November 22, 2011

Government does not solve problems - it subsidizes them.

The global economy is in “a devil of a mess” according to Ken Clarke, UK Justice Secretary.

Thank you Ken, we already knew. And we know that none of you in government have the foggiest clue how to put it right. You are working on old solutions to old problems, and no amount of history will provide the answer. 

You haven't yet worked out that we need new solutions to new problems.  Rapidly widening inequality, pointless wars, diminishing resources, climate change; all new problems needing new solutions. The history books won't help us now. Taking the hard decisions will.

Problem - high inequality. The income gap had been closing since Victorian times, but now it's widening at a terrifying pace. Top company executives are now earning more than 75 times the average wage. In 1980 it was about 13 times. The Green Party has long considered that 10 times is about right.

Average UK wages have increased threefold since 1980, the chief executive's package at the now partly state-owned Lloyds Bank has increased by more than 3,000%. This is an astronomical pay rise for poor judgement, bad management, and downright fraud.

Tough talk about market forces is tantamount to bullying. The 1%ers are just well connected idiots whose proof of greed, mismanagement and foul play is on record. It's time to call their bluff. The High Pay Commission recommends transparency, accountability and fairness I recommend pay cuts.

Problem - war.  There are always those who think wars can be a catalyst to move past a crisis. Military rhetoric surrounds us. War is not a tool to solve our current problems. It is an abhorrence. Mumblings about Iran grow louder. Israel and the US are about to start playing the war game entitled  Juniper Cobra 12 to check that their missiles can be properly co-ordinated in times of what can only be called blatant aggression.

Israel is a nuclear power and more than willing to use it (but that's a secret of course). The US is a nuclear power and has already used it. What has Iran done to deserve our wrath- apart from not cowering to the whim of the West.

War with Iran will cost taxpayers dear. It will not solve our economic problems. It will make them worse. I recommend an outbreak of peace together with military spend being diverted to clean energy projects worldwide. The armed forces have the engineers, the logistics, the manpower.

Problem - diminishing resources. We cannot have unlimited economic growth in a world of finite resources.  Water scarcity looms. Land to grow unsustainable crops to feed and mobilise a massive increase in human numbers is in short supply, yet we cannot kick the old habits of thoughtless consumerism. We eat too much meat, use too much oil, pollute too much air. In short we are, unscrupulous, unethical, unsustainable. We have to change our ways and no government has the guts to tell the truth. Listen if you will to the tired old political rhetoric, but it won't solve the problem. Lifestyle change will.

Problem - Climate change. It's galloping up to us right now. Atmospheric CO2 has risen from 310 parts per million to an alarming 389 in just 50 years. Precious little is being done about it. NIMBY's don't like windmills, bird lovers don't like them offshore; governments spend fortunes (of our money) promoting nuclear because it gives them weapons grade material. It seems everyone likes the dirtiest power source of all - coal. Or do they want magic? I recommend New Education  for all based on ethical lifestyle and hands-on problem solving.

For too long governments have been put into office by big money and big media to do their bidding. The people and the planet are not even second. They were not even on the agenda - until now.

Hat's off to the Occupiers, to the Trade Unions, to the people waking up to the real world. We are on the agenda, and we might just write it!

November 16, 2011

White Poppies Make History

The outbreak of red poppy fascism across the British media is alarming. The red poppy has morphed into some kind of corporate uniform to the point that it seems probable that anyone attempting to enter the BBC last week, without said appendage, would be turned away.

Do the wearers understand what they are doing? Have they given it even a modicum of independent thought? Have they considered the White Poppy for peace?

I do not want to take anything away from the British Legion whose work in picking up the pieces of the war ravaged is very important, but I do wish to say that war is not the glorious sacrifice we are taught it to be. Today’s wars are about resources, destabilization of sovereign states, and big big money. The military /industrial complex cannot wait to do their version of ‘picking up the pieces’. The lucrative rebuilding contracts are the icing on the cake for the mega corporations who have already creamed off the tax-payer subsidised weapons manufacturing industry. The arms trade rub their collective hands with perverse glee as they watch the built-in obsolescence of their products obliterating countries where they personally have no chance of being harmed. Killing, maiming, genetically mutilating, destroying, indiscriminate and arbitrary execution - no weapon or tactic is too abhorrent to use. More bombs and tanks can easily be made – and sold - to governments who continue the relentless cycle in cruel denial of basic truths and human rights. Today’s wars are not the honourable red poppy event of misty-eyed valour they have been painted to be. Today’s wars are about as far from courageous self-defence as you can get.

As independent thought is being ground out of us, conflict resolution is shunned. Research into what makes a good peace is cast into the wilderness and the proposed Wales Peace Academy languishes in the back rooms of despair together with those great thinkers who know there is a better way. Peace has been given a bad name because there is no money in it for the greedy few. 

In the face of unrelenting moves to ever more vile wars, peace campaigners in Newport have resurrected the White Poppy, and it is to the credit of the British Legion in Newport (SE Wales) that for the first time, possibly anywhere, the White Poppy wreath was laid as part of the official rembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph in Clarence Place. For just one moment it was possible to think that the laying of White Poppy wreaths would no longer be a clandestine activity, as if peace was not to be talked about in polite circles and White Poppy wreaths laid only at dead of night. For one moment Peace was actually up front and on the agenda.

The Peace Pledge Union have this year sold more white poppies than any time since 1934. When they bother to consider the reality, people are thinking differently about war.

November 03, 2011

I Mind that You Have Bought My Government

The Greek government has defaulted. Should we rejoice? 

For the most part Greece has defaulted on the impossibly high interest rates it has been asked to pay for borrowing money to survive in a system of economic duplicity and political corruption. Any smidgen of growth Greece can wring from its depleted economy will go towards paying interest rates forced upon them by the undemocratic ratings agencies such as Standard and Poor, and the banking cartel who like to think they have us all firmly stitched up in their grubby little mits.

The third world – or that which we laughingly call the developing world – which has been prevented from developing largely by the sharp practice of the IMF, the World Bank, and utterly mis-named fair trade agreements, has been in this position for decades, with any economic surpluses being put not towards their own growth, but to the bottomless coffers of the banking fraternity in the form of interest rates, infamously known by its other name: usury.

Some of us look upon the panic in the EU and the US with wry amusement. Some of us are taking part in the downfall of the industrial-military-political complex of greed by getting out there and Occupying. Others are wringing their hands because life as we know it is ending.

St Paul’s Cathedral, the chair and trustees of which are drawn from the financial conglomerates of Lloyds Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers , has, by a twist of fate been hosting the London Occupy movement in the face of enormous pressure from the Establishment. Yet it has remembered its first calling, the people, and faced down the bankers.

Italy is next in line to default, and the sharp suits lining up at the G20 belie the panic. The Euro currency is falling apart. When EU monetary union was formed, they forgot the story of the Three Little Pigs, and built their houses on straw. But it is not the Big Bad Wolf which is blowing their houses down, it is the quiet decisions of the people.

Peacefully they congregate in the face of violence. They know it will work. Governments send in the troops to put off other would-be occupiers, but still the movement grows.

Young people are rising above their tick box education with the vision to see right through this system of greed. The bankers, blinded by decades of unfettered greed, have wormed their way out of a mere 0.05% on financial transactions commonly known as the Robin Hood Tax. Aided and abetted by government they spontaneously combust at the thought of higher taxes on the rich – even though a one-off, one year only, tax of 20% on the top 10% UK wage earners would wipe out the £800 billion UK deficit in one foul swoop.

Their greed is paving the way to their own undoing. They think they can buy us all. They have bought our governments, and manipulated our systems for the furtherance of their own pointless gratification. Ordinary people are feeling stitched-up. They have stopped buying ‘stuff, they have stopped listening to the propaganda. The sword of Damocles hangs over every job in town and the belts are drawing tighter. Economic growth is no more. Bankers and governments are looking like ridiculous parodies of Canute as they try to force back the incoming tide of change.

We don’t want a new system, we want those who are being paid to improve our lives to get on and do the job – to work for the future health and security of people and planet.