British ‘democracy’ in action

What will Brexit mean, both short and long-term?  Could it lead to more countries’ rank and file voters deciding to take back control from the elitists who denigrate the hoi polloi?  Or will the elitist establishment continue trampling on democracy?

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Quitting Europe without a deal will hardly sink the UK

Quitting Europe without a deal will hardly sink the UK  By Adam Creighton, The Australian, 1 Jan 2019

Theresa May’s hopeless Brexit deal with the EU, which would leave the country in thrall to Brussels’ rules without a say, is scheduled to face the House of Commons after January 14. Its likely demise paves the way for Britain “crashing out” of the EU by the end of March without a deal. Let’s hope so.

You too must be sick of the fearmongering by liberal economic elites about the supposed dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Britain survived the Armada, Napoleon and Hitler, but leaving a dubiously beneficial supranational bureaucracy that it joined only in 1973 will apparently cause the biggest recession in a century.

Never mind that the British Treasury’s forecasts before the 2016 referendum have proved gobsmackingly wrong. They claimed a Brexit vote would sap Britain’s GDP by 3.6 per cent and lift unemployment by about 500,000. In fact economic growth has accelerated, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.1 per cent, its lowest since the 1970s.

Not to be deterred, the Bank of England is back with even more terrifying predictions, suggesting house prices would plunge 30 per cent in the biggest recession since the 30s as a result of a “disorderly” Brexit. The thousands of refugees in Calais, itching to get to Britain rather than stay in the EU, aren’t paying much attention.

Those unhappy with the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum — overwhelmingly high earners in the media, finance, universities and politics — need to get a grip. Britain is a rich, influential country, the fifth-biggest economy in the world. That won’t change, whatever happens after March 29.

Even if leaving the EU harms the economy a little, the British people have spoken. Democracy trumps technocracy, or at least it should. If leaving the EU ultimately shaves British GDP growth by a little in the future, who cares? If it means a few checks on the Northern Irish border until new arrangements can be sorted out, so be it.

None of these scenarios is worth thwarting the British voters’ verdict: 52 per cent voted to leave.

Even if leaving the EU harms the economy a little, the British people have spoken.

The EU has become government of the elites, by the elites, for the elites. What started as a few sensible intergovernmental agreements in the 1950s has morphed into a costly monster with little legitimacy. Voter turnout at elections for the European parliament has fallen from 66 per cent in the late 70s to 43 per cent in 2014. In Britain, turnout was 35 per cent, suggesting the British in particular care little for an institution they are paying about £9 billion ($16bn) a year.

Free movement of people in the EU has improved life for high-­income Britons, who can flit around the continent with ease. But what about everyone else? Last June, real average weekly earnings in Britain (£490 a week, according to the Office of National Statistics) were still lower than 12 years ago. And that’s the average, which is dragged up by the high-paid in the bailed-out financial services sector. No wonder the figures for median wage growth are hard to find on the government website.

In the Bank of England’s tendentious analysis, none of the costs of staying is considered.

It might be a nice idea, but the EU is failing. “The Union remains mired in deep existential crisis, and its future is very much in doubt,” writes Dani Rodrik, an eminent Harvard trade economist, in his 2017 book Straight Talk on Trade. “The symptoms are everywhere: Brexit, crushing levels of youth ­unemployment in Greece and Spain, debt and stagnation in Italy, the rise of populist movements, and the backlash against immigrants and the euro.” Rodrik would now have to add a France in turmoil, racked by the most damaging and widespread riots since the 1960s, aimed at a president strongly associated with the EU.

The notion the EU is popular in member countries other than Britain is also debatable. In 2005, ­almost 55 per cent of the French rejected a constitutional treaty that would have bound France more tightly to Brussels. The French government hasn’t dared put any similar questions since.

“Historians will one day look back and think it a curious folly that just as the Soviet Union was forced to recognise reality by dispersing power to its separate states … some people in Europe were trying to create a new artificial state by taking powers from national states and concentrating them at the centre,” said Margaret Thatcher in 1994, in remarks that look increasingly prescient.

Unfettered access to the EU’s market isn’t everything. And the share of British exports going there has been shrinking anyway, from 55 per cent in 2006 to 44 per in 2017, according to the British parliamentary library. That’s not much more than the 33 per cent of Australia’s exports China buys.

Outside the EU, Britain would have freedom to negotiate its own deals with faster-growing economies, a benefit the Bank of England and the British Treasury have played down.

As for the EU, under World Trade Organisation rules it could not discriminate against Britain. It could impose tariffs on British goods and services, but by not more than it does on those from other nations, such as the US.

Canada has negotiated a deal with the EU better than WTO rules. Britain could do the same. In any case, it’s unlikely the European firms that own swathes of the British car industry would want their investments undermined. Cars are the single biggest export from Britain to Europe.

Britain famously repealed its Corn Laws in 1846, slashing the price of food for ordinary Britons, and thrived. Perhaps it should do the same again, slashing prices of goods and services. That would have a much better chance of lifting real wages than taxing them to prop up a Brussels bureaucracy.

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Britain’s enemy is not Russia but its own ruling class, UN report confirms

Britain’s enemy is not Russia but its own ruling class, UN report confirms  By John Wight, RT, 20 November 2018

 As the UK political establishment rips itself to pieces over Brexit, a far greater crisis continues to afflict millions of victims of Tory austerity.

A devastating UN report into poverty in the UK provides incontrovertible evidence that the enemy of the British people is the very ruling class that has gone out of its way these past few years to convince them it is Russia.

Professor Philip Alston, in his capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, spent two weeks touring the United Kingdom. He did so investigating the impact of eight years of one of the most extreme austerity programs among advanced G20 economies in response to the 2008 financial crash and subsequent global recession.

What he found was evidence of a systematic, wilful, concerted and brutal economic war unleashed by the country’s right-wing Tory establishment against the poorest and most vulnerable section of British society – upending the lives of millions of people who were not responsible for the aforementioned financial crash and recession but who have been forced to pay the price.

From the report’s introduction:

“It…seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for Suicide Prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation.”

Though as a citizen of the UK I respectfully beg to differ with the professor’s claim that such social and economic carnage seems“contrary to British values,”(on the contrary it is entirely in keeping with the values of the country’s Tory establishment, an establishment for whom the dehumanization of the poor and working class is central to its ideology), the point he makes about it being “obvious to anyone who opens their eyes,” is well made.

For it is now the case that in every town and city centre in Britain, it is impossible to walk in any direction for more than a minute before coming across homeless people begging in the street. And the fact that some 13,000 of them are former soldiers, casualties of the country’s various military adventures in recent years, undertaken in service to Washington, exposes the pious platitudes peddled by politicians and the government as reverence for the troops and their ‘sacrifice,’ as insincere garbage.

As inequality increases, the wealthy and powerful become more desperate to cling onto their gains and distract us with imagined threats and political sideshows. Jingoism, Russophobia and red-baiting…

Overall, 14 million people in the UK are now living in poverty, a figure which translates into an entire fifth of the population. Four million of them are children, while, according to Professor Alston, 1.5 million people are destitute – that is, unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

And this is what the ruling class of the fifth largest economy in the world, a country that parades itself on the world stage as a pillar of democracy and human rights, considers progress.

The values responsible for creating such a grim social landscape are compatible with the 18th not 21st century. They are proof positive that the network of elite private schools – Eton, Harrow, Fettes College et al. – where those responsible for this human carnage are inculcated with the sense of entitlement and born to rule ethos that defines them, are Britain’s hotbeds of extremism.

Professor Alston:“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach apparently designed to instill discipline where it is least useful, to impose a rigid order on the lives of those least capable of coping with today’s world, and elevating the goal of enforcing blind compliance over a genuine concern to improve the well-being of those at the lowest levels of British society.”

Here, set out above in bold relief, is the barbarism that walks hand in hand with free market capitalism. It is the same barbarism that was responsible for pushing post-Soviet Russia into a decade-long economic and social abyss in the 1990s, and the values that have pushed 14 million people in the UK into the same economic and social abyss in our time.

Austerity, it bears emphasizing, is not and never has been a viable economic response to recession in a given economy.

Instead, it is an ideological club, wielded on behalf of the rich and big business to ensure that the price paid for said economic recession is borne exclusively by those least able to bear it – namely the poor and working people. It is class war by any other name, packaged and presented as legitimate government policy.

However, in Britain’s case in 2018, this is a war like no other because as Professor Philip Alston’s report lays bare, one side in this war has been throwing all the punches and one side has been taking them.

As the saying goes, wars take place when the government tells you who the enemy is; revolutions take place when you work it out for yourself.

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The War on Tommy Robinson

The War on Tommy Robinson By Stefan Molyneux, Quadrant Online, 4 July 2018

Explain why white men accused of pedophilia are allowed to be photographed and questioned by reporters on court steps, while Pakistani Muslims are not. Explain why a police force that took three decades to start dealing with Muslim rape gangs was able to arrest and incarcerate a journalist within a few scant hours. Explain why a man can be arrested for breaching the peace when no violence has taken place. To the British government: explain your actions, or open Tommy Robinson’s cell and let him walk free.

The rule of law is fragile, and relies on the self-restraint of the majority. In a just society, the majority obey the law because they believe it represents universal values – moral absolutes. They obey the law not for fear of punishment, but for fear of the self-contempt that comes from doing wrong.

As children, we are told that the law is objective, fair and moral. As we grow up, though, it becomes increasingly impossible to avoid the feeling that the actual law has little to do with the Platonic stories we were told as children. We begin to suspect that the law may in fact – or at least at times – be a coercive mechanism designed to protect the powerful, appease the aggressive, and bully the vulnerable.

The arrest of Tommy Robinson is a hammer-blow to the fragile base of people’s respect for British law. The reality that he could be grabbed off the street and thrown into a dangerous jail – in a matter of hours – is deeply shocking.

Tommy was under a suspended sentence for filming on courthouse property in the past. On May 25, 2018,  while live-streaming his thoughts about the sentencing of alleged Muslim child rapists, Tommy very consciously stayed away from the court steps, constantly used the word “alleged,” and checked with the police to ensure that he was not breaking the law.

Tommy yelled questions at the alleged criminals on their way into court – so what? How many times have you watched reporters shouting questions at people going in and out of courtrooms? You can find pictures of reporters pointing cameras and microphones at Rolf Harris and Gary Glitter, who were accused of similar crimes against children.

Tommy Robinson was arrested for “breaching the peace,” which is a civil proceeding that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Was imminent violence about to erupt from his reporting? How can Tommy Robinson have been “breaching the peace” while wandering around in the rain on a largely empty street sharing his thoughts on criminal proceedings? There were several police officers present during his broadcast, why did they allow him to break the law for so long?

Was Tommy wrong to broadcast the names of the alleged criminals? The mainstream media, including the state broadcaster, the BBC, had already named them. Why was he punished, but not them?

These are all questions that demand answers.

Even if everything done by the police or the court was perfectly legitimate and reasonable, the problem is that many people in England believe that Tommy Robinson is being unjustly persecuted by his government. The fact that he was arrested so shortly after his successful Day for Freedom event, where he gathered thousands of people in support of free speech, strikes many as a little bit more than a coincidence.

Is the law being applied fairly? Tommy Robinson has received countless death threats over the years, and has reported many of them. Did the police leap into action to track down and prosecute anyone sending those threats?

If the British government truly believes that incarcerating Tommy Robinson is legitimate, then they should call a press conference, and answer as many questions as people have, explaining their actions in detail.

As we all know, there has been no press conference. Instead of transparency, the government has imposed a publication ban – not just on the trial of the alleged child rapists, but on the arrest and incarceration of Tommy Robinson. Not only are reporters unable to ask questions, they are forbidden from even reporting the bare facts about Tommy Robinson’s incarceration.

Why? British law strains – perhaps too hard – to prevent publication of information that might influence a jury, but Tommy’s incarceration was on the order of a judge. He will not get a jury trial for 13 months imprisonment. Since there is no jury to influence, why ban reports on his arrest and punishment?

Click here for the video Britons aren’t allowed to see
by the man who has been disappeared

Do these actions strike you as the actions of a government with nothing to hide?

Free societies can only function with a general respect for the rule of law. If the application of the law appears selective, unjust, or political, people begin to believe that the law no longer represents universal moral values. If so, what is their relationship to unjust laws? Should all laws be blindly obeyed, independent of conscience or reason? The moral progress of mankind has always manifested as resistance to injustice. Those who ran the Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves get from America to Canada were criminals according to the law of their day. We now think of them as heroes defying injustice, because the law was morally wrong.

The inescapable perception that various ethnic and religious groups are accorded different treatment under the Western law is one of the most dangerous outcomes of the cult of diversity.

Diversity of thought, opinion, arguments and culture can be beneficial – diversity of treatment under the law fragments societies.

The blind mantra that “diversity is a strength” is an attempt to ignore the most fundamental challenge of multiculturalism, which is: if diversity is a value, what is our relationship to belief systems which do not value diversity?

If tolerance of homosexuality is a virtue, what is our relationship to belief systems that are viciously hostile to homosexuality? If equality of opportunity for women is a virtue, what about cultures and religions which oppose such equality?

And if freedom of speech is a value, what is our relationship to those who violently oppose freedom of speech?

Diversity is a value only if moral values remain constant. We need freedom of speech in part because robust debate in a free arena of ideas is our best chance of approaching the truth.

You need a team with diverse skills to build a house, but everything must rest on a strong foundation. Diversity is only a strength if it rests on universal moral values.

Is Tommy Robinson being treated fairly? If gangs of white men had spent decades raping and torturing little  Muslim girls, and a justly outraged Muslim reporter was covering the legal proceedings, would he be arrested?

We all know the answer to that question. And we all know why.

Diversity of opinion is the path to truth – diversity of legal systems is the path to ruin.

If the arrest and incarceration of Tommy Robinson is just, then the government must throw open the doors and invite cross-examination from sceptics. Honestly explain what happened, and why.

Explain why elderly white men accused of pedophilia are allowed to be photographed and questioned by reporters on court steps, while Pakistani Muslims are not.

Explain why a police force that took three decades to start dealing with Muslim rape gangs was able to arrest and incarcerate a journalist within a few scant hours.

Explain why a man can be arrested for breaching the peace when no violence has taken place – or appears about to take place.

To the British government: explain your actions, or open Tommy Robinson’s cell and let him walk free.

Stefan Molyneux is the host of Freedomain Radio

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More articles concerning British ‘democracy’

About Peter Senior

I'm a very experienced and pragmatic management consultant. I've reviewed and led the restructuring of many organisations - large and small corporations and Government Departments, much of the time as President of the New Zealand Institute of Management Consultants. Before that I was General Manager of a major NZ newspaper; earlier, an analyst for IBM UK. I gained an honours degree in engineering at London University, and studied management at Cambridge University. This wide range of experience has left me frustrated: I continue to see too many examples of really bad management. Sometimes small easily fixed issues; sometimes fundamental faults; and sometimes really tricky problems. Mostly these issues can be fixed using a mixture of common sense, 'management 101' and applying lessons from years of management experience. Unfortunately, all too often, politics, bureaucracy and daft government regulations get in the way; internal factors such as poor culture and out-of-date strategies are often evident. So what's gone wrong, and why, and most importantly, how to fix 'it'? I hope there are like-minded people 'out there' who will share their thoughts enabling 'us' to improve some significant management failures that affect the general public. If you just accept bad management, you don't have the right to complain! If you'd like to share thoughts on any aspects of management, send me an email to petersenior42@gmail.com . My latest project has the interim title 'You’ve been conned. Much of what you were taught and read is largely irrelevant, misleading or plain wrong – this is the REAL story of life: past, present and our possible future.' The working paper so far comprises 105 pages, many listing references and interim conclusions. The main problem is finding sufficient credible evidence, and realising the more Iearn, the more I realise I don't know!
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