Corporate Capitalism has replaced democracy

Todays election talking point (Image source)

A few of you may have noticed we are to elect a new government in less than a month. Election fever in the media is building to a climax as politicians of all parties and political pundits of all shades of self interest spout endless empty rhetoric about British values and democratic principles and who is best placed to save the NHS.

So far all of this has failed to inflame passions in the national psyche, the three main parties, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat are utterly discredited and have totally lost the trust of the voters. Supporters of each are clutching as straws from the straw polls to try and claim their party is surging forward while support to the others is crumbling.

It is not so, more important than what the published data from polls tells us is what they don’t tell us, i.e. how they allocate the votes of people who have not made up their minds, say they do not intend to vote or simply decline to answer the questions.

To further complicate matters there is the question of upstart parties such as UKIP, SNP and the Greens, in previous elections just bit part players but now looking set to play a significant role.

The nature of our ‘first past the post’ voting system, which has ensured many people – myself among them – have never had the prospect of somebody we actually supported being elected as our Member of Parliament, also means that the only parties with a realistic chance of winning enough seats to enable them to form a government without minority party support are Labour and The Conservatives. As in the outgoing parliament, the party most likely to achieve third place, the Liberal Democrats, might hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.

In the campaign so far, leaders of the three main parties have hogged television and newspaper coverage and embraced a cosy consensus based on the need to continue with ‘austerity’, open the borders to more immigrants, give high priority to all issues related to gay and ethnic minority rights and support all military interventions in poor nations launched by the USA. They quibble over the nature or speed of cuts to the public sector and public services but none can suggest how the government deficit might be brought under control without far deeper cuts that any will talk about, or corresponding tax hikes which is another topic that is off limits.

All three main parties are pro-big business, support Britain’s further integration into an increasingly federalised European Union and are aligned with the neoliberal economic agenda set by the financial cartel based in the City of London and on Wall Street and by the major transnational corporations. Thus all are committed to signing the iniquitous “Free Trade” agreement being pushed by the corporate puppet Barack Hussein Obama and his corrupt administration in Washington, the Trans – Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP), which will free global corporations from the tiresome obligation to obey national law on trading standards, consumer protection or workers rights.

Think Tanks like Chatham House, Centre for Policy Studies, Foreign Policy Centre, Reform, Institute of Economic Affairs and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which are really slush funds for academics and failed politicians and which most British voters have never heard of) determined long ago the pro-corporate and generally pro-Washington policies that the main parties will sell to the public.

Bullying tactics in the world of party politics, powerful lobbying groups funded by corporate money and the revolving door between private corporations and the public sector (government departments and QUANGOS) have also helped shape the pro – corporate, pro – globalist agenda.

In 2012 veteral Labour MP Austin Mitchell, who is not seeking re – election, described the UK’s four biggest accountancy firms as being “more powerful than government.”

Mr. Mitchell said the companies’ financial success allows them privileged access to government policy makers. Of course the case for similar ‘privileged access’ could also be made about many other sectors, not least the arms industry and global agritech companies which armed with their poisons, unsustainable model of industrial agriculture and fraudulent claims for their products have been working hand in glove with government to force GMO’s into the UK despite most people holding the view that potatoes will not benefit from having the gene that makes them die when exposed to highly toxic to humans herbicide sprayed on them.

The power and influence of think tanks, lobbying firms and cronyism means the major parties provide the illusion of choice and democracy, but in reality offers the public via propaganda spread by the toothless and supine corporate media the choice of being governed by A, A or A. The knockabout, name calling, schoolyard squabble level debate of party politics serves as entertainment for a public that is increasingly disillusioned with politics, but does not effectively mask the reality that whoever wins the election, for the next five years the same people will be running the country as have run it for the past five, and the five before that.

The main parties have all accepted economic neoliberalism and the financialisation of the British economy and all that it has entailed: weak or non-existent trade unions, shinking manufacturing base, an ideological assault on the public sector, the offshoring of jobs, deregulation, privatisation of essential industries (and worse, the removal of laws that prevented foreign interests owning certain essential industries, and an economy dominated by financial services.

In Britain, long gone are the relatively well-paid manufacturing jobs that helped build and sustain the economy. In its place, the country has witnessed the imposition of a low taxation regime, low-paid and insecure ‘service sector’ jobs (no-contract work, zero hours contracts, macjobs, call centre jobs – much of which soon went abroad), a real estate bubble, credit card debt and student debt, which all helped create the illusion of a functional economy in order to maintain demand during the debt – led boom years under Labour Prime Ministers Blair and Brown.

Levels of public debt spiraled, personal debt became unsustainable and the deregulated financial sector demanded the public must write down its own gambling debts.

The economy now relies on a banking and finance-sector cartel that specialises in rigging markets, debt creation, money laundering and offshoring profits in various tax havens. The banking industry applies huge pressure on governments and has significant influence over policies to ensure things remain this way.

The economy, and the need to solve its problems will be glibly discussed throughout the campaign but there will be few words spoken about why or how the top one percent in the UK increased their wealth substantially in 2008, while the economic crisis was wiping out savings, destroying pension funds and sending unemployment figures rocketing. Even less will be said about why levels of inequality, under both the Conservative and Labour governments before 2010 and the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition have sky rocketed over the past three decades.

Above are some of the reasons why my vote will be going to the upstart Libertarian party UKIP (for the benefit of University Brainwashed politics and social science graduates, Libertarian does not mean “Extreme right wing” is actually means “opposed to the authoritarianism offered by Labour and Conservatives,) the only party that offers a way to smash the political metastasis the two parties of government have led us into.

UKIP are also the only party that can save the NHS because they are the only party that understands the NHS is in crisis because of a bloated and incompetent management structure. SO BLEAH, you hand wringing, wailing, teeth gnashing left wing idiots.

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The One We’ve All Been Waiting For: The Credit Crunch..

It’s here at last folks, the show you have all been waiting for, The Conservative Party Credit Crunch Conference. How interesting it will be as Lord Snooty Cameron and his Pals take centre stage to hear what they have to say about the meltdown of the global economy and the irresponsibility of the Merchant Bankers who caused it. Especially when you remember Lord Snooty and his Pals were at school with that very same bunch of Merchant Bankers. In fact some of Lord Snooty’s chums used to be Merchant bankers when they were younger but, we hear, now they are serious politicians their tastes have matured and they can only be satisfied by a couple of visits a week to Nanny Whiplash.

No doubt as the chums take the podium they will unite behind Lord Snooty Cameron in blaming the hapless Gordon Brown for the crisis. Fair play, he was in charge of the tuck money for eleven years but we must not forget it was Lord Snooty’s Party, The Conservatives, led by Margaret Thatcher who kicked off the economic madness that led to the bubble and squeak economics of the past quarter century by a hasty and ill though out package of deregulatory measures.

Before Thatcher’s disastrous meddling on behalf of her hubby’s cronies, short selling, known by the much more sinister sounding name of arbitrage, the process of selling something one does not own in the expectation of buying back the asset more cheaply before returning it to the owner at a profit was illegal. People could go to prison for it. So was arbitrage a restrictive practice holding back markets or just good sense.

Whatever we think, short selling, in effect betting on stock market movements, was so lucrative that trade in “derivatives,” administrative vehicles facilitating such trades, became more profitable than trading in boring old stocks, commodities and bonds. The risks became greater too but nobody mentioned that.

As time passed the Merchant Bankers became more greedy and took bigger risks. They were not risking their own moolah of course, oh no, they were betting with your pension funds and personal savings.
There have already been two financial disasters, in the early 1990s and the dotcom + 9/11 bust of 2000 and 2001. if once is unfortunate and twice looks like carelessness to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, then three times is downright stupidity.

So it will be a tad hypocritical for Lard Snooty and his pals to stand up and condemn the Labour Party for mismanaging the economy. They were simply playing the game invented by the Conservative economists with more flair and panache than the Conservatives have shown.

So it will be like blaming Brazil for England’s decline as the foremost footballing nation.

Labour’s Great Triumph Over Child Poverty

On the first day of the Labour Party conference the boy politician Davo Milliband said the party must be more positive in talking about its successes.

One of those successes, a resounding triumph according to Labour leaders has been in reducing child poverty. Labour politicians are always banging on about it.

How ironic then that young Davo should bring up the topic of Labour’s successes in words addressed to delegates to the Labour conference in Manchester on the same day that a new report revealed 1 in 4 among children in the North West is living below the official poverty level.

Wonder if Davo has any thoughts on how to be positive about that.

While we are on the topic of poverty it is perhaps worth remembering that one of Labour’s most iconic figures from the past, Aneurin Bevan, said “poverty of aspiration leads to poverty of spirit.”
So there you have it. Poverty is not just about money.

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The Party’s Over?

I guess few of us have been able to resist a smug chortle at the discomfort of Tony Blair this week, especially as it followed hot on the heels of an embarrassment for Hug-a-Hoodie Cameron. The Spinmeisters are coming unravelled.
But before we revel too much in the fact that Blair is about to be chucked out of office for doing something every Prime Minister since 1832 has done, we should think of the wider implications.
For decades Little Nicky has been arguing that Britain’s Parliamentary system with its official parties of government and opposition is undemocratic and breached the British constitution (yes ever unwritten constitutions can be breached)
How so?
The British Parliament is founded on the basis that elected representatives should put the interests of their constituents before loyalty to anything other than the nation itself. The political parties in Parliament operate in a way that requires MPs to put loyalty to party before anything else. The party whips offices are a blatant breach of everybody’s civil rights when they pressure MPs to toe the party line.
Under Blair’s premiership the flaw in this system has become very obvious as the party whips* (very appropriately titled considering the miasma of sex-sleaze surrounding both parties) have bribed, bullied and coerced junior members to support policies which put the interests of the American administration before those of either the British state or the residents (even the non – voting ones) of any constituency.
In future Little Nicky will be exhorting his rapidly growing band of followers to support The Greens, The Rainbow Alliance, The Monster Raving Looney Party, Independent candidates, UKIP (they’re a laugh), Respect or any other fringe candidate contesting any election in the UK. And if your only fringe candidate is a BNP supporter – well the least unacceptable option must be the Lib Dems because at least they support proportional representation, the system in which every vote counts.
It’s a system that favours the voters against the interests of the self-interest party and the “resistance-is-futile-you-will-be-assimilated” party.
Not only can we get the buggers out if we put our minds to it, we can make sure they never get back in.

*officials of the parliamentary groups whose function is to ensure members stay “on message” and are not tempted to try to think for themselves.