Oct 162011
 
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I’ve had a few already this weekend.  (Treasonable thoughts I mean.)  And I’m beginning to wonder if the crime of treason hasn’t been outgunned by modern business practice.  After all, in the olden days, what was Caesar’s belonged to Caesar, and what was God’s belonged to God.  No confusion there.  And anyone who transgressed would surely end up on the wrong end of a crucifixion.  But these days, the most relevant nexuses of power seem to revolve around corporations, their deniable outriders the ideologically-based think tanks (more here), their ever-present lords and masters the shareholders – and any politician who dares to let him- or herself get mixed up in the resulting stew of conflicted interests.  In this case, the nation states seem more like God every minute of every day: last in the line and forever begging for adhesion – whilst those Caesar-like corporate interests ensure themselves first bite at the sinful apple of previous lore.

Under such circumstances, and under such widespread acceptance of the model in question, it would seem that as a practising politician who supposedly operates on behalf of a nation state, it is possible to work in favour of the interests of another state by simply associating oneself with such supposedly charitable-like lobbying organisations.  No one looks in askance.  No one actually ever finds it in themselves to accuse you of working for a foreign power – even though you are.  These are revolving doors which everyone, on both right and left of the political spectrum, expects to have access to.  There is no interest at all, then, from the governing elites to prevent this kind of disloyal behaviour – nor bring it to anyone’s attention as being thus.  It is sanctioned and accepted – until one day, that is, someone goes just a little too far and brings to the cauldron matters like Mossad, toppling Iran and being debriefed by MI6.  After which it becomes just a little bit too murky – or perhaps, instead, that is laughable – for anyone to want to be even mildly associated with such shenanigans.

In plain language and to summarise: it would appear that important and influential politicians at the heart of British government have been working with a “charity” which has the support of American corporate interests: interests which in the United States have set up a massive deniable outrider called the Tea Party in order to coerce the American people into accepting a series of political frameworks no one in their right mind would ever choose to sanction.

As far as the British body politic is concerned, the purpose of the aforementioned “charity” clearly seems to have been to drive a political fifth column into the centre of Conservative thought.  And if David Cameron really does want to deal with lobbyists, as is claimed to be the case, he needs to do so from this particular perspective: Britain may continue to have global friends all over the place; may continue to need them; may, even, be wise to continue to make them … but friends who aim to turn your cosy home with Welfare State included into a shopping mall of distant and jungle law, a law which – what’s more – they not only write but also administer … well, really they do not deserve the designation of friend – nor merit the reciprocal act of a friendship exchanged.

William Hague might very well distance himself thus:

Hague said he had only been a “name on the letterhead” for the Atlantic Bridge thinktank set up by Fox. “It doesn’t mean that you know how the thing is being run in detail,” he said.

Another deniable outrider then?  Another act of betrayal in the name of international relations?  Or another piece of incompetence from the incompetent?

To be honest (and I apologise right now for the bad language I have been driven to use in this post), I think it’s all bollocks myself.  They all know what it’s about – on both sides of the fence.  They’re politicians, for goodness sake.  And politicians live on the cusp of fresh gossip.

Not just bollocks then.  Eighteen carat bollocks, in fact.

*

The real question, of course, is why no one in the mainstream cared to unearth it all sooner.  And why now they’ve suddenly decided it’s a story worth running.

Weird stuff from the very top of the pyramid, this.  Weird stuff, indeed.

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Oct 162011
 
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It is always thus.  As soon as people actually pick up the gauntlet of democratic participation and activism (more here on the British background to this movement), the worldview presented by many in the media is one of democracy threatened rather than strengthened.  And yet, it should not be so.  People who participate and give of their time freely in such enlightened ways inevitably enrich economies, cultures and societies all.  An engaged populace should be valued not only by those who have very little – but also by those who find themselves at the very top:

In an interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney called the demonstrations, which are slated to spread to cities across Canada on Saturday, “entirely constructive.”

“I understand the frustration of many people, particularly in the United States,” he said. “You’ve had increase in inequality because of … globalization, because of technology. You’ve had a big increase in the ratio of CEO earnings to workers on the shop floor.”

We should be entirely entranced by democratic outpourings such as these which – in the midst of massive economic crises – show how intelligent and clued-up the masses are.

These are not the unthinking masses of ancient capitalist lore but the informed masses which half a century of free state education has brought home to our democracies everywhere.  These demonstrations are nothing more nor less than the logical consequence of a society where sharing and understanding data has become the prime mover and dynamic in the bringing-up of our youth.

This is no longer a pyramidal society where only those at the top understand the complexities of life.  Now, we are all privy to the information and understandings we need.  We still have the old structures in place, of course.  And we, as the less privileged classes, sometimes make mistakes when we draw hasty conclusions.  But these mistakes are generally out of ignorance not malice – and stride hand-in-hand with an honourable thirst for real knowledge.

Not something that can be said about all of those who still pull the levers of power these days.
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Further reading: this piece from El País today is inspirational.  You can find it here in Spanish and here translated via Google.  Beautiful stuff.  Meanwhile, here, from the OccupyLondon page, we have the following Key Facts you might also wish to consider, whilst you cogitate a little further on what’s happening across the world this weekend:

Bank bail-outs:
The Bank of England estimates that the total costs of bailing out the financial system is £1.3tr, or more than 10 times the entire NHS budget.The UK bank bailout accounts for about 1/3 of the global banking bailout.
3 years on the British government continues to subsidise ‘too big to fail banks’ banks:
  • £46 billion: the combined subsidy the ‘Big Five’ UK banks enjoyed in 2010;
  • £10 billion: of British taxpayer’s money was paid in indirect subsidy to Barclays
  • Lloyds, RBS, HSBC and Nationwide also enjoyed subsidies of £15bn, £13bn, £7bn and £1bn respectively.

The ‘too-big-to-fail’ subsidy for the UK’s largest four banks is 62% higher than the equivalent subsidy in Germany, despite the fact that the German economy is significantly larger.
[New Economics Foundation, Quid Pro Quo, September 2011]
Austerity cuts:
£83 billion: the amount of public sector cuts planned by the government by 2014-15. Effectively cutting the incomes of ordinary people by

  • 6.2% for typical families with two young people on modest earnings (£37,000 combined income)
  • 4.2% for more well off families with children at university (£78,000 combined income)
  • 10.4% the average working lone parent with two children
  • 16.2% pensioner couples

The cuts are hitting the poorest hardest according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
[TUC, Where the Money Goes, October 2010:]

Unemployment:

  • The economy has lost 2 million jobs since the beginning of the recession.
  • 2.57 million people out of work (or 8.1% of working-age population)
  • 21.3% of 16-25 year olds out of work. That is almost 1 million young people, the demographic group that has lost out most from the fall in demand for labour.
  • 250,000 jobs have been cut in the public sector in the last year.
  • Research published by TUC on Monday found that those previously working in the lowest paid jobs make up nearly half of all new unemployed claimants since 2008.

Inequality:

  • The top ten percent now have 100 times the wealth of the bottom ten percent.
  • The top ten percent earn 4.1 times the incomes of the bottom ten percent, with the top 1 percent more than 10 times. The same figure was 3.1 in 1961.
  • The average CEO earns 250 times the average cleaner.
  • Levels of social mobility are the lowest among all developed economies.
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