Tag Archives: EU Referendum

Brexit . . . and No World Ending!

Brexit photo

I am an eternal optimist but recently the news has been so negatively contrived as to deprive me of any inspiration whatsoever. However, a ray of light is at last shining through.

Two months have elapsed since Brexit and it would appear that the ‘End of the World’ heralded by the ‘experts’ as ‘Financial Armageddon’ and ‘The Economic Meltdown of Britain’, just hasn’t happened.

Here we are today and very little has changed. By that I mean that the corrupt global financial system is still functioning, after a fashion and the stock markets leaps to new highs that are underpinned by the nirvana of Neoliberalism – unlimited debt – instead of a more solid reality of economic growth through increased production and jobs.

“Have the ‘experts’ got it wrong againis now the cry? These people were as much ‘experts’ as you and I on the subject of the EU and Brexit, because neither have ever been tried before and so where is the learning and experience to make such facile judgements.

These ‘experts’ are people who have studied their specialist subjects and then sold that knowledge to the highest bidder, to support the propaganda of vested interest intent upon pursuing their agenda of a controlled unification of Europe.

This was the tactic used in 2008 to dupe us into being robbed of the money we have invested in providing Society with its essential support infrastructure for healthcare, education, benefits and pensions etc. We were not as aware then as we are now of the manipulative agenda of ‘Austerity’ and debt that has consumed us.

The fact that nothing changed after the bailout, indeed the banks have become more brazen in their abusive money lending and gambling, is now leading to another collapse that not only includes subprime mortgages but subprime car loans, to further feed the disaster.

Unsustainable debt is bringing large corporations to bankruptcy in ever growing numbers and political credibility, or lack of it, is demanding new leaders who care about people and Society in general, rather than profit and greed.

We are certainly seeing this across Europe, with new populist parties growing evermore popular and the likes of Bernie Saunders maintaining a strong voice in America, in spite of no longer being in the running for the Presidency.

What is so blatantly obvious, with Brussels move to try and become a ‘champion’ of social mobility and reduced inequality in its latest moves, is that they are not motivated by a care of the people but simply to try and counter the credibility of increasing numbers of populist movements that they may hold onto power.

Now we have the notorious TPP trade deal possibly ending, as France and Germany voice opposition to its implementation. I would argue that Brexit has made a serious contribution to this radical change of heart from the EU establishment, who previously just ignored the mass protest of the people. THAT IS TRUE DEMOCRACY AT WORK!

Not only that but Hollande and Merkel need desperately to win back favour with their electors if they are to stand any chance of being re-elected next year. (Isn’t it funny how we hear little of ‘clown Junckers’ at present. What a low profile he has adopted!)

If we then add to this the fact that Britain is bouncing back from the over reactions to Brexit, with manufacturing at a 10 month high in August  and UK business in general regaining its confidence after the post Brexit panic the pre-Referendum threats have been laid to waste.

Unlike Greece, who were easily cowered by vested interest, which has now reduced them to almost 21st century serfdom, the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world and in far greater demand by other trading nations. Although we have a way to go, it is obvious now that Brussels has had its wings clipped by Brexit and the arrogance that was inherent in their actions has now all but disappeared.

It is for this reason that I voted for Brexit. Not to break up the EU but to break the power of Brussels and return democracy to European affairs. Whilst France and Germany seek dominance over Europe, they have now scored so many own goals that we shall see how much longer the other members tolerate devastating mistakes such as immigration and negative interest rates.

We are in testing times, where the agenda of the few has taken a severe knock from which it may not recover, given public sentiment towards growing democratic abuses. Brexit could well be the catalyst that ignites a greater desire for freedom from autocratic rule, as it is seen across the world that we continue to maintain confidence in our future. A future we will have so much more control over and one that more nations may want to emulate.

Until the next time.

 

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

‘Brexit’ . . . The Third Option

BREXIT photo

As the 24th June recedes into memory there is no doubt the establishment machinery has been working overtime to undermine the voice of the British majority decision to exit the EU, even suggesting many are having a change of heart.

The stock markets were beautifully manipulated to make small fortunes for those who already have large fortunes as they bounced back after the chaos of the vote. The IMF  reckon Britain will outstrip Germany, France and Italy’s growth forecasts and our own Bank of England report our economy has not slowed since the Brexit vote . . . So much for the end of the world!

Whilst the ‘presstitutes’ now focus on the triggering of Article 50, our new government is preparing for the supposed two years of negotiations to enable our extraction from Brussels influence.

The question nobody seems to be asking, in all of this hype and scaremongering, is the very real possibility that those negotiations won’t actually go the distance, because the EU has collapsed.

As time passes the problems for Brussels seem to be escalating, as the technocrats lurch from one regulated disaster to the next. With the benefit of hindsight, we should have read the warning signs of over regulation in the 70’s, with the famous beef and butter ‘mountains’ and wine ‘lakes’.

Then we saw the introduction of the disastrous single currency, designed to bring about financial control over the EU. Time has now shown that it is beyond possibility to try and manage the individual financial environments of many different countries in such a manner.

This one piece of mismanagement has led to building a toxic financial environment that is no longer sustainable without blatant subterfuge. Negative interest rates are not only killing the traditional business of banks but also crucifying pensions investment and the future incomes of hundreds of millions who have paid in with utmost good faith.

Moving from the financial to the political, we now have the political pantomime that has seen France, Germany and Italy declare a summit in Italy next month following the aftermath of the UK exit. We have G20 and G7, is this E3? I can only see it as another very expensive taxpayer funded ‘bun fight’, as I question the credibility that will give substance to these three getting together?

Let’s start with Germany, where Merkel is just about hanging on to power, with her country overrun with refugees she has invited in without reference to the other members and who are frightening off tourists as fast as the immigrants appear.

Her posturing and dictates also give no clue to the fact that her country is about to financially implode. Hers is the first Eurozone country to issue negative interest debt, something the ECB will not (currently) redeem in event of problems.

For over a year now the financial pundits have been saying the country’s largest bank by far, Deutsche Bank, is in serious trouble. Its share price has dropped 48% since last July, motivating finance minister Wolfgang Schauble to declare in February he has “no concerns about Deutsche Bank”, something finance ministers don’t say about ‘healthy’ banks!

The bank has been selling more of its shares and issuing ‘contingent convertible bonds’ to raise desperately needed capital, all of which have gone to further depressing it share price and credibility!

Such is global concern that Deutsche Bank will become the next Lehman Brothers that the IMF, no less, have publicly branded it the riskiest globally significant bank, at a time when its US businesses also failed a Federal Reserve stress test. If/when this bank collapses, the reverberations will make 2008 look like a walk in the park.

Then we have Italy, where the IMF have also declared the country’s banks, who have seen their share price plummet by more than 50% this year alone, pose a particular threat to the economic outlook. “Unless asset quality and profitability problems are addressed in a timely manner, lingering problems of weaker banks can eventually weigh on the rest of the system” came their warning.

Monte Dei Paschi is Italy’s third largest publicly traded bank and its particular distinction is that no bank in Europe has fallen so low so fast without completely crashing. Two years ago their shares were worth between €5 and €9 and today they are worth €0.33. What keeps it on life support is constant taxpayer bailouts, something a Merkel bullied Brussels has now pulled the carpet on.

Here lies the embarrassment for premier Renzi before his summit with France and Germany, rumour has it he is contemplating going head to head with Brussels and enacting a unilateral sovereign rescue of the Italian banking system.

How will he face Merkel, who insisted upon ‘bail ins’ over ‘bail outs’ and has gone on record as saying “We wrote the rules for the credit system, we cannot change them every two years”. If Merkel gives in it will make a mockery of her ‘bail in’ rules before they have been properly used, to say nothing of the political fallout if, once again, there is a raid upon taxpayer’s money to save a bankrupt financial system.

Whether she maintains her position or waivers, neither is an endorsement of her direction of EU policy, or the credibility of Brussels regulations.

What cannot also be overlooked is that Italy is the EU’s third largest economy, with €2.23 trillion of public debt, €400 billion of which is stagnating in Italian banks as bad loans, making them not only ‘too big to fail’ but also ‘too big to save’!

Finally, we have France’s contribution to the ‘toxic trio’ and their pompous little president, who is now traveling around the EU to secure unity in the face of these pending financial disasters, the Greek fiasco and Brexit and being publicly booed for his troubles. (Or perhaps it’s because of the $14,500 of taxpayer money he spends each month on haircuts!  Where is his credibility, when his popularity rating at home is now reported at below 10%?

As Philippe Le Corre noted in the Financial Times, opinion polls show that 61% of French people “hold unfavourable views of the EU”. Two-thirds feel that ”the EU has failed them economically”. By contrast to the UK, it’s the young who have been among the hardest hit, with massively high unemployment. “It is likely that they would vote for “Frexit” in a referendum”, says Le Corre.

This seems to be lost on Martin Schultz, President of the EU Parliament, who stated quite clearly: “It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate”. (So what is the point of the elected members of this parliament, or indeed this parliament?!!!) And this pearl of wisdom comes only weeks after the people of one of the EU’s largest contributors demanded a return of democracy following their Referendum on membership on 23rd June.

The European Commission’s attempts to drive through the trade deal with Canada (CETA) is pouring more petrol on the glowing embers of discontent, as it is now close to collapse after a German political party sued Brussels over its implementation. “it reveals once more the cavernous differences opening up between different member states which have effectively rendered the European project unworkable”, according to one recent report.

The only logic appears to be that this undemocratic move by Brussels creates a precedent for the equally undemocratic TTIP trade deal with the US, which is running in the face of huge public protest.

It will only take the effects of one of these trade deals, or the collapse of a bank, on top of the mounting problems of immigration, to trigger revolt in an already unstable union, which it is not that far off if Brussels pursues its present political stance.

Two years of exit negotiations . . . we shall see.

Until the next time.

 

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

‘Remain’ . . . ‘Leave’ . . . And?

Banking photo

As I survey the aftermath of our historic referendum I feel a huge sadness at the state of a country I love and have now lived in for the proverbial three score years and ten. Never before in my life have I felt I am in a helpless and rudderless ship as I do now.

Our political system is in total disarray, with back stabbing, political connivance and a complete lacking in any vision of the future by all concerned. As I see it the ‘Leave’ campaign made the right decision but for the wrong reasons and the ‘Remain’ campaign made the wrong decision for the right reasons.

After the vote, when I heard that Boris Johnson was working on his manifesto I was appalled but suspect all the other contestants were doing the same thing. That all concerned had taken us into a fight, arguing with lies and very dubious statistics, about something so critical to our future and with not the slightest vision of what that future might be, speaks of only of the agenda of debt and profit driven Neoliberalism.

We are bereft of serious leadership because our politicians no longer have any power to direct our Society. There has been much talk about the ‘1%’ and the ‘corporate masters of political power’ and now we are witnessing the stark reality of this abomination.

We hear of Theresa May making her play for the top power job, without any idea of her thinking as to a direction forward, other than the bog standard and vague rhetoric about “Strong Proven Leadership” “No reneging on Brexit” and “No activating Article 50 until the end of the year”.

OK, that’s the short term but what’s her vision of the future. Surely to God she must have one, or is she just ‘more of the same’ with austerity and democratic erosion, now that Cameron has been kicked out by the financiers for messing up their plans for a more controllable ‘one state Europe’.

If we look at her political style on surveillance, for example, she certainly supports it but in a rather worrying way, with an again vague Internet Spying Powers Bill that has left parliament very confused. To quote from a recent piece in the Spectator:

The new bill makes pitifully little effort to define when heavy surveillance powers may or may not be used. It merely stipulates that they can be used in the investigation of ‘serious crimes’, without attempting to define what that means. The bill specifically allows surveillance to be undertaken in order to safeguard the ‘economic wellbeing’ of the country — a power which could all too easily be interpreted by tax authorities as justifying the use of heavy-handed surveillance of people who pay their cleaner in cash or involve themselves in other trivial forms of tax-dodging.

Labour are in an even worse mess, as Blair’s ‘team disgrace’ are actually given media space to mount their attack on the only honest and decent political leader parliament has seen in years. That twice disgraced cabinet minister Mandelson is still given media space shows just how corrupt the establishment have now become:

“Peter Mandelson: Corbyn’s leadership could turn U.K. into a one-party state”

Wasn’t he part of the team that sought Murdoch’s support in 1997, at a cost of taking Labour so far to the centre that it became indistinguishable from the Tories. If ever there was a ‘one party state’ it was that which emerged under his strategic supervision and something Corbyn is now trying to repair.

Whether it is May or the Blairites, we are suffering the consequences of the takeover of our state by stealth from the Neoliberal forces that have crept up on all of us. The financiers have taken control and their threats are still ringing in our ears from their bullyboy tactics to protect dominant financial agendas during the referendum. They have become even more confident in exerting their will over political power and the democratic process by the strategic application of debt and monetary control.

The unrest in the world is because people sense their loss of power, of which the current Brussels run EU is very much a part. The President, Jean Paul Juncker, has said quite emphatically that “There can be no democratic choice against European Treaties”

It doesn’t get much clearer than that and in the end it leaves me in no uncertain terms I will have little or no say over how my life is run in future. Do the clowns in Brussels honestly believe that they, for the first time in our history as a species, can institute a framework of rules and regulations that meet the needs of 27 different countries and 500 million people without changes or adaptation?

Their arrogance suggests this is the case. I suspect however, that what is closer to the truth is that they are blindly implementing the dictates of their corporate lords and masters. That agenda includes not only political and financial control over Europe but also the introduction of military might that will then mirror the military/industrial complex money making machine that dominates America.

The Euro is a disaster, failing hopelessly to meet the needs of the differing financial requirements of those member states who opted in and is now crippling them one by one. Greece was the first victim of this incompetence and all the warning signs now point to Italy to bring the whole financial edifice to its knees.

‘Remain’ were right in their claims for closer ties with Europe but they cannot be achieved by trying to change Brussels. Renegotiation is not in their vocabulary. ‘Leave’ are wrong to distance themselves from Europe but the only way to change Brussels and its Neoliberal agenda, including TTIP, is to totally discredit the whole political establishment and rebuild a more democratic structure out of the ashes.

We must now re-empower Society by re-empowering political leaders who care about the people and will get their full support in bringing about meaningful change of the sort I outlined in my last piece, which sadly went down like a lead balloon but won’t shut me up!

Indira Ghandi best summed it up: “You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Until the next time

 

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

Wanted UK: New Leader/Party/Vision

With the aggression intensifying by the financiers, it becomes more obvious to me what an unpleasant world Neoliberalism has birthed. Manipulated markets are wiping trillions of global stocks and European banks are collectively on the verge of collapse, if some have not already done so. It appears nobody is safe and democracy is now being blown out of the water. This is what it must have seemed like in those dark days before the outbreak of WWII.

If this is the case, I would sooner go down fighting than give in to a repressive regime that cares little about the quality of life of the average man and woman. I will therefore continue from yesterday’s piece

 

If the statistics are to be believed, we have not only an ‘Exit/Remain’ split across this country but also a subdivision in age, with the young favouring ‘Remain’ over the older generation. This is understandable, I believe, because the older generation have known a more caring and much freer Society than the one in which our young have grown up.

Politicians globally have lost touch with the people, showing they care little about those people and more about the corporations who finance them. This is the gap we now have to bridge. People want something to believe in that restores their dignity and a new sense of purpose that is not diminished by Neoliberal values of debt and control.

We are in need of what I would refer to as a ‘Mandela moment’. When this great man came to power, in a seriously divided South Africa, he sought a distraction with which to bring the people together and found it in football and the 1995 World Cup in South Africa.

The UK now needs a new leader with vision and I would suggest his ‘football match’ could be a party manifesto like no other. Something that addresses the fundamental problems of our Society today and which will provide not only a distraction from our separation from the EU but more importantly, a means by which to heal the wounds of our now divided Society, which is the legacy of both Westminster and Brussels.

We have a blank sheet on which to write the sort of country we want to live in and something we must act upon with total conviction. Such a manifesto might include the following bullet points that direct Society away from the destruction of Neoliberal values and towards a more inclusive and nurturing Society:

Reversal of ‘Austerity’ – ‘Austerity’ has only ever been a source of plunder from the poor to the rich and we must return our public utilities and transport infrastructure to the public domain. In so doing we could make inroads into current unemployment levels through government contracts, something that happened to relieve the depression of the 1930’s.

We must also look at how we might ‘charitise’, rather than ‘privatise’ our social services, by seeing how possible it would be to turn many services over to the charitable sector. Government support would obviously be forthcoming but support for the needy would be better served by less political interference in those services.

Banking – To follow the Swiss model, by introducing public banking services, to run in tandem with our private banks but which focus upon those areas the private banks show little interest in. This would include the financing of our homes and small to medium businesses, all of which are critical to the development, growth and functioning of our Society.

We already have an infrastructure in place with our Post Offices and the income from these banking activities would be returned to Society in the shape of funding our health and social services.

Virtual money is looming on the horizon and its development needs to be supervised by government, to iron out the flaws and working practices, before sharing it with the private sector.

Taxation – This whole aspect of Society is a relic from our past and does not reflect the world of today. To better protect our Planet and its dwindling resources we must look to taxing the use of those resources instead of the profits we make from them. This would also ensure corporations pay tax on what they use in this country, paid for in this country and thereby diminishing tax avoidance.

Housing and Pensions – I believe these two aspects of our lives are now interlinked in dramatically improving the overall quality of the lives of working men and women. They are not only fundamental in providing a home in which to bring up a family but also the means by which to ensure financial security and independence in retirement.

Homes must become affordable again to the young and this can only be achieved by changing their basis of valuation away from market prices to rebuilding costs. By gradually stabilising prices in this manner, the savings in mortgage costs can be diverted to fund personal pension provision. (It would also give a much needed boost to house building and the subsequent knock on effect to jobs.)

We are all living longer and the cost of pensions can only escalate if we continue to retire in our sixties. That has to be paid for and diverting income from overly expensive mortgages to pension provision, coupled with tax incentives, is beginning to address the provision of a greater security for all of Society.

(As an aside, with current central banking policies of negative interest rates, a pensions time bomb is now ticking away as pension providers struggle to find suitable balanced investments with which to fund secure and ongoing income to those already in retirement. Something our politicians and media are keeping very quiet about!)

Commerce and Trade – With no more Brussels ‘red tape’, government can move more quickly to address the areas that affect our future. The most pressing must be Artificial Intelligence and its effect in reducing jobs for humans in the workplace. Work gives purpose to our lives and these reductions will lead to serious unrest in future.

Britain’s great openness to trade has come from a successful history of exploration, innovation and exploitation. Today it specialises in high tech productivity sectors which include finance, high tech manufacturing and business services.

Innovation and quality have always been strong attributes of the British people and we have a whole new world of technology screaming out for those very talents, in an era when encryption will become a growth market with which to fight increasing personal surveillance.

We have the talent and must focus on how to create a more supportive environment for small businesses and individuals to flourish and grow, opening up a healthy environment in which to challenge the ‘Too Big to Fail’ corporations now choking Society.

Media – For too long the British people have been subjected to the propaganda of a mainstream press that are carrying out the agenda of the globally powerful. We must return these powerful influencing forces back to the nation, that we may better manage our Society from accurate reporting of the events occurring within it. We should therefore look to limit the financial involvement of overseas investment in our national media to 45%.

The BBC would not escape in this respect. Here, bringing balance to reporting might be achieved by opening a BBC ‘Indy’ channel which would provide for the independent news media to have a powerful public platform upon which to present their stories, with adequate controls on accuracy and inflammatory comment.

Democracy – Let us again adopt the Swiss model by handing power back to the people, with people driven referendums. We have the resources now to do this, as recent activity around the Referendum last week is witness to.

Increasingly, parliamentary power should be carefully devolved to County level, with local ‘Senates’ allowing local people to express and implement their influence in how local matters are run. Commercial ‘Senates’, comprising Employers, Employees and Consumers, the latter of whom contribute to the wages and products, breaking the traditional deadlock between Employer and Employee.

The Houses of Parliament have a part to play in making the break with the past, by being turned over to tourism as a ‘6’ Star hotel that charges the rich ludicrous amounts of money for the privilege and status of staying there.

This would help finance a new high tech Parliament building, relocated out of London, which would signal our MP’s coming closer to the people and end the confrontational design of our current parliament, which only supports a two party system.

Its design would not only enable equal discourse by all parties but facilitate people following live debates. Anyone could contribute to those debates through screens in the debating chamber, with their opinions expressed on ‘Twitter like’ messaging board, along with similar other technology that no longer makes lobbying purely the province of corporations.

Education – For too long the education of our future Society has been viewed as a profit centre and this abuse must stop. We should be investing in our young and preparing them to go out into the world that awaits them. Student debt must be replaced by a commitment to remain in this country for a period of years as repayment for that investment and preparation. Academy schools should also end, before they sell off every playing field in the country.

Conclusion: All that is covered here seeks to open up our Society and bring the talents of the many to bear on the problems we now face from the policies of vested interest, which have fuelled the widening gap between the haves and have nots.

It is but a thumb nail sketch of only some of the many issues Society now needs to consider if we are to call a halt to an autocratic rule that is seeking to return us to feudalism.

The issues of climate change, nuclear power, equality and so much more can only be dealt with once an infrastructure is in place that enables the contribution of all in the debate.

This is the opportunity I see our ‘Exit’ now offering us. To become an independent beacon of 21st century values that improve the quality of all our lives and provides a template for others to follow, if they so choose.

If there is a leader out there, might I suggest his or her new party be called the Carta Party, in recognition of the need now for freedom from oppression and a respects for the individual rights of all . . . but then I am biased!

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 Brits . . . From Zero to Heroes

Britain photo

Harold Wilson was attributed with the phrase “A week is a long time in politics” and never was this truer than the events of this last weekend, beginning with the official declaration of our vote to leave the EU, on Friday morning.

During that day it would be fair to say that the British people were fairly well castigated by the media and those in Brussels. Even the boss, Juncker, demanded our immediate departure and then went off in a strop when asked if this heralded the end of his empire.

We had created global panic which, viewed objectively, came down to the powerful suddenly losing control, as the British turned the tables and voted against that abusive control for the first time since Magna Carta.

Apparently our actions wiped two trillion dollars off global stocks. A frightening statistic, were it not for the fact that this is all ‘paper’ money, of no intrinsic value and glaring evidence of just how unstable our current, debt choked, financial system actually is. On the positive side, these losses go towards the rebalancing of wealth across the globe.

How our situation changed in just 36 hours, with a complete reversal of attitude by the most powerful man on the Planet, Barak Obama. If you remember, in April he came over here and remonstrated with us by declaring:

We must go “to the back of the queue” and would not be able to strike a trade deal with America “any time soon” if it leaves the European Union.

And now, less than two months later:

“The people of the United Kingdom have spoken, and we respect their decision. The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is enduring, and the United Kingdom’s membership in NATO remains a vital cornerstone of U.S. foreign, security, and economic policy.” The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world.”

Vice President Joe Biden also piped up with: “I must say we had looked for a different outcome. We would have preferred a different outcome … but the United States has a long-standing friendship with the United Kingdom and that very special bond will endure.”

This was then followed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who echoed the sentiment from President Obama.

He said: “The UK and the EU are important strategic partners for Canada with whom we enjoy deep historical ties and common values.

“We will continue to build relations with both parties as they forge a new relationship.

Next we have Germany who, according to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, reported an internal leaked document that stated the German finance ministry is already planning the terms of a possible associate membership for Britain.

(Of course they are, we are one of their largest export markets! Also, we are one of the major contributors to the EU and they want us to keep contributing as long as possible, as they will have to find an extra €3 billion to replace this when we leave!)

The World Trade Organisation also jumped on the bandwagon, saying it was prepared to help Britain after the vote to leave the bloc.

In general, former British colonies often feel they have a special opportunity for trade and investment with the UK, with which EU commitments sometimes interfered. They now hope to step in to fill the vacuum left by UK departure from the EU.

The oil-rich Gulf Cooperation countries may see additional buying opportunities in the British market after Brexit. BBC Monitoring reports.

The British people have called the bluff of the biggest global Neoliberal player and their European stooges and won. (Even our own armed forces were voting to leave because they had no intention of fighting in wars created by American foreign policy.)

Scary as it is at this moment we remain a world player and very much a part of the global trading club who, it appears, can neither afford, nor do they wish to lose us.

Support is coming thick and fast from other directions, with 6 member states now looking to follow our lead, as France, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Finland and Hungary want to hold referendums. And let’s not forget Germany, where electors are already screaming about Markel’s handling of immigration and who will now have to find this extra €3 billion in EU contributions when we go.

These are not peripheral players but lynchpins of the EU and demonstrate the true strength of feeling in Europe now. Speaking personally, all I ever wanted to achieve in voting ‘Leave’ was not to break with our European friends and colleagues but rather to break the power of Brussels and it may now be that this is happening.

Could the situation be turned around?

In my opinion, if Juncker went on global media and said “he was very, very, very, very, very, very (six will do) sorry, and they have got it all wrong. They will immediately cancel all negotiations about TTIP, abolish the European Commission, Central Bank and Court of Justice, along with the euro and transfer ALL executive powers to the European Parliament” and then publicly prostrated himself on the ground in abject humility, then there might be a basis upon which to start again and rebuild the EU . . . but I’m not holding my breath.

All of this, however, pales into insignificance compared with what now faces the British people at home. We have a seriously divided country and the political establishment responsible for that abuse is in total disarray.

Never was the wisdom of Albert Einstein more apposite than now, where “the thinking that created the problem is totally incapable of solving it”. Over the last three months we have seen career politicians of all sides lying, cheating and conducting themselves in such an unprofessional manner as to lose any remaining respect the British people might have had for the political establishment.

Whilst these antics have got a result, it has been achieved without a full and frank discussion with the people but rather sound bites and point scoring on emotive issues. They have been happy to divide us with not a thought or concern as to how they might re-unite us afterwards. Now we find ourselves in a situation where the point scoring and sound bites continue, as a power grab takes place with the main parties.

This is politics you might say but what thoroughly nauseates me is that ALL concerned have no idea where to go from here, even if they get the power, as none of them have even a soupcon of a vision for our future.

Whilst Boris is no fool and I love his eccentricity, so typical of the British and now in short supply in a PC world, I would not trust him further than I could throw the Houses of Parliament and the same goes for his mate Gove.

Jeremy Corbyn is one of the very few political leaders, here and abroad, whom I would trust but he does not inspire me and his lacklustre performance over the Referendum is now paying the price, although God forbid the Blairites come back to power.

(In both cases, we should not allow the undemocratic actions of Blair and Brown to be repeated again. Each party may choose a new leader but they must then satisfy the country of their intentions. Will he or she continue the manifesto of their predecessor, or will they take us off in another direction? We must be made aware through a general election, so that the new leader has the continued support of the country, or we decide to place it elsewhere . . . that is accountability and democracy all wrapped up in one!)

Then there is Nigel Farage, who I saw described “with the smile of a ventriloquist’s dummy” and who speaks to our ‘Britishness’ but who again lacks any vision for the future.

In Scotland we have Nicola Sturgeon promoting all of the divisive tactics of her English counterparts by making a play for Scottish independence. Let me quickly say that she has my absolute respect in triumphing in a man’s world. However, she is also using the moment to further her own power, by taking the Scottish people away from the 5th largest economy in the world and into an EU that is now collapsing around her ears.

The people of Britain have just made the biggest decision of their lives and have been left in limbo whilst career politicians frighten us with desperate grabs for power and no idea of what they will do with that power to take the country forward into the future.

What I see in all of this is ‘17th century’ politicians playing ‘17th century’ politics in the 21st century. The whole question of democracy, financial systems, taxation, the environment and so much more, remains as abusive as is was several hundred years ago and has not only divided this wonderful country but will take us to our own destruction if we do not radically change our present Society and its values.

What is lost in all the fearmongering and cheap rhetoric is that we now have a blank sheet upon which to build a new and inclusive Society. On the 23rd of June we proved conclusively, to ourselves and the world, that we do not want to return to the Neoliberal values and political creeds that dominated us up until 22nd June 2016.

We now have the opportunity to rebuild our wonderful country with meaningful values that revoke all that is divisive and abusive and show the world a new model of what a supportive and fully involved Society is capable of. We are not an outcast in the world and could hopefully be an inspiration to others, as we already appear to be a rallying point for our friends in Europe.

We owe it to ourselves and our young to strike out, as mistresses and masters of our own destiny, to find a more supportive Societal model that can only come from adopting a longer term outlook in the policies and practices we implement.

It won’t be easy and can only begin by looking to our most important responsibility at this time. It is certainly not our exit procedure from Brussels, that is political formality, but to concentrating every fibre of our individual and collective being into healing the current rift that has been inflicted upon us by career politicians, both here and in Brussels. Even more so with the call for a fresh Referendum seeking a different outcome to the last.

We must promise ourselves that ‘divide and conquer to rule’ is something we will no longer tolerate as 21st century citizens and look to birthing a new Society that benefits those who pay for it, over those who exploit it. At home this means our English government bringing people back together again, whilst competing with Edinburgh to create a Society that will entice our Scottish friends back into the fold in an equal sharing union.

Whilst I am sure I have stirred up some controversy, I would ask you to reserve judgement until you have read my follow up piece tomorrow, which will give you the full picture of what I am driving at.

Until the next time

 

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

Is Our Referendum Rigged!

Well the great day is nearly upon us and 36 hours later we will know what decision the British people have arrived at . . . or will we?

Whilst the democratic track record of the EU was good in the early days of the Common Market, some would say, it has since become increasingly questionable. I would venture that 40 years on and it has now deteriorated to a point where it is virtually non-existent!

In 1973 the then Prime Minister, Ted Heath, signed us up to membership of the Common Market on the message that ‘closer ties with Europe could only benefit trade’. The year before, Ireland and Denmark had joined but Norway decided not to. Then, there was no fuss but a simple acceptance of the democratic decision of the people.

During those days, support for the Common Market was good, with good connectivity by voters demonstrated in high turnouts ranging from 65% to 87.6% (The latter was Sweden against the Euro). The exception was Greenland who, having joined in 1973, 6 years later rejected membership and in 1984 the country left the communities.

Since those days, we now know that Heath was ‘economical with the truth’ in what he told us about the simple “trading association” with the other members, in the certain knowledge that much wider control was on the agenda with Brussels.

Voter turnout has declined over the years, substantially with some countries like Italy which in 1979 stood at 86.5% and in 2014 managed just 57.2%. All members, new and old have followed a similar pattern of falling turnouts, with the exception of the UK whose (already low) numbers grew slightly from 32.35% to 35.60% over the same timeframe. (Source UK Political Info)

It was not in Europe but in America that the whole process by which democracy functions in this 21st century has been brought into question. We are talking here the re-election of George W Bush in 2004, by a very narrow margin over his opponent John Kerry.

Whilst at the time Kerry played with a straight bat and conceded the election to Bush, a year later the powerful and non-partisan Government Accountability Office confirmed the then ‘conspiracy theories’ that Bush had no right to be in the White House.

Voter fraud had occurred in a number of areas of the process and included mal-functioning voting machines, individual votes were altered to support another candidate and the falsification of election results by uncertified voting system software. The whole event received no mainstream media coverage whatsoever.

What is particularly worrying for me is that the same team that manipulated Bush into power have since been used by our Tory party and may well be behind the dubious results of last year’s election, where just 24% of the electorate provided a majority government which, on those numbers, is not representative of the people over whom they hold sway.

If we now move into Europe, we have had wholesale abuse of the referendum aspects of the EU treaties by Brussels, initially demonstrated by two ‘no’ votes by Ireland to (2002) Nice and (2009) Lisbon Treaty ratification.

These negative votes threatened their required unanimous membership adoptions and went to second referendums to get the results Brussels was seeking. Whilst not fraud in the true sense of the word, after 30 years, pressure was now being put on member states to comply with Brussels dictates.

If we now move on to 2011 we have the first Greek referendum, which asked the Greek people to accept the terms of the Troika for a haircut of debt. This was in direct opposition to what the Troika wanted and Prime Minister George Papandreou acceded to their request by withdrawing the referendum and subsequently resigned.

Just 4 years later and the newly elected Syriza government flew in the face of Troika demands and actually held a referendum for the people to decide on accepting, or not, the bailout terms requiring more ‘austerity’ measures. The people overwhelmingly chose not to accept the terms and this wholly legitimate act of democracy was simply ignored by the lenders, as well as the European Commission.

That all three members of the Troika were themselves unelected, points to their contempt for this democratic process and their application of even more onerous terms upon the new government and its people as a punishment.

In 2016 an unelected European Commission announced it was ignoring the two thirds Dutch majority vote and would be railroading through visa free travel to 45 million Ukrainians.

Brussels has also recently ignored another respected democratic process, when over a million people signed a petition to halt the odious TTIP trade agreement. With the pending referendum, Brussels has not sought favour with the electorate over this issue, by discussing it or even mooting possible amendments. Rather it has simply gone very quiet, suggesting that once the referendum is over negotiations will be resumed with added vigour and continued contempt for the wishes of the people.

More and more political commentators are voicing the opinion that the EU is teetering on the brink of both financial and political collapse because of incompetence and arrogance. America has much to lose if the EU fails, in both trading terms but more importantly as a strategic base for its growing stance against Russia and China.

I also think it significant that Switzerland has, this week, withdrawn its dormant 1992 EU application as, according to one headline, ‘only a “few lunatics” now want to be involved in the bloc’!

Hannes Germann of the Swiss People’s Party compared the symbolic nature of the vote to Iceland’s decision to drop its own application in 2015. “Iceland had the courage to withdraw their application for membership and no volcano erupted,” he joked. Was this directed at the British people . . . who knows but the timing must be significant, in my opinion.

Given the considerable pressure now being placed upon the British people to vote ‘Remain’ by no less than the US President, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Managing Director of the IMF, none of whom have been elected by us and none of whom are British citizens, it is does not take rocket science to work out that a lot is at stake for their particular vested interests.

Given also the narrowness of the vote between ‘Remain’ and ‘Leave’, just like that of the Bush re-election, let us hope that, in the event of a win for ‘Remain’ we do not hear in a years’ time from our own Electoral Commission that it did not represent the will of the people. Let us also hope that we are not too taken into an illegal war by people we have not elected to power.

We have already given away a lot of our sovereign power to Brussels as an act of trust and I question tonight whether that trust has been honestly repaid over the last four decades.

Whatever the outcome, we will have to take responsibility for our individual actions and therefore can only vote with our conscience, whether it be to ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ and I offer you my respect for what we are all facing at this 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

EU . . . The 51st State

As we know, when Churchill sought America’s help in the last World War, Roosevelt agreed to come in on the understanding that after it was all over American corporations would have unrestricted access to Britain.

Churchill agreed and slowly we have seen the replacement of British standards with American Neoliberalism. This has taken the shape of unrestricted credit, the quality of our lives assessed by financial yardsticks, the privatisation of social services and the gradual erosion of sovereignty, including an unrelenting smear campaign against our monarchy which, in some quarters is succeeding.

I have witnessed this over my lifetime but never before realised that this invasion of our way of living was also being carried out across Europe. Fast food, obesity and the destruction of the middle classes has been occurring in America and now being replicated across Europe.

With the advent of whistleblowers it is clear that there has been a concerted effort to ‘merge’ Europe within a growing global Neoliberal state. The days of ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ are fast disappearing as we awake to the global forces at work in our lives today.

We are gradually progressing from a ‘trading partnership’ to a political and economic union that will result eventually in a Federal States of Europe, with its own military/industrial complex, also mirroring America.

This complex, we know, is a vital part of the American economy and responsible for vast employment as well as profit. It costs serious money to kit out the armed forces and the destruction they cause then costs serious money to rebuild. A simple but very effective formula for profit . . . if you ignore the elephantine loss of human life involved.

The US has waged non-stop war since the last world war and in now setting its sights on Russia and China, as it uses its influence and resources to place a military ring around both countries, as well as from the edges of space.

Obviously Europe is important to the US in its ongoing battle with Russia and China for global supremacy and strategically critical in the same way that the island of Malta was to the Allies in the last war.

It is for all of these reasons we have seen an acceleration in the development of the EU over the last decade or so, with the introduction of the single currency and then the Lisbon Treaty bringing about political unification. Now Brussels is seeking the establishment of an EU army and I sense this is only a year or two away at the most, as tension with Russia and China escalates.

When the idea was first muted, at the end of WWII, for a united Europe the reason given was to ensure that there would be no more wars within the continent. A reasonable presumption which was then veiled in a political mist publicly touted as the aforesaid ‘trading partnership’.

If the slow and steady ‘organic’ development of Europe had been allowed to continue, I have no doubt that the introduction of the Euro, political unification and even the eventual introduction of a European army would have been accepted with a minimum of fuss by the people. Here I am talking the next 50 or 100 years, not in less than the last 20 years, which is the reality.

What has caused this sudden escalation in the consolidation of power in Europe over its nation states? I am now convinced the emerging power of the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is happening faster than was originally anticipated.

China’s rise in economic power has been meteoric and is a serious threat to US global dominance. To me there is a correlation between these events and the escalation of the power grab in Europe in recent years. US financial interests cannot afford Europe the luxury of independence, which would make it a powerful player on the world scene, with the ability to ‘play’ America, Russia and China.

American foreign policy is running scared and hence the cascade of threats and insinuations by both the political and financial elite upon the British people. The global financial system is in a precarious state and the introduction of a competing system by China, aided and abetted by Russia and backed by gold, along with the restlessness of the people at the status quo in Europe is forcing America’s hand.

Europe needs to be neatly tucked under the US wing and solely accountable to the Pentagon, as are the American people. Taking sovereign power away from nation states is the way to achieve this and is not original thinking. It was this very move in 1933, with the ‘Enabling Act’, that gave Hitler absolute power over the German people . . . and looked what then followed!

To support this power grab, we have seen stagnating wages for over 20 years now, which only the rich have benefitted from and the neutering of worker power to weaken any resistance to the Neoliberal agenda.

Look at what is happening in France as I write with the personal intervention of Brussels senior player Juncker, to support the further neutering of worker rights there. This will not change and can only intensify if Brussels is allowed to consolidate its power base.

Left alone the people get on fine together and could build a unity of purpose that would be both powerful and gratifying to all. Accountable politics, re-introduction of democracy and minimal regulation to free up cross border trade and the encouragement of the growth of small businesses, are but a starting point.

We have this one opportunity to break the authoritarian fist that is now tightening around us, or it will eventually result in bloody revolution and the loss of millions of lives, which could be avoided by simply putting the cross in the appropriate box on Thursday, if you haven’t already done so.

I love my country and I love Europe. I want neither to become the 51st State of America.

 

Until the next time

 

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

EU Cart Before The Horse

Regulation photo

History shows that ever since we first roamed this Planet the laws and customs by which we live and interact evolve in line with the current state of Society. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines ‘law’ as:

“a rule or system of rules recognised by a country or community as regulating the actions of its members and enforced by the imposition of penalties”.

This recognises that the laws of different communities and races, colours and creeds reflect the prevalent socio-political norms of each particular Society. The laws of developing countries will be different to those of Western democracy, reflecting the level of how ‘developed’ each culture is.

Whilst the history of law-making dates way back to the 21st century BC, the oldest written laws on record were those of the Babylonian king Hammurabi in the 18th century BC, who created 282 laws that set the standard of conduct and justice for his empire of ancient Mesopotamia. The essence of these laws sought:

”to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak and to see that justice is done to widows and orphans.”

Even that far back they included the establishment of a minimum wage for workers. Field labourers and herdsmen were guaranteed a wage of “eight gur of corn per year” and ox drivers and sailors received six.

Society’s laws are often derived from religious beliefs, as well as civic procedure, some of which have remained in force right up to the present day. The doctrine of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ was not instigated by Magna Carta but rather copied from Hammurabi’s ancient dictates.

I would offer therefore, that Society, (‘the cart’), is directed by democracy, (‘the reins’), which steer government, (‘the horse’) and its regulations, in the direction Society is travelling.

All legislation is introduced, amended, or discontinued to reflect the current climate of Society and its needs. The law that required a man to walk in front of a motor car with a red flag to safeguard pedestrians, is no longer relevant.

200 years later and we see the enactment of legislation to ban smoking from public places, in recognition of our change of direction on cigarettes and how they endanger our lives. This is evidence of a properly functioning Society

The reverse is the case in an authoritarian regime.

Here rules and regulation are enacted to control how that Society functions, rather than reflect how it functions. By the very nature of an authoritarian environment, those rules are also inflexible, to maintain that control.

The ‘cart’ is put very much before the ‘horse’, who is pushing Society in the desired direction. Invariably, the regulations are biased to support one sector of Society at a cost to another sector.

In the case of the EU we have, for example, small businesses overwhelmed by bureaucratic red tape, which large established corporations can afford to accommodate. This has the effect of stifling the growth of new businesses, the accepted life blood of commerce and trade, encouraging a protectionist monopoly situation which supports the control of markets and prices.

Authoritarian control can also be seen in the Treaties that support the bureaucracy of Brussels, which are ‘welded’ onto the statute books in such a way as to inhibit any changes to the desired status quo.

Over the last 40 years EU Treaty change has occurred about once every 10 years on average and shows a regulatory inflexibility that is ill equipped, or desirous, of meeting the requirements of the hugely diverse cultures of the 500 million people over which it holds sway.

One simple example, right at the heart of this rigid bureaucracy, illustrates how these carefully constructed Treaties support an abusive authority and offer little or no benefit to anyone else.

For years now, each month the European Parliament, (that is all 751 MEP’s, some of their staff and all their paperwork) up sticks from Brussels and travel 200 miles to Strasbourg where they spend four days voting on all they have talked about in Brussels.

Currently, we are talking 3000 people being transported by two specially chartered trains for the MEP’s – dubbed the Euro Track Express – with their staff, translators and general helpers travelling by other means. This is all backed up by a fleet of lorries that, in convoy, transport 5000 plastic trunks full of official papers over the 200-mile journey and back again.

The annual cost to the taxpayer of this regular spectacle is £150 million, which includes the upkeep of both bases. Within this figure is £2.5 million for the relocation of freelance translators, £1 million for catering, £250,000 for the lorries and £200,000 for the trains.

The absurdity of this monthly relocation is recognised by everyone involved. Indeed, the MEP’s have constantly lobbied for it to be stopped but it has fallen on deaf ears. It seems it would take a ‘Treaty change’ to remedy the matter but after the troubled ratification of the Lisbon Treaty there is little stomach to go through the arduous process at present.

I question this, as in 2010, Angela Merkel declared there could be no Treaty change on ‘bailouts’ and in that same year EU leaders agreed to a €440 billion bailout fund . . . over a weekend! It appears that what is ‘impossible’ can be quickly overcome, particularly where the EU’s second largest economy is at stake.

In an era when we have deregulation of commerce and the banks and zero hours’ contracts for the working population, this type of immovable regulation is directed at the protection of power, emphasising the vast gap between what the 1% control and that which the majority control.

These ‘concrete’ treaties, for the protection of the technocrats and their growing federation/empire, do nothing “to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak”, whose taxes pay for it all.

Here we see how the cart has been put before the horse. History shows how this contempt for the people eventually results in the fall of all empires, including Rome and Ancient Greece.

Once again, in this 21st century, we are plagued by the power driven ineptitude of career politicians and technocrat’s intent upon a self-destruction that they believe they are immune from.

Whether we remain or leave, it is something that will come up on our radar with evermore regularity, demanding we retake the reins and direct our cart away from the looming abyss.

Until the next time

 

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

Referendum . . . Blah! Blah! Blah!

We had my partner’s grandchildren over at the weekend and like any 8 and 14 year olds they played together and squabbled. At one point I overheard them jousting for the dominant position by calling each other liars repeatedly and giggling whilst they did it.

How different this picture of kids doing what healthy kids do the world over and the same actions coming from people a lot older and supposedly more mature, who are responsible for running our country . . . and some for running the world.

If you Google ‘Cameron lies’ you will produce some 558,000 results, something even the cynic inside me was not expecting. Lies about his father’s offshore funds, lies from last year’s electioneering, lies about the current EU Referendum campaign . . . the list just goes on and on. He’s not alone in this BUT he is our ‘Prime’ Minister.

Then we hear from that august body The Institute of Fiscal Studies that, among other claims about Brexit, the figure of £350 million, which the EU costs Britain each week, is in fact a whole lot lower . . . at just £150 million, when all factors and rebates are taken into account. It also claims that leaving the EU could result in a budget deficit of between £20 and £40 billion higher than if we remain.

Whilst this body is held in great respect and its findings focus on the effects on the Public Purse if we leave, it must also be taken into account that it receives the vast majority of its funding from the UK government, although the EU’s contribution has doubled since 2009 up to 2014.

Given the manner in which our very own Treasury has weighed into battle on behalf of the government, the credibility, timing and content of prognostications by our Civil Service and related bodies become questionable.

I am not arguing here for either side, or the merits of one set of statistics over another. What gives me far greater cause for concern is the obvious contempt with which the public at large are held by those whose salaries we pay.

Not only is there lack of integrity and respect but a serious naivety, by those in power, who seem to be applying outmoded techniques of propaganda in an age where understanding by the public (their target) is undergoing a thorough re-education.

The internet has opened up the Pandora’s box of operational techniques by which the establishment have controlled us over the eons and it is now being shown up to be crude and incapable of withstanding our new technological environment.

In spite of this, over the years, the global rich and powerful continue to blindly try and hoodwink us. Nowhere was this more blatant than with the re-election of George W Bush in 2004 when, upon a recount, he was re-elected to office by a narrow majority. We now hear that the UK Referendum could also produce a similar narrow majority, in the same vein as the Tory’s election win last year.

Time ratified the accusations of rigging in the case of the Bush re-election and no doubt time will also pronounce on the current uncertainty in the UK, as the same people who helped Bush have also been helping the Tories for a while now.

Modern technology is constantly lifting the veil and raises a far bigger question in my mind which, similar to climate change, could be devastating for all of us and will certainly not go away.

It is the mind-set of our leaders, who either have not caught up with our growing awareness of their crude skulduggery or, worse still don’t care, as they have the armed forces, the police and riot squads to call on if they come unstuck.

Whatever is going on in their collective heads, they certainly have not taken on board the fact that our eyes are being opened and life can never be the same again. Before, we would blindly accept what were told but now new resources are opening up to ‘fact check’ whatever is reported or said.

Armed with the truth about lies and deceit, credibility and support go out the window. As the late Robert Maxwell was reported to have said “The truth is like virginity. Once lost it can never be recovered”. Something Tony Blair has first-hand experience of.

What I am aware of now are the early rumblings for an entirely new leadership that has integrity and honesty. As a species we need to believe in something, it is how we live our lives and the powerful know this. In the past they have manipulated this human characteristic for their own benefit but the ball game is changing.

I, for one, am not convinced by any of the current leaders that they actually have the vision and determination to confront the destructive values of Neoliberalism, the destructive forces of Climate Change, or the self-destructive creed of Consumerism. But my mind remains open.

My cynicism comes with the EU Referendum. I find it symptomatic of a cancerous culture at work that has no compunction about distorting the truth, with no apparent boundaries, in its lust for power and greed. At the heart of this culture is the ‘Career’ politician, who cares little for what he or she is voting for and who, it is reported, spends 80% of their working day seeking financial and other support to retain their power.

They are a part of the present party system, which they have evolved to maintain power. It is this visionless and comfortable mind-set that has created all of the problems we face today and is now supporting the transfer of power from the people to the corporate world, with odious trade agreements such as TTIP.

Whether it is the US, EU, UK, Australia or elsewhere, distrust of politicians is endemic.

It therefore follows that people of integrity will quickly be recognised and stand out from the crowd. I would also venture that it is only with people like this that our trust can be rebuilt into a powerful democracy, through the transparency of their honesty and a vision of a future that is at odds with current short termism and only supports profit.

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 Age of Snowden

“WHEN YOU FIRST go on duty at CIA headquarters, you raise your hand and swear an oath — not to government, not to the agency, not to secrecy. You swear an oath to the Constitution. So there’s this friction, this emerging contest between the obligations and values that the government asks you to uphold, and the actual activities that you’re asked to participate in”.

(Extract from a recent article by Edward Snowden – The full article is available here )

It becomes blatantly clear from this insight into the previous world of Edward Snowden what values he operates from and how those values provided the conflict of interest he tussled with before making his world shattering revelations.

His first loyalty, at the behest of his employers, was to the American Constitution. This mighty document was conceived and implemented by the Founding Fathers, to give their new country and its people a set of values to live by. Over the centuries, this document has been amended, in line with the evolution of the country, to ensure its values reflect changes to Society.

You could almost say that the Constitution is ‘America set in stone’. It was obviously seen this way by the security services who employed Snowden, because they demanded his oath of allegiance to those values, not them or the current government.

Therefore, this places Snowden and his work above his employers and his government, to ensure abuse of the Constitution, by the greedy and powerful, can be recognised and dealt with.

If you read the above article you will see that his employers were aware of abuses to the people by the powerful and how the system to deal with such abuses was simply ignored. In the end Snowden had no option than to ‘go public’ with his fears and concerns and the rest is history.

What interests me in all of this is that element of human nature, which is in all of us at varying levels and pushed him finally to do what he did, knowing full well the consequences of his actions included possible lifetime incarceration or death.

Deep within all of us is a sense of right and wrong. It can’t be defined and is not set out in any statutes. Whilst religious teachings give guidelines, our sense of right and wrong can vary from one person to the next and is often the source of conflict, particularly where politics is involved.

Whatever these differences there is one common denominator that triggers this human reaction and that is dishonesty that leads to distrust.

Unjust behaviour can manifest in discrimination, political deviance or corporate abuse. In Snowden’s case it was the unjust nature of the use of surveillance upon the public at large, accepted as normal by his employers, in spite of violating the Constitution they had all sworn allegiance to.

As a species we can only function at our best if our perception of the truth is not violated. That perception may come from false information and propaganda that supports vested interest but until that vested interest is made public we are happy to go along with what we are told.

However, when that trust is violated, as was the case with what Snowden revealed, the credibility of those in charge is destroyed. There is no doubt that, with our newfound technology, we have entered a new age where our perception of the truth is changing dramatically, as secrets of centuries are now coming to light and reshaping Society . . . A Snowden Age.

As our traditional institutions become less credible and are seen for the manipulative bodies they have always been, so our scepticism evolves new services to meet the demand for truth. We are all aware of WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning and many others who have been motivated by right over wrong and how the establishment has reacted with outrage and suppression, not only to subdue the perpetrators but also to try and frighten off further acts of this nature.

Sadly, our leaders have not recognised what they are dealing with, because they are bereft of it themselves. We are talking here about integrity, which has vanished from the face of global leadership and which many would laugh at, unable to see how critical it is to how we live our lives.

Honesty is the only means by which to build anything lasting, be it government, commerce or personal friendships. Trust is implicit in all of these human interactions and when it is ignored or flouted there is a breaking down of the status quo.

I believe we are now seeing a breaking down of our global institutions from the disclosures of whistleblowers like Snowden, as we become more aware of how they operate. They cannot survive with such distrust, although they are blindly trying to bluff their way through their constant abuses by secrecy, manipulation of the media and anything else that might support their cause.

Nowhere is this now more evident than in the UK with the forthcoming Referendum and is responsible for new services springing up designed to get at the truth:

Full Fact  whose purpose they state as Factchecking isn’t just about writing articles. It’s also about correcting misinformation, and stopping it from spreading in public debate.

The BBC has also jumped on the bandwagon with its new service, ‘Reality Check

Their need becomes obvious today, if this – one of many – recent whistleblower reports, is anything to go by.

(David Cameron’s former director of strategy recently accused the Treasury of “making up numbers” for its dossier alleging economic disaster if Britain leaves the EU. Steve Hilton said they were “phoney figures” and were cooked up with the Treasury in the same way as the Tories’ famous 1992 campaign that claimed a Labour Tax Bombshell would cost every family £1,250 more.)

That democracy has come to such a low ebb is a sure sign of the growing decadence of Society, something repeated throughout history.

As a further sign of how lost meaningful values have now become The New York Times reported that:

‘Nobel Peace Prize Winning President Obama Has Been At War Longer Than Any Other American President’, (approving $200 Billion in Arms Deals Since 2009 when he received the prize).

When that prestigious prize is taken away from Obama and given to Edward Snowden I think we will be headed towards a meaningful world where integrity is at long last being valued.

And let’s be honest my friends, it is the only means by which we can deal with the challenges we now face for our very survival.

Until the next time

 

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