Tag Archives: Brussels

The Brits . . . From Zero to Heroes

Britain photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now, less than two months later:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could the situation be turned around?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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

Is Our Referendum Rigged!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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