Monthly Archives: June 2016

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