Global Politics

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Why the left fell out of love with Gaddafi

The hottest love is the soonest cold

A quick scan round the left wing blogosphere will teach you that Colonel Gaddafi is a very bad man. Over on counterfire we learn that he presides over a “murderous dictatorship”. Socialist Worker had him as guilty of “vicious repression”.
This is all a little bit strange. I am just, barely, old enough to remember when the left loved Colonel Gaddafi.

During the miners’ strike of 1984 – 1985, Arthur Scargill, bone fide hero of the left, sent a representative of the National Union of Mineworkers to Libya to see if Gaddafi would give them any cash. This came less than a year after one of Gaddafi’s thugs had shot dead 25 year old Police woman Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in London so they cant pretend they didn’t know what a murderous scumbag he was.

Two years later, in 1986, a bomb planted by a Libyan agent went off in a Berlin disco killing three people; a Turkish woman named Nermin Hannay and two American servicemen, Kenneth T. Ford and James E. Goins. Ronald Reagan, about the most evil man in the world at the time according to the left, decided to hit back by bombing Libya in an attempt to topple the man he called a “mad dog”. The left excoriated Reagan for this, the dupes at the African Union protesting the attack on the “Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”. No one was going to mess with their comrade in Tripoli.

The same year as left wingers were attacking Reagan for his ‘terrorism’ their friend Gaddafi was sending weapons to the IRA. Among the machine guns, rocket launchers and flamethrowers sent by Gaddafi to Northern Ireland was the explosive semtex. Some of this was used in the bomb the IRA detonated at a Remembrance Day memorial service in Enniskillen in 1987 killing 12 and injuring 63.

All is changed utterly now of course. The possible fall of Gaddafi is causing jubilation on the left. What changed?

In 2003 Gaddafi did a deal with the Bush White House in which he gave up his nuclear program and owned up to his various crimes in return for a normalisation of diplomatic relations. Tony Blair announced that Gaddafi was “very easy to deal with”. It would, perhaps, be a cheap shot to note that Blair had been a contributor to Marxism Today in the 1980’s.

From this moment on the Colonel’s card was marked in the eyes of the left. From standing up to Reagan he had become an American lackey.

Gaddafi hasn’t changed. He is brutalising the Libyan people and the left condemns him, but he was brutalising them all through the 1980’s when he was revolutionary flavour of the month. The difference for the left, as so often, is his relations with America. If you oppose the United States you can be as much of a bastard as you like, witness Hugo Chavez or Hamas. But be a pro American bastard and you are just a bastard.

Dylan and The Symbolists

Bob Dylan is not many people’s idea of a vigilante but one day in 1970 the Voice of a Generation decided to dispense a bit of summary justice on the streets of New York.

“I’m on Elizabeth Street and someone jumps me, starts punching me” remembered Dylan’s prey, A.J. Weberman. “I turn around and it’s like – Dylan. I’m thinking, ‘Can you believe this? I’m getting the crap beat out of me by Bob Dylan!’ I said, ‘Hey, man, how you doin’?’ But he keeps knocking my head against the sidewalk. He’s little, but he’s strong. He works out” What had tipped Dylan over the edge?

Dylan’s early albums had been lyrically direct. His first was made up mostly of covers of old folk songs. He found a voice of his own on his second and third albums, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’ and ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’ in 1963 and 1964. These alternated between topical ‘protest’ songs and personal songs. For his topical songs, like ‘Talkin’ World War Three Blues’ or ‘The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’, the subject matter sprang from the days papers; for his personal songs, like ‘Girl of the North Country’ or ‘One Too Many Mornings’, the lyrics were clear, evocative images from real life.

Please see for me if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair hangs long
That’s the way I remember her best

This began to change on Dylan’s fourth album, ‘Another Side of Bob Dylan’, recorded in one boozy session in June 1964. Aside from a light hearted reference each to Fidel Castro and Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, the politics were gone. In their place came a song like the beautiful ‘Chimes of Freedom’ which started with a simple thunderstorm before spiralling into poetry.

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll
We ducked inside the doorways, thunder went crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing

A song like ‘My Back Pages’ skipped any pretence at a lyrical realism, opening with the lines

Crimson flames tied through my ears rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads using ideas as my maps

What had garnished an intimate album like ‘Another Side’ was developed fully on the next three albums, Dylan’s famous electric trilogy; ‘Bringing it All Back Home’ (1965), ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ (1965) and ‘Blonde on Blonde’ (1966).

Dylan unleashed seemingly nonsensical lyrics

The motorcycle black madonna two-wheeled gypsy queen
And her silver-studded phantom cause the gray flannel dwarf to scream
As he weeps to wicked birds of prey who pick up on his bread crumb sins
And there are no sins inside the Gates of Eden

What on earth did this mean? The man who, just a couple of years before, had been articulating widely held fears and concerns about nuclear war and civil rights was now, seemingly, talking gibberish.

Some found this impossible to believe of their idol and convinced themselves that he was, in fact, speaking in some sort of code. At the lunatic end of the spectrum this prompted Weberman to root around in Dylan’s bin bags looking for clues to crack it, succeeding only in scaring Dylan’s wife and incurring his wrath, hence the beating.

But even supposedly serious people started to come out with their own interpretations. ‘Cultural critic’ Greil Marcus wrote a short yet tedious book called ‘Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes’ (1998) in which he wrote that the songs Dylan recorded at home while recovering from a motorcycle crash in 1967 were “palavers with a community of ghosts” and that “these ghosts were not abstractions. As native sons and daughters they were a community”. Quite. The truth is that Marcus probably spent longer writing about a song like ‘Apple Suckling Tree’ than Dylan spent writing it.

At the same time it’s difficult to believe that Dylan was filling his songs with inconsequential babble. Despite cranking out records at a fearsome rate (his seventh album was released just four years after his first) he took care over his songs, carefully crafting them. He agonised over the track listing of ‘Freewheelin’’ until the last minute. ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ sat around for over a year before Dylan recorded and released it. When ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ didn’t work as a waltz Dylan rewrote it in 4/4 time.

If it wasn’t a secret code and it wasn’t nonsense, what was it? We know that around 1962 or 1963 a girlfriend introduced him to nineteenth century French poetry. He later went on to name check two of the poets, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, in song.

Verlaine and Rimbaud were part of the symbolist movement. In the same way that Dylan moved away from his lyrical directness the symbolists had sought to move away from the then dominant trends of realism and naturalism in the arts. These movements, the symbolists believed, had restricted communication by tying words to their literal meanings. Words and images had a value beyond the merely descriptive and, when placed in new often unfamiliar contexts, could communicate deeper meanings. As the critic Jean Moréas put it in the ‘Symbolist Manifesto’ in 1886.

“In this art, scenes from nature, human activities, and all other real world phenomena will not be described for their own sake; here, they are perceptible surfaces created to represent their esoteric affinities with the primordial Ideals.”

Given this, it is possible to see Dylan’s songs from that period as works of symbolism. He was using words as the symbolists had; as tools to directly generate an emotional response, in some ways the songs were a prolonged attempt at Synaesthesia. Take the following from ‘Desolation Row’ as an example.

Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin on Desolation Row

Dylan isn’t challenging the listener to identify who Einstein disguised as Robin Hood really is and neither is he engaging in stream of consciousness doggerel. The effect is too powerful for that, too deliberate. The effect is sadness. Stripped of the famous scientists, monks and drainpipes, this is simply a powerful image of a man past his prime, an image of decay. Don’t try and decode who he is, he could be anyone.

Take a line from ‘Visions of Johanna’; “The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face”. Literally that doesn’t mean anything but the feeling it conjures up in the listener is crystal clear. It’s that sensation that shoots up your spine as you look at a lovers face and lose yourself in every detail, trying to find the particular magic, the ghost of electricity, that draws you to them.

The symbolism subsided after his motorcycle crash in 1966 and when he re-emerged with the album ‘John Wesley Harding’ in 1968 the electric surrealism was replaced with rootsy tales of frontier folk bathed in Biblical imagery. Not for the last time Bob Dylan revealed yet another side. “I’ve got my Bob Dylan mask on…I’m mask-erading” he had joked with an audience in 1964. It’s a thrilling masquerade which has continued to the present day.

This article originally appeared at Middlebrow Magazine

Commodity prices then and now

Before Bernanke there was Arthur F Burns

As subprime mortgages tanked in May 2007, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained”. Coming at the start of the biggest bust since the Depression he made his name studying, it might be best to take his utterances with a pinch of salt.

So it with his latest, defending the Federal Reserve from charges that its rampant money printing, academically dignified as ‘quantitative easing’, is causing the commodity price rises which, in food prices, helped trigger the unrest that is shaking the Middle East.

Last week Bernanke claimed that his injection of $600 billion dollars into the economy was not inflationary. Commenting on a rise in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index to 230.7 points from 206 points in November, Bernanke said “Clearly what’s happening is not a dollar effect, it’s a growth effect”

This came soon after Bernstein, a research house whose oil price predictions proved uncannily accurate in 2010, predicted an average price of $90 per barrel over 2011. Cotton prices hit a 150 year high.

Bernanke is surely right that demand pull pressures are playing a role in this. According to the International Energy Agency global oil use is predicted to be 89 million barrels per day this year, up 17% from the 2001 figure of 76 million barrels per day. But the price, $30 per barrel in 2001, has tripled. Plainly something else is also at work.

We have been here before. The 1970’s were famously a decade of rising prices. In 1975 future Nobel Laureate Robert Mundell produced a paper titled ‘Inflation From an International Viewpoint’. He noted that the Bretton Woods arrangement of fixed but variable currencies, in which the dollar was tied to gold at $35 an ounce and other countries fixed to the dollar, had broken down due to excessive pressure on the dollar-gold link by excessive money creation by the Federal Reserve. Realising the weakness of the link holders of dollars began to cash them in for gold. It soon became apparent that there wasn’t enough gold in the US to redeem all these promises so, on August 15th 1971, President Nixon suspended dollar convertibility. Without the ‘wobbly anchor’ of the gold link the Fed’s printing presses could run free.

Almost immediately, as noted by Nathan Lewis in his book ‘Gold – The Once and Future Money’, OPEC members, who priced their oil in dollars, became understandably worried about being paid in increasingly worthless dollars. In September 1971 OPEC resolved

that Member Countries shall take necessary action and/or shall establish negotiations, individually or in groups, with the oil companies with a view to adopting ways and means to offset any adverse effects on the per barrel real income of Member Countries resulting from the international monetary developments of 15th August 1971

Mundell recorded, as quoted in the excellent new book ‘Econoclasts’ by Brian Domitrovic,

Confidence in currencies in general declined and a shift out of money and financial assets commenced. A worldwide ‘scarcity’ of land and…raw materials…emerged. [Soon] the prices of metals, foods and minerals more than doubled. Shortages of beef, sugar and grains appeared, but gold and oil led to the most dramatic ‘crises’ and received the most attention from the public

Sound familiar?

As now, the blame was placed on supply and demand factors. Rocketing oil prices were blamed on the OPEC embargo which followed the Yom Kippur war in 1973. This despite the fact that oil prices had been rising rapidly before the embargo, since, in fact, Nixon’s floating of the dollar. As Lewis notes, following Robert Bartley’s ‘The Seven Fat Years’,

Oil had traded around $2.90 per barrel, or 1/12 ounce of gold, at $35 per ounce. On the eve of the “oil shocks”, with the dollar around $100 per ounce and OPEC still accepting about $2.90 per barrel for oil, the OPEC producers were getting only 1/35 of an ounce of gold for their oil. After they pushed the price to around $10 a barrel in early 1974, with the dollar around $120 per ounce and falling, they were getting around 1/12 ounce of gold for a barrel of oil. OPEC was simply raising its prices, like every other shopkeeper, in response to currency devaluation

The same was true of other commodities. Wheat, corn and soybean prices began rising on the demise of Bretton Woods. As Lewis notes

[OPEC] was actually rather late to the game; prices of most other internationally traded commodities had been rising in response to the sinking dollar since the late 1960’s. There had already been a sharp rise in food prices in 1972 – 1973

This didn’t stop policymakers fishing for explanations in the now discredited ‘Population Bomb’ as they laid the blame for rising oil prices at the door of OPEC. These, Lewis says,

gave the country a popular foreign scapegoat when it’s elites weren’t quite ready to accept the fact that they had brought the disaster upon themselves

As we face similar circumstances now, just pose this simple thought exercise to people: divide the number of dollars in the world by the number of units of a given commodity to get its price. Now double the number of dollars and do the same thing. What happens?

As we’ve noted here before, Keynes once famously wrote

Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

The whirring of Ben Bernanke’s printing press overturning the unpopular regimes of the Middle East. Will it stop there?

This article originally appeared at The Cobden Centre

Ed Balls is the Peter Ridsdale of economics

“Mummy, the scary man is trying to take control of our economy again!”

You would have to be mad to run a football club the way Leeds United were run in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Between 1995 and 2000 they spent £48 million more on players than they brought in. For a short time this brought success. The club secured Premiership finishes of 4th, 3rd and 4th between 1998 and 2001, earning the money-spinning bounty of Champions League football. By New Year’s Day 2002 Leeds United were top of the League.

Five days later came the exogenous event. Leeds were knocked out of the Cup, their form slumped, and at the end of the season they were pipped to the fourth Champions League spot. Without the European money Leeds couldn’t pay the interest on their loans and began offloading players for fractions of what they had paid. By 2004 they were relegated, owing £100 million. In 2007 they were relegated again to the backwaters of the third division where they languished until last year.

Leeds had, according to chairman Peter Ridsdale, “lived the dream”. Ridsdale’s successor sounding like George Osborne, said he had “inherited the nightmare”

You would have to be even madder to run an economy like that. Nevertheless, that is exactly what the last Labour government did, a government in which Ed Balls, grudgingly appointed as Shadow Chancellor, played such a prominent part.

In 1997 Labour inherited an economy which had been growing for five years and would continue to grow for another eleven. Money flowed into the Treasury’s coffers, income tax receipts rose from £70 billion per year in 1997 to £130 billion in 2005.But Brown, with Balls as his chief economic advisor, managed to spend even more than this. Total Managed Expenditure surged from £407.8 billion (37% of GDP) in 1999-2000 to £550 billion (42% of GDP) in 2006-2007. With government spending a growing share of a growing economy, Brown and Balls ran up debt in the good years. But they didn’t need to worry, the pair loudly and regularly claimed to have ended “boom and bust”.

In 2007 came the exogenous event. Instead of the boot of Scott Young, it was sub prime mortgages in America. The effect was the same. They huffed and with no need of further puffing the whole house of cards came crashing down. For the British economy the third division beckoned.

Everyone can make mistakes. The ‘This Time is Different’ syndrome identified by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff has led to some of the biggest howlers in financial history. It can, to an extent, explain why it might be possible for a football club chairman to convince himself that his team will never finish lower than fourth again or for a Treasury adviser like Ed Balls to think that there really never will be another downturn.

But what is most staggering is that Ed Balls still appears to use ‘The General Theory of Leeds United’ as his economic textbook. This is the same textbook that saw Britain head into a recession on the back of six years of borrowing – but Balls doesn’t see anything wrong with this. When he was running for the Labour leadership, Balls said “there was no significant structural deficit in the public finances until the collapse of tax revenues from the City of London in 2008”. This echoed what Ridsdale said in the wake of Leeds’ meltdown: “We gambled, but it did not seem like gambling when we finished in the top five five years running. We thought we would be self-financing. The safety net, selling players, fell away because the transfer market collapsed”.

Both reckless gamblers, Balls and Ridsdale, saw nothing wrong with the strategy, it was the exogenous event that was to blame, the pesky Black Swan that pooped on their windscreen.

In both cases this amounts to saying that everything was fine as long as everything was fine. Of course, it doesn’t help much when everything is not fine, but that’s not something you have to worry about when there will be no return to boom and bust.

When he ran for the Labour leadership and indeed now, Balls’ answer to the debt crisis he helped create is to keep borrowing. Indeed, the economic philosophy the Labour party now espouses can be summed up as: when the economy is growing. borrow; when it slips into recession, borrow; and when it’s recovering, borrow.

This is why George Osborne should not be too worried as he sits in the other dugout. His opponent is not a follower of the economic doctrines of Adam Smith or even John Maynard Keynes but of Peter Ridsdale. The public will not be impressed with a Shadow Chancellor who would have them playing Yeovil.

This article originally appeared at ConservativeHome

China’s uncomfortable choice

Change for a dollar

One of the major flashpoints in the ‘currency wars’ which have attracted comment recently has been between the USA and China. Given that you have a dispute between the world’s only superpower and its only challenger some see storm clouds on the major geo political weather front of the 21st century.

The US, on the one hand, is angry with China for pegging its currency to the dollar meaning that, as the Federal Reserve forces the dollar down to stimulate exports, China has been cancelling this effect out by forcing the yuan down. President Obama has called this an “irritant”. The Chinese, on the other hand, are angry with the US for devaluing the dollar, partly because it is meant to undercut Chinese exports and partly because China is holding $2.6 trillion in reserves. A Chinese central bank official recently warned the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy could make “the occurrence of another crisis is inevitable”.

A question to be asked, however, is just how strong is China’s footing in this dispute? Recent inflation figures suggest that China’s dollar peg is already under pressure. In October inflation rose to 4.4%, up from 3.6% in September, the fastest rise for two years. The Financial Times reported “Li Wei and Stephen Green at Standard Chartered in Shanghai said that on a seasonally adjusted basis, consumer price inflation increased at an annualised rate of 12.1 per cent in October, up from 5.2 per cent the month before”.

The Chinese are adopting some well worn old methods to deal with this. Blaming hoarders for forcing prices up the Chinese cabinet warned it would take “forceful measures” against them and mooted capping prices. It’s unlikely that these band aids will work any better than they have in any other place at any other time, leading instead to market distortions, shortages and a thriving black market. This is because, as Milton Freidman observed nearly 50 years ago, inflation is a monetary phenomenon. If the supply of money increases relative to the amount of goods and services in an economy (subject to the massive caveat that demand for money doesn’t change) then you will have inflation.

By pegging its currency to the dollar China is importing American monetary policy. With low interest rates and fresh bouts of quantitative easing the Federal Reserve is pumping out an enormous amount of dollars pushing down their value. To maintain parity the Chinese must also lower the yuan by pumping more of them out. Reliable figures are hard to get hold of in this secretive state but one estimate is that 4.3 trillion yuan have been injected into the Chinese economy. Given the current policy of the Federal Reserve China can either keep its dollar peg and accept inflation or raise interest rates and see the yuan rise against the dollar. Their only win win situation is if the Fed can be convinced to tighten, a cause in which the Politburo has some unlikely allies in Congressional Republicans.

As China pushes for this outcome expect ‘currency war’ barbs to keep zipping across the Pacific. Both sides will continue to hurl charges of currency manipulation at the other. Theses charges are empty. In the age of fiat currencies everyone is a currency manipulator.

This article originally appeared at Global Politics

The right has more fun


Taking the Party out of the Communist party

I spent Saturday evening with some friends who are political in a ramshackle way; a couple of journalists, an academic, a PR guy, an American who voted for McCain, a chap who can best be described as a ‘fixer’. The centre of political gravity around the dinner table was certainly to the right yet we managed to avoid anguished discussion of Burke, Hayek, or Oakeshott. Instead one of the journalists passed out on a sofa and I ended up with a case of wind so bad I announced that I had a “bad bum”.

I wouldn’t have thought any more of this if today I hadn’t been invited to something called ‘Love on Trial’, a left wing Valentine’s Day snoozefest hosted by “a network of activists” who present “carnivalesque evenings of live entertainment and meaningful debates”. As I read the event description (reproduced below) I felt an ever greater sense of relief that I had picked up that old copy of The Road to Serfdom all those years ago.

“Following the success of last year’s ‘on Trial’ events, Mutiny presents Love on Trial – an alternative Valentine’s night out of revolutionary politics, art and performance at the avant-garde Resistance Gallery in East London.

Join us for a carnivalesque evening of live entertainment and discussion as we cross-examine the concept of love from the left, starting with speed-debating and progressing through three interactive sessions… exploring a host of themes:

**How does romantic love work as an ideology, and can we escape the singular vision of it that saturates our airwaves? What is the relation between our historically specific conception of romantic heterosexual love and late capitalism? What other kinds of love might be valuable? Do we have enough love for our public services to save them?

**How does the state institutionalise, police and teach its citizens to love? How have schools, the church and the law helped and hindered the shift towards acceptance of a greater diversity of types of love? How did we build resistance in the past and where are the points of prejudice and control we need to confront today?

**What relation do love and other emotions bear to activism? Can daring to love differently be an efficacious political act in itself? Is it possible to separate our private lives from our political acts? What might love look like after the revolution?

With live music, performance poetry, and original live theatre, it’s a political party not to be missed.

Tickets £5 on the door or a very romantic buy-1-get-1-free online in advance at http://www.jointhemutiny.org.

See you there.”

No chance.

(If you dont have any recently painted surfaces you need to keep an eye on you can find the details of this depressing event here)