Mayday! How Teresa May Got It So Wrong

The most surprising thing about the UK election result is that the outcome appears to be shock, when, in fact, it was entirely predictable.  In hindsight the decision to hold the election at all is being described as a gamble, and perhaps it was, for there were many reasons why it should never have been held.

The most obvious are:

  1. There was no legal requirement to hold an election for another two and a half years. This is not withstanding the fact that Theresa May was not the leader of the governing party at the time of the last election. It is standard political posturing by opposition parties to demand an election on the grounds that this means the Prime Minister was “never elected”, but this is political semantics. There is no legal requirement for an election when a governing party replaces their leader and, hence, installs a new Prime Minister. Precedents are also rare or non-existent.  
  2. With Brexit underway, and the historic nation-defining issues to be negotiated with the remaining EU countries, government already had its hands full.
  3. The country did not need (or want) the distraction of an election. Following the recent referendum, most people are feel political fatigue.    
  4. At a time of economic constraint the costs of an election were unnecessary.
  5. Theresa May herself said that there was no need for an election. (According to reports she reiterated this on no fewer than seven occasions!)

All of which beg the question, “Why did Ms May change her mind and decide to hold the election after all?” With the best will in the world, it is impossible to believe the reasons she gave. Perception is everything and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that it was simply to entrench her power. With all and sundry bemoaning the lack of an effective opposition and the polls showing her having a 20 point lead over the opposition, the opportunity to do so proved to be irresistible. It is a clear indication of how our elected politicians become self-serving and fail to govern “for the people.”

This political hubris was demonstrated further in the manner in which Ms May ran her campaign. For example:

  1. She seemed to completely forget the fact that the shock results of the last UK election. The Conservatives winning an overall majority had been a complete surprise after having been forced to govern in a coalition after the preceding election and 13 years in the wilderness prior to that.
  2. Despite being in the commanding position of calling the election and taking her political opponents by surprise, the Conservatives were one of the last parties to launch their manifesto. (And when they did launch, they botched it to the extent of having to clarify matters where there seemed to be confusion and inconsistency.)
  3. Even then the manifesto was ambiguous and failed to deal with many of the major challenges the country is facing – not least the crises in Healthcare, Education, and Security.
  4. She fell victim her own conviction and hype that the election was all about Brexit. As a result she seemed to treat the campaign more like a referendum campaign than an election campaign and focussed her efforts on presenting herself as the best person to negotiate on the UK’s behalf.
  5. Compounding this, and lulled into a false sense of security by the reported weakness of the opposition, she made the campaign personal and presidential, pitching it as a choice between her and a weak nonentity.     

Thus, instead of living up to her campaign slogan of “Strong and Stable” she ended up looking “Weak and Wobbly” and enabled her primary opponent to take the moral high-ground, look good and establish the credibility that he had previously lacked. This role reversal has destroyed her credibility, left her in a position that is virtually untenable (so much so that there is talk of another election later this year!) and, worst of all, the country a laughing stock with looming negotiations and no clear sense of direction or purpose. Truly a disaster for everyone except Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May’s much-derided opponent.

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Please get hold of my book,  The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped, read my ideas as to how we could change our economic systems and promote discussion and debate around them so that we can restore democracy and safeguard a better future for future generations.  

Conscientious Democracy

How effective is our democracy? How conscientious do you think your elected representatives are?

The question is not as strange as it perhaps may seem. Members of parliament have certainly been pondering their role this past week as they grappled with the decision as to whether or not to vote to trigger the negotiations for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Listening to the debates they seem to have been faced with one of four options. Should they:

  1. Follow their party’s whip?
  2. Vote according to the result of the referendum?
  3. Vote according to the wishes of their own constituents?
  4. Vote according to the dictates of their own “conscience” – i.e. according to their own convictions?

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For some of us this dilemma seems ridiculous. After all the same members of parliament voted to have the referendum. They gave the British electorate a binary vote on whether they wanted to leave or not, and the majority chose to leave. It therefore seems obvious that option b) must prevail and they therefore have no choice but to go about implementing that decision. So why the angst?

Well, it seems abundantly clear now that:-

  • No-one ever expected the vote to go the way it did.
  • The whole subject is considerably more complicated than most people realised, and as a result:
    • The question posed was inappropriately simple;
    • There is now considerable second-guessing as to what the people really wanted.
  • For a decision of this magnitude (and complexity?), something more than a simple majority should have been specified.  

All of which indicates that parliament did not get it right the first time. Consequently they may well have good reason to be hesitating. But does this mean that they can now turn around and disregard the voters’ mandate?  Option b) says that they cannot.

But, as well as being “government of the people by the people,” democracy is also “government for the people.” This carries the obligation to look out for the best interests of the people. Thus “government for the people” ought to carry a greater weight and create a greater moral obligation than the other two elements. Unfortunately this aspect of democracy – what you might call the leadership aspect – has never been emphasized enough.

On the contrary, we regard MPs as servants rather than leaders. This is understandable. We have the power to select them to, and remove them from, office so it is an enshrined principle that they are accountable to us.  Most, if not all, MPs recognize this and claim they are “elected to serve.” Fair enough, but does that inevitably mean they are our servants? It demeans democracy to believe that. Yet that seems be the situation we have reached.

Now I am not saying that leaving the EU is the wrong option. For the reasons outlined, however, it is a decision that needs to be more carefully evaluated. Our MPs would therefore do better to show some leadership and do their best to make sure by:

  • Stopping seeing departure from Europe as inevitable;
  • Admitting the shortcoming of the referendum;
  • Using the results of the referendum for bargaining for a more effective Europe
  • Pushing for compromises and endeavouring to ensure Europe agrees to streamline its operations and eliminate its deficiencies, then returning to the voters for a better structured referendum
  • Failing that, to then invoke Article 50 and start the process of leaving.

If parliament does not have the courage to do this, it should at least address the shortcomings in our democratic processes through a new, fit for purpose constitution that ensures we have the leadership capabilities built in, and that we never get into such a situation again. Either way it is incumbent on us to ensure we don’t.   

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I urge you, please, to get hold of my book, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped, and promote discussion and debate around the solutions it offers so that action is taken to restore meaningful democracy and safeguard a better environment for future generations.  

 

Is the Party Over for Political Parties?

Are both Brexit and Trump’s election signalling the demise of the party political system? There are certainly good reasons to think so.

the deathOpponents of Brexit are adamant that the reason David Cameron called the referendum was to silence the rebels in the Conservative party. While there may be some justification to claim this, such cries are pretty disingenuous. People from all parties and walks of life voted to leave and votes were very far removed from party political lines. In fact the disillusion with the EU was a primary factor in the growth of UKIP and the large number of so-called “left-wing” Labour Party supporters voting for a “right-wing” party.Similarly with the US elections, where you had fundamental Christians, anti-abortionists and pro-lifers all voting for Donald Trump.

The fact is that the variety of issues and the positions people adopt on them, make traditional party lines seem achronistic. It is no longer feasible to satisfy such diverse concerns under the umbrella of a single party. Perhaps political parties have reached their sell-by date and the time has come to devise a better alternative. Failure to do so is only likely to result in further frustration and dissatisfaction. In fact, you could argue that the declining voter turnout is an indicator that the attempt to do so results in aligning with particular issues that voters find abhorrent and thus not voting. The election of Trump with only 27% of the eligible vote suggest this. Continuing along this road with the division, intransigence and vitriol manifested in this most recent might ensure the ultimate demise of democracy itself, and not just political parties as part of the system.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas as to how we can improve things? It appears that there is no better time than now to start and make a new beginning.

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I urge you, please, to get hold of my book, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped, and promote discussion and debate around the solutions it offers so that action is taken to address

Dissatisfaction, Disenchantment, Disillusionment

Dissatisfaction, disenchantment, disillusionment. Three words that depict voter attitudes. So much has been written about voter dissatisfaction, disenchantment and disillusionment that there is clearly a problem. It appears to be widespread and seems to be getting worse, putting democracy in danger as voters feel increasingly disenfranchised.. 

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You can see this in the USA with the unlikely rise of Donald Trump as the Republican Party presidential candidate. By almost any reasonable criterion, he seems manifestly unsuitable for the position. Yet he has succeeded precisely because he has no political credentials whatsoever. Even worse, he has an outside chance of being elected, because his Democrat opponent is the other most unpopular candidate in US history. And the USA is by no means alone.

Here in the UK, we are also experiencing political turmoil. Voters have already voiced their “ferocious dislike of the political establishment, as one former cabinet minister expressed it, with the recent “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union; something which seems to have well and truly thrown the cat amongst the pigeons. This can be considered as a protest vote by virtue of the fact that very few seem to have anticipated its happening – so much so that even the main protagonists were thrown into disarray by the results and shown to have no plan to move forward after the results were announced! Latest indications are that nothing will be done to implement the results for close on two years, with the actions themselves taking a further two years (at least.)

We need to be careful, however, to ensure that we are not misinterpreting and misdiagnosing the situation and seeing scenarios like these as something they are not. Yes, the situation on both sides of the Atlantic is clearly a cause for concern. But the fact that it is happening in two very different political systems, suggests that we are not making that mistake, and that neither problem is a uniquely national crisis, but the common symptom of something more fundamental. So we need to look at the underlying causes that have created – and which are compounding – the situation.

The outcome of the “Brexit” referendum is proof of a divide between voters and their representatives. Remember the simple definition of democracy: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people!” The politicians – the people elected to act for the people – were unable to make their case properly and clearly did not understand what people were wanting, and so were caught unawares and totally unprepared to carry out their wishes. (And are possibly still unwilling?) At best this points to either a massive break in communication. Personally, I would go further and ascribe it to one of the major deficiencies of democracy and our democratic processes: the total lack of an effective communication system.  There has to be something seriously wrong if a government can fail to read the voter mood to an extent where, arguably, their campaign tactics fuelled voter dissatisfaction even more.   

If you are not convinced, ask yourself, “Why did the politicians hold the referendum in the first place?”  You would expect a clear plan of action if you are offering the people a choice. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t offer the people the choice. Either way, it seems abundantly clear that the politicians are (to paraphrase the words of the song), “pretty strong on by but not so hot on for!” This makes the voter dissatisfaction entirely understandable and, arguably, justifiable.

Arguably because, no matter how just a protest vote might be, the outcome, as with most actions taken in anger, is unlikely to be positive or, ultimately, in the voters’ own best interests, and therefore it is very likely to have unfortunate consequences for all. So every effort should be made to avoid such situations arising.

That they do arise, however, is due to a fundamental difference between theory and practice. Our definition of democracy makes government the ultimate responsibility “of the people.” All well and good but the practicalities inevitably and unavoidably result in its execution devolving to a representative few. This, equally unavoidably, results in a structural and systemic division between government and electorate. Again this is fine in theory but not so good in practice, for several reasons.

  1. Government becomes powerful and this inevitably corrupts as politicians become more self-serving. (The famous quote by Lord Action that “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” certainly applies.)
  2. The checks on this power – an electorate empowered to hold government accountable and to throw the government out if and when they consider they are not doing a good job – are inherently weak. This weakness is compounded by the party system which narrows the options and is distorted by the need for financing and increasingly influenced by large donors who provide that funding.
  3. There is no empirical means of measuring government performance, which means there is no common basis for dialogue, compounding the communication challenges by making everything subjective.

As a result you end up with an imbalance between government and the electorate, with the former becoming increasingly remote from voters, who, in turn, become more and more disillusioned and disgruntled. It is hardly any wonder we have reached the situation we have and appear to be facing a crisis.  To avert the current crisis, or if it is already too late, at least mitigate its effects and prevent future crises, it is imperative to find a way to rectify these shortcomings and restore that balance. Only then can you create a practical democracy.  

Ultimately democracy is a system of government. As such it is a model for sustaining and safeguarding the well-being of people. Essentially this boils down to sustaining, and ideally enhancing, people’s quality of life. This effectively entails looking out for their economic interests, something clearly and successfully encapsulated in Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” And, a closer look at economics indicates that it is economic dissatisfaction is stoking the fires of voter revolt, possibly creating a political time bomb.

Time BombThis may seem surprising in light of the fact that, after the Great Recession both the FTSE and Dow Jones are trading at near historic record highs, GDP’s are positive and unemployment is shrinking or stable. The fact is, however, that these measures are increasingly being questioned as an effective barometer of the economy. David Korten’s article “How to Break the Power of Money” is a good example of this and illustrates how our economic systems are failing the majority of people.  Additionally, there is an awareness that none of the systemic causes of the Great Recession have been addressed, and the behaviours that caused it are, once again, taking hold.   

Furthermore, at least in the UK, there is increasing industrial action by the trade unions, with the threat of even more, amidst calls for greater nationalisation. Again these are understandable in light of their perception of the failure of capitalism, but you have to question how returning to a discredited model, is going to improve matters. Rather it is a perpetuation of the ideological divide of the last century that proved so unproductive.  In a world on the brink of environmental disaster, where more efficient and effective use of resources is vital, we cannot afford to persist with such ideological conflict.

As Korten says, “Life exists—can exist—only in living communities that self-organize to create the conditions essential to life’s existence.” Self-organization is neither capitalism nor socialism and offers a new way forward that can meet the challenges we are facing. The solutions I propose in “The Democracy Delusion” offer a recipe for self-organization that also creates a model for stronger democracy, with improved economic accountability, clearer measures of performance and stronger communication.  All of which will go a long way towards redressing the underlying problems I am describing here.

This is my effort to “speak the truth.” I hope you will recognize it and be encouraged to do the same in order that, together, “we will change the human story.

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I urge you, please, to get hold of my book, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped, read my ideas as to how we could improve our economic systems, and promote discussion and debate around them so that action can be taken to restore democracy and safeguard a better environment for future generations.  

Let’s Eschew Party Politics

Political conformity“Our current election process suffocates those of independent thought. It whispers that we have but two unfortunate options from which to choose. … It favours the powerful over the weak. It promotes oligarchy. It allows morally bankrupt syndicates to dictate our political destiny.” These words are from the introduction of a 2015 book the two party system: “Two Tyrants: The Myth of a Two Party Government” by A.G. Roderick; who, according to the biographical information provided is “a freelance writer and former staff writer for a top 10 newspaper who has worked as a legislative analyst and policy advisor in multiple state legislatures and at the municipal level.”

Yet despite the title and referring to “a state of symphonic polarization” and claiming that Republicans and Democrats have achieved “absolute power,” Roderick goes on to say, “The goal of this book is not to decry the evils of political parties.”  Why the hell not?

This seems to me to be a craven attempt to pull his punches! After all, how can you decry the parties – or at least what they have allowed to develop – without decrying the political system? I guess you would have to read the book to find out, which, having just come across, I haven’t yet done. Nevertheless, it still appears to be an inherently illogical stance. Especially when you consider there is a similar situation in the UK which has a very different political system.

And the case against the party political system becomes even stronger when proportional representation is promoted as the solution. While the logic appears sound that this is more representative of the people’s wishes in a democracy, whether it actually does deliver that at the end of the day is highly debatable. The inter-party wheeling-and-dealing needed to form a government makes such a system inherently less stable and, arguably, even more susceptible to corruption. You need look no further than post war Italy for an example of this. Let’s not, however, get side-tracked into any arguments about the relative corruption of the two approaches.

The idea that coalition or multi-party government offers better government as a result of the need for consensus or compromise is inherently flawed, for consensus and compromise invariably means it takes longer to reach decisions, without in any way guaranteeing that the best solution is reached. It certainly does not ensure that the final decision is in the best interests of the people being governed. In fact, as the recent Greek crisis showed, there is a strong case for arguing that party politics is irrelevant and that power actually resides in the hands of those who control the finances and economics.

All this means makes it imperative that we re-examine our whole system of government and the democratic principles that underpin it. Eschewing party politics might be a darned good starting point.  

To Brexit or Not to Brexit?

To Brexit or not to Brexit? The referendum on whether Britain should remain a part of the EU or should leave is just over 3 months away. Campaigning is getting into full swing, with the rhetoric ramping up on both sides. Unfortunately it is all doom and gloom stuff. Both sides are trying to scare the electorate to their point-of-view and putting very little forward to enable the voter to reach a carefully considered decision.

In or out 30541399_sAlas, this is understandable. We are dealing with future-shaping issues and so both sides are campaigning based on the future as they see it. And the only thing we know about the future is that it rarely, if ever, turns out as we predict. Inevitably this means both sides will be proved wrong. Any decision reached will have both positive and negative consequences. Most will only be recognised after the event. So how do ensure that we reach a decision that will ensure the best future? As I see it, you can only do this by going back to principles and trying to ensure things are done according to the highest principles.

If only this had been done in the past we might not now be facing this existential crisis.

I say this because it seems that the EU has evolved through deceit. What started out as the “Common Market”, went on to become the EEC and then the EU. At each stage there has been “scope creep” with it becoming increasingly political and less democratic. More and more countries were added by bureaucrats with no voter approval. This has inevitably resulted in the kind of resentment that is fuelling the Brexit supporters.

The original intention of a common market is still evident in Free Trade initiatives being put forward today. This is further evidenced in TTIP and proposals to make corporate rights supreme, with precedence over national powers and supreme courts. This is why so many people on the left are finding themselves in a strange alliance with the extreme right. It also explains why, by-and-large, big business wants to stay in. It also calls into question just how powerful the human rights legislation lauded by proponents of the EU really is. What will happen when the two come into conflict?.  

A further consequence is the extent to which we have given up key rights. “Regaining sovereignty” is a key issue for those championing Brexit. Yet yet their opponents claim it will make little or no difference.  If they are right, it seems that many are fighting a battle that was lost a long time ago. In which case the whole referendum is little more than a dangerous sop.

The sovereignty issue is nevertheless a critical fault line. The crux of the issue, however, is whether there is any place for the national state. Could it be an historical anomaly unique to the 20th Century? Whether you agree or not, that is a question that needs to be asked and the subject debated. Certainly the global economy and the concomitant need for global action is creating a need for greater central power. The EU is testament to that and probably a reflection of it. Paradoxically this has also resulted in greater national identity, manifested by demands for independence from people such as the Catalans and Scots.

In this context, perhaps the EU does represent the future. If it does, however, these issues need to be brought into the open and discussed, rationalised and then debated. Even its protagonists admit that Europe isn’t working effectively. It is hardly surprising when you have 28 different countries all looking after their own national interests. This is precisely why there is such reluctance to bring this subject up. Yet there are valid questions about the EU’s ability to survive much longer in its current form, with fears that Brexit will make its demise even more likely.

All this makes Brexit an important issue. This is why the debate needs to be predicated on principle rather than passion. Only then can new ideas and solutions be put forward. Unfortunately, the stable door was shut on that possibility a long time ago, making this debate misdirected, too localised and too political to address core problems. Even if the campaigning was more positive, it would still only deal in hope rather than fear. Neither forms a good basis for decisions about the future. This makes the referendum a very dangerous exercise in futility, and one that may have very little long-term benefit for anyone, whatever the outcome.

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Please get hold of my book,  The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped read my ideas as to how we could change our economic systems and promote discussion and debate around them so that we can restore democracy and safeguard a better future for future generations.   

Recognise the Human Paradox to Help Save Democracy!

The “being” part of life as a “human being” isn’t easy. (As you possibly know!)  This difficulty ultimately stems from an inherent conflict that we face on an ongoing basis, minute by minute, throughout our lives: the endeavour of balancing self-interest with the “greater good!” As individuals the quality of our lives depends on us optimising our potential, yet our survival depends on our ability to co-operate. Certainly, we would never have survived as a species without this important second attribute and the ability to work as part of a group or tribe.

Looking both ways

This conflict between the ‘selfish’ and the ‘selfless’, identified by Simon Sinek as “the human paradox”, is innate to both our physiology and our psychology and permeates everything we do, in all aspects of our lives. Yet we seldom recognise it for what it is. Rather we tend to label, and judge, its effects. Including in our politics and social systems.

Here we talk about “right” wing and “left” wing, often with distaste, disrespect or even opprobrium, even though, basically the terms refer to nothing more than philosophical thinking that is respectively more individual focussed versus more collective focussed. Yet, taken to extremes, they have resulted in massive ideological differences that have, directly and indirectly, led to the deaths of countless millions over the past hundred and fifty years or so.

These ideological conflicts have centred around capitalism, on the right, and socialism, on the left, and even now they continue to polarise the political landscape. This despite the failure of socialist systems in Eastern Europe and the capitalist excesses that caused the Great Recession in 2008. Even now virulent capitalism, ironically rooted in the ideal of individual freedoms, is pushing for corporate rights to supersede human and national rights, and thus destroying democracy itself; while socialism fights against “privatisation” and “austerity”, failing to recognise that – under present economic conditions – there is little or no other option. And fighting the wrong battle means losing the war. It won’t then matter which side you were on; we will all ultimately end up as losers.

Greece has provided a very good example of this; a country that is de-facto governed by powerful, big business interests. Yanis Varoufakis was right when he said, “There is no Greek crisis; Greece is simply the weakest link.”  When the weakest link breaks the chain breaks and becomes useless. We need to recognise and address the human paradox. When the balance shifts too far in either direction, our survival is threatened. At present it is too far to the right but polarised opposition won’t shift the moment back. If we don’t act urgently to change the systems it will be too late; the cartels are at the gate.    

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Please get hold of my book,  The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped read my ideas as to how we could change our economic systems and promote discussion and debate around them so that we can restore democracy and safeguard a better future for future generations.   

Tax Reform: More Urgent Than You Think!

Priority urgent 26502187_sTax reform is more urgent than you think. The implications of “The Disappearing PLC”  an article in the October 2014 issue of Management Today make this clear. To say it is food for thought is to significantly understate the case.

The article highlights the fact that, since 1997, the Wall Street high, public listings have declined 50% in the USA and UK, 23% in Europe, and 5% in Asia. It goes on to say “Few observers doubt that something fundamental is afoot – and it’s structural rather than cyclical. In other words it is not a blip.” It explains this is driven by two converging forces.

The first is economic. Here the article states, “The publicly quoted company essentially looks like a creature of the 20th century. Modern business is cash generative far earlier and much less capital intensive then even half a century ago. The need to mobilise outside sources of capital is so much less.”

The second is managerial or ideological. The article cites concern about “public companies fading innovation mojo” and quotes Professor Clayton Christenson “who has the unofficial title of the world’s most influential management guru”  as fretting that “companies anaemic appetite for investor capital is further evidence of this of just this, boding ill for US jobs and growth.”

Another cause of this decline that the article does not specifically identify is what can only be described as “merger mania.” With public companies like Cadbury being subsumed into organisation’s like Kraft Foods it seems inevitable that the number of listed companies must shrink. This compounds the apparent the apparent dearth of new listings that the article bemoans.

Add to this the points I make in “The Democracy Delusion” about industrial scale tax avoidance (epitomised by companies like Amazon and Starbucks making profits of billions in the UK and paying no taxes), and it becomes abundantly clear that this has massive implications for governments. How are they going to replace shrinking tax revenues? Only last week there was an item on the news about tax revenues in the UK being less than forecast!

All this makes makes tax reform more urgent than you think. It imperative that we revisit and reform our national tax systems – URGENTLY.  If we don’t we will be walking blindly into socio-economic and political crisis that will by far exceed any of the major calamities of history in scale. That is why I wrote the book: to try to offer a solution that will help prevent this. Of course it does not have all the answers, but at least my suggestion that companies should not pay tax at all is a provocative starting point for a very important discussion.

A Fractured Society: Pointer to a New Dark Age?

“Rich double their wealth in five years.” That was the front page headline in a recent Sunday Times. Now I don’t know about you, but for me that is ominous, because living standards for the rest of us are falling.

A BBC report claims that, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, a mid-range UK household’s income had declined by 6% in this time. So here you have clear evidence that the rich are getting richer while the rest of us are getting poorer. And, while the report suggests that this decline “was felt equally across high and low income groups,” (one has to question the dividing line between rich and high income) it adds that, over time, the affects will be felt more by the lower income groups.

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Political self-serving is leadership treason!

The ceaseless cycle of Christmas carols has been put away for another year, only to be replaced by another seasonal cycle with no joy, little originality and only the veneer of goodwill. If the miserable weather and post-holiday blues are not enough, the newspaper headlines will certainly drown you in the dismals!

After a blissful two weeks of virtually news-free isolation, the first headline to greet me on the doorstep on return from holiday was this from The Sunday Times; “PM in new year cash giveaway: Election pledge to raise pensions until 2020: Hints at income tax cuts for all to come.” This was followed by broadcast news that shrieked the next day’s headlines; “George Osborne targets £25 billion more in spending cuts.” It appears that the 2015 election campaign is now underway! Talk about conflicting messages! If you want evidence that politicians are more concerned with re-election than anything else, you don’t have to look any further.

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