A Longer View 280


A few weeks’ break gives you a perspective on British politics aside from the day to day excitements, and the long view is just horrible. An astonishingly inept and irrelevant government maintains itself by a series of straight lies to both Tory Remainers and Tory Brexiteers about its intentions. Both these groups know they are being lied to, but the show stutters on because all in the Tory Party are clinging on, with a death grip, to office if not to power. They are in turn sustained by a Northern Irish party of antediluvian beliefs that appears to have time traveled from the less enlightened parts of the seventeenth century, and whose leader’s idea of politics is to march at the head of a group of ill-educated bigots, who will muster far too few teeth in relation to number of feet, proceeding with drunken braggadocio along the streets of Cowdenbeath.

Meantime society is well on its way through an extremely painful process of transformation. Well-paid, long term jobs offering job satisfaction and career progression are almost as improbable a dream for people under 30 as appearing in the World Cup final or owning their own home. Employee protection, whether through organised labour with clout or a legislative framework to prevent employers from abusing their power, has dwindled in practice and is a concept well outside the Overton window. Our younger generation grasp for the prospect of a few months’ unprotected employment at low wages, as desperately as did their ancestors in the 1830’s.

It is as though there has been a deliberate rolling back not just of human progress, but of human sensibility.

Meantime the rich get richer at an unprecedented rate. The concentration of wealth is mirrored by a concentration of the ownership of housing. Media ownership concentration into an ever-tightening circle continues to exert social control, while the gatekeeper role of the big new media corporations of twitter, facebook, google and wikipedia is now being very openly abused to maintain the Establishment narrative.

In the international world, the interests of the City of London and the armaments industry shamelessly and openly drive British foreign policy, with the continuing economic dependence of the flimsy UK construct on the pandering services to the global 1% offered by the City of London remains always at the front of the government’s mind. At the front not in acknowledgement of the fact that London’s days as a major global financial centre are very plainly numbered as economic gravity moves East, but rather in desperate attempts to avoid the need for an economic re-orientation that would affect the distribution of wealth in the UK away from the core of the Tory Party.

The days of the United Kingdom itself are now numbered in a very short series of figures. Tory hubris at having climbed, on the back of an incredible concerted propaganda deluge, to 25% electoral support in Scotland, appears to have convinced them that Scots will endure any humiliation at all and not have the courage to stand up. The incredible arrogance involved in the Tory abrogation of devolved powers, against the express vote of the Scottish parliament, was captured by the jeers of “Bye-bye” at SNP MPs leaving the Commons in protest at the lack of debate. That “Bye-bye” will have a significance they did not intend.

Any political party with the slightest prospect of power, will always be influenced and infiltrated by those with a strong stake in the economic status quo wishing to defend it, while advancing their personal interest. That is an eternal truth and afflicts both the Labour Party and the SNP. But while the programme of neither the Labour Party nor the SNP is as radical as is needed, both do reflect a genuine discontent with the status quo and with an economic philosophy which emphasises above all the freedoms of the very wealthy. There is more genuine choice on offer to the electorate than has been the case in the UK as a whole for many decades, which explains the crescendo of reaction from the media and the de facto casting off of the practice of political neutrality of the BBC, which was prepared to be reasonably fair in treatment of political parties only when they were all neo-conservative.

Whether in the next decade the Labour Party is now sufficiently radical to contain the tensions racking the UK’s political economy, within a broadly constant political system, remains to be seen. It continues to be my view that the first great crack will open with Scottish Independence, and more radical societal change throughout the rest of the UK will swiftly follow that catalytic event.


280 thoughts on “A Longer View

1 2 3 4
  • N_

    Is it known for a fact that all three of the men whose bodies were found on a railway track near Loughborough Junction were spraycan vandals?

    I’m wondering why they haven’t been named. Rumour has it that two were known spraycan vandals, so perhaps the third wasn’t. If he was murdered elsewhere and then put under a train, that would not be the first such case.

    The government’s PR advisers probably think they can win votes, and abstentions, by a) legalising cannabis and b) using the word “artist” to describe the pillocks who stink up train carriages and railway walls with ugly non-political and usually territorial gang-related graffiti. If they think that’s so cool, why don’t they encourage it in Chipping Norton and Sonning?

      • David Avi

        I agree. The silly bugger is now blaming the government for the existence of graffiti artists/vandals<
        YCNMIU!

  • Sharp Ears

    Selling off the family silver, cont’d.

    Austerity-hit councils selling off parks and public buildings at a rate of more than 4,000 a year, research finds
    Charity’s report suggests cash-starved councils have engaged in a ‘Great British selloff’ in an attempt to balance their books in the face of central government cuts
    13 hours ago – https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/austerity-local-council-sell-off-parks-public-buildings-funding-save-our-spaces-locality-a8404081.html

    North West parks could be sold by cash-strapped councils – BBC News
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-43348103
    11 Mar 2018 – More than half of councils in the North West of England are considering selling parks or finding other organisations to maintain them within the next three years, a BBC investigation has found. The local authorities claim they are being forced to take these measures to counterbalance government budget cuts.

    Councils forced to sell off parks, buildings and art to fund basic services
    Civic infrastructure is under threat as cash-strapped councils flog assets to balance the books
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/14/councils-forced-sell-parks-buildings-art-fund-basic-services
    14 Mar 2018 – Court Hey Park in Knowsley, Merseyside, one of 17 parks the local council plans to sell off.

    No mention of the expansion in the number of councillors in each borough or of the excessive sums claimed by them for travel and allowances.

    Nor of the growth in jobsworths and officials with grand sounding titles.

  • N_

    @Sharp Ears – Those assets are probably being bought at knockdown prices too. Any idea by what interests? Russian? Chinese Singaporean?

    Nobody’s anyone in local government these days if they haven’t sucked up at a “property conference” to international mafia dons donating their precious time to the world by showing an interest in helping poor cash-strapped councils. Woe betide anyone who puts in a higher bid.

    I haven’t got my finger on the pulse of this stuff, but there’s probably one big property-related interest behind the shitting up of public libraries too, which has turned so many into “discovery centres”. With golf courses it was often the Japanese Yakuza. Then there’s sport centres. It’s all mafia.

    • Sharp Ears

      In the first link N_ a Singapore luxury hotel company acquired the building in Liverpool.

      ‘Among the buildings affected in the past five years is the Grade II-listed former administrative headquarters of Liverpool City Council, built in 1866, which was sold last year to a Singapore-based luxury hotel developer for £10.2m.’

      In Oxford the swimming pool was acquired by a housing association called Catalyst Housing for demolition and redevelopment to 48 dwellings. Their £3.2m investment in the site must have paid off handsomely.

      and so on.

      Here the Cathedral is capitalizing on the land surrounding the Cathedral which was given in perpetuity by Lord Bennett, a wealthy Canadian, in memory of those lost in two world wars. Initially the clerics were involved in a deal with Linden Homes (Tory donors) for 100 dwellings. Planning permission was refused by the council! Undeterred, they have now partnered with a housing association called VIVID and now plan to build 136 dwellings. The decision from the council is awaited.

  • N_

    Three days ago there was a “free” walk (oh thanks) to the 7 bridges of Loughborough Junction, organised by social worker types who wanted to “provide(s) an opportunity to explore the projects that have sought to improve the quality of life for people living in Loughborough Junction – using art and horticulture as a means of involving local people in the community”.

    The New Yorkification of London continues apace. The mayor’s office and London assembly had posters printed that showed disgustingly squalid urban scenes as if they were glamorous. You would look at them and wonder whether they were trying to encourage people to come to London or telling them to stay away from such a shithole.

    In Paris it’s “Brooklynisation”. Frenchmen with beards! FFS!

  • CameronB Brodie

    Reality is normative and defined through narrative, so that is essentially why the media is the unofficial opposition to the sitting government in Scotland. From a Scottish perspective, there is zero pluralism in the full English Brexit, which IMHO, represents a “post-colonial malaise” induced spasm of English cultural chauvinism. Scotland’s civic society must not be allowed to suffer as a consequence of another nation’s impotent narcissism.

    FREEDOM, DIALECTIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

    Abstract. In this article I present an original interpretation of Roy Bhaskar’s project in Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom. His major move is to separate an ontological dialectic from a critical dialectic, which in Hegel are laminated together. The ontological dialectic, which in Hegel is the self-unfolding of spirit, becomes a realist and relational philosophical anthropology. The critical dialectic, which in Hegel is confined to retracing the steps of spirit, now becomes an active force, dialectical critique, which interposes into the ontological dialectic at the ‘fourth dimension’ of a naturalistically reconfigured account of relational human nature, agency. This account allows Bhaskar to explain and vindicate the crucial role social criticism must play in any realistic project of self-emancipation, and to create a space that didn’t exist in Hegel for an open-ended concrete utopianism. Freedom is thus the actualization of human nature, but is not automatic: the relation of human nature to freedom is mediated historically through dialectical critique, which, informed by concrete utopianism, can have emancipatory power.

    https://philarchive.org/archive/REEFDA

    Intercultural research: a critical realist perspective
    https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/385370/

    The practice-position system as epistemological Category: contributions to critical discourse analysis

    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1981-57942015000300445&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

    P.S. Epistemology – invented in Scotland and provides the girders of any good, critical scientific theory. 🙂

    • Loony

      Absolutely stunning – No doubt the vast bulk of the Scottish population will be lapping that up, or just maybe they wont understand a single word. And you want people to hold England in contempt and vote for Scottish Independence on the basis of that junk.

      At least it demonstrates the utter contempt in which you hold the vast majority of those whose interests you claim to be concerned with. Are most Scots that stupid? Well I’ll take out my money and make a bet that the answer is a resounding NO.

      By the way absolutely everything in modern history that is informed by “concrete utopianism” does not have emancipatory power, but it does invariably lead to genocide and death camps – everywhere and always. No exceptions.

      Perhaps you don’t know this, or perhaps you do hence the need for incomprehensible language to seek to hide the truth from the people.

      • Herbie

        “absolutely everything in modern history that is informed by “concrete utopianism” does not have emancipatory power, but it does invariably lead to genocide and death camps – everywhere and always. No exceptions.”

        Yeah, but these revolutions are lead by elites.

        I suppose when they’ve dislodged the old elite, achieved their objective, they unleash unremitting terror upon the land.

        That way peeps are conditioned to think that a real peoples revolution would lead to this also.

        The new elite is safe from peeps thinking of doing the same to them.

    • Philw

      As stated in the paper by Mateus and Resende

      “Critical Realism (BHASKAR, 1998) asserts that (i) there is a world independent of our knowledge about it and, because of that, irreducible to what we know about it;”

      This is what I, and most people, would understand by the ‘real’. Nothing normative about it, it pre-exists any narratives which attempt to explain or spin it. In the political/social/economic sphere there is a battle of narratives which are based on norms and attempt to explain (or in the case of modern Capitalism hide or obscure) the reality.

      • bj

        It’s all a misunderstanding based on poor or particular definitions. Wittgenstein. Either define and agree or Schweig!

    • Squeeth

      England doesn’t have culture, it’s a society, that’s why the state has been at war with the people since the early 70s. Voting outez was the only way to cause the boss class trouble. It’s working a treat but the ultimate sabotage of the public will is being disguised by the Tory-Prod coalition. The Tories will leave it as close to the next election as possible, pull off a coup and call another fake election.

  • N_

    @CameronB Brodie – Sounds as though you could do with a bit of reality, perhaps dispensed with a hobnailed boot.

    “Full (enter national or geographical reference here) Breakfast” was a marketing term invented for US pork farmers. And talking of pork barrels…

  • N_

    The word “scientist” was coined in 1833 by William Whewell, a man from Lancashire. Lancastrians with penises should be so proud!

    Get a bloody clue some time, @CameronB Brodie!

    • Ian

      If you can’t understand a contribution, and just resort to insult, better to keep quiet.

  • Republicofscotland

    I recall in 2014 that Scotland would been seen as a threat to British security, by the British government if it voted yes to independence, now the tables have turned dramatically.

    “Britain will be locked out of EU policing and security databases after Brexit, the bloc’s chief negotiator has confirmed.”

    “Michel Barnier said the UK would also lose access to the European Arrest Warrant and that UK representatives would no longer have a role in managing agencies such as Europol and Eurojust.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-uk-eu-police-europol-michel-barnier-latest-talks-britain-database-a8405751.html

    Time to exit the union, and negotiate a place within the EU I think.

    • Squeeth

      What sort of independence will that be? Oh I forgot, the Snats are bourgeois liberals.

    • Herbie

      “Time to exit the union, and negotiate a place within the EU I think.”

      It’s like outta the frying pan, into the fire, unfortunately.

      The EU and its future direction is an even more chaotic state than the Westminster circus.

      I’d be looking for some special trading status with China if I were you.

      Now’s a good time to slip in there under the radar, whilst everyone else is tariffing up.

      • Laguerre

        “The EU and its future direction is an even more chaotic state than the Westminster circus.”

        Difficult to find a remark on any blog blinder than that one. Brexiter projecting Britain’s situation onto the EU.

        • Herbie

          I thought it was a fair enough comment.

          But yeah, if you want to argue on a harmony/chaos scale of 1 – 10 that the EU is one or two points closer to harmony than the UK, I wouldn’t bother disagreeing.

    • john h

      I thought that had been the case for a a good while (measured in decades)? The emotional pull of unification appealed to the South, but the reality of unification was much less pleasant on the palate. The mainland UK has long been ambivalent to the fate of NI..

      • Herbie

        “The mainland UK has long been ambivalent to the fate of NI.”

        I used to think that the Brit Nat/Brexit elites cared.

        They did.

        They were very strong supporters of NI up to 1998.

        Kinda lost interest after that when NI finally ceded its state control powers, justice, police, local military, intel etc. All back to mummy in London.

        Completely empty suits stalking the corridors of Stormont these days.

        But so long as they speak the local lingo and respect the local voodoo, no one will notice.

        NI is in the UK out tray. Yes.

        But, we’re busy at the moment with global tectonic shift stuff.

        We’ll find you another place as soon as we can.

  • JMF

    The economic ills are almost entirely due to the unprecedented collapse in interest rates.
    Too much capital has been transferred away from the productive economy and into the bond markets leaving insufficient funds for normal economic development.
    Dr. Keith Weiner & Prof. Antal Fekete are experts in this field.

    • MightyDrunken

      Yet the Bank of England can’t rise interest rates much because it would cause a house price meltdown, negative equity and recession. Yet we need higher interest rate to reduce house prices and deter people from getting into more debt. Catch 22.

      • john h

        personally I’d suggest the level of interest rates and their effects are symptoms of the wider malaise.
        The de facto monopoly that private banks have on credit creation within a central bank controlled fiat currency banking and financial system which is systemically broken and politicised.

    • Jo Dominich

      Interesting JMF. Didn’t a Swiss economist say recently that the Bank of England have now left it too late to raise interest rates as the damage has been done and it will be relatively long-term to the economy?

  • N_

    Keen on mindless graffiti? Why not support mugging?

    “Art will live on”, the Daily Mirror quotes someone (I didn’t bother reading past the headline) commenting on the sad deaths of three mindless wall-spraying vandals in South London.

    I wonder how many journalists have ever travelled by train in the poorer parts of London? Or if they have, whether they’ve looked out of the window and experienced any human fellow feeling for the poor bastards who are made to live in such shitholes?

    The spraying of gang-style territorial “tags” on walls doesn’t “engage local people with their community”, as social workers might put it. It’s a sign of a breakdown of community, the breakdown of the working class family, the dominance of the anti-social. It’s anti-community. No, you’re not being “relativist” when you call it “art”. You’re being a snobby, patronising middle-class screwup. Perhaps you think mugging is a laudable proletarian tradition too? How about smashing up park benches?

    Scribblers are essentially saying that people who live in crappy conditions deserve to live in them, and that having idiots crap the places up further is something they should be grateful for, because it brings colour to their otherwise worthless pleb lives. I’ll tell you something: that’s not what the vast majority of people who live in these places think.

    I seem to be the only leftwing person commenting on this story who has the courage and the respect for working class people to say that mindless graffiti is crap and that living in crap isn’t cool.

    For “mindless” is what it is when idiots paint up their nicknames in stylised writing dozens of times on the same wall or on walls that are close to each other. It lacks the wit even of some of the graffiti that other idiots write on toilet walls. It is basically saying “Kilroy Woz Ere”. No, that is not working class people “fulfilling their potential”.

      • Loony

        No mate the President of the United States told the truth. The liars that you are looking for are German statisticians and others engaged in manipulating crime statistics to provide the opposite of the truth.

        The EU, led by Germany, seem determined to inflict as much crime as possible on the citizens of the “union”

        • Dr. Ip

          Loony
          You are part of the Loony Right aren’t you? Wrong as always. Are you a Bannonite? Or a Russia Today reader? Have you ever been to Germany? Can you read or speak German? Have you ever seen or spoken with a Syrian refugee? Have you ever heard of The Enlightenment?

          Actually, I know lots of people like you, obdurate as cement walls – not brick walls, they at least have mortar to hold them together.

          Or have you misspelled your moniker and meant it to be Loonie, the Canadian one dollar coin?

          Am I being too harsh?

      • Anon1

        General crime may be at the lowest it’s been since the wall came down, but rape, violent crime and terrorist related offences are all up thanks to the influx of migrants.

        Germany needs to do a Sweden and stop keeping records.

        • Laguerre

          The Neo-Nazis do a good job of painting crimes onto the immigrants. There are a lot of videos around which suggest immigrant responsibility, and the truth turns out to be someone completely different. And of course the Polizei is peopled with these types. You obviously like that sort of thing – a fellow-traveller they used to call it on the left.

    • Dom

      It’s probably got them going the last couple of days over at the Daily Express.

    • Den Lille Abe

      I second that. And these mindless imbeciles are fed useless idiot “music” from the Evil Empire promoting hate, death, violence, rape and everything intended to disrupt society. Because their own society is now based on those values: hate, death, violence, rape.
      The “gang” culture is inherited from the hellhole called the US.

  • John Stone

    [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter, timestamp updated ]

    Two of my recent letter in British Medical Journal Rapid Responses:

    https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2059/rapid-responses

    Where are we going?

    Steve Hinks [1], this is a catalogue of horrors. It is salutary to recall that in 2005, just as the present editor of this journal was taking over the reins and just before the introduction of these products, the outgoing House of Commons Health Committee produced a report ‘The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ in which it censured both the Department of Health and the MHRA for being too close to the industry [2]:

    “The Department of Health has for too long optimistically assumed that the interests of
    health and of the industry are as one. This may reflect the fact that the Department
    sponsors the industry as well as looking after health. The result is that the industry has been
    left to its own devices for too long….

    “The most immediately worrying consequence of the problems described above is the
    unsafe use of drugs. Over-prescription of the COX-2 inhibitors, Vioxx and Celebrex, has
    been linked to thousands of deaths and many more cases of heart failure. These case
    illustrate a series of failures. Manufacturers are known to have suppressed certain trials for
    these drugs in the US and may have done the same in the UK. In addition, there were
    inadequacies in the licensing and post-marketing surveillance procedures and excessive
    promotion of the drugs to doctors.

    “What has been described as the ‘medicalisation’ of society – the belief that every problem
    requires medical treatment – may also be attributed in part to the activities of the
    pharmaceutical industry. While the pharmaceutical industry cannot be blamed for creating
    unhealthy reliance on, and over-use of, medicines, it has certainly exacerbated it. There has
    been a trend towards categorising more and more individuals as ‘abnormal’ or in need of
    drug treatment.

    “The industry is by no means solely to blame for the difficulties we describe. The regulators
    and prescribers are also open to criticism. The regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare
    products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has failed to adequately scrutinise licensing data
    and its post-marketing surveillance is inadequate. The MHRA Chairman stated that trust
    was integral to effective regulation, but trust, while convenient, may mean that the
    regulatory process is not strict enough. The organisation has been too close to the industry,
    a closeness underpinned by common policy objectives, agreed processes, frequent contact,
    consultation and interchange of staff. We are concerned that a rather lax regime is
    exacerbated by the MHRA’s need to compete with other European regulators for licence
    application business.

    “Inappropriate prescription of medicines by GPs is of particular concern. Some have
    prescribed SSRIs, for instance, on a grand scale…”

    Sadly, the committee that filed this enlightened report was immediately dissolved in advance of the 2005 General Election and it seems as if no politician has dared to touch the issue since, and rather look ever more manically toward the industry to solve the nation’s health problems. Public appointments of industry connected figures go almost unremarked (and governments no doubt congratulate themselves on their shrewdness). Last December it took Tom Jefferson to comment on a row of astonishing appointments to high public positions in an opinion piece ‘The UK turns to Witty, Vallance, and Van Tam for leadership: revolving doors?’ [3]. Jefferson also wrote:

    “The lowering of regulatory and HTA [Human Tissue Act] standards is in full swing and its main driver is the pharmaceutical industry. The general rhetoric of rushing drugs and devices through to needy patients willing to accept substantial risk rests on very thin evidence of benefit and unclear public support.

    “Improving the quality of evidence is desperately needed as shown by the scores of examples of clinical trials that have been abandoned or distorted that have come to light in the last decade. Pandemic planning also requires some rethinking as the millions of pounds spent on a dubious pandemic with equally dubious fixes has shown…”

    About Andrew Witty’s new Accelerated Access Partnership an article in the hard journal warned [4]:

    “Nonetheless, the proposal says too little on expected benefits for patients and wider society. Instead, several concrete pledges are made to industry, including a promise to establish a new commercial unit within the NHS to “immediately streamline the pathway for access discussions” and pave the way for “flexible and confidential commercial arrangements.” Why? Because innovators want it, according to the report.”

    The problem of course is that business solves its own problems not the public’s. We need our institutions to protect us, not leave us ever more exposed. The new parliament in 2005 failed to grasp the nettle presented by the Health Committee report and now we are really in trouble.

    [1] Steve Hinks, ‘Re: HPV vaccines are effective and safe and work best in young women, review finds’ 13 June 2018, https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2059/rr-6

    [2] House of Commons Health Committee, The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry, 2005 p.3-4 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhealth/42/42.pdf

    [3] Tom Jefferson, The UK turns to Witty, Vallance, and Van Tam for leadership: revolving doors?, 6 December 2017, http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2017/12/06/tom-jefferson-the-uk-turns-to-witty-

    [4] Naci H and Mossialos E, Accelerated access to new drugs and technologies, BMJ 2017; http://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5387 (Published 22 November 2017)

    Where are we going? [1] Addendum

    This weekend ‘The Economist’ headed an editorial [2] with the statement “The greatest threat to pluralism are young democracies where checks and balances are not yet robust”. This is of course a piece of myth making when what we see daily is how weak they are in old democracies like the United States and the United Kingdom. Thirteen years after the publication of ‘The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry’ [1,3] the attempts to mesh industry and the state, rather than separate them become ever more ambitious, and the indifference of virtually all of the political class, just apparently looking for more patronage or frightened of losing it, is equally ever more manifest.

    In January 1961 President Dwight D Eisenhower’s gave a famous farewell address about the military industrial complex [4], it being all too easy now to substitute now the word “pharmaceutical” for “miltary”:

    “In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. …

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.”

    In 2018, however, we are ever further from understanding our own problems and failings as “mature democracies”, and we are scarcely in a good position to lecture the rest of the world, or be a model for it. ‘The Economist’ statement could not be more out of touch with reality. Perhaps we should call it ‘the crisis of corporatism’: we have the most sophisticated methods for draining pluralism from our own governments, and it is the greatest threat to everything.

    [1] John Stone. ‘Where are we going?’ 14 June 2018, https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2059/rr-7

    [2] Editorial, ‘How Democracy Dies: Lessons from the rise of strongmen in weak states’, The Economist 16 June 2018, https://www.economist.com/leaders/2018/06/16/lessons-from-the-rise-of-st

    [3] House of Commons Health Committee, The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry, 2005 p.3-4 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhealth/42/42.pdf

    [4] Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/eisenhower001.asp

    • Jo Dominich

      Hi John, this is a really interesting post and highlights many concerns I have had over the years about prescription of drugs by GPs. If I remember the recent past in relation to DSM 6 I think it is (or 5) – didn’t they have to withdraw it for amendments as the fact emerged publicly that the Pharmaceutical industry effectively controls the American Psychiatric Association who produce DSM and have a disproportionate influence by the number of their representatives on the Board. For example, I understand that Bereavement was added as a mental disorder because the Pharmaceutical industry had developed a drug for it. What I understood from the news coverage is that it seems the Pharmaceutical company if you like, create and invent drugs and then go to the ASA who dutifully add new disorders to the DSM. I also watched a programme recently where it appears to be the case that GPs are offered, and take, huge financial inducements from Pharmaceutical companies to prescribe their drugs – Statins being the biggest. I am going to read the bibliography you have provided as I am very interested. Thanks for the post

      • John Stone

        Thank you everybody for your appreciative comments. Jo, I can’t comment on the specifics of the latest version of DSM, which is notoriously controlled by pharma and government bureaucratic interests, but what is happening globally is a disgraceful Dutch auction for pharma business – for instance, the US Congress recently voted to a man for a ‘21st Century Cures Act’ fundamentally lowering already feeble constraints on drug development. The U.K. Accelerated Access Partnership is a means towards the same ends. In a recent statement the new Indian Drug Controller General – a Dr Reddy – decreed all drug trials would be automatically deemed licensed if the companies had not heard from his office in four weeks of application, he also asserted that over 1,000 admitted deaths from recent Indian drug trial were perfectly acceptable.

        But while every government wants the business the costs to society are by now much greater than any conceivable wealth generated.

  • N_

    @Squeeth

    England doesn’t have culture, it’s a society, that’s why the state has been at war with the people since the early 70s. Voting outez was the only way to cause the boss class trouble. It’s working a treat but the ultimate sabotage of the public will is being disguised by the Tory-Prod coalition. The Tories will leave it as close to the next election as possible, pull off a coup and call another fake election.

    Not a single sentence there is accurate or intelligent.

    You don’t seem to know what “fake” means. Should I take it you are of the Facebook-Trump generation, unused to cogitation but always picking at its phone?

  • N_

    @John Stone

    While the pharmaceutical industry cannot be blamed for creating unhealthy reliance on, and over-use of, medicines, it has certainly exacerbated it.

    Of course it can be blamed. What do you think it spends all that money on “communications” and bribes for?

    Big pharma business owns the prescribers, the regulators, the procurers, the health editors, the medical so-called “profession”, and many of its “opponents” too. Many names on articles in medical journals are of “researchers” who had absolutely nothing to do with writing the article and were paid for their name. It’s an utter utter racket.

    The whole specialists-and-GPs-write-to-each-other system is also built on lies. We’re talking about vile people who tell lies maybe a hundred times a day. The paperwork says “You should discuss this with the patient”. The GP will say they did. Of course they read the word “not” between the lines. The patient doesn’t even get to know of what was said.

    The waiting list system? How many people have even thought about why it exists, given that there’s no “waiting list” when many other scarce resources are allocated. When you take your car to a repair garage, an appointment is made there and then. They look in the diary.

    Why doesn’t that apply in the NHS? I’ll tell you why. It’s because rich bastard medics “can’t” do that for NHS patients, because they have a supply of private patients and when a private patient comes along they jump the queue. That’s why.

    Medics in the NHS routinely “refer patients to themselves privately, and then refer them back to the NHS”. Let’s call that by its real name: taking bribes.

    Sometimes punches shouldn’t be pulled. This is one of those times. You’re probably going to learn that, John.

    BTW are you under attack yet? I’m guessing you probably are. You are up against an extremely powerful and ruthless lobby. Best wishes to you! Keep your chin up!

    • giyane

      N_
      ” Of course it can be blamed. What do you think it spends all that money on “communications” and bribes for? ”

      Yes , I remember when I used to chauffeur a top pharmacy man, he was going to send one of his rising execs to Brussells, don’t worry all the public school fees would be covered in the package. Here was little me a free spirit driving a pharmocrat at 90 mph up the M40. No wonder the black police car appeared next to me, looked, and crept back into the crypt without even wagging his finger at me.

    • Jo Dominich

      N_ – I though John’s post was really interesting and nice to see some insider information for a change. But I do agree he might well be at risk from big pharma for enlightening the public!! I am deeply cynical about the whole medical profession and unfortunately, for many years, worked with too many seriously incompetent practitioners. I would say that the UK & USA are probably the biggest prescribers of medication in the western world. GPs don’t bat an eyelid at prescribing powerful drugs with considerable side effects to people – I often think many drugs prescribed are worse for you than what you’ve got. I am medication free thank God. John mentions the medicalisation of society – I personally am in no doubt this is truly the case. It seems to me to be the case that people put way too much faith in the medical profession – We are beginning to be bombarded with information that many emotions and experiences of a normal, well-lived life are all genetic, medical in origin or an illness. The ‘human’ condition and life generally is being steamrollered over by big pharma and their foot soldiers, the GPS. It’s going to get worse as well.

  • N_

    The arrogance of medics in Britain – prats who from their teenage years devoted themselves to making as much money as possible, and who were too stupid to take degrees in proper academic subjects where the accent is on intellect – is something else. They are quite happy that most of the population think they’ve got doctorates, when 99% of them have got nothing of the kind.

    A serious critic will also notice their extreme patricianism, and will long ago have heard of the “Woolworth test” and “Mrs Brown” and “Normal for Norfolk” and their many other contempt-filled ways of talking behind the backs of decent people who are ignorant enough to look up to them and trust them.

    • James Charles

      “‘The Morning Star’ today leads on Jezza and John McDonnell’s claims that the billions more that Theresa has just promised the Top Doctors will not be enough. No, they’ll soon get through it. There’ll be new carpets for the executive offices, expenses needed for overseas conferences and ‘training sessions’ during the course of which everyone will stay in a luxury hotel, there’s the Mindfulness sessions for staff, the essentials must be catered for. Not to mention the agency staff on the books of the agencies owned by Top Docs and senior managers, the management consultants called in by the already highly paid managers, the IT systems that won’t work, etc.”
      http://www.drsallybaker.com/uncategorized/more-alan-bennett/

      • Jo Dominich

        Hi James, very well said indeed. The public don’t realise that the NHS is a self-serving organisation who view patients as a thorough inconvenience. When I first started working with the NHS I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the organisation and the total lack of financial controls for budget holders. I witnessed funding for patient care to create jobs for managers relatives, family, in-laws etc. I witnessed the creation of tiers and tiers of highly paid management jobs that were totally unnecessary, the creation of non-clinical jobs that were similarly unnecessary etc. Anyone who has been to a PCT head office will inevitably see the state of the art designer furniture, best carpets, state of the art computers, meetings held over a lunchtime period about nothing basically so lavish lunches could be service (beats having to bring their own in I suppose) and a large number of people sitting at desks who are incompetent, have nothing to do and wouldn’t recognise a patient if they saw one. I am glad that you posted your comments as anyone who criticises the NHS seems to be labelled a Tory which I most definitely am not. But, there can be no doubt that the NHS in this country is currently the biggest waste of public money we have. Local authorities have experienced savage cuts to their budgets under Cameron and this Govt – to the extent that, even the FT said, they are struggling or unable to meet some basic service commitments. What isn’t taken into account is how many millions of pounds of NHS financial responsibility for service delivery has been dumped on Council social service departments by the NHS yet SSDs have not been in receipt of any further funding. I cite some of these as being : Continuing Health Care which the NHS refuse to fund so refer the families to SSD, the serious decline in the number of district nurses since the NHS and Community Care Act was implemented. Prior to it the levels of domiciliary care and district nursing were more or less equal, once it was introduced, the NHS axed something like 60% of their district nursing posts and transferred the work to domiciliary care – so they were left doing health work such as dressing wounds, toiletting, administering creams and medication, doing catheters etc. The NHS were also responsible for providing comprehenstive rehabilitation services – and got given a lot of money to do this – yet they refused to fund them and the SSDs had to absorb the expenditure in order for their service users to get the services they needed to return home from hospital. The Audit Commission made some progress on addressing this but there can be no doubt that the NHS is the organisation that receives the funding for these and other services but who refuse to pay for them and SSDs have no option but to put funding into them. So, whilst Treason May states she is going to give an additional 20 billion to the NHS – she needs first to look at exactly where all the money is presently going.

    • joeblogs

      N_
      “Woolworth test” “Mrs Brown” “Normal for Norfolk”?
      Went over my head.
      Am I one of the “decent people who are ignorant enough to look up to them and trust them”.
      Please explain.

    • Jo Dominich

      N_ agreed whole heartedly. They also call older people ‘bobby knockers’ amongst many other things.

  • N_

    David Avi
    I agree. The silly bugger is now blaming the government for the existence of graffiti artists/vandals<
    YCNMIU!

    You just did make it up.

    • David Avi

      Really ?

      “The government’s PR advisers probably think they can win votes, and abstentions, by a) legalising cannabis and b) using the word “artist” to describe the pillocks who stink up train carriages and railway walls with ugly non-political and usually territorial gang-related graffiti.”

  • giyane

    “Straight lies”

    i.e. To your own people, as opposed to crooked ones, to foreigners?

  • Jones

    ”A Longer View”

    i think we are going through a revolution which has similarities to the industrial revolution, and likewise it is being built on exploitation of the masses for the benefit of the few, i wonder if it will lead to a modern version of the Luddites and Swing Protesters.

    • giyane

      Jones

      It is a reversal of:
      1/ Social welfare
      2/ industrialisation
      3/ empire
      4/ intellectual freedom
      5/ self-sufficiency
      6/ morality

      That was what Mrs Thatcher meant by the term ” radical “, a slogan to cover ” reversal “. Thatcher’s goal was to reverse us back to druidism, whereby a small clique at the the top observed the natural cycle and convinced the people they commanded the seasons, like Pharaoh convinced the Egyptians he controlled the Nile. He couldn’t control the Red Sea. Nuff said.

      Curious to see the return of Tory druid William Hague armed with small medical sickle like Getafix the Asterix druid, invoking weed as a cure-all for English woes as we stumble towards the phalanx of armoured Roman soldiers of the EU Brexit talks. William Hague the very essence of lie-dom, the epitome of deceit, who first decided to get Al Qaida to fight for us in Libya after torture-rendition-brain-washing a large supple of former Muslims.

      The awful football is upon us. It even forms News. All that was needed today was for the arch-smirker-liar to offer us circuses in the form of hashish. Talking of which there seems a plethora of trolls on duty. They can’t all be refugees from football like me. In these delicate times of papyrus-like criss-crossing of lies straight lies, the powers that be feel it incumbent to manage Craig’s snowflakes of truth, by trampling all over the thread.

      Must be scary for Mrs May to know that MI5 managed to get a patsy be recorded agreeing to bump her off. How fake can fake actually get. Plastic bees with plastic stings hovering over plastic flowers.

    • Loony

      You are likely correct in that we are going through a revolution, whether it has similarities to the past is not so clear.

      What we have is a vast and complex society whose development has been underpinned by cheap energy. Now energy is not so cheap. It can be made to look cheap by interfering with the money supply – but that really aint where it is at.

      When you access energy then some energy is required in the access process. This is the energy cost of energy (ECoE), and this cannot be interfered with by printing presses or propaganda. It is what it is, and what it is is this.

      In 1889 the global average ECoE was 1.9%. In 2000 it was 3.9% By 2010 it had risen to 6% and by 2015 to 6.9%. By 2020 it is expected to rise to 8.8%

      In terms of ECoE Russia remains competitive and hence drags down global averages. Take a look at the hostility toward Russia.

      The ECoE for Italy is already above 9% and the US should top 9% next year.

      All of this has consequences. One of those consequences is the measure of “prosperity per person.” In the UK prosperity per person has declined 7.9% since 2007. The decline for the US is 6.3% and Italy comes in with a decline of 8.4% Next up take a look and see whether there have been any “unusual” or “unexpected” political consequences.

      The rising ECoE is irreversible, and no politician and no ideology can do anything about it at all. It is what it is, and it has consequences.

    • giyane

      No, they want to be independent from the UK.
      Take long breaths. It will help you to get through the feelings of rejection. There there. Take care. Better now?

  • giyane

    N_

    Trolls are neither thick nor liars. Their purpose is to obstruct and deviate the thread and to wind up genuine contributors. Trollibus nil windupendum est/ Best ignore the trolls.

    • Dr. Ip

      Quite correct.
      Though at times I must say it is fun to prod them with irony and see them squeal and squirm.

  • Sharp Ears

    Craig made a speech today at the he vigil for Julian Assange.

    Good on him.

    • Charles Bostock

      You mean he went down to London? Expensive!

      Mr Assange is, in reality, a free man because he can walk out of the embassy whenever he wants. In point of fact, didn’t he once say he would leave the embassy if Bradley Manning was released?

      I believe Bradley Manning has been released.

      • Macky

        The same way Ann Frank was always “free” to walk out the building she & her family were hiding in ?

        • Sharp Ears

          The price of an innocent man’s freedom from incarceration compared to the cost of a train or air fare from Edinburgh to London is of nothing to people who care about human rights.

        • Charles Bostock

          No, not in the same way at all, Poster 123.

          Anne Frank’s family knew well that they would be sent of to a camp if they left their hiding place (and that it what actually happened).

          Mr Julian Assange knows that he’ll not be sent off to an execution cell or gas chamber. In fact, he does not know whether he’ll be sent off anywhere.

          • Macky

            He’s seen the vindictive & horrific torture Bradley/ Chelsea Manning was subjected to, and the decades of jail times in an an inhuman Supermax prison that he was sentenced to, so only a fool in his shoes would take the risk that he would not be subjected to exactly the same; I’m sort of guessing that sort of fool might be you ? 😀

  • N_

    @Jones

    Totally agreed we are going through a capitalist technological revolution. But it’s the third, not the second. I’d say the second brought mass production and consumption and then mass advertising and mass debt.

    What is needed is precisely a return of the Luddites and a Luddite victory this time. Whether we’ll get it unfortunately looks unlikely.

    At the moment, how many leftwingers have the sense to say “F*** Facebook, f*** Twitter”? Unfortunately extremely few.

    @Giyane

    I’ll be celebrating midsummer sunrise on Thursday but not with Druids 🙂

    Did you know Winston Churchill was a member of a Druid order? (Photo.)

    The top Tory saint though wasn’t a Druid – it was Thomas Malthus. Then you get Francis Dalton etc. In between there are figures like Herbert Spencer and then later Cyril Burt, but the top figure is certainly Malthus. His ghost was there when the Tories opposed setting up the NHS (those who are tempted to say “neither left nor right” should always remember that) and he’s there now.

    Yesterday I heard a programme on BBC Radio 4 presenting “posthumanism” and cryogenics and pushing the idea that soon some people are going to “live forever”.

    The underlying idea was that each human being is only a number and nothing more. Of course they didn’t put it openly in that way.

    But that’s the basic idea when they talk of freezing a brain and then getting all of the information out of it that (according to them) wholly defines the person whose brain it was and then “recreating” that person. They can say that they’re saying a person is “software”, but what they mean is that a person is a number. As “balance” the BBC had someone on the programme to say that he was an expert and he knew that even if you’ve only got a small chance of dying in an accident if you live to 90 that becomes a big chance if you live to a million. Yeah right. No shit, Sherlock! An honest answer from the nutcases would of course be “Who cares?” Just store the code for the “person” in a databank somewhere. Then you can “bring them alive again”. As well as being completely insane, this is a deeply antihuman ideology and it’s obvious where it’s headed: megadeath, that’s where.

    Frankly if I want to know about human beings I don’t ask someone whose ideas are mainly informed by computer programming.

    It’s instructive how there’s so little discourse about how the vast majority of computer programmers (and an even vaster majority of those among them who derive what they think is a great view of human society and its future, all informed by computer programming) are male. Males who mainly mix with other males.

  • N_

    @Giyane – You’re right. I’m sorry I replied to them. “Don’t feed the trolls” is always good policy. Sometimes I find it very hard to abide by though.

  • Sopo

    Thought Craig would be trailing speaking at one of the Free Julian Assange actions this week, did he not take part?

  • Sharp Ears

    More of the BBC’s ‘Israel said’ and ‘the military said’ output.

    Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket and mortar fire
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-44544169

    The headline should read ‘Israel bombs Gaza repeatedly’.

    There are 8 uses of the phrases ‘Israel said’ and ‘the (Israeli) military said’.

    There is a single use from the Palestinians – ‘ Residents reportedly said two Hamas security personnel were slightly hurt.’

    _____

    The US has withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council. Haley calls it ‘biased’. She knew she couldn’t square it with Trump’s treatment of the children on the Mexican border.

    US quits ‘biased’ UN human rights council
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/44537372

    and

    UNRWA is running out of funds.

    ‘UN Palestinian refugee agency to suspend some Gaza operations amid funding shortfall
    19 Jun, 2018 16:10
    The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees will suspend some of its Gaza operations due to a major funding shortfall, an official said Tuesday. The agency was thrown into severe financial crisis after the US cut $250 million from its budget. UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov told a Security Council meeting that UNRWA is “weeks away from painful cuts to its emergency assistance for Gaza and elsewhere in the region,” AFP said. “In Gaza, this would include a deferral of salaries to some of its workforce in July and the start of suspending core operations in August,” he added. The UN on Monday will host a pledging conference for UNRWA in New York – the second such donors’ meeting in three months. In March, it raised $100 million during a conference in Rome but fell short of the $446 million needed to keep the agency afloat. UNRWA provides schools and health clinics to 5.3 million refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.’
    https://www.rt.com/newsline/430231-un-palestinian-refugee-gaza/

    No child shall be harmed.

  • N_

    @bj

    You ask “Why don’t you get a better browser and use the REPLY button.”

    I’ll tell you.

    You need to consider what you think of as “better”. Those who run this site recently decided (probably for no other reason than laziness) to deny the use of the reply button to those who use browser versions other than very recent ones. The drawback is more surveillance. Didn’t you realise that that’s almost always the case with software (and hardware) “updates”?

    If I updated I wouldn’t get any “better” functions. I’d just get back what I used to have, at a price of being surveilled more. Welcome to modern life. I do resent a bit being spoken to as if passively following fashion like a lemming without understanding the price paid is an intelligent way to behave and I’m slow off the mark mentally for not realising.

    Do you carry a microwave tracker that constantly reports your location to Google?

    If so, what do you get in return? Did you ask whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? If you got given a bag of crisps or a free picture of a lady in a bikini, would you accept being microchipped in your head?

    The behaviour of people who allow “their” software to be “updated” according to surveillance needs is part of the problem. Such passivity is widespread and not just in the digital sphere.

    Always ask who is doing what to whom. “There is no such thing as a free lunch”.

    Firefox 54, IE 11, and Opera 10.63 are new enough for me.

    • Sharp Ears

      I dread to tell you how old my laptop is and the age of its software which I do update. I can use the reply button which is most useful.

  • joeblogs

    The UK regime (overarching party politics, which always was a sop to the masses) needs a scapegoat for the coming crisis, thus they push Russophobia.

    ‘He who controls the currency supply, controls the country’

    You’d all better do what they say, or prepare to lose your pensions – they can be inflated out of existence at the flick of a pen.. er .. tap on a keyboard. Mr. Major, who signed the Maastricht Treaty, way back when, managed to negotiate a 25 year opt-out clause, that let the UK off the hook (for the time) of having to join the single currency: the Euro. That time expired this February. So, pay for expensive food imports again (as in WWII) from the US – which for the poor equates with rationing – or trade in Euro’s with Europe.

    All the history, and where the UK is today, was written by men now long since dead, back in 1905, with the beginning of the Dreadnought arms race against Germany.
    We’re bankrupt, can’t feed ourselves independently as a nation, and lost our Empire
    Nothing, absolutely nothing, can change what is to happen to the UK.
    ————————————–
    To find an objective history for the causes of WWII, read ‘Unfinished Victory’, by Arthur Bryant. It was published in 1940 so it is downloadable for free, it’s copyright has expired.
    I used DuckDuckGo to find it, using the title and author – G00gle is not the search engine it once was.
    Reading it was a revelation. It shows exactly who started the conflict, and why.

1 2 3 4

Comments are closed.