Tag Archives: Austerity

Grenfell Tower: Murder by ‘Austerity’

It is a week since we witnessed the horror of this human tragedy. It seems that since the Great Fire of London in 1666, successive governments have limited their concern for providing safe and secure habitation for the people under their care.

Grenfell Tower is a frightening indictment of political, financial and religious doctrines that are now no longer fit for purpose.

We live in an era of ‘professional’ politicians who, in leadership roles, care more about their power than the people. Our current Prime Minister initially ignored the survivors of this tragedy and then, urged by her advisors I am sure, sickeningly gushed over the families of victims of a terrorist attack just days later.

They are servants to global corporations who finance their election efforts and hence the continuing low turnout from voters, who know they are now limited in ability to sway political opinion.

Our financial system too, is outdated and in chaos. Every single aspect of the Grenfell Tower horror, from the blazing building to the rescue services (who did superbly), were affected by lack of financial resources and dwindling budgets.

‘Austerity’ is not a financial discipline, (to show we are being prudent), but a tool by which financiers can grab sovereign assets cheaply. We have seen this in Greece, where everything from their beautiful islands to even their water supplies have been sold off to private interests at knock down prices. This, from odious moneylending practices that create unrepayable debt and sovereign servitude – the very essence of how and why ‘Austerity’ is implemented.

Creating money is simplicity itself. When you and I take out a loan no money changes hands! A computer entry is placed in your bank account for say, £1,000 and a similar entry is placed in the banks account, showing that loan as an asset to ‘balance’ the books. No gold has been sold. No cash has been taken out of the banks vaults. It is simply created out of thin air, which we then pay interest on.

‘Austerity’ becomes a sordid joke as the amount of money put into the economy is dictated by the private banks, who have been authorised by government to run this very lucrative and controlling function of Society. Any amount of money can be supplied to Society but the banks only allow sufficient to keep us in permanent debt to them.

For evidence look at the trillions of Q E printed by the Federal Reserve in the US and the ECB in Europe and passed directly to banks to buy their bad debts, (created by lending money to people they knew could not afford to repay). That money bypassed Society, who were forced into the type of ‘Austerity’ measures that caused the horror of Grenfell Tower.

In Germany and other countries there are public banks, run by the local authorities who support small businesses and their community infrastructures – Health, Education, Police and Fire services etc. No wonder Germany is financially strong and why the ECB want to close them down and transfer their services to private banks.

Finally, in the past our traditional religious establishments have been responsible for the moral fibre of Society. In my lifetime, these values and power have been eroded by the growing worship of money and what it can buy, eroding integrity and moral fibre in the process.

The loss of power and influence of Western religions, in my opinion, reflects their inability, or desire, to bring their beliefs into the 21st century to reflect the world in which we now live. This failure, in turn, has diminished their ability to exercise any integrity and moral fibre over how our political and financial institutions do business.

This erosion of morality has resulted in the horror of Grenfell Tower. It highlights how ‘money’ desperately needs cheap labour but refuses to then take responsibility for looking after that labour, through the conduit of political policy and action which it so heavily influences.

We are in a whole new (global) world now, where antiquated taxes, political practices and a wholly unsupportive financial system* can be seen to be hopelessly out of place in serving Society’s needs.

What I am now looking for is a political party who can ‘repackage’ this country, by providing an infrastructure that supports the efforts of business as well as the community, providing transport infrastructures, premises, employees (as well as Health, Education and Community services for their employees, retirees and their families).

That infrastructure has to be paid for and that must come from creating public banks to service local authorities, together with a whole new tax system that ignores where a company’s headquarters are based but instead charges that corporation each time it uses our country’s facilities.

A ‘Transaction Tax’ that they and their customers pay on every financial transaction, from buying a hairpin to making a derivatives trade. Nothing is excluded because ALL use the infrastructure to make that transaction, in one format of another. You Use It . . . You Pay – no matter where you live and work from!

We need leaders with this sort of new vision, which addresses the many abuses Society increasingly face with current 18th century thinking. They must address global warming, the education and future of our young (do they have one anymore) and an ageing Society that has given us its support and now requires our support in return. Above all, they must urgently address the impact of IT upon future employment and create new employment opportunities for our young.

Society is getting more and more angry with each passing abuse that comes to light and that anger is waiting to be converted into the means by which we build a new and more caring Society.

Are there people out there who want to use their power to this end? Society is in desperate need now, to avert another Grenfell Tower.

 

Until the next time.

*This paper by Professor Richard A Werner D Phil (Oxon) University of Southampton – ‘Do We Need Central Banks’ – takes apart the global financial system in a comprehensive manner I have not come across before: https://professorwerner.org/shifting-from-central-planning-to-a-decentralised-economy-do-we-need-central-banks/

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