62 families – about 550 people – call the worldwide wealth shots, and the majority are American. The average EU bureaucrat’s pension is 60 times that of the average EU citizen. The 1% who own half the world’s capital are driving 85% of the Referendum narrative and suggesting Brexit is a risk. The EU and the US are rapidly morphing into corporate States that exist for the 1%. If you want to be part of a wedding between them, vote Remain. If you want a return to freedom and equality, vote Brexit.
One very notable thing about US Presidents is how generous they are in their promises to the less well-off before the election, and then as the Second Term draws to a close. Two days ago, the Black Dude had this to say:
“We can’t afford to weaken Social Security. We should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned. We can do this by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more. They can afford it. I can afford it.”
Spoken like a man heading towards the horizon with a legacy in mind, and ‘The End’ inscribed on his back. The problem is that Otombama promised to do those things in both 2008 and 2012, and then started doing the opposite….until the likes of Bernie Sanders campaigned in Congress to embarrass him about it.
Now that Sanders is raising all these things in what’s left of his bid for the Oval Office, Hillarybilly is being forced to match his demands. She’ll renege on them as well – just like her husband did during his time spent exploring what wags in Washington began calling the Oval orifice. Ironically, Reagan talked like a neoliberal but spent like a Kennedy democrat; Bill Clinton balanced the books like a good Republican.
Following a pretty tacky period of Labour ministerial sleaze, mishandling of social care, ourageous techno-failures in the NHS and then banking disaster, David Cameron scraped into power via first a Coalition….and then what looks increasingly like some electoral jiggery-pokery. Cameron told us he would protect the vulnerable, make British society decent again, eradicate the budget deficit, get tough with the EU, strengthen our police battalions and prove his personal commitment to the NHS by making it “world class”.
The fact that he and his ministers have done the precise opposite makes Britain a near-perfect mirror of the events in America.
In France, Hollande vowed to protect French culture, strengthen workers’ rights, resist Anglo-Saxon austerity and – by implication – get tougher with Berlin. Instead he let in the Troika by the back door, applied austerity, and then found himself trapped in a wave of strikes to protect the very thing he’d promised to safeguard. In Greece, Tsipras said that the popular vote would teach Brussels a lesson. It did – twice – but Alexis too has done the obverse of what his coinage suggested.
Why do politicians welch? I think there are many reasons, but four of overriding importance:
They’ll say anything to get into power
This is the most common voter complaint, and by far the most often stated reason for electoral apathy and abstention. But it’s an observation of symptoms, not a diagnosis of the disease.
My own fairly broad experience of legislators over 45 years has been that the vast majority of them are talentless bombasts and fundamentally mediocre petty crooks with avian tendencies: that is, they parrot ideologies and feather their nests. So yes, they seek power through bullying pomposity, but are birdbrained when it comes to the relevant execution of that power.
Those who slither up the greasy pole do so because they grasp more quickly than most how the system works, and then exploit it in their own self-interest. It’s their correct grasp of how the system works, however, that is the key to what keeps going wrong – not the self-centred personality traits they have per se. Ego is endemic in those who seek office: if it wasn’t, even less of any value would get done.
The two things they grasp about how the process works are unelected money and unelected privilege. The first group drive anti-social policies; the second acquiesce in these policies, and often block any policy genuinely designed to be more accountable to the electoral majority.
During the 1950s, most political Parties in the West still relied on membership subscriptions and voluntary help to achieve power. As technocracy arrived and intrinsic socio-economic problems became more obvious, this changed. Rich businessmen, bankers, trade unions, media owners, admen and marketing gurus took over the role of The People in supporting this or that ideology. Globalisation increased both the reach and the sheer size of the donations from such quarters, while marketing communications specialists – in the absence of any policies for The People – schooled politicians in how to sell élite policies to The People.
We can see this in at times almost obscene form in contemporary public life – although much if it is hidden until brave jounalists and bloggers make it public. Taking the current UK Brexit referendum, the European HQ of Bloomberg has donated £250,000 directly to the Remain budget. This – plus the entire output of Bloomberg TV – is used to present the obvious case for rowing away from the Lusitania as an acttion doomed to disaster. The argument is literally, “OK, there may be a torpedo hole bigger than a funnel in the ship, but you’re safer on a ship than in a rowing boat”.
American globalist business wants one selling point as access to the largest monied trading bloc of consumers in the world. The American military wants that bloc federalised as a bulwark against Russia and/or Islamism, and as a solid contributor to NATO’s obvious goal – perpetual access to oil-based energy. And both sides want a trade deal that maximises their economice of scale for both buying and selling.
There can only be two obvious results of that policy: workers’ rights and wages will be decimated in the mercantile war against Asia to keep production costs down; and entrepeneurial SMEs will be crushed by the global accountants who need them dead. The first is bad for society, the second is bad for healthy capitalism.
All of this explains why (1) Obama pitched up to say “either remain in the EU, or get to the back of the queue” (2) the ECB keeps churning out drivel in the face of a basket case eurozone (3) there is a virtual media blackout in the UK about real events in Italy, France and Spain (4) Mogherini the Mad’s Barmy Army is being played down as a likelihood (5) hardly anything appears about the intransigence of Poland and Hungary on border control policy (6) both the scale and tension surrounding mass migrancy is being fudged (7) the UK media are in denial about the scale of Erdogan’s perfidy and dictatorship and (8) since the campaign began, not a single peep has been heard from unser geliebte Fiskalfuhrer Wolfgang Schäuble.
Unelected money explains why Cameron was forced to eat sh*t by the EC élite and then come back with the ludicrous assertion that it was in fact smoked Parma ham. Unelected Lord Ashton’s money explains why the entire Cabinet fears his market research insights. Unelected Murdoch money explains why, having failed to capture the BBC or Sky, Newscorp is now gradually infiltrating its news output. Unelected HSBC money explains why nothing nasty about the world’s most corrupt bank ever appears on the BBC.
That paragraph could go on for pages. Donations, lobbying and assorted campaign contributions explain why the Clinton health plan failed, Slick Willy abolished Glass Steagal, US and UK banking reform have achieved so little, and today, why George Osterity the Chancellor inflicts such needless pain on welfare users…because unelected bond money insists he does, or he must be punished. The same unelected market was used to force Hollande down the austerity path in France: because Wall Street attacked France’s most vulnerable bond yields.
Take the money out of politics – and or boycott the sleazebags providing it – and within five years Western politics would be changed beyond recognition. Every time that is suggested, however, in come the troll swarms with this spurious argument about “the taxpayer having to support politicians”. We have to anyway: but extending that to their ability to organise transfers the power back to The People, and away from the 3%. And in case you hadn’t noticed, legislation is already being prepared to remove the rights of citizens to boycott large companies. Just fancy that.
The British Left continues to obsess about the cost of the Royal Family. I’m not particularly royalist myself: I yawn at the amount of media coverage they get, and Charles in particular has done some rather grubby security service deals to protect The Firm’s privacy. But turning Britain into a Republic would represent nothing more than feeble window dressing.
It is unelected bureaucratic power that rips the Citizens off in the UK and the EU, not Royal Families. A vote to Leave the EU threatens their unearned privileges like no other single act – because within two years, the Brussels raison d’etre would cease to exist in the face of freedom contagion.
You may think this is overplayed as a factor. You would be wrong. Today, it is commonplace for ‘retiring’ civil servants in the West to join the Boards of élite companies and banks run by the 3%. Such moves taint the objectivity of ‘public’ servants indelibly.
As for the levels of bureaucratic corruption involved, let me tell you that the Greek, Italian, UK and EU/EC debt problems would be greatly reduced if they had honest administrators.
At some point during 2005 – when Whitehall mandarins feared disaster from impending bank meltdown – somehow their pension emoluments and commitment doubled. The amount added to their pot was £750 billion – one third of the UK National Debt. Every UK Budget document now contains the phrase ‘unfunded civil service pensions’. None of it was approved by Parliament in total or the PAC team. It was sheer embezzlment on an unbelievable scale. But Whitehall was able to pull it off, because Whitehall knows where all the bodies are buried.
And the British civil service is solidly pro-EU. As indeed are the security services….because they too are civil servants who benefitted from the heist….and also, they dare not say no to NATO;
In the EC as a whole, bureaucrats there pay just 11% to the final sum for their pensions. Just funding these costs the EU £36 billion a year…for 202,000 employees. The cost of State pensions for all 500 million EU citizens is £1,516 billion a year. Thus, £187,217 for every bureaucrat, and £3,000 for every citizen.
EC bureaucrats end up with pensions 60 times bigger than the citizens do
The three most powerful institutions in the EU are the EC, the ECB and the Eurogroupe. None of them are accountable to any elected official anywhere.
The lack of accountability allows the Commission to produce ‘information’ such as last year’s classic, ‘As of May 2015, all countries but Greece have recovered from their debt crisis’….a phrase I note has now turned up in its Wikipedia entry. None of this output is vetted by the European Parliament. I wonder, for example, how many British people realise that as and when the TTIP US/EU trade straitjacket is signed off, not a single MEP or Member State legislator will have been involved in seeing it.
A historic shift in monied power
The fourth reason why The People get the crumbs and their ‘representatives’ only listen to the 3% is a long term shift in money ownership throughout the West. The movement away from mass labour salaried money towards rich élite capital is unequalled by anything seen in modern human history.
From around 1800 until the late 20th century, approximately two-thirds of the income of most developed nations went on paying salaries and wages for people who work in some form of ‘labour’, while one-third went to pay dividends, capital gains, interest, rent, etc. to those owning substantial amounts of ‘capital’.
From 1995 to 2005, the share held by capital wealth doubled. From 2005 until 2016, it doubled again. In the entire thirty year period – with eerie consistency throughout the West – the real value of salaries earned by the labour force fell by 30%.
In January 2016, 1% of the world’s population owned 41% of capital wealth. But if you take all forms of ‘wealth’ – trusts, assets, salaries, dividends and so forth – a staggering 50% of global wealth resides in just 62 families.
The extrapolation is not a difficult one to make. Sixty years ago, around 3 billion electors in democracies held their governments to account in terms of votes and subscriptions. Today, roughly 20% fewer of them bother to vote, and political Parties can very easily pick up all the funding they need from roughly 500 ‘buying points’.
It’s no contest: 3 billion people making government accountable have become 62 families who allow them zero accountability….just so long as they are ‘looked after’.
The political class itself has now become so dependent on the influence of corporate wealth for its power, the power no longer resides there. We are becoming corporate States.
This is why politicans break promises made to billions in return for blood money recieved from hundreds. It’s why our salaries are falling, our benefits are being reduced, our social living costs are going up, and our pensions are being delayed prior to being phased out.
It’s also why the US recovery keeps petering out, the eurozone economy is flatlining, the UK economy is dangerously biased to financial services, and China’s growth spurt has decelerated by 40% in five years. The salaried wealth of the mass consumer has been gobbled up by the capital wealth of the 1%: and 1% of the population cannot restart a mass consumer model economy.
All these macro and micro realities are connected very clearly by a series of developments. The most obvious symptom is that politicians lie to us and give to those they serve.
If we stay in the EU corporate, unaccountable State, and sign a deal with the world’s biggest corporate, unaccountable State, you can kiss welfare, retirement, freedoms and direct democracy goodbye forever….or rather, until such time as the whole ridiculous construct cannibalises itself.
Brexit is not a risk, it is a responsibility. We must shoulder it now, for it is the last chance we shall get.