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."

Friday, 18 March 2011

Troubling Times

We live in troubling times, Richard North in his blog highlights how superficial the news has become despite the possibilities for dire outcomes on many fronts. Could it be because these dire threats are never resolved and look to be with us indefinitely, reporters in the MSM retreat into the human stories and avoid the real issues?

Until an obscure astronomer spots a sizeable asteroid hurtling towards us and destined to collide with Earth in ten years that, if not diverted, will wipe out all life on our planet - the enduring major concern is global warming. Although there are two schools of thought on this issue, that it is and it is not the case, since the establishment view is that it is so, for most of us who do not have the necessary scientific qualifications to know which argument is right – we are obliged to believe the threat is real. However, it is unlikely the issue will have been resolved by the time the next decade begins.

On Tuesday, Robert Preston, on BBC2, presented a disturbing story on the nation’s banks. As is well reported, the bankers are content that their businesses have returned to profit and share values have recovered from the previous lows of the mid-crisis a couple of years ago. So pleased are they, that they have awarded themselves huge bonuses, some of which are greater than the expected lifetime earnings of many of its owners – in the case of RBS.

According to Preston’s report, the banks have returned to their previous practices which leaves them as vulnerable to collapse as they were prior to the crisis. However, now, the UK could not afford to bail them out if this should occur. Failure, of course, is what commercial ventures always risk – it is their very essence, however, these monsters have grown so large and complex that should they fail, the whole web of commerce is likely to grind to a halt – with the obvious dire consequences. The Government would like to reduce the danger, but threats by the banks to take the businesses abroad to a country with less regulation, scare ministers who tremble at the thought of losing the revenue these gamblers bring. So once again we have a threat, which according to Preston will materialize at some time, is likely to be with us at the beginning of the next decade – either that or the economic chaos their collapse will bring.

Whilst cuts do not significantly affect us individually, there is general support for the Government’s austerity program. In the three months to November unemployment rose by 49,000 with one fifth of 16 to 24 year olds without jobs. The Government's program is only just at its beginning – it is known that thousands of public servants will lose their jobs in the coming year, and there is little sign, presently, that the private sector will be able to take up many of those made redundant. This must lead us to expect unemployment to rising above 3 million and beyond by the end of the year. Although Cameron appears confident – there is no certainty the measures aimed at making UK plc ‘open for business’ will have the desired affect and the threat of recession continues to loom large. With the current size of UK debts, it is unlikely this threat will not be with us in ten years time.

Despite the majority's wish to leave the EU, it appears the Coalition is determined not to give the electorate a referendum on our membership, although this possibility is slightly greater now than it was under Blair & Brown. Although the troubles caused to the Eurozone EU members should not affect the UK, we know Osborne has already contributed to the fund required to bail out Ireland. Should other economies within the Eurozone follow Ireland, as it seems they will – the EU will come calling again for a contribution from the UK, Cameron might be talking tough at the moment, but few will be surprised if he does cave in as he did with the EU budget. Quite why the EU project is so dear to the leaders of all of the main parties, with its potential to do so much damage to the economies of the nations included, remains a mystery – one which is unlikely to be solved during the next decade.

Yesterday, when the November unemployment figures were announced it emerged that 2 in every 3 new jobs created go to migrants. As with our membership of the EU, the Government do not appear to wish to bow to the public’s desire to halt immigration and to use unemployed UK citizens in new jobs. In a nation which, at a time of increasing food shortages, can only feed between 50 and 60% of its population and when housing and public services are under severe pressure, it is yet another mystery as to why each of the three main parties support such an open door policy on immigration. It seems certain that unless UKIP or one of the other small parties can make rapid gains over the next decade, this too will remain an enduring problem.

Is it any wonder that reporters in the MSM do retreat into the comfort of ‘human stories’ when the underlying problems of the nation seem so intractable? Their only real alternative is to ask the obvious question – why is it that the big three parties do not conform to the wishes of the people? Either that or start recommending revolution, but they are unlikely to keep their jobs for long if they take either of these courses.

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