Tag Archives: EU

‘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

Rescue Europe from Brussels

We’ve got the American elections on 8th November this year, the French presidential elections in April and May next year, followed by the German federal elections between August and October. The UK elections aren’t until 2020, if there isn’t a revolt beforehand!

Talking of revolt, can you imagine what the reactions would be if the electorate at each of these events were told by their political leaders: “OK you can vote for me and stay here OR you can vote against me and get out.”

The sense of outrage would be overwhelming and rightly so. Why the hell should we have to leave the country because we don’t like the way they are running things? After all it is us who are paying for it . . . including their salaries and considerable expenses. For this commitment from us we are singularly entitled to a say in how things are run and what sort of future we are looking for.

When accountability is ignored we have demonstrable proof of abuse of power, brought about by a whittling down of the democratic process.

We acknowledge this human fallibility with power in some parts of the world. In countries like the US and France, there is a constitutional limitation of just two terms on how long any one president can serve, no matter how popular or unpopular that person may be.  This statute of limitations is a reassurance against the abuse of power.

In the UK, who doesn’t have this limitation, we have seen a ‘natural’ break, where the incumbent just runs out of credibility because of abuse of power – as was the case with Margaret Thatcher (three terms), Tony Blair (2 ½ terms) and Cameron (who knows he won’t make a third term).

With only a very few exceptions, political parties/leaders seem to have an ‘inbuilt lifespan’ over which they can exercise power before the people grow weary of them and demand change. Perhaps it should be legislated for, although abuse of power is now rampant whatever the supposed safeguards.

So, given that brief resume of Democracy, why is it the British people are taking part in an ‘election’, to ratify the power of the officials running the EU, under the guise of a ‘Referendum’?

Referendum: Submission of an issue of public importance to the direct vote of the electorate. (The Free Dictionary by Farlex)

‘Vote’ is the operative word here and signifies support, or not, for those running the establishment, however that is structured. We support a party’s manifesto, in an election, with our vote and that is now what is being asked with this Referendum . . . but does it have the same credibility?!

Consider the facts.

  1. An election ‘Referendum’ has been called because there is unrest, now evidenced across Europe and a vote of confidence is therefore sought by those running things (Brussels).
  2. There are no alternative parties to vote for, so the only option is Brussels.
  3. There is no limitation on the length of service for the body that actually runs it all – The European Commission – so an ‘In’ vote has them running things for eternity.
  4. The members of this council form no part of the democratic process by which this election ’Referendum’ has been called, because they have not been elected by the very people now being asked to give them a vote of confidence. Nor do they have a manifesto which gives them some credibility . . . they are essentially seeking unconditional support.

Is it me or is this ‘Democracy for beginners’?

How can we possibly give a vote of confidence to a body, who won’t tell us what they are up to (TTIP), we had no hand in putting into power and cannot throw out either? That is why we are being forced to vote on a ‘Referendum’ and not in an Election . . . because there are no alternatives to Brussels . . . We have no choice!

Brussels must be having a good laugh, because a lot of people are taking this all very seriously. To be fair, it is incredibly serious in highlighting just how distorted our Democracy has become in the running of the European Union.

Political distortions seem to be Brussels forte, if we look at its track record, which has been one of constant regulation. Indeed, it latest efforts beggar belief when countries like Spain and Italy are about to be fined for not getting their GDP in order. Forget that they are struggling with the distorted financial (ECB) policies of Brussels in the first place.

Greece (the biggest distortion of the lot), is being regulated out of existence through debt that should have kept it from membership in the first place.

Then we have six countries who were recently hauled over the coals for not implementing Brussels induced legislation, that forced ‘bail ins’ of the banks (by their customers) to protect the banks when the next financial collapse occurs.

Here’s the distortion. With regulation also their forte, why has there been a deafening silence from Brussels on responsible regulation of those same banks to minimise a collapse from happening again? Perhaps they are now setting up the patsy’s instruments to pay for it all, because they know it will happen again.

Brussels regimentation of its 28 member countries, by endless biased rules and bureaucratic gobbledegook, seems the best it can come up with to ‘manage’ this European Union but is not working. In over 60 years it has built little that is having a positive effect upon unification.

Quite the reverse. This regimentation has now become so acute that Europe is breaking down because of gross mismanagement and a dwindling democracy, as people become demotivated through lack of involvement – whilst still having to pay for it all.

Europe could be a wondrous place, unified in a common sense of purpose, with a properly functioning democracy. Instead it is a political and corporate playing field, where the only injuries are experienced by the spectators, the 99%. This includes long term youth unemployment and immigration, whilst the rich and powerful play havoc with the essential myriad of values that hold Society in place to enrich their own pockets.

Europe needs rescuing from the clutches of the Neoliberal machinery that is currently Brussels. ‘Remaining’ to sort out the mess won’t work because Brussels (boosted by ‘Remain’) won’t give up its power, aided and abetted by the financiers who exert overall control, as they have done since inauguration.

Breaking that power is the only solution and if Britain doesn’t rescue Europe on 23rd June another country will, as the current model is unsustainable.

Until the next time

 

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

Obama Visit . . . Some Afterthoughts

obama photo

I started off my last piece by stating how ashamed I was at being British these days. That our Prime Minister has found it necessary to beg for the assistance of the American President (amongst others) to argue his case for remaining in the EU, because he now has no credibility whatsoever with his own people, is humiliating in the extreme.

Brussels too, is losing credibility with the British people (and the Europeans for that matter) and hence unelected technocrats begging him to come over and argue their corner as well.

So much for modern leadership and government!

Instead of inspiring speeches we were treated to subtle threats. I thought we had been told we had a ‘special relationship’ with the US. What would have happened if that did not exist . . . Oh wait a minute, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. Or maybe regime change, as is currently going on in Brazil. (Nearly happened in the UK after the CIA leaked the Panama Papers!)

Given this, I find myself questioning the credibility of the current leader of the birthplace of Neoliberalism, whose political agenda is evidenced in the country’s biggest debt mountain, achieved from the immorality of student loans. What is so reprehensible about this government sponsored lending is that a third of these youngsters cannot now repay those loans . . . we’re talking a trillion dollars of debt here!

Then we have the startling news this week that 1 in 5 US families have nobody working to put food on the table. Worse still the Federal Reserve has disclosed that 47% of all Americans would be unable to find just $400 without selling something, if an emergency occurred. The deadly result of Neoliberal policies that have exported so many US jobs abroad, whilst holding wages down to compete.

The US economy is in far worse shape than the media would have us believe, as corporate bankruptcies continue to escalate, caused by issuing trillions of dollars of debt to artificially hold up share prices in a huge Ponzi scheme that can only result in financial Armageddon.

Freedom of speech is also questionable in the US, as protestors, (it doesn’t matter where or what they are protesting), are commonly dealt with by violent police action or incarceration and sometimes fatality.

With these credentials, rather than being seduced into staying in the EU I feel we have been given “an offer we can’t refuse!” Much has been reported about us “getting to the back of the queue” for trade deals. If TTIP is the deal, we already know what our answer is. (Both Obama and Merkel say the pact will provide a shot in the arm to Western economies . . . how would we know, it’s so secret . . . more like another “offer we can’t refuse”!)

I don’t know about you but I feel we are being treated just like the people of Greece. Step out of line and you will get a slap! Democratic process . . . forget about it!

After the newly elected Greek government held a referendum, the results of which were ignored by the US backed Troika, unelected technocrats were installed to run the country and ensure interest payments on loans got priority over everything, including the people’s welfare.

Not only that but the terms of the new loans were even more punitive, as a Neoliberal ‘slap’ for stepping out of line.  (Remember also that the US backed former government shied away from a referendum after the IMF gave them a call, hence the election.)

It was the same with Cuba. Here the people revolted in 1959 and installed a communist regime. The US response has now become predictable. Break off diplomatic ties and commence covert operations to topple the regime and install their own puppet government.

In the case of Cuba, the people resisted, not just for a month or two but right up until 2015. The US worked out their tactics were going nowhere and eventually restored diplomatic relations, as well as now looking to lift trade embargoes. Is this what Greece can look forward to?

(Wasn’t it interesting how, after Obama’s official visit to Cuba, our very own Rolling Stones also visited and held a free concert to which 500,000 excited Cubans attended. “Upstaged” was a word I saw in one report. ‘Excited’ was not a word I saw used to describe Obama’s visit.)

Was Obama’s UK visit a warning shot across the bows? No meaningful observations. Silence also about TTIP and the frightening mess Europe in now in, with US style debt and immigration problems (which they deal with in their own country with barbed wire and military guards the length of the Mexican border).

The UK is not a poor nation, like Cuba or Greece but the world’s fifth largest economy on whom other countries, like the US and EU rely for trading support. Threatening to take away our powers could, I would have thought, sent us into the arms of the rising BRICS group.

Here lies the Pentagons greatest nightmare. This powerful group of countries are looking to introduce their own monetary system later this year, backed by gold, rather than created out of thin air by financier backed government decree. When the existing fiscal Ponzi scheme ultimately collapses where will countries go for financial stability . . . You decide.

In our referendum debate, we’ve already had the ‘financial assault’ by the supposedly unbiased IMF and our very own Bank of England. Obama’s visit was to remind us of their other might, as an integral part of the Rothschild’s/US pact to seek global dominance.

There is no doubt, with the US fronting up to China and Russia in ever more belligerent terms, Europe is a strategic centre of critical military importance to both sides. And with the youth of this area jobless, there is a ready source of recruits to rapidly build a European army, something the US is dedicated to enacting.

Our referendum really isn’t just about ‘In/Out’, I would suggest but rather our attempted salvation from ‘debt drowning’ Neoliberal domination. It is the root cause of growing global unrest, from low wages, unemployment, eroding democracy and escalating immigration, to producing an ever increasing gap between rich and poor.

Interesting times my friends and much to weigh up as we read between the lines.

Until the next time

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

Obama’s Visit and ‘Engineered Democracy’

I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I have felt so ashamed of being British as I do today. Never did I believe the exalted position of Prime Minister of Great Britain could be bought to such a low standing as has now been achieved by its present incumbent. From Disraeli to Churchill and beyond, they must all be turning in their graves.

Not only have we to suffer the humiliation of having the US President come and lecture us on which way to vote but also a ‘string of global policymakers’, as reported in the Guardian:

Downing Street has called on the support of a string of global policymakers, from the International Monetary Fund director general, Christine Lagarde, to New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, to add weight to the remain case. But David Cameron and his allies hope Obama’s star quality will help to win over waverers”.

(What Christine Lagarde has to do with this democratic process, as an unelected technocrat, is beyond me, unless it is a telling indictment of who is trying to run Europe . . . as it certainly is not the people at present!)

Surely this is evidence enough of a man who not only lacks the courage of his own convictions but even by the widest stretches of the imagination, has neither the confidence nor trust of the British people.

At this momentous time, we are leaderless, demotivated and lacking in any dignified treatment to help with our decision making whatsoever . . . And in the same manner to which the EU is run!

Remember, Cameron got into office with the support of just 24% of the electorate on an ’Austerity’ manifesto that those 24% were suitably duped by, as well as the BIG perk of a Referendum, offered not as an act of democracy but a gimmick to get him elected.

Sadly, it worked because of what I call ‘engineered democracy’, something he copied from Carl Rove, the campaign manager of George Bush Jnr. when he manipulated Dubya back into a second term in office. He did it by searching out first time voters, (the young and in the most part naive), who were duped, flattered and cajoled into giving their support to the Bush campaign.

With advisors from across the water, Cameron pulled the same stroke for his re-election and is applying it again with this referendum. It speaks volumes about his absolute lack of any integrity or leadership skills in this application of ‘engineered democracy’.

What our queen must think of it all is beyond me. Whether you are for or against the monarchy, this referendum is about giving up our sovereignty and whilst Cameron seems to be calling on the world to speak about it, the person most affected has to remain silent.

I would listen intently to what this lady had to say, if she were able to speak. Cameron, like all his predecessors, attends weekly meetings to keep her up to date and seek her wise counsel, accumulated from decades of experience. It appears she is now being left to her own devices, as he seeks the favour of all these foreign financial puppets.

Some payback for her advice over the years Dave! Perhaps that is why she is still respected by the vast majority of the people and you are not.

Now let us turn our attention to President Obama . . . where to start!

I remember when he was elected to office and how the tears streamed down the face of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who had campaigned all his life for the rights and equality of coloured people. He could not believe he was seeing a dream come true with the first black US president, who came to office with a strong message of ‘Change’.

What nobody realised was that Obama’s idea of ‘change’ was to usurp people’s democratic rights and hand them over to the corporate world, with odious trade agreements that have taken the whole of his two terms in office to bring to fruition.

Let us also not lose sight of the fact that this is the same man who counselled Cameron NOT to go for a referendum. Speaks volumes about his attitude to democracy! Can you imagine the conversation:

(“Referendum Dave? Why bother, I don’t involve the people. Just look sincere, talk nicely to them and smile a lot”.)

Not only that but he will also be wishing our queen a happy 90th, whilst publicly telling her subjects to vote away her sovereignty, (something he would not dream of suggesting to his electorate!). The subtlety of this is, of course, lost on him and his entourage but not, I’m sure, on our monarch with her decades of diplomatic experience.

Then we have his ‘emotional plea to the British people to “stick together” with the rest of Europe’. Having waded through the political spin and emotional blah, what jumped off the page and left a most unpleasant taste in my mouth was his reference to:

“The tens of thousands of Americans who rest in Europe’s cemeteries are a silent testament to just how intertwined our prosperity and security truly are.”

Their death was not to do with money! How dare he abuse the memory of these brave men and women, who gave their lives fighting to keep us free, something he is now endeavouring to take away with his odious trade agreements. That he sanctioned and quoted such thoughts and words from his insensitive script writers and advisors speaks volumes about the man.

What has become clear to me now is that his financial lords and masters picked him to be the first black president because of his undoubted charisma. This has provided the necessary diversion away from the political and financial objective of getting these trade deals on the books.

We will, I am sure, see the first lady president, Hilary Clinton in November, to offer a similar diversion with which to further the Neoliberal cause through more ‘engineered democracy’.

Returning to his visit, what is also lost on him and his entourage is how his electors would react if we sent (God forbid) Cameron over to tell them how they should be voting. One of our national treasures, Billy Connolly, lives both here and in the US and I am sure people on both sides of the Atlantic would adopt his favourite two-word expletive to show these leaders the door.

There is still a way to go until the 23rd June and much to ponder. The British people have never been in such a powerful position as they are today. What they do with that power will determine the future, not only for them but also for their children and their children’s children.

Something to ponder this weekend my friends. Oh . . . and have a good one. Kindest

 

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’! (3 of 3)

EU TWEET 2

Part 1 covered the growth and power of the EU by stealth, to implement neoliberal doctrines which can be seen as Crimes against Democracy, of which five were described in Part 2.

In this final piece I would argue that because the EU has been created and developed by technocrats, it can never be a true democracy that takes into account the needs and wishes of the people who pay for it all.

Brussels is run by these unelected and therefore unaccountable technocrats, many of whom are installed in the two main decision making bodies of the European Commission and European Council, described by one former Prime Minister as the “European Government”.

This form of rule was tried in the US in the 1930’s and failed. More recently it has been used by Brussels in Italy, Tunisia, Greece and the Czech Republic, all of which have failed or are failing.

The problem is that although technocrats are very capable people, they are specialists who give little concern for the democratic process . . . a process that is essential to governing a country full of human beings and even more essential with a continent full of diverse cultures.

For this reason, they have been used extensively to make the governing ‘common denominator’ of the EU one of financial control, in line with neoliberal doctrines. Sadly, these parameters are way too narrow, as we have seen in the cases of Greece, Italy Spain and Cyprus, where the cultural climate is dramatically different to say Germany, France or the UK.

For technocrats to govern there is little scope for democratic discussion. This narrow authoritarian approach, which brooks no opposition or deviation from declared policy, is the reason technocracy eventually fails. I believe we are now reaching this point with the EU, as Brussels demands more powers to allow technocratic dictate to run things.

The very contrived nature of the UK Referendum is a case in point, as Brussels seeks to frighten the British people into giving it a vote of confidence, by postulating that the world will come to an end if they vote ‘Out’.

We saw tactics like this in 2008, when governments used a similarly divisive slogan ‘Too Big to Fail’ to allow banks to rob our taxpayer money. Threats then, that “the end of the world was nigh”, have subsequently been shown to be one big lie. The banks have grown bigger, more powerful and certainly more arrogant since then, whilst remaining bankrupt through continuing their same irresponsible banking practices without any form of promised controls put in place.

Indeed, Brussels has now instituted legislation (the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive) which further protects the banks by allowing them to steal our savings when they go bust again, as they surely will. To add insult to injury, in 2015 they took legal action against six countries who failed to implement these rules . . . Technocratic neoliberalism at its most flagrant!

Have we also not learned from last year’s election in the UK, when just 24% of voters put the Tories in power? They too manipulated a vague mandate about ‘Austerity’, which has since allowed them to wreak unopposed havoc with neoliberal policies that support Fracking, TTIP, Privatisation of the NHS, Destruction of the Benefits system and so much more.

As you well know, dear reader, this is not spin but what we have actually experienced, as are all of my claims across all these 3 pieces. We can vote the Tories out but such is not the case with Brussels . . . who know it!

What possible credibility can any governing body have that stole taxpayer money and then went straight on to negotiate in secrecy for eight years a ‘democracy crippling’ trade agreement, which only came to light through the actions of whistle-blowers and is still unavailable for public scrutiny? These are just two of the frightening examples Part 2 of what technocratic neoliberalism is capable of and what the future holds for all of us, if allowed to continue.

In this coming Referendum we should be demanding ‘The Return of Democracy’. We were suckered in by the banks, we were suckered in by the Tories and we are in danger of being suckered in again by Brussels with this ‘In/Out’ vote, which, I repeat, is a contrived device to frighten the British electorate into ratifying the power of Brussels.

By voting ‘IN’ on the 23rd of June we give Brussels the irrevocable power to continue implementing these neoliberal policies, with no moral boundaries or care for the majority. It also belies the real question on most Europeans lips: “Given their track record, do we wish this unelected and unaccountable body to be running our lives into the future?”

More than half of the French electorate have now voted in favour of holding a UK-style referendum on the country’s membership of the EU (FREXIT). Both the Netherlands and Czech Republic want to follow our lead with an ‘In/Out’ referendum. Indeed, there are now calls from the most powerful player, Germany, to have their own EU referendum in the aftermath of the migrant crisis

Given Cameron’s recent feeble results in returning some of our powers it is blatantly obvious that Brussels is not intent upon relinquishing any of its powers . . . Therefore they have to be taken away by voting ‘OUT’ on 23rd June. It will not be the end of the world but rather the beginning of the fight back against global neoliberalism – which has to start somewhere – by restructuring a more democratic and viable Europe.

(It was something Nelson Mandela showed was possible in South Africa when the tyrannical 1% (who had misruled for centuries) were replaced by the 99%.)

There are plenty of talented and committed people and politicians out there who could make Europe a United functioning democracy. Brussels are not the only ones capable of rule, in spite of what they (and their media) might think and say!

It is certainly a daunting task facing us now, as it was 70 years ago – Part 1. We won then and we can win now . . . with the help of our European friends (again!).

 

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’! (1 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 and to whom I extend my deepest sympathies and support. J T Coombes

 

As the 23rd June hurtles towards us I become increasingly convinced that the people of Britain now face a similar challenge to that which they faced at the outbreak of World War II.

Once again Britain stands against an invasion from Europe. Not this time the armed might of Nazism but rather the financial might of Neoliberalism. Something significantly more powerful that is seeking to rob us of our freedoms and democracies by breaking down all of the moral rules that have previously held Society in place.

I have heard many people say that they don’t have enough information with which to make such an important decision as to whether we leave or stay in the EU. In these three pieces therefore, I am writing, not about the many (spurious) issues being bandied about by each side to divert our attention from the real issue but simply the facts.

They are what I consider to be the most important aspects of our experience during our membership of this constantly changing union, starting with its evolution and up to the present day.

It was in 1944 that the groundwork for the EU was laid, when the Allies convened the Bretton Woods conference to decide how the world would be run in future.

The British Empire relinquished its position to America, as the global super power, which heralded the birth of Neoliberalism. (Privatisation, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy – Wikipedia.)

The foundations of this ‘new world order’ were laid with the introduction of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, which morphed into the World Bank and then, within a few years, the birthing of the United Nations and NATO.

We have since come to realise that all of these supposed ‘international’ bodies were simply tools for the development and implementation of American foreign policy across the globe. (Indeed NATO’s credibility came into question just 6 years after its inauguration!)

To this end we have seen the stealthy pursuit of a United’ Europe, which can be controlled by a central government and single currency.

It began with the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, which provided the platform for the European Economic Community, comprising just six countries in 1958 with which to begin the ‘economic integration’ of Europe.

As new member states joined, 1993 saw the establishment of a ‘single internal’ market renamed the European Union. Underwritten by the Maastricht Treaty, it expanded the original remit beyond ‘economic integration’ by introducing European citizenship.

This neoliberal ‘stealth attack’ was stalled when attempts to institute a Constitution for Europe, viewed as “an enhancement to the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the Union”, were defeated in 2005 by French and Dutch voters who feared a weakening of national democracies.

Undeterred by this setback further expansion took place in 2009 when the agreement was amended yet again by the Treaty of Lisbon. Fundamental changes were made to the previous agreements by including ‘qualified majority voting’ to replace unanimity voting on a wide number of policy areas and a more powerful European Parliament.

By 2014 this ‘growth by stealth’ from Brussels resulted in the EU covering 7.3% of the world population, generating a nominal gross domestic product $18.5 trillion representing approximately 24% of similar global GDP. A powerful global player indeed!

To cope with such a vast expansion, the infrastructure of the EU has become a ‘mare’s nest’ of 7 institutions:

The European Parliament, The European Council, The Council of European Union, The European Commission, The Court of Justice of the European Union, The European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank.

Of all of this bewildering array of bureaucracies the most significant, by far, are the European Commission and European Council. Such is their power that former Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt suggested they be called the “European Government”.

An insightful claim, as they are responsible for developing medium-term strategies, drafting legislation, making rules and regulations, drawing up the EU budget and scrutinising the implementation of treaties and legislation it comes up with.

They do all of this whilst remaining independent from the influences of the governments that appoint their councils of members. It is also the only “government”, in a supposed democracy, that is not accountable to the people! Here we get to the heart of the unelected power of the EU and reason for its growing unaccountability.

It is the unelected technocrats within these bodies who have come up with the diversionary tactic of an ‘In/Out’ vote for Britain to counter the growing unrest of the people. Instead of a more democratic vote e.g. “on whether we have confidence in Brussels to continue running things”, this says, without any ambiguity whatsoever: “We’re not going anywhere – either you stay or go!”

This autocratic stance, I believe, has been adopted by Brussels to test the vast unaccountable power it has amassed and now wields, which is gradually deconstructing the democratic process across Europe to accommodate neoliberalism.

In the following two pieces I will try to cover how this is being achieved, with what I can only describe as Crimes against Democracy, to further the aims of a largely unelected bureaucracy.

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

TTIP . . . Another Control Being Put in Place!

 

“In addition to the blogs, I publish a weekly Newsletter on a Friday dealing with anything during the week that caught my eye. I am sending this one to you as it is pertinent to my current theme on ‘Feudalism & Unification’. If you are happy I will continue sending you ‘week old’ Newsletters but please tell me if you are unhappy with this.

TYSM as always for your continued support of my work.”  J T Coombes

Observations for the Week Ending 12th February 2016

TTIP . . . Another Control Being Put in Place!

As the IMF and EU increase their financial control over the 99% through legislation and debt, so the corporate powers are now providing further pressure, through odious trade agreements that are designed, not for trade, but the obliteration of people driven democracy.

The old Establishment are certainly fearful of the freedoms the internet is now providing our species and dramatically reducing the traditional methods of control that have been used for millennia to keep the populace in ignorance.

These trade agreements are a last ditch attempt to apply corporate pressure to the obliteration of democracy, in a serious endeavour by the old Establishment to consolidate and maintain its power over Society.

Secret agreements, such as TTIP and TPP are still only available for vetting, by elected representatives of the people, in closely guarded rooms and no copy(ies) are allowed to leave these fortified spaces. Why is there such rigorous secrecy and has been for the 7-year gestation of the final documents, if Society is not being threatened?

This action itself is a blatant contempt for democracy and a scary indication of what might come if allowed to reach maturity. Perhaps we have already seen the future last year in Greece, where unelected bankers marched into the country and imposed restrictions of the people over the head of the elected government. With these trade agreements it will be not only bankers but also company directors and their technocrat officials, immune from any forms of control.

At the heart of this subversive activity by the powerful, is the move to enact legislation that neuters the legislative process of countries and therefore their governments. I still struggle to understand why governments are so easily giving away their powers like this. Unless it then becomes a very easy ride to just do what the corporations want and take the pay check at the end of each month.

The obvious legislative target here, without even thinking, is any and all legislation designed to protect citizens from shoddy and inferior goods and takes us down a frightening path of substandard foods and electrical goods, as high safety standards mean inroads into profit.

In the past, authoritarian power and its abuse has come from monarchs, with vast armies at their disposal to consolidate their power. In this 21st century it is debt, not armed forces that is underwriting the power, through debt obligation.

The problems of abuse are no different, although no longer restricted to just one country this time. For some restraint to be exercised we need a modern version of the Magna Carta document used 800 years to control the power.

The written word worked then and it can work again. Indeed, the internet provides the ‘unarmed’ resistance to growing control through the written word, in large part, providing the reduction in global ignorance that has previously allowed the 1% this control.

The original Magna Carta came from barons whose power base was being undermined. Today it is the middle classes who are being undermined and maybe this is the area from which a new ‘Global’ Magna Carta should emanate. Globally they are being attacked at their very source, by the application of indebtedness to their young before they have started any form of career and undermining jobs with new technology that is no longer restricted to the production line.

It is the unifying aspects of one global group of people, such as this, which could provide the impetus for a sustained and unified global reaction against the current increasing powers of the 1% and the obliteration of proper democracy.

By the very nature of their secrecy they are actively seeking to deny all forms of democracy, of which these odious trade agreements, now being signed into force, are very much a part. Indeed, they are the spearhead of the final nails being driven into the coffin of global democracy and we have to do something to fight back.

A global middle class driven Magna Carta of some description would fit the bill in uniting people in a commonly understood cause. The vast protest at the signing into force of these agreements shows a mind-set that is becoming united and action will come from this awareness and understanding of what is going on. Exciting times.

 

Enjoy your weekend.

EU . . . Let’s Start Again!

I have never hidden my contempt for what the EU has now become and I am sure this reflects the attitude of the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who increasingly hold sway over 500 million of us.

Originally it was a project that made sense, as it focussed on free movement of labour, capital, goods and services. When it’s true size and potential was recognised (the EU now accounts for 15% of global GDP), monetary and fiscal ‘union’ became the new goals, as financiers waded in and democracy began to whither.

Control of political ‘union’ became the priority and Bernard Connolly’s paper ‘Europe: Driver or Drive. EMU and the lust for Crisis’ identified how crisis could achieve that control.

Environmental Issues would increase control over member countries. Terrorism would increase control of state surveillance, police and judicial issues. Global Financial Crisis would provide the excuse for Europe wide regulation and global financial governance. European Monetary Union would create the crisis to force the introduction of European economic government.

Britain was not prepared to accede to both political and financial union and so ‘contrived crises achieved the desired control behind our backs. These tactics demonstrated that we are dealing with un-elected representatives whose primary loyalty and concern is not with the people of Europe.

As Oliver Hartwich wrote in Why Europe Failed “The people of Europe did not suddenly wake up one day and demand they be bound together by a supra-national organisation. Neither did they demand to give up their national currencies in return for the euro. Indeed there has never been a popular movement for any sort of European integration”.

So how did it become so large an entity? If ‘crisis’ provided the goals, three disciplines fuelled the growth, of which language was the first. In 1957 when the Treaty of Rome lauded the famous four freedoms of “labour, services, goods and capital” it also had an innocuous commitment to “ever closer union among peoples”.

At the time this was lost in the excitement about a Common Market but provided the powerful with the tool with which to push for closer ties and the greater centralisation of power. And what better way to achieve this than by the second discipline of law-making?

The European Court of Justice was brought into being with the express purpose of asserting its own supremacy over and above the role of our parliaments. The European Communities Act 1972 states that:

Section 2 (1) means that provisions of EU law that are directly applicable or have direct effect, such as EU Regulations or certain articles of the EU Treaties, are automatically “without further enactment” incorporated and binding in national law without the need for a further Act of Parliament

Having control of the language and law-making all that is left for absolute control is the third discipline . . . money! The inauguration of the European Central Bank and its plaything, the euro, provides a level of control that is truly sinister. It allows peripheral nations to borrow cheaply under conditions that provide an ‘ever closer union’ and bring them into line through the application of debt. (I am indebted to Nick O’Connor of Capital and Conflict for his insightfulness here.)

Margaret Thatcher immediately saw this threat when the ECB was first muted and warned against it:

“If I were [in charge], there would be no European central bank accountable to no one, least of all national Parliaments. The point of that kind of Europe with a central bank is no democracy, taking powers away from every single Parliament, and having a single currency, a monetary policy and interest rates which take all political power away from us.” 

How prophetic her words, as the IMF and ECB have now demonstrated by bringing Greece to its knees with debt. Followed up immediately by the invasion of unelected technocrats who pour over and interfere in every aspects of the countries workings, down to the processes used by bakeries!

What we are now moving to, with fiscal union, is a United States of Europe and if Britain does not join it will remain a fully paying member, obeying its rules but without the ability to influence decision making.

This is what the “Remain In” campaigners are threatening, amongst them the twice disgraced member of Tony Blair’s government, Peter Mandelson. Given his long standing membership of the Bilderberg group, one of the corporate world’s most powerful groups, I take his words with a pinch of salt. A view supported by recent words from EU President Juncker’s deputy, Frans Timmerman who said:

“What was unimaginable before now becomes imaginable, namely the disintegration of the European project. The European ideals still have very strong support among the population across Europe. What do not have strong support are European politicians and European politics”

As more and more countries demand the return of sovereign powers to national governments the power grab by the technocrats is seeding its own self destruction. Democracy is an integral part of every one of us and the EU’s growing dictatorship flies in the face of this natural order.

If Britain leaves others will follow, because the whole project is now fatally flawed, with the financial crisis, limited growth, unemployment and now immigration. We need a new ‘Phoenix’ to rise from the ashes in the shape of, say, a European ‘Trade’ Council, focussing upon refining trading between member countries and run by the people who pay for it all and have the greatest interest in its success . . . Companies, Unions and Taxpayers.

From this foundation growth can occur organically, with political power contained within the borders of each country, jointly committing to a mandate to support the development of a people driven union.

 

Until the next time

 

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