Tag Archives: Referendum

Referendum . . . Blah! Blah! Blah!

We had my partner’s grandchildren over at the weekend and like any 8 and 14 year olds they played together and squabbled. At one point I overheard them jousting for the dominant position by calling each other liars repeatedly and giggling whilst they did it.

How different this picture of kids doing what healthy kids do the world over and the same actions coming from people a lot older and supposedly more mature, who are responsible for running our country . . . and some for running the world.

If you Google ‘Cameron lies’ you will produce some 558,000 results, something even the cynic inside me was not expecting. Lies about his father’s offshore funds, lies from last year’s electioneering, lies about the current EU Referendum campaign . . . the list just goes on and on. He’s not alone in this BUT he is our ‘Prime’ Minister.

Then we hear from that august body The Institute of Fiscal Studies that, among other claims about Brexit, the figure of £350 million, which the EU costs Britain each week, is in fact a whole lot lower . . . at just £150 million, when all factors and rebates are taken into account. It also claims that leaving the EU could result in a budget deficit of between £20 and £40 billion higher than if we remain.

Whilst this body is held in great respect and its findings focus on the effects on the Public Purse if we leave, it must also be taken into account that it receives the vast majority of its funding from the UK government, although the EU’s contribution has doubled since 2009 up to 2014.

Given the manner in which our very own Treasury has weighed into battle on behalf of the government, the credibility, timing and content of prognostications by our Civil Service and related bodies become questionable.

I am not arguing here for either side, or the merits of one set of statistics over another. What gives me far greater cause for concern is the obvious contempt with which the public at large are held by those whose salaries we pay.

Not only is there lack of integrity and respect but a serious naivety, by those in power, who seem to be applying outmoded techniques of propaganda in an age where understanding by the public (their target) is undergoing a thorough re-education.

The internet has opened up the Pandora’s box of operational techniques by which the establishment have controlled us over the eons and it is now being shown up to be crude and incapable of withstanding our new technological environment.

In spite of this, over the years, the global rich and powerful continue to blindly try and hoodwink us. Nowhere was this more blatant than with the re-election of George W Bush in 2004 when, upon a recount, he was re-elected to office by a narrow majority. We now hear that the UK Referendum could also produce a similar narrow majority, in the same vein as the Tory’s election win last year.

Time ratified the accusations of rigging in the case of the Bush re-election and no doubt time will also pronounce on the current uncertainty in the UK, as the same people who helped Bush have also been helping the Tories for a while now.

Modern technology is constantly lifting the veil and raises a far bigger question in my mind which, similar to climate change, could be devastating for all of us and will certainly not go away.

It is the mind-set of our leaders, who either have not caught up with our growing awareness of their crude skulduggery or, worse still don’t care, as they have the armed forces, the police and riot squads to call on if they come unstuck.

Whatever is going on in their collective heads, they certainly have not taken on board the fact that our eyes are being opened and life can never be the same again. Before, we would blindly accept what were told but now new resources are opening up to ‘fact check’ whatever is reported or said.

Armed with the truth about lies and deceit, credibility and support go out the window. As the late Robert Maxwell was reported to have said “The truth is like virginity. Once lost it can never be recovered”. Something Tony Blair has first-hand experience of.

What I am aware of now are the early rumblings for an entirely new leadership that has integrity and honesty. As a species we need to believe in something, it is how we live our lives and the powerful know this. In the past they have manipulated this human characteristic for their own benefit but the ball game is changing.

I, for one, am not convinced by any of the current leaders that they actually have the vision and determination to confront the destructive values of Neoliberalism, the destructive forces of Climate Change, or the self-destructive creed of Consumerism. But my mind remains open.

My cynicism comes with the EU Referendum. I find it symptomatic of a cancerous culture at work that has no compunction about distorting the truth, with no apparent boundaries, in its lust for power and greed. At the heart of this culture is the ‘Career’ politician, who cares little for what he or she is voting for and who, it is reported, spends 80% of their working day seeking financial and other support to retain their power.

They are a part of the present party system, which they have evolved to maintain power. It is this visionless and comfortable mind-set that has created all of the problems we face today and is now supporting the transfer of power from the people to the corporate world, with odious trade agreements such as TTIP.

Whether it is the US, EU, UK, Australia or elsewhere, distrust of politicians is endemic.

It therefore follows that people of integrity will quickly be recognised and stand out from the crowd. I would also venture that it is only with people like this that our trust can be rebuilt into a powerful democracy, through the transparency of their honesty and a vision of a future that is at odds with current short termism and only supports profit.

Until the next time

 

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

Democracy: UK v Brussels

There has been comment about the possible adverse effects of the closeness of the British Referendum on 23rd June and UK local and regional elections which happened yesterday (5th May). Nothing could be further from the point in my book, as already it is illustrating the stark difference between these two political processes.

Here in the UK we have all media a buzz with information as to what is happening and the current state of play on how the individual parties are faring. This will continue right up to and after the results of our voting have been announced over the next 24 hours.

What is evidence of a proper democracy at work is that, whilst there can be media bias, we are voting on the political beliefs of the various parties. If we don’t like what a party is advocating, we don’t vote for them and the majority view prevails . . . That is the majority view of the people!

It isn’t perfect but we all feel a sense of involvement, rather than exclusion. Even for those who do not exercise their right to vote. We may not like particular parties, or leaders and if we feel strongly enough about it we remove them. Or rather, the party removes them based open market research which shows they are affecting party popularity.

With the process of putting people in power, respect is everything. We put them in power based upon what they tell us they will do to improve our lives. Trust is an essential facet of democracy and in spite of that trust currently being at its lowest ebb with politicians around the world, we still feel we have the power to make change when things are going badly wrong in the management of our country.

When we then turn to the upcoming Referendum about how the EU is managed all of what I have just said goes right out of the window. The democratic process I have known all of my life, as a ‘British’ subject, simply does not exist within the current Brussels led European Union when I put my ‘European’ hat on.

The people who actually run Brussels are not elected by the people and neither are they accountable to the people. In spite of growing unpopularity they are no signs of change. This to my mind is the first of many abuses perpetrated by the current set up, particularly when it is the people who pay for it all, including the salaries of these unelected representatives.

Yet those same representatives feel no responsibility towards the very source of their personal incomes and the vast budgets they decide how to spend. They don’t meet with us, talk to us or seek our opinion.

During the week of the first of these two decision making processes we have been rocked by two incredible revelations. The first was the leaking of the extent of the infamous TTIP trade deals and how our democracy was being handed over to global American corporations. The second was by one of the EU’s founder members, who stated that the whole purpose behind the merging of European countries was to create a “state resembling the US”.

Since 1952, when the cabinet was set up as the first step towards a federation of Europe, the public at large have been consistently lied to. Firstly, we were told we were joining a “Common Market”, followed up by a makeover to the “European Economic Community”, finally being led to its intended purpose when the Maastricht Treaty established the “European Union”.

The EU has evolved to its present power structure through a series of secrets and lies to the people, whilst taking their tax money to fund it all. And with the co-operation of the now 28 heads of State who were obviously complicit, as they have been with the secret TTIP negotiations.

It is worth looking at the mind-set of the most powerful person in Brussels, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to better understand this constant duplicity. (After his appointment in 2014 there was a huge surge in support for Eurosceptic parties.)

He presides over an unelected body that has been negotiating the TTIP agreement for 8 years. It was this man who originally called for such an agreement in the first place, as he has also been calling for a European army.

Unlike democracy in the UK, neither of these huge policy decisions have been proffered to the people to have their say, or on which they could vote him in or out of office. Indeed, his office slapped a 30-year ban on the publication of any details of the trade agreement back in 2013, a stinging rebuke for the democratic process.

Here we have a man, described as a ‘federalist’, who has little respect for the democratic process, if his published quotations are anything to go by and I quote:

On French referendum over EU constitution

“If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue’,”

On British calls for a referendum over Lisbon Treaty

“Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?”

On Eurozone economic policy and democracy

“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it”

On Greece’s economic meltdown in 2011

“When it becomes serious, you have to lie.

It could be construed from these pearls of wisdom that he is either a very honest man, a very arrogant man or a bit of both but certainly with an overriding contempt for the electorate at large . . . All 500 million of them. To my mind he sees himself as “the boss” and his attitude permeates throughout Brussels, in the same way the thinking of the head person in any group affects the other members of that group.

Is it any wonder therefore that there is growing unrest within Europe and cries for “British style Referendums”? This is evidenced by a recent comment from a senior Brussels insider who is quoted as saying: Many people have lost trust in “entire institutions, whether national or European,” laments European Parliament Chief Martin Schulz.

The Referendum itself is a travesty of democracy, as is now blatantly obvious when compared with what is going on in the UK right now. We are voting about the policies of our elected representatives, something not presently available with Brussels.

Here, we are being told from the quotations above, that what they say goes and our only vote is whether we remain or exit. Do they really believe that they know what is in our best interests, or indeed care? Where is the acceptance of human fallibility and therefore the need for accountability that can only come from a robust democracy?

Well Mr Juncker and friends, if that is the deal I’ll stick with my countries version of democracy, where we can vote for regime change. If you won’t allow that you must take the consequences, which are now about as secret as your trade negotiations . . . and intentions for a federal Europe!

Have a sunny weekend all

Until the next time.

 

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