Today, constitutional principles have become a vital issue because the largely extra-constitutional arrangements whereby regulatory agencies are controlled by those they are supposed to be regulated on behalf of the people of this country. As a result of such abuse we witnessed the 2008 financial crash, quantitative easing expanding bank shareholder incomes, members of parliament overseeing their own expenses and the police handling investigations into complaints against them.
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Frustration is the mood of the moment where most in the Westminster bubble accuse others of tying them down. But this continuing saga approximates the image of Lilliput as the opening of parliament proceeded with pomp and ceremony on behalf of a government that commands no majority. The justification for a government gaining its role as the government is based on the size of their majority in parliament. Such pomp and ceremony, for a government with no effective mandate to announce it's manifesto content is an affront to the electorate.
In democratic and logical terms this makes no sense but is justified on the basis of a general distrust of the opposition of the intent of the government to attempt a no deal exit from the EU. There have been some absurd displacement arguments that see the UK government in contention with the EU. But this contention has arisen from the government agreeing to establish the procedural arrangements of withdrawal before establishing the nature of the trading agreement. So 3 years have passed without anyone knowing where the UK is going. This is a demonstration of an extremely amateur, seat-of-pants partisan irresponsibility. The constituencies have been ignored and the government has not produced sector level decision analysis briefs on the costs and benefits including employment impacts of different trade agreements. Frankly, the same can be said of the European Commission where a lack of alternative scenarios is missing from the discussion as a result of the fixation of the European Commission with maintaining its grip on managing legislative proposals as well as maintaining the application of current rules and regulations of the EU.
It is not clear what the working relationship between the government and civil service is but it is more than apparent that there has been an ineffective use made of the considerable analytical resources available to the government to be tasked with providing the people of this country with a clear picture of trading options.
|EU REFERENDUM RESULTS|
|Not voting||Voting to leave||Voting to remain|
|Source: Electoral Commission|
Finally, this wading through the Westminster swamp of indecision and confusion it the result of people misreading the EU referendum results. Over 17,800,000 people did not vote and around 17,400,,000 voted to leave, most assuming a trade deal would be made. The remaining 16.100,000 voted to remain. This is not as decisive as the contending sides claim and arising from that there has been a lack of objectivity in pursuing a more participatory approach with other parties but this was resisted by the government, most of the time. The first-past-the post election system, another Lilliputian characteristic of British politics created a May government that resorted to paying off the DUP in order to survive. Cash diplomacy is almost always destructive and seldom reflects the view of the people. The party system has done a good job in highlighting its inherent weaknesses in being able to represent the people of this country.
In conclusion, the result has been a demonstration of how the party system and first past the post end up tying the people down.
It has not escaped the electorate that all political parties have lately ramped up their policy commitments and other promises of actions to turn our future into a sort of never-before-seen paradise of endless opportunities for aspirational people. On the other hand the corporate media and some politicians assert that the "people are fed up and want BREXIT done!", so this needs to be sorted out before comparing political party agendas for our future.
But we face an absurd state of affairs where the European Commission's insistence and the May government's acceptance of agreeing the withdrawal terms before establishing the nature of the trading relationship has served to complicate just about everything. Usually, by identifying a mutually desirable trading arrangement first, it is then easier to agreed on terms of separation because each side has a clearer appreciation of the future mutual costs and benefits and cash flows.
As a result, the voting public in the UK and in the EU remain confused as this extraordinary level of administrative incompetence being paraded in front of them by the Commission and the UK government. A major mistake has been for the Council of Europe to permit the Commission to handle negotiations. This is a natural default position by EU member states since all EU legislation is initiated by the Commission. Because of this the Commission has become a command-and-control setup. However, in the case of BREXIT the interests of different member states vary considerably between those whose nationals benefit from direct employment in the UK to those whose manufacturing, agricultural and service companies in both the UK and EU member states are involved in mutually beneficial transactions. The specific quantitative economic trade-offs for the different combinations of these classes of interest in a future trading relationship signifies that they should all be involved in contributing to the information flow to guide negotiations. Unfortunately, the UK government has not shown any practical inclination towards this short of rational participatory review and the Commission has naturally resisted this so as not to diminish its status and the initiator and guardian of the implementation of EU laws and regulations, backed up by the European Court.
On balance the smaller EU member states from northern Baltic region and central and southern region support the Commission's approach because on balance they benefit economically from the EU budget. However, many other countries enjoy significant benefits from trade with the UK and therefore the final trading arrangement with the UK is of importance to them. What has been lacking in this whole process has been the early commissioning of an independent study on the trade-offs, for all concerned, associated with the several existing trade arrangement options. We have, after all, had 3 years within which such an effort could have been undertaken with ease and yet no political party or the government has attempted to undertake this essential baseline review upon which to base their decision analysis. In order to negotiate effectively such a study should not be based on British interests alone but, in the spirit of the much vaunted mutual advantaged of free trade, should have involve inputs from interested parties in Europe. This is what the European Commission has resisted in the name of "solidarity and unanimity". On the other hand, the only means of demonstrating effective leadership on this specific issue the British government and the political parties need to terminate their self-centred, introvert, slightly absurd spasms of self-congratulatory enthusiasm and amateur dramatics that maintain an image of incompetence and muddling through. If such a responsible step was taken there would be a need for an extension and a pan-European workshop to establish the foundation of a trading relationship that takes into account the interests of communities, economic sectors across the EU and UK. This could take time but it could move use away from the current levels of uncertainty that affect communities, business and investment. A more open consideration can, through the transparent exposure of options, dismiss the unknown and the slightly absurd levels of secrecy that have dogged government dealings. We are, after all, aiming for mutual benefit and this can never be identified on the basis of mutual distrust.
Having committed our country to some 45 years of integration with the EU, the Conservative government needs to slow down and re-order the sequence of analysis to first of all identify a trading strategy that is clearly one that represents the mutual interests of our main trading partners in Europe as well as those with whom we share communities, work in the UK and the EU. Once this is established, the identification of a mutually agreeable mechanism for leaving would be greatly facilitated. A logical conclusion of intelligent decision analysis should be a trading arrangement that is almost seamless in achieving an independent sovereign status for the country over political decisions and legislation. The minimisation of impacts in the transition from EU membership to independence resulting from a sound trading arrangement would go a long way towards satisfying a large proportion of remainers as well as most leavers.
The minority government of the Conservatives who constantly stress that they are a "one nation party", need to demonstrate their commitment to this principle by taking steps to unify the country. This same government and party claim to be "pro-business" but the current track record demonstrates a particular propensity for actions that could damage the real economy and boost the prospects of a range of financial intermediaries and banks who are Conservative party supporters who are in a position to "speculate" with little risk on the condition of the pound. Leaving without a deal could mean an overnight gain of £ multi-billions to this group. Quantitative easing (QE) has been feeding banks for a decade with cheap money and they have used this to channel funds into assets such as real estate and helping large corporations buy back shared to boost executive bonuses. This has contributed to an exacerbation in the disparity of incomes, the numbers unable to purchase homes and real wages in the UK. The fact that more people are employed now is a direct function of a larger population now and the state of employment for the lower 35th percentile is precarious as foodbanks grow in number to support people in work. In spite of Melvyn King, the ex-Governor of the Bank of England, stating that QE had benefited the banks disproportionately, the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition and subsequent Conservative governments have done nothing to stem this flow of funds from the real economy to the benefit of shareholders in financial, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors. Cut backs of public services and the erosion in worker incomes has continued as a direct result of a selective macroeconomic policy of the British government. The rabble-rousing nature of the EU referendum campaign was able to divert attention from this fact and managed to assign the blame of our self-imposed economic woes, to the European Union. This never did have any foundation. It is true that The European Central Bank has pursued an aggressive and dangerous form of QE in the Eurozone but the UK is not part of that system. The current precarious state of affairs can only benefit those who caused the 2008 financial crisis and who have been handsomely rewarded ever since. The problem with all of this is that much of the antagonism and frustration has nothing to do with the EU but at its root are the difficulties many constituents face as a result of increasingly uncertain conditions that have arisen from incompetent macroeconomic policies pursued by the governments during the last decade. It is not an exaggeration to consider UK governance during the last decade has undermined the past UK trend towards a classless society more at ease with itself and has succeeded in substituting this beneficial trend by contributing to the conditions that have imposed growing income differentials and a re-emergence of the class divisions of the past. Getting BREXIT done to clear the decks for a fantastic future, for some, on the current basis is an abandonment of the wellbeing of the UK constituency.Footnote: According to experienced information technology practitioners the lack of action on the borderless option using advanced IT is inexplicable. Three years would have been ample time implement and test low cost prototypes to demonstrate functionality by involving producers, veterinary personnel, logistics companies, customs authorities and the public. But nothing of this sort was even attempted. This suggests a lack of serious effort to explore the most feasible options to the backstop.
The 2019 Conservative party Conference has started out in a down to business approach emphasising the importance of "getting BREXIT done!
". It is early days yet.
The vote by parliament not to permit a few days recess for the conference took place in the acrimonious atmosphere when parliament resumed its session after the High Court ruling. However, this did not reflect well on the opposition. But time had been lost with the government proroguiung of parliament.
In summary the Conservative position appears to be to bum rush the UK out of the EU so as to clear the decks for the party to introduce amazing policies that paint a glorious future for the United Kingdom. As with the other parties we have seen this type of sunshine projections before on the part of all political parties but in reality delivery of promises remains a serious problem with all British political parties.
In any political party conference, sweeping statements of intent to enthuse the participants are understandable but it is the delivery details that matter to voters.
In an on-stage discussion group made up of Jake Berry (Northern Power House), Esther McVey (Housing) and Nadir Zahawi (Business, energy & industrial strategy) there was a good discussion explaining objectives, all of which made sense. One detail added by Zahawi was the case of a "local" industrial fair in China in a province with around 70 million people and in a "small town", the size of London. Apparently the City of Derby has a stand there but the scale of the potential could be sensed in that simple statement.
McVey explained the use of off-site industrial production of what used to be called "pre-fabricated" housing components to lower costs and raise quality of homes. Berry provided a clear practical picture of an increased devolution based on elected mayor gaining larger budgets to support local economies.
Matt Hancock (Health) has stated future funding in the NHS will avoid the notorious higher interest funding associated with PPP and Gavin Wiliamson (Education) has promised to extend technical and vocational education. All of these objectives are sound. However, the electorate in the UK is not only becoming tired about the BREXIT exchanges they have become very cynical about the ability of British all political parties to step how from their headline statements and deliver their promises. The track record is not good.
During the last weeks we have been conducting an audit on British political party promises and their delivery in government; no party comes off well. Unfortunately the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem party conferences remind us of the stark contrast between what these organizations have promised and have delivered in practice. All political parties in Britain have a very bad track record on delivery, of what, in detail, are attractive propositions; the issue is feasibility. Although they all state they act in the national interests they seldom demonstrate any capacity to collaborate on the formulation of national policies on a collaborative basis.
The political parties, persistently criticise the other parties in a contentious and pernicious fashion forgetting that they are addressing members of their own nation in an attempt to embarrass them in front of the electorate. No matter what people claim to be the cut and thrust of politics this approach to convincing the public of their relevance and of their ability to address needs is distorted by shabby, aggressive and insulting behaviour over rational explanations of the practical solutions to needs. Very evident during this 2019 conference has been the Conservative obsession, a virtually paranoid fixation, with a single person, Jeremy Corbyn. This has lowered the tone of just about every statement made by repetitive asides consisting of a series of negative attributes assigned to Jeremy Corbyn which are obviously a complete fabrication. These range from his purported support of the IRA and other groups, to being anti-semitic. Anyone who takes the time to research Corbyn's activities and political trajectory can see that this type of rhetoric is feeding misrepresentations into the public discourse and it is completley unfair. It is also levered by the corporate media to spread such disinformation. This does not strengthen position of the Conservative party it only reflects very badly on their approach uncovering a certain lack of their own conviction in the strength of their own arguments, a form of weakness and small mindeness. This is not what one would consider to be the qualities people would equate with a desirable nature of national leadership.
Recently there has been too much overt manipulation and misrepresentation giving sight to the visceral underbelly of politics. It is not a system reflecting upon and selecting rational public choices but rather is a battle between isolated factional interests which have little relationship to any common purpose that might be considered to be in the national interest.
It needs to be remembered that political parties are tiny private organizations that have a tiny faction as members. These same organizations, though our bizarre first-past-the-post electoral system can lever themselves from a state of complete insignificance with memberships of less than 1% of the population, into a position of absolute dominance over parliamentary decision-making by securing less than 30% of the vote. As a result, the people of Britain have no representative forum upon which to base decisions that are transparently related to the national interest.
Although the Conservatives state their commitment to the National Health Service, they were, before its establishment (see Conservative poster on the right), the main opponents and ever since have been more aligned with the privatisation thrust buoyed up and promoted by the goods, services and financial service sectors. The biggest challenge remains how to fund all of the array of promises being made by the Conservatives, Labour and Lid Dems.
Conservatives and Labour put much faith in the PPP schemes that were funded by inappropriate financial agreements which have resulted in many Trusts going bust. Part of the thinking is that this was intentional so as to blame the government supported NHS for bad management and to therefore justify privatisation. Private insurance and loan-based schemes have only lead to most of those involved raising their prices such as pharmaceuticals and services, excessive management salaries and levels of management in the case of the NHS, and in education the ramping up of fees and academic salaries in the case of universities.
The Conservatives following the period of Thatcher attempted to remove red tape by switching to "light touch" regulation in the financial sector and reduced the separation of retail and investment banking which led directly to the 2008 financial crisis, largely precipitated through a considerable amount of illegal activity occurring under light touch regulations.
Considerable sections of British industry are owned by large financial conglomerates who promote the buy back of their own shares to generate income for top executives while real incomes and investment in productivity-enhancing actions have declined. The annual focus on "shareholder value"
has overtaken a need for lower profit-taking and emphasising medium to long term investment for survival. On this basis the stock exchange is booming but the economy is not doing as well as stated. That more are now employed than ever before is a function of a bigger population and a significant decline in real wages.
The policy of quantitative easing has provided an incentive for banks to ignore their responsibilities is supporting the macroeconomic policy target of supporting investment in SME, industry and services by taking advantage of the cheap money to invest in assets to gain high returns for their own shareholders. Assets have included housing, commodities, precious metals and objects of art. This has exacerbated the lack of lower cost housing, a steep rise in purchase prices and a significant rise in rents. As a result most young people have no possibility of purchasing their home. So the political party promises concerning more efficient house construction and higher quality does not resolve the continuing damage caused by the continued separation of retail and investment banking that has exacerbated the housing issue.
Melvyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England observed that quantiative easing seemed to have benefited a small group in the financial and banking sector; this is self-evident but the government has taken no steps to curb this cause of increasing income inequality in the UK.
The reality is that much of the time political parties are struggling to justify "new and exciting initiatives"
which are needed to solve serious problems created by the policies introduced by the same or other parties. Many crises facing the country have been policy-induced as a result of poor planning and the tendency of political parties to experiment with new economic policies that have poor practical and beneficial traction.
The new Boris......
A vote on an issue as important as leaving the EU after over 40 years of integration of administrative systems, procedures and supply chains as well as work and family relations should clearly have required a minimum proportion of the voting age population to participate. Then the decision to determine a specific decision should have required a minimum majority. As it was just 65% of the voting age population of 51.4 million, ended up participating. The result was that just 17.4 million voted to leave the EU. As a result, the government has been attempting to have the decision of just 34% of the voting age population prevail over the remaining majority of 66% of the voting age population. Whereas this is not a majority by any means, it does mean that it has become an imperative to consider the position of the remaining 66%.
Many constituents have become disillusioned with the first-past-the-post electoral system in the UK because it devalues the individual vote to the benefit of providing the winning party with an disproportionate and therefore unrepresentative majority in parliament. These are valid reasons for not voting. A referendum is a different non-party affair but the lack of faith in the value of a vote has become pervasive. It is therefore not acceptable to simply state that those who did not vote do not count. Indeed, it is surprising that so many do in fact vote in what appears to be a eccentric parlour game with the name "general election". However, given this reality, the government, currently with no majority, and elected on the basis if first-past-the-post, needs to secure, as a minimum condition, a departure with an agreement for a trade arrangement so as to minimise negative impacts overall.
On the return of MPs to parliament the complex topic of the contextual significance and practical implications of words used in exchanges has been generally recognised to be important in preventing further social divisions.
The approach adopted by the prime minister is broadly dismissive and invariably supercilious which confirms on a repetitive basis, the profile of someone who is unable to engage with others by investing in a serious consideration and reflection of statements made and questions asked of him. However, many assertions by MPs, from all factions, do not always contribute to serious discussion but are just point scoring.
Most of the UK constituency does not spend their breakfast period reading the details of exchanges in Hansard. They rely on a range of newspapers, TV or social media to obtain "news". All of these media thrive on impactful headlines. As a result, the context of what is stated in parliament is lost and given the strength of emotions in parliament they often transmit misleading and wrong, often very damaging messages to the constituents of this country. This can lead to some instances of people taking matters into their own hands to the degree of inflicting physical harm or even killing someone perceived to hold the "wrong" point of view. On balance, this was the point being made by several MPs when they raised the name of Jo Cox and her murder as an example of what can happen when MPs do not moderate their language. But in his established form, the prime minister did not pay enough attention to perceive the underlying message and therefore responded in an unsound manner. His retort of, "Humbug" was totally inappropriate and is highly regrettable. This has brought the level of exchanges in parliament down to a very low level.
Unfortunately, neither the corporate media or government behaviour reflect any "values" that would be bolstered through practical demonstrations of effort to apply a minimum level of due diligence in seeking out a balanced presentation of the facts.
Suffering from time restrictions and lack of information on "negotiations" parliament continues to be unable to exercise its function to oversee and contribute to work of government....
The last three years have provided a case study in examples of constitutional abuse by a political party. This arises from excesses in discretionary decision-making, and this, in the hands of political parties, tends to occur under any government. The main cover given to this abuse is that it is considered to be part and parcel of "politics". But this means unfair and unethical decision-making has become directly linked to political party modus operandi. Because all parties see advantage in this while in government, no serious effort is made to curtail the provisions that encourage this unfortunate behaviour.
Electoral reform involving proportional representation does not remove the absurd degree to which the constitution services political parties that are no more than small private factional organizations that, through our first-past-the-post electoral system can gain control of government. This tiny faction can from that point on marginalize the other parties, parliament and the majority of the UK constituency who end up with no effective representation.
At this time the country needs a leadership that can bring together all sides through a reflective participatory process. Ideas and proposals need to be aired and reviewed in an open fashion. The previous prime minister failed to do this and the current one is doing the same. The justification for such secrecy, repeated by several ministers, is that one cannot expose one's hand when negotiating. This might apply to poker players but not to a the future wellbeing of the constituencies in the UK and EU and the citizens of each grouping living the other's domain; constituents can guide any such processes towards mutually satisfactory and viable solutions.
In spite of the High Court ruling, this government's behaviour on this question of parliamentary oversight, has brought into focus how the current levels of secrecy have in effect continued to deny parliament access to relevant information upon which to have oversight of government actions. This is pointing to a need for the introduction of procedures to make international negotiations on topics, outside national security, more open and transparent. This could be another justification for a change in the law, even another High Court case.
It is more than apparent that the abuse of discretion exercised in the excessive prorogation is being repeated in a parallel abuse of discretion using secrecy as the tactic. The EU Commission was heavily criticised for the secrecy surrounding its former negotiations with the Trans Atlantic deal with the USA. One of the arguments for leaving the EU is to improve transparency in political decision-making. However, the very party that speaks of sovereignty and freedom continues to impose an information blackout and stonewalling tactics to deny any effective parliamentary oversight. This is so self-evident that it is notable that opposition MPs have not made more of this - see the box on the left. The government might end up with a final agreement on trade with the EU but the damage to "parliamentary democracy" and the social cost emanating from poor democratic practice, reflecting poor leadership and the increasing risk of mounting collateral damage in the form of physical abuse and even deaths of citizens, has already passed beyond acceptable limits.
Was the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen unlawful? The High Court has ruled that it was.
In the shoot out in the High Court the bullets took some time to find their marks but we consider the result to have been predictable. What was less expected was for this to be a unanimous decision of 11 judges. This result was a triumph for the rule of law, the High Court and the constitution. The government's advice that the High Court should not venture into this minefield, fell of deaf ears. The outcome has been a significant rise in the constituency's appreciation of the role and significance of the High Court.
The High Court decision on the legality of the government's decision to prorogue parliament has had a salutary effect which has ramifications for a reassessment of the role of the law in relation to the many discretionary powers that exist for organizational decision-making and which in many cases are abused. The "power" to prorogue parliament was a decision commonly considered to be taken at the discretion of the government. However an abuse of this power has been shown to be subject to the law and, indeed, effectively reversed.
This is a complex topic because few realise the degree to which discretionary powers create a disequilibrium in the effect of existing laws on decisions taken by executives in corporations and civil servants in government services and those providing services including private companies on behalf of the government. It is a waste of time solving this issue at the level of government and parliament when the result of this legislature in terms of laws and regulations are subject, in their observance, to abuses of discretion. The constant disasters affecting people's human rights arising at the Home Office can be boiled down to the lack of coherence between the law and the many different levels of discretionary decision-making involving the lower ranks in organizations. The implications represent a hornet's nest but it would seem to be well worth tackling this issue because of the widespread prejudice emanating from "discretionary powers
The financial crisis in 2008 was the result of widespread abuse of discretionary decision-making by financial intermediaries and banks that ventured into law-breaking and unethical behaviour. It would seem that given the High Court's decision in this case could herald a more practical and transparent approach to the breaking of the law of such institutions by imposing remedies that terminate such practice as opposed to absurdly nominal fines that simple degenerate into "a normal cost of doing business
". The High Court has effectively terminated the ability of governments to prejudice representation of parliament by preventing oversight of government procedures and decisions that are an unreasonable exercise of discretion. This has imposed necessary due diligence procedures on government and it is fitting that similar transparent due diligence procedures be imposed on those organizations who have dealings that affect the wellbeing of members of the UK constituency.
We will return to this topic.
Unfortunately the vote to support Jeremy Corbyn's position of whether the Labour party should campaign for leave or remain appears to have disgruntled some delegates because the vote was so close. Although we consider Jeremy Corbyn's position is the most rational it seems that many feel that this vote should have been a "card" vote where all votes would have been counted.
The vote supporting the abolition of private schools is highly contentious but the model of private schools and many "Academies" as ways to make owners rich while standards decline has jaded the opinion of many. Certainly those wishing to pay additional amounts to help their children obtain a better education is a natural human instinct but there is no reason why these schools should receive government subsidies.
The comprehensive education was expanded in 1965 to replace the 11+ system where the majority of children went on to modern schools and a lower level curriculum than grammar schools. However, at the time it was clear that not enough funding had been provided to training to attract competent people into teaching or enough to augment supply budgets. On the other hand private schools continued to receive subsidy through charitable status and other forms of grants.
John McDonnell has stated the Labour manifesto will be fully costed. An important question is whether or not the actual budgetary requirements to revolutionise the state educational system are fully understood in terms of quality teacher training and upgrading and the per pupil cash requirements to cover all that is needed to make a difference to performance. There is a need to avoid the common practice of having teachers subsidise their class needs from their salaries; an increasingly common feature and common practice in the public education sector in the USA.
The biggest danger is that the current approach adopted by Labour will make education a political football just like the NHS leading to constant rounds of instability and disruption as governments change. Any changes need to be mess-proof and this, without adequate funding, is virtually impossible. Just as people are becoming aware of the significance of climate change to children it is self-evident that changes to their education need to have good results within a reasonably short period. In a period when there is a broader acknowledgement of the responsibility of the older generation to prepare children to inherit a stable and sustainable future, this is a tall order.
Many journalists, TV and other media commentators and interviewers are having a serious problem adjusting to reality. Any sensible party wishing to support the breadth of representation needed to provide due consideration for the electorate as well as acknowledge of the result of the EU referendum had to support Jeremy Corbyn's position on BREXIT. His victory reflects well on the party. However, too many media personnel have not understood the reality and have become antagonistic and have attempted to embarrass Labour spokes people. The media pundits are demanding a single position for the Labour party as "remain" or "leave". However, as we have explained in several sections below, the balance of the referendum vote was evenly balanced between around 33% not voting (not registering an opinion), 33% voting to leave and 33% voting to remain. So this is not a binary position and there is no "fence
" as an imaginary object that they accuse Corbyn of perching on.
|EU REFERENDUM RESULTS|
|Not voting||Voting to leave||Voting to remain|
|Source: Electoral Commission|
It needs to be understood that more people did not vote than voted to leave
. This is a reflection of:
- The poor preparation for the referendum in terms of the explanation of the options on the leave side
- The malaise or cynicism that considered votes to count for nothing
- It is likely to have been the result of many did not expecting the vote to go in the direction it did
Therefore a rational party, first of all, will encourage people to register to vote as well as vote and, at the same time, work to provide the electorate with more detailed information on the real options so as to provide an evidence-based choice. Depending on the efforts put into the election, the massive number of voting age people who did not vote could easily alter the balance either way. However, the final expression of preferences would be based on a better access to information on the options. Therefore this approach reflects a far more responsible due consideration of the needs of voters to be informed and of the importance of the vote to the future of the nation.
It is true that British political parties do not have any track record of operating in such a comprehensive fashion. Confrontation and single contrasting positions have always faced the electorate with a list of often incompatible binary choices. It is encouraging to see at least one party that is attempting to break down national divisions by unifying the country by being more in tune with the many and not the few.
Our initial guestimates on a voting scenario resulting from an ambitious redistribution of 50% of the non-voters to voting status and the known original voter intentions is something like this: 15,000,000-16,000,000 supporting leaving with a trade arrangement with EU that minimises economic and social impacts, 14,000,000 remainers and 12,500,000 leaving without a deal, leaving 8,500,000 not voting.
The battleground will be between good deals and remainers so the shaping of the deal to possess protections enjoyed as membership of the EU will require some effort but this is more in line with the Labour party indicative objectives which the Conservative party under Theresa May would not accept. This creates a serious potential problem for the Conservatives in coming up with a deal that matches in terms of minimised economic and social impacts. If Labour manage this carefully they could win the next election with Conservatives and Brexit party coming third and fourth behind the Liberal Democrats.
John McDonnell, Labour's Shadow Chancellor, delivered his conference speech which was interesting and in some parts rousing but it remained thin on explanations of the economic feasibility. It lasted just 30 minutes so there was not much space for detail. However, in all such cases, rather than throw up our hands in horror it is as well to remember that change comes about gradually so what he has been setting out are objectives. The issue is the time scales involved. It is only when these are established that one can assess the economic feasibility. Therefore rather than talk, as some media are doing, of fantasy projects, it is better to reflect on priorities and then scheduling.
Clearly everything he has mentioned including lowering the hours in the working week without reducing pay, eliminating in-work poverty and zero hour contracts to transform the situation from "living to work to working to live
" will be costed. Labour did a better job than other parties in costing their manifesto pledges in the last election, so Labour needs to repeat this exercise in this case. A spoiler is, of course, the likely impacts of trade arrangements with Europe or remaining. But we refer to this topic in leaders below.
He referred to the role of development banks and an increased role for the Cooperative movement. The latter is something the Labour party has tended to underplay in the past. This is a paradox given that Labour has a contingent of Cooperative MPs. Mutuals and cooperatives are likely to be important corporate structures in future economies. This is because of the increasing awareness of the negative impacts of "quantitative easing
" and "financialization
" and emphasis on "shareholder value
The mortgage markets have demonstrated conclusively that mutual building societies are far more cost-effective than banks whose need to carry shareholders increases their costs by around 15%-20% in the delivery of services. Indeed, contrary to the untested narrative, mutuals and cooperatives provide a far greater potential for increased of productivity for the economy and a basis for providing employees with a higher share in corporate income without impacting prices and economic growth. They need help to get going and this is where the development banks could have a vital role.
Green technology productivity
McDonnell then referred to the development of technologies for a
Green future as being a priority; this dovetails into investment through mutuals involving specialised trained personnel. An involvement of trades unions in the training of people could become an important foundation. One of the paradoxes which needs to be clarified is the role of trades unions in mutuals where a role is not altogether obvious, or at least, it is likely to take a different form.
The Labour party, whether intentional or as a result of slip-ups, has turned what many media predicted would be chaos into an impressive forum enabling the expression of across-the-spectrum points of view through a direct participation of attendees so as to move towards cohesion. There is therefore an absence of obvious "stage management
", a characteristic of many party conferences, and this level of transparency arising from this free flow of opposing ideas is to be welcomed. This strengthens the final position, it is also a practical demonstration of participatory decision-making, albeit only involving Labour party members. The arguments in favour of Jeremy Corbyn's apparent position of not defining a binary fixed position is reflective of the majority of the voting age population given that the split between no vote, vote to remain and vote to leave was about even or 33:33:33. For those wishing to leave, the opportunity to see what the cost-benefit of a "deal" is, is a plainly a logical constitutional provision, just as the opportunity cost-benefit of remaining should also be made clear to remainers.
Corbyn's position is helping Labour become the only party attempting to balance the interests of the majority in assessing where they should stand unlike the Conservatives, Brexit party and the Liberal Democrats each of whom have taken up a binary single position which does not reflect the position of the other 66% of the voting age population. Those in the shadow cabinet who are advocating supporting remain need to balance this against the likely quality of any trade agreement. In the end it is this issue which will define the true cost of remaining and or leaving the European Union.
However, in preparation of their manifesto and costed policy presentation Labour could gain a significant advantage if they seriously dedicated a focused effort into preparing the quantitative analyses of their own trade agreement preferences and compare these with remaining in the EU. If this is based on objective analyses this would create an unparalleled information resource and platform for decision-making for the UK voters.
Our awareness of "dark posts" and selective manipulation of social media involving Facebook, Google, Twitter and the spawning numbers of "election analytica" political consultancies tells us that this is already switching into over-drive. We can also, of course, expect the UK media's continuing irrational onslaughts and abuse leveled at the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn, by the UK's corporate "free press" and including the BBC. Labour can only defeat false narratives by promoting transparency and objectivity; this is an imperative.
CybaCity.com will remain a medium that supports balanced reporting.
The UK media have followed an unfortunate example of the US media in focusing on any differences in opinions of members of political parties and blowing them out of context. Rather than make a mountain out of a molehill it is preferable, in the case of the Labour party, to wait and listen to the presentations and debates which will shape a party "position". So the false narrative of people's personal opinions being an attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn is somewhat ridiculous. There is a growing tendency for media to cite "unidentified sources" in an attempt to raise doubts as to Corbyn's ability to continue as leader; this sort of baseless banter illucidates nothing. The fact that someone who was an aid has resigned means nothing in itself unless the media speculates, as it will.
Once the Labour party define their policies this week, a manifesto will be issued and Corbyn, who is an effective campaigner, will, as usual, support that approach. On the question of supporting a specific leave deal or supporting remaining remains an open question. The transparent and participatory approach is to let the people decide in another vote based on the evidence of the relative benefits of what is on offer. So this is not really a political party issue but needs to be decided on the basis of individual judgement of each constituent on their assessments of the likely impacts of better understood options on their lives.
Dawn Butler MP, the Labour party's Shadow Women's and Equality Secretary kicked off the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, with an inspiring speech. Given the topic and the general unease and waining interest in politics and the general malaise sensed throughout the country, her delivery was very well executed and well received; there is, at a very early stage in proceedings a growing upbeat mood amongst the delegates.
Butler did refer to an important part of Labour's strategy in preparing for the next election. This is to get people to register to vote. Currently there are around 2,824,622 people who are not registered to vote and something like 17,804,785 who did not vote in the EU referendum. This number exceeds the so-called "majority" who voted to leave. Our own sense is that registrations will occur amongst younger people of voting age leading also to a further expansion in the membership of the party. Last time the growth in membership during the previous election reflected the success of the party in that election and this baramoter is likely to remains a good indicator.
With some positive noises coming from the European Commission as a preliminary response to the government having presented some ideas on possible agreements it appears that the government has shifted its position. The threat of a "no deal" never was a realistic bargaining chip given that the EU wants an agreement.
Even if the parliament votes in favour of anything produced, the general state of affairs is that this will not be something anyone actually voted for in the referendum. As is well known, more people of voting age did not vote (around 33%) in that referendum and a smaller number voted to leave and a slightly smaller number still, voted to remain (roughly 33%/33%/33%). The leave "majority" constituted just 2.47% of the total voting age population. It therefore makes sense for there to be a second national vote on whether or not the agreement represents what people consider to be an improvement on remaining. This is important because given the current global economic circumstances and the government's record on austerity exacerbated by quantitative easing, any deal needs to be scrutinised in relation to its potential impacts on economic performance and the current protections enjoyed by the population. The potential impacts on families need to be weighed up against the achievement of "independence" through any specific agreement.
In this context the Labour party position of favouring a new vote on the negotiated deal makes sense. The Liberal Democrats have defined their stand and, in the end, members of the Labour party will have to assess the quality of the agreement reached in relation to their conditions set out some time ago, to decide what they will support. At least, if the government does achieve an agreement then the
Brexit party is likely to become the main casualty.
The prorogation case in front of the High Court has been boiled down to the High Court being asked that because this was a political decision it is a minefield so don't go there, on the one hand, and being asked, on the other hand, to acknowledge that silencing of parliament for 5 weeks, not only prevented legislation on several significant bills but this covered the normal 2-3 week party conference recess which is usually tabled and decided upon by parliament. Given the current situation is it likely that parliament would have only asked for a very short recess to cover the congresses but the executive did not provide this opportunity. Given the preparation for the Queen's speech for MPs boils down to a few hours, the case against the government seems to be well founded.
There is some commentary that the new Liberal Democrat's leader Jo Swinson is arrogant because she has stated that if the Lib Dems win an election they will revoke BREXIT. This is to be expected since they are the main remain party. It is common for governments to reverse previous decisions and in the case of the Lib Dems this is to be expected. However, if the proportion of people who did not vote in the referendum was reduced in the case of an election, there are up to 17,804,785 yet-to-be-defined-intension votes, up for grabs. Few have assessed what their opinions are. CybaCity estimate that 50% of this group would gravitate towards wishing to leave but with an agreement, 25% would wish to remain "as is" and 25% to leave without agreement. All parties need to set about encouraging people to vote as well as to register to vote. Around 5%-6% of the voting age population are not even registered to vote. This constitutes around 2,824,622 people, more than double the referendum's so-called leave majority of 1,269,501.
Jo Swinson does not appear to be arrogant but rather she is questioning, to what degree the outcome of the referendum reflects a genuine majority position. This can only be established on the basis of a vote involving the direct participation of a larger proportion of the population. However, this move could raise the likelihood of a Labour victory because of their gravitation towards a negotiated deal followed by a referendum for the people to chose between this agreement and remaining. The personal opinions voiced in the Labour party that Labour should be a remain party seems to reflect a lack of a realistic strategic vision with respect to evolving circumstances. These shifts could significantly diminish the chances of the Conservatives or the Brexit party of gaining an election victory because the consequences of no agreement are beginning to sink in to the population in general.
Many see the issue of this country's decision to leave the European Union as a question of regaining our freedom and sovereignty. But our freedom depends upon the people being able to participate in an effective and transparent way in the decisions that affect their lives. This requires an impartial media, political parties that are truly participatory and with memberships that represent most constituents, decision-making being based on facts, free from partisan bias and often baseless assertions. This can only be secured through a thorough electoral reform and a reduction in the role of small cliques and their particular power and income interests, within political parties, setting and controlling the agendas. The people must be allowed to express their opinions on the issue of importance to them but for this to secure productive decisions and outcomes they need to have access to the full facts upon which to base their decisions.
We have far to travel in this country to secure this state of affairs before sovereignly can be equated with freedom.
The court proceedings on whether or not the prime minister misled the Queen on extending the parliamentary recess (closure) is boiling down to whether this was a legitimate "political" decision or an issue of non-compliance with the law. This is a slightly absurd situation. The opposition parties therefore should, on returning to parliament, organise themselves to put through legislation that stipulates that any form of parliamentary recess be agreed and authorised on the basis of parliamentary vote. This enhances the sovereignty of the people over the government stemming any possible government imposed time-based parliamentary censorship based on closures. Period.
Unfortunately the mainstream media and many confused folk have constantly accused the Labour party of holding a confusing position on the departure of the UK from the EU. Since as explained in this site the balance between those who did not vote, voted to leave and voted to remain is roughly equal (33:33:33). There is therefore no "fence" upon which people accuse Jeremy Corbyn of perching on. Corbyn follows a slower fully participatory system for decision-making and the establishment of party policies developed by the Labour party and this is why his positions take time to form. Those who advocate one position or the other in a binary logic are all expressing personal opinions which tend to fail to acknowledge the real outcome of the referendum.
Therefore the only rational option is for a trade agreement to be agreed with the EU and then to permit the voters decide whether to leave on the basis of that agreement or to remain. That Corbyn states he will not take a position is a reflection of allowing the people of the country to decide based on the evidence put before them and that he would support any outcome. However, in contrast to the original referendum it is essential that any government adds the essential levels of transparency by providing DABs on the new agreement cost-benefits and remain is an essential requirement so far lacking from government decision-making. An electorate cannot be expected to make rational decisions based on statements daubed on campaign buses or on leaflets stuffed through letter boxes. The media also needs to clean up its act and publish in full DAB content.
Note: CybaCity has no affiliation to any UK or foreign political parties; DABs are detailed sector by sector cost-benefit analyses including household real income and employment impacts of proposed change (these are explained elsewhere on this site
One of the topics analysed under the European Commission Information Technology and Telecommunications Task Force (ITTTF) programme preparation work for advanced IT applications during 1984 through 1987, was the concept of "borderless frontier systems"
, or BFS. This was to review the possibility of facilitating customs and other arrangements on border so as to reduce congestion and even remove the need for border inspections of goods in transit. In the contex of the notorious "Backstop" it would seem that such a system is what is required.
We have received some feedback indicating that there is a need to clarify a simple point related to the EU referendum result. Of the voting age population in the UK a larger contingent than either those wishing to leave or those wishing to remain within the EU, did not vote.
Thus, of the 51,356,768 constituents of voting age, some 17,804,785 did not vote. A smaller number, 17,410,742 voted to leave and 16,141,241 voted to remain. The leave "majority" of 1,269,501 is equivalent to only 2.47% of the total voting age population; this is too small a group to justify the introduction of extreme measures that will impact the remaining 66%, the vast majority of the voting age population or 33,946,026 people.
The much-referred-to "interests of the nation"
can only be addressed by securing a balanced solution which, by a logical deduction, needs to include an agreed trading arrangement to avoid a serious economic and social consequences.
The general understanding, at the time of the referendum, given that there exist many types of trading arrangements between different non-European countries and the EU, was and continues to be that any rational basis for leaving
would be on the basis of an agreed trading arrangement while in order to also meet the general desires of remainers, a trading arrangement would avoid altering many aspects of people's lives
With a turnout on the basis of the voting age population being just 65% it is difficult to argue that the leave "majority", based on votes alone, is a justification for leaving without a deal. This is an irrational move given that the EU is our major trading partner. The negative short to medium term economic and social impacts on the UK constituency would be significant. With or without BREXIT, there is an urgent need to stablise the economy, sustain employment and reverse the long downward trend in real incomes, in what are becoming increasingly challenging global and EU market circumstances.
Further revelations concerning what the government has not taken into account in its planning, only adds evidence that a no deal exit from the EU is no longer an option for the UK or Europe.
First of all the real performance of the economy has been declining in real terms for over a decade driven by the policy of quantitative easing (QE) combined with the cut backs on the public sector under "austerity". This has led to a reduction in investment in the productive economy and re-routing of low interest debt into assets by the banks and large corporations including widespread buy-backs of shares, driving up the values of shares without reflecting an substantive improvements in corporate prospects and therefore misleading potential shareholders. Savers surviving off fixed returns have been liquidated and pension are on the verge of facing negative yields on fixed term investments and equity. Already in the EU pension fund managers are being asked to purchase securities with negative yields because of ECB continual extension of QE. The levels of government and private debt exceed the pre-2007 situation, lower middle income families are facing an encroaching cost of living crisis and many people in work, including public service employees are having to complement their purchases by making use of food banks. The international economic tensions promoted through the belligerent rhetoric and actions by the USA with the collusion of the UK government in imposing economic sanctions are causing misery and an unsettling confrontation between the USA and China, Iran and many other countries.
It is self-evident that this is not the time to take decisions that risk adding to the considerable existing uncertainty about the future of the ability of the British economy to support the wellbeing of the people of this country.
The Yellow Hammer report, so-called, provided a glimpse of some short term considerations of the no deal implications on the logistics of goods, food, medical supplies and services. However, there are more fundamental potential medium to long term impacts on the British economy, household purchasing power and employment levels linked to the sensitivity of the cash flow of many services to the timely operations of supply chains that cross the borders to the EU. This sensitivity could become a trigger for considerable instability over which conventional macreoconomic policy instruments would have no obvious means of controlling.
risk yet further stress of the British economy.Read more...
The recent events and the last three years have been a case study of why the UK needs electoral and constitutional reform. This is for many a tedious topic but much of what we have witnessed during the last three years, has been even more tedious. The issues needing change are well-known but the party machines have resisted even giving consideration of them. We review some of the issues and will start a series in order to keep this topic alive.Read more...
From in increasingly aggressive government trying to impose a single way forward to a street revolution aiming to depose the government, no one appears to be attempting to head for the most obvious solution.... Read more...
Jeremy Corbyn made the case today in Parliament why people should not vote for a no deal Brexit. This was the point being made in our observations yesterday and contained in the article below this one. By amassing the sector evidence of the drastic negative impacts on vital supplies, disruption in supply chains and impact on employment, a strong case can be made why the Conservative version of BREXIT, and definitely that of the Brexit Party, represent an abandonment of responsibility to the wellbeing of the people of this country. This could clearly be the platform upon which other parties mount their policies in manifestos in any coming election. Clearly the aping of the Brexit party by the current government is the same mistake as was made in aping UKIP.
There is no need to ape the Brexit party, Corbyn has already explained why their no deal objectives are absurd. However, by dedicating some time to repeating this impact analysis applied to our main EU trading partners, this could be used to inform the other citizens of Europe of the extent of damage to production and jobs in their countries, arising from a no deal BREXIT. Given the economic circumstances in the EU this could help encourage the European Commission and Council of Ministers to pay more attention to these issues facing their constituents and encourage them to become more accommodating in their handling of this affair.
| || We continue to research this topic to prepare more content. to be continued.....|
Conventional macroeconomic policies create winners, losers and those unaffected by policy. This generates inequality in incomes and since conventional policies are unable to control inflation, monetary values decline and with this real incomes also decline. Macroeconomic policies lack traction.Read more...
One of the major causes of the failure in macroeconomic management was the growth in the grey markets that are beyond the reach of macroeconomic policies in spite of the fact they were encouraged by policy and regulatory absurdities within conventional macroeconomic theory and practice. Read more...
Agenda 2030 promotes 17 major systainable goals for development linked to human wellbeing. It is the global programme to bring about changes in social and economic practice to combat climate change, by introducing suatainable ways of production that do not depreciate the carrying capacity of water and land-based ecosystems so as to secure a sustainable future for all.
Many "adults" and leaders have tried to lower the temperature surrounding Greta Thunberg's pronouncements concerning the environment and global warming. Some have suggested she needs to stop because she is scaring the hell out of children.
One of the biggest initiatives to tackle global warming in terms of action is Agenda 2030 which established some 17 Sustainable Development Goals subject to 230 indicators in 2015. The most recent report on progress of this intiative is not promising and there is reason why adults should be becoming so scared as hell as to demand more rapid change. As adults we see inaction of governments and societies in general, and very slow progress where efforts are made. Too much cosmetic unsubstantial support by those taking advantage of "sustainability" as a device by larger corporations to market goods and services that are not sustainable.
The upset and indignation of children is justified and adults need to reassess their need to become more directly involved in encouraging governments and companies to act more decisively and rapidly.
We have set out the 17 sustainable development goals in a separate page together with the over 230 indicators.Read more...
Click on the cover image to download
Paradoxically Agenda 2030 is goal oriented while it not referring directly to the causes of the evolution in human activities towards an unsustainable state of affairs including population dynamics, income level inequity and inflation. These are the main causes for pressure on the resources which we require for future survival.Read more...
The 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report points to significant gaps in the organization of statistical sources through collection, analysis and determination of indicator status. This has resulted in a lack of accessibility to specific indicators, especially in low income countries.
It is stated that the Global Monitoring Network are working to correct this issue. However, after many decades of the collection of statistics by countries that support the United Nations statistical data reporting mechanisms, this points to a significant gap in the preparation for Agenda 2030, especially in the case of lower income countries where some of the factors of most importance to their future sustainability are inadequately monitored.Read more ...
One of the troubling aspects concerning Agenda 2030 has been, in terms of available publications and reports, what many consider to be over-optimistic assessments of the future of smallholders in many low income countries.
What is the smallholder issue?
Some 90% of the world's smallholders have 2 ha. of land and around 65% have less than 1 ha.
FAO and other agencies circulate a considerable amount of material setting out how smallholders can become sustainable. However, in the latest IWSAT 2019 (International Workshop on Analytical Tools) one of the Key emerging issues reviewed was smallholder land holdings and the intense land-grabs that tend to face smallholders as their economy of operations begin to fail with economic growth; a very common scenario that has faced smallholders worldwide. This risks increased poverty, inability to secure sufficient food and a failure to uphold equality.
To find out more... click on the CCi image in the box on the right.
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