Not wanting to completely dominate the thread, but to play devils advocate... Mining was exactly loss-making - it just gradually became less profit-making; that is, it started to become more expensive to mine the coal than to buy it. That's fair enough - no business (goverment-run or otherwise) can afford to ignore the economics. But there is still plenty of coal left, and there are a small number of independently-owned mines in operation - they are viable because they have kept costs under control and have applied modern technology and working practices. I'm of the opinion that Brown is partially wrong in his approach (which *is* Keynesian), however it is not Keynesian economics that is wrong per se, but Browns decisions under it. One can easily find fault (and benefits) with any economic system, and thus there is no sense in labelling any right or wrong. Browns policy of borrowing, spending and printing currency isn't the best option IMHO, butagain it's not 'wrong' - the economy will recover whichever party dictates economic policy - but I think the legacy of Browns decisions means that the pain will live longer (for generations) but fortunately won't completely torpedo his re-election chances - the pain will start after the election - a confession only just secured from the lips of our government - until a couple of months ago they were in denial. The gold is there to be sold when we need it. Unfortunately he sold it at an historic low - through desperation... why? Because pre-recession (and for the preceding parliament) all the talk had been about Gordon's 'black hole'. We were heavily in debt in 2007, the recession just highlighted the fact. While I agree that the benefits system is a millstone around our necks - we *do* need a welfare state. However, I'm puzzled by your resentment about spending on prisons - without prisons, you'd simply be moaning about rampant crime. We pay for prisons because we they do us a service. I mirror your dislike of Labour, but I think they'd have to sink a little lower before I vote BNP. Institutional racism aside, although the BNP do have the odd reasonable policy, I wouldn't want them running our schools, the NHS, or in the Foreign Office (!).