Tag Archives: Elections

Democracy: UK v Brussels

There has been comment about the possible adverse effects of the closeness of the British Referendum on 23rd June and UK local and regional elections which happened yesterday (5th May). Nothing could be further from the point in my book, as already it is illustrating the stark difference between these two political processes.

Here in the UK we have all media a buzz with information as to what is happening and the current state of play on how the individual parties are faring. This will continue right up to and after the results of our voting have been announced over the next 24 hours.

What is evidence of a proper democracy at work is that, whilst there can be media bias, we are voting on the political beliefs of the various parties. If we don’t like what a party is advocating, we don’t vote for them and the majority view prevails . . . That is the majority view of the people!

It isn’t perfect but we all feel a sense of involvement, rather than exclusion. Even for those who do not exercise their right to vote. We may not like particular parties, or leaders and if we feel strongly enough about it we remove them. Or rather, the party removes them based open market research which shows they are affecting party popularity.

With the process of putting people in power, respect is everything. We put them in power based upon what they tell us they will do to improve our lives. Trust is an essential facet of democracy and in spite of that trust currently being at its lowest ebb with politicians around the world, we still feel we have the power to make change when things are going badly wrong in the management of our country.

When we then turn to the upcoming Referendum about how the EU is managed all of what I have just said goes right out of the window. The democratic process I have known all of my life, as a ‘British’ subject, simply does not exist within the current Brussels led European Union when I put my ‘European’ hat on.

The people who actually run Brussels are not elected by the people and neither are they accountable to the people. In spite of growing unpopularity they are no signs of change. This to my mind is the first of many abuses perpetrated by the current set up, particularly when it is the people who pay for it all, including the salaries of these unelected representatives.

Yet those same representatives feel no responsibility towards the very source of their personal incomes and the vast budgets they decide how to spend. They don’t meet with us, talk to us or seek our opinion.

During the week of the first of these two decision making processes we have been rocked by two incredible revelations. The first was the leaking of the extent of the infamous TTIP trade deals and how our democracy was being handed over to global American corporations. The second was by one of the EU’s founder members, who stated that the whole purpose behind the merging of European countries was to create a “state resembling the US”.

Since 1952, when the cabinet was set up as the first step towards a federation of Europe, the public at large have been consistently lied to. Firstly, we were told we were joining a “Common Market”, followed up by a makeover to the “European Economic Community”, finally being led to its intended purpose when the Maastricht Treaty established the “European Union”.

The EU has evolved to its present power structure through a series of secrets and lies to the people, whilst taking their tax money to fund it all. And with the co-operation of the now 28 heads of State who were obviously complicit, as they have been with the secret TTIP negotiations.

It is worth looking at the mind-set of the most powerful person in Brussels, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to better understand this constant duplicity. (After his appointment in 2014 there was a huge surge in support for Eurosceptic parties.)

He presides over an unelected body that has been negotiating the TTIP agreement for 8 years. It was this man who originally called for such an agreement in the first place, as he has also been calling for a European army.

Unlike democracy in the UK, neither of these huge policy decisions have been proffered to the people to have their say, or on which they could vote him in or out of office. Indeed, his office slapped a 30-year ban on the publication of any details of the trade agreement back in 2013, a stinging rebuke for the democratic process.

Here we have a man, described as a ‘federalist’, who has little respect for the democratic process, if his published quotations are anything to go by and I quote:

On French referendum over EU constitution

“If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’,”

On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty

“Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

On Eurozone economic policy and democracy

“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it”

On Greece’s economic meltdown in 2011

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.

It could be construed from these pearls of wisdom that he is either a very honest man, a very arrogant man or a bit of both but certainly with an overriding contempt for the electorate at large . . . All 500 million of them. To my mind he sees himself as “the boss” and his attitude permeates throughout Brussels, in the same way the thinking of the head person in any group affects the other members of that group.

Is it any wonder therefore that there is growing unrest within Europe and cries for “British style Referendums”? This is evidenced by a recent comment from a senior Brussels insider who is quoted as saying: Many people have lost trust in “entire institutions, whether national or European,” laments European Parliament Chief Martin Schulz.

The Referendum itself is a travesty of democracy, as is now blatantly obvious when compared with what is going on in the UK right now. We are voting about the policies of our elected representatives, something not presently available with Brussels.

Here, we are being told from the quotations above, that what they say goes and our only vote is whether we remain or exit. Do they really believe that they know what is in our best interests, or indeed care? Where is the acceptance of human fallibility and therefore the need for accountability that can only come from a robust democracy?

Well Mr Juncker and friends, if that is the deal I’ll stick with my countries version of democracy, where we can vote for regime change. If you won’t allow that you must take the consequences, which are now about as secret as your trade negotiations . . . and intentions for a federal Europe!

Have a sunny weekend all

Until the next time.

 

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

23rd June 2016: ‘OUT’ . . . and ‘IN’! (2 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Reference to ‘Brussels’ is directed at the resident political establishment and not the people of Brussels, who are dealing with so much at the moment, to whom I extend my deepest sympathies and support. J T Coombes

In Part 1 I traced the development of Brussels to its present all powerful position in Europe, as part of the growing financial might of neoliberalism.

During the last 70 years, through the democratic process, Brussels has gained its power and is now using that power to dismantle that very same democratic process, contravening its very essence – “The involvement and will of the people”.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – 1st Baron of Acton

Whilst neoliberalism is increasing its hold upon a global Society I will keep my focus on Brussels with the following examples of what I can only describe as ‘Crimes against Democracy’:

Debt and Austerity – Greece is by far the most unpleasant example of how abusive these two financial tools have been allowed to become.

When we overextend ourselves financially it is prudent to cut back until the books are balanced. ‘Austerity’ was introduced and is not only ‘cutting our cloth’ but selling off valuable state assets at discount prices to pay down debt and benefit the already rich. We should be looking to get the highest price for those assets, not the lowest!

It is here we see the iron fist in the iron glove, as the Troika – the ECB, Brussels and the IMF – brought Greece to its knees by piling yet more debt upon the Greek people specifically to meet the interest payments on the corrupt loans originally foisted upon them.

The Greeks threw out the offending government and elected a new one, intent upon resolving the countries problems. The Troika simply ignored this democratic process and inflicted unelected technocrats upon the people to override the power of their recently elected government.

Who could argue that these actions are not Crimes against Democracy and something practiced on other member states?

TTIP – After its global success in gaining a financial grip upon Society with the ‘taxpayer heist’ of 2008 (itself a Crime against Democracy), neoliberalism immediately sought to consolidate its position politically with odious trade agreements. Eight years later, secret discussions, that have been going on between the US and Brussels to install these agreements, have only now come to light through the moral integrity of whistle-blowers.

Public outrage across Europe is evidenced by regular (large) demonstrations in major towns and cities, as well as the largest petition in history with over 3 million signatures and growing.

With the years of secrecy, designed to hide the intention to allow corporations to sue elected governments for any legislation that might harm profits, along with ignoring vast public outrage, this certainly ranks as a heinous Crime against Democracy.

Technocrats – Unelected and unaccountable representatives who, in spite of holding immense sway over European Society, are not responsible to nor can be removed by the electorate. Italy had technocrats imposed upon them by the Troika in 2011 and the unelected government lasted until 2013 when it ran out of steam, as technocracies always do. Italy’s economy (the 4th largest in the world), now looks more like Greece’s (the 44th largest!).

There are parallels here with the EU, which has been created by technocrats with the occasional intervention of democratically elected politicians. On rare occasions their work is exposed to the test of public opinion, by way of referendum or election and it is then that they receive a rude awakening.

Technocrats cannot live within a democracy, as is now being demonstrated by the British referendum. The message is “We’re not changing, so leave or stay”. This demonstrates another unworkable Crime against Democracy.

Immigration – Since the problems that began in Calais in the early 1990’s endless meetings and summits have not found a solution to aiding these desperate people, so much so that it is now “pushing Europe to breaking point”, the Dutch prime minister is quoted as saying. This suggests that the Schengen agreement on free movement of people, a foundation stone of the EU, is close to collapse.

The demands from Brussels that member countries take specific quotas irrespective of whether each country is capable, or suitably prepared for the proper and responsible integration of so many strangers into their Society, is simply being ignored.

It is the foreign policy of US, UK and France in particular that has created the problem and this dominant thinking (which influences EU policy) is incapable of therefore solving it. Unless and until this autocratic thinking changes, to garner the willing support of the people of Europe, this type of authoritarianism constitutes yet another Crime against Democracy

European Central Bank – As this bureaucracy plunges the Eurozone into negative interest rates it demonstrates a level of panic that lacks all credibility. The technocrats here are blindly following a Japanese model that has panicked banks and the people into hiding their cash to such an extent that it has now become impossible to buy a security safe anywhere, whilst doing nothing to remedy the country’s financial problems!

With this in mind, an unofficial war against cash is now being waged to make us spend rather than save. Brussels is already looking to decommission the €500 note “in the interests of fighting crime”. (Crime has been around since we lived in caves . . . So why did they introduce this large denomination in the first place?!!) With that precedent created the smaller denominations will follow!

If their war on cash succeeds they will have total control over how we use our money, (possibly the object of this entire exercise), representing a serious financial Crime against Democracy.

Just these five abuses would, I suggest, demonstrate how undemocratic Brussels has become in its arrogant use of power. I am convinced these tactics are constantly testing their power to gauge what they can get away with, in the same manner that the banks successfully did with “Too Big to Fail” in 2008.

In the third and final part I offer my worries that these Crimes against Democracy will not decrease but in fact become the norm, if Brussels is allowed to continue running the EU into the future, because of an increasingly restricted democratic process.

Until the next time

 

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

23-6-2016 . . . About EU/TTIP/Banks

As the rhetoric and political soundbites escalate over ‘Brexit’ or ‘Bremain’ it seems to me that 23rd June 2016 is a key point for global democracy and not just a national issue.

In a previous piece I offered that huge diversionary tactics are at work to keep us occupied with emotive issues, such as immigration and benefits, whilst the real issues of the increasing unaccountable power now being wielded by Brussels and its constant lack of performance are kicked out of sight. http://www.globalmagnacarta.org/2016/lies-damn-lies-the-eu/.

History repeatedly shows us that once power has been accumulated it is then held onto with even more ferocity than was used to acquire it in the first place. Just look at Hitler’s rise to power, Mugabe’s grip on Zimbabwe (and he is now 92!) and the Assad regime in Syria.

Whilst not as aggressive as these examples, (if we ignore Greece), Brussels is intent upon holding on to its power and shows little sign of relinquishing any of it. (Cameron came back with a lot of temporary agreements designed to stall and no more.)

Indeed, the primary debate is about how badly off and impotent we will be if we leave. Twice disgraced Peter Mandelson is very much a leading advocate of this argument and given his track record I am persuaded to ignore it.

The real issue is about the demise of democracy as the EU has expanded, escalating the financial mess we are now in because of its support of the banks at the expense of the taxpayers who pay their wages. Added to which, whilst the European Commission, the European Bank and the IMF have insisted upon ‘Austerity’, they are now doing a U-turn, as it fails miserably to remedy the financial woes they have created . . . not terribly inspiring!

And if we stay with the financial failures for a moment, the European Bank is blindly copying America and Japan with Quantative Easing, lowering interest rates into negative ground that too is failing abysmally, as it has elsewhere. So much so that the banks now want to get rid of our cash, because they know from history that when negative interest prevails we, the people, do the only sensible thing and take our cash out of the banks and put it under the bed.

Global finance is now so bankrupt that they simply cannot afford for that to happen and so they seek more control over something their greed will simply not allow them to understand. All of this demonstrates the desperate measures being put in place to try and prop up a failing – centuries old – Establishment.

Why they have worked so hard on consolidating their power in Europe, when the now notorious TTIP/TPP trade agreements will take away that power and place it firmly in the hands of the corporate world, is beyond me. They have placed another huge nail in their own coffin by blatantly ignoring the largest petition in history, with over 3 million signatures across Europe, that shows in no uncertain terms the people do not want this odious agreement in any size, shape or form.

Surely this is the most important issue we should be confronting with the elected officials in Brussels now. It is ALL about democracy and our right to have our say in how we live our lives and protect ourselves from the onslaughts of greed and profiteering.  (Not the piddling amount of benefits money being sent abroad!) If the EU cannot protect us from this corruption, then it is not fit for purpose and must be replaced by a more democratic body who will willingly and ardently fight for the people.

If they had listened to those paying their wages and turned away from signing these agreements, they would have regained the support of european electors and rebuilt a lot of lost credibility. They would have secured a power base instead of weakening it, in my opinion and in so doing have lost what little credibility they once had.

The world is dramatically changing and what is becoming more and more evident is that the EU has grown into a political dinosaur that has robbed us of billions of taxpayer money to little effect and has few, if any, solutions to the challenges they and this changing world are now throwing at us.

All we are treated to these days are endless Summit meetings and Emergency meetings that cost us an ‘arm and a leg’ and which have an unbroken record of nil achievement on the desired goals of EACH meeting.

Do we honestly want more of the same or are we worth so much more? . . . You decide on 23rd June.

 

Until the next time

 

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

Lies, Damn Lies & The EU

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is

for good men (and women) to do nothing – Edmund Burke.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the little glass domes at Christmas with the lovely scene which, when shaken, becomes clouded by a snowstorm. When I watched Cameron on last Saturday nights news, supported by the full political circus – clever lighting, a rostrum strategically placed in front of No 10 and carefully worded speech (which he read VERY carefully from) – all I saw was a ‘snow storm of words’ spouting out of his mouth, like the snow machines used on ski slopes to make the dodgy bits perform better.

Like the Christmas toy, he was obliterating the real issues surrounding the EU and our vote on 23rd June. Immigration, Child benefits paid abroad, closer integration and the other emotive issues are designed to divert our attention from the real issue of the unregulated and unaccountable power Brussels has now amassed over our lives.

(E.G. The bureaucrat in charge of implementing TTIP has publicly declared “I do not take my mandate from the European people.” And neither do our ‘elected’ representative’s lady! . . . if ignoring 3 million European voters, who signed the largest petition in history against this odious agreement, is anything to go by!)

According to statistics this bloated bureaucracy is costing taxpayers £30 million A DAY to support. That’s £10.4 billion last year! It’s been in place for 60 years now and so, even at just half these amounts, it has cost us a staggering £312 billion . . . just for the UK and there are now 28 member states!!)

If we had all kept the money and ploughed it into our own social services we would have few health, education and welfare services problems today (and if we took out the compound interest we pay bankers for the use of our money and debt (currently £24,491 per person), those services would be the envy of the world).

Instead we have birthed a monster that grows ever more powerful and autocratic by the day as it erodes democracy and the ability of the people paying for it all to bring those abusers to account. What has evolved is a playground for the banks, where they can apply corrupt banking practices, enslaving us in odious debt that is sanctioned by this monolithic state.

Exaggerating? Look at Greece last year. It offers a spotlight on the reality of what the EU has become. Here odious banking practice and corrupt politicians brought the Greek people to their knees with the application of odious debt. Where was the EU to curb such appalling banking moneylending practice?

Instead of protecting the Greek people and the rest of us, with proper laws to stifle such activity the European Commission – charged with proposing legislation and implementing decisions – sided with the financiers to bring in unelected technocrats to do their bidding.

It was repeated in Italy, Sicily and elsewhere and does not have even the slightest vestige of democracy . . . And we are paying the wages of the people who got us into this mess and have no intention of getting us out. It truly beggar’s belief!

And whilst all of this is going on we are treated to our elected representative’s diversionary tactics, screaming about greater vulnerability to terrorism and crime if we leave, lower employment and the piddling amount to money being sent abroad in child benefits.

(Let’s not forget that the benefits fraud comes mainly from white UK nationals who are third generation benefits system benefactors and who think they are entitled to free money and don’t care who pays for it! Our benefits system needs a complete overhaul in which ALL who want to claim have to pay in for at least 4 years (say) before they can benefit. Those in dire need would have access because they are a part of a family who are paying in and are therefore entitled . . . but this is all for another day.)

There is only ONE question I will ask myself before I vote on 23rd of June and it will be this:

“How would I feel if I knew that Brussels was being dismantled and replaced with a much smaller body, charged with developing a European ‘Trading’ Union. Its task would be to weld together and support European businesses to go out into the global marketplace and develop trade for Europe. It and the businesses would be supported by taxpayer money and in return those businesses would undertake to pay their full taxes back into this EU Union.”

Just knowing that Brussels was being dismantled would not only get my vote but also make me feel better. A wrong (of many decades) has at last being righted. I don’t know about you but it would give me back my dignity and a sense of empowerment?

We have the power to do this as European voters but we need to become organised. Here again we have the wherewithal in the fabulous communications system now available to us, with Social media and independent news sources.

I am not an organiser, I am a writer and so I make a heartfelt plea now to those out there with the abilities to organise. I am thinking about the ex-finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis, who has just launched a new Pan-European movement DiEM25 – http://www.diem25.org/  What about the much neutered European trade union movements – https://www.etuc.org/ the online petition experts like 38 degrees in the UK – https://home.38degrees.org.uk/ together with The Taxpayers Alliance – http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/ and the many other like-minded groups who could be brought together.

This unification would then play a decisive part in unifying electors into a powerful voting machine that, at last, can begin to call the shots and make our elected representatives accountable once more. How easy would it then be to create hung parliaments that would have to listen to what the people want before we then put any party into power.

Brexit is not the disaster that the bankers and bureaucrat’s media cry it will be but rather the wakeup call for a necessary and fundamental reform of Europe. And don’t for one minute think the UK is on its own here.

Our fellow taxpayers/voters in the other member states have also had enough of EU domination and will quickly follow our lead. Particularly if they see we have a replacement body that makes a lot more sense and which they would, I am convinced, readily support – something the bureaucrats are terrified about and hence the vague, wishy washy and temporary agreements Cameron came back with, ALL designed to buy them more time.

We now have a golden opportunity to make the most important decision about current political life and do what the majority want to do . . . and that is not to wreck the EU but replace it with a democratic union that is beneficial to the people and not just the elected (and unelected) few.

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

Millibrand . . . Shouldn’t‘ve Said It!

banks photo

Photo by Images_of_Money

This is NOT a swipe at the Labour Party, it is too important a subject for political chicanery and God knows we have to end Tory mismanagement BUT what Ed said about the banks was just plain irresponsible. I paraphrase:

“It was right to bail out the banks in 2007. It was not about the banks, it was about ordinary people’s savings. What was going to happen to ordinary people’s savings? I think banks are a good thing and not a bad thing.

Hmmmm!

“It was right to bail out the banks . . . There was absolutely nothing “right” about it.

First: When any business carries out malpractice and comes unstuck it should go bust. It provides the best deterrent to others. It would have been painful for a year or two BUT out of the ashes we could have built a new banking system that supports rather than controls Society. Supporting the banks now makes them feel invulnerable and gives them the confidence to carry on being abusive, which is exactly what they are doing and so, after 8 years, the pain and abuse continue.

Second: It was taxpayer’s money, paid by people on the understanding it is used for Social infrastructures and the running of the country. If you told people it would be made available for commercial failings they would not pay.

Third: This act of gross irresponsibility, representing the greatest theft of public money in the history of our species, has undermined the trust of the people in their elected representatives and the political system.

Fourth: The bank failure in 2007 was not an ‘Act of God’ that nobody foresaw but a failure through premeditated gambling because there were more profits from it than conventional banking. Nobody has gone to jail and the regulatory regime that allowed it to happen has changed little since, allowing banks to continue their irresponsibilities, which will bring about another and far more devastating collapse.

Fifth: It has created a precedent of immeasurable proportions which can be used to justify the use and abuse of public money in event of the irresponsible failure of ANY commercial venture by large organisations “Too Big To Fail” (or Nail).

Sixth: The cost to taxpayers has not ended with loss of tax money but continues today in loss of public services and sale, at knock down prices, of their public utilities, unemployment and zero hours jobs because of a supposed ‘shaky’ economy.

 

“It was not about the banks, it was about ordinary people’s savings. What was going to happen to ordinary people’s savings?” . . . The same thing that happened to the banks. They could be bailed out!

First: The trillions that have been printed since 2008 and given to the banks could quite as easily have been given to savers PLUS a bonus for their short inconvenience. If it can be done for banks it can also be done for people, or am I missing something? Anything left over would provide a first class health service and much more, given the volumes of money we are talking about!

Second: Ordinary people’s savings have taken a severe caning since, with derisory interest rates for many who are dependent on that income to survive.

Third: What is more their noses are being rubbed in it as banks are fined, what to them is petty cash and offset against tax which those same savers have to contribute towards, allowing them to return to obscenely high rates of return in comparison with what they are making available to savers.

Fourth: Those savers have their money in banks and building societies, many of whom are now very wary about lending it out again to help young would be homebuyers or small businesses which, from memory, is why they are there.

Fifth: No less a person than the governor of the Bank of England has assured taxpayers that in event of another banking collapse their taxes will not be touched, as the creditors of the banks will have to pay this time. Ordinary people’s savings are what he is talking about because, as a saver with a bank or any other financial institution, you are a creditor. This time the people will get well and truly screwed, not as taxpayers but as savers!

“I think banks are a good thing and not a bad thing.”

Private Banks: Properly regulated and held to account – Possibly.            Public Banks: Definitely!

I repeat, I am apolitical and not popping at Labour but it is worrying when any political leader makes such irresponsible comments that have simply not been thought through. It is doing harm to politics, harm to the good people who go into politics to promote positive change and immeasurable harm to any form of reconciliation with voters in reducing the creditability gap between elected and electors.

Finally to Russell. Why, why, why did you not confront him with TTIP? It is the biggest potential threat to democracy and our way of life. It will neuter the power of our elected representatives and our vote in the process. You do carry the sentiments and support of a lot of people. Power to you Russell . . . but you’re no Jeremy Paxman.

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

Election 2015 . . . DUH!!

I watched a lovely drama last night about Noah building the Ark, his hardship in doing this as well as bringing up a family left me with a satisfying feel good experience, although I am not religious.

This nourishing programme was then followed by the reality of 21st century life, dominated by the start of ‘Election 2015’ and our leaders telling us how their next term in office will ensure our return to prosperity after such a difficult recession. As the intro music to the News died I switched off!

Our leaders declare a return to prosperity whilst omitting that it was their actions that created the hell in the first place! Was it not them who helped carry out the biggest heist in the history of our species, with tax payer money we thought was ring fenced for public services blithely handed over to the banks?

To add insult to injury that money was then lent back to us to keep us going and on which we then had to pay those same banks interest! Not only that but we were also made to sell off our public utilities at huge discounts as a condition of the loan agreement.

Unlike Noah and his family our kids can’t provide for their own homes. There are few good jobs to help them pay off their debts and which their expensive education was designed for, let alone buy a house at todays inflated prices. This has a knock on effect because renting is just as toxic, with landlords upping their prices every six months because they can and stuff the poor tenants.

This is the reality I mentioned earlier, along with having oil and gas companies drilling under the homes of those lucky enough to have been able to afford to buy, without their permission. If we add to this the pointlessness of voting, as elector power is now being undermined by TTIP that has been negotiated in huge secrecy, plus growing Surveillance, we have reached a democratic tipping point.

There are just three critical issues this election, which all parties are ignoring and I can see no way forward for Society until they are resolved, namely:

  1. Democracy: Cameron, in offering a referendum on such an important subject as the EU if he is re-elected, epitomises the career politician at his or her worst. A complete lack of any vision or direction is compensated for by outright bribery and a further total lack of respect for the voter on something which, in any healthy democracy, would be seen as an automatic right of the people. Society requires the re-establishment of meaningful democracy with People Driven Referendums on any subject that has enough public interest and at any time. It happens in Switzerland and they are one of the most stable countries on the Planet.
  2. Banking: Our global financial system is paralysed by bad debt from the 2008 debacle. Further debt that now permeates every area of Society, including the sick and our children’s education, has been encouraged to resolve the problem. When this credit bubble finally bursts the horrors of 2008 will pale into insignificance. If parliament exercised its right to produce and control our own currency, as other countries have done when confronting the bullying financial tactics of the IMF and World Bank we could, at a stroke, free ourselves from debt that is rendering us impotent to the theft of our public services by privatisation, unemployment and endless corporate abuse.
  3. Government: Over the centuries Westminster has turned from a place of debate and democracy to a ‘Club of Two Parties’, cosy, comfortable and corrupt! It no longer serves the people as the party system suffocates any worthy politicians who do not tow the party line. Modern technology can open government up to the people for greater direct involvement in effectively influencing how we are governed. Nothing short of total transparency can restore the public’s confidence in a flawed and outdated process that has robbed them of their power and caused deeply entrenched distrust and cynicism.

Tackling these three core issues can return power to the people, by taking it away from the Banks and corporations, to then resolve all of Society’s current problems. This must be the crux of this year’s election, I would suggest, if we are to become masters of our destiny.

It’s not rocket science but the simple application of our democratic and human rights. Hopefully the aftermath of a hung Parliament will provide the breeding ground for such initiatives, both here and abroad.

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? . . . Of Course!

Nathan Rothschild

When it takes just a few days for 1 million people to vote, demanding the reinstatement of a TV presenter whose brain is occasionally not engaged to his tongue when his mouth is working and yet those same people are steadily walking away from the ballot boxes that shape their lives, British politics has finally reached a crossroads.

Whatever your personal preferences for ‘Our Jeremy’, like Russell Brand, they have a connection with the people that our politicians can only dream about, because there is genuine substance to what they say. The gap between the politicians and voters is growing at the same rate as the gap between the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ because there is little of substance in what the politicians say!

There was a time when authenticity ruled our political system. The Tories were supported by the ‘Toffs’ and our middle classes and Labour by the working man (and woman), plus the critical influence of their trade union founders. Sadly that defining political ethos and line has now been eradicated.

Over the decades the tail has come to wag the dog for the Tories as their corporate supporters have become their political masters, driving a wedge between them and the people.

It’s not much better for Labour, as our industrial base has been dramatically eroded with the loss of the powerful Steelworkers, the efficient Dockers and brave Mineworkers, to name but a few. This, together with the politically motivated reduction in the powers of the unions that had been so effective in regulating the excesses of capitalism, saw the party rebranded by Blair & Co by shifting its affinities more towards middle England. This may have recently put the party back in government but this shift now has them perceived as aligned with the Tories, in a joint political ‘wilderness’ that offers little choice to voters.

As far as the LibDems are concerned, I know there are good people in the party, together with those supporting them. Sadly, I cannot for the life of me work out where they figure in the grand scheme of things. Forgive me and God knows I have tried but their purpose is beyond my simple mind and comprehension.

If we then turn to the ‘new kids on the block’, firstly we have UKIP, whose leader presents himself as a fag puffing, pint loving ‘Geezer’ who is now extolling the benefits of private healthcare! I lost 15 members of my own family to cancer and so I have some experience of this evil disease and respect his courage throughout what must have been a terrifying period in his life as he fought it and won.

However, I can only view his strong words in support of a private healthcare system, which we know alienates those who really need it but can’t afford it, as nothing less than a signal of support to the corporate world. He, like the others, would welcome their support in growing his party and thus, to my thinking, relegates UKIP to the same political wilderness as the Tories and Labour.

Finally we have the Greens, who come nearest to garnering my vote, as their mind-set is precisely what is required to turn us back from our current headlong sprint to hell in a handcart through the destruction of this Planet and each other. However, their determination to end our monarchy must be meat and drink to the corporate world, as they too pursue a quest to eradicate our nationhood, thereby helping to turn the world into a bland ‘MacDonald’s’ profit machine! This ill thought out and contradictory manifesto also has me putting them in the aforementioned wilderness!!

If we now turn our attention to ‘Club Westminster’, I have said before that it is no longer fit for purpose. When you look at the design of the debating chamber it is only capable of accommodating a two party system. Worse than that this design demands total confrontation by both parties, making the name of the game point scoring, just like tennis, badminton and similar sports, rather than providing the means of reaching a reasoned consensus on how best to manage this country for the benefit of its people.

Here we come to the crux of the problem with this ‘Club’. It is allowing corporate domination of our democracy with Debt, Fracking, TTIP and many other corporate benefits, rather than encouraging visionary leadership that will support the needs of the majority through voter domination. THIS is what has driven voters away from the ballot boxes and the few who will make the effort are utterly confused and lacking any conviction as to which party to vote for.

A second successive hung parliament is a wakeup call for us all. The power of our political system and democracy has been so effectively neutered by debt and corporate power that this election is no longer about Left and Right but about the voters versus the corporations in who actually runs this country.

This is what it must have been like in 1940, as Hitler consumed Europe and stared hungrily at our white cliffs from Calais. The only difference today is that we have now been invaded and overrun, not by soldiers with guns, tanks and devastating air power but silently and sinisterly by Privatisation, Austerity and devastating Debt.

This is the reality of the political crossroads this country has now reached as it faces another election and it is up to the people to decide the way ahead.

Until the next time.

 

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