Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Monday, 15 November 2010

Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story

Whether you believe it technically correct to view the UK's debts in commercial terms, one thing which did ring loud and clear from this C4 program was that the government of the day has a staggering freedom to commit the nation to immense liabilities. The debts that have been accumulated until now, and particularly by the last administration, will be the liability of the people, their children and their decedents for many years to come.

Although the clear purpose of the producers was to convince us, in line with the current administration's ideology, that the services provided by the State are best supplied by the private sector, in order to do so the sheer deception of the political class which perpetually implies they have money to provide to this or that service had to be exposed.

The simple fact that the money at the disposal of governments is money that has been taken from the people in the form of taxes and other legalised forms of extortion is either not realized or forgotten. However, when Blair, Brown or indeed Cameron claim that they are going to help the poor, disabled or stricken, they are not providing the necessary funds from their own pockets, but simply distributing money previously collected - or now more often to be collected, from our children or our children's children.

It has been acknowledged by George Osborne that many of the spending cuts will not actually save much or any money - the cuts are simply to halt the flow of the people's money to Blair and Brown's backers and redirect it to the backers of the Tory Party. In the most simple of terms this means closing down quangos and redirecting the funds to commercial enterprises.

What the program intended to do was to claim merit for this change on the basis that commercial enterprises are more efficient, because competition requires them to keep costs to the minimum - if they don't, a competitor will step in with a lower quote and win the contract from the less efficient organization. Whereas this may be true, there are just as many ways for a government to ensure that their backers actually win the available contracts as there are for a quango favouring administration to reward their backers with high paying and unnecessary jobs in these organizations.

What is clearly missing is the simple desire to help those most in need and to build a better society for our children by, generally, redistributing wealth from the richest to the most needy and enacting laws which create a fairer and just society. Unfortunately, the political class seems to have lost sight of this, once recognized, purpose and have reduced governance to a process of rewarding their backers with the hard earned, extorted, cash of the people, with the aim of ensuring these backers will provide them with cash or services which will aid them to stay or return to power.

Since the program predicted nigh certain bankruptcy for Britain, clearly the Nation's debts have to be reduced and an austerity program is required. However, why should it be the government who decides these cuts, alone? Most will recall how each of the parties carefully avoided explaining to the people how deep the necessary cuts were so the present administration can hardly claim to have received a mandate from the people for its cost cutting program. Surely, the people, whose money it is, must be included in these decisions - what gives George Osborne and the Cabinet the right to make these decisions alone?

The student riots over tuition fees and other indicators show that already the 'natives are restless' and a single proposed cut, which effects a relatively few of the voters, have brought violent demonstrations. Since the impact of most of the proposed cuts, which effect a much greater proportion of the Nation, have not yet been introduced the chances of these being adopted without a gradual increase in civil disobedience seems very remote. This may not actually result in revolution, but the chances that the nation will become virtually ungovernable, because so many are adversely effected, must be a serious possibility.

A fundamental shift in power is required away from the political class and back to the people - this seems the only way to avoid the prospect of these dire consequences. A system is required whereby the people are asked where the cuts should fall - it is after all, their money - in this way it should be possible to avert the looming crisis. If the cuts to be made do have the real backing of the people, those who rebel will not find sympathy from the population at large and will soon realize that their campaigns are fruitless. If the people are not genuinely involved in these decisions - there is a real chance of anarchy.

In Switzerland, where they have Direct Democracy, the government is obliged to obtain the people's agreement before entering into any expensive program or committing the country to any great debt - it is the reason why these problems do not occur there and the Swiss Franc is such a solid currency. It is time for Direct Democracy to be introduced here - unless we are happy to see the police cracking many a skull or even tanks squashing rioters who have very valid grievances.