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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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.
Agenda 2030 promotes 17 major goals for development linked to human wellbeing. Paradoxically Agenda 2030 is goal oriented while not referring directly to the causes of the evolution in human activities towards an unsustainable state of affairs. Population dynamics, income level inequity and inflation are the main causes for pressure on the resources we require for future survival.
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.
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.