Europe: Death Throes


Europe is at a crossroads and its survival may depend on the route taken. It is very clear that large numbers of ordinary folk have fallen out with the concept of ever closer integration, and with mass migration. Multinational companies are advocates of the EU, according to the analysis of focus-economics.com. This body paints a bright picture of vibrant colours for the immediate future of the Eurozone.
While the few, (big boys) find it exhilarating, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the poor throughout the EU fear the dark and unappealing clouds. Who is right and why the divergence of opinion?
Since the crash of 2008 not a lot has changed for the poor. Unemployment remains persistently high at around 11% for the Eurozone as a whole. The only country doing well is Germany with the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years.  www.focus-economics.com/germany
In contrast France has seen its unemployed rate rise above 10% as recently as December 2016. In Italy it’s almost 12%. In Spain youth unemployment is a persistent 24%. As the economist.com points out, there is “…high unemployment almost everywhere.” (October 2016).
Therein lies a major problem and to compound it we have the arrival of significant numbers of migrants. The figures vary, according to Frontex the EU border agency 1.8m came to Europe in 2015 with an estimated further one (1) million illegal entrants. Significant numbers continue to arrive. It really doesn’t matter whether you think it is a good idea, the humanitarian thing to do, or not. The crucial point stems from the impact. And the impact has proven seriously negative for the poor.
In highlighting the negative we need only look at the UK and that 73% of local councils take few, while councils in the most affluent areas take no migrants. Whereas, places like Boston in Lincolnshire has witnessed a huge influx. In consequence 72% of the electorate voted ‘Leave’ in the referendum of June 2016. Thus the burden of coping with migration has been firmly placed in areas with a high concentration of working class people. A class issue?
It is slowly being accepted that such an influx of numbers has a direct effect on: housing, rented accommodation and the cost of rent, school places, dentists, doctors’ appointments and the NHS especially the accident and emergency (A&E) departments. The same difficulties are not a part of daily life for those who castigate the poor for stating the obvious.
Therefore, it is the poor who carry the burden of migration. The well-off and the political elite berate the poor for moaning, and are unconcerned by the growing frustration and mounting anger of the people. As a means of demeaning and controlling any outbursts from the lower classes the establishment and their luvvie bedfellows demonize them as: ‘ignorant, uneducated, stupid or racist’ as experienced by Lord King, former governor of the Bank of England. (Daily Mail 2017/02/10)
A blind adherence to their prescribed agenda by the political class and their groupie acolytes has served only to alienate millions of voters. The consequence is now obvious.
Similar patterns are to be found throughout Europe. In Germany the altruism of Angela Merkel and her subsequent rise to fame has waned considerably. When the emotional high withers the harsh reality, the practical everyday environment comes to the fore. Germany was magnanimous but the rise of opposition has increased steadily. The AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) has been growing and estimates that it can now command roughly 25% to 30% of the electorate with an anti EU policy.
Now the Social Democratic Party (SPD) with their new leader Martin Schulz ex EU President, think they can muster a campaign. The youth movement of the party JuSos are filled by enthusiasm and think they could actually steal the election in September. www.theguardian.com/      15/02/2017
However, there are more fundamental consequences as many of the migrants are now feeling trapped in camps. Thousands complain that they cannot find work and their frustration and anger grows. Those who find work are usually a source of cheap labour paid below the minimum wage. Illegal workers are simply used and abused.
Nonetheless, the true horror comes from the sheer number of single male migrants, hundreds of thousands who have needs beyond that of shelter and food. Existing brothels will not cope with the increased need and so the void is likely filled by people traffickers to help satiate the overload. In consequence, thousands of women and children will be brought in and forced to meet the demand.
The sanctimonious will continue to berate their opposition with their abusive language and remain immune to the tragedy behind the closed doors. I’ve met their friends who accompany them everywhere they go:  see no evil – hear no evil – speak no evil! It’s unfortunate but reality cannot by itself break down a fixed ideology.
Throughout Europe there is fallout from the high unemployment, the migrant crisis and the deafness of the political class. In Sweden, once considered the hallmark of social democrat achievement has fallen foul to these undercurrents. In the city of Malmo the local police have asked for national assistance to combat the steep rise in crime.
One area particularly affected is the district of Rosengard which has an 80% migrant population but less than 40% of the total population have a job. A growth in social unrest, gang warfare and multi-ethnic violence has led to eleven (11) murders, 80 attempted murders and a spate of shootings, arson attacks and bombings. Little wonder that the local guys want additional help. (Reuters)
Si se puede
Meanwhile, a Spanish member of the EU parliament (MEP), Javier Lopez has written a piece on the ‘defense of democracy’. By democracy he means the maintenance of the existing order as he abhors the “bigoted populist movements”. Along social democratic lines he is calling for the reconstruction of the EU to incorporate a fiscal branch, harmonization of taxes, a minimum income throughout the Eurozone and better public services.
Lopez believes such a programme will curtail the build-up of populism. However, his ideas will necessitate closer integration which is the opposite of what many of the new parties in the EU want. Also, the Guardian newspaper, (theguardian.com October 2014) points to political scandals and corruption as prime reasons for the existing political parties losing ground.
In his homeland of Spain, has seen the rise of Podemos (We Can) founded in March 2014 and now the second largest party in Spain with a membership of 456,000 as of April 2016. It is also the third (3rd) largest group in the Spanish parliament. The party is a strong left leaning organisation that wants an end to austerity and changes to the Treaty of Lisbon. But to Lopez’s logic all members of Podemos and all those who voted for them are ‘bigoted populists’. Unfortunately for Lopez the motto of Podemos is – se si puede – Yes We Can!
www.socialeurope.eu/2016/12/europe-globalization-unrest
Of course all eyes are on Greece at this time and whether it can meet its debt repayment plan. There is little understanding from the ‘powers’ in Brussels of the political reality in Greece. The parties that once held sway, PASOK, centre left and New Democracy could look forward to 70% – 85% of the vote at elections.
Such numbers create a self-assuredness and in consequence a relaxed approach to the everyday needs of the electorate. The vote for PASOK has fallen to 5% at points and their joint vote to 31% at the May election of 2014. It is difficult to understand how such a change can go unheeded by the Brussels politburo.
The Greek economy has fallen by 25% which is equivalent to the 1929 crash in America. The country is on its third (3rd) bailout with the forth due soon. In the summer it has a debt of €7.5bn to repay before receiving its next tranche.
There is now an open rift between the IMF (International Monetary Fund)) and the ECB (European Central Bank) over how Greece should be bailed out. The debt problem of 184% of GDP which equals some €350bn means it will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pay off any of its debt. The IMF says the debt is ‘unsustainable’.
If Greece had a vibrant economy it could possibly reschedule its debts. However, the country is still in the doldrums; high unemployment, poor investment levels, poor productivity and the fact that the people don’t have a lot to spend means it’s between a rock and a hard place.
Hence the IMF wants the next bailout package to include some debt relief. But, the ECB want more austerity and are really none too happy that the Prime Minister Tsipras gave a Christmas bonus to pensioners and free school meals to children of the poor.
Now you’re aware of the priorities of the ECB and the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Of course they may argue that the poor in Greece will be better off in the longer term but that don’t help when you’re hungry now. And that don’t help if you’re a political party trying to stay in power. And that don’t help unless it’s a stone cast guarantee!
www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2017/feb/05/                   (A good read.)
BBC Business News 2017/02/15
Poor Greece (literally as well as metaphorically) has suffered years of austerity. And while other nations get a boost from retail sales Greece doesn’t have that luxury. Instead it is under pressure to cut pensions again which would be the thirteenth (13th) time. Unlucky for some – no pun intended. Therefore the Greek debt problem is a headache and perhaps, that’s why the German newspaper Bild has suggested that the German government would welcome Greece leaving the EU.
www.marketwatch.com   www.taieitimes.com/news/editorials/  (2017/02/06)
According to the economist Paul Krugman forcing Greece to suffer austerity which comes with every deal, “…it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for.”
https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/killing-the-european-project/?_r=0
CIAO Italy? (chow)
Another nightmare stirring in the background readying to wake the dead is Italy. This nightmare can truly disturb the sanity of the EU: dozing, dozing, dozing; alarm! The banks are described as “…an inexhaustible source of financial instability”. Unemployment hovers around 12%. It has the highest inflation rate (Feb: 2017) since 2013. Public debt continues to rise and there is no sign as yet of any economic recovery.
Interestingly, none of the major rating agencies: Standard & Poor, Moody or Finch is prepared to give the country a rating. The reasoning may be because the country’s debt stands at 132.6% of GDP the second largest in the EU. Bonds sold to keep Italy afloat are not being bought by private investors but by the ECB. Aggressively!!
The Times also reports that Italy has gained little from the euro. The paper also claims that the poorer countries in the EU can’t reach their potential because of poor growth and poor investment. Such a scenario may have fed into the logic of the Mediobanca report that states that many parts of the EU are caught in a “mouse trap” and adds “Without a major restructuring of the Eurozone, there is nothing you can do under these rules”
. www.focus-economics.com/countries/italy   www.times.com/2017/02/08/business/
Business Insider in discussing the problems of the EU concludes that “Actually, a lack of reforms, slow growth, a troubled banking sector and high government debt in Italy may be a bigger risk for the Eurozone.” Than Greece! www.businessinsider.com
La France – la sortie?
France the second biggest economy of the Eurozone has many of its own problems. Unemployment is up above 10% again and tales of political corruption have been in the headlines for a number of years. Add migration and terrorist attacks and the government is under severe pressure.
Since Hollande came to power taxes have risen to an all-time high at 47.9%, the highest in Europe. The real indicator of the well-being of the country is summed up thus, “… no significant economic improvement over the past five years”.
In terms of trade France exports 17% to Germany but imports 19% from the Germans. Their deficit is also high, while debt stands at around 102% of GDP. That only leaves Germany with a positive outlook.
www.ndtv.com/world-news/   citing an article by Reuters 2016/12/04.
It doesn’t look promising as the IMF say that the euro is about 15% undervalued but their analysis suggests that based on the French economy it is 6% overvalued. This is a problem faced by all the economies of the Eurozone but that of Germany. How would the other nations fare if the euro was 15% higher? The alternative is to leave the EU and devalue or a complete overhaul of the EU.
The French election should be an interesting one, Emmanuel Macron standing as an independent is now running high on the polls aided no doubt by the corruption scandal surrounding Fillon the right-wing conservative candidate.
Unfortunately for the French workers Macron is proposing more austerity with a package that includes cutting pensions and severely restricting trade unions to operating at company level rather than across the whole industry. Maggie’s back in town!
Marine Le Pen seems the likely opponent of Macron. The National Front programme is to leave the euro and devalue. Or create bedlam along the way.
Generally, the economic picture is not one to win investment and the policy of austerity has proved a disaster, so much so that it has been abandoned by some countries. Therefore there is no common policy to deal with the desperately slow growth that hangs over the Eurozone like a huge dark and brooding cloud as far as the eye can see.
The chief European economist for Goldman Sachs Huw Pill suggests at best the EU will stumble along making small gains. However, he warns that the EU needs ‘institutional and structural’ changes to overcome the weaknesses of the block.  www.goldmansachs.com
A further nail in the coffin comes from the economist.com (October 2016) and their assessment that there are “…deep flaws in the single currency’s design.” Flaws in the currency have been known for some time through the work of J Stiglitz and Paul Krugman both Nobel Prize winning economists.
Having already bailed out Greece, Spain and Ireland; the question must be how long can this process carry on. How long before the moneymen run for the hills?
On the political front the EU is open to severe attack from several flashpoints. In Austria Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party lost the presidential election by a mere 0.6%. The latter is far-right politically as is the AfD in Germany and other such movements have sprung up in many areas of the EU.
Austria’s new chancellor Christian Kern has made it abundantly clear that he expects the Eurozone to make big changes. He at least recognises that the writing is on the wall unless the people’s wishes are given a hearing.
The Danish People’s Party has increased its vote by 50% in eight years. In the Netherlands the far-right party of Geert Wilders the PVV with its anti-EU stance could possibly win in the next election. In Italy the Five Star Movement (M5S) has gained the mayor ships of Rome and Turin and is polling nearly 30% of the electorate. www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/25/
Just over a year ago Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament was quoted as saying, “The worst nightmare for the European project is an outbreak of populism or political upheaval in Germany. Now it is looking like a real possibility.” He went on to say that the Schengen area is ‘buckling’. www.express.co.uk/news/world/ (2016/01/15)
Which road will the politicians take? It seems that they have run out of rope but are afraid of the consequences once their actions become apparent. A Hungarian commissioner Sandor Lederer has demanded to know why the EU Commission has not released the extensive report on corruption.
He is of the opinion that “Corruption is rampant in Europe” and that transparency should be a “…top priority at all levels of governance.” Frans Timmermans reputedly told the Civil Liberty Committee that he sees no point in releasing the document. Hmm, interesting!
www.euractive.com/section/justice-home-affairs/opinions
Corruption stories keep coming up all over the continent and yet there are no sackings, no heads roll, it’s a carry on as usual syndrome. Meanwhile, ordinary Joe goes to prison for fraud. Hmm, interesting! The stories of corruption are causing a dust cloud.
It is little wonder that the populace have a growing contempt for the politicians. It doesn’t matter the party in power they follow roughly the same line of thought; it’s just different shades of grey.
There is a sweeping antagonism and a deep mistrust of the politicians and of the opaque bureaucracy they have installed. No one is accountable. No one takes responsibility for any wrong doing. No one admits to failure. Everything is fine in La La Land!
The most telling point comes from an 86 year old Frenchman Maurice Beauzac from Chartres during a street poll held by Reuters:
 “We are living at a time when the word integrity is becoming meaningless to our politicians.”
www.uk:reuters.com   2017/02/09
The crossroads has roadworks! Trapped in the mire of their own making all the politicians can think to do is attack with ever more disparaging language. Sad isn’t?
This year is one of crucial elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands the outcome could seal the fate of the European project.
If we assume that the establishment parties win by whatever margin will they read into the result a clear acceptance of their programme? Or will they note the size of the opposition, an opposition that did not exist a few years ago and concede that change must follow?
It may well be that they will carry on down that same road and continue with the policy of austerity. They may turn a blind eye to the exposé of corruption and continue their role as the proverbial ostrich.
Meanwhile, several notable commentators, Goldman Sachs, Mediobanca have called for serious institutional and structural change. The Economist magazine notes a weakness of the euro as have several leading economists. Many have commented on the sluggish performance of most of the economies of the EU and see few prospects in the near future.
The most recent set of stats from the German official statistical office Destatis paints a bright picture for Germany and the Eurozone. Germany it concludes has achieved 1.9% uplift in activity in 2016 making it the fastest growing of the top 20 nations, due to higher exports and the weak euro.
For the Eurozone it suggests the highest lift since 2011. Destatis also points to the French service sector as ‘booming’. However, this contrasts with France24.com when they highlighted that tourism, a major contributor to the French economy, had a steep decline and that Paris had seen a drop of 1.5m visitors alone.
Martin Baccardax, The Street 2017/02/23  reported in msn.com/news
Unemployment is too high throughout Europe it’s a persistent harbinger of poverty and causing a persistent distrust of the politicians. Ordinary Joe is not feeling any upsurge in their personal well being and there are few good signs on the horizon.
Note the point by the New York Times: 50% of all new jobs since 2010 are temporary jobs in Europe. It’s a job but one without prospects and one that simply keeps the debt man (raptors) from the door.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/business/europe-jobs-economy-youth-unemployment-millenials.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur&_r=1
Part time work feeds many problems down the line. If people are barely managing then how can they save for a rainy day? They cannot contribute to a pension for their retirement, a tab that will in all probability have to be picked up by the state. Tax increases?
Big business is screwing ordinary Joe now with part-time work and zero hour contracts. And will screw Joe later when Joe has to rely on a pittance of a pension from the government to survive.
Alternatively, people just fuel their own debt by taking out loans at exorbitant rates of interest and spend. Keeping up with the Jones’ is such fun – until the bubble bursts.
Nonetheless, at some point a state of listlessness creeps in, anxiety increases, stress leads to a host of other problems: break up of relationships, increase in violence fed by a growing anger, illness and crime.  Add a less than causal approach to productivity, all of which help to dampen the economy and force more fuel into the fire of discontent that has been growing.
Add to the mix the migrant crisis. These are people with as many aspirations as anyone else but many are finding that Europe is not the Promised Land. Lack of employment, trapped in camps, their culture clashing with local beliefs and other migrant groups. Desperate for the good life many enter illegally and too many become sub-human cheap labour for the profit hungry businesses.
“…traffickers are increasingly bringing in vulnerable people for the sex trade and as slave labour.”
Such is the problem created by traffickers that Frontex recognises that they are a       “…significant threat to the EU”.
On integration: “The high numbers of economic migrants – mostly with low educational qualifications and with a different cultural background – are not truly integrated into European societies. This causes social conflicts and critical perceptions of migration.”  http://frontex.europa.eu/assets/Publications/Risk_Analysis/Annula_Risk_Analysis_2016.pdf

Banksy

And the sanctimonious speak to their best friends: – see no evil – hear no evil – speak no evil!   Happy to smile for the cameras while playing politics with people’s lives!

Such is the political cauldron we live in today. There is but a tinge of hope that one day a door will open and objectivity will enter but alas – don’t hold your breath.
Do some good join – Robin Hood!

Marchers Against Trump

Of course it is early days but can the movement set up to oppose Donald Trump, the new President of the United States be successful. Or is it all much ado about nothing? The turnout for the marches was very impressive. The question is whether it can be maintained. According to the NY times there was a four (4) hour meeting directly afterward in New York by the organisers to think of ways to keep and build on the momentum. The danger is that it will frizzle out like so many other spontaneous movements.

An article in the NY Times by Farah Stockman makes disturbing reading as it points out that the issue of race was raised almost immediately by black activists.  A comment by one such activist from Brooklyn wrote on the Facebook page encouraging participation, “…white allies. Listen more and talk less.”

On reading the above quote a wedding planner, Jennifer Willis from South Carolina was put off attending the rally. She had planned to do so with her daughters but felt that the message did not make her feel welcome.

While we may understand to a degree the activist’s attitude as black people are on the bottom rung in American society. Nonetheless, her belligerence put Jennifer Willis off. This was not an isolated incident as Stockman pointed out that the issue of race “erupted every day, exhilarating some and alienating others”. Tension was also visible in Tennessee and Louisiana.

Another damning point raised by Stockman was that Trump campaigned against ‘political correctness’ and won with half of white female voters supporting him. I’m sure that Trump had more than one issue on which he campaigned. However, the article highlights the divisions in American society which make it almost impossible to build a cohesive movement against his brand of politics.

A further divisive illustration comes from the Portland NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The body refused to become a part of, “…a white – women kumbaya march”. The main grievance was that the organising committee was not diverse enough and no speaker was arranged on the question of race. www.wweek.com/2017/01/11

Nonetheless, the march did go ahead and 100,000 turned out in the pouring rain to show their opinion. It is unclear whether the NAACP found a solution and participated.

Division was also evident in the choice of partner organisations. It appears that pro-life groups were not welcomed as found by the New Wave Feminists whose stance includes: anti-abortion, anti-war and against the death penalty. The complaint of the group was that they had been accepted onto the rooster but later ‘kicked off’, as were similar groups; ‘Students for Life of America’ and ‘And Then There Were None’. They joined the march anyway. www.catholichearld.co.uk

One group Planned Parenthood, who had carried out 324,000 abortions (2014 Annual Report), was accepted as a partner organisation. Therefore from the outset a political agenda was formed. Thus it is no longer a women’s movement but a political one. It may appear as a decisive step but if it leads to alienation then it is non inclusive. This is a sizable weakness. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood

The problem surrounding the abortion debate is the entrenchment on both sides. They are the ‘Bubble People’ they see only their point of view ergo there is no room for a cosy chat over a mug of coffee to find common ground.

The NY times also reported that minority women feared that any success for the movement would only benefit the white working class. While this would not be true it is illustrative of the hurdles that must be gone over.

The article in the Times also mentioned that, “Now a wide range of groups”, are trying to keep the movement going. At first glance such a coming together can appear as a sign of strength; rather, it’s a weakness. It is a weakness that can unravel the movement at any given time. Each group may come to a meeting not to find a common objective but to promote their own agenda.

Individual groups may argue that their programme for change is one that promotes all women. One could condemn any such group as wearing blinkers or of being politically naïve. Any bid to promote a singular issue is wrong on several levels:

  • I have highlighted two contentious standpoints that of race and pro-life. Both of these areas have multiple bodies claiming to represent the whole and within their field there will be factions that want a more confrontational approach, while others will abhor any hint of violence.
  • A place at the top table and how it will be manufactured can be a very divisive block. The question of representation can be critical as noted above. Will it be by quota, e.g. said amount of black people – Asian – Hispanics – Latino – white? What of partner organisations, will their size determine their quota or seat at the top table? How will this reflect on the political stance of the movement? Many questions, there resolution will be critical.
  • Any attempt to list their priorities can also be fraught with problems. A danger rests in trying to accommodate all the partner organisations and thus the demands become too numerous to gain political traction. Some groups may feel that their particular issue has not been given sufficient prominence.
  • In future demonstrations will the organisers insist on ‘passive resistance’ (Mahatma Ghandi & Martin Luther King) or allow each group to form their own policy. Another problem is keeping anarchists and others from trying to usurp the demos. Therefore who will police any future protests?
  • It will be assumed that the organisation will be democratic; the problem will come in unrolling equal participation. How will they prevent any one group becoming dominant? Therefore causing others to walk away.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/after-success-of-womens-march-a-question-remains-whats-next.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-2&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/us/womens-march-on-washington-opens-contentious-dialogues-about-race.html?_r=1

 

There are so many hurdles, so many pitfalls that it will be incredibly difficult to maintain a united stance. Some inspiration may be found in the Shriver Report of 2014 written by Sonia Pressman Fuentes of NOW (National Organisation for Women). The report highlights eighteen (18) issues that women should fight to implement.

www.shriverreport.org/top-18-issues-challenging-women-today

  1. Poverty: I was surprised to read that in 2014 some 70million women and their children live in poverty in the U.S. That America has the largest number of homeless women and children of any industrialised country. Who could not lift their banner of protest against such a picture of despair?
  2. Wages: It is a universal truth that women are disproportionately found in low-paying jobs. But according to Harvard economist Claudia Goldin if employers showed more flexibility on hours and location the pay gap could be greatly reduced. This would help women everywhere.
  3. Violence: I was staggered by the numbers -270,000 rapes or sexual assaults annually in USA. That 1 in 3 females murdered is killed by a partner. Of course this is a world issue so perhaps the ‘movement’ in the U.S. could link up with Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) who have held large demonstrations in Argentina in a struggle against a culture of machismo. The fight in Argentina has been followed by groups in Uruguay and Chile.
  4. Abortion Rights
  5. Maternal Mortality Rates
  6. Sick pay and parental leave
  7. Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – needs to be enforced.
  8. Affordable Child Care: This like some others is a world problem. Johnathan Cohn cited in the report, states, “The lack of quality, affordable day care is arguably the most significant barrier to full equality for women in the workplace.”
  9. Women in prison and their horrid treatment.
  10. Human Trafficking: where nightmares are 24/7.
  11. Female representation in many aspects of society. A world problem.
  12. Discrimination in academia.
  13. Under representation in the Justice system.
  14. Under representation in large companies.
  15. Under representation and unequal pay in entertainment industry.
  16. Keeping women in high tech jobs.
  17. Lack of health insurance, affects 30m women and girls in U.S.
  18. CEDAW Treaty – an international bill of rights for women. USA only major country that has not ratified it.

They are all good causes though some are U.S. specific. I have chosen five (5) issues which I believe are uncontentious but significantly are world issues that could help galvanize women everywhere.

Poverty: Nobody can deny that poverty affects millions all over the world and if women didn’t cope our global society would fall apart. By embracing the cause of poverty and, the numbers in America are significant, a message of hope is sent wherever the internet reaches.

Wages: An issue that women in the Western World can readily agree with. It is in the West that the cudgel can be thrown down. If women in the West are not to be trifled with a message of hope flies around the world faster than a jet.

Violence: Where in the world have women not been acquainted with violence? The fight back in South America can only be uplifting for women everywhere. The culture of machismo is world-wide. Men are conditioned towards violence and especially when they feel inadequate. It needs a massive input into education.

Child care: Governments keep talking about getting more women into the workplace but do little to encourage or enforce businesses to cater for those with children. The quote by Johnathan Cohn above tells us just how big an issue it is.

Human Trafficking: The powerlessness of these women and children surely has a resonance with all women to some extent. A global business generating some $32 billion annually: what price misery. What cost men’s libido? It’s a tsunami of barbarity, women and children used worse than pigs in a pen. There is no bright star in their sky. Unless….

Equality of Burden

By accepting the premise that all women, no matter their status, are treated as second class citizens in some aspect of their life then you have equality of burden. There is no race, no religious or class issues; these are barriers to unity. If women can see beyond their present status and they can on many issues, then they can organise/vote for change as a singular body.

America has pole position in the chase for change. However, much will depend on their ability to overcome their biases. It’s a huge problem as bias can debilitate any organisation. As noted earlier tensions arose immediately concerning race, while some minority groups feared that it may become a programme for the white working class.

However, any change in working conditions would by necessity of law include all who work in that environment. What has emerged is just how divided American society is and how perceptions can be skewed. It is a massive task for the women’s movement but a unique opportunity to transform society.

A further testing case for the organisers of the women’s movement will be their attitude to the 53% of white females who voted but voted for Trump. (NY times & Newsweek) Two points can be raised immediately e.g. will they be welcomed to participate in subsequent action or simply dismissed as beyond exorcizing.

Unfortunately, some will dismiss them as right-wing fascists and want nothing to do with them. Others will recognise that if you nick them they will bleed. Surely there are issues on which the vast majority of women can agree? It would be a failure of magnitude not to invite the Trump supporters to participate. The opposition would correctly admonish the women’s campaign as not representative of all women.

Not to welcome, not to embrace the white women who voted Trump would be akin to railroading yourself into a cul-de-sac. It must also be remembered that around 30% of Hispanics voted Trump. If women are to make a credible difference, a long lasting difference, then they need the overwhelming majority on their ticket. This necessitates that some, perhaps more than some, will have to burst their bubble and walk out into the sun to welcome the warmth that camaraderie brings.

And thus it has to be noted that abortion is an extremely contentious issue and organisers must be cognizant of the millions of Catholic women and other religious groups that cannot accept abortion on demand. It is in recognising differences that we gain strength. As a fillip to the abortionist lobby I would recommend, the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”

We Will Vote IF…

That is why non-contentious issues are vital. One such is violence. State the case by issuing an ultimatum: we will vote if your party will sanction stiffer penalties for violence against women and a fully paid programme in schools to educate about such violence.  If not fully implemented we will vote against you or abstain in the mid-term elections. Therefore you pick the battles you want to fight.

We will vote, IF… the government puts forward a programme to smash poverty by introducing legislation to build homeless shelters in every state. Produce a remit to subsidize specific charities to provide food and clothing to the most needy. No child should go hungry in America! No child should go without an equal chance in America! The same applies for the whole of the western world. A minimum wage can be a crucial element.

The issue of a minimum wage can be a winner as evidence shows it already has support from both Democrat and Republican women. At present the minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25. A proposition in 2014 to increase it to $10.10 over a two year period was defeated in the Senate by the Republicans.

However, the Republican states of: Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota all elected to increase their minimum wage.  This is a clear illustration that certain issues can bridge the gulf between the classes and race to gain cross political support. The measure would have affected 16.5 m workers and lifted 900,000 out of the poverty trap. A study of Claudia Goldin’s research might reveal a second route forward.

Furthermore, to have someone’s living standard dependant on the size of a tip is monstrous. It means that tipping becomes an expectation and a must, and, is thus an unfair burden on both the waiter and the diner. Surely the amount of a tip should be based on the quality of the meal and the standard of service and not as an obligation to help the worker survive.

It’s unbelievable that the worker gets around $2.13 an hour and has to make the rest up by tips. Does the owner of the establishment then take a cut if the tips go beyond the national minimum wage? The owner must be sitting in the back of the premises counting up his profit. Scrooge lives!

Further up the ladder would require legislative change to enforce employers to act accordingly with severe penalties if they do not. Example: Any employer found to be breaking the law should be made to pay full compensation to the employee- X – by the number of year’s service and face a fine of the equivalent of one year’s income for each employee affected, plus the cost of bringing the action.

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

child care

A simple must!

Child care is the one issue that affects every family though some much more than others. I was drawn to a TV news programme the 51% on France24.com. 31/01/17 The programme which focusses on women’s issues worldwide highlighted a growing dilemma for nations in Europe. Apparently women are having fewer children and a growing number are having none. This can be construed as a matter of choice but it has long term consequences.

The obvious downside is fewer young people which equates with less taxes = less to pay for pensions + less workers = less people available in care industry etc. The main solution was to greatly increase provision of affordable child care allowing more women to have a career and a family. It gives considerable credence to the view expressed by Johnathan Cohn cited earlier.

Discrimination against pregnant workers and new mothers is an ongoing problem. It should be a matter of law, an obligation of society, taken for granted that such provision is given. After all, were would we be without pregnant women? Again it requires government to get tough but it will only do so with your vote or threat of abstention.

Child care generally is patchy, haphazard and chaotic in places but its importance cannot be underestimated, “High quality early childhood programs are viewed by many educators as a critical way to help overcome the learning deficit many low-income kids face when they start kindergarten – an obstacle many never overcome”.

While 1.6 million families use federal subsidies the facilities and teaching are not always up to scratch. Overall there is $5 billion spent on subsidies but few reports on inspection or on background checks of the workers. www.cbsnews.com/news/review-finds-lax-child-care-rules-across-us

This investigation took place in 2013 and since then Obama has instituted a programme, Preschool for All with an estimated cost of $75bn over ten years, paid for by a tax increase on cigarettes. At the time over one (1) million were not receiving any preschool. The take up figures for those living below the poverty line was less than 50%. U.S. is one of the worse industrialised countries for preschool education and especially if your poor.

Moreover, Obama’s scheme has come under serious criticism from an educational specialist, Grover J. Whitehurst who argues that a study in Tennessee has more of, “…a positive effect on children’s social/emotional development”. He argues that Obama’s plan is lacklustre at best. Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program (TN – VPK) is aimed at 4 year olds from low-income families.

https://thinkprogress.org/update-obama-budget-includes-75-billion-to-fund-preschool-for-all-initiative-83a77a17d8d8#.pe1z6ghdx

https://www.brookings.edu/research/new-evidence-raises-doubts-on-obamas-preschool-for-all/

Exploitation

There is a road so dark that only evil walks there, it’s the route of the people traffickers. It has to be the most despicable of all trades and this should be reflected in the punishment. A minimum of 30yrs in prison and all assets seized. Every nation should have special units that cooperate worldwide.

Any politician found to be involved must immediately stand down and all their assets seized even if it leaves their family without a home. Tough, but then they are the perpetrators of unimaginable misery.

This is a long term proposal over a ten (10) year period but action must be seen to be taken. It is also a critical issue because it mainly affects women and girls. If you can’t send out that message of hope – then go home.

The NOW organisation was founded in 1966 by 49 members of whom two were male. Only nine of the stalwarts are still active but seem to have their finger on the pulse.

Moreover, the folks at NOW might have a lot more to contribute to today’s organisers. What has inspired them to keep going all these years? What have they learned and what can they impart. There must be many stories about achievements and disappointments. There will also be lots of contacts; not forgetting the stored ability of those still standing.

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

http://now.org/

 

If the road was clear, with no traffic, then the women’s movement could march straight ahead gaining momentum as they pass each village and town. (Ghandi’s Salt March) Unfortunately, there are many actors who are cocksure of their direction and are adamant that their voice should rise above all others. They are a hindrance because they cannot hear the others sing. They are the soloist who feels superior to the choir.

It is these soloists that will hold back and eventually break a movement that holds a mountain of promise. They must be told to leave their baggage at the door. If they cannot burst their own bubble it must be broken for them.

There is abundant evidence that at grassroots there is massive support to push forward women’s issues. It is the collective noun that is the vital ingredient to the mix. There is an overwhelming wealth of talent out there, it would be a catastrophic failure to restrict it or allow it to fritter away. There is also solid evidence that a victory can be won by promoting a National Minimum Wage.

This is a win – win issue that can galvanize the whole movement and give heart to those on both sides of the track that all can contribute. It can be a significant stepping stone. Be careful Donald, there’s an army on your doorstep!

Vote or Abstain:  the power lies with you!

 

Migrant Crisis.

th5ME3YUAOThe migrant crisis is bringing anxiety to the fore in the EU, notably: Greece, Italy, Austria and Hungary, and other former eastern bloc nations. Such is the scale of the exodus and the political pressure from within these nations that something has to give. Is Europe sinking into its own mire?

An estimated one million have left their homelands and are making their way to Europe. It is a terrifying number made worse by the prospect that several thousand more will join this meandering river of hope.

The economics of the numbers is but one problem that has an immediate impact. However, the long-term costs both economic and social may have a greater effect. Housing, schooling and health which must include sewage, need considerable planning. The infrastructure, especially the road network may need substantial updating. More cars/lorries = more headaches =more pollution.

Pollution with the build-up of diesel fumes. See, Diesel Vehicles: Killer in our Midst. An approximate 9,000 deaths in London are directly associated with pollution. Sadiq KhanthE0TWUDA5 Moreover, frustration is mounting in Southern Britain with the number of hold ups, crashes etc. on the main routes.

The assimilation into the community and workforce and the scale of jobs required to compliment the number of migrants will generate a huge social/economic cost. It is already known that it has a consequential effect on wages, on welfare, and on the level and make up of those on the dole.

Youth unemployment is alarming high in Spain, Greece, Italy and more generally.  Such unemployment cannot be ignored as it could stimulate radical consequences down the line. Politicians need to remember above all else that every action has a reaction.

A Syrian migrant family enters Hungary at the border with Serbia near Roszke, Hungary August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

A Syrian migrant family enters Hungary at the border with Serbia near Roszke, Hungary August 28, 2015. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Inviting the migrants is a very human reaction and it is good to see that we have not lost our humanity. However, many more anxious souls are watching, worried by the influx for a myriad of reasons. Opposition parties will be cheering with each gulp of beer; they know there will be trouble ahead. Their argument will find a receptive ear in pubs and the workplace.

Germany has opened its borders and has called upon the rest of Europe to follow suit. It is suggested that Germany will take 800,000 this year alone, perhaps up to 1million and 500,000 next year. Germany already has a Muslim population of some four (4) million. www.my.telegraph.co.uk         The scale of such figures has two direct consequences:

  • They cause grave misgivings among large sections of the indigenous population.
  • They stimulate more movement. News of a welcome will spread as quick as mouths can chatter and phones can ping.

The media have put the crisis front and centre in an avalanche of coverage which has brought an emotional screech of humanity, humanity! However, there are a host of other issues, inhumane, happening now, but it’s not in the peoples’ face and so there is silence.

A silence more deafening, more barbaric because it suffers from an old cliché – out of sight out of mind, and so child abuse , slavery, trafficking continue. As those who screech humanity wander back into the microcosm that is their life; chuffed with their emotional outburst, suffering grows.

Germany, France the UK have a large immigrant population and they are not a happy bunch. They have tended to congregate in particular areas and towns. Integration has not worked. Adding to the dilemma will not ease but rather exacerbate the situation.

Furthermore, the tension in Europe is growing. Juncker’s notion of compulsory quotas has not gone down well: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Rumania are not keen. Britain, Ireland and Denmark have an opt out clause. The Schengen agreement is in tatters. The idea that France, Germany and Spain should take 60% of migrants from Italy, Greece and Hungary will meet opposition as the numbers increase. www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34193568

Opinion polls in several countries point to great hesitation on the part of the indigenous population. The second largest political party in Finland have grave reservations. Bbc.co.uk

  • France: a poll found 55% didn’t want more migrants.
  • Germany: dozens of attacks on migrant centres.
  • Switzerland: a poll found 45% want their borders closed.
  • Denmark: has closed railway links to Germany.
  • Some towns and cities in Italy have refused to house migrants. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_migrant_crisis

www.cnbc.com/2015/09/08/how-europeans-have-reacted-tomigrant-crisis.htlm

The EU had 626,000 asylum applications in 2014; it will be well over one million this year. The question of numbers will start to dominate thinking. En.wikipedia.org

Turkey is reputed to hold 1.9 million migrants. However, around 3,000 are sailing to Lesbos in Greece daily. How many will come? After-all the welcome mat has been dusted and placed at Europe’s doorstep.

  1. None of the richest Gulf States have taken any, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain. Why not? www.npr.org/2015/09/08
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The precedent has been set, wherever there is conflict people are free to come to Europe. If you open it, they will come. People will come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calais: Migrant Crisis?

Calais Jungle

Calais Jungle

Is the situation in Calais a humanitarian crisis that most on the left of politics say is the case? Or on the other hand a political crisis as many others would suggest. Who is right?

The trendy-wendy left remind us that the migrants are human and do have rights and therefore by simple logic should be allowed to enter Britain. The ambition of the migrants is to build a new life and believe that it will be easier in the UK. But the perplexing question for the trendy-wendy left-wing is how many should be allowed to come to Britain.

On the opposite spectrum, those on the right of the political divide have some pertinent questions; whether they are given credence or not.

  • How will the migrants support themselves?
  • Have they got a worthwhile skill?
  • Will they take our jobs for less money?
  • Will they get preference on the housing ladder?

There are a host of other questions but these suffice to give a flavour of the angst that ordinary people feel. Many do feel frustrated, angry and scared by the possible influx of new cheap labour. They have other relevant points to raise: are we not human too? Do our anxieties and fears mean nothing?

Can the situation at Calais be construed as a fundamental humanitarian crisis? The simple straight forward answer is NO. The migrants may have travelled many miles to reach Calais. In their journey they may have crossed the border of several European countries. Why did they not stop in the first nation they entered?

According to EU law, the Schengen Agreement, all migrants should be held in the port of arrival until they have been processed e.g. Greece and Italy. Those who are purely economic migrants are supposed to be refused and returned to their home land.

Migrants can therefore be fed, clothed and given shelter in the host nation. The migrants who continue to Calais have made a choice, a decision to try and enter Britain illegally. Thus Calais is the place of choice and is therefore not a humanitarian crisis. Their needs can be met in the original host nation.

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Moreover, many migrants have been resident in Calais for several months. Some have been arrested and released but have decided to remain in the squalid squatter camps. Every day the migrants make a choice. It is not imposed it’s a burden of choice!

Furthermore, I have seen many reports that include migrant views but none that seek the opinion of the local French residents. Perhaps they have an opinion on what is happening?

Once again some relevant questions:

  • How did the migrants afford the fees of the people traffickers?
  • How do they support themselves in Calais?
  • What does Britain offer which other European countries don’t?

Simple questions, with a decided political tone, but nonetheless pertinent.

Note that commentators try, when they can, to bring children into the equation. This is to invoke an emotional response from the viewer, listener, and reader. It is an old trick but at times effective.

What are not mentioned are the underlying costs. Kent County Council has an estimated 600 migrant youngsters in their care at an annual cost of £30,000 per person per year. That is a lot of money and must be paid for by the council taxpayer. However, the left-wingers are not concerned by the cost, which is merely another arrow to shoot at the Tory government.

Where are the parents of these children? Are they planning to use their offspring as a back door into Britain?

Clearly the left are creating an atmosphere of a humanitarian crisis. Is this to raise awareness or to fuel their cheap politics? The hypocrisy of the left knows no boundary. What is more despicable is that they have no concern for the ordinary Joes of this country.

The left-wingers need to deal with the fact that the poor pick up the lion’s share of the tax burden. It is the poorest who are hurt the most as they cannot work for less than the minimum wage which migrants are forced too.

Are the Tories the good guys? That would be a resounding NO!

The Conservative eyes are firmly on the future election and know that many voters are deeply concerned by immigration and the Human Rights Act. Many are exasperated by the latter that seems to side with every loose nut (perception) but does nothing for the everyday person. Thus the Tories are pandering to the disaffected electorate.

Actions taken so far by the Tories are minimal: more fencing, more dogs, more police and more money. They are simply tinkering with the issue. It’s a political blind-sider to make you believe something big is happening.

A local guru down the pub has a ready-made solution. His suggestion is to find a couple of hundred illegal migrants in England pack them on to buses and drop them off in Calais. To carry through the process for a few weeks until the guys in Calais realise their hopes are fruitless.

When I interjected to explain that such action might breach their human rights; I was nearly blown off my bar stool by the roar of derision about the Human Rights Act. On a democratic vote I would have lost my deposit!

Many hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are in Britain and little is done to rectify the dilemma. Most work in the ‘black economy’ a cash in hand daily job. They can be found in places like Old Kent Road, London where they queue to be picked up and taken to a place of work; being paid below the national minimum wage.

These illegals are being exploited and a government which turns a blind eye is complicit in that exploitation. The left-wingers who are silent on this issue are condoning this tawdry business.

The only people laughing in this situation are the businesses that are profiting from employing the migrants. Perhaps they should face the same penalty as is proposed for rogue landlords who allow illegal migrants to rent their property – 5 yrs. in prison. No, can’t do that to our donors, our mates!!!

Is it all Britain’s fault? NO!

The migrants are in France it is their legal obligation to deal with it effectively. However, recently the European Commission made it clear that Britain should have cooperated in the dispersal of 40,000 migrants throughout the EU. Britain refused! Is the UK now being held to ransom, taught a lesson?

What is the truth? Unfortunately, there is no truth in politics, only agendas.

 

 

Immigration (2):The Blind Eye Syndrome.

Doing a Nelson is a common retort to anyone who has turned their back on an event or

Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar

Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar

pretended not to have seen it. Doing a Nelson is what the supporters of mass immigration have done. Not simply on the grounds of numbers but to what has come in the wake. The wake brings a magnitude of depravity that should sicken anyone who accepts human rights as a natural right. It’s sad to say but many cannot see the reality as they are blinded by their political extremism. Dogma rules!

Learn the history of Nelson at: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horatio_Nelson

Each surge of foreign nationals ushers in their own brand of gangsters who feast off their own people, before spreading out into the wider society. With these mobsters comes: people trafficking, murder, rape, drugs, protectionism/intimidation, slave labour and a raft of thievery. They are here to make money at whatever cost to others. The prison population will bear testament to this assertion. But most criminals escape the justice system. Furthermore, many of these cheap and hardworking foreign nationals are controlled by ‘Gang masters’ who pay them a pittance but force them to work long hours.  Human Rights: the hypocrisy continues!

As usual the weakest suffer the most; women and children are the main source for people traffickers who make £millions each year selling these unfortunates for sex. Many are forced into prostitution and drug running, others into slave labour. Their innocence and hope erased forever. That is the bottom line for thousands who suffer this fate. And where are the defenders of the weak, the advocates of human rights: they are to be found hiding behind the police whom they claim, its job it is to manage these atrocities. The unfortunates are collateral damage!

This is a country of Two Nations Benjamin Disraeli once wrote and so it is again. The supporters of immigration do not want to hear about the dark side: not while they sip their tea and listen to a piano concerto. No. They dismiss the ravings of the hoi polloi as misguided, uneducated tripe. Their thirst for wealth and adept use of political expediency fuels their inherent blindness which in turn absolves them of their complicity in this horror of human misery.

To some extent the people do understand what the rich get out of immigration but are left scratching their heads as to what is in it for them. This latter query needs an explanation but no one is involving the people in conversation. The most likely outcome is to be browbeaten with a barrage of insulting taunts: unskilled, lazy, thicko or racist abuse such as: little Englander, fascist, racist, NIMBY! Thus the majority of the people are disenfranchised and made to feel unworthy.

A sense of powerlessness and grated feelings eventually harbours bitterness. Small wonder that an increasing number have turned against the political elite whom they had thought were advocates of democracy. It seems that democracy has a new definition – gaffer and pleb. George Friedman has a little reminder for the elite, “Power as an end in itself is a monstrosity that doesn’t achieve anything lasting and will inevitably deform the …regime”. (The Next Decade)

Evidence of the growing gulf in our society is given weight by a study carried out by Matthew Goodwin & Robert Ford. Their analysis shows a growing dissatisfaction with the three main political parties: Conservative, Labour & Liberal. The authors characterize this group as the ‘left behind voters’ and as ‘white faces, blue collar and grey hair’. There are several areas on which this characterization can be challenged:  the interpretation of the term, ‘left behind’- does this assume that the political elite are right in their view of society? Or is it mere language that suggests that the people are being ‘left behind’ simply on the basis that they are not being asked to join in?

Furthermore it would be wrong to assume that this body of the electorate is primarily of ‘grey hair’. Many young people are or feel as disenfranchised as their older counterparts but, most importantly, are less inclined to vote. Hence the present frenzy to create apprenticeships. Get them off the streets!

The distrust of politicians is not a new phenomenon. Everyone knows they have two tongues, one to speak to you with and one to speak down to you with. Other major concerns of the electorate over recent years have been the forced introduction of political correctness, the abuse of human rights legislation and of the justice system. What is very important to note is that the ‘grey hairs’ are still believers in democracy and are willing to channel their anxiety through the ballot box. Even though many recognise they are being railroaded down a line.

That the democratic voice of the people cannot prove to be definitive, points in the direction of diktat. Forcing the electorate to accept political diktat without the necessary mandate of the peoples’ will is indoctrination. The people are forced to accept human rights when it suits the politicians but Article 9 can be overlooked, “You should not be indoctrinated by the State”.

Statistical analysis sways erratically depending on the dogma being presented. Tom Papworth contends, (op cit:) “…the entire immigration debate is taking place in the dark”. It all comes down to which measuring stick you use.  Only recently, James Brokenshire, Conservative Immigration Minister, claimed that uncontrolled immigration forces wages down and house prices up. (Telegraph 6th March 2014) As if on cue the Halifax Bank announced that house prices have grown at their fastest rate in 5 years.

Moreover, a report by the Migration Advisory Committee (Dec: 2012) estimated that 23 native workers are left unemployed for every 100 migrants who come to the UK. Not to be beaten the Institute of Public Policy Research, using a different timeframe, come up with different figures. (Independent 6th March 2014) Note that the Telegraph (right) makes one point, the Independent (left) promotes an alternative view. There is no search for objectivity only partisanship.

Unfortunately the battle lines have been drawn. Even the title of the study by Matthew Goodwin & Robert Ford, Revolt of the Right: Explaining Public Support for the Radical Right in Britain illustrates the political bias prevalent in our society. They have set political parameters to the extent that if you oppose the EU / immigration and vote for Ukip you must be right wing in political thought. You have been tagged and are therefore subject to abuse as mentioned earlier. No attempt has been made to look at it as a societal problem or as one of democratic rights. Note, that the authors were given space for an article in the Guardian (left) (6th March 2014).It seems there is no escape from dogma.

In a world of competing dogma how are the electorate to reach an objective decision? “A rational man is one who makes a proper use of reason: and this implies, among other things, that he correctly estimates the strength of evidence”. A J Ayer: Probability and Evidence. Perhaps our newspaper editors should take note.

The authors identify the political party Ukip as one on the radical right. Ukip opposes continued membership of the EU and mass immigration, not immigration per se. It also highlights the abuse of the Human Rights Law and the inconsistences of the Justice system. Surprisingly these are similar to the views expressed by the majority of the people in opinion polls and increasingly at the ballot box.

Warning! Do not assume my politics. Assumption is to intellect what a mosquito is to good health.

A very interesting point comes from the study, “In fact, Ukip is the most working- class dominated party since Michael Foot’s Labour in 1983”. Have these workers moved to the radical right or are they just disillusioned by their traditional party’s stance on these issues? Were similar views not voiced and supported by strike action in the early 1960s?

Are they disillusioned because no one will explain why there is a need for mass immigration or why they should support a united Europe? What is in it for them? All they experience is being talked down to, not listened to, and not considered worth talking to. They fail to see the real battle between the forces of the elites of right and left. The Titans are at war and the only people supporting democracy are the plebs! Since 1832!

Another reminder for the elite: “The greater the power the more dangerous the abuse”. Edmund Burke.

Is the story of immigration one of long term planning in that population decline will affect many societies in the future? (George Friedman: The Next Hundred Years) Is the UK therefore preparing to bridge the skill gap of the future by having a population large enough to cope? Nonetheless, the question of sustainability is a pressing one and must be answered. Just how big a population can our country manage? What are the consequences of continued growth of 170,000 per year and natural growth? Can a society that allows one section to ignore human rights and another section to be prosecuted for failure to uphold the law, live in harmony?

Questions, questions, questions, are they not to be answered because they’re Pleb questions?

 

 

 

 

 

Immigration: Boom or Bust (1)

Is this right?

Is this right?

Advocates of immigration see no problem with the volume of migrants entering the country. On the contrary, the majority of the people, (based on opinion polls and on support for Ukip) take a very different view. The two main strands that are in open discussion are the view of business and the Metropolitan elite that immigration is a positive for the nation. The wider populace have concerns as to the scale of numbers coming into the country and the overall effect on: welfare, health, education, housing, and roads: cars, pollution etc., on

Or is this right?

Or is this right?

culture and the values that make up the fabric of a cohesive society.

However, there is another side, a much darker hidden side and one of deep despair. We do not talk of this consequence of immigration because it would showcase just what a sick society we truly are.

As far as business are concerned, it’s a simple equation; the more the merrier. Some aspects of their logic make good sense. There are vacancies that need to be filled and if that specific skill set is not available locally then allow someone from abroad to fill the role. Otherwise the company could lose the contract which could have an adverse effect on those already employed.

There is good support for the argument of business. Tom Papworth, www.centreforum.org  suggests that there is compelling evidence that immigration is good for the country. In the same article, Peri & Davis are equally positive, “The economic question is not whether a domestic worker is capable of doing the job, but whether it is more efficient to allocate the job to a domestic or a foreign worker”. The LSE note, that there is little evidence of a negative impact of immigration. The London Chamber of Commerce likewise add a positive voice.

Business leaders and many politicians point out that the local population are not as well educated nor share the same work ethic as their foreign counterparts. While this might hold a grain of truth it also leaves open the question of why that should be so. Who is to be held responsible for the characteristics and culture identified? A mirror is a very handy tool to check out how one looks!

Why did the UK get rid of apprenticeships only to, more recently, have a sudden frenzy to re-introduce them? The former was a decision proposed by business and carried out by politicians! Now business wants to be paid for taking-on apprentices. Getting rid of apprenticeships caused a severe shortage of skilled tradesmen which lead to a mass influx of Eastern European workers who were better qualified and crucially cheaper. Many may view business ethics as akin to those of a louse. A louse does not much care on whose hair or head it lays its nits as long as it gets fed.

As for the Metropolitan elite they hide behind the mantra of multiculturalism. It is their contention that many cultures can co-exist in harmony. History would tend to dispute that assumption: Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Check Republic, and Slovenia and presently the tension in Ukraine. Thus multiculturalism has no intellectual basis but is borne of political expediency. To run without the knowledge and experience of history is to always run with blinkers on.

Even our limited experience of multiculturalism in the UK has been one of ethnic enclaves, of segregation by choice or circumstance. Behind some of these closed environments we are left to assume that all is well. However, some groups have brought cultural attitudes which are contrary to human rights legislation. Multiculturalism by its very sense envisages that the people retain their culture, their belief systems, and their definitive outlook on life. There is no room here for change either as a community or on an individual basis. That is why multiculturalism is a dodo!

The advocates of multiculturalism may point to the long established Chinese community to support their political belief. Contrary to that outlook the Chinese community can readily be described as a closed one. A community that may hide gross violations of human rights but which we are prepared to ignore because it does not directly affect us. The hypocrisy of our toleration is exposed in our other guise as living in a Liberal democracy. We may pretend that by visiting China town and having a meal we are somehow having a cultural exchange, it’s simply that, pretence.

th0HFP8Z3GImmigration and the fear it evokes is not new. The 1948 Nationality Act allowed anyone from the Commonwealth to come to the UK, some 800 million. (Wikipedia) Of course that was not practical but many did come, many on request, but such were the numbers that in 1962 the Commonwealth Immigration Act was passed. Another law was enacted in 1968 and again in 1972 and a further immigration law in 1981. In 1997, the ‘primary purpose rule’ was abolished. It is important to note that tension regarding immigration has not dissipated; on the contrary some would argue it has become more entrenched. Over the past decade there have been 83 changes to immigration legislation.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) net immigration has risen each year between 2000 & 2008. In 2006 over 154,000 were granted citizenship and a further 134,400 were granted settlement. In 2009 net migration was 196,000. The coldness of the figures on immigration disguises an enormous problem.  A new town every year! Tension increased to such an extent that in 2003 the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair promised to slash asylum seekers by 50% in just seven (7) months. In 2008 the government introduced a fine of £10,000 for each illegal immigrant found working in a business. Obviously problems had been identified.

The decision by the Labour Government to open the borders and create open access was a deliberate policy between 2000 & 2008. Andrew Neather. The European statistical body, Eurostat claimed that in 2010 the UK population was 62 million of which some seven (7) million were foreign born.

 

There has been 50 years of tension concerning immigration, thus it’s generational, a point many would like to remain hidden. The tension is high because the numbers remain high. The BBC (28 Nov: 2013) reported that close on 0.5 million immigrants arrived in the UK in 2012. Official figures for net migration in that year were 176,000 a sizable increase on the 2011 figure of 153,000. The most recent numbers for 2013 are 212,000 up 37% on the previous year. (Reuters)

The question is one of sustainability, for how long can the country manage the scale of numbers? This point is given added credence when the 2011 Census revealed 464,800 more people in the country than the ONS had calculated. WOW! The politicians’ response – stop having a census! Bury the truth: the first stage in Stalinist rule! No politician has of yet come forward to explain the cost of sustainability or to allay the fears of the people in any sensible way.

Is it all about economic efficiency? After all we do live in a capitalist world; therefore should we not logically serve the one God? Perhaps we are hoodwinking ourselves by promoting the notion of community, of social cohesion, of society. Capitalism is a dominant force in our lives and maybe we should accept this and bow to the inevitable: let the dogs out and fend for ourselves.

What I find enigmatic about the whole thing is the political shallowness and shadow-boxing of the proponents. In support of mass immigration we have the ‘Left’ in UK politics, the Liberal party and the business community. In the opposite corner we have strong elements of the ‘right’ in UK politics and the working class. Note that it is the working class who suffer most from mass immigration and their erstwhile political leaders of the Left who are the main advocates. Intriguing! 1960s again!

Human Trafficking: This is a Man’s World.

The aspect of human trafficking that gets the most attention is trafficking for sexual abuse. Of those taken for sexual exploitation “98% are women and girls”. www.antislavery.org  . As mentioned on the previous post it is a vast money-making criminal enterprise, raking in an approximate $32bn a year. Therefore it ranks in the top three, beside drugs and gun smuggling. The only way to defeat this monster is to declare war on it, literally or severely hammer its profit margin.

He said, ‘I look for butterflies

That sleep among the wheat:

I make them into mutton-pies,

And sell them in the street.

Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass Ch. 8.  Apologies for using out of context.

Sections of the UK press allow their journalists to scream about the nation’s past association with the slave trade. They harp on about the legacy of past indignities, of brash colonialism, of how we should never forget the damage we have inflicted on other cultures and people. On the other hand I seldom read of today’s problem with slavery, of the magnitude of the horror that exists. It is one thing to preach human rights, it is quite another to practice what you preach. I have not seen any expose on India for ‘bonded labour’ or on the whole of Asia for its part in this crime of crimes.  I have not seen demands that: Nigeria, Vietnam, China, Rumania must do something about their gangs involved in human trafficking. On slavery, the human rights army, roars like a lion with tonsillitis!

Is the truth that there are places in dark corners where even the press won’t go? On so many other issues that affect human rights they become the proverbial child having a tantrum. They will bash anyone, castigate any politician, and howl abuse at those who do not share their holy vision. Yet out there in the mists and fog are 27 million souls trapped in slavery and nothing louder than a whisper can be heard. Hypocrisy is a road that has no end and those who travel it do so without vision.

For the media in general, the truth may be quite as simple as is the logic; if you cannot immediately affect the situation, leave it well alone. The world is thriving on instant gratification and me-ism, anything else is a distraction. However, a mass-media campaign is the only way we can wake up our politicians and force them to take action. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Mandela, a Ghandi, a King or a Wilberforce to galvanise opinion.

We know from Interpol that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal business. Add corruption of officials to that and you have the answer as to why not a lot is done about the heinous crime. The general public for the most part are too busy trying to make do in their own lives, and if trafficking does not affect them directly they don’t have the time to worry about it; unless it is brought to their attention on a regular basis.

Money and sex are a pair of gloves that fit any hands. They both create an overpowering lust in some, and share the power to corrupt just about anyone. That’s the pull and the fire in this crooked business. It is bereft of conscience and therefore rational dialogue cannot penetrate the minds of those involved in the human trafficking world. Force and penalty may be the only way to deal with them but it must be done with guile and good intelligence. But when the guillotine is released it must do the job it was designed for, without the intervention of the human rights lobby. I am a firm believer that those who seriously violate another’s human rights relinquish their own.

Two and a half million human beings trafficked every year is a staggering number. All over the world even in countries that consider themselves ‘civilized’ the barracuda swims. In Canada, it is reported that 7oo annually are trafficked for the sex trade and that is the tip of the iceberg. In the USA it could be as many as 50,000 used for slave labour and sex.

There are ‘hot spots’: Brasil, Australia, the Netherlands and France are cited. www.buzzle.com   “In 2010, Thailand and Brasil were considered to have the worst child sex trafficking records”. Wikipedia Brasil gets a number of mentions in studies but not in the press. Why not? The USA State Department (June2013) brings Russia and China to our attention concerning their failure to combat trafficking. While, “Japan is considered the largest market for Asian women trafficked for sex”. www.randomhistory.com  Perhaps these countries should be asked to post a health warning on all tourist information.

Meanwhile, the LA Times (Oct: 2012) suggest that sex trafficking of the young is a growing problem. That some gangs are moving away from drugs and into forced prostitution because it makes them more money. Also in California, the FBI recognizes three (3) cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego as high intensity child sex trafficking areas.  www.ballotpedia.org/wiki  In Texas, State Highway 1-10 is viewed as a human trafficking hub. www.yourhoustonnews.com

In the UK the BBC report (Oct: 2012) that 946 victims were recorded in 2011 of which 712 were adults and 234 children. They cite gangs from: China, Nigeria, and Eastern Europe as the main perpetrators. That is only the recorded number; in the shadows there may be as many as 10,000. It is known that many Vietnamese people are brought to the UK to harvest cannabis and females are trafficked to manicure women’s nails during the day and service men at night. Sunday Times

Next year 2014 the UK government plan to introduce a new law against human trafficking and will appoint a “Modern Slavery Commissioner”. The details are sketchy at the moment but it will be interesting to view the final draft of the new law to see if it covers all the bases or just increases punishment for those apprehended.

As I have come to expect things are happening in America. It is reported that 21 States have anti trafficking laws. My question would be how uniform are they or are they a higgledy-piggledy mix? California, which has been identified as a child sex trafficking hub have adopted a new law, Proposition 35. The new law gained a massive 81% approval at the ballot. The law imposes much harsher penalties on criminals and forces all of them to register on the sex offenders list.

While support was very high those opposed may have had a case. The newspaper, Modesto Bee described it as, “overboard and misdirected”. The Fresno Bee, considered it, “…not the right approach to the problem”. And the LA Times called for a no vote.

The contention of the opposition was that the law focussed on sex trafficking to the detriment of forced labour and the welfare of the migrant worker and was therefore too narrow. Also, that the argument that harsh punishment would encourage victims to come forward was erroneous. Moreover, that the legal propositions were weak. Indeed aspects of the law have been challenged in court and been upheld. It would seem that in California they have opted for force as a deterrent. An alternative view suggests:    “…law-and-order approach to this problem has not worked,”. www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation

Houston Texas in contrast has adopted what appears to be a considered approach. Much of the work has been promoted by State Representative, Senfronia Thompson. She has championed the cause and achieved a series of local statutes: a law that permits the confiscation of proceeds from the illegal business. A ‘Hotline’ posting law whereby any bar, club or lodging establishment that has been cited for nuisance violations must show a poster warning of human trafficking and prostitution. The poster includes a ‘hotline’ number and other information to get help. To date (Sept: 2013) some 35,000 establishments in Texas post the hotline.

In addition the law treats the victims with respect; it gives positive and practical assistance via rent and relocation benefits. The package also has a ‘compensation program’. If it works as well as it reads then this would seem a good programme to copy. As for the criminals the punishment is harsh, as it should be. www.yourhoustonnews.com

In 2010 and each succeeding year, Barack Obama has proclaimed January as, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. I am not aware of any impact it has had but it is a positive step. Perhaps the Prime Minister in the UK ought to endorse it. Some may dismiss it as political gimmickry; even so, it could yield a positive outcome.

Once a year it would bring the topic to the fore allowing the agencies and charities associated with prevention to remind our politicians of the urgent need to do something. Also the general public can be kept abreast of the latest news. January being the first month of the year it can be linked to New Year resolutions. People may decide to give a small donation, £2 – $3 per month; a business may sponsor the up grading of a charity website to tackle the tragedy of slavery. Hm, Barack Obama, I might become a fan.

What I have learned from looking at the various ways the issue of human trafficking has been dealt with in USA is that people do care. Give the public something to get involved with that helps others and they will. It reminds me of an old English proverb:                “Where there’s a will there’s a way”.

Man before sex!

Man before sex!

The downside is that from Neanderthal times to the present day sex dominates men’s thinking. It probably

Man after sex.

Man after sex.

causes more disruption and damage to people’s lives than drugs. Men will go behind anyone’s back for a 5 second bash. All the talk of political correctness, of equality, of human rights slips beneath the Tsunami of men’s sexual desire.

Leonard Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat;

You treated my woman,

To a flake of your life

And when she came back;

She was nobody’s wife.

There is nothing wrong with a healthy sexual appetite but paying to have it with a slave or a child is, oh, so depraved. To stop human trafficking for sex has an ocean to cross and as with everything it comes down to you.