Political Cowards

I cannot help but think that the politicians who are voting for Brexit against their better judgment will rue the day. Presumably they think that kowtowing to the narrow majority of constituents who voted Leave will get them re-elected at the next general election. However when those same constituents see that their vote has left them worse not better off with just as many immigrants “stealing their jobs” they will naturally blame those in power who have led them up this garden path.

Our MPs are elected to use their best endeavours for the good of the electorate, not to be spineless lobby fodder at Westminster. If a politician does not agree with a course of action taken by the government of the day they should vote accordingly.

This is most especially true in the present situation where Britain is about to embark on the most momentous voluntary course of action in a century.

Why Brexit?

There would appear to be no overwhelming reason to trigger Brexit. A minority of the UK population voted for it and a slightly smaller minority voted against it. The referendum was clearly advisory so why do it?

The ordinary voters who voted to leave the EU appear to have been in the main people who felt completely excluded from and powerless in modern society. But the leaders of the Leave campaign were clearly not in that group. So what do the hard line Brexiters including most of the press think they are going to gain from what becomes clearer by the day will be a much impoverished UK?

Why Keep the Union?

I am more and more puzzled by the attitude of the Westminster pro-Unionists? Why do they want to hang on to Scotland? It’s full of pesky people always whinging, always demanding more and costing the English taxpayer a fortune or so we are told; Nicola Sturgeon arguing with the PM about what she wants from Brexit. Why not just let the English have a referendum to get rid?

Firstly I supposed there is sentiment. Maybe the UK PM does not want to end up as the rUK PM and go down in history as the one who lost Scotland, a bit like Lord North losing the USA.

It seems more likely knowing the present Tory government that it is about money. So do they know something the Scots don’t. England has few natural resources and has only a small manufacturing sector. Scotland has oil which England always points out is about to run dry. Is that the clue? Is it actually that Scotland is a useful economic milch cow for rUK? It certainly would explain the hysterical blasts of invective and downright misinformation that accompanies any attempt by Scotland to break free.

Trump and Brexit

This may be a muddled post but it is now a muddled world. The hegemony of the last few decades has started to fray at the edges, probably no more than that. But once a dam wall has been breached a flood is likely. So too Trump and Brexit may represent the breach.

The ruling elite of the uber rich, the large global corporations and their political hangers-on have for too long ignored or been ignorant of the mass of their populations seeing their prosperity and their prospects stagnate. One should remember that these people are not just the old working class but also many in the middle class.Their frustrations and resentments have been exploited by public figures largely for their own ends. Boris Johnson is a classic example of somebody grasping for power on the backs of the disaffected. But Trump is the same only he has succeeded. For all the public record of his statements we actually have no idea what he believes in, let alone what he will do over the next four years.

The reaction to this muddle has also been apparently muddled. Why has the English Press so insanely and viciously attacked the Judges ruling on Parliament and Brexit? It does not make sense as Brexit is part of the breakdown of  the old order. Unless the Press Barons see an opportunity for more power which we can’t see.

Nothing in the future is predictable in this sea of uncertainty. However This turmoil is unlikely to solve the problems of the Trump and Brexit supporters nor will it solve the refugee crises and the growing problems of youth unemployment. It is likely to lead to further disruption in the EU and the Middle East as populist parties take advantage of the situation in forthcoming elections and conflicting loyalties and policies add to the troubles in Syria and North Africa.

Much will be written and many soothsayers will predict our future but uncertainty will be the only certainty.

Neo-Liberalism

The Poor Had No Lawyers by Andy Wightman and The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein catalogue the steady usurpation of power and wealth by the uber rich. I believe we are living through a particular explosion of that process. Klein highlights the method of taking advantage of crises by neo-liberals. The 2008 crisis gave a perfect opportunity to the Cameron-Osborne Tory government to do just that and to hasten the transference of power and state assets to the top 1%.

The continued existence of tax havens and the failure to catch tax dodging, the asset stripping and disruption of the NHS, TTIP, the privatising of the probation service and prisons are but a few examples of what is being done.

Migrants are People too

The EU and particularly France and the UK have a refugee problem which is rapidly getting out of control. Let’s say that in Calais the French and UK police manage to stop any migrants getting near the Channel tunnel. This will lead to a steady build up of more and more people squatting in and around Calais. The flow of refugees from Africa and the Middle East is accessing the EU far away in the South so stopping the flow at Calais is not going to stop the EU ingress.

However doing nothing will only make the flow increase. Apparently millions of people around the world are on the move filling refugee camps in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is like an unstoppable force of nature. Maybe not stoppable but it can be better managed like the rechanneling of a river. Taking in refugees at one end, preparing them for another life elsewhere and then letting them move on.

I can only tentatively suggest that Europe has to create accommodation for refugees, work with their existing skills and add to them through education and training to make them citizens that other countries will wish to take on. For example the UK is importing huge numbers of nurses from countries which can ill afford to lose them. If the UK created a surplus of nurses through refugee training, those countries might not lose out so badly.

As it is the current UK and French policies are counterproductive, absorbing huge resources of money and manpower and not solving the problem.

The State of the Parties

I am amazed at the shambles of the Labour Party. Surely losing Scotland should have been a wake-up call. However what is happening does probably fit a wider picture. Neoliberals have taken over the lunatic asylum. The Labour Party would do well to read Richard Murphy’s book the Courageous State which can be ordered through the blog. There is an alternative to Austerity. More and more respected economists and financial institutions including the IMF have come to that conclusion.

Jeremy Corbyn could win a general election. That is why the neoliberal elite have mounted such a fierce, violent and scurrilous attack, going to the extent of calling in Tony Blair. It smacks of Gordon Brown’s intervention in the Scottish referendum. Except that up to that point Gordon did at least have some credibility. The present anti-left campaign within the parliamentary Labour Party has the same provenance as the anti SNP campaign which incidentally shows no sign of abating. It is the deadly dread that the English electorate might wake from its slumbers as happened in Scotland and actually realise that, in spite of the rhetoric about the working people, the Tories are totally focused on furthering their neoliberal objectives. And it would seem there are enough fellow travellers in the parliamentary Labour ranks especially amongst the leadership contenders to make sure that no alternative economic plan is given credence.

The upshot is a parliament which is made up of two major neoliberal parties. In some countries both parties would be regarded as right wing. This leaves the SNP’s 56 MPs as the only substantial party with opposing views. And they will be vilified at every turn.

We are in five years of neoliberal mayhem and major negative campaigns against any alternatives.