In a valedictory interview with Der Spiegel, a German magazine, Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing president of the European Commission, did not mince words when asked about the EU referendum held in the United Kingdom in 2016.
He said that he considered his not having become more involved was a big mistake because, "...there needed to be a voice to counter them
". The "them" he referred to were those advocating leaving the EU and concerning their campaign he stated that, "So many lies were told, including by current Prime Minister Boris Johnson..."
He also stated that he had not become involved because Cameron had advised against it and that he had informed Cameron that he would lose the referendum.
From the organization of the EU referendum to the current state of confusion over BREXIT after three years of messing around, this affair was conceptualised, launched and then crashed by the Conservative party. In essence to save the Conservative party prospects, a tiny private organization with less than 150,000 members, from internal splits, the party manipulated events to export this internal instability so as to split the country down the middle. This is a supreme example of how a tiny faction can dominate the affairs of the nation in a destructive fashion. This calls into question the efficacy of our party system and the medieval, out-dated, first-past-the-post electoral system.
It seems to be a tactic in the forthcoming election for the prime minister to keep referring to the Conservative party as the "one nation" party. But he expelled 21 of most of the "one nation" Conservative members in a overnight Soviet-style putsch. But then it was realised that this impulsive behaviour had demonstrated lack of management control and had lost the government its majority. This was a case study in incompetence and a complete absence of strategic logic. In order to attempt to re-assemble some approximation of a "one nation" party image, it was finally decided to let back in 10 of those expelled. This shuffling and somewhat shabby behaviour failed to reinstate the former chancellors Philip Hammond and Kenneth Clarke, ex-justice secretary David Gauke and second referendum campaigner Dominic Grieve. These have been forced to remain in the tattered wilderness of any remaining one nation hopes. This performance has reduced any claims to being able to don the one nation mantle to dust. It now passes for being no more than a cynical election prop to be paraded by the very party that has caused the intensification of the marked divisions in the nation. The stated positions of Northern Ireland and Scotland have been largely ignored and Wales is having to reconsider its options. The prevailing dominance of increasingly confusing policy announcements are laregly designed to act as sticking plasters to obscure the damage caused by government policies under austerity and quantitative easing.
What nation is Johnson referring to when he talks of one nation? It is becoming increasingly evident that he thinks the 150,000 members of the Conservative party somehow represent the nation. But this faction accounts for no more than 0.24% (a quarter of one percent) of the voting age population. There is something wrong with a political system that allows such a small faction to bring so much prejudice to a nation.
The origin of plans by the Conservative party to work towards a privatised National Health Service can be traced to "moderate" Conservative MPs. For example, Oliver Letwin is the author of the 1988 pamphlet "Britain's biggest enterprise: Ideas for radical reform of the NHS
" which set out such a proposal. Although he has denied that this has informed Conservative policy, several parts have already been enacted. In 2004 it is reported that he stated that under a Conservative government the NHS would cease to exist within 5 years.
The PPP projects, albeit introduced by the Blair governments and sustained under the Conservatives, transformed the NHS into an 'independent trust' - which became NHS England. The increased use of private providers were central planks of the Health and Social Care Act. The assets of the NHS under these schemes have been, or are being, transferred to the private operators.
The confusion of whether or not the NHS is on the table is essentially semantics. The value of the UK health care market is well over £200 billion and the broad intent in policy documents, of those who wish to privatise the NHS, is to use private insurance companies as the vehicle. In order to prepare the "political climate" for privatization the tactic is to ensure that the NHS becomes a "problem". The tactics used to achieve this have been explained in some detail by Noam Chomsky of MIT. The tactic is to introduce a policy that combines a long period of real de-funding
, or reduction in financial support, while setting up additional layers of highly paid management. In the UK policy of prolonged "austerity" has been applied and has achieved this result in the case of the NHS. It has also been applied to police reduction, state educational provisions and social services with an eye of helping prepare for private security firms and private educational establishments and to expand the provisions of private insurance into social care schemes. Therefore in the case of the NHS, "austerity" has created difficulties in operations while creating and maintaining a multilayered top-heavy management structure with very high executive salaries.
The result has been increasing frustration of constituents resulting in complaints and disatisfaction with the NHS performance and other pubic services. In the case of the NHS the excuse has been to promote private company participation as a means of "eliminating the problems" created by the policy to "improve efficiency". In the last push towards privatisation, the top executives, as a constituency created by government policy, can be relied upon to support the change because of the promise of increased fortunes.
We have seen this type of tactic enacted following the financial services de-regulation under Thatcher. This led to a similar move amongst building societies where some executives decided to abandon the mutual status and become rich under the transfer to bank status.
In order to understand the more intricate details of the Blairite and Conservative strategy concerning the NHS it is worth watching the Renegade Video "The UK Private Finance Initiative" where specialists in the field explain the tactics and the resulting prejudice.
To access this video click on the Renegade image.
However, Northern Rock and others failed and some were saved by the Nationwide Building Society that has maintained its mutual status and grew in strength.
So the way to privatise the NHS is to raise costs, usually through drug procurement and, indeed private suppliers, then use this as an excuse to introduce private insurance as a "top up mechanism" to maintain a "full coverage". As a result of this strategy the UK spending on health services would be likely to rise from the current 10% of GNP to the levels approaching those in the USA which spends around 20% of its GNP on a system where a large proportion of the working population cannot afford health insurance. Indeed, manypeople who do not have insurance cover ate not attended to. Politicians can put their hands on their hearts and swear that the NHS is not on the table in trade negotiations. However, in reality is is the centre-piece worth &poiund;200 billion each year.
So the NHS doesn't have to be on any table in name since the trade arrangement simply has to take advantage of the light touch UK financial regulations to push the NHS provisions and assets into the hands of the private financial and insurance companies. Large US-based insurance companies are already providing services to senior citizen facilities and services and they are an effective lobby. Naturally legislation enacted by parliament can help this process along, sometimes unwittingly supported by the opposition.
One of the most obvious examples of this tactic can be seen in the case of the police. The government has steadily reduced their numbers "because of austerity" by in excess of 20,000 while knife crime and other problems have got out of hand. The constituents have responded as expected by demanding more police. It is suspected that the plan had been to contract private security firms to do this job but the current climate would make this move a little too obvious. Therefore the government is making proposals now to train up and contract over 20,000 police to fill the gap they themselves created with intent. The banal nature of this type of policy proposal is that the government, across the board, is making promises to spend money to sort out the very problems their policies, over the last decade, have created through tactical de-funding
of education, police services, social services and, of course, the NHS.
One reason the government has veered away from a more aggressive privatisation at the present moment is that the policy of quantitative easing which has rewarded finanical services and insurance companies with cheap funds has resulted in increasing debt, falling real investment and real incomes and poverty amongst in-work constituents. Rather than creating an expanding "middle income class" the government has presided over an increasing income and wealth disparity and falling real disposable incomes. This is not fertile ground for justifying rising costs of financial services and insurance charges because the disposable income is not there. As a result, this policy failure has created a situation where any overt privatisation would radically reduce electoral prospects. However, this strategy is a long term fixation and the intent to privatise remains.
As predicted, the barrel scraping for vacuous and dishonest arguments is taking place in the initial phases of the election. Unfortunately, this was on show on the Sky network Sophy Ridge programme in an interview with Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
This interview did not start well because on the question of Johnson blaming parliament for preventing BREXIT happening, she seemed to forget that it was Johnson who decided to withdraw the agreement to prevent parliament scrutinising the agreement which parliament had already agreed to on the basis of a majority vote. Ken Clarke has already stated that if he had not done this the UK would have left the EU within the coming days.
But when asked why her party would not contemplate collaboration with the Labour party, Jo Swinson scaped up the unpalatable mantra of refusing to collaborate with Jeremy Corbyn because of his record not controlling anti-semitism in the Labour party. The Labour party has perhaps the lowest incidence of anti-seminist of any major political party in the UK. Most "incidents" have involved social media exchanges that have nothing to do with the party. It is also the case that or many "cases" have turned out not to involve any anti-semitism. In any case it is not advisable for a party leader to become involved in these "case" procedures. In spite of this, Corbyn remains tha target for scurrilous individuals who wish to attack him personally, a mode of behaviour which, we would like to emphasise, Jeremy Corbyn does not particpate. It is a pity other politicians have such low standards of behaviour. Politics is, of course, cut and thrust, but for politicians to repeat untrue mantras is unacceptable.
Jo Swinson then descended even further into a vacuous statement that the Labour party is proposing to negotiate a better deal but will allow the electorate to decide, without coersion, on the options, through a proposed confirmatory vote. For a person totally dedicated to stop BREXIT and, if elected, to the cancellation of Article 50, she should be content that the Labour party will not oppose the Liberal Democrats in this final decision. Unfortumately, she is so fixated on remain that she appears to have lost any recogniiton that a previous vote has shown that the balance of opinion on leaving or remaining is roughly 50:50 so the best solution on the leave side is clearly an agreement that minimises social and economic impacts. This what Labour is proposing. However, she does not appear to wish to respect this reality when the Labour party, by leaving the decision to the electorate, is demonstrating a respect for the outcome of the original EU refendum of 2016.We have been assessing the changes that have occurred during the last year that, contrary to the general drift of opinion, point to a clear pathway for Labour to win the next election. Our analysis below comes to similar conclusions via a different route to an article appearing on Bloomberg, see box below under subheading "Bloomberg", which contains a balanced analysis. We also provide a link to a podcast from FT politics in a similar vein...
The Conservative party and the Brexit party appear to have written off any chance that the Labour party could win the coming election.
Bloomberg a US business medium has posted an article on the coming UK election. This article points out several reasons why the Conservatives will face difficulties enabling Labour to win. To read more click on the link below...
Bloomberg on UK election
On the other hand many in Labour are convinced they will win.
The state of knowledge on the part of the constituents is significantly different now that it was at the time of the EU referendum in 2016 and at the time of the 2017 election. Many constituents are beginning to find their way through the confusion created by declarations by politicians and corporate media. However, an important point is that while Jeremy Corbyn had to wait for his party conference to assess the mood of its membership, the Labour party now has a well-defined position. The Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and others have not yet understood that this makes a fundamental difference. They keep repeating that the Labour party position is confusing when it is now pretty straight forward and easy to understand.
Concerning the question of leave against remaining, the term leave is ambiguous because there are options of leaving with or without a deal. So in reality there are three options. Remaining, leaving with a deal and leaving without a deal. Given that the referendum was so close it is reasonable to suppose that politicians should try and arrive at a solution that satisfies remainers and leavers while minimising the social and economic impacts of the final state of affairs. Clearly remaining incurs no economic impact other than the continuation of contributions to the EU. On the other hand leaving without a deal will have serious economic impacts. Leaving with an agreement can claw back most if not all EU contributions while minimising the economic impact. Therefore the most obvious solution which can minimise economic impacts is to leave with a deal which should be designed to protect those aspects of life which people value at the present moment.
To this day the leave campaign has continued to peddle a misleading narrative. There is no need for this. A sound leave agreement can benefit all by minimising the negative social and economic impacts on UK and European companies, employees and consumers.
Since, at the time of the referendum and last election many options were floated it is becoming evident that most leavers presumed that the UK would establish an agreement with the EU along the lines of Norway, Canada or even park in the EFTA system and then gradually sort out the agreement (probably the best idea). Labour have stated that if they are elected they will work to arrange an agreement that ensures safeguarding a range of existing "protections" so as to minimise the economic and social impacts. Once this new arrangement has been defined then the idea is to provide the constituents with a final say through a vote on whether they wish to accept the proposed trade arrangement with the EU or remain.
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats keep trying to maintain that Labour is confused because Jeremy Corbyn has stated he will not express an opinion on whether people should support the trade agreement proposal or remain. This is entirely reasonable because the country is divided between remainers and leavers. The only policy position taken by Labour is its objective to produce a socially and economically stabilising agreement as the best leave option. Therefore to reflect a consideration for the free wishes of the electorate Labour is allowing the voters to decide with no coercion from the party on which way they should vote. This is not confusion it is an admission that the understanding of the potential dangers of leaving are now better understood and therefore the current election is taking place in a very different environment. The mistake made, on the part of the Conservatives and Brexit parties, is that the question of in whose hands the economy and social order is safe has become a high profile issue. The Brexit party has no track record while the track record of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats has not been at all inspiring. Indeed the real economy has declined significantly over the last fifteen years, public services including police and health provisions have been run down. Wealth inequality has risen sharply as a result of economic policies that have benefited the very financial sector who crashed the economy in 2008. The Conservatives and Brexit like to blame Labour for the state of the economy when in reality globalization and deregulation made significant contributions to the instability and the financial sector's deficient management tipped the economy into a crisis. This was, to a large extent, a private sector and "free market" failure which under deregulation became too experimental placing the prospects of the UK population in a precarious position.
Much of the recent expression of intent by the Conservative party is in essence attempting to gain acceptance for fixing gaps in provisions they have created as a result of their policies. So they are offering solutions to problems they have helped create.
If Labour simplify their BREXIT policy position and then spend more time on the many options to reverse the decline in the UK economy, their platform could become very attractive, especially to those voters who had switched from Labour. It is not beyond the bounds of reason to expect many leavers to realise that this is the preferable less disruptive option. As in the last election Labour produced a fully-costed manifesto. It would help them if this was extended into a short trade options analyses comparing likely economic impacts of preferable options so people can obtain a better feel for the types of "protections" they wish to preserve.
On Alan Bolton's "Politics Today" on Sky today, Ken Clarke explained quite clearly that Boris Johnson, and the apparatchiks that surround him, are the one's who have stopped "Getting Brexit done!" by preventing the normal parliamentary scrutiny of the withdrawal agreement that parliament had already accepted. It is therefore paradoxical that Boris Johnson will be proclaiming loudly that it is parliament that has delayed BREXIT. Clarke also made the point that these people want to reduce the role of parliament in British democracy. It is therefore a paradox that Johnson wished to go for an election but then many feel this is in order to augment the numbers who will become government clerics to cut down on parliamentary functions. This is more likely to happen now that the Conservative party threw out the more balanced members or one nation politicians, such as Ken Clarke, in a Soviet style putsch. One has to wonder, what type of people are being attracted to become candidates for the Conservative party. The position of Johnson appears to be the demagogic one of setting the people against parliament. History shows that people who head for this type of politics can be "successful
" in rising to prominence and maintaining power through propaganda; this election needs to be monitored with care and attention.
One of the forces that has helped salvage the reputation of the House of Commons has been the actions of John Bercow. He was elected as Speaker of the House in 2009.
He has persistently promoted the rights of back benchers to be able to speak. This helped balance up the debate on the results of the EU referendum, bringing home the fact that the result was not a run away for the leavers but a closely run thing. We have reviewed elsewhere the true outcome of this referendum. There have been unfair accusations leveled against Bercow of bias. But if bias is equated with the act of ensuring a representative and participatory parliament, such criticism is without merit.
Representatives must address the complexities presented to them by opposing constituency views rather than hiding them.
Ken Clarke in his exchanges with Adam Bolton, praised Bercow's championing of back benchers. It is worth watching the session in parliament that took place on the 31st October when MPs, across the House, spent some time thanking John Bercow for his services giving details of his immense contributions to the promotion of transparency and fairness in proceedings.
With the decision of the UK to head for another general election, and with the current state of BREXIT, we will follow the campaigns but by starting with a clean slate in so that our analysis will be applied to party statements, policy proposals and their justifications rather than the constant raking over of past statements and positions. However, we need to explain why we will apply this approach.The propaganda machine based on misinformation - fake news
We face a stark choice between a command and control approach that will reduce parliamentary democracy in the name of national freedom and sovereignty against the opposite extreme of participatory democracy within which all interests are accommodated. The Conservatives and the Brexit parties are participatory minimalists using tiny power groups and apparatchiks to support a single individual who aims to take decisions "on behalf of the nation
" and, of course, always "in the nation's interest
". We have seen this before under Thatcher and Blair regimes. On the other hand Labour are participatory maximisers. This is why the Conservative party has less than 140,000 members and the Labour party has close to 500,000. This is why the Conservative party is all about Boris Johnson and why the standing of Jeremy Corbyn is of less real significance within the Labour Party because most decisions are taken through a gradual, sometimes frustrating process through membership participation. Corbyn takes up party positions once they are decided as opposed to snap decisions made by apparatchiks. This slower process has been the reason the propaganda merchants accuse Corbyn of dithering when in reality what he has been doing is weighing up the balance of opinions so as to take decisions in the interests of all. There is here a definite choice for the people of Britain.
Goebbels, Adolph Hitler's propaganda apparatchik operated on the basis of giving widespread publicity to lies simply because if repeated enough times through rallys and media content, such lies end up being believed. The destructive aspect is that the public begin to repeat the lies as part of their own communications in spite of the fact they can not point to evidence to support such assertions. They are repeated by journalists, television programmes and pepper the content of social media. Unfortunately, this dangerous form of propaganda is alive and well in this country in corporate media and party declarations. Propaganda concerning the "opposition" has been pouring out of the Conservative machine for some time. However, we do not agree with the approach of some corporate media in the UK to magnify what has become a dishonest campaign founded on distortions of facts and assertions. For example many have run a persistent campaign directed against Jeremy Corbyn starting when he became leader of the Labour party. This hatchet job consists of most of their statements taking past events out of context and never admitting that, in general, Jeremy Corbyn's fundamental approach has been vindicated by events. We don't say this with any interest in supporting the Labour party but simply from the standpoint of the fair treatment the media should afford our representatives. We would add that the hysteria around anti-semitism in the Labour party has been intentionally aimed directly at Jeremy Corbyn in person by some who left the party as well as MPs from other parties in a scurrilous fashion. There is no evidence of Jeremy Corbyn having anything to do with intentional anti-semitism of any kind. It is even more disturbing that many UK media and some MPs have aligned themselves with Benjamin Netanyehu's campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, again based on false statements. Netanyehu does not like Corbyn because Corbyn has opposed Netanyehu's constant breaking of international law by presiding over an increasingly Apartheid State which has been using settlements to undermine the two state solution and increasingly marginalising the Palestinians. It is shocking that there are many MPs who consider any criticism of this terrible injustice to be equivalent to anti-semitism. This is clearly a gross distortion of any definition of anti-semitism. Fortunately there are enough people of the Jewish faith in the Labour party who know all of these slurs targeting Jeremy Corbyn are not true. No sane person is not shocked by the events of the holocaust but unfortunately, today, one of the techniques of marginalising and censoring anyone is to accuse them of anti-semitism. No matter if the accusation is true or false the slur has in the past tended to stick. But today this term has lost its significance like a devalued currency simply because of its wholesale abuse by those using it as a tool for political manipulation. This of course has always been the intent of Netanyehu.
Given the size of the Labour party the number of anti-semitism cases in terms of its incidence within the membership is insignificant; it is greatly exaggerated for political reasons. This does not detract from the fact that in some specific cases people have become upset, often involving people who are not in fact members of the Labour party; a fact associated with the high profile given to random social media content. Labour have not made enough of the fact that most accusations have been without foundation. The whole affair has been distasteful for the party and efforts have been made not to give a high profile to this affair because of a desire to protect the Jewish community. The motivation for this is that because this issue has been exaggerated to such an extent by certain interests and media that this continuing interference runs the risk of becoming characterised as a 5th column action interfering with the UK's democratic processes on behalf of a foreign state. This would be highly destructive of the Jewish community. Many people have short memories with respect to Netanyehu's position on this issue. He, in fact, has no interest in protecting the community in the United Kingdom, his approach is that if they destroy their own image and undermine their own standing in the UK they can migrate to Israel and bolster the constituency of the Likud party in Israel.
In spite of this unacceptable development we expect, unfortunately, that during this election campaign the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will punctuate their declarations with why Jeremy Corbyn should not be prime minister by, of course, referring to unjustified references to anti-semitism while the Conservatives will continue with their throw away remarks reflecting an ignorance concerning Marxism and socialism and misrepresenting past encounters with Hezbollah and the IRA which were held as part of a process that had the objective of securing peace. These distorted presentation props will, of course, be amplified by the corporate media in headlines to attempt to downgrade the image of Jeremy Corbyn.
However, it would be better if media concerned themselves with reporting the full facts around issues by attempting to err on the side of truth but rejecting such fake news. Unfortunately many corporate media and politicians appear to be hoping to gain popularity by misrepresenting others in an irresponsible fashion. This irresponsible assertive mode, often perceived to be "impressive" or "decisive", is often couched in misrepresentations, in lies, and this unfortunately is often confused with charisma. But under the contentious state of affairs, generated by shabby reporting and irresponsible politicians this country needs people who aim to offer clarity and logic of their propositions based on evidence in order to have any hope in improving the state of affairs of this country. Therefore we should make an effort to listen to what the main political parties have to offer the people of Britain as ways to end and reverse the increasing poverty, the declines in real incomes, the concentrating wealth in the hands of a few and the continued enrichment of the financial sector through quantitative easing. Of late the Conservatives have been voicing their distain for "socialism" since they equate this with give-aways to those who do not want to work. However, quantitative easing represents one of the biggest give-aways by the UK government ever to the very entities whose poor judgement, and in several cases fraudulent dealings, that caused the 2008 crash. Socialism for the rich is just fine but the result has been a failing British economy and it is in addressing this issue that should be a priority for the people of Britain. In reality getting to grips with this is more important that "getting BREXIT done!"
The economic plight of those in the north so-called "working class" that was the result of the run down of manufacturing and several industries that accelerated following the Thatcher governments and the financial crisis of 2008 can be linked to "deregulation" and "globalisation". These facts show that the plight of those who have suffered economically became a significant aspect of their motivation to leave the EU because the leave campaign sought to blame the EU for all the UK's ills. The failures in industrial and manufacturing sectors were a direct result of the inability of governments to introduce economic policies to guide the economy towards a less damaging outcome as a result of lack of planning and an over-emphasis on the "free market" and encouraging "globalisation". Much of this agenda has been driven by the financial sector and shareholder value-based decision-making. In other words our ills that have been blamed on Europe are the direct result of inappropriate policies enacted by our own governments.
To paraphrase Ken Clarke in his exchange with Adam Bolton, we have grown effectively and achieved a high standard of living as a result of being members of the world's highest value free trade organization, the EU, and now we are abandoning this benefit. As Ken Clarke pointed out, no one made the effort to argue the case for Europe and in particular the benefits of membership. We would add that given that leaving will impact the economy negatively, we need to examine what each party has to say with respect to the policy-induced yawning income and wealth disparities and those circumstances facing a large proportion of the population which have been exacerbated by globalisation and quantitative easing.
The position that reflects a lack of intellect and ignorance is that which says. ".... what is happening is inevitable, it is the impact of technology, free market opportunities, economic theory and is the result of their being no alternative!"
But to what extent is there being no alternative the result of ignorance or people believing in their own propaganda that prevents them from even contemplating other options? As observed by Mashall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore in their "“The Medium is the Massage
”, "… there is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening."
. This election should not be just about BREXIT because the result is so important to a rational future for this country and, therefore, we hope that, in some small way, we can help contribute to pointing out what is happening.
A common underlying cause of the spreading popular uprisings affecting countries throughout the world is a rise in policy-induced income disparity. This is as true in countries with high per capita GNPs as in middle and low income countries. Today, the levels of wealth and income inequality in developed nations exceeds that in lower income countries.
During the last decade those who previously were content with their income status have become increasingly concerned with the fall in purchasing power of their income which has been caused by rising prices and nominal incomes remaining stable. In some countries this has led to violence and reactions by governments to the deaths of many people.
Unfortunately, our politicians point to such statistics as low unemployment levels and growth figures expressed in nominal currency as signs of a successful economy. However, communities are well aware that the real purchasing power of those employed is declining and nominal growth is canceled out by inflation. Government statistics on inflation underestimate the true figure. The levels of debt which gave rise to the 2008 crisis have now been surpassed leading to a more precarious state of affairs.
The cause of this unacceptable situation has been the threadbare impracticality of the macroeconomic "solution" in the form of quantitative easing (QE) which has flushed extraordinary quantities of money (debt) into the economy. This was introduced to permit banks to consolidate their "balance sheets". However, the banks took direct advantage of this policy to use low interest "cheap money" to buy assets directly to benefit their own shareholders leading to a very large asset bubble. This has included real estate, commodity and precious metal market manipulation and speculation.
It has also involved banks assisting corporations to buy back their shares. As a result house prices have grown beyond the means of middle and lower income families in the Unite Kingdom and the stock market is booming while productivity and real incomes have flat lined or even decreased. On the other hand higher income and executive salaries have boomed contributing, overall, to a widening concentrations of wealth and income.
It is more than evident that the people of this country need to call into question the constitutional nature of this emerging crisis because the tendentious negative movement in income distribution is policy-induced. It is part and parcel of government policy. This cannot be allowed to continue in this way just as the climate crisis and failures to address the environmental and ecosystem destruction need to be addressed. It is notable that the Report on Global Sustainable Development published in September noted that when the economy "does well" the indicators for climate stability or improvement "do badly", indeed they go into reverse. Worldwide we also now see that when politicians insist the economy is "successful" an increasing proportion of the population is "marginalised". We have now witnessed this trend in the UK during the last decade.
Our factional party-based governance is poorly equipped to guarantee a sustainable economy and environment for future generations.
The unavoidable conclusion is that macroeconomic management theory and practice is seriously flawed. The global destabilising factor is inappropriate policies. The general macroeconomic management model applied almost worldwide, largely based on increasing financialisation and debt, is failing to help countries prevent falling wealth and income disparity and rather contributes to these. There is a need for macroeconomic policies to encourage more investment in activities that can generate higher real adequate income levels and distribution on a sustained basis. The mistake made in policy-making has been that economists and politicians seldom concentrate on the question of policy traction. Any policy traction requires time to gain momentum but with election cycles involving 5 year operational windows which represent a to 2 to 3 operational years, or extremely short time horizons, then this almost guarantees a failure to secure continuity. Paradoxically the government did impose s policy continuity in the form of its austerity measures which only reduced the contribution of the public sector and salaries. In the case of something like 20,000 police being removed from the force, the government is now promising to fund recruitment to build up numbers again while we suffer under a knife crime crisis. All of this manipulation and disturbance of essential public services is linked to the so-called Aggregate Demand Model of the economy used by Keynesians, Monetarists and Supply Side economists who consider "demand" to be the governor of the economy. However, some 200 years ago, the French economist, Jean Baptiste Say, made the point that production creates its own consumption. His logic contains an essential message that unless people are employed in activities that generate sufficient real income they will lack the purchasing power to sustain what they consider to be an acceptable pattern of existence by being unable to purchase their needs. In terms of conventional macroeconomic policy his message is that without adequate incomes, demand will be depressed. It is this pincer movement created by government policy which has caused QE to fail. Cutting down on public services and stagnating public service salaries while productivity declines and increasing numbers slide into lower real income occupations has pushed the economy into a state of depression. Therefore, today in Britain, an increasing proportion of our population is not earning adequate real incomes and as a result the real economy is contracting and policies, such as they are, have no traction.
One knee-jerk reaction, used as a ruse to gather votes in an election, is to promise a rise in the minimum wages. But such a move is fundamentally flawed because there has not been sufficient investment and productivity gains to justify such rises. As a result, the "easy way out" is for businesses to adjust allocations which can include reducing hours or even laying off labour. As a result the downward drift in real incomes will simply continue.
The bizarre supply side solution is to lower marginal corporate tax rates and the tax rates for the higher paid supporting the naive notion that this will release more money for investment leading to higher productivity and an ability to pay higher wages. In practice, when attempted, this has had short lived impacts with the overall drift back towards an increasing disparity of incomes with corporate ownership benefiting and labour forces enduring a slow decline in real incomes.
The track record of our current macroeconomic policies is that the objectives and the policy instruments used, when applied across the economy result in winners, losers and those who apparently remain in a neutral policy-impact state. The problem is that the winners are a small select group who influence policy through their command over political party funding and media coverage and who continue to benefit handsomely. In the meantime, the numbers of losers is increasing with those so far unaffected, running the risk of becoming losers as their remaining means of sustaining their "standard of living" is increasing debt.
In reviewing the costs and benefits of the European Union, those with a direct experience in dealing with the results of European regulations and law do not all want to leave the EU, although some do. The range of reasons are very large and many have not even been discussed in the media or between our factional political parties. David Cameron's panic to remain in power and to defend the integrity of the Conservative party by attempting to out-Farage, Nigel Farage or UKIP, only resulted in a precipitous decision to run a referendum on the simplistic options of remaining as members or leaving the European Union. The larger questions of the balance of costs and benefits of remaining within the EU were not adequately aired because of the limited capabilities or means of communication of the British political parties, and so the discussion boiled down to sovereignty, costs of being members and immigration. The more pressing and immediate questions concerning the government's presiding over a failing real economy under quantitative easing with some 35% of the electorate facing a declining real income, with many in work resorting to food banks, went by the wayside. These imperative issues have remained largely muffled during the last 3 years while conditions have steadily worsened.
The depressing ongoing menu served up by our political parties supporting the illegal war in Iraq under Blair and the subsequent support for regime changes in Libya and Syria and, even now supporting the horrendous slaughter carried out by a so-called "ally" Saudi Arabia in the Yemen, as being the cause for a major and continuing influx of migrants into Europe, are all sidelined. The guilty parties, our factional political parties and the governments derived from them, do not want to be held accountable for the disasters the voters have reaped from their irresponsible policies. The recent track record of UK governments since Blair's New Labour through Cameron's Great Society are case studies in "stage management" of promises to be abandoned and all with disastrous outcomes; the inevitable results of decisions undertaken by vacuous mind sets.
So, on account of explaining the instability and febrile nature of dialogues at the time of the referendum all "blame" was and continues to be aimed at the EU. Yes the EU has supported the insane military ventures with NATO and he European central Bank has continued to impose quantitative easing in the Eurozone (of which we are not members) but the campaigns around the referendum were misdirected. As a result the British public remained largely ill-informed as to the real cause of the problems facing this country.
At the time of the referendum many existing trading arrangements were in the offing as good examples of workable options open to the UK. Therefore, for many who wished to leave, their understanding was that this would involve transferring to a trading arrangement similar, for example, to the Canadian or Norwegian models as final deals. On the other hand, others suggested parking the UK in EFTA and then negotiating from that position for some final deal. Either way these transitions would incur relatively minor economic impacts.
The demagogic pronouncements of government ministers and Nigel Farage, who is linked to the so-called BREXIT party, is that those looking for a deal, or those wishing to remain, are accusing the voters, who voted to leave, to have been stupid. The retort is often "Yes we did know what we voted for, it was to leave!". What is missing from this type of exchange is the obvious misdirection of who should be considered to be stupid. Stupidity lies squarely with the factional political parties for doing an effective but damaging job in not informing the electorate of all of the "leave" options and then with the government appearing to change the meaning of leaving to being that of leaving without a deal. This is claimed to be the only way "to respect the result of the referendum." However, as a result of the binary referendum questions, those pursuing such a course of action are being dishonest because they have absolutely no idea, from the referendum result, of the proportions who voted to leave with a deal and those who voted to leave without a deal.
Leaving with a deal is clearly preferable to leaving without which will have severe economic consequences. This is because, in addition to the calculated impacts, the recent embarrassing spike in government debt shows a trend that will undermine the government's spending proposals in the Queen's speech, not having a Budget now is in fact very convenient to any accusations of policy failure. The government support for quantitative easing has continued its incessant progress in increasing real income disparity in the UK and the rises and the international market instability created by the USA's current preference of war-by-sanctions will combine to worsen the UK's economic circumstances.
This strange twist in view of all, is the current battle. This is why the government, which created much of this chaos, now faces having to come to terms with the emerging reality that the electorate is beginning to understand what is going on, any apparent stupidity or ignorance is slowly being dispelled and this, in spite of the continuing mantra of the need to "Get BREXIT done!", continues to be accompanied by puerile bluster and intentional displacement activities that have typified this phase of the government's operations.
It has not escaped anyone that much of the creation of BREXIT and much of the delay in coming to a reasonable resolution is more related to internal political party issues than to the constituent priorities. Our political parties are tiny private factions. With a voting age population in the United Kingdom of 51 million our affairs are being controlled by a Conservative party with a membership of around 150,000, a Labour party with around 485,000, the SNP with a membership of around 125,000 and a Liberal Democrat party with a membership of around 115,000. The table below shows these party memberships as a percentage of the voting age population, the British constituency.
|Party membership as % of total UK constituency|
The voting system, of course, is controlled by the interests of these tiny private factions as opposed to a system that allows freedom for individual expression of voters to be translated into a responsive representative assembly. The concept of freedom and independence of views is alien to this electoral and governance structure. To become a candidate in an election it is necessary to represent a "party". As a result factions rule. This is unacceptable.
One of the main "justifications" for political parties is that they "set agendas" but most simply filch ideas and proposals from other parties that seem to have public appeal and re-label them as their own. Being so tiny, memberships do not have the intellectual critical mass to analyse and propose solutions to needs that are workable. For example, of late many have complained that the government has not produced a costing and benefits analysis of the scenarios that are likely to exist as a result of the current BREXIT proposal. This, of course, reflects badly on the government party. However, the opposition parties have not come up with their own assessments which is also a bad reflection on the levels of joint competence sustained by this party system that represents, as stated, tiny factions. As a result the government and opposition leave the British public in an uninformed state.
In this light, the attempt by the prime minister to ram through his proposals without scrutiny is irresponsible and cynical. So what is the underlying motivation?
The membership of trades unions in the UK is some 6.3 million people or 12.35% of the voting age population of the UK. In terms of representation they far more significant than any single UK political party.
Trade union members support different political parties while the Labour party has the greatest number of trades union organisations affiliated to it.
Given that the parties themselves have limited analytical capabilities the question arises as to who is influencing political parties to generate their motivation to move in the directions they have chosen. In the case of the Labour party, which is closely affiliated with the trades unions, there is a reasonable degree of transparency because the trades unions do some of the heavy lifting with respect to economic analysis of consequences of alternative policies. Foe example, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has an active research, analysis and publications programme on policies. However, in the case of all the other parties the lobbies that have influence through their funding of party activities and support of corporate media, there is a good deal less transparency. It is therefore important to understand that a party that advocates "leaving without a deal" is proposing a course of action that is to the benefit of its financial backers. The lack of transparency on these questions is a serious drawback to the UK political system since we have tiny factional parties controlling the national agenda on behalf of other tiny factions (in terms of number of constituents) who possess sufficient economic/financial power to sway the political faction (party) to attempt to impose their preferences on the whole UK constituency. So small factions, many of which are business interests or groups funded by groups they support such as "independent" consultancies, think tanks and corporate media, which under the UK system do not have the vote
, use the political parties to impose those solutions, of advantage to them, on the majority. Indeed, most constituents are unaware of these machinations.
This clearly would be completely unconstitutional in a participatory political system that upholds the imperative of full transparency. But, as we can see, in spite of High Court rulings, we rely on a system which is not transparent and therefore, from the standpoint of the people of this country, perilously unconstitutional and unrepresentative. The Catch-22 is that, within our twisted system, such matters can often be considered to be a "political matter" as opposed to "constitutional issues" subject to law. In this way no good can come from this party system since this is the way these factions can maintain their degrees of freedom to abuse their power.
In the meantime the people of this country continue to endure this outrage without the constitutional means to rebel against it.
All political parties are failing to shape social and economic policies that respond to the gaps and needs facing the British constituency. This is a peculiar state of affairs, given that most of the ills facing the people of this country are a direct result of policy-induced mistakes.
The declining performance of the economy is a reason why many people are becoming concerned with the cost of living and experiencing a level of uncertainty not seen since the days of stagflation in the 1970s and 1980s. The policy of quantitative easing (QE) introduced following the financial crisis in 2008 has proven to be a failure. This was introduced in spite of the Bank of Japan having tried this since 1999 and concluding fairly early on in its operation that was ineffective and continues to this day to be ineffective. On the other hand it was found to bolster the income and wealth of Japanese bank executives and shareholders. With this precedent established by the third largest economy in the world it is necessary to ask why was that the UK government followed the "advice" of banking lobbies and their representatives in the form of "independent" central banks (who non-the-less are run by the same lobby) to introduce QE in the United Kingdom as a "solution". Clearly it was to benefit bank shareholders. Mervyn King, while coming to the end of his term as Governor of the Bank of England, observed that QE "seemed" to be benefiting the UK banks rather than the rest of the UK economy.
This grandiose experimentation with the economic wellbeing of the people of Britain has continued for almost a decade benefiting the banks. No political party has focused attention on this enduring outrage to the level of significance it deserves to demand the needed change in economic policy. The UK governments since 2008 have never justified this careless experimentation with the lives of UK constituents. One reason is that our political parties, being such tiny private factions, completely lack the intellectual critical mass to have any likelihood of coming up with alternative economic policy options to establish more practical and beneficial policies. The over-bearing power of the banking lobby and corporate press continue to voice support for the current basis for macroeconomic management because it benefits their "bottom line" while marginalising an increasing proportion of the UK constituency.
When politicians in power maintain a state of affairs that sustains a strong bias in factor of the economic and financial interests of those who run a specific economic sector and the people employed in that sector, cannot claim to be unifying or a to be acting in "the interests of the nation." One of the key phrases deployed by apologists for this outrage is that it is important to generate "prosperity" in order to pay for public services and, of course, police and the National Health Service. The other common statement is that the exorbitantly paid executives, company owners and the financial sector needs to be handled with kid gloves because "they are the job creators" when the evidence with globalisation and modes of corporate operational strategies have resulted in a lack of investment and declining real incomes of those employed.
This type of waffle is sustained by the corporate press in what is no more than a propaganda campaign to convince the public that this stripping away of wellbeing of the constituency is in their interests because there is no alternative. As long as our political parties continue to ignore this stark reality they undermine any justification for their existence.
One of the notable statements by Jeremy Corbyn concerning the Queen's Speech was his reference to constituents who are not registered to vote and the need to allow registration without imposing conditions that would make this difficult.
The process of emancipation is the removal of constraints on people through the provision of social, economic and political participation on a basis of equality. Karl Marx referred to political emancipation the essay, "On the Jewish Question"
(1884) considering this to be an equal status of individual citizens in relation to the state, equality before the law, regardless of religion, property, or other private characteristics of individual people.
The only approach to economics that involves a consideration of the democratic structures necessary for participatory forms of public choice is constitutional economics. However, James Buchanan, the pioneer of constitutional economics pointed out that those controlling the process of participatory formulations of public choice involve mainly those who work through political parties who have distinct interests. This complicates the process because political parties are tiny private organizations with memberships, each less that 1% of the voting age population. British political parties are therefore small factions. However, the first-past-the-post electoral system enables these unrepresentative segments to lever themselves into a position of gaining control of the national decision-making process and the management of the economy. Because the electoral process only allows members of "parties" to stand in elections the only options made available come from these small factions. Dog whistle politics, that is voicing support for a long list of minority group interests is the way these factions gather voter support. What is often not noticed is that, as a result, party manifestos usually contain mutually contradictory policy proposals. The outcome is that the large number of dog whistle topics results in parties exaggerating their ability to deliver on these in government. As a result increasing numbers feel that their vote does not count. The voting age population is around 51 million and something like 15-17 million people do not bother to vote. Another 2-3 million voting age constituents are not registered to vote. There are, therefore, two issues here.
From scene in "Brazil" by Terry Gilliam et al."
That of building a public choice environment where people actually want to be involved and vote, on the one hand, and facilitating and encouraging others to register to vote, on the other.
Indeed, the visceral nature of party politics is often a demonstration of an attempt to sell notions of freedom and justice while attempting to marginalise those who are unlikely to vote for them. Extreme marginalisation does not always result in a proactive attempt to achieve this result but the drift in economic policies in the United Kingdom under Quantitative Easing (QE) has seen the marginalisation of a significant proportion of the population. In essence the last decade has witnessed something like 35% of the population undergoing economic deprivation and only sustaining their "standard of living"
by resorting to debt and in more extreme cases to the use of food banks. David Cameron's notions of a "Big Society" would have some merit if real incomes had risen and income equality improved. However, these warm humanitarian notions were destroyed by the reality of economic policies which have specifically favoured the finance, real estate and insurance sectors raising the profile of the so-called "1%". At the extreme we have seen international humanitarian interventions that were no more than grotesque military ventures causing widespread destruction and the deaths of innocent people. Within the paneled walls of Westminster such "collateral damage"
is a natural cost of war. On the domestic and foreign affairs fronts we therefore have a widespread collateral damage which has been allowed to happen because of the ineffectiveness of our political system and the political parties who dominate it, to serve the people in a way that reflects some notions of an emancipated nation.
Frustration is the mood of the moment where most in the Westminster bubble accuse others of tying them down. But this continuing saga approximates the image of Lilliput as the opening of parliament proceeded with pomp and ceremony on behalf of a government that commands no majority. The justification for a government gaining its role as the government is based on the size of their majority in parliament. Such pomp and ceremony, for a government with no effective mandate to announce it's manifesto content is an affront to the electorate.
In democratic and logical terms this makes no sense but is justified on the basis of a general distrust of the opposition of the intent of the government to attempt a no deal exit from the EU. There have been some absurd displacement arguments that see the UK government in contention with the EU. But this contention has arisen from the government agreeing to establish the procedural arrangements of withdrawal before establishing the nature of the trading agreement. So 3 years have passed without anyone knowing where the UK is going. This is a demonstration of an extremely amateur, seat-of-pants partisan irresponsibility. The constituencies have been ignored and the government has not produced sector level decision analysis briefs on the costs and benefits including employment impacts of different trade agreements. Frankly, the same can be said of the European Commission where a lack of alternative scenarios is missing from the discussion as a result of the fixation of the European Commission with maintaining its grip on managing legislative proposals as well as maintaining the application of current rules and regulations of the EU.
It is not clear what the working relationship between the government and civil service is but it is more than apparent that there has been an ineffective use made of the considerable analytical resources available to the government to be tasked with providing the people of this country with a clear picture of trading options.
|EU REFERENDUM RESULTS|
|Not voting||Voting to leave||Voting to remain|
|Source: Electoral Commission|
Finally, this wading through the Westminster swamp of indecision and confusion it the result of people misreading the EU referendum results. Over 17,800,000 people did not vote and around 17,400,,000 voted to leave, most assuming a trade deal would be made. The remaining 16.100,000 voted to remain. This is not as decisive as the contending sides claim and arising from that there has been a lack of objectivity in pursuing a more participatory approach with other parties but this was resisted by the government, most of the time. The first-past-the post election system, another Lilliputian characteristic of British politics created a May government that resorted to paying off the DUP in order to survive. Cash diplomacy is almost always destructive and seldom reflects the view of the people. The party system has done a good job in highlighting its inherent weaknesses in being able to represent the people of this country.
In conclusion, the result has been a demonstration of how the party system and first past the post end up tying the people down.
It has not escaped the electorate that all political parties have lately ramped up their policy commitments and other promises of actions to turn our future into a sort of never-before-seen paradise of endless opportunities for aspirational people. On the other hand the corporate media and some politicians assert that the "people are fed up and want BREXIT done!", so this needs to be sorted out before comparing political party agendas for our future.
But we face an absurd state of affairs where the European Commission's insistence and the May government's acceptance of agreeing the withdrawal terms before establishing the nature of the trading relationship has served to complicate just about everything. Usually, by identifying a mutually desirable trading arrangement first, it is then easier to agreed on terms of separation because each side has a clearer appreciation of the future mutual costs and benefits and cash flows.
As a result, the voting public in the UK and in the EU remain confused as this extraordinary level of administrative incompetence being paraded in front of them by the Commission and the UK government. A major mistake has been for the Council of Europe to permit the Commission to handle negotiations. This is a natural default position by EU member states since all EU legislation is initiated by the Commission. Because of this the Commission has become a command-and-control setup. However, in the case of BREXIT the interests of different member states vary considerably between those whose nationals benefit from direct employment in the UK to those whose manufacturing, agricultural and service companies in both the UK and EU member states are involved in mutually beneficial transactions. The specific quantitative economic trade-offs for the different combinations of these classes of interest in a future trading relationship signifies that they should all be involved in contributing to the information flow to guide negotiations. Unfortunately, the UK government has not shown any practical inclination towards this short of rational participatory review and the Commission has naturally resisted this so as not to diminish its status and the initiator and guardian of the implementation of EU laws and regulations, backed up by the European Court.
On balance the smaller EU member states from northern Baltic region and central and southern region support the Commission's approach because on balance they benefit economically from the EU budget. However, many other countries enjoy significant benefits from trade with the UK and therefore the final trading arrangement with the UK is of importance to them. What has been lacking in this whole process has been the early commissioning of an independent study on the trade-offs, for all concerned, associated with the several existing trade arrangement options. We have, after all, had 3 years within which such an effort could have been undertaken with ease and yet no political party or the government has attempted to undertake this essential baseline review upon which to base their decision analysis. In order to negotiate effectively such a study should not be based on British interests alone but, in the spirit of the much vaunted mutual advantaged of free trade, should have involve inputs from interested parties in Europe. This is what the European Commission has resisted in the name of "solidarity and unanimity". On the other hand, the only means of demonstrating effective leadership on this specific issue the British government and the political parties need to terminate their self-centred, introvert, slightly absurd spasms of self-congratulatory enthusiasm and amateur dramatics that maintain an image of incompetence and muddling through. If such a responsible step was taken there would be a need for an extension and a pan-European workshop to establish the foundation of a trading relationship that takes into account the interests of communities, economic sectors across the EU and UK. This could take time but it could move use away from the current levels of uncertainty that affect communities, business and investment. A more open consideration can, through the transparent exposure of options, dismiss the unknown and the slightly absurd levels of secrecy that have dogged government dealings. We are, after all, aiming for mutual benefit and this can never be identified on the basis of mutual distrust.
Having committed our country to some 45 years of integration with the EU, the Conservative government needs to slow down and re-order the sequence of analysis to first of all identify a trading strategy that is clearly one that represents the mutual interests of our main trading partners in Europe as well as those with whom we share communities, work in the UK and the EU. Once this is established, the identification of a mutually agreeable mechanism for leaving would be greatly facilitated. A logical conclusion of intelligent decision analysis should be a trading arrangement that is almost seamless in achieving an independent sovereign status for the country over political decisions and legislation. The minimisation of impacts in the transition from EU membership to independence resulting from a sound trading arrangement would go a long way towards satisfying a large proportion of remainers as well as most leavers.
The minority government of the Conservatives who constantly stress that they are a "one nation party", need to demonstrate their commitment to this principle by taking steps to unify the country. This same government and party claim to be "pro-business" but the current track record demonstrates a particular propensity for actions that could damage the real economy and boost the prospects of a range of financial intermediaries and banks who are Conservative party supporters who are in a position to "speculate" with little risk on the condition of the pound. Leaving without a deal could mean an overnight gain of £ multi-billions to this group. Quantitative easing (QE) has been feeding banks for a decade with cheap money and they have used this to channel funds into assets such as real estate and helping large corporations buy back shared to boost executive bonuses. This has contributed to an exacerbation in the disparity of incomes, the numbers unable to purchase homes and real wages in the UK. The fact that more people are employed now is a direct function of a larger population now and the state of employment for the lower 35th percentile is precarious as foodbanks grow in number to support people in work. In spite of Melvyn King, the ex-Governor of the Bank of England, stating that QE had benefited the banks disproportionately, the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition and subsequent Conservative governments have done nothing to stem this flow of funds from the real economy to the benefit of shareholders in financial, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors. Cut backs of public services and the erosion in worker incomes has continued as a direct result of a selective macroeconomic policy of the British government. The rabble-rousing nature of the EU referendum campaign was able to divert attention from this fact and managed to assign the blame of our self-imposed economic woes, to the European Union. This never did have any foundation. It is true that The European Central Bank has pursued an aggressive and dangerous form of QE in the Eurozone but the UK is not part of that system. The current precarious state of affairs can only benefit those who caused the 2008 financial crisis and who have been handsomely rewarded ever since. The problem with all of this is that much of the antagonism and frustration has nothing to do with the EU but at its root are the difficulties many constituents face as a result of increasingly uncertain conditions that have arisen from incompetent macroeconomic policies pursued by the governments during the last decade. It is not an exaggeration to consider UK governance during the last decade has undermined the past UK trend towards a classless society more at ease with itself and has succeeded in substituting this beneficial trend by contributing to the conditions that have imposed growing income differentials and a re-emergence of the class divisions of the past. Getting BREXIT done to clear the decks for a fantastic future, for some, on the current basis is an abandonment of the wellbeing of the UK constituency.Footnote: According to experienced information technology practitioners the lack of action on the borderless option using advanced IT is inexplicable. Three years would have been ample time implement and test low cost prototypes to demonstrate functionality by involving producers, veterinary personnel, logistics companies, customs authorities and the public. But nothing of this sort was even attempted. This suggests a lack of serious effort to explore the most feasible options to the backstop.
The 2019 Conservative party Conference has started out in a down to business approach emphasising the importance of "getting BREXIT done!
". It is early days yet.
The vote by parliament not to permit a few days recess for the conference took place in the acrimonious atmosphere when parliament resumed its session after the High Court ruling. However, this did not reflect well on the opposition. But time had been lost with the government proroguiung of parliament.
In summary the Conservative position appears to be to bum rush the UK out of the EU so as to clear the decks for the party to introduce amazing policies that paint a glorious future for the United Kingdom. As with the other parties we have seen this type of sunshine projections before on the part of all political parties but in reality delivery of promises remains a serious problem with all British political parties.
In any political party conference, sweeping statements of intent to enthuse the participants are understandable but it is the delivery details that matter to voters.
In an on-stage discussion group made up of Jake Berry (Northern Power House), Esther McVey (Housing) and Nadir Zahawi (Business, energy & industrial strategy) there was a good discussion explaining objectives, all of which made sense. One detail added by Zahawi was the case of a "local" industrial fair in China in a province with around 70 million people and in a "small town", the size of London. Apparently the City of Derby has a stand there but the scale of the potential could be sensed in that simple statement.
McVey explained the use of off-site industrial production of what used to be called "pre-fabricated" housing components to lower costs and raise quality of homes. Berry provided a clear practical picture of an increased devolution based on elected mayor gaining larger budgets to support local economies.
Matt Hancock (Health) has stated future funding in the NHS will avoid the notorious higher interest funding associated with PPP and Gavin Wiliamson (Education) has promised to extend technical and vocational education. All of these objectives are sound. However, the electorate in the UK is not only becoming tired about the BREXIT exchanges they have become very cynical about the ability of British all political parties to step how from their headline statements and deliver their promises. The track record is not good.
During the last weeks we have been conducting an audit on British political party promises and their delivery in government; no party comes off well. Unfortunately the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem party conferences remind us of the stark contrast between what these organizations have promised and have delivered in practice. All political parties in Britain have a very bad track record on delivery, of what, in detail, are attractive propositions; the issue is feasibility. Although they all state they act in the national interests they seldom demonstrate any capacity to collaborate on the formulation of national policies on a collaborative basis.
The political parties, persistently criticise the other parties in a contentious and pernicious fashion forgetting that they are addressing members of their own nation in an attempt to embarrass them in front of the electorate. No matter what people claim to be the cut and thrust of politics this approach to convincing the public of their relevance and of their ability to address needs is distorted by shabby, aggressive and insulting behaviour over rational explanations of the practical solutions to needs. Very evident during this 2019 conference has been the Conservative obsession, a virtually paranoid fixation, with a single person, Jeremy Corbyn. This has lowered the tone of just about every statement made by repetitive asides consisting of a series of negative attributes assigned to Jeremy Corbyn which are obviously a complete fabrication. These range from his purported support of the IRA and other groups, to being anti-semitic. Anyone who takes the time to research Corbyn's activities and political trajectory can see that this type of rhetoric is feeding misrepresentations into the public discourse and it is completley unfair. It is also levered by the corporate media to spread such disinformation. This does not strengthen position of the Conservative party it only reflects very badly on their approach uncovering a certain lack of their own conviction in the strength of their own arguments, a form of weakness and small mindeness. This is not what one would consider to be the qualities people would equate with a desirable nature of national leadership.
Recently there has been too much overt manipulation and misrepresentation giving sight to the visceral underbelly of politics. It is not a system reflecting upon and selecting rational public choices but rather is a battle between isolated factional interests which have little relationship to any common purpose that might be considered to be in the national interest.
It needs to be remembered that political parties are tiny private organizations that have a tiny faction as members. These same organizations, though our bizarre first-past-the-post electoral system can lever themselves from a state of complete insignificance with memberships of less than 1% of the population, into a position of absolute dominance over parliamentary decision-making by securing less than 30% of the vote. As a result, the people of Britain have no representative forum upon which to base decisions that are transparently related to the national interest.
Although the Conservatives state their commitment to the National Health Service, they were, before its establishment (see Conservative poster on the right), the main opponents and ever since have been more aligned with the privatisation thrust buoyed up and promoted by the goods, services and financial service sectors. The biggest challenge remains how to fund all of the array of promises being made by the Conservatives, Labour and Lid Dems.
Conservatives and Labour put much faith in the PPP schemes that were funded by inappropriate financial agreements which have resulted in many Trusts going bust. Part of the thinking is that this was intentional so as to blame the government supported NHS for bad management and to therefore justify privatisation. Private insurance and loan-based schemes have only lead to most of those involved raising their prices such as pharmaceuticals and services, excessive management salaries and levels of management in the case of the NHS, and in education the ramping up of fees and academic salaries in the case of universities.
The Conservatives following the period of Thatcher attempted to remove red tape by switching to "light touch" regulation in the financial sector and reduced the separation of retail and investment banking which led directly to the 2008 financial crisis, largely precipitated through a considerable amount of illegal activity occurring under light touch regulations.
Considerable sections of British industry are owned by large financial conglomerates who promote the buy back of their own shares to generate income for top executives while real incomes and investment in productivity-enhancing actions have declined. The annual focus on "shareholder value"
has overtaken a need for lower profit-taking and emphasising medium to long term investment for survival. On this basis the stock exchange is booming but the economy is not doing as well as stated. That more are now employed than ever before is a function of a bigger population and a significant decline in real wages.
The policy of quantitative easing has provided an incentive for banks to ignore their responsibilities is supporting the macroeconomic policy target of supporting investment in SME, industry and services by taking advantage of the cheap money to invest in assets to gain high returns for their own shareholders. Assets have included housing, commodities, precious metals and objects of art. This has exacerbated the lack of lower cost housing, a steep rise in purchase prices and a significant rise in rents. As a result most young people have no possibility of purchasing their home. So the political party promises concerning more efficient house construction and higher quality does not resolve the continuing damage caused by the continued separation of retail and investment banking that has exacerbated the housing issue.
Melvyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England observed that quantiative easing seemed to have benefited a small group in the financial and banking sector; this is self-evident but the government has taken no steps to curb this cause of increasing income inequality in the UK.
The reality is that much of the time political parties are struggling to justify "new and exciting initiatives"
which are needed to solve serious problems created by the policies introduced by the same or other parties. Many crises facing the country have been policy-induced as a result of poor planning and the tendency of political parties to experiment with new economic policies that have poor practical and beneficial traction.
The new Boris......
A vote on an issue as important as leaving the EU after over 40 years of integration of administrative systems, procedures and supply chains as well as work and family relations should clearly have required a minimum proportion of the voting age population to participate. Then the decision to determine a specific decision should have required a minimum majority. As it was just 65% of the voting age population of 51.4 million, ended up participating. The result was that just 17.4 million voted to leave the EU. As a result, the government has been attempting to have the decision of just 34% of the voting age population prevail over the remaining majority of 66% of the voting age population. Whereas this is not a majority by any means, it does mean that it has become an imperative to consider the position of the remaining 66%.
Many constituents have become disillusioned with the first-past-the-post electoral system in the UK because it devalues the individual vote to the benefit of providing the winning party with an disproportionate and therefore unrepresentative majority in parliament. These are valid reasons for not voting. A referendum is a different non-party affair but the lack of faith in the value of a vote has become pervasive. It is therefore not acceptable to simply state that those who did not vote do not count. Indeed, it is surprising that so many do in fact vote in what appears to be a eccentric parlour game with the name "general election". However, given this reality, the government, currently with no majority, and elected on the basis if first-past-the-post, needs to secure, as a minimum condition, a departure with an agreement for a trade arrangement so as to minimise negative impacts overall.
On the return of MPs to parliament the complex topic of the contextual significance and practical implications of words used in exchanges has been generally recognised to be important in preventing further social divisions.
The approach adopted by the prime minister is broadly dismissive and invariably supercilious which confirms on a repetitive basis, the profile of someone who is unable to engage with others by investing in a serious consideration and reflection of statements made and questions asked of him. However, many assertions by MPs, from all factions, do not always contribute to serious discussion but are just point scoring.
Most of the UK constituency does not spend their breakfast period reading the details of exchanges in Hansard. They rely on a range of newspapers, TV or social media to obtain "news". All of these media thrive on impactful headlines. As a result, the context of what is stated in parliament is lost and given the strength of emotions in parliament they often transmit misleading and wrong, often very damaging messages to the constituents of this country. This can lead to some instances of people taking matters into their own hands to the degree of inflicting physical harm or even killing someone perceived to hold the "wrong" point of view. On balance, this was the point being made by several MPs when they raised the name of Jo Cox and her murder as an example of what can happen when MPs do not moderate their language. But in his established form, the prime minister did not pay enough attention to perceive the underlying message and therefore responded in an unsound manner. His retort of, "Humbug" was totally inappropriate and is highly regrettable. This has brought the level of exchanges in parliament down to a very low level.
Unfortunately, neither the corporate media or government behaviour reflect any "values" that would be bolstered through practical demonstrations of effort to apply a minimum level of due diligence in seeking out a balanced presentation of the facts.
Suffering from time restrictions and lack of information on "negotiations" parliament continues to be unable to exercise its function to oversee and contribute to work of government....
The last three years have provided a case study in examples of constitutional abuse by a political party. This arises from excesses in discretionary decision-making, and this, in the hands of political parties, tends to occur under any government. The main cover given to this abuse is that it is considered to be part and parcel of "politics". But this means unfair and unethical decision-making has become directly linked to political party modus operandi. Because all parties see advantage in this while in government, no serious effort is made to curtail the provisions that encourage this unfortunate behaviour.
Electoral reform involving proportional representation does not remove the absurd degree to which the constitution services political parties that are no more than small private factional organizations that, through our first-past-the-post electoral system can gain control of government. This tiny faction can from that point on marginalize the other parties, parliament and the majority of the UK constituency who end up with no effective representation.
At this time the country needs a leadership that can bring together all sides through a reflective participatory process. Ideas and proposals need to be aired and reviewed in an open fashion. The previous prime minister failed to do this and the current one is doing the same. The justification for such secrecy, repeated by several ministers, is that one cannot expose one's hand when negotiating. This might apply to poker players but not to a the future wellbeing of the constituencies in the UK and EU and the citizens of each grouping living the other's domain; constituents can guide any such processes towards mutually satisfactory and viable solutions.
In spite of the High Court ruling, this government's behaviour on this question of parliamentary oversight, has brought into focus how the current levels of secrecy have in effect continued to deny parliament access to relevant information upon which to have oversight of government actions. This is pointing to a need for the introduction of procedures to make international negotiations on topics, outside national security, more open and transparent. This could be another justification for a change in the law, even another High Court case.
It is more than apparent that the abuse of discretion exercised in the excessive prorogation is being repeated in a parallel abuse of discretion using secrecy as the tactic. The EU Commission was heavily criticised for the secrecy surrounding its former negotiations with the Trans Atlantic deal with the USA. One of the arguments for leaving the EU is to improve transparency in political decision-making. However, the very party that speaks of sovereignty and freedom continues to impose an information blackout and stonewalling tactics to deny any effective parliamentary oversight. This is so self-evident that it is notable that opposition MPs have not made more of this - see the box on the left. The government might end up with a final agreement on trade with the EU but the damage to "parliamentary democracy" and the social cost emanating from poor democratic practice, reflecting poor leadership and the increasing risk of mounting collateral damage in the form of physical abuse and even deaths of citizens, has already passed beyond acceptable limits.
Was the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen unlawful? The High Court has ruled that it was.
In the shoot out in the High Court the bullets took some time to find their marks but we consider the result to have been predictable. What was less expected was for this to be a unanimous decision of 11 judges. This result was a triumph for the rule of law, the High Court and the constitution. The government's advice that the High Court should not venture into this minefield, fell of deaf ears. The outcome has been a significant rise in the constituency's appreciation of the role and significance of the High Court.
The High Court decision on the legality of the government's decision to prorogue parliament has had a salutary effect which has ramifications for a reassessment of the role of the law in relation to the many discretionary powers that exist for organizational decision-making and which in many cases are abused. The "power" to prorogue parliament was a decision commonly considered to be taken at the discretion of the government. However an abuse of this power has been shown to be subject to the law and, indeed, effectively reversed.
This is a complex topic because few realise the degree to which discretionary powers create a disequilibrium in the effect of existing laws on decisions taken by executives in corporations and civil servants in government services and those providing services including private companies on behalf of the government. It is a waste of time solving this issue at the level of government and parliament when the result of this legislature in terms of laws and regulations are subject, in their observance, to abuses of discretion. The constant disasters affecting people's human rights arising at the Home Office can be boiled down to the lack of coherence between the law and the many different levels of discretionary decision-making involving the lower ranks in organizations. The implications represent a hornet's nest but it would seem to be well worth tackling this issue because of the widespread prejudice emanating from "discretionary powers
The financial crisis in 2008 was the result of widespread abuse of discretionary decision-making by financial intermediaries and banks that ventured into law-breaking and unethical behaviour. It would seem that given the High Court's decision in this case could herald a more practical and transparent approach to the breaking of the law of such institutions by imposing remedies that terminate such practice as opposed to absurdly nominal fines that simple degenerate into "a normal cost of doing business
". The High Court has effectively terminated the ability of governments to prejudice representation of parliament by preventing oversight of government procedures and decisions that are an unreasonable exercise of discretion. This has imposed necessary due diligence procedures on government and it is fitting that similar transparent due diligence procedures be imposed on those organizations who have dealings that affect the wellbeing of members of the UK constituency.
We will return to this topic.
Unfortunately the vote to support Jeremy Corbyn's position of whether the Labour party should campaign for leave or remain appears to have disgruntled some delegates because the vote was so close. Although we consider Jeremy Corbyn's position is the most rational it seems that many feel that this vote should have been a "card" vote where all votes would have been counted.
The vote supporting the abolition of private schools is highly contentious but the model of private schools and many "Academies" as ways to make owners rich while standards decline has jaded the opinion of many. Certainly those wishing to pay additional amounts to help their children obtain a better education is a natural human instinct but there is no reason why these schools should receive government subsidies.
The comprehensive education was expanded in 1965 to replace the 11+ system where the majority of children went on to modern schools and a lower level curriculum than grammar schools. However, at the time it was clear that not enough funding had been provided to training to attract competent people into teaching or enough to augment supply budgets. On the other hand private schools continued to receive subsidy through charitable status and other forms of grants.
John McDonnell has stated the Labour manifesto will be fully costed. An important question is whether or not the actual budgetary requirements to revolutionise the state educational system are fully understood in terms of quality teacher training and upgrading and the per pupil cash requirements to cover all that is needed to make a difference to performance. There is a need to avoid the common practice of having teachers subsidise their class needs from their salaries; an increasingly common feature and common practice in the public education sector in the USA.
The biggest danger is that the current approach adopted by Labour will make education a political football just like the NHS leading to constant rounds of instability and disruption as governments change. Any changes need to be mess-proof and this, without adequate funding, is virtually impossible. Just as people are becoming aware of the significance of climate change to children it is self-evident that changes to their education need to have good results within a reasonably short period. In a period when there is a broader acknowledgement of the responsibility of the older generation to prepare children to inherit a stable and sustainable future, this is a tall order.
Many journalists, TV and other media commentators and interviewers are having a serious problem adjusting to reality. Any sensible party wishing to support the breadth of representation needed to provide due consideration for the electorate as well as acknowledge of the result of the EU referendum had to support Jeremy Corbyn's position on BREXIT. His victory reflects well on the party. However, too many media personnel have not understood the reality and have become antagonistic and have attempted to embarrass Labour spokes people. The media pundits are demanding a single position for the Labour party as "remain" or "leave". However, as we have explained in several sections below, the balance of the referendum vote was evenly balanced between around 33% not voting (not registering an opinion), 33% voting to leave and 33% voting to remain. So this is not a binary position and there is no "fence
" as an imaginary object that they accuse Corbyn of perching on.
|EU REFERENDUM RESULTS|
|Not voting||Voting to leave||Voting to remain|
|Source: Electoral Commission|
It needs to be understood that more people did not vote than voted to leave
. This is a reflection of:
- The poor preparation for the referendum in terms of the explanation of the options on the leave side
- The malaise or cynicism that considered votes to count for nothing
- It is likely to have been the result of many did not expecting the vote to go in the direction it did
Therefore a rational party, first of all, will encourage people to register to vote as well as vote and, at the same time, work to provide the electorate with more detailed information on the real options so as to provide an evidence-based choice. Depending on the efforts put into the election, the massive number of voting age people who did not vote could easily alter the balance either way. However, the final expression of preferences would be based on a better access to information on the options. Therefore this approach reflects a far more responsible due consideration of the needs of voters to be informed and of the importance of the vote to the future of the nation.
It is true that British political parties do not have any track record of operating in such a comprehensive fashion. Confrontation and single contrasting positions have always faced the electorate with a list of often incompatible binary choices. It is encouraging to see at least one party that is attempting to break down national divisions by unifying the country by being more in tune with the many and not the few.
Our initial guestimates on a voting scenario resulting from an ambitious redistribution of 50% of the non-voters to voting status and the known original voter intentions is something like this: 15,000,000-16,000,000 supporting leaving with a trade arrangement with EU that minimises economic and social impacts, 14,000,000 remainers and 12,500,000 leaving without a deal, leaving 8,500,000 not voting.
The battleground will be between good deals and remainers so the shaping of the deal to possess protections enjoyed as membership of the EU will require some effort but this is more in line with the Labour party indicative objectives which the Conservative party under Theresa May would not accept. This creates a serious potential problem for the Conservatives in coming up with a deal that matches in terms of minimised economic and social impacts. If Labour manage this carefully they could win the next election with Conservatives and Brexit party coming third and fourth behind the Liberal Democrats.
John McDonnell, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, delivered his conference speech which was interesting and in some parts rousing but it remained thin on explanations of the economic feasibility. It lasted just 30 minutes so there was not much space for detail. However, in all such cases, rather than throw up our hands in horror it is as well to remember that change comes about gradually so what he has been setting out are objectives. The issue is the time scales involved. It is only when these are established that one can assess the economic feasibility. Therefore rather than talk, as some media are doing, of fantasy projects, it is better to reflect on priorities and then scheduling.
Clearly everything he has mentioned including lowering the hours in the working week without reducing pay, eliminating in-work poverty and zero hour contracts to transform the situation from "living to work to working to live
" will be costed. Labour did a better job than other parties in costing their manifesto pledges in the last election, so Labour needs to repeat this exercise in this case. A spoiler is, of course, the likely impacts of trade arrangements with Europe or remaining. But we refer to this topic in leaders below.
He referred to the role of development banks and an increased role for the Cooperative movement. The latter is something the Labour party has tended to underplay in the past. This is a paradox given that Labour has a contingent of Cooperative MPs. Mutuals and cooperatives are likely to be important corporate structures in future economies. This is because of the increasing awareness of the negative impacts of "quantitative easing
" and "financialization
" and emphasis on "shareholder value
The mortgage markets have demonstrated conclusively that mutual building societies are far more cost-effective than banks whose need to carry shareholders increases their costs by around 15%-20% in the delivery of services. Indeed, contrary to the untested narrative, mutuals and cooperatives provide a far greater potential for increased of productivity for the economy and a basis for providing employees with a higher share in corporate income without impacting prices and economic growth. They need help to get going and this is where the development banks could have a vital role.
Green technology productivity
McDonnell then referred to the development of technologies for a
Green future as being a priority; this dovetails into investment through mutuals involving specialised trained personnel. An involvement of trades unions in the training of people could become an important foundation. One of the paradoxes which needs to be clarified is the role of trades unions in mutuals where a role is not altogether obvious, or at least, it is likely to take a different form.
The Labour party, whether intentional or as a result of slip-ups, has turned what many media predicted would be chaos into an impressive forum enabling the expression of across-the-spectrum points of view through a direct participation of attendees so as to move towards cohesion. There is therefore an absence of obvious "stage management
", a characteristic of many party conferences, and this level of transparency arising from this free flow of opposing ideas is to be welcomed. This strengthens the final position, it is also a practical demonstration of participatory decision-making, albeit only involving Labour party members. The arguments in favour of Jeremy Corbyn's apparent position of not defining a binary fixed position is reflective of the majority of the voting age population given that the split between no vote, vote to remain and vote to leave was about even or 33:33:33. For those wishing to leave, the opportunity to see what the cost-benefit of a "deal" is, is a plainly a logical constitutional provision, just as the opportunity cost-benefit of remaining should also be made clear to remainers.
Corbyn's position is helping Labour become the only party attempting to balance the interests of the majority in assessing where they should stand unlike the Conservatives, Brexit party and the Liberal Democrats each of whom have taken up a binary single position which does not reflect the position of the other 66% of the voting age population. Those in the shadow cabinet who are advocating supporting remain need to balance this against the likely quality of any trade agreement. In the end it is this issue which will define the true cost of remaining and or leaving the European Union.
However, in preparation of their manifesto and costed policy presentation Labour could gain a significant advantage if they seriously dedicated a focused effort into preparing the quantitative analyses of their own trade agreement preferences and compare these with remaining in the EU. If this is based on objective analyses this would create an unparalleled information resource and platform for decision-making for the UK voters.
Our awareness of "dark posts" and selective manipulation of social media involving Facebook, Google, Twitter and the spawning numbers of "election analytica" political consultancies tells us that this is already switching into over-drive. We can also, of course, expect the UK media's continuing irrational onslaughts and abuse leveled at the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn, by the UK's corporate "free press" and including the BBC. Labour can only defeat false narratives by promoting transparency and objectivity; this is an imperative.
CybaCity.com will remain a medium that supports balanced reporting.
The UK media have followed an unfortunate example of the US media in focusing on any differences in opinions of members of political parties and blowing them out of context. Rather than make a mountain out of a molehill it is preferable, in the case of the Labour party, to wait and listen to the presentations and debates which will shape a party "position". So the false narrative of people's personal opinions being an attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn is somewhat ridiculous. There is a growing tendency for media to cite "unidentified sources" in an attempt to raise doubts as to Corbyn's ability to continue as leader; this sort of baseless banter illucidates nothing. The fact that someone who was an aid has resigned means nothing in itself unless the media speculates, as it will.
Once the Labour party define their policies this week, a manifesto will be issued and Corbyn, who is an effective campaigner, will, as usual, support that approach. On the question of supporting a specific leave deal or supporting remaining remains an open question. The transparent and participatory approach is to let the people decide in another vote based on the evidence of the relative benefits of what is on offer. So this is not really a political party issue but needs to be decided on the basis of individual judgement of each constituent on their assessments of the likely impacts of better understood options on their lives.
Dawn Butler MP, the Labour party's Shadow Women's and Equality Secretary kicked off the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, with an inspiring speech. Given the topic and the general unease and waining interest in politics and the general malaise sensed throughout the country, her delivery was very well executed and well received; there is, at a very early stage in proceedings a growing upbeat mood amongst the delegates.
Butler did refer to an important part of Labour's strategy in preparing for the next election. This is to get people to register to vote. Currently there are around 2,824,622 people who are not registered to vote and something like 17,804,785 who did not vote in the EU referendum. This number exceeds the so-called "majority" who voted to leave. Our own sense is that registrations will occur amongst younger people of voting age leading also to a further expansion in the membership of the party. Last time the growth in membership during the previous election reflected the success of the party in that election and this baramoter is likely to remains a good indicator.
With some positive noises coming from the European Commission as a preliminary response to the government having presented some ideas on possible agreements it appears that the government has shifted its position. The threat of a "no deal" never was a realistic bargaining chip given that the EU wants an agreement.
Even if the parliament votes in favour of anything produced, the general state of affairs is that this will not be something anyone actually voted for in the referendum. As is well known, more people of voting age did not vote (around 33%) in that referendum and a smaller number voted to leave and a slightly smaller number still, voted to remain (roughly 33%/33%/33%). The leave "majority" constituted just 2.47% of the total voting age population. It therefore makes sense for there to be a second national vote on whether or not the agreement represents what people consider to be an improvement on remaining. This is important because given the current global economic circumstances and the government's record on austerity exacerbated by quantitative easing, any deal needs to be scrutinised in relation to its potential impacts on economic performance and the current protections enjoyed by the population. The potential impacts on families need to be weighed up against the achievement of "independence" through any specific agreement.
In this context the Labour party position of favouring a new vote on the negotiated deal makes sense. The Liberal Democrats have defined their stand and, in the end, members of the Labour party will have to assess the quality of the agreement reached in relation to their conditions set out some time ago, to decide what they will support. At least, if the government does achieve an agreement then the
Brexit party is likely to become the main casualty.
The prorogation case in front of the High Court has been boiled down to the High Court being asked that because this was a political decision it is a minefield so don't go there, on the one hand, and being asked, on the other hand, to acknowledge that silencing of parliament for 5 weeks, not only prevented legislation on several significant bills but this covered the normal 2-3 week party conference recess which is usually tabled and decided upon by parliament. Given the current situation is it likely that parliament would have only asked for a very short recess to cover the congresses but the executive did not provide this opportunity. Given the preparation for the Queen's speech for MPs boils down to a few hours, the case against the government seems to be well founded.
There is some commentary that the new Liberal Democrat's leader Jo Swinson is arrogant because she has stated that if the Lib Dems win an election they will revoke BREXIT. This is to be expected since they are the main remain party. It is common for governments to reverse previous decisions and in the case of the Lib Dems this is to be expected. However, if the proportion of people who did not vote in the referendum was reduced in the case of an election, there are up to 17,804,785 yet-to-be-defined-intension votes, up for grabs. Few have assessed what their opinions are. CybaCity estimate that 50% of this group would gravitate towards wishing to leave but with an agreement, 25% would wish to remain "as is" and 25% to leave without agreement. All parties need to set about encouraging people to vote as well as to register to vote. Around 5%-6% of the voting age population are not even registered to vote. This constitutes around 2,824,622 people, more than double the referendum's so-called leave majority of 1,269,501.
Jo Swinson does not appear to be arrogant but rather she is questioning, to what degree the outcome of the referendum reflects a genuine majority position. This can only be established on the basis of a vote involving the direct participation of a larger proportion of the population. However, this move could raise the likelihood of a Labour victory because of their gravitation towards a negotiated deal followed by a referendum for the people to chose between this agreement and remaining. The personal opinions voiced in the Labour party that Labour should be a remain party seems to reflect a lack of a realistic strategic vision with respect to evolving circumstances. These shifts could significantly diminish the chances of the Conservatives or the Brexit party of gaining an election victory because the consequences of no agreement are beginning to sink in to the population in general.
Many see the issue of this country's decision to leave the European Union as a question of regaining our freedom and sovereignty. But our freedom depends upon the people being able to participate in an effective and transparent way in the decisions that affect their lives. This requires an impartial media, political parties that are truly participatory and with memberships that represent most constituents, decision-making being based on facts, free from partisan bias and often baseless assertions. This can only be secured through a thorough electoral reform and a reduction in the role of small cliques and their particular power and income interests, within political parties, setting and controlling the agendas. The people must be allowed to express their opinions on the issue of importance to them but for this to secure productive decisions and outcomes they need to have access to the full facts upon which to base their decisions.
We have far to travel in this country to secure this state of affairs before sovereignly can be equated with freedom.
The court proceedings on whether or not the prime minister misled the Queen on extending the parliamentary recess (closure) is boiling down to whether this was a legitimate "political" decision or an issue of non-compliance with the law. This is a slightly absurd situation. The opposition parties therefore should, on returning to parliament, organise themselves to put through legislation that stipulates that any form of parliamentary recess be agreed and authorised on the basis of parliamentary vote. This enhances the sovereignty of the people over the government stemming any possible government imposed time-based parliamentary censorship based on closures. Period.
Unfortunately the mainstream media and many confused folk have constantly accused the Labour party of holding a confusing position on the departure of the UK from the EU. Since as explained in this site the balance between those who did not vote, voted to leave and voted to remain is roughly equal (33:33:33). There is therefore no "fence" upon which people accuse Jeremy Corbyn of perching on. Corbyn follows a slower fully participatory system for decision-making and the establishment of party policies developed by the Labour party and this is why his positions take time to form. Those who advocate one position or the other in a binary logic are all expressing personal opinions which tend to fail to acknowledge the real outcome of the referendum.
Therefore the only rational option is for a trade agreement to be agreed with the EU and then to permit the voters decide whether to leave on the basis of that agreement or to remain. That Corbyn states he will not take a position is a reflection of allowing the people of the country to decide based on the evidence put before them and that he would support any outcome. However, in contrast to the original referendum it is essential that any government adds the essential levels of transparency by providing DABs on the new agreement cost-benefits and remain is an essential requirement so far lacking from government decision-making. An electorate cannot be expected to make rational decisions based on statements daubed on campaign buses or on leaflets stuffed through letter boxes. The media also needs to clean up its act and publish in full DAB content.
Note: CybaCity has no affiliation to any UK or foreign political parties; DABs are detailed sector by sector cost-benefit analyses including household real income and employment impacts of proposed change (these are explained elsewhere on this site
One of the topics analysed under the European Commission Information Technology and Telecommunications Task Force (ITTTF) programme preparation work for advanced IT applications during 1984 through 1987, was the concept of "borderless frontier systems"
, or BFS. This was to review the possibility of facilitating customs and other arrangements on border so as to reduce congestion and even remove the need for border inspections of goods in transit. In the contex of the notorious "Backstop" it would seem that such a system is what is required.
We have received some feedback indicating that there is a need to clarify a simple point related to the EU referendum result. Of the voting age population in the UK a larger contingent than either those wishing to leave or those wishing to remain within the EU, did not vote.
Thus, of the 51,356,768 constituents of voting age, some 17,804,785 did not vote. A smaller number, 17,410,742 voted to leave and 16,141,241 voted to remain. The leave "majority" of 1,269,501 is equivalent to only 2.47% of the total voting age population; this is too small a group to justify the introduction of extreme measures that will impact the remaining 66%, the vast majority of the voting age population or 33,946,026 people.
The much-referred-to "interests of the nation"
can only be addressed by securing a balanced solution which, by a logical deduction, needs to include an agreed trading arrangement to avoid a serious economic and social consequences.
The general understanding, at the time of the referendum, given that there exist many types of trading arrangements between different non-European countries and the EU, was and continues to be that any rational basis for leaving
would be on the basis of an agreed trading arrangement while in order to also meet the general desires of remainers, a trading arrangement would avoid altering many aspects of people's lives
With a turnout on the basis of the voting age population being just 65% it is difficult to argue that the leave "majority", based on votes alone, is a justification for leaving without a deal. This is an irrational move given that the EU is our major trading partner. The negative short to medium term economic and social impacts on the UK constituency would be significant. With or without BREXIT, there is an urgent need to stablise the economy, sustain employment and reverse the long downward trend in real incomes, in what are becoming increasingly challenging global and EU market circumstances.
Further revelations concerning what the government has not taken into account in its planning, only adds evidence that a no deal exit from the EU is no longer an option for the UK or Europe.
First of all the real performance of the economy has been declining in real terms for over a decade driven by the policy of quantitative easing (QE) combined with the cut backs on the public sector under "austerity". This has led to a reduction in investment in the productive economy and re-routing of low interest debt into assets by the banks and large corporations including widespread buy-backs of shares, driving up the values of shares without reflecting an substantive improvements in corporate prospects and therefore misleading potential shareholders. Savers surviving off fixed returns have been liquidated and pension are on the verge of facing negative yields on fixed term investments and equity. Already in the EU pension fund managers are being asked to purchase securities with negative yields because of ECB continual extension of QE. The levels of government and private debt exceed the pre-2007 situation, lower middle income families are facing an encroaching cost of living crisis and many people in work, including public service employees are having to complement their purchases by making use of food banks. The international economic tensions promoted through the belligerent rhetoric and actions by the USA with the collusion of the UK government in imposing economic sanctions are causing misery and an unsettling confrontation between the USA and China, Iran and many other countries.
It is self-evident that this is not the time to take decisions that risk adding to the considerable existing uncertainty about the future of the ability of the British economy to support the wellbeing of the people of this country.
The Yellow Hammer report, so-called, provided a glimpse of some short term considerations of the no deal implications on the logistics of goods, food, medical supplies and services. However, there are more fundamental potential medium to long term impacts on the British economy, household purchasing power and employment levels linked to the sensitivity of the cash flow of many services to the timely operations of supply chains that cross the borders to the EU. This sensitivity could become a trigger for considerable instability over which conventional macreoconomic policy instruments would have no obvious means of controlling.
risk yet further stress of the British economy.Read more...
The recent events and the last three years have been a case study of why the UK needs electoral and constitutional reform. This is for many a tedious topic but much of what we have witnessed during the last three years, has been even more tedious. The issues needing change are well-known but the party machines have resisted even giving consideration of them. We review some of the issues and will start a series in order to keep this topic alive.Read more...
From in increasingly aggressive government trying to impose a single way forward to a street revolution aiming to depose the government, no one appears to be attempting to head for the most obvious solution.... Read more...
Jeremy Corbyn made the case today in Parliament why people should not vote for a no deal Brexit. This was the point being made in our observations yesterday and contained in the article below this one. By amassing the sector evidence of the drastic negative impacts on vital supplies, disruption in supply chains and impact on employment, a strong case can be made why the Conservative version of BREXIT, and definitely that of the Brexit Party, represent an abandonment of responsibility to the wellbeing of the people of this country. This could clearly be the platform upon which other parties mount their policies in manifestos in any coming election. Clearly the aping of the Brexit party by the current government is the same mistake as was made in aping UKIP.
There is no need to ape the Brexit party, Corbyn has already explained why their no deal objectives are absurd. However, by dedicating some time to repeating this impact analysis applied to our main EU trading partners, this could be used to inform the other citizens of Europe of the extent of damage to production and jobs in their countries, arising from a no deal BREXIT. Given the economic circumstances in the EU this could help encourage the European Commission and Council of Ministers to pay more attention to these issues facing their constituents and encourage them to become more accommodating in their handling of this affair.
| || We continue to research this topic to prepare more content. to be continued.....|
Conventional macroeconomic policies create winners, losers and those unaffected by policy. This generates inequality in incomes and since conventional policies are unable to control inflation, monetary values decline and with this real incomes also decline. Macroeconomic policies lack traction.Read more...
One of the major causes of the failure in macroeconomic management was the growth in the grey markets that are beyond the reach of macroeconomic policies in spite of the fact they were encouraged by policy and regulatory absurdities within conventional macroeconomic theory and practice. Read more...
Agenda 2030 promotes 17 major systainable goals for development linked to human wellbeing. It is the global programme to bring about changes in social and economic practice to combat climate change, by introducing suatainable ways of production that do not depreciate the carrying capacity of water and land-based ecosystems so as to secure a sustainable future for all.
Many "adults" and leaders have tried to lower the temperature surrounding Greta Thunberg's pronouncements concerning the environment and global warming. Some have suggested she needs to stop because she is scaring the hell out of children.
One of the biggest initiatives to tackle global warming in terms of action is Agenda 2030 which established some 17 Sustainable Development Goals subject to 230 indicators in 2015. The most recent report on progress of this intiative is not promising and there is reason why adults should be becoming so scared as hell as to demand more rapid change. As adults we see inaction of governments and societies in general, and very slow progress where efforts are made. Too much cosmetic unsubstantial support by those taking advantage of "sustainability" as a device by larger corporations to market goods and services that are not sustainable.
The upset and indignation of children is justified and adults need to reassess their need to become more directly involved in encouraging governments and companies to act more decisively and rapidly.
We have set out the 17 sustainable development goals in a separate page together with the over 230 indicators.Read more...
Click on the cover image to download
Paradoxically Agenda 2030 is goal oriented while it not referring directly to the causes of the evolution in human activities towards an unsustainable state of affairs including population dynamics, income level inequity and inflation. These are the main causes for pressure on the resources which we require for future survival.Read more...
The 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report points to significant gaps in the organization of statistical sources through collection, analysis and determination of indicator status. This has resulted in a lack of accessibility to specific indicators, especially in low income countries.
It is stated that the Global Monitoring Network are working to correct this issue. However, after many decades of the collection of statistics by countries that support the United Nations statistical data reporting mechanisms, this points to a significant gap in the preparation for Agenda 2030, especially in the case of lower income countries where some of the factors of most importance to their future sustainability are inadequately monitored.Read more ...
One of the troubling aspects concerning Agenda 2030 has been, in terms of available publications and reports, what many consider to be over-optimistic assessments of the future of smallholders in many low income countries.
What is the smallholder issue?
Some 90% of the world's smallholders have 2 ha. of land and around 65% have less than 1 ha.
FAO and other agencies circulate a considerable amount of material setting out how smallholders can become sustainable. However, in the latest IWSAT 2019 (International Workshop on Analytical Tools) one of the Key emerging issues reviewed was smallholder land holdings and the intense land-grabs that tend to face smallholders as their economy of operations begin to fail with economic growth; a very common scenario that has faced smallholders worldwide. This risks increased poverty, inability to secure sufficient food and a failure to uphold equality.
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We are setting up our alternative media section.
The Middle East is an area of the world where corporate media exercise an excessive amount of discretion over what they report. There is a good deal of censorship and tendentious reporting.
One of the alternatve media that has a long track record in at least balancing up ME reporting is the Al Jazeera Network
. Aljazera, signifying "the island"
, is a Qatari state-funded broadcaster based in Doha, Qatar. Established in 1996, it is owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network. Initially an Arabic news and current-affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has expanded globally into a network with 80 bureaus including the Internet, and specialty television channels in multiple languages. Al Jazeera Arabic channel's willingness to broadcast dissenting views, for example on call-in shows, created controversies in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia, for example, want the channel closed down. Aljazera was the only channel to cover the Afghani war with live reporting since its inception.
Al Jazeera Investigative Unit's series "The Lobby" can be viewed on Al Jazeera. "Lobby" refers to the alleged Israeli government's lobby involvement in what appears to be a scandal and interference in the internal affairs of the UK politics and targeting the Labour party in particular. These investigations resulted in a series of complaints by the groups and individuals involved. In the end OfCom undertook an investigation only to find Aljazera had not breached any acceptable reporting standards including those of bias and impartiality. The last link covers this aspect.
A highly topical programme that covers many important events and processses largely ignored by UK corporate media is Going Underground
. This programme is presented by Afshin Rattansi and appears on the RT Network.Renegade Inc
is a programme hosted by Ross Ashcroft that consists of single-issue programmes covering topics of particular contemporary importance to the UK constituencies. The Private Finance Initiative
This is a topical issue concerning the tactics used by Labour under Blair and the Conservative party to privatise the NHS in the UK.
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