Klein V Trump 2

It’s time to reflect.

Naomi Klein berates Trump for using the rage and despair of the people to get elected (27). The same can be said for almost any politician. If there is a flow in opinion they start to paddle in that direction to try to keep abreast of the current. Most politicians speak with a forked-tongue.

For decades the elite aided by their bovver boys have done whatever they deemed necessary to make a profit. This led to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1999, which freed the money men to make honey in a desert. Thank you to the democrats!

The ‘left’ have either been acquiescent or asleep. Some were to be found hopping-mad at Davos screaming themselves hoarse. Anarchists wore their masks, not the superhero variety, to fight the class war. The poor, they struggled on trying to make ends meet.

A massive cash bonanza for the big boys was globalization. A nice big can of gloss was used to paint a picture of relieving poverty worldwide by taking jobs to the poorer regions. Yes, the number of recorded poor did drop but that was conditional on what a living wage was deemed to be: $1 or $2 a day. Workers in the west could not compete against cheap or slave labour.

Factories closed, tens of thousands were thrown out of work. Some districts began to look like ramshackle places and hope went whistling with the wind (27). However, the big boys made a killing. Globalization was neatly summed up by John J. Sweeney labour leader of the AFL-CIO 1955-2009:

“In the ‘Nike Economy’ there are no standards, no borders and no rules. Clearly, the global economy isn’t working for the workers in China and Indonesia and Burma anymore than it is for the workers here in the United States.”

www.azquotes.com/author/14360-John_J_Sweeney

The ‘left’? They were absorbed in their new quest; identity politics. The ‘left’/liberal’s had no reasoned argument to overcome the horrors of capitalism and so sought to stamp on the toes of the elite. Multiculturalism and Political Correctness were unleashed with some fanatical adherents rattling on every door locked or ajar. (91)

Note the words of Trevor Phillips, former head of the Commission for Racial Equality writing in the Daily Mail newspaper. (16/08/17)

My comrades on the Left flaunt their moral superiority. But many of them are the most racist and sexist of all.

 

Unfortunately, there was little consideration given to the bulk of the population in particular the poor. There are a horde of issues out there that directly affect millions of poor folks. To many people the sweeping changes of the liberal/left took on the role of a drill sergeant: Attention! About Turn! Forward – March! It proved a very divisive policy. Those who would not be regimented were castigated as bigots, Neanderthals and trash etc. The louder they were screamed at the more entrenched they became. Surprise!!!

‘Audite et alteram partem’.

Listen even to the other side

Cited by Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: the User’s Guide (458)

The poor were facing a barrage of economic woe: globalization, wage freezes, benefit cuts, the full bucket of austerity. On top of that they faced a tsunami of political dogma. Add to the mix their main source of information, the cheap tabloid press and you start to see where confusion nests.

Between a rock and a hard place ordinary Joe starts to shimmy towards the ones who seem to understand and who make good promises. It’s the WIIFM! What’s in it for me?

Throughout the world we have witnessed the movement of ordinary Joe, fed up to the back teeth with the establishment and hearing nothing but abuse from the liberal/left. America, France, the UK and in South America people are searching for direction.

Yes, people can regress at times of crisis (192) but what helps them get back some dignity is understanding and assistance. And yes, encouragement can be taken from ‘- explosions of utopian imagination’ (217) of the 60s and 70s, but.

The radicals of Chicago and Paris 1968 are silent now. The peaceniks and the make-love-not-war army of self-indulgence have all gone to the care home. Well, that’s how it seems. The huge movement in the UK, CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) failed. There are a whole tranche of organisations and committed folks willing to help but there is no unity of purpose. Initially (228)!

Let’s be clear, you cannot build a better society without the majority of the population in support. Crucially there has to be an acknowledgement of the significance of the WIIFM for ordinary Joe no matter his/her race. Anything that creates a barrier lessens the opportunity to advance change.

Trump surfed the waves like a seasoned pro (119) but what was the alternative? The Democratic Party snuffed that out! So it’s not about, “…being willing to engage in a battle of ideas-.” It is about proposing new alternatives, being open (243) and willing to discuss what makes some so angry. Perhaps you start from the basis that they are lost in a no-mans-land.

It was not the “…wealth-worshipping world view that created the backlash in the first place.” We have always had bling since the earliest of times. It was that most people were not engaged in political life. Many simply viewed it as distasteful. We need to reconnect!! Dogma is still dogma if you are being forced to accept it.

Therefore it is about the ‘injustice of it all’. (119) It’s about fairness and how it is perceived. My perception might be overshadowed by my politics.

Johnathan Wolff, Political Philosophy (85) in discussing Rousseau’s polity:

“…without rough equality of wealth, factions will form. This would not only cloud the judgement of the voters but perhaps create an obstacle to the existence of a general will; a policy equally in the interests of all voters.”                             

Drawbridge Brothers (2) Diversity

Banksy

Diversity ‘the great leap forward’ engineered by the Liberal elite was set to lead the whole population in a new and dynamic direction. But, they didn’t bother or merely forgot to invite the rest of us on their planned run. Now we have to be corralled. Little wonder therefore that there’s been a backlash.

Being intimidated to follow a diktat rubs most people up the wrong way. Especially so, when they have to consider every utterance they make for fear that someone will report them to the politically correct (PC) Stasi.

However, it’s more than just being PC:

  1. University of Edinburgh – “Diversity aims to recognize, respect and value people’s differences to contribute and realize their full potential by promoting an inclusive culture…”
  2. University of Oregon – “It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences”. E.g. race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs etc.

http://www.ed.ac.uk/equality-diversity/about/equality-diversity

http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~asuomca/diversityinit/definition.html

It would seem that the advocates of diversity do not fully comprehend their own philosophy as they find it difficult to talk of opponents without the use of abuse (racists, bigots and Neanderthals). In doing so they fail to:

  • Build an inclusive culture
  • Recognize individual differences.
  • Others political and religious beliefs.

A question arises as to, which ‘individual difference’ takes preference, e.g. if a Christian landlord refuses to have a homosexual guest; which has precedence? If a religious body cannot accept homosexuality as an ‘individual difference’, which has precedence?  If women in a certain section of society are downtrodden, which has precedence?

We fast move along to a political hierarchy! So, are we recognizing that the other ‘differences’ are more important than religious belief? In that case should we not have a prescribed list in order of importance? But wait, if we have a list of preference are we not moving away from an ‘inclusive culture’?

  1. So is religious tolerance in or out? Or must it conform to the ideological script to be allowed on board?

Let’s leave it to the courts and sneak further from democracy.

  1. Is it justified to put right yesterday’s wrongs by over indulgence of the present generation of minorities?
  • Justification?……….. Leave a reply!
  • What of equality before the law? Has it been kicked into the long grass temporarily or permanently?

Political belief is a hot potato and many on the right-wing do not like the concept of diversity and so, should be – disenfranchised – allow only Labour and Liberal and, maybe a smattering of Conservatives – but only if they denounce Thatcherism! That darn woman!

In America the concept is wrapped up in the political agenda of Affirmative Action (AA) which has been in force for over 50 years. Again the term ‘inclusive’ strikes a hypocritical chord with many because they feel excluded. Since the 1940s the U.S. government has issued executive orders to ensure that sub-contractors are employing workers on an equal opportunity basis. This has led to cries of ‘reverse discrimination’.

Others, such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggests it creates a “cult of victimization” because it implies that black people need a leg up. It has also met with political opposition with the states of: California, Washington, Michigan, and Nebraska refusing to implement AA.

A study by Thomas Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung (2005) found a bias against white and Asian students trying to enrol in ‘highly selective private research universities’. A further study carried out by T. Espenshade (2009) found a similar bias in college intake, with Asians at the bottom of the pile.

Such has been the build-up of resentment that a survey in 2007 found that 52% of whites thought that AA should be abolished. Of course this could be as a result of better right-wing propaganda or worryingly, a strong feeling of being left out. The latter is certainly the case among Asians as in 2015 a coalition of 60+ Asian-American groups filed legal battles to gain equal opportunities. Up to the present law cases are pending.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States#Arguments_against_affirmative_action

It is true to say that AA has helped a lot of people and was perhaps, the best option at the time. This is the attitude of Noam Chomsky, but he also recognizes that, “… you find plenty of things to criticize”.

Noam Chomsky, How The World Works (pp211-212)

Some may argue that only the negative view has been expressed. However, if the intention of diversity is ‘inclusive’ then surely we must examine the voices of discord to ascertain where things are going wrong.

In the UK in recent times we have witnessed the Labour and Liberal parties institute an all-female panel for the election of prospective Members of Parliament (MP’s).

  • Is this justified?
  • Is it legal under equal opportunity?
  • Is it patronizing?
  • Will it cause any resentment?
  • Will the candidate have the respect of her fellows?
  • How will having more females in parliament make it more democratic or work better?
  • Is it all a cynical ploy to garner the female vote?

I suspect that many of the issues concerning women have more to do with the economic demands of the capitalist system than the backwardness of male MP’s. I could of course be wrong! It may be a combination of both.

The introduction of diversity was an attempt to dictate the thinking, acts and actions of the people. Which other regimes tried to dictate the thinking, acts and actions of their population? I’m thinking Germany and Russia, China etc.

It is a tough ask to change people’s thinking, acts and actions especially if it must be done now. There is nothing wrong with the concept, if we walk together. It’s just the terrible hash made of its introduction. It can only be considered thoughtless in the extreme. The Liberal elite and the political class have learned nothing from business that has long been aware that the top-down approach has serious drawbacks.

The political class have set back any hope of achieving diversity by their lack of vision and their childish rush. It may take two maybe three generations for it to take a hold on the psyche. Of course there’s always the possibility that it was a purposeful screw up!

A blanket approach to diversity as has been adopted is a severe weakness; pampering to every group and the individualist outlook is much too general. Individualism can only exist as long as the great majority are tolerant.

Moreover, a set agenda is a blind spot. Though it does lead to a piece of clarity from Karl Popper, “Who plans the planners”? Because, “…our actions in any case are likely to have unintended consequences”. Does this strike a chord??

Bryan Magee, Popper (p100)

Diversity was born of intolerance of others bias and grew in intolerance. Such was the zeal of improving the lot of many; it produced an army of zealots. That’s the nature of political emotion. The army of zealots and the patronizing attitude of the politicians played a major role in the advent of populism. Reap…..

Democracy: Can it Survive?

 

Democracy holds more emotion in its wake than any other political theory. It has stimulated a considerable amount of discussion and hyperbole from the earliest philosophical writers to the present day. But the burning question is whether democracy can work, and, can it work for the majority of society or is it a pleasant guise for control by an elite?

Certainly, the thought of democracy has wetted the thinking of many writers considered among our best intellects over the centuries:

Plato: was not a fan as he condemned it “… followed citizens’ impulses.” rather than the common good.

Nietzsche: was not enamoured either, he wanted to be, “… beyond the lowlands of the herd conscience.”

Machiavelli: likewise; as the intellects would be the prisoner of the “whims of the people”.

Charles Maurras: believed we should accept that we have, “natural hierarchies”.

JS Mill: was concerned by, “…the moral coercion of public opinion” that the individual was sovereign and bemoaned the ‘tyranny of the majority’.

www.serendipity.li/jsmill/jsmill.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-democratic_thought

Without being disparaging these were yesterday’s men with yesterday’s prejudices, when the very concept of democracy held a fear of control by the ‘herd’. Mill’s focus on the individual is little more than a scream of a narcissist. Along with the others mentioned their fear was brought on by the prospect of the uneducated rabble who survived in vermin infested hovels having jurisdiction over them.

They saw no potential in the hoi polloi. They simply looked at the uneducated mass and contrasted that with their own highly educated self and, were blinded by that fear and blatant snobbery.

Would a look at a more modern picture reveal a more sympathetic view?

Robert Michels: opined “… that democracy is a façade legitimizing the rule of a particular elite…” He suggested that democracy naturally slides into an oligarchy. He himself moved from being a socialist to become a fascist. Can we see a trend?

Rabbi Elazar Shach: had no doubts, “Democracy is a machinery of lies, false notions, pursuit of narrow interests and deceit.” His preference was to follow the teachings of the Torah.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_to_democracy

Not much succour there for believers so let’s come right up to date:

A study carried out by Martin Gilens & Benjamin Page (2014) concluded that the majority of the American public had little influence on U.S. government policy. I have encountered that view several times and have raised it on previous posts.

A more damning assault on the weakness of democracy comes from ex U.S. president Jimmy Carter (2015) who is reputed to have said that the USA is now “… an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.” Wow! Don’t mince your words Jimmy. Again, it is a slight that has its own choir of substance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy

We have come across the term oligarchy a few times and can now add other nouns such as plutocracy and fascism.

  • Fascism – strict rule by a leader & a small group of supporters.
  • Oligarchy – government by a small group.
  • Plutocracy – government by the wealthy.

Political scientists and sociologists will no doubt condemn me but the terms come across as much of a muchness. Or to put it more informally – money talks!

The political class will scream and bring forward an array of quotes from notables to try to establish that they don’t fit into any of the categories above. The social democrats in particular will holler their disapproval of any such characterization. In response I would suggest that they look in the mirror and learn the true insightfulness of reflection. They have ruled, especially in Europe for the last few decades, so anything that has gone wrong has done so under their watch, e.g. the rise of fascism and far-right groups.

“…extremism flourishes in an environment in which respectable voices offer no solutions as the population suffers.” Paul Krugman (p19) End This Depression NOW!

We’ve had ex-president Jimmy Carter, Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, so let’s hear from political philosopher Noam Chomsky. “It’s getting so that when I hear the word ‘democracy’ uttered by a politician or government official I automatically reach for my BS detector.”          Chomsky – Language and Responsibility There are a whole, whole lot of people do exactly the same as Chomsky.

So nobody likes democracy from the educated of the past to the educated of the present. What shall we do? Dump it in the rubbish can or just leave it to rot. For me, sitting on the next to bottom rung of the ladder of power (big ladder), I say keep it. As it has not yet completed its cycle.

There are weaknesses but there are in all political philosophies. There are also solid strengths as experienced in 2016 with the march of ordinary joe who shocked the political establishment with their voting power.

The body blow to the political class in UK, USA and Italy is a very hopeful sign, though a move to the right it was not a bridge to far. A thoughtful and inclusive campaign can swing things around.

A further strength of democracy is the ability to remove poor governments and the dirtbags whose back pocket is weighing them down. The system while open to abuse is also open to voices of descent and those who aspire to a good society. It’s just unfortunate that the latter voices cannot sing in harmony and as a choir.

Note what Charles Handy (p89) writes, “In a democratic culture, if it is not to degenerate into a battle between interest groups, it is particularly crucial that we find a common cause.”               Handy – Empty Raincoat

False Hope

To this end the social democrats and the general left of the British political scene probably thought they had found a ‘common cause’ with their promotion of political correctness (PCism). They were very wrong. It may have been perceived as a positive step forward towards a good society but it was clumsily introduced and implemented as tactfully as a bulldozer at a F1 race.

One can’t condemn fascism and communism as totalitarian regimes then seek to impose a political agenda, even if that agenda may be construed as for the common good. But to then lacerate opponents and doubters with vile accusations and, invoke the law to enforce its acceptance is hypocritical. It is not equality at work.

Any political agenda which is imposed may be considered as totalitarian. “What is a totalitarian regime but one in which variety of opinion is suppressed and conformity to a particular ideology is enforced.”  Catherine Rowett, www.academia.edu/1766239/A_dangerous_opponent_of_democracy

A more moderate view of PCism comes from Graham Good – University of British Columbia: “… it catches a certain kind of self-righteous and judgmental tone in some and a pervasive anxiety in others…”   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness

It may be shrouded in Karl Popper’s term ‘piecemeal social engineering’. Others may liken it to B.F. Skinner’s (1904-1990) view that society should develop ways to condition people to behave in a more appropriate way.  Book: Walden Two 1948

Some will associate it with George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (p241 (Appendix)) and his version of Newspeak, which was devised, “…to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism.” The sole purpose of Newspeak was to, “…to make all other modes of thought impossible.”

http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/piecemeal-social-engineering

Nonetheless, many right-wing activists believe that PCism is ‘indoctrination’ an attempt at ‘brainwashing’. Can the left in politics answer this view without being curt, inflammatory and dismissive? Dialogue is our only way forward in a positive vein.

Moreover, PCism was introduced throughout the western world. This would suggest a concerted and determined plan to impose it by the social democrat political elite. However, their haste was their undoing because they never took the time to talk it through with the electorate which suggests a contempt for ordinary joe. This fervent flurry to have it implemented and cemented before the likelihood of political change may have forced their hand to try to secure it with the weight of the law.

The law may remain in force, even after political change and, will stop people from openly voicing an opinion but will not change their mental attitude. The use of the law will foster resentment and that resentment will fester. The cost will be high.

There is a considerable loss of trust between the people and their elected representatives, admittedly, not solely due to PCism but it is a serious nail in the democratic coffin. Other costs include:

  • A decided move to the right in politics.
  • The rise of fascist parties in Europe.
  • People ‘feel’ the contempt of the political class.
  • Division in society.
  • A set back in the quest for a good society.

Of serious concern is that once people move to the extreme right in politics they very rarely move back to the centre ground. They become entrenched.

A chasm has opened between those in favour and those against PCism. A vehement opposition has emerged. In some parts of America it has reached fever pitch, with radio talk show hosts lambasting PCism at every opportunity and shows like South Park taking the mickey. It has given the right in politics a ready-made platform from which to pillory the left.

Jokes about PCism may not be heard much on television in the UK but are common in local pubs and clubs. And every time a silly case gains media attention it reinforces the held view and encourages others to join in.

Such a rallying of opposing loud hailers may appear as a positive thing for a healthy democracy but it is not. Entrenchment on either side makes it nigh impossible to find common ground, and a ‘common cause’. Thus the advocates of political correctness may have set back the very principle of equality because they failed to make it inclusive.

Call me a cynical conspiracy theorist but could the failure have been deliberate. In order to maintain the alliance of the political class and business interests and the windfall that comes from corruption.

Without doubt democracy has many challenges but still has room for development. In my opinion PCism is an exemplary example of the dangers inherent in democracy; it was too one sided and the brain child of a cabal of thinkers. The result is that we have factions of right and left at loggerheads or at worse entrenched and bitter.

People Power?

The weaknesses of democracy are apparent if we re-examine the views expressed earlier. We can dismiss the fear of the ‘intellects’ of the past as their vision of despair did not materialize. On the other hand there is a degree of truth in the more modern analyses.

Michels view that democracy is a ‘façade’ for rule by an elite is insightful. If we think in terms of the political class and the present feeling of alienation by the people, that gives credence to Michels’ observation. However, we do have opposition parties and organizations; perhaps not as strong as they should be but that could have as much to do with our lack of involvement as their whispered voice.

We can add to the voice of Michels the study of Gilens and Page and their conclusion that the electorate of America have ‘little influence’ on government policy. The obvious point being made is that the public are simply ignored. That being the case gives credence to Michels other contention that democracy slides into oligarchy.

I would lump together Rabbi Shach’s view on ‘deceit’ with Jimmy Carter’s condemnation of ‘bribery’. They both contend that corruption is rife in the political hierarchy. We should all be aware that corruption plagues our political system. It’s as widespread as trees in a woodland. There is not a country in the world which you could say was squeaky clean. Daunting, isn’t it?

In America, supposedly the great democracy corruption is second nature to the politicians. It is given the name ‘clientelism’ which simply means; you scratch – I scratch and both our backs are covered because the money given to my campaign is just a donation. And my vote for particular legislation is that I support it. A whole lot of $millions is involved.

The problem is so embedded in India that the government has recently changed its currency; new notes for old in an attempt to flush out corruption. As the Indian government has recognised corruption harms the economy. Good luck. However, we should take our hat off to them for such a bold move. Good to see some politicians with a large degree of bottle.

Another positive story comes from South Korea where the president Park Geun-hye has been impeached on bribery charges. The head of Samsung has also been questioned (for 22 hrs) about donations totalling around $25.5 million. The authorities are now trying to secure an arrest warrant for the head of Samsung. President Park’s future will be decided by their constitutional court.

China has only recently set up a new agency to investigate the agency they initially established to counter the growth in corruption. It makes me think it’s a lot like a dog trying to catch its own tail.

A more recent example comes from a report in the Daily Mail January 11 2017. The story outlined that a businessman flew $500,000 in a private jet to Liberia, Africa to bribe two officials in order to have the law changed to suit his mining company.

One more case to hit the headlines is that of Rolls Royce the engine manufacturer. Several areas of the media have given it some prominence with its fine of £641m or around $810m for bribing foreign officials to secure contracts. Daily Mail 2017/01/17

The Guardian claims that along with the BBC they exposed the scandal in October 2016. However, the investigation had been on-going since 2012 with the cooperation of the company. The good thing is that it was exposed. Let’s have a monthly column on corruption in all media.

These are but a few examples and as already alluded to there are few clean bums in the political world. On a serious note we should listen to J. Stiglitz (p165)  “Corruption undermines faith in our democracy.”  The Price of Inequality

What should we do next? It seems like an impossible task to rid the system of the pirates. It’s especially difficult in that we need the existing politicians to implement a programme of corruption busting. Progress is being made based on the evidence above. Fighting corruption is a big job which requires a considerable amount of mental strength and the belief that ending corruption is essential work.

I’ve illustrated with the examples of India and South Korea that it is possible and that there are good guys out there. I’m also of the opinion that there is considerable mileage for politicians to pick up the cudgel against corruption.

Can democracy be saved?? Will the Fantastic Four come to its rescue? The Guardians of the Universe! James Bond, even? Unfortunately, we can’t rely on the fantasy world to help us.

Though I’m reminded of an old movie I watched on TV; it was Michael Douglas playing the role of the American President, Andrew Shepard. He’s addressing the assembled press and uses a one liner which struck me as apt: “Democracy isn’t easy” and goes on to attack his republican opponent Bob somebody.

And that’s the reality, democracy isn’t easy. I wish I had a blueprint, all the answers but I come up against the pure logic of Karl Popper The Open Society. He argues, correctly, that there can’t be a blueprint that we cannot lay down a set path that people will follow because we want them to. If we can agree on something, then let’s have a go, see if it works, if not change it. It’s a slow process but eventually we get to where we hope is a good society. That should be our common cause.

I’m encouraged by the electoral votes of 2016 and hope that the movement continues into 2017 in both France and Germany. I just hope that the political elite can hear the alarm go off.

I was struck by the speech that British Prime Minister Theresa May gave at the UN in September 2016 when she reminded the assembled that:

“We must never forget that we stand here, at this United Nations, as servants of the men and women that we represent back home.”

Colour me surprised but intrigued by her reference to representation, which was positive. But the bit that got my real attention was the use of the word ‘servants’. Was this purposeful as a means to curry favour back home, an ideological slip or a clear understanding of what democracy should look like. Of course, as a believer I hope it was the latter and like me she is a true disciple. Arrrh! My cynical personality is coming out!!!!

Nonetheless, we know in which direction we need to go, for our sakes, for our children and our grandchildren. Let’s keep our common cause in mind every time we vote or want to voice an opinion. Our motto: we know where we’re going. If politicians or businessmen don’t want to come along – stuff them. A good society is too important to be side tracked by the merchants of greed.

We must also be aware that we can’t get everything we want. Let’s walk and talk and see where it leads us.

 

 

 

Europe: Moving Politically Right?

  • Our politicians

There are fears that Europe is moving inextricably to the right in politics. The numbers voting for the parties of the right has grown. Nationalism and an increase in xenophobic

If only it was about food waste.

attacks have prompted scaremongering.  The parties of the left in politics are equally loud in protest and actions. The increase of extremism can be laid squarely at the door of politicians; they will not admit it but their poor management has brought us to this juncture.

America is also witnessing a political phenomenon. And this is where our story begins. The decision of the American administrations of Reagan, Bush and Clinton to deregulate the financial system led us directly to the banking crisis of 2008. The repeal of the 1933 Glass – Steagall Act which brought regulation to the banking sector after the great crash of 1929, lead the way. Suzanne McGee (p269). The crisis of 2008 still has us in the doldrums. Thank-you cowboy Ron!

In Europe the crisis was handled badly, made worse by our political leaders. Joseph Stiglitz (pxxv) Greece had been allowed to spend aided by Goldman Sachs bank until the bubble burst. The EU refused to bail Greece out and instead insisted that the country go cap in hand to the IMF. A political farce ensued, Dani Rodrik (p218). Panic engulfed the EU caused by political ineptitude particularly on the part of Germany.

Greece was forced to pass laws on cutting its health service, on trade union rights including collective bargaining and to cut the minimum wage to secure a bail out. Austerity, austerity the catchphrase of the neo-liberal economists had taken hold. Prune back, was the rallying call, in order to pay your debts. Believing in the ‘confidence fairy’, Paul Krugman (p200) e.g. make the markets believe that you are not being profligate and they will continue to invest. Mm, the very people who caused the crash!

Prune, hack, slice; wages, jobs, the welfare state. Prune, hack, slice, the debt man’s at the gate. That was the basic spin from our politicians. Somehow the economic mire we found ourselves in was the fault of the workers and the poor. A telling analysis of the absurdity of such a political logic is given by Krugman (p200)

“The trouble with the current situation, [2012] insisting on perpetuating suffering [austerity] isn’t the grown-up, mature thing to do. It’s both childish (…) and destructive”.

We can add the voice of Stiglitz (p76) to that analysis:

“The irony is that in the crisis that finance brings about, workers and small businesses bear the brunt of the costs”.

Income inequality has been rising since the 1980s. Ha-Joon Chang (p333). The trend is acknowledged by many economists. The trend was marked in the USA and UK who have followed the neo-liberal economic school of thinking — austerity. Thus over a sustained period ordinary people have witnessed a decline in their living standards and the failure of politicians to protect their well-being.

Dissatisfaction has been brewing, the kettle is not yet boiled, but. Wages depressed, jobs scarce at the lower end of the market, the economic crisis not yet resolved, forced cultural change with growing concerns over migration / immigration. A very large section of society is concerned by the onslaught of politically correct doctrine and worry about their culture and way of life. The negative response of politicians has many feeling that their voice is irrelevant.

In the midst of this cacophony the politicians in the UK gave themselves a pay rise. The gulf has just got wider!

The sustained barrage of political correct idioms to be learned coupled by the demeaning labels: racist, bigot, NIMBY, old and backward etc. etc. etc. leaves many feeling they are being brainwashed by New Stalinists. Having to mind your P’s and Q’s every time you speak, support their interpretation of events. Perception is everything!

A note of caution from Howard Gardner the eminent Harvard psychologist (p51);

“…emotion is often a more powerful factor in influencing our behaviour than logic”. He suggests that there are: “…more neural connections going from the limbic emotional centre to the intellectual cortex”.

With the establishment of Sharia courts in the UK and the seemingly endless mention of the rights of minorities tends to suggest that the needs of the majority have already been met. This does nothing to broker acceptance or respect. Frustration and anger builds!

On and on the assault comes with an absence of someone to turn too. No political outlet because all the recognised parties are seen to be in cahoots. There is tiredness with interest groups hogging the limelight and achieving their demands. Politicians have forgotten the wisdom of Edmund Burke: cited in Charles Handy (p103)

“ Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate clink, while thousands of cattle, repose beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field,…”

The real danger of the present situation is that the dissatisfaction with the establishment becomes ingrained. It could make a good Shakespearian play:         Macbeth Act 1V sc.1

“Double, double toil and trouble,

Fire, burn; and, cauldron, bubble.

No surprise that the electorate, middle-left and middle-right scour the horizon for an escape route. The far-right too has quickly recognised an avenue to explore and found many alienated folk standing on the roadside.

 Germany            –              NPD (neo-Nazi???)

France                  –              National Front

Austria                  –              Freedom Party

Netherlands       –              Dutch People’s Party

Sweden              –              Sweden Democrats

Finland                 –              Finns

The list could go on but the point is made.

Much of the anger at this time is generated by the migrant crisis and once again political ineptitude rears its ugly head. However, many of the parties of the far-right are also opposed to the EU – the mammoth without ears. Some of these hard-line groups have secured up to 30% of the popular vote and together hold an approximately 33% of the seats in the European Parliament. Amazing!

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/05/26/

The crucial point here is that they don’t want to reform the EU. They want to kill it off.

In the UK voters floundered in various directions, some finding solace with Ukip, but the electoral system (first past the post) dented their enthusiasm; 4 million votes but no parliamentary seats. Others took revenge on the Liberal and Labour parties leaving the Tories with a strong hand.

In the USA the republican right are being trounced by Trump, whilst the democrats have found an alternative voice in Bernie Sanders. Why?

The story unfolds with a Sky news correspondent Tuesday March 1 2016. A question of why a woman was voting for Bernie Sanders brought an illuminating response: she said it was not about Bernie but the doors his campaign opened to a wider discussion of many important topics.

Here an articulate, grey hair, voice of reason is seeking an explanation for her feeling of alienation from political life. Her voice is echoed in multiplies of millions around the globe. For decades the political class has ambled on impervious to ordinary folk and disparaging of their concerns. They had been emboldened by the lack of an opposition.

Floundering in the political mire, ordinary Joe felt powerless. Their only source of power they believed was their vote, but all the recognised parties were proving to be equally crap. Along came the extremes and sat down beside them and brushed their powerlessness away.

I can hear echoes of Caliban:      The Tempest   scene 2 187 – 195

No more dams I’ll make for fish,

Nor fetch in firing

At requiring,

Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash a dish.

‘Ban, ‘Ban, Ca—Caliban

Has a new master. Get a new man!

Freedom, high day! High day, freedom! Freedom, high day, freedom!

 

It seems that the political class are akin to an oil tanker, nice and steady when crossing the Atlantic Ocean but slow and in need of a lot of space when it has to turn. It has to turn.

Are we adrift?

Not quite but we are getting there. There is a growing feeling of unfairness out there in the world. Fairness is a powerful psychological trait. It is so strong that it can dictate people’s thinking, tied, perhaps rigidly, to a person’s emotion.

There is a sense of tiredness with the grab society; the, me, me, me philosophy of some. And with the flashy, look at my wealth occultists.

Charles Handy (p198) puts it well, “…it is ultimately not tolerable for the many poor to live beside the fewer rich”. Jealousy? No, disgust! During the so called ‘Golden Age’ of the 50s, 60s, 70s, everyone seemed to share in the prosperity created. Since the 80s times have changed.

The trickle-down effect

Many of the working class accepted the ‘spin’ of government that by cutting taxes for the rich this money would be used to create more employment hence the new wealth would ‘trickle down’. A similar ‘spin’ is given to corporate tax reductions. This view was entrenched until, “…in the face of considerable evidence that it is untrue”. Fukuyama (p465) Further evidence can be found in: Chang (p451), Stiglitz (pp 8, 78), Rodrik (p165) and Krugman (p84).

Quid pro quo

The rich and our politicians appear more focussed on feathering their own nests than being responsible leaders. The concept of clientelism: you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, is very much alive in the corridors of power.

In the UK members of parliament (MPs) were able to employ their wife and offspring at the expense of the tax payer. The expenses scandal of recent years is still haunting some of them. Others have been caught doing dodgy deals.

In America clientelism is all but a business whereby interest groups give generously to a politician’s campaign for election and in return gain influence in the corridors of power. Fukuyama (p87) suggests it undermines democracy because it “…strengthens existing elites and blocks democratic accountability”.

Therefore we can see why the people feel alienated from the political system. The feeling of powerlessness is not a fleeting will-o-the-wisp experience. As Ha-Joon Chang (p106) points out, austerity governments in the Netherlands, France, and Greece were voted out in 2012 followed by Italy in 2013. It made no difference; the austerity package of the EU was nonetheless imposed.

Meanwhile, in the UK the conservative government is busy cutting away at areas of the state in the name of efficiency. Slice by slice it is cutting into the National Health Service (NHS).

Perhaps politicians should take note of the wisdom of Fukuyama (p532)

“When governments cease being accountable, they invite passive noncompliance, protest, violence, and in extreme cases, revolution”.

Abuse of power

A further hard hitting policy is the raising of the retirement age in the UK. Women had their retirement age raised from 60 to 65 in line with men. Now everyone has to put in several more years before they can escape the workhouse. The ‘spin’ by the government is that as a result of people living longer the pension bill will be much higher and needs to be offset by people working for longer.

Some women will have had their work life extended by up to 10 years. How much is the government saving by that little manoeuver??

The true implication is that successive governments have sanctimoniously mismanaged the economy. For 50 years many have paid income tax and national insurance tax and god knows how many other taxes and now when retirement looms they are a burden. Shame!!

This is an abuse of power as it leaves large numbers of people feeling anxiety and guilt. It only affects the workers as the better off have the means and can decide when they want to retire. No such luxury for the less well off.

Thus we have the rise of the Tea Party in America and Donald Trump viewed as a saviour. In Europe the rise of the far-right and extreme left. In the UK we have Ukip on the centre right whilst the far-left are still sucking their dummies and waiting for the resurrection of Trotsky.

A few more words of wisdom for our shamelessly needy politicians – from the 17th century

“…government should benefit the people, not those in power”. Wang Fuzhi       www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Fuzhi

Karl Popper adds his voice: we need an open society; “…in which the political institutions can be changed by the governed”.

Do some good join Robin Hood!

 

Suzanne McGee                               Chasing Goldman Sachs

Joseph Stiglitz                    The Price of Inequality

Dani Rodrik                         The Globalization Paradox

Paul Krugman                    End This Depression Now

Howard Gardener           Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice

Ha-Joon Chang                  Economics: The User’s Guide

Charles Handy                   The Hungry Spirit

Francis Fukuyama            Political Order and Political Decay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith Schools: A Broken Society.

brainwashed-dngg[1]Faith schools are the perpetuation of indoctrination and brainwashing, in essence the control of thinking. This is everything that should be abhorrent to anyone with a liberal mind. But we find that in the name of multiculturalism that liberal minds have abandoned logic so as to subscribe to the adverse dogma of political correctness.

The frenzy that surrounded political correctness is characteristic of a body that had come from the wilderness with the assuredness of divine right; and sought to impose the PC bible, without hesitation, on all. There was no thought of consequence and the pace of imposition gained momentum as acolytes joined the trend.

Of course faith schools have been with us for generations. They were never so much about bringing God to the people as to ensure that the people followed the rule of law. The church had realised that their future was tied to the masters of the day.

However, once the church became powerful it did not demand equality. No, the church ruled as an erstwhile Emperor using the fear of God and the threat of Armageddon to impose its will. The Catholic Church today is still issuing diktats.

Therefore the church was never about –make-love-not-war. It has always been about self-preservation.

In 2011 (there doesn’t seem to be more up to date data) there were 7,000 faith schools broken down thus:

  • 68% Church of England
  • 30% Catholic
  • 12 Muslim
  • 3  Sikh
  • 1  Hindu

A study by the Guardian newspaper in 2010 found social bias whereby lower class kids

No where to go.

No where to go.

were omitted and that faith based schools were increasingly becoming the preserve of the middle classes. Such that in 2013 a Fair Admissions Campaign was launched to demand that children be able to attend a school irrespective of faith.

The Observer newspaper June 2014 carried out a survey and found that 58% of people were against faith schools being funded by the government. This falls in line with other opinion:

“We consider the promotion and public funding of religious schools to be divisive and detrimental to social cohesion”. www.secularism.org.uk/faith-schools.html

The Independent newspaper 2014/12/31 held a story citing Mathew Taylor of the Social Integration Commission (SIC) suggesting that the government was obsessed with faith schools. The conclusion was that it, “breeds social and racial segregation”. Taylor was also quoted as suggesting that consequentially, “Britain’s society would be characterized by ‘ugly’ divisions”.

www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/

In March 2015 the Telegraph pulled information from a survey by the SIC of 4,300 people aged 13 – 80. One conclusion was that, “…teenagers emerged as less integrated than young adults”. This drew a further damning statement, “Multiculturalism has effectively gone into reverse”.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11457650

Faith schools by purpose teach intolerance. They promote their interpretation of the bible/Quran and thus by extension their God as the real one. Thus millions of needy souls are not following the word of God but a contrived version of the bible/Quran.

thVVX2B7D6Most people believe that the church is there to help the neediest and the poorest in our society. Yet it seems that the faith schools walk in the opposite direction. Isn’t it ironic?

“England’s faith schools are on average failing to mirror their local communities by shunning the poorest pupils in their area”.

www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/mar/05/faith-schools-admissions

Thus faith schools are condoning and therefore perpetuating the class system and religious division in the name of God. In the name of God, swallow your ambition and raise us all in the joy of humanity!

Moreover, once lost in a religious fervour one becomes intolerant of others. We are living in the midst of it today in the Middle East, India and Pakistan. The UK has had decades of hell in Northern Ireland where religious divide still dominates political dogma. Over the centuries religious wars have caused the deaths of millions.

A cross on every hill

A star, a marinet

So many graves to fill

O love, aren’t you tired yet?

Leonard Cohen, The Faith, from the album – Dear Heather

I don’t believe that God, (are you there mate?) would condone the actions of the church, any church. Men and their dictatorial tendencies are the true authors of fire and brimstone.preacher-angry[1]

The world cannot grow until men learn how to!

 

The Left and the Brickwall.

 

th83MEZBW5The Left in UK politics as elsewhere are remnants of lost tribes. There are so many groups and factions, so many one-dimensional believers. Their voices do not resonate with the people but rather sound like interference over an inaudible crackle. Little wonder that the public are left bemused by the Lefts’ call for change. The vision of the Left is blurred by yesterday and the lack of a policy of representation and comradeship. Past infamies forgotten, the Left in politics strive to keep their dream alive.

Many on the Left cannot understand why capitalism continues remorselessly, and why the people do not rise in opposition. However, like their (so called) intellectual brothers the people have no vision of a future as they are too tired from everyday routine and pondering every night on a tomorrow that will be the same.

The poor retreat into a come-what-may attitude and religion. Meanwhile their erstwhile leaders scramble for a foothold in tomorrow’s world by borrowing a Liberal overcoat. All the people hear is rabble-rousing of a thousand diverse voices challenging them to join the battle. But food must be put on the table and a semblance of self must be given space.

In essence, the Left are more lost in the political wilderness than their poor brethren. Karl Popper, sums it up neatly, “…we hate the very idea that we may be mistaken. So we cling dogmatically to our conjectures, as long as possible”. Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

Reluctance to change has been emphasized just recently at the World Economic ForumthXCVP4YWC in Davos, Switzerland, when a couple of the protesting groups decided to end their campaigns at the venue after 15 years. For over 20 years various groups on the Left have been protesting against the participants at Davos and what they represent. Sad to say but the protesters have achieved nothing.

Attacking the Dmen on site is a waste of time and energy. It brings the media to their defence and has the protesters demonized. What good does it do for the ordinary Joe?

Scenario:

Pub commentator: What’s it gonna change? Nutting mate. So, what’s the point mate, thN7AC3ES5eh? (Should be on Radio 4)

Old Granny: They should do something with their lives instead of all that screaming and stuff; causing trouble. Why don’t they get a job?

Conspiracy theorist: It’s a gang of fascists paid by the Dmen to make sure they get publicity. No kidding!

The Davos meeting is of the rich and famous in business and the political wanna-bes who have been holding an annual meeting for over 40 years. The blurb they issue says they’re committed to improving the state of the world by:

  • Sustained economic growth
  • Mitigating global risks
  • Promoting health for all
  • Improving social welfare
  • Fostering environmental sustainability

I’m afraid the Dmen have not been very successful; 40 + years on and they haven’t achieved any of their goals. During their watch we have had several financial crises culminating in the debacle of 2008 which is still smouldering. And every day the environment takes another battering: oil spills, plastic islands in the ocean’s and rain forest depletion. Throughout Europe and elsewhere wages are falling, employment rights ‘tossed in the dustbin of history’ (Trotsky), welfare payments cut and slavery on the increase.

thB7VOPRTBIt is simply incredulous that they have the balls to turn up every year. Well, with 5* accommodation, 5* food, 5* wine and 5* scotch (can I join?) lots of hobnobbing to size up a good deal and photo shoots galore to impress the natives back home, who wouldn’t. After all, they are of the Clan ‘Id’ which Freud describes as “…knows no judgements of value: no good or evil and no morality…” The Clan ‘Id’ thrive on instinctive and primitive urges of the pleasure principle. For us, well, there’s always a pint and a kebab.           www.psychology.about.com

“Professional men, they have no cares;

Whatever happens, they get theirs.”    

Ogden Nash

And where are the defenders of the people? Marxists, Leninists, Trotskyists, Stalinists, Anarchists and piss-artists, so many ‘ists’, factions by the score. The sheer number of groups is evidence that the Left is split asunder. Out of date and out of touch, for the workers they won’t do much. That they cannot agree on a platform is an indication of the number of little Stalinist’s out there. It’s their way or no way. The people don’t need a shepherd, some understanding and a touch of guidance would help. The hearts of the Left are beating soundly but their solutions are awry. They need to stop chasing rainbows! It is not about equality in life, it’s about quality of life.

We will never be equal in all aspects of life. There are too many variances of input into a child’s upbringing and a whole myriad of interpretations that determine the adult outcome. This is why we have artists, bookworms, those who love figures – the maths kind, and others who will be happy to do-up old bangers. It’s what makes us so damn beautiful. But one thing we should all agree upon is that no human being is more important than another. It’s about fairness and a tad of respect.

A failure to understand, a failure to listen, and thus a failure to open their mind to new possibilities is what has the Left stuck in a mire of righteousness. Their dogma conditions them to push, demand and force the people into their vision. The die-hards scream and the sycophants follow as they seek to impose their philosophy on the majority, blind to the fact that such a move is fascist. Stand-up Josef Stalin!

“We become the makers of our fate when we have ceased to pose as its prophets”. Karl Popper   The Open Society and its Enemies

In cahoots with the Liberal and wishy-washy Conservatives, the workers are entitled to feel abandoned by the Left. A case in point is that of political correctness. There was no discussion with the people, no opinions sought, just accept or you’re a —- train load of abuse. It was a forced-march and many felt violated by the incursion into their everyday use of language and violated by the abuse they had to endure. The same can be said about multiculturalism. Again many felt they were being frogmarched into an ill-conceived agenda and it all seemed very much one way traffic.

But to treat Human Rights (HR) as a political whip is inexcusable. Again holding onto the coat tails of the professional classes the Left made HR a source of ridicule and much pub banter to such an extent that it is almost discredited. HR is too important to be bandied about as a politically correct minority case study. And then to try to create divisions in society by suggesting a split between the older and younger generation is the ‘last refuge of a scoundrel’. (Samuel Johnson)

Made brazen by their fervour for minority point scoring they let their passion rip on a biased political agenda. No thought, except of contempt, for the majority view is indicative of what is wrong in politics in the UK. This is not the politics for the people but the indoctrination of the people. Fascists everywhere will be amused by the flexibility of democracy.

A belief has grown among politicians and those who term themselves the intelligentsia that democracy can be utilised to impose their specific political agenda. Beware of arrogance or you may find that when your Lexus breaks down you may need a tank to get back.

Left to rot or to fester the people are let loose to make do as best they can. To contendthZL6SLM4X with the vagaries of the system and at the mercy of the capitalists who are riding roughshod over them. The belief in the democratic process will wane in consequence and poverty will raise its ugly head and snare many more aimless drifters. The traditional ‘life net’ afforded by the Left and the unions are gone; for the parties are estranged. The future is now a guessing game and a case of come-what-may.                                                  Out of context but nonetheless poignant:

“Something was dead in each of us,

And what was dead was Hope.”

Oscar Wilde   The Ballad of Reading Gaol

 

 

 

 

Politicians: The End is Nigh!

th8QDGFJKZThe political class should be very grateful that the people in the UK still have a belief in the democratic process. Otherwise the French Revolution would have had a counterpart. The ‘we know best’ attitude of the elite is akin to Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” parting shot during the French upheaval. The opportunity is there to maintain the present balance in society if they have a mind too. If, and only if, they are humble enough to acknowledge that the people are right to cry, ‘enough is enough’.

Politicians must debunk the Machiavellian school of political thought that depicts the ordinary people as, “ungrateful, fickle, simulators and deceivers, avoiders of danger, greedy for gain”. The mirror can be a wonderful reflection tool; politicians and the big boys should look into the mirror and repeat the words of Machiavelli.

The Prince, chapter 17, The Great Philosophers (3), The Independent

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niccolò_Machiavelli

However, all that I have heard and read in various interviews by MP’s of all the parties was the same old spin, same old platitudes and the same old ‘we know best’ attitude. The regurgitated rhetoric of, ‘we are good – they are bad’ spouted at every election and the other piece of nonsense, vote for us and note the difference are both piddle. Nothing learned, no shame, no humility, not even a slither of humble pie.

They are so used to their respective dogma that they themselves have become hypnotized by it. Deeply enmeshed in the credo of their taught spiel they are oblivious. The language has become so embedded in their psyche that every utterance is a sound bite from their PC dictionary. No need to think, just reiterate a couplet from the catalogue of pat answers.

Of course the political class accept democracy as a naïve but necessary belief system for the hoi polloi and, a method of control par excellence. The problem is that the people have come to believe that they should have a say in their own lives. That everything cannot be left to the whim of the political elite. Contempt is a two-edged sword or in the words of the old parable, ‘what you sow so shall you reap’.

Unwarranted arrogance will be the undoing of the political elite. They have all but sheared the one remaining component that the electorate hold – Trust. The scepticism of the voters has turned to anger and is now bordering on hate. It would be a mistake to assume that it is all to do with the recession. The peoples’ contempt has been brewing over the decades. A solution is vital if society is not to splinter and we witness the emergence of several violent groups who have no other logic but to destroy.

The bankers, the wealthy and the political wanna-be’s splurge their gain as a child might pirouette in a new longed-for dress. However, “a society that does not recognize the morality of “enough” will see excesses arise which verge on the obscene, as those who have first choice of society’s riches appropriate them for themselves. Democracy will not long tolerate such an abuse of the market”. Charles Handy, The Hungry Spirit p116

It is imperative that our politicians dash back to their pre-school of political speech and thought for an update. They need to be re-infused by the spin doctors who themselves should re-evaluate their procedures to re-invigorate their troops. The cool dudes issued with their new vade mecum (vay-di mee-kuhm), having ditched their ties and have their jackets swung over their shoulder will emerge, new whitened smile beaming and the old message rehashed – ‘you can trust me, bro’. But when the refuse men sweep up the puke and search for a political landfill, the politicians will have their answer.

Somewhere in the distance the sun will rise. Politicians will probably need an epiphany to realise that change is necessary, real fundamental change. They need finally to understand that they cannot treat the ordinary Joe with disdain while filling their pockets with expenses.

thS2IXJ0Z3Over the last few years the Joes’ have let the politicians know that they cannot be force-fed into accepting the unrestricted needs of big business. The big boys cannot exploit the poor of Europe to boost their profit margin and merely disregard the consequences to British society, i.e. immigration, leaving the government to clean up their mess.

Nor can the Liberal elite ram their politics down the throat of the people: multiculturalism, political correctness, human rights for minorities or affirmative action; an adopted American programme to force equality issues which in 50 years has not moved the race goalpost one metre forward but may have damaged it irrevocably. The people have refused to be brainwashed by the demands of the Left or Right in politics.

The Liberal elite need to pay heed to Edmund Burke:

“Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with importunate clink, while thousands of great cattle, reposed beneath the shadow of the British oak, chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field, that they are many in number, or that, after all, they are anything other than little, shrivelling, meagre, hopping, though loud and trouble-some, insects of the hour”.

Cited in Charles Handy, ibid p103

I am not sure that politicians of whatever creed fully comprehend the concept of democracy and how it is supposed to work in practice. I suggest they learn quickly or lose their prestigious seat.

Perhaps it would be easier for our politicians and the Liberal elite if they came to understand political philosophy and the attributes of democracy from the wisdom of thethECDXQXFJ Wombles:

“Because he is short on opinions so much of the time, the others have a tendency not to pay much attention to Tomsk. But, as the others discover when the Burrow is nearly smashed by a falling tree, no good comes from ignoring Tomsk when he starts talking”.

Tess Read, The Wombles Guide to Life p151