Robbing The People – The Ultimate Theft

Quote

Robbing The People

The Ultimate Theft

Growing up in the fifties it was customary to leave the back door open in many homes. Friends and neighbours would pop in and out, sharing resources and helping each other out. Material possessions were few.

Such practice is unusual today. Locks and alarms are fitted to houses, cars and even garden sheds. We live in a world of envy; we live in a materialist world where things matter, and it seems people don’t any more. Advertisers feed on greed, along the lines of “Be the Envy of your Neighbourhood, Buy Me!”.

A mobile phone is safely tucked away. Insurance companies grow ever richer by our need for Things, our need to keep Things safe, and our mistrust of one another. Front doors are firmly locked against potential thieves – that’s everyone as no one trusts anyone any more. Meanwhile, through the back door, those assets we treasure most are stolen. Theft of our most basic needs, and of our right to access them is The Ultimate Theft. It is no accident that social housing, public utilities – Water (1) and Energy (2), transport (3), Elderly Care (4), The NHS (5), Hospitals (6), Schools (7), the Post Office (8), Fire Service (9), Prisons (10), Probation Service (11) – everything is being wrenched away from us, handed over to private Bankers, at home and abroad, in order that the rich elite can accumulate riches more than they can ever need. It’s real, it’s still happening now. We can ask why and how it has happened, and what we can do to stop it, for stop it we must.

What drives the Ultimate Theft?

Why do the very rich who possess more than they can ever need crave more and more? Like a drug gives a false happiness, addiction is a replacement for some missing need.

????????????????????????????????????????

You may recall The Who’s lyrics from Tommy:

“The Who‘s lyrics proved so spot-on that a pleasurable dopamine hit convinced me to feature them in a second post about self-actualisation

From: The Dopamine Project (12)

“I’m free, I’m free, and freedom tastes of reality
But you’ve been told many times before
Messiahs point you to the door
No one had the guts to leave the temple.” : The Who

The glitch that keeps us from reaching our true potential can be traced to primitive ancestors who cultivated natural cravings into addictions to food, sex, safety, power, acceptance, approval, attention, esteem, and status. To complicate matters, our more recent ancestors added unnatural addictions to dopamine-triggering substances, beliefs, and behaviors, e.g. money, religion, and drugs. Then they bequeathed their addictions to newborns who were indoctrinated by societies controlled by of out-of-control money, power, status, and/or religion addicts.

Since we’re talking about the same dopamine that junkies trigger with heroin, it’s no surprise that the symptoms are the same, i.e. self-deception, denial, and the dishonesty that allows addicts to continue doing the only thing addicts care about = vigilantly protecting dopamine flow.

Freedom tastes of reality = honesty = self-actualization.
Dopamine addiction tastes of delusion = dishonesty = denial of self-actualisation.

George Monbiot observes that “The politics of Envy is keenest among the very rich. (13)” The means justifies the end. There is no pleasure in attainment and as drug addicts self control is minimal.

In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. The welfare state is dismantled. Essential public services are cut so that the rich may pay less tax. The public realm is privatised, the regulations restraining the ultra-wealthy and the companies they control are abandoned, and Edwardian levels of inequality are almost fetishised.

Think Left’s article “Increasing the sum of global well-being should be the ultimate and arching for every politician and party (14) ” emphasises that unregulated markets do not make people happy. Indeed, it seems very few people achieve happiness from unbridled capitalism. It is like a computer virus let loose, like a parasite which, while neglecting its host’s well-being is doomed. Parasites are what the very rich are. They make nothing. They do nothing. They just consume, and leave their toxic waste in their wake. In consuming their host which produces or modifies necessary resources, they cannot thrive. So, the driving factor of the ultimate theft is an obsession, a madness in pursuit of unattainable happiness. Such a habit has been proven to be a disaster to the world and its inhabitants which is totally out of control. Like the emperor who wears no clothes, we all know it is flawed, but no one dares say so.

How was the Ultimate Theft Achieved?

The Ultimate Theft has been premeditated and manipulated. It has been meticulously planned since Thatcher and Reagan started their Neoliberalist Experiment. There is considerable evidence that the current government, whilst claiming to protect front line services had this intent. Think Left’s “Who said the NHS will be shown No Mercy (15)”, and the Independent’s recent “Secret Memo shows Michael Gove’s plan for Privatisation of Academies (7) ” refer to this, and there are countless other examples of evidence. Lack of clarity, and vagueness in plans is typical, and since election manifestos did not make such policies clear, the Coalition have no mandate.

Clause 39 of The Magna Carta, in 1215. (16)

states: “We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right”. The Guardian reports that some privatisation of the Courts System (17) has already been planned, and there is confusion as to what will be sold off.

The justice secretary is a huge fan of outsourcing, and has a talent for ignoring troublesome evidence, however compelling. He also regards anything which smacks of rights – constitutional or human – as an irritant, an outmoded obstacle to thrusting reform, and to be dispatched as swiftly as possible. Certainly an 800-year-old prohibition on the sale of “justice or right” is not going to stand in his way. Not when there is money to be made by big business.

  • One tactic to achieve the Ultimate Theft was to divide the working class by brainwashing them into believing that it was in their interests to buy shares into something they already owned (18). Like Pyramid Selling, the politicians themselves are bought by lobbyists to adopt policies to which they themselves have a conflict of interests – and yet the reality is that everyone is doomed by the continuation of a capitalist system which cannot work.

George Monbiot: continues: Politicians justify these changes, when not reciting bogus arguments about the deficit, with the incentives for enterprise that they create.

Behind that lies the promise or the hint that we will all be happier and more satisfied as a result. But this mindless, meaningless accumulation cannot satisfy even its beneficiaries, except perhaps – and temporarily – the man wobbling on the very top of the pile.

  • The myth that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector is yet another myth which we are invited to believe. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Indeed, the simple fact is that the first responsibility of private companies is to their shareholders, and so the quality of service is secondary (Think Left Public Service or Private Profit (19). The attempt to justify this is to frame the argument that a service is failing, and then seek to take it over.
  • Governments cite “research” by Right Wing ‘Think Tanks’ funded by the rich, such as this recent article which justifies prison privatisation (20). The Huffington Past articles contradicts the claim. “ Privatisation will not Rehabilitate our Prisons (10)”
  • The attempts to control the means of communication of the Press and the media is not new. The BBC is in itself owned by the people of Britain, yet did not and does not present a true picture of the plans to privatise public services such as the NHS.
  • Creating distractions in the “News” is a well-used tactic, populist ideas of relive unimportance, celebrities and TV shows grab the headlines, burying bad news and hiding the Truth.
  • Alarming and frightening the public is often a deliberate tactic. “The Shock Doctrine” (21) or disaster politics (22) will have people running into line, like lemmings off a cliff. As Herman Goering (23) observed “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country”.
  • It is a natural instinct for a social animal such as mankind to feel pride in one’s family, in ones’s community. It may be 1.8 million years since some of us began to migrate out of Africa (24) , and we became divided, but today, communication and travel has brought us together again. Politicians abuse the idea of patriotism for their own ends (Remember the Falklands?), and so divide the working people, so each blames the other. I have heard UKIP supporters claim that there are too many people in this country. There is plenty of land. The truth is that there are not enough jobs, because the global capitalists just want the cheapest labour available. Oxfam states (25) that the richest 100 billionaires could put an end to global poverty four times over.
  • Then there is the argument that we cannot afford public services because we cannot afford it, because of the Deficit. They say that Gordon Grown spent all the money. This is an argument based on lies, reinforced by the media (see Osborne and Cameron’s big deficit myth(26). It is the banks who are seen to have developed such a powerful system , a plutocracy that they can bring down an entire country at will. (Gordon Brown didn’t spend all the money- the Banks did! (27)

The same applies to collective growth. Governments today have no vision but endless economic growth. They are judged not by the number of people in employment – let alone by the number of people in satisfying, pleasurable jobs – and not by the happiness of the population or the protection of the natural world. George Monbiot

One of the first actions of this parliament was to set up a fixed term parliament. Unable to achieve an overall majority, they knew it would be a one term parliament.

Nevertheless, their actions now are planning for further cuts beyond the next General Election. Signing up to US/EU trade agreements would mean that the sell off of valued services such as our NHS would be lost forever. The warning from US officials is, if Britain leaves the EU, US trade agreements would be a risk. A Europe signing such agreements will surrender But in return, Europe would have to give up existing protections on its agriculture, film industry and public services. (Guardian). (28)

Where is the democratic process? The British people did not vote for this and do not want this. It must be openly discussed by our media. Is it?

The Ultimate Solution:

The madness is unsustainable. Money, by itself has no value, or meaning. It is just a token by which we can register exchange of labour, resources or skills. We can do the same by barteringsee example (29) If I grow some cabbages for your table, will you teach my child to read? These days, money is just a figure on a computer somewhere in the world. If all the computers in the world were to crash, would we then starve? It would depend on the labour of those of us who can grow food as to whether we can eat. Bankers would be redundant. They wouldn’t be missed!

The Labour Party must make a break with the madness of neoliberalism which Blair had continued , and be truthful about the deficit, and debt. Labour must pledge to reverse the privatisation of public utilities and services. Labour must work for tax justice, put an end to tax avoidance and support country-by-country-reporting, if not go it alone. Our elected representatives must work for the interests of people, not rich bankers. Britain does not need to accept control from global banks. This is not democracy. With our own currency, it would be possible to wipe out any debts by a Modern Jubilee as suggested by Steve Keen. (30)That is the way to put this at an end.

The modern “debt jubilee” is characterised as “quantitative easing for the public”. It has been boiled down to a procedure where the central bank does not create new money by buying the sovereign debt of the government. Instead, it takes an arbitrary number, writes a check for that number, and deposits it in the bank account of every individual in the nation. Debtors must use the newly-created money to pay down or pay off debt. Those who are not in debt can use it as a free windfall to spend or “invest” as they see fit.

Modern Germany was built on a debt jubilee, this is the way to end the madness. In recovery, we should be planning for full employment, democratically owned and monitored public services, and building a just and more equal society, as Atlee’s government began in the Spirit of 1945. We need a new Spirit of 2015.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

(Dopamine Project) “The self-deceptions, denials, and dishonesty we “re-lie” on to protect dopamine flow keep us from being here now, self-actualizing, experiencing true freedom, and fully comprehending what it means to be human beings sharing an impossible, incomprehensible, mystical, unfathomable, amazing, spiritual experience.”

References and Further Reading

  1. Watered Down Morality (Water Privatisation) Think Left
  2. The Energy Trap: Think Left
  3. Renationalise the Railways: Think Left
  4. Guardian: Privatising Care will inevitably lead to lower standards
  5. Left Futures: EU Health Regulations – improving patient’s rights pr more NHS privatisation?
  6. Weston Mercury: Hospital put up for sale sparks fight to protect it
  7. Independent: Secret Memo shows Michael Gove’s plan for privatisation of Academies.
  8. Huffington Post: Post Office Privatisation
  9. Daily Mirror: Fire Service Privatisation
  10. Huffington Post: Privatisation will not Rehabilitate our Prisons
  11. Guardian Ministers accused of dismantling Probation Service
  12. When, What, Why, and How the Who knew about Self Actualisation (Dopamine Project)
  13. George Monbiot: “Why the Politics of Envy are Keenest among the very rich.
  14. Increasing the sum of global well-being should be the ultimate and arching for every politician and party
  15. Who said the NHS will be shown No Mercy
  16. Clause 39 of The Magna Carta, in 1215.
  17. Guardian: Privatising the courts system: the public are not customers, they are citizens.
  18. If you see Sid, Think Left
  19. Think Left Public Service or Private Profit
  20. BBC: Right Wing Think Tank – Private firms better at running Prisons
  21. “The Shock Doctrine”
  22. Cameron and Co Demonstrate the Art of Disaster Politics
  23. Herman Goering: Quote
  24. Man’s Migration out of Africa: (Wikipedia Early Human Migrations)
  25. Oxfam states that the richest 100 billionaires could put an end to global poverty four times over.
  26. Osborne and Cameron’s big deficit myth
  27. Gordon Brown didn’t spend all the money- the Banks did!
  28. Guardian: EU Exit would put US trade deal at risk, Britain warned.
  29. Independent: Bartering: “Go swapping, it’s good for your wallet, and health
  30. Modern Jubilee as suggested by Steve Keen
  31. Pascale Bruckner: Happiness is a moment of Grace: Guardian
  32. Think Left: Academisation and the Demolition of our Education System
  33. Think Left The Penalities of Ostrich Politics and the Demolition of Welfare State and the NHS
  34. Web4Health: Causes of addiction and Eating disorders

The Ultimate Theft

How Britain’s Family Silver was Stolen Through Open Doors 

The Ultimate Theft

Growing up in the fifties it was customary to leave the back door open in many homes. Friends and neighbours would pop in and out, sharing resources and helping each other out. Material possessions were few.

Such practice is unusual today. Locks and alarms are fitted to houses, cars and even garden sheds. We live in a world of envy; we live in a materialist world where things matter, and it seems people don’t any more.  Advertisers feed on greed, along the lines of “Be the Envy of your Neighbourhood, Buy Me!”.

A mobile phone is safely tucked away. Insurance companies grow ever richer by our need for Things, our need to keep Things safe, and our mistrust of one another. Front doors are firmly locked against potential thieves – that’s everyone as no one trusts anyone any more. Meanwhile, through the back door, those assets we treasure most are stolen. Theft of our most basic needs, and of our right to access them is The Ultimate Theft. It is no accident that social housing, public utilities – Water (1) and Energy (2), transport (3), Elderly Care (4), The NHS (5), Hospitals (6), Schools (7), the Post Office (8), Fire Service (9), Prisons (10), Probation Service (11) – everything is being wrenched away from us, handed over to private Bankers, at home and abroad, in order that the rich elite can accumulate riches more than they can ever need. It’s real, it’s still happening now. We can ask why and how it has happened, and what we can do to stop it, for stop it we must.

What drives  the Ultimate Theft?

Why do the very rich who possess more than they can ever need crave more and more? Like a drug gives a false happiness, addiction is a replacement for some missing need.

????????????????????????????????????????

You may recall The Who’s lyrics from Tommy:

“The Who‘s lyrics proved so spot-on that a pleasurable dopamine hit convinced me to feature them in a second post about self-actualisation”

From: The Dopamine Project (12)

“I’m free, I’m free, and freedom tastes of reality
But you’ve been told many times before
Messiahs point you to the door
No one had the guts to leave the temple.” : The Who

The glitch that keeps us from reaching our true potential can be traced to primitive ancestors who cultivated natural cravings into addictions to food, sex, safety, power, acceptance, approval, attention, esteem, and status. To complicate matters, our more recent ancestors added unnatural addictions to dopamine-triggering substances, beliefs, and behaviors, e.g. money, religion, and drugs. Then they bequeathed their addictions to newborns who were indoctrinated by societies controlled by of out-of-control money, power, status, and/or religion addicts.

Since we’re talking about the same dopamine that junkies trigger with heroin, it’s no surprise that the symptoms are the same, i.e. self-deception, denial, and the dishonesty that allows addicts to continue doing the only thing addicts care about = vigilantly protecting dopamine flow.

Freedom tastes of reality = honesty = self-actualization.
Dopamine addiction tastes of delusion = dishonesty = denial of self-actualisation.

George Monbiot observes that “The politics of Envy is keenest among the very rich. (13)”   The means justifies the end. There is no pleasure in attainment and as drug addicts self control is minimal.

In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. The welfare state is dismantled. Essential public services are cut so that the rich may pay less tax. The public realm is privatised, the regulations restraining the ultra-wealthy and the companies they control are abandoned, and Edwardian levels of inequality are almost fetishised.

Think Left’s article “Increasing the sum of global well-being should be the ultimate and arching for every politician and party (14) ” emphasises that unregulated markets do not make people happy. Indeed, it seems very few people achieve happiness from unbridled capitalism. It is like a computer virus let loose, like a parasite which, while neglecting its host’s well-being is doomed. Parasites are what the very rich are. They make nothing. They do nothing. They just consume, and leave their toxic waste in their wake. In consuming their host which produces or modifies necessary resources, they cannot thrive. So, the driving factor of the ultimate theft is an obsession, a madness in pursuit of  unattainable happiness. Such a habit  has been proven to be a disaster to the world and its inhabitants which is totally out of control. Like the emperor who wears no clothes, we all know it is flawed, but no one dares say so.

How was the Ultimate Theft Achieved?  

The Ultimate Theft has been premeditated and manipulated. It has been meticulously planned since Thatcher and Reagan started their Neoliberalist Experiment. There is considerable evidence that the current government, whilst claiming to protect front line services had this intent. Think Left’s “Who said the NHS will be shown No  Mercy (15)”, and the Independent’s   recent “Secret Memo shows Michael Gove’s plan for Privatisation of Academies (7) ” refer to this, and there are countless other examples of evidence. Lack of clarity, and vagueness in plans is typical, and since election manifestos did not make such policies clear, the Coalition have no mandate.

Clause 39  of The  Magna Carta, in 1215. (16)

states: “We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right”. The Guardian reports that some privatisation of the Courts System (17) has already been planned, and there is confusion as to what will be sold off.

The justice secretary is a huge fan of outsourcing, and has a talent for ignoring troublesome evidence, however compelling. He also regards anything which smacks of rights – constitutional or human – as an irritant, an outmoded obstacle to thrusting reform, and to be dispatched as swiftly as possible. Certainly an 800-year-old prohibition on the sale of “justice or right” is not going to stand in his way. Not when there is money to be made by big business.

  • One tactic  to achieve the Ultimate Theft was to divide the working class by brainwashing them into believing that it was in their interests to buy shares into something they already owned (18). Like Pyramid Selling, the politicians themselves are bought by lobbyists to adopt policies to which they themselves have a conflict of interests – and yet the reality is that everyone is doomed by the continuation of a capitalist system which cannot work.

George Monbiot: continues: Politicians justify these changes, when not reciting bogus arguments about the deficit, with the incentives for enterprise that they create.

Behind that lies the promise or the hint that we will all be happier and more satisfied as a result. But this mindless, meaningless accumulation cannot satisfy even its beneficiaries, except perhaps – and temporarily – the man wobbling on the very top of the pile.

  • The myth that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector is yet another myth which we are invited to believe. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary.  Indeed, the simple fact is that the first responsibility of private companies is to their shareholders, and so the quality of service is secondary (Think Left Public Service or Private Profit (19). The attempt to justify this is to frame the argument that a service is failing, and then seek to take it over.
  • Governments cite “research” by Right Wing ‘Think Tanks’ funded by the rich, such as this recent article which justifies prison privatisation (20). The Huffington Past articles contradicts the claim. “ Privatisation will not Rehabilitate our Prisons (10)”
  • The attempts to control the means of communication of the Press and the media is not new. The BBC is in itself owned by the people of Britain, yet did not and does not present a true picture of the plans to privatise public services such as the NHS.
  • Creating distractions in the “News” is a well-used tactic, populist ideas of relive unimportance, celebrities and TV shows grab the headlines, burying bad news and hiding the Truth.
  • Alarming and frightening the public is often a deliberate tactic. “The Shock Doctrine” (21) or disaster politics  (22) will have people running into line, like lemmings off a cliff. As Herman Goering  (23) observed “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country”.
  • It is a natural instinct for a social animal such as mankind to feel pride in one’s family, in ones’s community. It may be 1.8 million years since some of us began to migrate out of Africa (24) , and we became  divided, but today, communication and travel has brought us together again. Politicians abuse the idea of patriotism for their own ends (Remember the Falklands?), and so divide the working people, so each blames the other. I have heard UKIP supporters claim that there are too many people in this country. There is plenty of land. The truth is that there are not enough jobs, because  the global capitalists just want the cheapest labour available. Oxfam  states (25) that the richest 100 billionaires could put an end to global poverty four times over.
  • Then there is the argument that we cannot afford public services because we cannot afford it, because of the Deficit. They say that Gordon Grown spent all the money. This is an argument based on lies, reinforced by the media (see Osborne and Cameron’s big deficit myth(26). It is the banks who are seen to have developed such a powerful system , a plutocracy that they can bring down an  entire country at will. (Gordon Brown didn’t spend all the money- the Banks did! (27)

The same applies to collective growth. Governments today have no vision but endless economic growth. They are judged not by the number of people in employment – let alone by the number of people in satisfying, pleasurable jobs – and not by the happiness of the population or the protection of the natural world. George Monbiot

One of the first actions of this parliament was to set up a fixed term parliament. Unable to achieve an overall majority, they knew it would be a one term parliament.

Nevertheless, their actions now are planning for further cuts beyond the next General Election.  Signing up to US/EU trade agreements would mean that the sell off of valued services such as our NHS would be lost forever. The warning from US officials is, if Britain leaves the EU, US trade agreements would be a risk. A Europe signing such agreements will surrender  But in return, Europe would have to give up existing protections on its agriculture, film industry and public services. (Guardian). (28)

Where is the democratic process? The  British people did not vote for this and do not want this. It must be openly discussed by our media. Is it?

 The Ultimate Solution: 

The madness is unsustainable. Money, by itself has no value, or meaning. It is just a token by which we can register exchange of labour, resources or skills. We can do the same by bartering  – see example (29)  If I grow some cabbages for your table, will you teach my child to read? These days, money is just a figure on a computer somewhere in the world. If all the computers in the world were to crash, would we then starve? It would depend on the labour of those of us who can grow food as to whether we can eat. Bankers would be redundant. They wouldn’t be missed!

The Labour Party must make a break with the madness of neoliberalism which Blair had continued , and be truthful about the deficit, and debt. Labour must pledge to reverse the privatisation of public utilities and services. Labour must work for tax justice, put an end to tax avoidance and support country-by-country-reporting, if not go it alone. Our elected representatives must work for the interests of people, not rich bankers. Britain does not need to accept control from global banks. This is not democracy. With our own currency, it would be possible to wipe out any debts by a Modern Jubilee as suggested by Steve Keen. (30)That is the way to put this at an end.

The modern “debt jubilee” is characterised as “quantitative easing for the public”. It has been boiled down to a procedure where the central bank does not create new money by buying the sovereign debt of the government. Instead, it takes an arbitrary number, writes a check for that number, and deposits it in the bank account of every individual in the nation. Debtors must use the newly-created money to pay down or pay off debt. Those who are not in debt can use it as a free windfall to spend or “invest” as they see fit.  

Modern Germany was built on a debt jubilee, this is the way to end the madness. In recovery, we should be planning for full employment, democratically owned and monitored public services, and building a just and more equal society, as Atlee’s government began in the Spirit of 1945. We need a new Spirit of 2015.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

(Dopamine Project) “The self-deceptions, denials, and dishonesty we “re-lie” on to protect dopamine flow keep us from being here now, self-actualizing, experiencing true freedom, and fully comprehending what it means to be human beings sharing an impossible, incomprehensible, mystical, unfathomable, amazing, spiritual experience.”

References and Further Reading

  1. Watered Down Morality (Water Privatisation) Think Left 
  2. The Energy Trap: Think Left
  3.  Renationalise the Railways: Think Left
  4. Guardian: Privatising Care will inevitably lead to lower standards
  5. Left Futures: EU Health Regulations – improving patient’s rights pr more NHS privatisation?
  6. Weston Mercury: Hospital put up for sale sparks fight to protect it
  7. Independent: Secret Memo shows Michael Gove’s plan for privatisation of Academies.
  8. Huffington Post: Post Office Privatisation
  9. Daily Mirror: Fire Service  Privatisation
  10.  Huffington Post: Privatisation will not Rehabilitate our Prisons
  11. Guardian Ministers accused of dismantling Probation Service
  12. When, What, Why, and How the Who knew about Self Actualisation (Dopamine Project)
  13. George Monbiot: “Why the Politics of Envy are Keenest among the very rich.
  14. Increasing the sum of global well-being should be the ultimate and arching for every politician and party
  15. Who said the NHS will be shown No  Mercy
  16. Clause 39  of The  Magna Carta, in 1215.
  17. Guardian: Privatising the courts system: the public are not customers, they are citizens. 
  18. If you see Sid, Think Left
  19. Think Left Public Service or Private Profit
  20. BBC: Right Wing Think Tank  – Private firms better at running Prisons
  21. “The Shock Doctrine”
  22. Cameron and Co Demonstrate the Art of Disaster Politics
  23. Herman Goering: Quote
  24. Man’s Migration out of Africa: (Wikipedia Early Human Migrations)
  25.  Oxfam  states  that the richest 100 billionaires could put an end to global poverty four times over.  
  26. Osborne and Cameron’s big deficit myth
  27. Gordon Brown didn’t spend all the money- the Banks did!
  28. Guardian: EU Exit would put US trade deal at risk, Britain warned.
  29. Independent: Bartering: “Go swapping, it’s good for your wallet, and health
  30. Modern Jubilee as suggested by Steve Keen
  31. Pascale Bruckner: Happiness is a moment of Grace: Guardian
  32. Think Left: Academisation and the Demolition of our Education System
  33. Think Left The Penalities of Ostrich Politics and the Demolition of Welfare State and the NHS
  34. Web4Health: Causes of addiction and Eating disorders

The Lost Democracy and the role of think-tanks.

Quote

The Lost Democracy

Do party conferences feed policy or polls? The role of think-tanks.

Q: What can you say to a young couple who can’t afford a home to rent or buy?

A: “This Think Tank (1) thought it would be a good idea to sell off the council houses” (2)

Q: What can you say to a bright student who can’t afford to stay in education because of Tuition fees?

A: “This Browne Report Review Group (3 ) decided putting students in debt to learn and pay interest on it would be a good idea – and it so happens one of group ( Peter Sands) for a bank, another was given a job by David Cameron after the election.”

Q: What can you say to the cancer patient waiting for an urgent operation.?

A: These powerful people with vested interests feel that delaying operations will force people to use private healthcare. NHS Privatised: Vested Interests (4)

What can you say to the starving and cold or to the unemployed? Basically that there are those who think that the world is not for you, even though there is food and sufficient resources for everyone.

Now, it might sound blindingly obvious to you and me.

Tanks don’t think; people do.

But it is not for us to think we know what is good for us. It’s just possible we might rattle a few cages, and tip the balance away from the establishment. We might just achieve democracy and justice.

What is a Think Tank?

NCPA (National Center for Policy Analysis ) (5) describes Think Tanks as “Idea Factories”. Factories make things. They then sell them and distribute them, and people use them. So, ideas and thoughts are now commodities to be bought and sold. Politicians are salesman or buyers, rather like an employee of M &S. We might question whether a politician unable to formulate policies is in the best career, if he needs to buy ideas. We should also question why people have ideas to sell, if their minds are full of political ideas, then why don’t they go into politics? Who decides that an Idea Factory will present policies, which are in the public interest and not for their own self-interest? Isn’t this undermining our democracy?

George Monbiot’s (6) excellent article, also published in the Guardian (7) demonstrates how billionaries and corporations can manipulate information – or spread lies. It reveals how the corporations, have abandoned the democratic process as a means to persuade the electorate, and settled quite simply on using their money and power to change information within the public domain. Money decides what and how information is taught in schools, presented in the media, and who and how we are governed. Where possible, they seek to conceal themselves and cover their tracks.

The Heartland Institute, which has helped lead the war against climate science in the United States, is funded among others by tobacco firms, fossil fuel companies and one of the billionaire Koch brothers. The Luntz techniques used can be linked to the Republican Party

Luntz’s technique was pioneered by the tobacco companies and the creationists: teach the controversy. In other words, insist that the question of whether cigarettes cause lung cancer, natural selection drives evolution or burning fossil fuels causes climate change is still wide open, and that both sides of the “controversy” should be taught in schools and thrashed out in the media.

The leaked documents appear to show that, courtesy of its multi-millionaire donors, the institute has commissioned a global warming curriculum for schools, which teaches that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy” and “whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial.”

Think Tanks and Thatcherism

Thatcher’s favourite Think Tank was the Centre for Policy studies. (8)

The CPS was founded in 1974 by Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in order, in the words of Lord Joseph, “to convert the Tory party” to the principles of liberal economics, the focus of what became Thatcherism.

On education policy, the CPS called, from as early as 1982, for a concentration on standards, parental choice and the devolution of power to schools. Later it successfully called for the introduction of league-tables. The CPS “freedom for schools” agenda was made official Conservative party policy in 1999. In health, the CPS argues for greater pluralism in the delivery and funding of care.

Adam Smith was a Scottish economist who overturned the prevailing view that nations became rich by exporting more than they imported.

The modern system of free trade, free enterprise and market-based economies, actually emerged around 200 years ago, as one of the main engines of development for the Industrial Revolution.

In 1776, British economist Adam Smith published his book, The Wealth of Nations. He suggested that for maximum efficiency, all forms of government interventions in economic issues should be removed and that there should be no restrictions or tariffs on manufacturing and commerce within a nation for it to develop.

For this to work, social traditions had to be transformed.

Professor Michael Perelman, The Invention of Capitalism details how peasants did not willingly abandon their self-sufficient lifestyle to go work in factories.

  • Instead they had to be forced with the active support of thinkers and economists of the time, including the famous originators of classical political economy, such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Steuart and others.
  • Contradicting themselves, as if it were, they argued for government policies that deprived the peasants their way of life of self-provision, to coerce them into waged labor.
  • Separating the rural peasantry from their land was successful because of “ideological vigor” from people like Adam Smith, and because of a “revision of history” that created an impression of a humanitarian heritage of political economy; an inevitability to be celebrated.
  • This revision, he also noted has evidently “succeeded mightily.”

(from: http://www.globalissues.org/article/39/a-primer-on-neoliberalism) (9)

Such were the powers of persuasion, that politicians looked for academics to make their arguments for them. It was 1977, that the Adam Smith Institute further inspired Margaret Thatcher to develop policies of privatization and low taxation for the rich which led to the spiralling out-of-control neo-liberalist policies which have led to the current financial crisis.

Today, we find Think Tanks are everywhere, and the number proliferating out of control like cancers in our democratic bodies. The success Thatcher enjoyed by using powerful Think Tanks and PR companies backed by very rich benefactors to achieve her aims ultimately led to other political groups using similar means to achieve their own. However there can be no fairness without equality and transparency of funding, media exposure and controls.

Some UK Think Tanks are listed here by The Guardian (10) and Wikipedia (11) and Telegraph (19)

2011 GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION OF THINK TANKS BY REGION 6,545 THINK TANKS TOTAL (18)

In fact, Think Tanks have proliferated to such an extent that they now have league tables as to which is best and present trophies to those they like. What further self-gratification can we tolerate as democratic systems become history?

Think Tank of the Year Awards: Prospect Magazine

Peter Mandelson presents the Global Think Tank of the Year Award to Guntram Wolff, the deputy director of Bruegel.

David Cameron’s Tories, and their very presence in Westminster is very dependent on right-leaning Think Tanks.

Red Pepper (13) reports:

Two recent scandals showed how closely knit the networks between politics, public relations and lobbying companies, the corporate world and think‑tanks really are. First, there was Liam Fox and the now defunct think-tank Atlantic Bridge. In October 2011, Fox lost his job as defence secretary over the questionable connections between his party, US-American neo-cons, big business and the think-tank – which he helped set up in 2003.

Second, in December, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism broke a scandal about the practices of professional lobbying companies in Britain. One agency, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, stood out with its claims about the ‘dark arts’ of manipulating politics and politicians. Managing director Tim Collins, a speechwriter and aide to several Tory leaders and MPs, emphasised his company’s excellent links with the Conservative Party to undercover journalists posing as potential clients.

Who’s Who and Who is funding Think Tanks?

So-called Think Tanks, supplying the political PR industry have proliferated at such a rate in recent years and are intertwined such that is difficult to unpick the web to discover truth of who is behind them. Rather than face the reality and speak sense truthfully to the people, lies prevail and escalate rather like an Emperor who wears no clothes. To create controversy, to create confusion and misunderstandings is accepted as the norm – fine as long as the sponsors are kept happy and the politicians get themselves elected.

Everyone knows there is no truth in it, but then everyone plays the game because of the desire to succeed in politics or business. These days politics is a career, no longer a means to change the world.

In other words, Think Tanks proliferate because of the need to confuse and contradict. It is no wonder that the voters tire of politicians.

George Monbiot writes further here (14) about the extent that our politicans will go to in order to protect the secret funders which undermine our democracy:

“When she attempted to restrict abortion counselling, Nadine Dorries MP was supported by a group called Right to Know. When other MPs asked her who funds it, she claimed she didn’t know. Lord Lawson is chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which casts doubt on climate science. It demands “openness and transparency” from scientists . Yet he refuses to say who pays, on the grounds that the donors “do not wish to be publicly engaged in controversy.” Michael Gove was chairman of Policy Exchange, an influential conservative thinktank. When I asked who funded Policy Exchange when he ran it, his office told me “he doesn’t have that information and he won’t be able to help you.”

The Kochs and the oil company Exxon have also funded a swarm of thinktanks which, by coincidence, all spontaneously decided that manmade climate change is a myth. A study in the journal Environmental Politics found that such groups, funded by economic elites and working through the media, have been “central to the reversal of US support for environmental protection, both domestically and internationally.”

Jeff Judson, who has worked for 26 years as a corporate lobbyist in the US, has explained why thinktanks are more effective than other public relations agencies. They are, he says, “the source of many of the ideas and facts that appear in countless editorials, news articles, and syndicated columns.”They have “considerable influence and close personal relationships with elected officials”. They “support and encourage one another, echo and amplify their messages, and can pull together … coalitions on the most important public policy issues.” Crucially, they are “virtually immune to retribution … the identity of donors to think tanks is protected from involuntary disclosure.”

The harder you stare at them, the more they look like lobby groups working for big business without disclosing their interests. Yet throughout the media they are treated as independent sources of expertise. The BBC is particularly culpable. Even when the corporate funding of its contributors has been exposed by human rights or environmental groups, it still allows them to masquerade as unbiased commentators, without disclosing their interests.”

We should be fully aware of who is funding these organisations who call themselves Think Tanks for the sake of our democracy. It should be compulsory for anyone who is influencing policy to disclose who is sponsoring them. Another threat to our democracy of utmost concern is the influence of other rich individuals, particularly members of the royal family. Why should we permit Prince Charles to have influence over elected members of parliament? Attempts not to disclose contents of Prince Charles’ letters to ministers has been ruled unlawful by a judge. Guardian 21)

In a significant ruling published on Tuesday, three judges in a freedom of information tribunal decided the public is entitled to know how the prince seeks to alter government policy.

“The essential reason is that it will generally be in the overall public interest for there to be transparency as to how and when Prince Charles seeks to influence government,” they ruled.

For seven years, the government has been resisting the disclosure of a set of letters following a freedom of information request by the Guardian to see them.

What is most concerning is that some thought such an influence could even be contemplated.

A handful of Think Tanks

Under some external pressure, some Think-Tanks have volunteered information about funding. On June 21st 2012, a web site Who Funds You? (15) was launched calling for think tanks and public policy campaigns to publish their annual income and name their major funders.For its pilot project, Who Funds You? asked 20 leading UK-based think tanks and political campaigns to disclose their major funders and rated them on the depth of their responses. Unsurprisingly the Think Tanks favoured by the political right are the least likely to be transparent. The website awarded six organisations its top “A” rating (Compass, IPPR, New Economics Foundation, Progress, Resolution Foundation, Social Market Foundation), while three received its lowest “E” rating (Adam Smith Institute, ResPublica, TaxPayers’ Alliance). Richard Murphy (Tax Research UK) also comments (here) (20).

The full results are:

A – Compass, IPPR, NEF, Progress, Resolution Foundation, Social Market Foundation

B – Demos, Fabian Society, Policy Network, Reform

C – Centre Forum, Civitas, Smith Institute

D – Centre for Policy Studies, Centre for Social Justice, Institute of Economic Affairs, Policy Exchange

E – Adam Smith Institute, ResPublica, TaxPayers’ Alliance

ResPublica (Category E), identifies itself as an independent, non-partisan public policy think-tank established in 2009 by Phillip Blond.

IEA: The Institute of Economic Affairs: (Cat D) The IEA is registered as an educational and research charity. On this basis it claims to be entirely funded by voluntary donations. In 2010 the income was reported at £896,000. They give no public information on their web page about donors.

PROGRESS (CAT A) Progress was set up as a party-within a party and separately funded. Bill Pottinger, the largest PR firm was set up by Lord Bell, who worked as a PR adviser to Margaret Thatcher. Why is a PR company, working for foreign governments contributing large sums of money to sub-groups in The British Labour Party, if not to influence certain groups within it, and contribute further to a Party which has been wrenched from its roots by New Labour. Funding last year £368,598 Progress show contributors on their website, which includes Bell Pottinger, and Lord David Sainsbury.

CLASS: The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new thinktank established in 2012 to act as a centre for left debate and discussion. It is supported by The Labour movement and trade unions.

New Economics Foundation (nef) is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being.

Migration Watch: This organisation distributes statistics regarding the movement of people.

Adam Smith Institute (Cat E) This organisation favoured by Thatcherites as the force behind driving neoliberalism through. They remain secretive regarding their funding details

Tax Payers’ Alliance: (Cat E) claim The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) was launched by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum in early 2004 to speak for ordinary taxpayers fed up with government waste, increasing taxation, and a lack of transparency in all levels of government. If greater transparency is their aim, perhaps they ought to submit funding to Who Funds You?

Control of the Media

Individuals and ad-hoc communities communicate through the new media mass on the same level and use the same resources as the Masters’ Voices of days gone by (i.e. corporations, politicians and traditional journalists). These elites held control of the mass media, while the rest of the population listened, watched, slept and consumed. However, their time has passed: the unilateral monopoly of the Masters’ Voices is gone for good.

From Me, The Media : Rise of the Conversation Society (16)

Featuring the Obama moment by Pete Leyden

( can be downloaded from http://www.methemedia.com)

During the Thatcher years and beyond, the establishment controlled the media. Corruption involving News International, the Police, and politicians have plagued our headlines in recent months. Whistle-blowers and leaks have uncovered dark secrets which many would rather not have been told. The truth is that technology has given communication power to the people. The Internet has given people a voice so there is no media monopoly these days. U-Tube videos, blogs and tweets allow far more freedom of information than was witnessed in the Thatcher years. So many people, can share thoughts and ideas, just as I write here. Control of the BBC and daily headlines continues, so much remains hidden. There are attempts to censor the Internet.

The establishment will make every effort to minimize freedom of information and sharing of ideas, and will not let go easily.

What is a political party?

Quite simply, a political party is an organised group of people who have similar ideas about how the country should be run. Their aim is to get their candidates elected to political power. Party members ideally meet, debate, and consult the electorate, and could, indeed be considered as Think Tanks. Indeed, in order to decide on policy, annual conferences are organized, with the intention of giving party members the opportunity to present motions for debate to be voted on and adopted as policy.

If Think Tanks are formulating policies influencing politicians, then what are political parties supposed to be doing? The expectation of the electorate is that they who are elected to make laws do so, by consultation with those who represent them, following debates within their parties and at conferences formulating manifestos which are then presented to the electorate at election time.

Funding for political parties is limited and transparent, though far from a perfect system, and ripe for improvement.

Party funding and Democracy

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 aims to make party funding more open. It specifies that:

  • parties can only accept donations of over £500 from ‘permissible donors’, who are individuals on the UK electoral register, registered companies incorporated in the EU which do business in the UK, registered political parties, or trade unions
  • all donations of over £7,500 to a political party’s central organisation must be reported to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis, or weekly during a general election campaign
  • organisations or individuals who campaign but don’t stand for election (like trade unions) must register with the Electoral Commission if they spend more than specific limits on campaigns. In England, the limit is £10,000. In Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland the limit is £5,000
  • all donations of over £1,500 to ‘accounting units’, like a constituency association, must be reported to the Electoral Commission

Direct Gov (17)

But in a democracy, surely it is groups of politicians who we look to be our Thinkers, and for answers to questions then politicians should be consulting those they seek to represent? For the ordinary man and woman joining a political party used to be a way of influencing the powers-that-be , enabling them to make a difference to the lives of ordinary people.

Conferences, now staged affairs, no longer are alive with original thought – Idea Factories. Indeed, since Michael Foot’s demonisation by the Press, Labour has been so focused on image, and the packaging of that image, that democracy within the party became something of the past, and as a result people left the party, and the electorate have stayed at home. Ed Miliband has stated his intention to revive the Labour movement and include the people in policy making. I hope this is going to be the beginning of redemocratisation of the Labour Party, and politics in the UK and elsewhere.

We must, as Tony Benn says, “Say what we mean and mean what we say.”

Do that, Labour, and you will become the People’s Party once again.

THINK LEFT:

From Think Left:

1. The PFink Tank: https://think-left.org/2011/08/15/the-pfink-tank-pharmaceutical-industry’s-role-in-promoting-laissez-faire-capitalism/

2. Coalition MPs Links with the Financiers ( Think Left): Britain under Siege

https://think-left.org/2011/08/24/britain-under-siege/

3. Think Left: Thoughts inspired by Tony Benn

https://think-left.org/2012/09/18/thoughts-inspired-by-tony-benn/

References and Further Reading:

1. Policy Exchange: Think Tank Selling Council Houses

2: Huffington Post : Policy Exchange and Council House Sales

3: Browne Report (Tuition Fees) Wikipedia

4. NHS Vested Interests

5 NCPA: What is a Think Tank?

6. George Monbiot Plutocracy: Pure and Simple

7. Guardian (Monbiot) We need to low who funds lobbyists (Pure and Simple)

8. Guardian CPS

9: global issues:a primer on neoliberalism

10: Guardian: Think Tanks

11: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_think_tanks_in_the_United_Kingdom

12: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/page/2007/dec/20/1

13 http://www.redpepper.org.uk/tory-think-tanks-tangled-web/

14. http://www.monbiot.com/2011/09/12/think-of-a-tank/

15 Who Funds You?

16. Rise of the Conversation Society

http://www.scribd.com/doc/16629031/Me-The-Media)

17 Direct Gov: Political Parties (Me the Median Featuring the Obama moment by Pete Leyden

18 The Global Go To Think Tanks Report January 2012 pdf document

19 Telegraph Top 12 Think Tanks 2008

20 Richard Murphy: Tax Research UK: Which are the worst Think Tanks at Transparency?

21 The Guardian Sept 18th Judge rules contents Prince Charles’ letters to ministers should be disclosed.

http://www.iea.org.uk/policy-areas

http://www.progressonline.org.uk/

http://www.localis.org.uk/

http://www.adamsmith.org/blog

www.neweconomics.org/

http://www.migrationwatchuk.org

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/inexorable-rise-pr-men