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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

199. Not OK in the UK

Since Brexit the UK is a headless chicken…

Politically headless, economically egg-bound, diseased with financial parasites, the media flapping uselessly. Willy foxes – rich men with an eye for a quick profit – sneak in and grab what they can in the panic and disarray.

Sentient caring folk feel like we’re disappearing down the rabbit hole. The horses have all bolted but stable doors are still being slammed. We are well and truly in the manure. Many important matters will now not get the attention they need as we are mired in the slurry of Brexit. (Alright – no more farm analogies).

Our new, unelected Prime Minister’s early headline statement was that she's hot for Trident and would be happy to press the button. But then recent UK Prime Ministers do say things just for effect. In 2014 Cameron said the UK would help rescue the 219 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. Then he promptly dropped us into an EU referendum making Britain pretty much irrelevant on the global stage for the foreseeable future. Nothing significant has been done to rescue the Nigerian school girls.

Of our racist head of foreign affairs, Boris Johnson, a little less has been heard. That can only be a good thing. Although with the PM on holiday Boris is officially in charge this week and there is news of him bickering with Liam Fox, Minister for Brexit. They are sharing a mansion/office and scrapping over who gets ownership of the excuses for Britain’s international economic downturn.

Democratic balance? The Labour party, the official opposition, is embroiled in legal action like quarrelling siblings insisting that mummy tell them what to do. Two off-the-peg white blokes, Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith, are skirmishing for position at the top of the Labour party as it implodes under them.

Up here in Scotland we are still dazed and confused following Brexit. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in Europe. Not only that but many here were persuaded to vote against independence in September 2014 as the ONLY way Scotland could stay in Europe. So, as you can imagine, voters feel royally conned.

Apart from the thousands whose pensions were ‘legally stolen’ by Sir Philip Green (see blog. 185 Does Sir Philip Green kick disabled orphan kittens in his spare time?), many other people are learning that pensions and a secure old age are a thing of the past. The stores looted by Philip Green are now closed with 11,000 job losses and the empty stores mar highstreets up and down Britain like brutally pulled teeth.

Free higher education was taken from young people a few years ago – by the very generation that benefited from it. So – debt and stress when you are young poverty when you are old for many.

Just this week Accident and Emergency wards of some UK hospitals were under threat of closure or having their hours cut and non-essential operations suspended.

As for the environment – that is way down the list of anyone’s priorities. At Druridge Bay, in the face of huge opposition from environmentalists, (see blog 188 Pursuit of Profit is a Terminal Illness) Northumberland councillors recently gave planning permission to Banks Mining. Banks Mining will now opencast mine this important wildlife and natural beauty landscape. There were the usual bribes of jobs for the area. It is a bribe that always sways local politicians but rarely pays off for local people.

Meanwhile bribery of a different sort was proposed in NW England. The PM suggested that householders in the proposed fracking location be given cash to reduce opposition. Next they will be offering people £50 for their children’s kidneys.

The UK really has no industry. The remaining steel processing was undermined by government incompetence and intrigue. Despite the belly aching of, then Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid regarding Tata steel in Wales, it was Britain’s veto of EU protection against Chinese over-production that struck a fatal blow.

London’s strength as a financial centre (and a great place to launder money) used to be flaunted. Now financial institutions are, none too subtly, leaving this locust-devastated field (!).

So, yes, in post Brexit we-didn’t-have-a-plan Britain, headless chicken syndrome is all around. Pundits on the radio swing wildly from absolute denial to ignorant misplaced optimism but down here on the ground, the earth is shifting, breaking up and retreating just like the failing Jakobshavn glacier.

It’s a mess of political feathers, social gore and financial giblets…

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Chief Executives of very large companies continue to award themselves huge pay rises with an ever increasing gap between those who actually do the work and those who sit on company boards. So they're happy.

The folk we pay to look after our interests and monitor the corporate world – like the Ombudsman services – have nice secure jobs. They do little to actually hold anyone to account (in my personal experience) but it creates a nice veneer.

The banks have gone back to their old ways and even taken the opportunity of the post-Brexit muddle to close branches and cut more jobs to increase profits. Lloyds –  bailed out by the tax payer just a few years ago – has just done this. Bankers must be happy as pigs in shit again. (sorry – I said no more farm references)

Privatised infrastructure services such as railways also continue to mop up enormous public subsidy from the tax payer (more than when they were nationally owned) Then they pay out huge dividends to their shareholders while train services are an overpriced mess. Ditto the energy companies, water companies and BT with its truly appalling customer service record. All fantastic news for shareholders sitting back and mopping up dividends.

The Chilcot report on the illegal invasion of Iraq was a damp squib. After all those years and all those millions of pounds – literally nothing has happened. So war criminals can sleep easy.

And – it occasionally stops raining…


for further fun reading check out blog 12. Armageddon will not be televised.

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