Monthly Archives: May 2015

The United States of Britain

UK photo

. . . “Looking after the working people” . . . “A united country” . . .

As these words stream off the lips of the new government, something not uttered before Election Day, we return to the world of government policy by soundbite, (if we ever left it!). Once they get their act together, hopefully, Labour will make mincemeat of the first and I would offer the following observations on the second.

Yes, we do need a ‘united’ country but one no longer united by Westminster. If this election has demonstrated one thing, people across the country have reached the end of their tether with successive governments eroding democracy by putting the needs of ‘Club Westminster’ before the rest of the country, from North Sea Oil to Fracking.

The earth scorching endorsement of this by the SNP in Scotland has been followed by news that the most popularly supported parties elsewhere are: Ireland – DUP, Wales – Labour and England – Tory.

Cameron’s is a knee jerk reaction to fighting the cause of a ‘united’ country. People have moved on, as Labour found to their cost and trying to glue the UK back together again under Westminster has also been seriously misdiagnosed.

At its heart is our political and corporate response to globalisation, by going ‘large’. The rise of global monopolies – ‘too big to fail’ – are now increasingly holding Society to ransom if governments try in any way to regulate them. TTIP will be the final nail in the coffin of democracy as their power is made absolute (and something only the SNP is fighting!).

What started out as a Common Market for trade in Europe has evolved into a European (political) Union that is now so remote from the people, who pay for it and elect its representatives into office, that democracy has become meaningless. The growing demand to take powers back from Brussels is evidence of this frustration.

BIG is forcing ever greater distance between the rich and the poor. With that distance comes impotence over how our daily lives are run. We have been reduced to bits of data and our wishes and frustrations no longer register on political or corporate spreadsheets.

‘Unity’ comes from recognising that village communities are better managed for the benefit of their members than towns or cities. Using this benchmark, we can create more actively managed democracies by bringing people closer to government.

Reaction to the election is an indication of the desire by people to become a ‘mini’ EU. This contribution to a debate is a thumbnail. The devil is in the detail and would not in any way dilute my excitement at such a development.

Uniting us as four self-ruling entities would invoke healthy competition through the freedom to develop our cultural differences. (A free education policy in Scotland demonstrates care and an investment in their young).

We are an Island race with a phenomenal history of successful innovation, something desperately needed in this new global world of technology and crying need for sustainability. Freed from the bureaucracy of Westminster and its suffocating corporate dominance, innovation would reign supreme.

Of course there has to be a central ‘Unifying’ force to replace Westminster. In this 800th year of Magna Carta, A Charter of Values, (constructed and ratified with the full involvement of the people), defining the common purpose of the four and holding them accountable, seems all that is needed . . . Why complicate it?!

Such values might include a debt free money supply for social infrastructure and small business development, people driven referendums, the development of sustainability programmes creating further new jobs, equality of gender and religious belief, independence of the internet and a curb on surveillance and personal freedoms, as a starter!

Matters of common interest, such as defence, immigration, fishing and sustainability of natural resources could be centralised in an equally represented and non-governmental ‘Council of Albion’, to maximise cost efficiencies on common issues. It would provide the ability to react collectively where necessary and offer a flexible infrastructure of ‘independent cooperation’ to meet global competition in chosen areas of trade.

We are at a crossroads now, where the UN would have us moving ever closer to Global Governance with its Global Sustainability Initiative for the entire Planet. What we have learned is that BIG produces wholesale abuse and makes people impotent to demanding accountability.

In the same way that small innovative businesses are the mainstay of a thriving corporate environment, so small democracies, like a United States of Britain, would breathe new life into a global democracy that is now on life support.

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Election 2015 . . . Manipulative and Broken!

election photo

Whilst the dust continues to hover over last Thursdays totally unanticipated results I am reminded of the wisdom of 2000 years ago:

“Nothing is more fickle than people in a crowd, nothing harder to discover than how men intend to vote, nothing trickier that the whole way in which elections work!” Cicero

Days later and I am still unsure about the serious implications upon our democracy of what has happened.

To begin with the opinion polls have had a vast impact upon the electoral proceedings although they are completely unregulated! This has allowed a former Deputy Chairman of the Tory Party, who is not a pollster or member of the British Polling Council, to buy in polling information from other companies, who he is unprepared to disclose and put it out into the mainstream. The fact that all of this information was seriously flawed and used as propaganda is neither questioned nor any responsibility taken.

“There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” is a phrase attributed to several authors but its underlying wisdom is pertinent today. With all of the popular pollsters keeping each other company in their poorly analysed data it was the website Number Cruncher Politics that proved to be in contact with reality, predicting correctly that there would be a Tory majority, even before the voting began.

There accuracy was the result of simple hard work in analysing the statistics and patterns of the electoral data over the last 50 years. They were able to substantiate their claims to such an extent that it is possible they delayed the other companies from publishing their latest findings at 7pm on the day, although they came out several hours later and maintained their, now hopelessly inaccurate, stories of a neck and neck race.

These opinion polls almost put our media in the shade but undaunted the Tory press went after Miliband and co with a tenacity that demonstrated just how much hatred he had stoked up in Rupert Murdoch. (And let’s not forget the political strategist responsible for the huge Tory success, another Australian Lynton Crosby, coincidence . . . you decide!)

Again we are letting ourselves down as an electorate by allowing such powerful influence to be wielded over our democracy by someone who in not resident in, nor has a loyalty to our country. His credibility has already been destroyed by the hacking scandal but still he is able to influence how we must live our lives, because of the strength of his global business activities.

When will government grasp the nettle and legislate that if an entity, be it an individual or corporation does not commit to residing or meeting its full tax bill in this country for a prior 5 years, it has no entitlement to influence our democratic process!

We now come to the most emotive of aspects of our broken system as we look at the seats acquired by the voters. I shall simply quote the two obvious examples. The Tories achieved their stunning victory with 11,334,520 votes that gave them 331 seats in Parliament – a government ‘majority’ produced by the majority NOT voting for them!

The Greens on the other hand secured nearly 10% of the Tory vote (1,157,613) and just 1 seat in Parliament! 1.1 million people represented by just one elected representative and each Tory representing 34,243 people is not, by the widest stretches of the imagination, a healthy democracy at work. (Source BBC News)

Not content with these distortions The Sunday Times reported that Cameron is already looking to ‘rearrange’ the boundaries to give the Tories an extra 20 seats at the 2020 election. He knows the only time he can get away with this, which was previously censored by the Lib Dems, is whilst he has a majority and also whilst our attention is being diverted by the EU referendum.

He also knows that after 10 years voters become restless and seek change. He has declared he will be leaving by then and can say he gave the new incumbent every support when this time arrives.

As an electorate, with a growing awareness of what is really going on with our democratic process, we can never become the master of our national destiny until such time as we mend a system that is now only fit for the knacker’s yard. ‘Club’ Westminster is running hopelessly out of control and I shudder to think what abuses we will be subjected to in the next 5 years, with a government now unfettered by coalition.

Scotland and the Scottish people are shinning a light in this direction by producing a true majority government. Perhaps it is now time to get our own house in order . . . and then sort out the EU.

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

TTIP Ran Election 2015

I know there are many reading this who formed their political allegiances many years ago and have remained loyal to the present day. I respect that loyalty, I really do and don’t question it. What I do question is whether the political environment in which those allegiances were first committed is the same as that which exists today? Or is that loyalty now being abused, with the growing evidence of how the corporate world has forced itself between the voter and their chosen party?

I have never ever experienced a General Election so devoid of substance or meaning as this one. Nor have I seen such a closely run election fought out by political parties with so little to say about the real issues now facing Society.

People are not idiots. They see and are speaking out about the real challenges we now face: TTIP, Fracking, Debt, Financial instability, Technology that is allowed to steal more of their jobs and a social infrastructure that is being deliberately collapsed to increase privatisation, all in the pursuit of profit.

As the parties continue to avoid these issues that avoidance is now seen as intentional. Debate is crushed because of the fear of being held publicly accountable. The introduction of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014, or to you and me “The Gagging Act”, simply verifies this.

The act was designed, we are told, to solve the problems of paid lobbyists directing our government for the benefit of vested interest. Instead of gagging lobbyist however, it has gagged civil society! NGO’s and Charities, with our wellbeing at the heart of their work, are now restricted from voicing their concerns about abuses to Society because it could be interpreted as ‘favouring or disadvantaging’ any major party. What a blatant corrosion of the democratic process and more worryingly, something that aligns closely with the ethos of TTIP!

The deep concern about this dreaded trade deal grows, as it now nears completion in continued secrecy. Not only will it sound the death knell of democracy but neuter the power of our elected representatives, thereby effectively neutering the power of the electorate . . . hence the secrecy!

All of this has created an environment in which we are no longer seeing purposeful leadership but people with deft political skills slipping, sliding and dodging all manner of popular concerns, widening the gap between the electors and the elected and increasing their pent up worry, frustration and anger.

This was made abundantly clear when people had their only chance to confront the main leaders on BBC Question Time. The audience was branded the ‘Stars’ of the show and rightly so. Their anger was palpable and directed at ALL the leaders, demonstrating a collective vehemence at the social irresponsibility and lack of future direction coming out of Westminster.

The atmosphere at the centre of this election and the level of elector frustration can, I believe, be laid squarely at the feet of TTIP, even before it has come into force, with its prioritising profit over social cohesion and wellbeing.

Political leaders are kow-towing to their corporate masters in their irresponsible support of the bailout of the banks and their lack of commitment in what they say they can achieve for the people. It demonstrates they no longer have the power that they had at the last election, just 5 short years ago, to rule this country in the best interests of the people.

People sense this, as their elected representatives consult their corporate lords and masters, the banks and Brussels before legislating, or not, on Society’s needs. Is this what ‘career politicians’ are all about? Have they willingly hobbled their power and ours, because a ‘career’ in politics is now about social networking the corridors of Westminster, in a ‘5 year CV building apprenticeship’ that will take them into lucrative jobs in the corporate world?

Our democracy has been sold down the river and the future is bleak for everyone, other than the very rich. The only way to reverse this trend must come from a government who is strong enough to make a stand, knowing it has the full support of the people and fortified by party members who know their subject and are passionate about change.

If we cannot find such people the last 5 years will pale into insignificance compared with the democratic abuse we can expect with a fully functioning TTIP.

We must break the tightening grip of Neoliberalism and bring people back to the ballot boxes by involving them. That can only be achieved by a party that speaks to them, listens to them and can demonstrate that, above all else, IT CARES ABOUT THEM!

This election and the anger it has unleashed, is a warning bell that we can no longer remain complacent, or the children now entering education will have even less of a future than those now coming out of that same corrupted process.

Whatever the results of this nebulous election, we owe them and ourselves so much more!

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

The Murder of Cash

As I have mentioned in previous articles, 95% of the world’s money is created as debt by private banks and on which they earn interest on every financial transaction we make. To recap, when you use your credit card to buy something the amount that subsequently appears on your statement is how ‘money’ is created.

Your purchase creates money and when you pay of the statement the money disappears. During this process, as we all know, the banks are earning interest. It’s the same thing when you use your card to get cash out of the ‘hole in the wall’. You put your card in and cash comes out but only after the bank has made a thumping charge for the privilege.

However, once you have the cash you can use it to make many transactions and the banks can’t charge you for those. They have just had the one bite at the cherry on that original withdrawal.

Not content with this, they are now focussing their attention on ensuring they get to earn from EVERY interaction we have with money. They are doing it by slowly reducing the use of cash through reducing what they are prepared to allow us to use it for, until it is finally eradicated.

JP Morgan Chase are leading the field in testing and pioneering new policies of their own in cities across America. They will no longer accept cash for mortgage repayments, paying credit card bills or make repayments on car loans. Neither will they allow cash or bullion to be stored in Safety Deposit Boxes. Indeed customers have to sign a declaration that they will not store any cash or coins that are not to be found to have a ‘collectible value’!

It will not be long before other banks and companies follow suit. ‘Plastic’ will enable them to earn on ALL our financial transactions because they will then be able to identify when and where we are spending. (Buying a UK rail ticket is now cheaper if not using cash and many other services are being surcharged in a similar fashion!)

This has all come about through the phenomenon of negative interest rates, where investors pay the banks to look after their investments rather than them paying us! How this has got to the lunacy that is now being perpetrated upon Society is beyond me. Except that it is supported by the cloak of mystery that the banks have always exercised on how our money comes into being and how it is managed and manipulated.

There is also the inevitable propaganda promoted by the banks about how cash benefits crime and the ‘black economy’ because it is difficult to trace and it also encourages terrorism. The constant re-use of ‘paper’ money can promote ill-health and disease!

Isn’t it funny how these same problems (with the exception of the health issue) were headlined when cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, first reared their heads? The fact that banks are regularly found guilty of money laundering is allowed to disappear into the ether, along with other dubious practices such as the LIBOR rate fixing scandal but I digress.

What, for me, is of far more sinister concern is that if we lose our rightful ability to financially interact with each other in any way we choose and are restricted to ‘technological transfers’, be they plastic cards or smart phones, we hand over too much power to governments and banks, as another means of surveillance.

Precedents for abuse have already be created with WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, where their bank accounts and any other means of financial transactions, including PayPal, were illegally shut done. Once the ability is there it only takes a point of view and a consensus, by those in control, to allow this abuse to spread like a cancer into the heart and soul of Society and no one person will be safe from its reach.

This elevates government control to a whole new level which, given current increasingly lax levels of accountability could result in us being denied access to our money for something as trivial as a traffic violation.

No, I don’t think I am being excessive here. The corporate world and governments have shown with both Fracking and TTIP that they have little concern for our status as voters or customers. They are increasingly acting with impunity and the crime that is now being perpetrated upon our finances comes from an arrogance that believes it cannot be touched.

SNP’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is a shining example of a new political strength that is speaking with the people, in demanding TTIP be vetoed on corrosive clauses that threaten our democracy. We need more leaders who are prepared to support, what the people can already see as threatening and act with and for the people, rather than the corporate world.

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes