The Unasked Question Of Brexit

There’s one question concerning Brexit that is seldom asked of those vehement in their opposition to the UK remaining a member of the European Union. When broached, only vague responses are forthcoming, like “take back our sovereignty,” or, “control immigration,” or, “stop those bloody foreigners from taking all our bleeding jobs.” Of course, that’s from the rank and file, ordinary folk who simply re-mouth what they’ve heard on the internet, or from media owned and controlled by the Murdoch’s News Corp (the Sun), Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere (Daily Mail), Evgeny Levedev, one of those rich ‘bloody foreigners'(The Independent & Evening Standard). Then there’s the Daily Telegraph owned by the billionaire Barclay brothers, the UK’s equivalent of America’s Koch brothers, who also owned ‘The European’, (you gotta larf!) and ‘The Scotsman’.

They are, of course, just sound-bites lacking true substance. Facebook’s vast database coupled to Cambridge Analytica’s expertise with algorithms churned them out en masse prior to the 2016 referendum; catchy ads and videos that castigated the EU and cleverly assaulted the deep, often subconscious, fears of ordinary people in what could only rightly be described as mass brainwashing.

The problem with sophisticated brainwashing is that the victims don’t know it’s happening. Often they’re not even aware their fears have become heightened to a point that a) pushes them to get out and vote, when otherwise they may have not bothered, or, b) alters their mindset so they switch how they vote.

Fear has been the weapon of dictatorial leaders throughout history. That, plus a promise to the masses of a Utopia to come. Throughout the whole sordid Brexit saga we’ve witnessed both an elevated fear of remaining in the EU, and the promise of Utopia once the UK leaves. Only recently, after being undemocratically chosen as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson prophesied, “a new golden age dawning.” It hardly seems likely, now does it?[1]

The one question that should constantly be fired at the Brexiteers, and with concrete answers stipulated, is seldom if ever asked by those in the media responsible for demanding answers on behalf of the British, and European, public.

Why, and how, will the United Kingdom be a better country for ALL its people by leaving the European Union?

Every survey; CEOs of virtually all the companies located in the UK; the Bank of England; even the government’s own economic departments, have issued dire warnings of the consequences of leaving – and especially leaving with no deal in place. Yet the politicians presently in power all disagree. The billionaires who make their money in the markets, disagree.

Why? Why, when asked to explain their reasons do they flounder and flutter and talk bullshit, using those same old soundbites uttered by the rank and file?They add a little more decorum to their answers. Oxford and Cambridge universities taught them how to do that. “Stopping those bloody foreigners from taking all our bleeding jobs,”. becomes, “…we need to manage our own immigration policies,”  and “taking back our sovereignty,” becomes, “we will govern ourselves, not be governed by Brussels…” (‘Brussels’, incidentally, is a democratically elected parliament in which the UK participates via its MEPs. There is nothing undemocratic about it).

There’s a mountain of evidence to confirm the foolishness of exiting the EU, even with an agreement, but scarcely a smidgen’s worth to discount the aforesaid mountain, or offer evidence to favour getting out despite said mountain.

There are two types of individual who are enthusiastic about Brexit: a) the relatively poor, who have suffered harshly under austerity measures imposed by successive British governments since the turn of the millennium. They find the EU a convenient scapegoat, helped on by dishonest politicians anxious to avert responsibility from themselves, and b) the obscenely wealthy who are gambling on Brexit and stand to profit hugely once the UK leaves.

This man, Jacob Rees-Mogg…

…is just one of them. He’s an ardent Brexiteer, is head of the so-called European Research Group – a bunch of hard-headed ‘Get out of Europe’ fanatics who exist within the Houses of Parliament.  Rees-Mogg’s business interests,  Somerset Capital Management, have just set up two investment funds in Eire (an EU member) to circumvent the negative effects of Brexit.

This from the Guardian:

A City firm co-founded by the influential Conservative backbencher, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has set up an investment fund in Ireland and is warning prospective clients about the financial dangers of the sort of hard Brexit favoured by the Tory MP.

London-based Somerset Capital Management (SCM) described Brexit as a risk in a prospectus to a new fund it launched in March, which has been marketed to international investors who want to keep their money in the EU long-term.[2]

Of course, only Rees-Mogg knows how much he’ll make from Brexit, but rumour has it it’ll be in the millions. And he’s not alone.

Boris Johnson has just awarded Rees-Mogg the powerful political position of Leader of the House of Commons. The smell of corruption is overpowering.

The true answer to the ‘why’ question is painfully obvious. It’s not just that the wealthy will make vast fortunes from the Brexit event, that’s just a sideshow of profit. The European Union makes regulations governing money and goods, and other things. It irks the wealthy that they are subject to the regulation of people they see as ‘foreigners’. Also, they wish to do away with those regulations because they’re designed to keep people safe, help ordinary citizens to live less frugally, and hamper those who would profit unfairly.

Leaving the EU, with a UK government in place prepared to deregulate in areas advantageous to wealthy businessmen, opens up a whole new arena of possibility for those in a position to benefit. Needless to say, they will not be from within the rank and file of ordinary British citizens. The proportion of those  who scream out loudly for Brexit,  on the streets or on social media, have been hoodwinked and manipulated by the ruthless and powerful.

It’s comforting to believe our politicians are there looking after our interests. Sadly, that’s rarely the case. Mostly they just look after their own, short-term, interests and to hell with the rest of us.

That’s why it’s so important to not always believe what they tell us, at least until we’ve asked ‘Why?’ and not settled for a soundbite.

[1] “Boris Johnson: Premiership will be the start of a golden age” BBC July 25th 2019

[2] “Brexit warning from investment firm co-founded by Rees-Mogg” The Guardian, June 14th 2018

The Tools In The Hands Of The Bad Guys

I’ve been using Twitter and Facebook for almost a month. I’ve always had strong reservations about both platforms and my experiences over the last few weeks have done nothing to quell them.

Facebook, as evidence has shown, is at the forefront of data mining. Its involvement, whether through direct access or just being irresponsible in securing its users’ data, has become common knowledge thanks to journalists like Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer exposing the company Cambridge Analytica, billionaire financier Robert Mercer, and CA’s once Vice-President Steve Bannon.

In fact, I find the Facebook platform rather disappointing. It’s somewhat clunky and confusing, with posted items frequently disappearing. One gets bombarded with potential ‘friends’ one’s never heard of, and can seldom find anyone known to you in the past, though there are myriad ‘possibles’ one would never, ever, want to befriend.

Given that  its original intention was to keep people in touch with family and friends I guess the idea was worthwhile. Sadly, thanks to the world’s total obsession with advertising and materialism, it’s now become little more than a very efficient tool in the service of large corporations, and those who would use it for the sole purpose of perverting democracy.

Twitter is a totally different internet animal. In just a few weeks hatred, racism, nationalistic fervour, and left-wing/right-wing tribal feuding has dominated much of the content passing as ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’, or those I should ‘follow’, on my Twitter feed. I’ve found it nigh on impossible to permeate this mass of political and racist detritus and discover the sanity one assumes is struggling to survive somewhere deep in the forest of poison ivy that obscures it.

Violent emotionalism pervades Twitter. There is little rational thought to be had when all is right-wing or left-wing, fascist or white supremacist. When did we acquire ‘wings’ anyway? We act like cold-blooded, reptilian, pterodactyls…

… swooping in and annihilating without mercy, egos humming to the thrill of conquest over yet another enemy.

Have we forgotten we are all human beings? Even Margaret Thatcher quoted, “Where there is hatred let us sow love,” though she didn’t exactly follow it through.

Migrants are prime victims of these trolls, and not just in America. The hate-swell against migrants is growing exponentially. In France it’s still fairly muted compared to Germany (the far-right has never forgiven Merkel for allowing one million migrants into their country), and of course British racism is alive and well thanks to that reptilian toad masquerading under the name of Nigel Farage, along with his cohort, prime minister Boris Johnson.

Migration will undoubtedly get worse due to climate change. It’s already a major cause of people forced to leave their homes and countries. The powerful and wealthy will continue to raise the nationalistic fervour of the masses against the poor and destitute. The ‘KEEP OUT’ signs…

…guarded by guns and soldiers, will multiply. The rhetoric of the Trumps, Johnsons, Farages, and many others of the politically powerful, will continue to foment bitterness and hatred among ordinary folk, setting them at each others’ throats without them even knowing how they’re being used.

Twitter and Facebook are the tools in the hands of the bad guys.

 

 

 

Two Shootings Is Not A Mass Extinction

I am so, so, tired of writing posts about the latest slaughter of innocent people by maniac shooters in America. Two within twenty-four hours is probably not even a record for the United States of Lunacy.

In fact, that’s all I’m going to write on the subject (at least for today) because there are more important happenings in the world right now, though to view the media reaction you wouldn’t think so.

Instead, let’s consider:

MASS EXTINCTION

There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years of what needs to be done to combat the climate emergency. If there’s one thing that stands out as having been achieved in that direction, it’s – nothing. Oh, sure, some countries have managed a few wind turbines; the sunnier climes i.e. Arizona, have knocked up a solar generator or two, and some car producers are busy turning out  expensive electric vehicles, but the fact is that carbon emissions, which did flatten out slightly for a year or two, have begun climbing steadily again and in 2018 they reached an all-time high.

Electric cars seem to dominate the thoughts of politicians when climate catastrophe is mentioned, but in truth they are not environmentally friendly – they need charging and that means power stations to supply their needs.

It’s estimated there are 1.4 billion cars/buses/trucks on the world’s roads today. But that’s only 8% of saturation point. It’s expected vehicle numbers will double within the next twenty years.[1] Even if they were all electric, the amount of energy needed to keep them charged and running would be colossal. How much electricity would a 48-ton articulated truck have to store in its batteries to move that weight any distance?

The earth is changing rapidly. While China and India are now using more coal than ever before to keep up with energy demands, the Arctic and Antarctic are melting at a rate that’s alarming scientists. Sea level rise is already causing havoc in many low-lying parts of the world, and is set to rise considerably over the next century. Scientists are rightly loathe to make any real commitments on sea level rise, but looking back three million years to the last time the planet was warming to the levels it will rise to in the foreseeable future, an increase of twenty feet (six metres) is quite likely.[2]

The politicians want to bring CO2 emissions to zero by 2050. Unless someone can perform a miracle of technology and suck a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere, (and it would need to be an awful lot as the total weight of CO2 in the atmosphere right now is = 2.996×1012 tonnes, or 5.1480×1018 kg.), then if my maths is any good, which it usually isn’t, I think that works out in real figures to 299,600,000,000 tonnes. If I’m wrong perhaps some mathematical whizz kid can let me know. Of course, it wouldn’t all have to be sucked out, but still an astronomical amount. Even if it were possible, the act of doing so would cause an enormous shift in the equilibrium of the climate with likely catastrophic results for us all.

While caring individuals do their bit to help the environment, it’s never enough. Unless 7.7 billion earthlings change their whole way of life there’s no way we can reverse what is happening to the world today.

The hard truth is there are far too many of us for this planet to sustain. We are adding 82 million of us every year. We all have to be fed, clothed; we need wood for furniture, housing, fuel (the Amazon rain forest (our very lungs) is being ripped up and destroyed at the rate of 150 acres EVERY MINUTE, or by 20,000 square miles every year. 20% of the Amazon has already been destroyed. Our planet has the lungs of a smoker who’s consumed thirty cigarettes a day for fifty years.[3]

The metal cancer cells are clearly visible, doing their deadly work:

Frankly, while some politicians posture and pretend to be concerned about our climate crisis Trump, Bolsonaro, Salvini, Xi Jinping, and others show little interest in saving the planet.

To stand any chance of surviving this critical time the changes to our behavior need to be so radical that it’s almost certain capitalism would collapse. A system based on ripping stuff out of the earth and converting it into saleable goods cannot survive the actions necessary to reverse global warming.

The thought of persuading the world’s population of 7.7 billion people to change so radically is beyond comprehension. The logistics would be near impossible.

After much soul-searching, I have come to believe the unbelievable. We cannot reverse what is happening and eventually, within the next 100 – 200 years, this planet will become uninhabitable for Homo sapiens and most of the creatures we share it with.

We are already seeing the beginning of the end. Human migrations are on the rise and causing an upsurge in fear-induced nationalism. Heatwaves with record high temperatures are fast becoming the norm, coupled with shifting rain patterns and more frequent and deadlier storm systems.

When asked recently in what he intended to invest his vast fortune, Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon responded, “Space travel.”

Perhaps he and his friends are expecting to ‘step off’ this planet at the right moment somewhat as rats might leave a sinking ship.

 

[1] How many cars are there in the world?

[2] Sea Levels Could Rise At Least 20 Feet

[3] About the Rainforest