by John Ward
Specialised Wonkism is getting in the way of Renaissance thinking
And now, here is the news….
A recent poll showed that a majority of Tory activists (and an overwhelming majority of Brexiteer voters across the board) would far rather leave the EU with No Deal than the May Deal. As I suggested earlier in the week, a cross-Party mob of Remaindeer tried to lobby the Prime Minister, allegedly dangling an offer to support her deal if she renounced No Deal unequivocally.
As she failed to give such an assurance, pretty much the same people engineered an amendment to the Finance Bill last night in the Commons, effectively making it impossible for the Bill to pass in the event of a No Deal Brexit. That is to say, unless some kind of deal is signed with Brussels, the Government will be unable to raise taxes….and thus, all policy business will grind to a halt.
This is blackmail putting ideology before the greater National Interest.
Speaker John Bercow relished the opportunity to rule in favour of the Amendment….he being an unapologetic Remaindeer.
So – to be absolutely clear – a minority of a minority has just used a supposedly neutral citizen (all one of him) to deny the will of the majority of a majority.
Aye, well like….that’s democracy, innit?
It isn’t, of course. But there is a far bigger issue at stake here than what form Brexit takes – a debate which, I remain completely convinced, will seem like a storm in a Turkish coffee cup five years from now.
Thinking in compartments is wrong
The Western media set continues to see a British divided on Brexit as a battle between the Political Executive and the Legislature. It isn’t – and it never has been: it is a struggle between the undemocratically elected and influentially unelected on the one hand, the British People on the other, the young and the old, the globalist and the communitarian. It is a tug of war between a varietal Establishment of perhaps 700,000 privileged individuals….and 70 million citizens increasingly impoverished and alienated by the very same self-styled élite it is obliged by Law to finance through taxes.
What a delicious irony it is that the privileged few are now trying to have their way by cutting off their own money supply. (For that reason alone, it won’t last).
Over the last ten days since the New Year, like many people I have been reading and analysing the views of those who think they know what 2019 has in store for us. I find most of these outlooks to be narrow-minded on the basis of profession: they see the world from their own perspective of alleged expertise, but fail to grasp the interaction between the myriad disciplines involved.
Compartmentalised thinking at the design stage ensured the sinking of the Titanic.
When applied to socio-economic political policy, such tunnel vision is more dangerous than any cyber threat from China or imagined expansionism in Moscow. Massive shifts along multiple fault-lines – regional, nationalist, fiscal, financial, military, technological, mercantile, migratory, media-based, gender identity narcissist, religious, ethnic, idological and educational – are more acute and apparent than in any living person’s experience.
No man is an island, and no cultural change can be isolated.
Yesterday – here in France – Prime Minister Edouard Philippe jerked his knee and went on a media-blitz attack against the Gilets Jaunes. They were, he insisted, “out of control” – and new laws would be required against “wreckers” and all those “who march as their camp followers”. Nobody in the UK is reporting this. Very few in the French media are offering the view that the Prime Minister is engaged in straightforward repression of a People being ignored.
Over the last two days in Britain, activists representing the 17.4 million pro-Brexit majority were condemned by the House of Commons for anti-Soubry chants – and that same silly little Speaker demanded the demonstrators be reined in by the Metropolitan Police.
The narrow issues here are Macron demolishing a communitarian France, and the UK public getting angry about the continued attempts of 650 neocon bumboys to deny us the clean Brexit for which we voted.
But the much broader perspective is yet more attacks by the Alt State upon ever-more indirect, diluted and ersatz liberal democracy.
We are in Sorcerer’s Apprentice territory here.
Everything is connected
The square-headed application of austerity to Club Med by Brussels-am-Berlin might have saved the eurobanks, but it screwed the Greek health infrastructure. With Greece’s closeness to Arabia – and its valiant efforts to take a far more than fair share of migrants – what we have seen is microbiological research budgets cut.
A pandemic could begin in Greece and spread like wildfire. The ‘starter’ equation is:
banker idiocy + suprastate egoism + pulverised Greece = health infrastructure damage + pandemic outbreak.
The welfare and health budget cuts by the Indian government could set off a similar disaster there.
But that’s just the start. Biological out-of-control mutations scare market traders, punish quoted pharmcos, and produce bourse panic.
The pandemic’s spread also evokes gotta-getaway migration.
That in turn sends more votes the way of populists.
All of this happens in the context of a decade of monied lobbying to disable financial regulation and banking firm/bourse reform. So we wind up with the ultimate vicious circle equation:
banking failure + geopolitical aspirations + bought legislatures + weakened public health = pandemic panic + populist frustration + political panic + algorithmic market misinterpretation = drastic bourse corrections + banking failure
As the Buddhists say, everything is connected. There is no such thing as a policy without unintended consequences.
The epidemiology of collapse
In the sort of jerry-built world constructed since the accession of Reagan and Thatcher, very little interactive Game Theory has been applied to look at the long-term effects of manic greed promoted on an industrial scale. Given the astonishing advance of computer capability and memory over that period, I find this almost as puzzling as it is disgraceful. ‘Modelling’ has been restricted almost entirely to commercial econometrics, weather and military outcomes, but nobody inside the 3% bubble has given any thought to the point at which popular patience will snap.
The sort of scenario I paint above is far from sci-fi….and not a ‘one-off’ freak. Rather, it is just one of a bewildering array of domino knock-ons made possible by a complex but above all globalist world outlook. It is all very well to shrug one’s shoulders about the San Andreas fault – it could move next week or in three hundred years, nobody can forecast – but we have more than enough anthropological data to measure the far more likely effects of, for example:
- An eventual Italian banking collapse coinciding with harsher measures being taken against the Gilets Jaunes by Edouard Philippe in France
- The effect on Sino-Japanese relations if Trump hardens his trading stance sufficiently to damage the Chinese economy, and Beijing responds with military adventurism in the Pacific
- The reaction in the United Kingdom if a new Islamist atrocity is committed shortly after a City stock market correction…just as, in the warmer Spring weather, people traffickers focus more on Britain as an easy target…and Brussels decides to get nasty following a No Deal Brexit
- Fiscal tightening continues at the Fed, and escapees from South American Dollar-denominated debt start to overwhelm authorities along the southern borders of the US.
In all honesty, you don’t need to rely on my cerebral connections – this is a game anyone can play. But it isn’t the fantasy from which escapist contemporary games are given life.
Simply do this: take all the major Ministerial portfolios in your own country – the vast majority of Slog readers are based in the UK, Canada, Australia, Greece, France, Germany, the US and Spain, so there’s plenty of commonality – and create a square with eight departments across and eight down.
Focus first of all on those areas on each axis where demands have grown, but budgets have either shrunk or stagnated in real term: pensions, poverty, defence, health, farming, conservation, fishing, overseas aid and so forth.
It doesn’t take long to scare yourself half to death.
Conclusion: the victory of process over insight
Genuine social advance, real capitalist entrepreneuralism, smart egalitarianism, enlightened approaches to ownership, preparation for the rainy days, deciding that the herd is wrong…..all those things require creativity, foresight and – perhaps above all – eclectic ways of viewing the future.
We are a species desperately in need of a Renaissance. We exist in systemic societies urgently in need of introspection.
The collectivist, illiberal end of socialism lives in a past that always produces the lazy 3% in the Zil lane. The neoliberal State with a neoconservative foreign policy enriches only the blinkered 3% in the fast lane.
It is going to take a generation (at least) of youth reared on questioning, doubting and altogether open-minded, constructive education to demolish a generation of cataract thinking.