Tag Archives: Empowerment

Chilcot and Accountability

With its publication, it now becomes understandable why the results of this Inquiry have taken so long to come into the public domain.

First commissioned by Gordon Brown in 2009, its findings were then vetoed by the then government, along with a successful appeal by the Foreign Office to block it because it would present a ‘significant danger’ to UK/US relations (some ‘Special Relationship’!). The fact that there was an impending election in 2015 further delayed its publication, which had already been put back to 2014.

In spite of the hope by parliament that it ‘would go away’, Sir John Chilcot has now finally presented his detailed findings to the public with all their sordid content. I don’t think there is a person in this country who is not shocked and its aftermath will remain with us for some time to come.

In amongst everything else, what was particularly abhorrent to me was the final confirmation of sending British troops into war without adequate protection. War is designed to kill people, both combatants and civilians and those who join up do so in the certain knowledge of this risk. They commit to the understanding of that risk when swearing the oath of loyalty:

I… swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, and of the generals and officers set over me.

They are “duty bound, honestly and faithfully to defend us against all enemies”. HONESTLY AND FAITHFULLY! Where was that same “honesty and faithful dedication” by our government and armed forces, to fully equip those men and women before they put their lives in danger whenever their services are called upon?

Of the 179 servicemen and women who lost their lives in Iraq, how many were ‘murdered’ by our government because they were not properly equipped to go into battle? Even more odious are the photo ops by Blair, at which combatants who did not have full kit were replaced by those who did and with whom he is seen smiling and shoulder hugging?

Yesterday the nation watched as this man read from a carefully and legally vetted paper how he “believed we made the right decision”. How can it possibly be a right decision that sends ill prepared men and women to face potential death? How much does lack of equipment reduce the chances of winning, or is this what Blair meant in his undertaking to Bush that “I will be with you, whatever”?

His attempts at emotion and near tears whilst delivering his version of the truth simply added insult to injury and as one father, who had lost a son, commented “He was acting”.

In the cold light of day Blair went into politics with ambitions to be a major player on the world stage. He sought the support of not only the world’s most powerful political leader but also the world’s most powerful religious leader, when he very publicly converted to the Catholic church in 2007.

When he handed power over to Gordon Brown, also in 2007, he did not remain committed to the country, as so many ex PM’s have done but left parliament and with the initial help of G W Bush pursued his business interests, amassing a reported £60 million fortune to date.

Whilst he has been quoted as “Labours most successful leader” it has been at a price that questions the validity of such a statement. I do not seek to judge him, we are all fallible but rather thank him for giving British Society the opportunity to search our collective souls and focus upon power and its effect upon that fallibility.

Blair’s government, it now becomes increasingly clear, was run by an ‘armchair cabinet’ who seemed to only inform the full cabinet after events, thereby eliminating proper and thorough debate. Its strategic activities were carefully managed by twice disgraced Peter Mandelson. How the media reported those activities was even more carefully managed by a very adept Alistair Campbell.

Accountability was also carefully removed from the democratic equation by these people, as Chilcot has now shown. Not only is our political establishment’s current ability to govern limited, by corporate lords and masters who dictate what that limited government policy is but accountability is also only applied up the line to those corporate sponsors and not to the people who elected them to power.

Our whole democratic and political environment is now rotten to the core, with the exception of Jeremy Corbyn, who is the only beacon in this horrendous wilderness. He needs all the support he can get if we are to stand any chance of bringing the governing of this wonderful country and its people back from an abyss that Neoliberal values and politics are now taking us.

Sir John Chilcot points the direction forward through his diligence and perseverance, together with a choice of words that leave no ambiguity as to what aberrations our political class are capable of, if not properly supervised. It is that supervision we must now focus upon and the British people are better placed than any to do this.

We are now only accountable to ourselves and as such the job becomes more manageable without distant interference. We must begin by insisting upon another general election, to either support or not the intentions of the new Tory leader and not repeat the undemocratic handover of power that occurred with Labour.

Let us work together to get our own house back in order and then we can address the problems of the outside world, setting an example of what people driven democracy is all about in this 21st century.

Until the next time

 

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

‘Remain’ . . . ‘Leave’ . . . And?

Banking photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time

 

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