The Corporate Countryside

It is emblematic that on the day after the EU referendum, Donald Trump (perhaps the next president of the United States) was in Scotland, inaugurating his controversial new golf resort.  Oblivious to the country around him which had just voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, Trump congratulated his audience on their new independence.

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Yet, he was not speaking to the common people of Britain (much less to Scotland, trapped, along with Wales, in the Brexit scenario), but those in his audience, the new placeholders of aristocracy – wealthy investors, media moguls, business leaders and others set free from EU barriers to land ownership, property development, tourism and speculation.

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been the greatest barrier to a collapse in the UK property market.  The CAP is concerned with market stability, tariff-free trade in the EU and farmer livelihoods.  It consists primarily in a subsidisation of farmer incomes through direct payments.  It is well-known that most farmers make a loss on their operations and would not otherwise be able to continue without the subsidy.  As the tendency toward losses is primarily due to the downward pressure on prices from supermarket competition and its monopoly on distribution, the farmer’s subsidy is in many ways a backdoor subsidy for the retail and food processing industries.

With the elimination of the CAP, these subsidies will disappear and it is possible that they will either not be replaced or will be phased out in the near term.  The CAP has tended to maintain the status quo, not only protecting member states within the single market and in international trade deals, but also preserving the operations of loss-making farms.  The IMF, which Angela Merkel brought in to manage the Eurozone, has been pushing its 188 international members to quickly reduce or eliminate farming subsidies, a policy shift at odds with the pace of EU policy. The UK could decide to weather the storm of a radical re-adjustment in the structure of land ownership, especially in agriculture where it would become a corporate affair.

To read the rest of the essay, please visit The Corporate Countryside.

Little Britain – UK plunges into the deep end of the international market

The central motif for the Leave campaign’s agitation for Brexit was that of sovereignty.

As the story went, membership of the European Union entailed a loss of sovereignty in diverse fields, from agriculture, fishing, and domestic economic policy to immigration management, foreign policy, and international trade.

The narrative continued with promises of an independent and resurgent (“Hopeful”) Britain, one, with a hint of nostalgia, that can stand on its own two feet on the world stage.

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The audience was also tantalised with the prospect of a bonfire of EU regulations and the end of the allegedly remote rule of an “unaccountable” Brussels.

There were finally re-assurances that new trade deals would be negotiated, through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and that Britain could position itself globally (not merely in relation to the EU) as a multi-lateral trading partner.  With the elimination of EU regulations, the UK would have the competitive advantage of a ‘flexible’ economy.

There are many problems with this story, not the least being the very meaning of the word sovereignty.  Indeed, in many senses, Brexit substantially reduces the sovereignty of the UK.  Not only will the new everyday situation be a more costly version of business-as-usual, but Britain itself will also exist in a more dangerous environment of risk.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Little Britain.

The Fourth Reich: American Hegemony and the Question of European Democracy

Published 8 April 2015 in Daily Wales: News for a Sovereign Nation

The Fourth Reich

American Hegemony and the Question of European Democracy

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Europe is an invalid who owes her best thanks to her incurability and the eternal transformations of her sufferings; these constant new situations, these equally constant new dangers, pains, and make-shifts, have at last generated an intellectual sensitiveness which is almost equal to genius, and is in any case the mother of all genius.

Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Book 1, Section 24 [1]

In a recent article in Spiegel, “The Fourth Reich: What Some Europeans See When They Look at Germany” [1], attributed to Spiegel Staff (Nikolaus Blome, Sven Böll, Katrin Kuntz, Dirk Kurbjuweit, Walter Mayr, Mathieu von Rohr, Christoph Scheuermann, Christoph Schult), a stunning admission was repeated, in which Angela Merkel laments, defiantly, ‘I am rather alone in the EU, but I don’t care. I am right.’ The article claims her lament was shared with ‘a small group of advisers during a discussion about the role of the IMF.’ The article continues: ‘Later, she said: “We are in Europe what the Americans are in the world: the unloved leading power.”’

The article offers context for the current situation of Europe, arising at the end of WWII:

After the end of the Third Reich, German dominance on the Continent appeared to have been rendered an impossibility for all time. West Germany and East Germany both were initially tentative states that more or less willingly subordinated themselves to their big brothers, the US and the Soviet Union. They ceded to the dominance of others.

The rehearsal of the historical context of the current situation culminates in the fateful question: ‘Which is why the “German question” has returned. Is the new Germany too big and powerful for the other European countries or is it too small and hesitant?’

To read the rest, please visit The Fourth Reich: American Hegemony and the Question of European Democracy

The Ends of the British State – Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

The Ends of the British State in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

James Luchte asks what the purpose of a ‘family of nations’ should be. If it is not fit for purpose to nurture and care for its members, then the British state is a failed and dysfunctional family and should be dismantled.

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They Destroy, We Create: The Anti-Austerity UK Alliance – Planet Magazine

#LetGreeceBreathe MASS DEMO FEB 15, 2015 Trafalgar Square, London

Reply from Ofcom to my Freedom of Information (FOI) Request on Compliance with the Equality Act 2010/2011 in relation to the Election Guidelines 2015

Response from Ofcom To FOI Regarding Compliance with the Equality Act in relation to Election Guidelines

Go to: The Ends of the British State in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

Go to: “They Destroy, We Create: The Anti-Austerity UK Alliance” in Planet Magazine: The Welsh Internationalist

Go to: Athens Without Slavery: The Battle For Europe – Syriza and the New European Left

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Go to: Open Letter to Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, on Inclusion and Equality in the Leader’s Debates

freedom of information act

Comments on the Ofcom Response

1) The expenditure constraints on Freedom of Information (£450), are ludicrous and undemocratic given the seriousness of the Freedom of Information Act; Freedom of Information, unless it takes too much time to uncover the information (my request would take 18 hours which exceeds the £450 allotted to each request).  Such restrictions are patently absurd and a mockery of the entire notion of Freedom of Information.

2) An important finding is that OFCOM HELD NO MEETINGS REGARDING THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 & THE 2011 SUPPLEMENTS FOR BROADCASTERS IN RELATION TO THE ELECTION GUIDELINES FOR 2015. Ofcom also claims to have had no communications with the Coalition government, Civil Servants, other political parties, broadcasters, etc.  between 2010-2015 regarding the Equality Act 2010/2011 in relation to the Election Guidelines.

 3) It is also significant that Ofcom, right from the beginning of their response, claim to be only involved in deciding “party election broadcasts” and not election debates or their participants. SO WHY DID THEY CLAIM TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO INITIALLY EXCLUDE THE GREENS FROM THE DEBATES?  According to this response, THEY NEVER HAD ANY AUTHORITY IN THIS MATTER.  Is it a coincidence that Cameron used this exclusion of the Greens as a political stunt the next day?

To read the reply, please visit Reply from Ofcom to my FOI Request on Compliance with Equality Act 2010/2011

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Go to: Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to Ofcom on Compliance With Equality Act

#LETGREECEBREATHE #DROPTHEDEBT EMERGENCY CALL OUT – THURSDAY FEB 19 6:30PM – PARLIAMENT SQUARE, LONDON

#LetGreeceBreathe #SupportSyriza MASS DEMO Sun Feb 15, 2015 Trafalgar Square, London

Athens Without Slavery: The Battle For Europe – Daily Wales: News for a Sovereign Nation

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