Category Archives: Respect for the Young

Core Belief 4: Respect for the Young – That all children are prepared to the fullest extent we are capable of to take up their roles as future stewards of a Global Society and this Planet, in the certain knowledge that they are also the only mechanism for World Peace.

Our NHS: Death by 1000 Cuts!

Since 21st July, with the announcement that student nurses will now be charged fees for their education, my anger has simply escalated. I have said for a long time that Parliament is no longer fit for purpose and I just wonder how many nails it will take to bury it? New Premier ‘More of the same’ May is following in the steps of her predecessors, despite what she says and our country can only fall to ever lower levels of Social inequality.

On the last day of government, before the MP’s took off with their buckets and spades (more popularly known as ‘Take out the Trash Day’), her government smugly dumped 300 documents and 30 written statements (usually between 2 and 10 a day), in the form of bad news which they hope will be forgotten about by the time they return in September.

This political connivance is one of many insults to an electorate who are not stupid. Delaying the bad news, with a view to sneaking it in later, when we have all forgotten about it, is yet another betrayal of the trust people place in those they elect to power and lacks any professionalism whatsoever. That it is done so regularly is doubly insulting, as demonstrated in recent talks with Brussels where ‘Mos’ May is negotiating delaying allowing immigrants into our country for 7 years.

Above all else, it is the fees announcement that incenses me. At a time when our country has just broken loose (supposedly) from one authoritarian state, we are now finding our own is just as uncaring. The previous Chancellor declared that scrapping nursing bursaries would pay for 10,000 new training places. What a valueless statement, (with figures probably coming out of thin air), as the introduction of training fees will decimate the number of people attracted to entering this vital profession.

It is suggested that, like university students, their nursing counterparts will be saddled with at least £51,600 of debt. The truly insidious aspect of this is that, like all political connivance, a precedent has been created, with the introduction of these fees, that will see them regularly rise as government needs to replace falling tax revenues. I say this at a time when university fees have just been increased to £9,250 a year from next year, a figure that is projected to further increase to £11,697 by 2025.

Let’s be under no illusion here, this vogue for charging ‘fees’ is taxation by any other name and a most odious form of taxation at that. No matter which educational channel has inflicted them, these debts hang around the necks of our young people into their 40’s and 50’s, reducing their chances of achieving sufficient financial support to buy their own homes, something the government seems equally non-plussed about.

What adds insult to injury is that the income from these fees will not be re-invested back into the NHS, as far as I am aware. The costs of recruiting nurses from overseas, currently £20.19 million for 3,365, is set to increase to a staggering £178.5 million for 29,755 by 2020. Surely this not only demotivates our own people but helps fuel the political call to render our NHS as only fit for privatisation.

Nursing and any care work is a vocation, a word not used by politicians or the media these days. It is a perfect description of the dedication these special people feel towards our community and their scant concern for massive financial reward, something that is a complete anathema to Neoliberalism.

In my total of 14 days in hospital last year, what was abundantly clear to me was the glaring gap between the dedication and incomes of the full time staff to that of the agency staff. That may offend some but it was my experience and saw one such person walk away from a patient who had fallen out of bed one night, which then led to a serious enquiry the following day.

The whole concept of agency staff is beyond me. If my experiences are anything to go by we should be paying the full time staff the extra cost of agency people as a reward for their commitment and dedication. Adequate reward for the support they provide to Society would be a sign of that Society and its government’s respect for this dedication and its true worth.

We should be investing in all of our young, with comprehensive education and training that will motivate them to become positive contributors to our future Society. After all . . . they are our future Society and the mind-set we shape now will be the mind-set that shapes that Society, its values and how it behaves. At present many of them train and then go abroad to try and escape the fee burden, something neither they nor Society should be proud of.

One cut at a time this Tory government is causing the death of our NHS to meet the demands of its corporate lords and masters for its privatisation. Is it any wonder ‘Mos’ May did not seek an election after her appointment by the party? She would not have got back into No 10 and she knows it.

As a tax paying electorate we are being robbed at every level, from the financial to the democratic and it has to stop if we are to receive value for taxes paid, preserve our dignity and quality of life and give our children any sort of future.

Again I cry . . . We need new leaders, with caring values and a new vision . . . NOW!

Until the next time

 

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

An Alternative to Brussels

In an earlier career I had the privilege to be responsible for officially sponsoring the Royal National Lifeboat Institution over a period of 3 years. This inspiring institution was formed in 1824 and since then has saved over 140,000 lives, at a cost of 600 lives lost in service.

It is funded by legacies and donations as well as being paid by local authorities to train and equip the RNLI lifeguards who operate on more than 200 beaches. Most lifeboat crews are volunteers. In addition to work in national waters the Institution operates Flood Rescue Teams both nationally and internationally.

This essential service, whilst a charity, could be construed as that of a ‘MultiStakeholder Network’ (MSN), because of its interactions with other bodies. Nowhere in any of its work does government hold sway and this independence has assured the Institution full control over how it (successfully) goes about its business. Distress at sea is its sole calling and has functioned for nearly 200 hundred years without political or financial controversy or scandal.

What MSN’s clearly demonstrate is the inclusion of like-minded people and bodies to focus and apply their joint resources and skills to a common aim. Here it is saving lives at sea through unified democratic action.

If we then compare this to our current political environment we can see a diametric opposition of values and aims, as globally they now pursue a policy of exclusion from their activities.

Across the Planet democracy is under threat as our liberties and personal initiatives are constantly restricted or threatened. The surveillance state and the increasing difficulties of peoples voices getting heard is causing growing anger and frustration.

Nowhere is this more evident than with our young (18 – 34 year olds), who increasingly face a future devoid of worthwhile employment and inclusion in the running of a Society they are very much a part of.

Modern Party Policy increasingly brooks no argument, as an ever more muted Civil Service is overridden, in its remit to seek ‘value for taxpayer money’ with government spending, through greater ministerial dominance and control.

However, the young are fighting back on several fronts, including their involvement in and development of the proliferation of Multi Stakeholder Networks now springing up across the Planet. They take the shape of Advocacy, Platforms, Operational & Delivery, Watchdog, Policy, Governance Knowledge, Global Standards and so much more, that is now making a significant contribution to our global Society.

Global Network Initiative – From the Americas to Europe to the Middle East to Africa and Asia – companies in the Information & Communications Technology (ICT) sector face increasing government pressure to comply with domestic laws and policies in ways that may conflict with the internationally recognized human rights of freedom of expression and privacy.

In response, a multi-stakeholder group of companies, civil society organizations (including human rights and press freedom groups), investors and academics spent two years negotiating and creating a collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector, and have formed an Initiative to take this work forward.

Kiva.org carries out the work that should be done by our global banking system, by allowing us to lend our money, via the internet, to low income entrepreneurs and student in over 82 countries. Profit is not the dominating criteria here but a desire to help people grow their way out of poverty by developing their own businesses, many of which are now incredibly successful and something moneylenders modern banking would not go anywhere near.

The VOST movement (Virtual Operations Support Team) provides successful ‘network’ management of emergencies and disasters across the globe. It has evolved from a few small groups of volunteers into this huge network, whose common aim is to navigate through the cascade of crisis information and prioritize and send it to the front lines of that crisis.

VOST members share a passion for understanding how social media can facilitate disaster relief efforts, making life easier for both emergency personnel and the victims of the disaster.

In Canada for example, CodeSearch partner’s employees with smartphone apps that can notify if a child goes missing. It works closely with law enforcement and the Missing Child Society of Canada to send out geo-targeted alerts to any of their agents in an area where a child has been reported as missing.

The Right2Debate campaign, initiated by the Quilliam Foundation, is only in its infancy but attracted 2500 young members on its first day. It is a platform which enables students to organise if they feel a ‘hate’ preacher in university may be undermining the principles of mutual tolerance and respect.

Students are of the opinion that they cannot rely on censorship to counter intolerant views that do not break the law but undermine the human rights of others.

Quilliam University Outreach Officer and King’s College London Postgraduate Student Haydar Zaki said. “#Right2Debate campaigns for the protection of free speech by contesting these views using opposing speakers and other opinions, undermining the indoctrination that is based on divisive and intolerant narratives.” 

Demonstration is one form of revolt but as we have seen with the TTIP petition, no matter how many millions sign, the establishment can simply ignore/exclude it. Doing something about it is not only so much more achievable, in our new technological and ‘joined up’ world but also immensely rewarding and far more beneficial.

The EU is now falling apart through outdated methods of control, which it is obvious can no longer function in the burgeoning open new world order. It should be allowed to collapse, for a more democratic multi-stakeholder network to take its place and represent the hopes, aspirations and investment of the people and businesses it represents in this new era.

Let’s not make the same mistake we made with the banks and keep a decadent and abusive infrastructure in place because it is supposedly “too big to fail”. The banks are more abusive now than when we bailed them out because we were suckered by media propaganda.

Let the EU fail, in the certain knowledge that an alternative form of collaboration will replace it and benefit us all in the learning we have gained from the disasters of this monolith. Other European countries will quickly support an initiative that is finally expressing what so many millions across Europe are feeling.

An alternative to Brussels is possible by the decree of the people . . . Ending the ‘exclusion’ policies run by the old establishment. What have we possibly got to lose?

Until the next time

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

Student Debt . . . Society’s Shame!

According to the Office of National Statistics there are now 3.3 million young adults living with their parents. That’s 618,000 young adults (aged between 20 – 34) more in 2015 than in under a decade ago in 1996. Or to be more precise . . . That’s around 1 in 4 young adults were living with their parents in 2015!

As we delve further it gets more unpleasant, as we see that the percentage of young householders has decreased from 55% to 30% for 24 – 29 year olds and from 68% to 46% for 30 – 34 year olds, in that same time frame.

Neoliberalism sets out to create a rentier Society, where feudalism can flourish because land ownership is retained in the hands of the few. To ram home the point 91% of 20 – 24-year-old householders . . . YES 91% . . . live in rented accommodation, meaning just 9% own or are buying a home of their own.

The UK government tells us it wants to increase the number of affordable properties available for the young, supported by the other political parties who have raised this issue. This is lunacy of the worst and most despicable kind where our young are being financially crippled with student debt by that same government.

What possible logic is there in robbing the young before they have a job and then declaring that a ‘caring’ government’s solution to this problem is a ‘soundbite’ that might create a meagre supply of homes that would be affordable to some of the people they are enslaving in debt?

The lunacy becomes mind-numbing when we now hear that 73% of students will have some debt written off. If this is true, then what possible point was there in nearly doubling the average size of personal student debt in the first place?

In the US it gets even more horrific, as over $1 Trillion of student debt is viewed as a trophy of neoliberalism. Indeed, the government has actually changed the laws on bankruptcy so that they prohibit students from taking this course of action when debt becomes too much. However, the law continues to allow corporations this avenue of escape when their debts become too onerous.

Following this progression, it begs the question as to whether this unpleasant form of neoliberalism will cross the Atlantic, like so many other financial practices, to further persecute our young?

What we must not lose sight of here is that with the threat of even more odious trade agreements now being signed into law, (with supposedly no way of taking them off the statue books once they arrive), will bankers have the legal clout to enslave our young – and everyone else – in debt repayments, with no legal means of reprieve?

We create our world from what we believe in and our dominating beliefs dominate how Society conducts itself. Currently the purveyors of neoliberalism have the floor and their greed will be their eventual downfall because they are totally unaware of the type of Society they are breeding.

If we get down to basics, natural laws are by far the most powerful at work on this Planet and they are now being contravened big time! Not matter what type of living creature you are, be they animal or human, there is an overwhelming drive to ‘leave the nest’ and strike out on your own to carve out your own life. We see this at its most pronounced with fledgling birds and even lion cubs, where the parents will forcefully drive their young away to begin their own lives.

Human beings, being the most ‘intelligent’ of the Planetary species however, are arrogantly ignoring this most basic of drives and actually impeding this natural progression of its young. This greed driven action will have disastrous repercussions as our young become more and more disenchanted. Not because they are ambitious or violent but because they are trying to answer the call deep within each of them to ‘set up their own nest’ and breed a family.

Neoliberalism lacks any moral conscience and because it lacks the intelligence to work out that true power comes from nurturing those you wish to have power over, it is breeding a terrorist Society of the future. The young, we know, are easily drawn to terror organisations and other rebellious groups such as the evermore successful hacking groups.

It is not that they are inherently violent or want to kill. They simply see it as the only course of action, to try and right the wrongs being heaped upon them. Every explosion or release of secret documents into the public arena is a victory against this abusive establishment that is intent upon growing feudalism.

They are too intelligent to be returned to this medieval form of control (they have an expensive education to prove that!) and resistance will become stronger as long as neoliberalism is allowed to continue to dominate our culture.

The young are our future. What we sow in their young minds dictates tomorrows culture. We cried out that all young, no matter what their social standing, should have access to first class education and all we did was create a huge class of the indebted, with no chance of the promised jobs with which to repay that debt.

Society must hang its head in shame that we are not nurturing our future Society to look after this beautiful Planet. Instead, we are fomenting conflict and destruction that could escalate to unthinkable levels of destruction with arrogant, uncaring and bloody-minded governments.

Another ‘Wake Up’ call that is not getting sufficient exposure to my mind.

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 Great Jobs Heist

A little over 8 months have elapsed since I was last at the EasyJet check in desk at Gatwick airport and what a shock awaited my return after such a short space of time. The twenty odd desks were still their but only four people were now manning them!

On arrival at an ‘empty’ desk there was a scanning machine waiting to read my boarding pass and then print out a sticky tab which I was expected to affix to my case. Then I was also expected to ensure the safe loading of said case onto the conveyor belt that sent it to the depths of the airport baggage management system.

In the equally ‘high customer arena’ of supermarkets, we are encouraged to fill our baskets and trolleys, scanning the items as we go, to then arrive at another machine which will read the content of our scanner and take our money from an equally impersonal credit card reader.

At the same time as the barcode is registering the cost of our shopping it is also doing a stock control inventory and ordering new supplies. In addition it is carrying out profit calculations and analysis of our buying patterns to feedback to a central ‘brain’ that will produce reports for the not so gradual reduction in numbers of management and staff needed to run modern businesses.

Business is there to make profits and its greatest overhead has always been the wage roll. Modern technology has appeared like ‘manna from heaven’ to the corporate boardrooms across the world, as it robs the international jobs market blind.

The obscenity of all this is that in spite of the reduction of worthwhile jobs and with no signs of strategies to replace them by either governments or corporations, we are still forcing our young to take up a university education and the crippling debt that goes with it, without any reassurance of rewarding employment the other end, other than a job in MacDonald’s.

Work has always provided a sense of purpose to our lives and is as essential to our wellbeing as the very air we breathe. Our government has just awarded itself a 10% pay rise, representing a stinging slap in the face to the young for whom a regular wage, eve alone a pay rise, is beyond the current expectations of many, who at best might be lucky enough to get a zero hours contract.

And to add insult to injury this in an environment where politicians seem totally uncaring as to the need to find solutions for the return of a healthy employment market. Morality is the human ingredient that profit so efficiently robs us of and the only value capable of changing current abusive thinking.

Remember that it was out of the frustration and despair of the young in Lebanon that the powerful resistance movement Hezbollah was birthed to remedy the abuses of the past, as well as the Arab Spring many years later. The same seeds are now being sewn globally in Society through the ‘warfare’ on jobs. What is ignored by greedy financiers and business leaders is that these kids have been educated to a high level and the frustration of a life lacking purpose will prove a powerful drive to redress the growing imbalance.

What makes this dire situation impossible to resolve is that corporations are not concerned with employment and will coerce governments against any attempts to change the present status quo? This is glaringly obvious as the TPP trade agreement is ‘fast tracked’ through the US political system. This agreement has nothing to do with trade but is a Neanderthal attempt by US politicians to prevent, at any costs, the evolutionary growth of China into the new global economic ‘God’.

Capitalism is hopelessly incapable of resolving the systemic problem it has now created because of its fundamental belief in the maximisation of profits through the minimisation of costs. It was Albert Einstein who observed:

“Humanity is going to require a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive.”

As I returned through passport control at Gatwick 12 days later all desks were attended by highly trained and qualified customs officials, although they were not busy but the electronic passport area was. Passing through I was hit by a sadness as I wondered how many of those desks will be ‘attended’ by robots when I next return.

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 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

The War on Our Young

youth photo

If there is one thing guarantees me a good work out in the gym, it’s a political slogan or soundbite and such was the case yesterday. I was just warming up, when there on the TV screen was Cameron being “very clear” in his usual opaque fashion and behind him the slogan ‘A Britain that Rewards Hard Work’. Blood pressure . . . Richter scale . . . Go figure!

Is it any wonder the electorate are disengaged from politics, when such emotive rubbish is promoted at them? These words have come into existence from a VERY expensive advertising agency, who have tested them and many others with panels of people to see which words stimulate the greatest feel good factor. The fact they bear no resemblance to the truth is irrelevant.

Our kids are confronted by a world of disappearing jobs, student debt of frightening proportions and disappearing social support. They work hard at getting their degree, only to find the ‘reward’ for that hard work is huge indebtedness and no meaningful jobs with which to repay it. Added to which, they now live at home much longer and start families much later, in an insecure environment where they are changing jobs more frequently.

When I was starting out it was an easy decision. Office work at a good wage or an apprenticeship of 3 to 5 years at low pay but trained to a job that would catch up and often pass those office wages, once qualified. We invested in our young then.

In this environment I had no debt, got married within 5 years and bought a house for £5,000, which same house today will cost £300,000. The security of jobs was defined by the phrase ‘womb to tomb’ and so taking on the responsibility for a mortgage and family had that essential underlying reassurance.

Those were the ‘rewards’ for working hard and we did not have to work in today’s stressful environment. We took full lunch breaks and left work at 5 o’clock. We took our full holiday entitlement and certainly weren’t expected to think about, or continue working, after leaving the workplace.

There are no ‘rewards’ for working hard these days. Just a Neanderthal attitude that says “If you don’t like it go somewhere else!”, knowing full well that this is becoming more difficult, as technology takes jobs away from people and hands it to robots. I’m sorry Cameron, is this the ‘reward’ your distasteful slogan refers to? Do you expect the young to kill themselves just to keep a job that could disappear in 5 years’ time, as the robots get cleverer?

Even their education has been corrupted, as corporations seek to replace religions in providing their teachings about life. At least with religion there was a morality at work, biased though it was to each particular religion.

Immorality is now the order of the day, as text book content is edited to ensure the ‘facts’ do not conflict with corporate policy and strategy. We are no longer training them to go out into the world to make their unique contribution but turn them into ‘consumers’, towing the corporate line if they are lucky enough to find work!

We campaign, rightly so, for the relief of so many vulnerable people suffering disability and disadvantage, whilst corporate backed government is now creating a whole Society that is hugely underprivileged, disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Our young are the lifeblood of innovation and competition. Look at their contribution to the development of the internet. The moral depravity of Society has now sunk so low that, in the words of anthropologist Alain Bertho “Youth is no longer considered the world’s future but a threat to its present.”

The corporate world is fully aware of this and hence, with political connivance, the war on our young takes the shape of global monopolies, deliberately created to stifle education, innovation and competition.

What they don’t want is a bunch of young Richard Branson’s coming along and unsettling the comfy status quo. After all, look what he did to the cosy British Airways monopoly of Atlantic air routes. Big corporations are too inflexible to fight innovation and they know it and so their answer is to suppress.

Perhaps there is a glimmer in the growing number of disastrous financial reports now appearing from these monoliths, as their conniving and false accounting breeds its repercussions. What is becoming evident is that ‘Too Big to Fail’ is sounding their death knell and that the young will, eventually, have their day.

As an aside, I Know I should be grateful to all political parties for their positive contribution to my current fitness regime . . . But I just can’t work up the enthusiasm!

 

Until the next time

 

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

‘Right to Buy’ . . . Or Irresponsible Ploy!

Mortgages photo

As the election bandwagon accelerates towards 7th May, so the manifestos are being aired. Although we know they are written evidence of future political lies, like most weather forecasts, there is never and acknowledgement, or apology, for the unmitigated deliberation with which they are served up to us and there equally unmitigated failure to fully materialise in the cold light of day.

The opinion polls still tell us we are watching a neck and neck race, with hints and rumour that Ed Miliband will come through because Cameron’s replacement is already being sought. His earlier disclosure that he would not be heading a third term has him again suitably covering his political arse for the inevitable.

It was a surprise to see him sealing his fate with an odious political tactic that he has purloined from the Tory ‘Goddess’ Maggie Thatcher, by placing ‘The Right to Buy’ at the centre of his party’s manifesto. Whilst it is an emotive ploy that will secure some votes, I fear for the hopes being built by this sleazy offer and the inevitable repercussions.

Let me declare my hand now by stating I was around and very much involved in the original council house sale bonanza and they were heady days. I was marketing director of a large insurance company that worked closely with local authorities across the country. When the scheme was announced we came up with suitable financing schemes to meet the varying needs and financial status of the lucky house buyers.

‘Low start’ mortgages and insurance policies helped many get their foot on the home ownership rung and we were overwhelmed by the demand. Indeed it was a very gratifying period in my working life, as home purchase is one of the biggest business deals most people undertake and which, unlike all other business dealings, has emotion involved and can therefore be tricky.

It was a satisfying time for me but the aftermath was not so pleasant. Thatcher had created a synthetic marketplace, by offering property at well below its market price, which all sounded very laudable. However she had lulled people into a false sense of security with such a concocted business environment.

No sooner had the country’s housing stock been sold off than the financial markets turned nasty, as they do with monotonous regularity, and interest rates went through the ceiling. It was then that the synthetic environment Thatcher had created suddenly evaporated, with no offer of similar subsidies for mortgage repayments from the millions that had been taken in housing sale receipts. New homeowners found themselves at the mercy of a ruthless financial market that saw many having to sell their newly acquired and shortly cherished possessions.

To me it demonstrated a ruthless and cold blooded act that I never forgave her for. The end result, as time has shown, has seen little attempt to restore public housing stock to previous levels to try and accommodate our vastly expanding population. What we are left with now is a market place where private landlords rule with the same cold blood demonstrated by Thatcher 40 years ago.

We are now in an unprecedented financial climate where debt, both public and private, is rife and interest rates are at the lowest they have ever been, with ‘negative’ interest as a new phenomenon and only one direction they can go . . . UP!

We then have the insult of what is called a ‘jobs’ market, with the abomination of zero hours contracts, a plethora of part time work and technology reducing available jobs at a frightening rate. Employers are now rushing to ‘robotise’ every aspect of their companies with machines that work 24/7 and require no wages, holidays, pensions or sick pay!

Not only that but those employees fortunate enough to have a job are expected to perform like the machines, producing levels of depression and stress that have become inhuman, for obvious reasons.

Even if our young have overcome the obstacles of student debt, they are now being encouraged to take on the largest financial obligation of their lives without the assurance that there will be sufficient employment, (their expensive education supposedly guaranteed), for them to continue those mortgage repayments with increasing interest rates into the future.

I become ever nauseous of modern politics that shy away from the horrendous problems it is now creating for Society and the abusive manner in which career politicians ‘smile’ these problems away, with suicidal short term thinking that only seeks to get them back into the luxuries of office they so greedily seek and are simply not fit for.

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 Abuse of Education

A child’s mind has been likened to a field. Whatever you plant will grow. If you plant corn next to deadly nightshade, both will grow, the earth doesn’t care but the impact of ingesting both will be dramatically different. So it is with a child’s mind and I am uncertain as to just how much we appreciate the enormity of the responsibility Society has in shaping those minds and thereby shaping our very future.

Religion recognised this powerful asset and for centuries used it to shape young minds in creating its armies of followers. The fruits of this ‘selective planting’ has been experienced in the constant religious wars that have plagued our species over those same centuries, as indoctrinated generations fought with each other over the ‘one and only true God’, costing the lives of countless millions of innocent people in the process.

With the increasing sponsorship of our educational establishments by corporations, supported by our governments, we are witnessing the preparation of a future mind-set that will continue to encourage the commercial ravaging of our Planetary resources for profit. Climate change is a reality to all but the hermit and ostrich, justified by the need for short term profit. Our children’s ‘managed’ ignorance will ensure the oceans roll over us long before we admit to our mismanagement and again countless millions of innocent lives will be lost.

Even this abusive educational process is being artificially ramped up, further closing down fertile minds, by what is being labelled as a ‘Testocracy’ and referred to by authorities as educational reform. The now limited nurturing of the critical thinking of our young is being eradicated by constant testing of narrow bands of information that have been crammed into their minds, often by computer. These tests then measure a student’s ability to recall, rather than interpret, this data and the results are promoted as intelligence and intellectual understanding, rather than the reality that is human cloning!

What is more pertinent is the ease with which this means of ‘education’ can be measured by more computers. Standardised test papers can be churned out that result in reams of statistics and league tables being regurgitated for public consumption. One recent report has shown that Testocracy creates a highly stressful environment, rather than one of nurture, with high teacher turnover and some instances of students literally wetting themselves during practice testing.

The even darker side to this production line education is the vast amount of money made by the corporations producing the standardised text books and papers sprayed across the whole educational and classroom arena. It is not in their interests to tailor text books to the needs of the schools, to maximise intellectual prowess, because it is not profitable. Worse, it could have those newly enquiring minds casting their attention upon the very corporations who have perverted the traditional education process.

Testocracy is sending education into a spiral of abuse that has the very test results manipulated like business accounts as schools, like corporations, seek to hold onto their placings in the league tables. Indeed the league tables, like a corporate Stock Market, become more important than the process, as production line education is assessed and changed, based upon the most efficient pass rates.

What has been learned in order to achieve those pass rates is almost irrelevant to the process and follows a frighteningly similar pattern to what has happened to our food. Here the quality and nutritional content, like teaching, has been compromised for the sake of price and profit, borne out by an ever growing rate of obesity and health related issues within Society.

With the direction our governments are now allowing education to pursue we are signing our own death warrant, as our youth take their corporate shaped mind-set out into the world and perpetuate the crime. What is now being sown will have horrendous repercussions globally and is not the corn I wrote in the introduction but deadly nightshade of the most toxic proportions.

When you consider the latent power of education, it is the only source of human endeavour capable of achieving lasting world peace. Surely it is incumbent upon our leadership to finish with the religious and corporate tribalism that has abused it and us for so long, lifting our species to a whole new order of being as the technological revolution is now doing.

Certainly we need a new political will that is not intent upon hurling us to our own profit induced oblivion, with the ability to create a positive ray of hope in the current financially depraved global environment. Don’t we owe it to our children . . . and ourselves?

 

Until the next time

 

 

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

A British ‘EU’

britain photo

We are just 3 years from the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and I question what has been learned, be it political, financial or social. Politicians have certainly birthed a bureaucratic monster that devours whole countries and spews out endless rules and regulations from their ingestion. It demands uniformity instead of integration and offers little in return.

Like the banks, the EU has become ‘too big to work’, with its growing detachment from the very people who vote it with power and whom it is supposed to serve. Instead we are now seeing a monolith, controlled by the banks, exercising a style of power normally associated with dictatorships, if Greece is anything to go by.

If this is it after nearly six decades of European ‘Unity’ I, for one, really don’t want to continue. Business would disagree, I know but current research by independent bodies such as Open Europe suggest that in event of a Brexit we could survive in the big wide world of free trade, with little difference to GDP if we work our talents.  http://tinyurl.com/mexwzez

If we now know that ‘too big’ doesn’t work, we also know that ‘small is beautiful’. After all, look at Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand and many more who are all doing quite nicely thank you!

Following the Scottish Referendum last year and the groundswell of popular sentiment across the whole of the UK for greater independence, the response from Club Westminster has been a string of platitudes to Wales, Ireland, Scotland and the larger cities in England, with the usual lack of substance or political will.

I would like to offer here an argument for us, in some ways, mimicking the structure of the EU on these islands. Creating independent governments for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England would have many benefits, not least in bringing new motivation and thinking to how we run our lives.

Club Westminster has gained too much control and increasingly abuses its power as it divorces itself from the electorate and aligns with the corporate world. ‘Localising’ government brings the whole democratic process back to the people. The closer to the people the more accountable government becomes, something Brussels practices in reverse!

By encouraging the potential for national development in this manner, each nation can realise the true potential of its people and natural resources without fearing the need to subsidise the other players. Instead of subsidy we open up profitable trade and barter with each other and a far healthier underlying support system in the early days of this fledgling union.

Like any new venture, the better and longer you have known your partners the greater the chances of success. We could not ask for a better relationship than that which lies within the strength of our history, thereby providing a strong foundation for each nation to go out into the big wide world.

Leadership is critical, as four governments led by career politicians without vision would have political point scoring outweigh the development of each country’s potential. It is here that some common direction and values are necessary and I am drawn to a constitution that would hold all four accountable to democratically agreed common values.

It would certainly address protection of the Earth and its inhabitants, debt free money supply, gender equality, unsullied education of the young and true democracy, with freedom of the internet and more. With such a ‘Magna Carta’ drawing and holding the union together, in the early days at least, it might be watched over by the only institution that has solely focussed upon our national values and has no political or corporate affiliations . . . Our present monarchy.

I know this could be a bone of contention for some but think about it. Our royal family has a unique background in simply caring about this country and its people through a true understanding and experience of ALL the four components of this new union. Who is more trusted and better able to call each government to account to its people for breaches of the constitution?

Of course there would be a central council of the WISE (Wales Ireland Scotland England) to run joint responsibilities such as defence. This would form a meeting point for joint ventures and new directions, as well as resolving union problems and abuses. Thereafter we would have autonomous countries free to earn their keep and pay their way under the umbrella of a British Union.

I accept this is a scant overview of a vast subject that will take considerable debate but the thrust of my argument is twofold. Firstly we would not go under if we left the EU, because we are free of crippling regulation and second, for the common good of the people who make up the majority, ‘small’ works over ‘big’ every time!

Until the next time

 

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

Hung Parliament . . . Who Cares!

Apparently last week’s Tory fund raiser was not only squeezing the ‘chequebooks’ for the coming election war chest but also the one needed after a probable hung parliament.

This says so much about the state of modern politics, not only in this country but in the US and elsewhere. Society has been gradually brought to its knees over the last 50 years by persistent abuse and the erosion of democracy. It is, I believe, now totally exhausted.

If we go back to the Thatcher era, whilst I have so much respect for her achievement as a woman in a man’s world, her political convictions were toxic. She destroyed our manufacturing base and a healthy union movement so necessary to hold employers to account (something Blair & co consolidated when they came to power).

She sold off council housing stock, making affordable housing a thing of the past as youngsters struggle with the greed of private landlords. (Subsequent governments followed her lead and sold of the remainder of the countries public utilities and assets, including world icons such as Rolls Royce, plus our Gold supply at a rock bottom price!)

Real wealth is created by making and selling things. This basic premise was flung aside as she introduced the ‘loadsa money’ expansion of the City and financial gambling with paper wealth. With her naive belief in a ‘Free Market’ she pursued deregulation, as the market was “capable of regulating itself”.

Any regulation is only as good as the people who formulate and exercise it. 2007 gave us ample proof that a mind-set of uncontrollable greed was running rampant in global financial markets. The greatest crime in the history of our species was then perpetrated when public funds were used to bail out the bankers, instead of allowing ‘market forces’ to bankrupt them. Since then vast fines, which are just petty cash to the banks, are regularly levied to swell government coffers and not one banker has been jailed.

If we now return home, for decades succeeding governments have known about an ageing population and its effect upon the economy. As successive governments passed the Health and Pensions challenges to the next incumbent, each borrowed more money to subsidise the problem rather than face it.

Today debt has become the universal political panacea as the over 65’s are now offered a guaranteed bond whose high interest is achieved with yet more borrowing. This irresponsible electioneering is intensified as our Prime Minister declares it is time “we had a pay rise”. With what I ask myself . . . more debt? Has to be, because government is certainly incapable of stimulating the economy and creating more jobs.

So we move from the banal to the incredulous as we become aware of secret trade deals that have been going on for years and will effectively neuter democracy once and for all. Global corporations will now shape our laws and vaporise health and safety regulations in the interests of profit. TTIP is so sinister that when applied to our infant Fracking industry, if we allow it to go ahead our countryside will be wrecked and if we don’t we will be sued and bankrupted as a country!

Since Maggie Thatcher, a leader albeit with troubled beliefs, the era of the ‘career politician’ has created the current bland political landscape both here and abroad.Their equally bland manifestos a record of future lies and backtracking. These people excel at the political process but lack vision or caring leadership qualities, as our power is handed over to Europe and global corporations.

We are no longer involved in our future. We are lied to (TTIP) abused (2007 financial collapse) and left to fend for ourselves (Health and Pensions). It is no surprise we are looking at a hung parliament and don’t care anymore!

This is why the events now playing out in Greece are so important. It is irrelevant which side of the political divide the party comes from. Here, there are politicians who are forcefully speaking out for the people and standing up against powerful organisations that have brought their country to its knees.

Like Edward Snowden, they simply know that what is happening is wrong. The Greek people have responded by becoming motivated again, with 79% of them firmly backing their new government. Could we boast similar support over here? . . You decide.

I have argued before that we must engineer a hung parliament to give out politicians a punch on the snout. No engineering now appears necessary as they have done the job themselves!

What I would like to see is that we continue to repeat our first vote and cause yet more hung parliaments until a leader emerges who will unite us in fighting debt, austerity, and a failing democracy.

These, I would suggest, are the only issues for this election. By tackling them you give the people back their dignity and everything else will fall into place.

 

Until the next time

 

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