An important study reported by Global Research.
The report reproduced (with kind permission) below is a short summary of the vitally important research into the origin of the current government’s campaign against disability and incapacity benefits and the involvement of Unum (formerly UnumProvident) and ATOS. This remarkably detailed work was carried out over the last three years by former healthcare professional and disabled veteran, Mo Stewart*. Mo has worked relentlessly and determinedly, despite her own pain and fatigue, to bring together a vast amount of damning evidence against this cruel system which has and continues to bring misery and even death to people whose only ‘crime’ is to be chronically sick or disabled. What you are about to read below is but a tiny example of far, far more material some of which can be found on her website here or by following the links she provides in her reference list at the end of the articles.
*(Mo Stewart is a former healthcare professional, a disabled female veteran and, for the last 3 years, has researched the links between the DWP, Atos Healthcare & Unum Insurance. To date, the research evidence has been quoted during welfare debates in the House of Lords, the House of Commons and in Westminster Hall. Mo routinely shares all research evidence with academics, medical and healthcare professionals, frontline national charities, selected
politicians and service users.)
THE HIDDEN AGENDA: a research summary by Mo Stewart
(The Hidden Agenda © Mo Stewart – March 2013)
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is exclusively conducted on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by the corporate giant Atos Origin IT Ltd Medical Services, better known as Atos Healthcare. This ‘non-medical assessment’ was introduced in 2008 by the Labour government, and was identified as a ‘medical examination’ to be used to identify genuine claimants for long term sickness and disability benefit. However, what was unknown at the time was the fact that the WCA was a continuation of the planned agenda of the previous Thatcher government, whose ultimate goal was the destruction of the Welfare State.(1) The WCA was promoted as a ‘fitness for work’ assessment for claimants of what was once known as Incapacity Benefit, now re-named as the Employment and Support Allowance.(ESA) In reality, in order to reduce the welfare budget, the WCA was designed to resist as many sickness benefit claims as possible regardless of confirmed and identified permanent illness or disability. By 2010 the planned DWP welfare budget reduction was deemed to be
too slow. The new Coalition Government enhanced the WCA and, following the previous Labour Government’s lead, it became much more difficult to qualify for the ESA(2) as the WCA totally disregarded diagnosis, prognosis or limited life expectancy.
Aided and abetted by the national press, using insidious press headlines to manipulate public opinion(3)(3b), the Coalition Government successfully introduced tyranny, fear and despair to the nation’s most vulnerable people, using a disability assessment model as designed in consultation with Unum [Provident] Insurance; one of the most discredited corporate insurance giants in the world.(4)(4b) At the same time, reported disability hate crimes in the United Kingdom(UK) were rising to record levels.(5) The first two years of independent research into the WCA concluded at the end of November 2011 with the
exposure of two government memorandums provided by Unum Provident Insurance.(6) Initially, the link between the UK welfare reforms and the likely move to an insurance based benefits system was identified by Baroness Tanni Gray-Thompson during the welfare reform debates in the House of Lords.(7) Nine months later, the link between Atos Healthcare and Unum Insurance was exposed by Kevin Brennan MP during debate in Westminster Hall(8) and, more recently, during an emergency Backbench Business debate in the House of Commons(HOC), Michael Meacher MP identified the possible influence of Unum Insurance with the UK Government.(9)
Of course, this destruction of the welfare state could never have been so readily achieved without the unelected former Labour adviser, David Freud. He was ennobled to permit appointment initially to the Shadow Cabinet but, following the 2010 General Election, he was appointed as the Minister for Welfare Reform for the Coalition where he has excelled. Indeed, one of Lord Freud’s most recent claims was that: “Poor people should be prepared to take more risks because they have the least to lose…”(11) Clearly, this man is yet another millionaire Minister who demonstrates no concern, and no comprehension, of human need.
The ongoing DWP medical tyranny, masquerading as welfare reform, has permitted Atos Healthcare to conduct the WCA by employing the totally discredited Bio-Psychosocial(BPS) model of disability assessment that remains free from all public accountability according to the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission. The BPS is the assessment model as used by Unum Insurance when assessing healthcare insurance claims, and it is also the assessment model enthusiastically promoted by Professor Sir Mansel Aylward. The Professor is the Director of the Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research at Cardiff University, initially sponsored by Unum Insurance from its inception in 2003 to 2009.
However, prior to his move to the Centre, the Professor was the DWP’s Chief Medical Officer who, in 1994, was in post when Unum Insurance was invited to become corporate ‘advisers’ to the UK government.(12) Whilst the BPS model is an interesting theory, the selective use of the BPS model of disability assessment, as used by both Unum Insurance and Atos Healthcare, was exposed long ago as an invention of the insurance industry.(13)(14) By concentrating on the psychological model of disability, to the detriment of the social model, the WCA was always destined to promote unacceptable results for many thousands of ESA claimants. In one six month period alone 37,100 people had waited up to a year to have their ESA benefit reinstated following appeal, yet no-one is asking what would have happened to these genuinely sick and disabled people if they had not had the strength to pursue their claim to appeal?(10)
Indeed, a recent Panorama documentary: ‘Disabled or Faking It’,(15) demonstrated quite categorically the dangers of the WCA with seriously ill patients, diagnosed with life threatening conditions such as heart failure and end stage emphysema, being found fit for work.(15) However, with the national press still refusing to expose the identified influence of Unum Insurance with the DWP welfare reforms, the British public remain in ignorance as the government covertly convert the UK welfare state into the American healthcare system, ultimately to be funded by private insurance.(12)(13)(14) Meanwhile, Unum Insurance is happy to continue to offer new careers to former government ‘advisers’. (16) The WCA is an American imported ‘disability assessment model’ and has no medical credibility whatsoever, as confirmed by the British Medical Association(17), yet it is enthusiastically employed by the DWP and causes devastation to those least able to protest. This ‘medical assessment’ is working very well as the thousands of genuine claimants that have either died, committed suicide, been forced into poverty due to mounting debt, or who have developed a mental health problem due to anxiety are now the disregarded victims.(10)
Many had been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit before being re-assessed by Atos Healthcare, using the fatally flawed WCA, only to fail to qualify for benefit following ‘assessment’. The Internet provides evidence to this government imposed suffering at a cost to the tax-payer of £110million per annum for the confidential Atos contract and an estimated £60 million pounds per annum, and rising, for the costs of the appeal tribunals. Yet, still, Members of Parliament (MP) continue with their very courteous and diplomatic debates(8)(9) as the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and, especially, their corporate partners all celebrate the ongoing planned destruction of the welfare state that appears to be unstoppable.
What is still disregarded is the fact that Professor Sir Mansel Aylward’s research activities were funded for six years by Unum Insurance.(12) Indeed, due to his significant contribution to the future reduction of the DWP welfare budget by promoting the use of a ‘non-medical’ assessment, the Professor was rewarded with a Knighthood for “services to disability assessment.” Therefore, his support for the BPS disability assessment model was presumed to be guaranteed. Yet, when confronted six months ago, the Professor actually confirmed that he now considered the BPS model to be “unsatisfactory” and that he believed it “no longer addresses the real needs of disabled people and the exclusion of disabled people from society”.(18) Of course, the question remains as to why there was no official DWP announcement following this amazing change of ‘expert’ professional opinion, as the entire national press totally disregarded the press release that was distributed last September following Sir Mansel’s unexpected statement. Perhaps the Professor was safe in the
knowledge that the press release would be ignored, and perhaps this is why he continues to travel widely, still lecturing about the virtues of the totally discredited BPS model of disability assessment? The most recent lecture was at the Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference in Birmingham, from 5th-6th March 2013,(19) where Professor Sir Mansel Aylward was listed as a keynote speaker on the subject of: The New Public Health Agenda: Its Impact on Health and Wellbeing at Work. Given the title of his speech, one can only presume that the Professor has yet to advise other professionals of his reported change of expert opinion.(18)
This is how the UK welfare state will be destroyed. There is a BPS ‘expert’ in place, and an American corporate insurance giant has influenced the UK Government to totally disregard human suffering, in favour of a reduced welfare budget, using an identified bogus ‘medical assessment’. Unum Insurance have begun their mass marketing to encourage able bodied members of the British public to invest in their ‘Income Protection Insurance’ or their ‘Back-up Plan,’ that’s only available via the workplace, and these are the healthcare insurance policies that the company has historically tried very hard to resist funding when a claim is made.(20)(21) Given that the unacceptable practice of Unum Insurance was previously exposed by MPs during a House of Commons debate in 1999(22), the question remains as to why was this highly discredited American corporate insurance giant ever permitted to influence UK welfare reforms and why the national press, en masse, refuse to expose this insurance company’s confirmed influence despite it being identified by a BBC News report in 2007?(23)
The recent exposure of a 2005 internal Unum report, that actively boasted that the company was ‘driving government thinking’ regarding the reform of Incapacity Benefit (24) leads to the much more sinister possibility that the DWP are simply administrators of these brutal welfare reforms, and that the perpetrators of the devastation caused to the victims of this UK government funded medical tyranny are, in fact, Unum Insurance. Michael O’Donnell was the author of the 2005 internal Unum report that was written when he was the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Unum Insurance. Michael O’Donnell is now the CMO for Atos Healthcare…..
The difficulty remains that no-one is asking the relevant questions. Perhaps MPs should be asking the Prime Minister why he’s been funded by ‘healthcare companies’ to the value of £750,000(27) since he became Prime Minister (25) or why every report produced by the President of the Appeal Tribunals, all of which identified the Atos Healthcare WCA assessments as “failing to coincide with reality”, was totally disregarded by the DWP? (12)
Until and unless more significant questions are asked in the House of Commons, victims of this government funded medical nightmare will be forced to turn to the law for help, just as in America.(26)
Until and unless the national press demonstrate that the UK really does benefit from a free press, and not a government controlled press, the most vulnerable of all British people will continue to suffer and the British public will continue to be deceived.(12)
1) Margaret Thatcher’s role in plan to dismantle welfare state revealed:
(2) Cuts to UK benefits: http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/type/text/cuts-to-uk-benefits.html
(3) ‘Ello, John, got a new Motability motor? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2047593/Motability-schemes-starting-resemble- worst-excesses-Arthur-Daley-.html
(3b) Half a million incapacity benefit claimants are fit for work, Government’s own figures show: Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2115476/A-incapacity-benefit-claimants-fit-work-Government-s-OWN-figures show. html#axzz2JqkmNFAR
(4) New York Attorney General Spitzer’s ruling: http://www.insure.com/articles/healthinsurance/unum-settlement.html
(4b) The Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America – The American Association of Justice
(5) Hate crimes against disabled people soar to a record high:
(6) The truth behind welfare reforms: http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveteransreport20111120.html
(7) BnsTanni Gray-Thompson: House of Lords, welfare reforms
(8) Private Members’ Debate: Atos Healthcare: 4th Sept 2012
(9) Backbench Business: Atos Work Capability Assessment debate: 17th Jan 2013
(10) British people are committing suicide to escape poverty. Is this what the State wants?
(11) Lord Freud’s welfare ‘lifestyle’ comments show ‘nasty party is back’, say Labour:
(12) Government use might of American insurance giant to destroy UK welfare safety net – update 27th Oct : http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveteransreport20121027.html
(13) An academic responds to statement by Prof Aylward:
(14) A Tale of Two Models: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/jolly/A%20Tale%20of%20two%20Models%20Leeds1.pdf
(15) Panorama: Disabled or Faking It?
(16) Peter Dewis: Steppin’ Sideways from Government to Unum:
(17) GPs call for work capability assessment to be scrapped:
(18) Former DWP medical boss makes WCA pledge to protesters:
(19) Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference, NEC Birmingham: http://www.healthatwork2013.co.uk/
(20) “The denial on the part of Unum in the Mondolo case appears to mirror denials of other Unum disability claims historically, going back several years. To that end, the Court noted Unum’s history of biased claims administration.” (MARCH 2013)
(21) CBS News 60 minutes: DID INSURER CHEAT DISABLED CLIENTS:
(22) Permanent Health Insurance debate, Westminster Hall, 21st December 2009
(23) BBC Ten ‘o Clock News report: 6th Nov 2007 http://www.meactionuk.org.uk/UNUM_on_BBC_News_061107.wmv (BBC NEWS report – video)
(24) Unum bragged about ‘driving government thinking’ on incapacity benefit reform:
(25) MPs’ links are so unhealthy: http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/378233/MPs-links-are-so- unhealthy
(26) High Court rules Work Capability Assessment arguably unlawful:
(27) NHS reform leaves Tory backers with links to private healthcare firms set for bonanza:
James Quinn 6th June 2013
Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.
Pink Floyd – Hey You
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
The world makes less sense every day. Little children are randomly slaughtered in their schoolrooms. Predator drones roam the skies over foreign countries exterminating bad guys, along with innocent women and children (collateral damage when it occurs in a foreign country). Drugged up mentally ill kids with no hope and no future live lives of secluded quiet desperation until they snap. Ignorant, government educated, welfare dependent drones with no self respect or respect for others, assault, kill and rob within their government created urban jungles. Sociopathic criminals who committed the largest financial crime in world history walk free and continue to occupy executive suites in luxury office towers in downtown NYC, collecting millions in bonuses as compensation for crushing the American middle class. Academics, whose theories have been thoroughly disproven, continue to steer our economy into an iceberg while accelerating the money printing and debt issuance that will sink our ship of state. Corrupt, bought off politicians pander to the lowest common denominator as their votes are only dependent upon who contributed the most to their election campaigns, which never end. Delusional, materialistic, egocentric, math challenged consumers (formerly known as citizens) live for today, enslave themselves in debt, vote themselves more entitlements, and care not for future generations. The alienation and isolation created by our sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government controlled, debt financed society has spread like a cancerous tumor, slowly killing our country.
Pink Floyd released The Wall 33 years ago. It was a concept rock opera album that explored the issues of ababdonment, isolation, alienation, authoritarianism, the brutality of war, a tyrannical conformist educational system, and the walls individuals and society build to protect themselves from having to confront reality and deal with the consequences of their actions. I attended the Roger Waters Wall Concert this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with my three sons. Three decades later, the message is more powerful than ever. The government oppression and never ending wars waged by the American Empire around the world have created a society built upon fear and loathing. Roger Waters’ vision is colored byOrwell’s 1984 dystopian nightmare of lies, misinformation, propaganda and brutality. The missing piece, which Waters didn’t see coming in 1979, was the ability of the oligarchs to use their control of the credit system to entrap the masses by convincing them to love their servitude and become so consumed with material possessions and the love of money that they would become nothing more than passive egotistical consumers.
Since 1979, Total Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to $55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. Over this same time frame total wages and salaries have risen from $1.3 trillion to $6.9 trillion, a 531% increase. GDP has grown from $2.6 trillion to $15.8 trillion, a 608% increase. Luckily for the oligarchs, the math challenged masses don’t understand that 375% of the increase in GDP is strictly due to Federal Reserve created inflation, as the U.S. dollar has lost 68% of its purchasing power since 1979. This GDP growth was driven by debt, with consumer expenditures rising from 61% of GDP in 1979 to 71% of GDP today. In the one hundred years since the creation of the Federal Reserve the country’s population has tripled, while our public debt and unfunded liabilites have risen from $2 billion to over $200 trillion, a ten million percent increase. The masses have been programmed and conditioned to love their debt servitude and yearn for more debt to fix an economic system that collapsed due to excessive debt. The cadre of ruling elite are obliging by creating debt at hyperspeed levels. The corporate media, Wall Street shysters and low-life captured politicians assure the sheep-like masses that this is normal and beneficial to their interests, as the sheep are sheared and led to slaughter.
“There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.” – George Orwell
“And always, everywhere, there would be the yelling or quietly authoritative hypnotists; and in the train of the ruling suggestion givers, always everywhere, the tribes of buffoons and hucksters, the professional liars, the purveyors of entertaining irrelevances. Conditioned from the cradle, unceasingly distracted, mesmerized systematically, their uniformed victims would go on obediently marching and countermarching, go on, always and everywhere, killing and dying with the perfect docility of trained poodles.” – Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley and Edward Bernays realized in the 1920s that the utilization of conditioning and propaganda techniques could be used to control and manipulate the masses. Ivan Pavlov, the famous Russian physiologist, conducted the ground breaking work on conditional reflexes. Pavlov discovered that when a bell was rung in subsequent time with food being presented to a dog in consecutive sequences, the dog will initially salivate when the food is presented. The dog will later come to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of the food and salivate upon the ringing of the bell. To a critical thinking human being who questions authority, resists being told what they should think, and values their humanity, over what is crammed down their throat by government run schools and the corporate controlled media, the thought of being treated like a dog is revolting. But to people like Edward Bernays, who believed manipulation of the masses by an invisible contingent of intellectually superior men, conditioning the minds of the masses through propaganda was a necessity in a democratic society to keep the herd under control.
Just a cursory examination of our society reveals a population of salivating consumers (dogs) who can be stimulated to buy the latest iPhone or techno-gadget with a simple Madison Avenue advertising campaign (bell). Everyone has seen the videos of the masses lining up like cattle on Black Friday, stampeding through aisles, and fighting each other like their the entertainment at Michael Vick’s house on a Saturday night. All the mega-corporate retailers and the corporate media have to do is ring a bell (SALE) and the dogs start salivating. Product placement, Hollywood star endorsements and influential people using a product immediately convince the easily manipulated dogs to salivate and purchase the products. The difference is that these dogs have credit cards issued by the Wall Street banks and funded by the Federal Reserve with dollars created out of thin air. We are inundated with millions of TV, newspaper, radio, billboard, and internet advertisements designed to make us salivate (spend). Huxley’s dystopian vision of a society whose economic values, in which individual happiness is defined as the ability to satisfy needs, and achievement as a society is equated with economic growth and prosperity, has come to full fruition. He never conceived of consumers having the ability to consume without even having the money to do so. The credit card became our form of Soma. The so called progressives point to our ever increasing “advancements” in technology as proof that our society is progressing. Huxley knew otherwise, decades before we reached this disgusting point in history:
“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” – Aldous Huxley
In reality our “technological progress” has done nothing more than create a humorless, shallow, superficial world of alienation and egocentric desires. Just as in Huxley’s Brave New World, science and technology have not been used to seek truth and advance our culture. They have been used by the State to sensor, control, and monitor the citizens. They use technology as a means to create electronic entertainment machines that generate both harmless leisure and the high levels of consumption and production that are the basis of societal stability and state designed happiness. When those in control talk about progress, they mean greater control over our lives. When the consumption of material goods isn’t enough to fill the holes within our souls, our owners are quick to prescribe a pill to smooth over those feelings of unease and discontent. In Huxley’s novel the population voluntarily consumes Soma to dispel any anxieties or negative emotion. The saying was, “One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments.” In America the government controlled drug industry has thousands of pills to treat every ailment or unhappy thought that might ail you. Just don’t try and treat yourself with an unapproved natural or banned substance. The threat of imprisonment always lurks in the shadows. They just want us to be interchangeable bricks in the wall.
And the Worms Ate Into His Brain
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley
Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight.
Pink Floyd – Hey You
The tragic deaths of twenty children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut this past week and the similar tragedies in Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson are a reflection of the twisted society we’ve created. The progressive control freak do-gooders that believe the government can solve all problems and improve our lives with another law or regulation, have as usual come to the wrong solution for the wrong problem. Stricter gun control laws would not have averted this this tragedy. Connecticut has the 5th toughest gun restrictions in the country according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The guns were purchased legally by the mother of the killer. Mentally deranged people should not have access to guns, knives, automobiles, gasoline, or baseball bats. The real issue is not what he used to kill these innocent people, it’s what caused him to snap. Those in power want to divert the attention from this crucial question. In Huxley’s novel the characters do everything they can to avoid confronting the truth about their own lives. They try to alter reality by ingesting Soma, encouraged by the state as the ultimate form of willful self-delusion. Soma clouds the realities of the present and replaces them with happy hallucinations, and is thus a tool for promoting social stability. America has taken Huxley’s dystopian vision to an extreme. There are millions of children in this country being drugged on a daily basis to keep them under control. A majority of the mass murderers were taking psychotropic drugs, including the mentally deranged killer this week. These killings are a result of the state sponsored drugging of children, a culture that promotes narcissism, broken families and our technologically enhanced suburban sprawl isolation from human relationships, love and compassion for others.
We glorify technology even though it encourages the building of brick walls, creating a self-imposed isolation from society. The traditional family unit has been discarded, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce and 43% of all children born out of wedlock. Millions of families are dysfunctional, with parents too busy with their careers and acquiring material possessions, to bother with raising their children in a loving nurturing way. One in ten American adults choose to escape their man made cells with prescription anti-depressants. Almost one in four women in their 40s and 50s are popping pills to escape their depressing lives. Huxley envisioned a Soma Nation. America is a Prozac Nation. The wealthy think medicating their kids, spoiling them with toys, gadgets and cars, and occupying their days with organized sports and activities passes for involved parenting. Poor urban children are lucky if they ever lay eyes on their father. Ignorance, violence, and dependency are a given for most of these kids. And all of these children are matriculated into the government run schools whose sole purpose is to teach kids what to think, rather than how to think. Our owners need to keep us “happy” and focused on feelings, material possessions, and an infinite number of distractions, so they can retain control and continue their pillaging of the national wealth.
Our leaders have attempted to design their own Brave New World, retaining control by making America’s citizens so contented and superficially fulfilled that they no longer care about their personal freedoms, liberties and civic responsibilities. The consequences of increasing state power are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions. We are losing our humanity. The society created by Bernays and his minions who occupy the executive suites in NYC and slither through the halls of Congress has been built upon destroying all human truths, such as love, friendship, community, and personal connections. Decades of media propaganda, public education mind control, and peddling of debt convinced the majority that happiness meant immediate gratification of our desires for food, sex, drugs, clothes, iGadgets, and all the other consumer crap made in corporate sponsored slave labor factories across Asia. These delusional hallucinations of happiness are the prison walls we’ve built brick by brick.
“This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary, but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.” – Aldous Huxley
It took the intellectuals and progressives that wield power across the land only moments to hijack the feelings of sorrow and pain sweeping the nation, to misdirect attention from the mental illnesses caused by the society they’ve created, towards the false storyline that gun violence is sweeping the land. In reality, violent crime has been falling for over a decade as gun sales have soared. The homicide rate in this country is the lowest since 1964, with the vast majority of homicides occurring in the urban kill zones created by the five decade long progressive war on poverty. The truth is of no interest to those brandishing power. After decades of conditioning, the masses are psychologically captive to the messages designed to make them salivate. They will be compelled to think, feel and act as instructed by the Alphas. There will be calls for more police, despite the fact that police rarely stop a crime. With all of their armaments, technology, high powered weaponry, and political clout, they can be counted on to arrive five minutes after the tragedy is over. But they are brilliant in luring clueless Muslim teenagers into terrorist plots, picking the target, providing the fake bombs, and taking credit for foiling the plots they created. More union police officers will increase our safety as much as more union teachers have made our kids smarter. This tragedy will be used by the propagandists to impose further restrictions upon those who choose personal responsibility and self-reliance over dependency and trust in the efficiency and fairness of our benevolent government overlords.
As the father of three sons I can’t imagine the pain, sorrow and emptiness the parents of these beautiful children must be experiencing. The grief is overwhelming. I mourn for the children and adults slaughtered by a mentally deranged young man created by our truly perverted culture of alienation. I mourn for the children being raised in a society run by evil psychopathic liars that use the power of propaganda and the tools of debt to control and manipulate its citizens. I mourn for unborn generations that will be forced to confront the dreadful depraved chaos created by our culture of egocentric greed and narcissism. The things we value in this culture – accumulating wealth, outward beauty, acquisition of material possessions, instant gratification, access to debt, government control, and curing our ills with drugs – are driving us insane. Who is really abnormal in a profoundly abnormal society? Believing that possessions, more laws or another medication will truly make us happy is insane. Popping a pill, buying a new iPhone, or passing another law will not cure the disease that permeates this nation. We need to recapture the humanity, civic pride and self-responsibility that built this country. Only an awakened populace can change our course.
Huxley feared that our desires would ruin us. Orwell was afraid that what we fear would ruin us. The oligarchs have pushed the Huxley vision to its sustainable limit. The avarice and greed of these invisible power brokers has devoured the vast resources of the nation. These psychopaths weren’t satisfied with siphoning off most of the wealth of the country. They wanted it all and wrecked the global economy in their odious pursuit of mammon. We are now in the death throes of the most decadent, delusional, debt engendered era in the long history of mankind. Those in power realize it is slipping away. Their “solutions” reflect an air of desperation. Their propaganda efforts have been redoubled. As more middle class workers lose their jobs, more young people graduate from college with tens of thousands in student loan debt and a future of dramatically reduced expectations, and more people are driven beyond their breaking point, this materialistic shroud of happiness will be torn asunder. Anger is building like a lava dome within a volcano. A critical thinking minority are questioning the motives of those in power. The unsustainability of our economic paradigm is certain. The seeds of revolution are being sown. Our society is only fantasy. The wall is too high. It will be up to an irate tireless minority of freedom minded citizens to tear down the wall. The alternative is to allow the worms to eat into our brains. Each of us must answer a simple question. Are you just another brick in the wall?
But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.
Pink Floyd – Hey You
The oligarchs will not give up without a fight. Their realization that the Brave New World method of controlling the masses has run its course has convinced them to shift their methods towards Orwell’s 1984 tactics. In part two of this series – Mother Should I Trust the Government? – I’ll address how the use of fear, war, pain, and surveillance are becoming the new controlling method of the oligarchs.
I’ve lost count of the number of times David Cameron has been asked by journalists if his decisions about cigarette packaging and alcohol pricing were influenced by his election campaign guru, Lynton Crosby aka The Lizard of Oz. I’m probably more sick of hearing him deny it than he is of making these repeated denials.
There’s no denying that its an amazing coincidence that these particular policies have now been dropped when you consider how much they were banging on about them not that long ago. So what exactly is the Prime Minister saying when he denies that he’s been lobbied by the Lizard? Have you considered he might be telling the truth? The literal truth.
Think about it. He said quite categorically that “Lynton Crosby has not lobbied me on anything”. So surely our next question should be “Then who else has been whispering your ear, Dave?” Lets not forget that the Lizard’s lobbying company has a London branch that goes by the name of Crosby Textor Fullbrook (CTF) and it was this outfit that was responsible for running Boris Johnson’s election campaign for London Mayor. And its now stuffed full of eager young Tories, most of whom worked within the government in some capacity or other until just before the Lizard was hired by Cameron. Now they work at CTF.
Mark spent 10 years working for the British Conservative Party from 1983, where he began as a Party Agent, rising to become Head of Campaigning for the Party following the 1992 General Election. He was co-director of the Conservative Campaign for London Mayor in 2000 and has worked through all levels of the Conservative Party’s political roles.
His wife is Tory MP for South Ribble, Lorraine Fullbrook.
The lucky recipient of the football tickets referred to in this shot was Tory MP Helen Grant, according to online journal Political Scrapbook and clearly CTF were working for the donor, the infamous Michael Hintze, who bankrolled Liam Fox’s dubious mate Adam Werrity and once paid for a private jet for Fox to visit the States. Mark Fullbrook was the bearer of the gift on behalf of his client. I’m sure none of us are naive enough to think that Mr Hintze was paying to hire CTF Partners and dole out his bribes without expecting some return on his money. The real point here, though, is that Lynton Crosby himself was not personally involved in the lobbying process, just as Cameron says he wasn’t involved in lobbying him. When Cameron says things like this he’s relying on our ignorance of the complexity of the lobbying process and our lack of understanding of the extent of the network of cronies that links Westminster to big business.
Mark Fullbrook is number one contender for the role of Cameron Whisperer.
Lets take a look at the recent additions to the staff of Crosby Textor Fullbrook.
David spent 20 years working for the Conservative Party starting out as a constituency agent. After a number of constituency and regional roles he became Head of Campaigns and Operations for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party where he led the devolution referendum campaign and the first set of Scottish Parliamentary elections. David moved to Conservative Central Office (latterly CCHQ) as Deputy Director of Field Operations (Target Seats) for the 2001 General Election. After two years in this role, he become Director of Party Campaigning, leading national campaigns, parliamentary by-elections and oversaw the target seat campaign for the 2005 General Election.
Not difficult to imagine that he might know David Cameron quite well, is it? So he’s Whisperer number two.
Now meet Theo Lomas who’s worked at CFT since 2011. His background is interesting in the light of the concerns that have been raised about the Lizard’s involvement in the fracking business. Theo worked in Parliament as the senior adviser to the Parliamentary Private Secretary for the UK’s Energy Minister. His responsibilities included: providing research and briefings, coordinating with senior figures in the Conservative Party and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, overseeing the Westminster Office, coordinating with the media and overseeing Parliamentary activities. Wonder if he swapped jobs with Guy Robinson who worked for CFT before moving across to Westminster to work for Owen Patterson?
Theo is definitely a strong contender for Cameron Whisperer.
Up next is Sophie Horrell who moved over from Westminster to CTF in 2011. Prior to this, she worked in communications at Parliamentary Liaison Services Ltd, the UK’s premier Conservative campaigns and communications consultancy providing communications services to a number of clients. This included working on a number of constituency based reports and grass roots campaigns for MP’s and Prospective Party Candidates. Maybe Sophie doesn’t have enough status yet to whisper directly into the PM’s ear but she may well know a few people who do, so I reckon she’s a potential Cameron Whisperer, a kind of whisperer in waiting.
There are a couple of other candidates who joined CFT within the last two years from Boris Johnson’s mayoral campaign office.
Sam Lyon joined in 2012 as a senior director. He joined from City Hall where he was Director of Communications and official spokesman to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He managed all the Mayor’s external affairs during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Previous to this he was Media Director, spokesman and senior advisor to Boris Johnson during his successful 2012 Mayoral campaign. As a senior advisor he was certainly a Johnson Whisperer so he’s well versed in the techniques and has all the right connections.
And here we have Robin Knight who also joined CTF in 2012 ,just a month before Cameron announced he’d taken on the Lizard, having previously worked on Boris Johnson’s winning London Mayoral campaign. His work focuses on research and consulting, developing detailed reports to inform and reinforce key arguments in line with campaign objectives. Like Sophie he’s a bit of a tyro as yet but none the less he’ll have useful connections within the Tory party so has a potential for whispering in all the right ears.
As the next election looms closer the Lizard’s team of young hopefuls are going to be doing a lot of whispering and we’re going to see a lot more examples of his dog whistle politics and slick slogans. When a lobbying firm that champions the causes of powerful businesses is putting words into the mouths of ‘elected’ politicians and when Westminster has become one big revolving door between government and the board rooms of profit seekers surely its time for a complete radical change of how this country does government? As Cameron himself is fond of saying, “We can’t go on like this”.
It looks like Dodgy Dave is going to keep on sidestepping questions over the influence of Lizard of Oz Crosby on his decisions not to bring in plain packaging of cigarettes or up the price of cheap alcohol. He insists Lynton didn’t ‘lobby’ him on anything. Nonetheless, it looks highly suspicious that Cameron has dropped not one but TWO policies that would have hurt the wallets of Crosby’s clients.
When you add in the sudden enthusiasm for fracking and the Chancellor’s generosity towards more of those clients it begins to look like the PM is bang to rights guilty. You can’t help wondering if there’s been some promise of future funding from some of these big name Crosby clients. After all its not that long ago that the Tories enjoyed significant gifts from the likes of Imperial Tobacco and others – until Liam Fox pissed them off as shadow health minister in 2004 and they took off in a huff. And these big Tobacco guys have very recently been giving money to right wing think tanks such as the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute for Economic Affairs – as near as you can get to the Tories without actually putting the party name on the cheque.
Before he changed his mind about alcohol pricing – or had it changed for him – Cameron was pushing the policy in the usual Tory way by complaining that middle class families like his (!!!??) ‘who drank responsibly’ were having to pay more for food from supermarkets who increased food prices to pay for discounts on alcohol. Tut tut. But now it seems he’s happy to pay more for his food and just as happy to do nothing at all about binge drinking – not that I’m convinced the minimum pricing plan would have had much effect anyway. What does bother me is the amazing hypocrisy of the man who can just as easily go on TV one minute and moralise about the poor drinking and smoking themselves into oblivion (wonder why they do that, Dave?) using evidence from all over the place to justify the policy and the next minute apparently say there needs to be more research. How does he expect us to believe anything he says again? Not that many of us did anyway…..
Here’s Dave downing a pint in a ‘responsible’ middle class way. But is he the responsible drinker he says he is? He’s quick to pontificate about the great unwashed masses getting slaughtered every Friday night and staggering around our high streets but here’s a few reasons to wonder about his relationship with the demon drink. Remember, he was a member of that elite drinking and rioting outfit, the Bullingdon Club who traditionally get slaughtered and stagger about the street and smash up restaurants and what have you….
Maybe all Crosby had to do to ‘nudge’ Dave in the desired direction was buy him a pint….or three !
When I reflect on the past three years of Coalition Rule there’s no doubt in my mind that they are intent on destroying the hard fought rights of ordinary folk to a decent living wage and a secure roof over their heads. Every day, when I read of yet another assault on these rights I fear for the future of my grandson’s generation. The devastation that this government has presided over is astonishing and the insidious and divisive rhetoric of sanctimony that seeps from their mouths and saturates the Tory press is beyond sickening. The question is, why now? The usual trite excuse for austerity and the complete destruction of the public sector both here and abroad- “its the banks wot dunnit” – doesn’t wash when the only real victims are the poor.
Over the last months it seems every Coalition politician asked to comment on TV or radio for whatever reason has been justifying the decisions and actions of government by referring to the so called ‘global race’ we’re apparently signed up to. What ‘global race’? Who exactly are we competing against here, and what’s the prize? Who’s putting the effort in and who’s reaping the benefits? When did it start? And WHY are we in this ‘race’ in the first place?
Back in May 2010, as he took up office at the DWP, the allegedly right honourable Iain Duncan-Smith set out his stall by commenting on the welfare benefit situation he was inheriting. He said,
The rise in working age poverty and continued inequality show that we must make work pay and the first choice for millions of people. It is not right that someone can actually be worse off by taking work, we should be rewarding such positive behaviour by making work pay.
Now tell me if this sounds daft, but if I were going to ‘make work pay’ I’d do something about raising the minimum wage by enough to make it possible for a family to actually have a life worth living; and I’d also do something about making sure there were enough of those jobs for those who needed them.
IDS obviously had other ideas. Since he came out with the quote above we’ve seen his attempts to ‘make work pay’ and heard his sermons with their feeble excuses of ‘fairness’ as justification for shoving more and more people deeper into poverty and precariousness. His reductions in benefits and his welfare caps and his bedroom tax and whatnot have pushed down the incomes of the most vulnerable poor well below the minimum wage level so theoretically it could be said work pays more than benefits – something that a decently paid job always did – assuming there are enough to go round. The point I’m making here, though, is that in order to be able to come on our TV’s and proudly claim that he’s done what he said he would do, in the process he’s made the lives of people who for one reason or another can’t work, far more difficult – and in some cases so impossible they’ve ended those lives in despair – and he’s done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for those people who are desperate to work but can’t find the non-existent decently paid jobs he keeps nagging them to go and get.
The devious lengths he and his ministers have had to go to in order to impression manage the whole bloody fiasco are mind blowing. The DWP has now become renown for manipulating statistics and reconstructing reality. What with Lord Freud’s completely Freudian denial of the truth about food banks followed closely by IDS’s deadpan attempt to make poverty and homelessness totally disappear through a unilateral act of blind faith I’m left wondering if we should rename the DWP the Department for Sinister Magic Tricks.
We’ve always known that Tories look down on the poor and do nothing positive to help them and we’ve all seen how our democratic process of government has been even more infected of late by the creeping virus of corporate vested interest. With the imminent EU-US Free Trade Agreement elephant looming large and ominous in the corner, salivating at the thought of all that lovely profit to be made here and rubbing its greedy hands at the thought of cracking its powerful whip if our puny government dares to try to pass any laws to stand in its way, the future for the likes of us is not bright and definitely not as rosy as it will be for companies like Orange.
I’m by no means alone in feeling these concerns. There have been numerous reports over the past couple of years presenting the evidence of suffering that Duncan Smith and his ministers want to magic into non-existence. Church groups and charities, the Children’s Commissioner, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and now, writing in today’s Observer, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu have all expressed deep concern and anger at the growing scandal of our low wage economy. Dr Sentamu asks a very pertinent question in his article, a question which goes to the heart of this government’s pretence of a justification for their cruel cuts and tacitly exposes their smear campaign which labels benefits claimants as scroungers as a dirty lie. Talking about tax credits he says,
“The holes in millions of pay cheques are being plugged by in-work support to the tune of £4bn a year… Why is the government having to subsidise businesses which don’t pay their employees enough to live on? “
Contained in that question are the real shock horror headlines about benefits scroungers that the Tory loving Daily Mail and Telegraph have not been printing. This is the true story:-
FOUR BILLION POUNDS OF TAX BENEFITS GOING TO HELP SCROUNGING CORPORATIONS SO EXECUTIVES CAN LIVE IN LUXURY WHILE WORKERS’ KIDS GO WITHOUT THE BASIC NECESSITIES.
Coalition rhetoric seems to consist of just a few stock phrases that every minister trots out at every opportunity during interviews and speeches. They never engage in real debate. One of their biggest lies is the one where they tell you they’re on the side of “people who want to work hard and do the right thing” and they imply that people who do this will “get on”.This is their definition of “striver”. I wonder if they realise that some dictionaries define the word as “one who works as hard as a slave”. So if you decode their message what are they really saying? It seems to me they’re saying they want us to work like slaves and do the right wing thing which is basically to help corporations make more profit. Their talk about Britain being in the ‘global race’ is part of this discourse. When Cameron uses it he implies that if we don’t get ‘match fit’ by being ‘strivers'(slaves) we’ll lose the race. Being ‘strivers'(slaves) we attract business to Britain. The goal of the Coalition (Tory) government is to turn Britain into a slave economy that attracts corporate investment to enrich them and their wealthy mates. They’ve already opened up much of the public sector to private investment and will carry on doing that until its all in private hands (they’ve even sold our blood!). It seems the DWP’s job is to manufacture a suitable workforce conditioned to accept lower and lower wages subsidised by more and more expensive credit from their loan shark friends. Enslavement is the only word for it. Lets take a look at how far they’ve taken us towards that goal in the last three years.
No matter how hard IDS and his magicians spin and weave their web of lies about employment statistics the hard facts are that decent paying full time jobs are difficult to find. The graphic above clearly illustrates how many full time jobs have been lost since 2008 and shows just how precarious work has become. The biggest worrying factor, though, is the incredible rise in the number of people who are now employed on zero hours contracts in this country – especially in the 16 to 24 year old section of the labour market. Back in 2005 there were 50,000 working age people on these contracts. Last year that figure was 200,000. You can get an idea of the pace of change when you learn that between 2011 and 2012 the figure doubled in size. 38% of those 200,000 are under 25 and now 23% of employers of over 100 employees use zero hours contracts. The private health sector are now the second largest users of these contracts with 13% of them now employing nurses and healthcare assistants this way, compared to only 7% back in 2004 – another indicator of the creeping privatisation of the NHS. What’s worse most cleaning and catering firms that employ people on zero hours expect their employees to pay for their own training and uniforms. This information was obtained from House of Commons Library Special Note SN/BT/653 last updated on 4th July 2013.
Of course, David Cameron and his corporate cronies at the CBI see this sorry state of affairs in a very different light. They can go out and ‘sell’ Britain’s ‘flexible’ workforce. And it has the added value of making the unemployment figures look good; as Neil Carberry of the CBI said on the BBC on 15th May,
It’s zero hours contracts and other forms of flexible working that mean there are half a million fewer unemployed people than there might otherwise have been.”
Precisely, Neil. And with this in mind you’ll be wondering why David Cameron told Archbishop John Sentamu he thought his concept of a living wage was “an attractive idea”. Was he deliberately lying to the priest or was he doing the usual Tory trick of appearing to agree by not finishing his sentence? What he surely meant was it was “an attractive idea for some but not the Tories.”
The Tories’ scurrilous insults about working people can be seen to be even more disgusting if you take the time to think about what this little graph shows. The red dotted line refers to hourly wage rates in UK manufacturing while the rising blue line indicates productivity. Its glaringly obvious that since the 1980’s and Thatcher’s era of destruction, workers’ wages have not kept up with their output. People have been working harder and harder for less and less. This is the most up to date graph I could find but even on this you can see the beginnings of a downturn in the hourly rate in 2010. Its surely no coincidence that since Thatcher’s onslaught on trade unions and the consistent curbing and demonising of union activity ever since that time, workers in Britain have been exploited for their labour. And its certainly no coincidence that the gap between the increasing hard work and the poverty of the reward mirrors the increasingly gaping chasm between rich and poor. For me this graph is a testament to the fact that the wealthy are living it up on the backs of the impoverished. And now, it seems, they want more.
“From a living standards perspective, it is clear that the majority of low income families have insufficient incomes to comfortably meet an adequate standard of living as defined by the Minimum Income Standard and cover their housing costs. Even at the median, family incomes for owners and private renters do not stretch to cover both costs in a third of local authorities. This is not just an issue in London and the South East. Even in cheaper parts of the country and in lower priced tenures, housing costs can be hard for those on the lowest incomes to afford. For a very low income couple with one child, the cost of meeting the MIS alone is greater than their income of £19k. This means that even a subsidised social rent is unaffordable. “
The report demonstrates that in the whole of the South of England there is no housing option which doesn’t cost more than 25% of the Minimum Income Standard. For a couple with two children this is calculated to be £23,700 p.a. BEFORE rent and childcare costs are added in. According to IDS, its ‘unfair’ for anyone to receive total benefits greater than £24,000. As the bedroom tax and the benefits cap bites deeper families are going to find themselves in very deep trouble indeed. How many will be forced to move into the cheaper housing areas in Wales and the North, looking for scarce, precarious work? If things don’t change they may well have to.
This won’t be just a divided Britain, this will be Ghetto Britain.
Those of you who followed the debates in Parliament about the Same Sex Couples Marriage Bill will have fond memories of watching ex Defence Minister, Sir Gerald Howarth make a complete arse of himself by claiming that decent, upright ‘straight’ people like him who opposed gay marriage were in constant danger of assault by raging homosexuals. I wasn’t sure what I found most incredible about this performance – the fact that he could argue his case in the face of overwhelming evidence that the very opposite of what he was claiming was in fact the truth, or the amount of ‘Honourable Friends’ he gave way to during his speech in order for them to agree with him.
It comes as no surprise then to discover that this homophobic Tory has very recently accepted a paid job as a part time advisor to CNU Holdings Ltd who own the pay day loan shark company, QuickQuid. He explained to the House of Commons that his role with the company would be “advising on the effects of legislative changes and other matters” though he didn’t elaborate on what those ‘other matters’ might be. For this he will be paid £20,000. Clearly the people at QuickQuid are unaware of his woeful grasp of the truth or they wouldn’t be wasting their money.
CNU Holdings Ltd aka CashNetUSA are an American outfit who’ve set up QuickQuid over here to take advantage of the huge growth in the loan shark market. They’ve made a killing so far, seeing their UK revenues sky-rocket from £58m in 2010 to £196m in 2012. Recently Daniel Fehan, CEO of CNU Holdings has been heard to express concern over the calls to amend the Financial Services Bill to allow caps on interest rates on pay day loans. He’s been warning that their profits were under threat from possible UK legislation. Oh dear, we can’t have now that, can we? I wonder if the profit- friendly Cameron has sent Sir Gerald along to reassure them that his government are ‘all about growth’ and so will do nothing to stop QuickQuid exploiting the poor in the UK. Maybe those ‘other matters’ Sir Gerald is pocketing his £20K for are to do with explaining to his temporary US employers how much the Tories are doing to improve their market with their policies of impoverishment.
After all Cameron wouldn’t want to upset some of his more generous Conservative Party donors by introducing legislation that hit the pockets that financed him, now would he? Pictured here is the infamous banker Adrian Beecroft, who not so long ago was advocating legislation that allowed the sacking of ‘unproductive’ workers with no nasty Tribunals getting in the way to slap employers’ wrists.
This charming character owns Dawn Capital Investments which is a major shareholder in another pay day loan company, Wonga, the one that endears itself to the unsuspecting public by advertising its racket with cute, cuddly old lady and men puppets who wouldn’t harm a fly. This guy not long ago generously added £800,000 to Tory coffers. And by doing nothing at all about the 4000+% interest rates that Wonga typically charge the Tories have played their part in tripling Wonga’s turnover since 2010. (What was that you said, Dave, about Labour being in the pocket of the unions? Notice any union members’ wages tripling recently, have you?).
The Tories came up with another nice little earner at their Party Conference in Bournemouth last year. They hired a ballroom and set up a kind of ‘speed dating’ event. Representatives from Wonga were among other corporate lizards who paid £1500 a head to woo such Tories as Michael Fallon, the enterprise minister, David Gauke, the Treasury’s exchequer secretary, and Sajid Javid, its economic secretary, Of course, when questioned about this example of Tory prostitution the Party refused to confirm anyone from Wonga was there, claiming it was a ‘private event’. Couldn’t be they were being tight lipped because Wonga’s practices were under major investigation at the time by the OFT, could it? Of course, nothing really came of that investigation….I wonder why?
Next up we have another banker, Henry Angest, CEO of Arbuthnot Banking Group which owns Everyday Loans. Henry is a good friend of the Camerons and a major donor to the Tories having given them £7 million. Very recently he’s been very nice to them again by offering them a £5 million loan at a very, very nice interest rate of just 3.5%. Not exactly a pay day loan, eh? This is obviously a chap who enjoys his country suppers.
This advert for Henry’s loan racket certainly gives me, as an average kind of punter, the strong impression its one of the pay day loan variety. However, despite saying EveryDay Loans is designed for the kind of customer who is ‘under served by high street banks’ Henry flatly denies its one of the pay day loan kind because his loans only have an interest rate of 74.8%. Only? For how long? I suspect Henry is being a tad disingenuous here because he only acquired EveryDay Loans very recently under the guise of Secure Trust Bank – part of his Arbuthnot Banking Group – he bought it for the consideration of £1 from Alchemy when, ironically, it was struggling with debt, mainly as a result of the mis-selling of PPI. It has a loan book of almost £64 million and its operating profit for 2011 was a mere £4.6 million. Henry, being the thrusting capitalist that he is, will want to see it grow but he’s not going to compete in the loan shark market if he keeps his interest rates at 74.8%. And he’ll be hoping, like busy Beecroft that the generosity he’s extended to the Tories will stop any nasty laws being introduced to get in the way of his profits. I think we need to keep an eye on EveryDay Loans…
So what’s happening with the legislation, then? Last year when the Financial Services Bill came up for a reading in the House of Lords, Labour peer, Lord Mitchell proposed an amendment that pay day loans have the interest rates capped. Sounds like a good idea to me. They’ve done it in Canada where its capped at 60% and in Australia where its even lower at 48%. In the United States some states have caps on interest and restrict the number of loans that can be taken out at any one time. Even more interesting is that in 13 states they’ve banned pay day loans altogether and consider it a felony and racketeering to sell one. If proved guilty you can get up to 25 years in jail. This is the major reason why US companies like CNU Holdings are coming over here and hiring idiots like Sir Gerald Howarth. And its a major reason why they want to keep politicians sweet.
Which brings us to Lord Sassoon, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury until very recently, when he left to work for Jardine Matheson aka Jardines, a long established trading company infamous for importing opium to China – in other words a one time drug dealer. Banker Lord Sassoon is a mate of banker Lord Freud. They both worked at Swiss bank UBS. When working there back in the 1990’s he was known as Mr Privatisation because he advised the government of the day in selling off state owned assets. He’s immensely rich and has shares in countless banks and, interestingly enough, in Experian.
Obviously a (self) important man, then. When Lord Mitchell bravely put forward his amendment last year, no doubt sticking up for the poor on whose backs the pay day loan sharks are making a killing, Lord Sassoon persuaded him to drop it with a silver-tongued promise to urge the Treasury ‘to bring in some measure’. The noble Mitchell promptly did as he was told and no doubt the likes of Adrian and Henry and the US chancers heaved a sigh of relief.
You may remember a much more recent raising of hopes that the government were about to step in and ‘do the right thing’ by the 99% of us who rely on them for social justice in this country. Yes, the intrepid champion of the customer Jo Swinson, Consumer Affairs Minister. As recently as a few days ago she rode bravely into the breech to give Wonga and co a hard time and tell them what for. Surely this tough cookie who stood up, no less, against the air brushing of womens’ images on glossy magazines would once and for all put these loan sharks in their place? Sadly, not.
No, Ms Swinson was no match for corporate influence, it seems. Her conclusion beggars belief. She said there would be no cap on interest rates because it might drive people to resort to even worse lenders! So it looks like David and Samantha are going to be doing a lot more entertaining in the coming months and the Conservative Party coffers are no doubt going to overflow with the largesse of pay day loan sharks from far and wide. This, my friends, is what being in the ‘global race’ is all about. Its about making us poor enough to accept sweatshop wages and desperate enough to take loans at interest rates that make the Tories friends rich beyond any of our wildest dreams which we may as well not bother dreaming any more.
So the next time you see David Cameron stand up at the Despatch Box in the House of Commons and point in self-righteous anger at the Labour benches and suggest there’s something criminal and corrupt about their funding from unions remember all the businessmen and bankers who prop up his party of privilege. If he can defend the bankrolling of his profit-friendly policies is it fair to complain when working class folk want to club together to help out a party that stands for their interests?
The best thing about blogging for me is the feedback I get from readers’ comments and it was one such comment that inspired me to write this post. A few days ago I received an informative comment from aussieh in response to a post about the Grant Thornton Report (http://wp.me/p3mYc5-5J ) which made my blood run cold. In this comment aussieh drew my attention to this
The US/EU Free Trade Agreement, which David Cameron identified as a priority in his chairing of the G8 this year, was given the go-ahead by US President Obama and EU President Barroso in January. One of the key aims of this Free Trade Agreement is to give international corporations legal rights to access governments’ public services budgets…
This framework means that publicly funded English health services will be obliged to tender out contracts. Large transnational corporations will have a competitive advantage in the bidding process…
Legal rights to access our public services budgets? What does that mean? And why would our Prime Minister if, as he’s endlessly claiming, he always stands up for ‘the national interest’, want to make it a priority to open up our public services to multinational corporations who have NO interest in how we organise our affairs other than how they can ruthlessly exploit it to maximise their share price. We know that and unless he’s totally brain dead, he must know that too. Its not as if they don’t have loads of form for it. We all saw what happened to that sweatshop in Bangladesh recently. Who exactly is calling the shots here? And just how did it happen to get this way in the first place?
I definitely needed to find out more about this…
While searching on Google Scholar I found an academic article by Upendra D Acharya from Gonzaga University School of Law in Washington. The article, published in the Boston College Law Review on 23rd May this year, told me everything I needed to know to understand why our public services are in danger of being eaten up by multinational sharks. Its title is “Globalization and Hegemony Shift: Are States Merely Agents of Corporate Capitalism?” and is freely accessible through Law Journals at Digital Commons. I’ll summarise it below but if you want to read it for yourself the link is here,
Acharya sums up the state of affairs as it now stands today by saying,
“corporate capitalism has converted globalization into a profit-making venture. All states…have begun to behave as agents of corporate capitalism. We are now in a new world order of hegemony shift from states to corporate capitalism. In this new world order, states are functioning as a conduit for corporate capitalism. The theory of global governance has been based on market and technology, particularly since the 1990s. Due to corporate capitalism-induced, market-driven globalization, we are beginning to enter an era of post-human society with a decline or an absence of aspirational and emotional human elements. States have become soft power and corporate capitalism has become hard power in the system of international law and order. The notion of peace and the conduct of war have become the primary business of corporations while states facilitate and sacrifice their resources and citizens for the interests of corporate capitalism.”
‘Sacrifice their resources and citizens for the interests of global capitalism’? Well, Cameron certainly seems to be doing that. But how did we get into this mess?
According to Wikipedia, the “Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the independence of the Dutch Republic.” This was the beginning of a new political era in Europe because it was then that the idea of the sovereign or nation state was born.
It was hoped that by establishing clear borders between the different countries, each with their own ruler and forbidding interference into another nation’s affairs that the almost constant wars that had been fought over territory prior to these agreements would end.
In effect this was the first international law.
As technology advanced in Britain and Europe and along with it industry and trade, these powerful states were able to impose their values on weaker countries disrupting their value systems so they could exploit their natural resources. Colonial rule was imposed bringing Western law with it, but denying these colonised countries the equal right to sovereignty enjoyed by their colonisers. Business benefited from this massive looting – the Dutch East India Company, for instance, made a huge fortune from the spice trade for two centuries, setting up ports as trading bases and taking over surrounding land.
All this was considered to be legal by the looters because they made the laws that worked in their favour and imposed them on the weak states, by force if necessary.
According to Acharya the next big landmark in the development of international law was the Congress of Vienna. Wikipedia tells us that the “Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815. This objective resulted in the redrawing of the continent’s political map, establishing the boundaries of France, the Duchy of Warsaw, the Netherlands, the states of theRhine, the German Kingdom of Saxony, and various Italian territories, and the creation of spheres of influence through which Austria, Britain, France and Russia brokered local and regional problems.”
Once again, this conference for the powerful came after a long period of wars notably the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. Obviously, the Peace of Westphalia hadn’t stopped those with power from fighting over territory and when all the killing stopped they had to sit down yet again and talk to come to some agreement about borders and lay down a few more rules. Can you see a pattern emerging here?
Seventy years later in 1885 the glorious leaders of Europe were at it again at the Berlin Conference, aka the Congo Conference. This time they were dividing up Africa between them, like a bunch of elite schoolboys arguing over a stolen cake. Once again they were laying down the rule of law to regulate the colonisation of a continent rich in natural resources with not a single African citizen present! As Wikipedia puts it the conference was “called for by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck, first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance.” Unbelievable!
Now we know where racism comes from. It makes me ashamed to be white.
Following the First World War the powers that be set up the League of Nations. This arose out of the Paris Peace Conference that put an end to the war and was a forerunner to the United Nations. Wikipedia says that ” Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.”
So here we can see the further globalisation of international law and its interesting that issues like labour conditions, health and just treatment of ‘natives’ were included. Had our great leaders suddenly become philanthropic? Or was their collective elitist mind concentrating on the recent Russian Revolution and the greater tendency to protest by the unwashed masses under their thumb?
As far as the colonies were concerned these were to become sovereign states in their own right – eventually – after a long drawn out process of first becoming Mandates which effectively meant they were still made to accept theirs master’s laws. Sometimes called ‘moral colonialism’ the mandate system was built on the arrogant assumption that there was a natural hierarchy of nations and the self-styled superior ones such as Britain and France and the USA had a moral duty to guide the ‘backward’ states in becoming independent. Unsurprisingly, there was no mention by this bunch of thieving warlords of returning looted goods to their rightful owners.
After a mere 20 years the masters of war were at it again after Hitler invaded Poland and all hell broke loose, this time with the greater destructive force of new technologies of killing beyond the wildest dreams of the princes who made the fragile Peace of Westphalia. The shock of not one, but two atom bombs dropped on Japan causing horrific destruction at the mere flick of a switch ended the madness and gave birth to the United Nations.
According to Wikipedia the UN “has six principal organs: the General Assembly, the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (for assisting in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (which is currently inactive). Other prominent UN System agencies include the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).”
You can imagine how much more complicated international law must have got by now from its humble origins in 1685. And you can add to this a few other international legal players such as the IMF and the World Bank and the one at the very heart of the Free Trade Agreement that David Cameron tells us is so very important for our economic survival, the World Trade Organisation.
“The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The organization deals with regulation of trade between participating countries; it provides a framework for negotiating and formalizing trade agreements, and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).”
There isn’t enough time or space to go into the convoluted regulations and rules imposed internationally by the WTO but the bit that matters to the NHS is the one that opens up nations’ public services to so-called free trade agreements, the GATS. The basic WTO principle of ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) applies to GATS as well. Its a bit like the ‘ any qualified provider’ rule in the Health Bill and regulates who should be given contracts. And with the recent news that US health giant HSA have got in on the NHS act we can see already the kind of puppet masters pulling the Coalition’s strings. The members of the WTO agree to accord MFN status to each other and MFN is one of the cornerstones of WTO trade law.
However, UN Members may introduce temporary exemptions to this rule. The overall goal of GATS is to remove barriers to trade but members are free to choose which sectors are to be progressively “liberalised”, i.e. marketised and privatised, which mode of supply would apply to a particular sector, and to what extent liberalisation will occur over a given period of time.
But once they decide which service to include, Members’ commitments are governed by a “ratchet effect”, meaning that commitments are one-way and are not to be wound back once entered into. The reason for this rule is supposed to be to create a stable trading climate. However, Article XXI does allow Members to withdraw commitments, and so far two members have exercised this option (USA and EU). In November 2008, Bolivia notified that it will withdraw its health services commitments.
So. if Bolivia can do it why can’t we?!!!
Acharya mentioned that globalisation and the rise of corporate capitalism really took after at the end of the Cold War when George Bush senior announced the dawn of a New World Order. In reality he was announcing the fact that multinational corporations and their private vested interests were taking over through the immense lobbying power they have to influence national governments. Democracy was given a death sentence.
Since Thatcher and Reagan neoliberal governments have danced to the privatise -everything – that – moves tune of these corporate giants. We, the people, have fought against it all over the world and lost more and more ground as many of our so-called representatives are bought off in return for keeping us uninformed, docile and poor enough to accept ever lower wages to work for these leviathans who pay as little tax as possible in return.
These giants want to make profit from everything we need for our basic survival from water supplies to crops and will also profit from the sickness they create by taking over our health services. They engineer wars and sell arms to both sides then profit from the destruction through rebuilding contracts. They are the Masters of War since many armies are now private. You must have noticed how all through history the evolution of this world domination has depended on war.
How much longer are we going to take this?