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Small decisions have BIG consequences: How the outcome of the Brexit process could resemble nothing anyone intended or anything that has already been seen

October 19, 2018 1 comment

small decisions

One of the biggest items of fake news reaching our screens and pages right now, is the idea, suggestion and misconception that Brexit must now come back to the People in another Referendum or ‘Peoples Vote’ to somehow make it legitimate or fair.

On 23rd June 2016, the majority of Voters taking part in the European Referendum, a genuine ‘Peoples Vote’ instructed the UK Government that our collective and democratic decision was to Leave Membership of the European Union (EU).

Contrary to repeated suggestions by many parts of the Remain camp and actions such as making challenges in the Courts and distorting the facts underlining both the Leave and Remain Campaigns and what has taken place since, the Vote was fair. The Leave result was genuine. And yes, 17.4 Million members of the Electorate of this Country did know what leaving the EU means.

However, an outcome is rarely an event in itself.

An outcome is usually the sum total of a chain of many different events or decisions leading to them, which can result in the outcome itself looking, feeling or being nothing like what the original decision directed. The result could resemble something far from what was was intended, and what it should have meant, simply because of decisions, influences and actions that enter the chain in between.

In normal life, this evolutionary process is often natural, influenced by many factors added on the way along, which are not intended on the part of anyone involved. They sit completely outside of our control and often lead to outcomes very different to what had been at any point planned or intended, but the result is overlooked, because the non-contrived and unforeseen parts of life have been introduced to the picture as we have travelled through.

Where things go wrong, particularly where big, political decisions are made, is that when a clear outcome from a process is defined, somebody or many somebodies either deliberately, or indeed unintentionally attempt and perhaps succeed in exerting influence on the process leading to that outcome.

They take action which ultimately leads things to a very different place from where they should have by that point have been, whether part of the legitimate plan, or whatever was their own. Different, because whatever the intention, once an action has been undertaken, the consequences in such circumstances are often completely out of anyones control.

Brexit is one such outcome. An outcome which is likely to look very different to what was intended when people Voted for it and equally very different to what those who have been trying to frustrate it have been intending ever since.

Whilst we obsess about the future and what we think will happen, we habitually base our predictions on the snapshot of now. We overlook the events which contributed or created the pathway which brought us to this point in time right now, which with different decisions and influences could have already looked very different indeed.

We also overlook what pandering to the noisy fears of idealistic people without vision or responsibility could deliver in terms of the final destination, if the real priorities of our EU departure are not kept in mind and the direction of travel kept patently clear.

Brexit, and the decision which demands its delivery in its genuine sense, wasn’t simply created on that night when the Votes of the EU Referendum were counted in June 2016.

But just as the UK Leaving the EU as the result of a Referendum wasn’t foreseen in the days of Thatcher, it doesn’t now mean that there is a trouble-free license to interfere with, redirect or invalidate the will of the British people when it comes to delivering the Brexit process, by manipulating the pathway to delivery at every opportunity in between.

Looking back on the events since the UK joined what was the Common Market, it is worth considering since the last days of the Thatcher Government, how each event and small decision surrounding Government has resulted in the cumulative outcome which is Brexit today.

The Brexit result did not come about by design although many Leavers would now leverage the benefit of hindsight to say ‘We told you so’.

Yes, there was every reason to believe that the UK would ultimately exit the European Union through some kind of fracture like an economic crash or the destruction of the Euro. But nobody either within the Leave contingent or the Remain-led Establishment itself really thought it would be a democratic plebiscite which would drive a wholly different, yet legitimate wedge between the UK and Membership of the EU.

The point to consider, whether your bias is Leave or Remain, is that no matter the nature or motivation of your intention, when you interfere with a process or take a course of action where you are attempting to dictate the outcome, you can neither predict nor control what the final result or outcome will actually be.

These words of caution are aimed at anyone who is, has or will attempt to manipulate the pathway or destination of Brexit.

Brexit is a genie that is completely out of its bottle and the result of all the bad choices, deliberate deceptions and meddling is going to take the UK to a destination which has not been anticipated, cannot be controlled and will never again resemble a place in the World where even recently we may have been.

The first real divide which resembled what we now know as Leave and Remain found its genesis at the time of the Thatcher Government.

The fractures came about because of the way that what we now know as the EU has been constructed, how it operates and how so little about its modus operandi is understood.

The pathway, often littered with wholly pro-EU acts on the part of Prime Ministers and their Cabinet Colleagues who should have known better, ultimately led to the Brexit Vote result. An outcome that was never the Establishment’s intention.

If you want to give thought to how Brexit could now play out as a result of the fractures and differences in ideas between people who should now be focusing on what we have in common, rather than the temporary ideas that we do not, this is probably the best place to begin.

The European Referendum Vote was the opening of the door and the outcome of a chain of many different events.

It wasn’t an instruction for MP’s or other people with Establishment influence to try and negotiate the steps that we take to get out.

The Result was a call to action. The Vote was a command. The outcome was a clear instruction that we Leave and only then review what remains between the UK and the EU. We the Electorate had no reason to doubt that it would be delivered in a way which would be fair, transparent and above all would be diligently true to that instruction.

Here follows a look at the Chain of events which led to the European Referendum result; to May’s tenure, and to a future which is far from certain.

Just as the events discussed and speculated upon before the EU Referendum led to the requirement of a Brexit outcome, the impact and consequences of the events and outcomes that have followed leave us today in the position that we cannot be sure of what will come to pass. That is before anything else is decided or done, and the choices which lead to those decisions and actions may be small, or they may appear to be large.

PLEASE NOTE: The following has been written as a way of provoking thought about events and outcomes that have happened compared to what could have been if different decisions had been made and subsequent actions taken. It is not a suggestion that any of the circumstances outlined would definitely have happened if different choices had actually been made. It also doesn’t consider the impact of the many other options which those involved had, or the events and outcomes that did and could have influenced any one or indeed all of the events as they appear in this inexhaustive list.

 1990

Margaret Thatcher ‘Regicide’ by the Conservative Party Europhiles

‘No, No, No’ seems like ancient history now. But many of us overlook the key event to the creation of the schism between Conservatives who at any other time would be friends.

Like all of our new, ambitious and confident Prime Ministers since, Margaret Thatcher underestimated the resolve and deviousness of the EU to achieve their long-term aim of a European Superstate through a drip-drip-drip strategy built on ‘no-return’ for each and every power transferred to the Brussels based autocratic centre.

When the point came for Mrs Thatcher, when she knew things had already gone too far, many of her closest Cabinet Members had already gone ‘Euro-native’. They were committed to this supranational, undemocratic ideal and were unwilling to support the Prime Minister in doing anything to turn things around.

The key players in bringing down the last real Tory PM, such as the still vocal Michael (now Lord) Heseltine, didn’t themselves gain the Conservative Party Leadership as part of this first of many disengaging and disenfranchising processes with the public.

Instead, under the typical Europhile appearance of compromise, the post was given to one of the biggest pro-Europe Conservatives we have ever seen.

What if different decisions had been made: It is easy to look back and assume that things would have been different if Maggie had stayed. She may well have given us the Referendum that her successor never did before the Maastricht Treaty was signed and in 1991 or 1992. She could have easily secured the solid working majority Commons that Major was not destined to do. But after 11 years of Leadership including 3 General Election Wins, a war in the Falklands and many battles with the EU and domestically back home, we can only wonder if she had the energy and clout left to take the Conservatives into another Term. As any eurosceptic who was around at the time would honestly tell you, the public at large were not at that point really awake to the creeping control and danger presented by the then version of the EU, and it’s impact had not arrived in ways that put the issue firmly in people’s minds.

John Major ‘Crowned’ PM

In what seemed like an unexpected choice to those watching on from a distance, the open warfare in the Conservative Party following Margaret Thatcher’s ejection from Office led to the Election of what appeared to be a compromise candidate – John Major.

Coming immediately from the post of Chancellor, Major had just overseen the entry of the UK into the EU’s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), the precursor to the Single Currency or ‘Euro’.

What if different decisions had been made: Although a growing element of the Parliamentary Conservative Party was becoming increasingly suspicious of the direction of EU travel, few had the understanding that Thatcher had belatedly obtained. The appearance of a split in the philosophical framework of the Conservative Party made what was sold as compromise in the selection of a replacement for Margaret Thatcher all but inevitable. John Major had a track record at Cabinet level, what was at the time seen as being an essential qualification for the ‘top job’. Another Conservative Leader could have been Elected, but Thatcher was likely to have been the only Leader capable of taking on the EU at that time. She was not supported by the ‘big beasts’ to do so, so any new Leader who was in anyway Eurosceptic was going to have a very troubled time. 

1992

Maastricht Treaty

John Major’s ‘big moment’ was committing the UK to the Maastricht Treaty in early 1992.

What if different decisions had been made: The significance of Maastricht along the road to surrendering more and more power to the EU cannot be overstated. It is arguably true that this was a point when a Referendum on Membership should have been held.

We cannot be sure that a Vote at this point would have gone against remaining and therefore further committing to the EU or that the result would have instructed Major’s Government to Leave.

With three distinct groups present in the European Membership debate i.e. those who are blindly committed to the EU superstate, those who don’t care or aren’t really sure what any of it’s about and those who are against it, it is reasonably safe to argue that in 1992, the deck was still stacked to what we now know as ‘Remain’.

Members of the second group are always more likely to endorse the status quo, whatever direction that might be.

If Major had gone to the People, what question would he have asked? Was it even possible to ask a question which wouldn’t then have created a debate in which the ‘European Dream’ could not therefore last?

As it was, Major doubled down and used every trick in the politicians handbook to push greater commitment to the EU through, ironically outing the Euroscpetics as ‘Bastards’ for using the same methods that he was too.

General Election

Major’s Conservatives win an unexpected, but wafer thin majority.

What if different decisions had been made: Neil Kinnock, then Labour Leader and perhaps an even bigger Europhile than John Major would have made it into No.10. Significant tranches of EU assimilation policy such as Devolution/Regionalisation may well have made it onto the Statute book sooner. We may not have been taken out of the ERM, which in turn could have committed us to losing the Pound and gaining the single currency. Labour may never have had John Smith or Tony Blair as Leaders. We could have had a Tory Government again at the end of Kinnock’s first Term in 1996 or 1997. There is no certainty that we would have become involved in the Wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, if in turn they had happened.

John Smith becomes Labour Leader

With Neil Kinnock having failed to Lead the Labour Party back to power in either 1987 or 1992, it was time for him to step down.

John Smith, the respected Scottish Labour MP was elected Labour Leader and settled in to taking Labour in a new direction.

What if different decisions had been made: Had another Labour MP been Elected Opposition Leader at this point, there is a very good chance that they would have led Labour into the 1997 General Election rather than Tony Blair. This could have presented the Electorate with a very different choice and may have been the end of the New Labour project before it even began.

UK exit from the ERM

John Major’s most regrettable moment was the day that then Chancellor Norman (Now Lord) Lamont had to take the UK out of the ERM.

What if different decisions had been made:  Our economy could have been destroyed by staying within the harmonisation system, owing to the ERM requirement for the currencies of Members States to be very tightly synchronised. Up and coming politicians such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown might not have seen the obvious risks of adopting the Euro as a shared currency. John Major might have gone on to win the 1997 General Election, bearing in mind that it was events like this which allowed Major’s Conservative Party to be financially inept, when the truth was no such thing.

1994

Tony Blair becomes Labour Leader

Following the untimely death of John Smith, the Labour Party Leadership Contest that followed was a watershed moment for the Labour Party and was to become the point that the New Labour project as an electoral force was born.

What if different decisions had been made: Another Labour MP would have been their Leader. Gordon Brown may have taken the job. Labour may not have won the 1997 General Election. Labour May not have won three General Elections in a row. The Iraq War might never of happened or the UK might never have become involved. Labour’s 1997-2010 overspend and the 2010 onwards period of ‘Austerity’ might never have come into being.

1997

General Election

New Labour’s historic landslide victory decimated the Tory Party, destroyed Conservative confidence and committed the UK to the direction of a charismatic and equally ambitious Prime Minister who saw their career as being very much aligned towards a bigger ‘world’ stage.

What if different decisions had been made: John Major’s Conservatives may have won another Term. There may have been a hung parliament or coalition government. Devolution might never of happened. The Scottish Parliament might not exist. The Welsh Assembly might not exist. We might not have signed the Lisbon Treaty. We might never have entered the single market as it stands today. We might never have had a question over Free Movement and Immigration. We may never have been involved in Iraq of Afghanistan. We might never have had such a significant debt in 2010, that Austerity – even as an idea had been deemed necessary. We might already have been out of Europe.

William Hague becomes Tory Leader

20 Years after his famous Conservative Party Conference Speech as a 16 year old, William Hague is elected Leader of the Conservative Party.

Inheriting a Parliamentary group which felt itself destroyed by the Labour victory earlier that year, Hague effectively walked into a role where keeping the Conservative Party engine running was about all that he could reasonably do in the circumstances. His greatest unacknowledged success was likely to be preventing the Party from becoming the spent force that it could have been.

What if different decisions had been made: Conservative Party may never have returned to Government. Hague may have become Tory Leader later, and then even PM himself.

1997 onwards

Devolution

Probably one of the biggest fibs told by Blair, his Government and the Labour Party was the one about his idea for Devolution and the ‘devolved Assemblies’.

Always part of the ‘European Plan’ to break up National identities into smaller, controllable Regions that could never again seek to acquire or execute power in a national form, on his ascendency Blair immediately embraced Devolution to win favour with the heads of the EU. He actually sold it to the Public as being a process of bringing democracy closer to people.

The truth was that Devolution and Regionalisation was all part of a process of creating hollow forms of ‘localised’ Government with real power being taken away from the UK and deposited undemocratically in Brussels to be used in a very different and autocratic form.

The sprat to catch the mackerel was the things like big funding giveaways to local areas, all branded as being available only with European Funding. You’ve seen the signs telling you everywhere that it was European Money being spent on this project and that. But this was always British Taxpayers money, redistributed, rebranded and packaged as a way of promoting European generosity when it was quite another thing altogether. It was a bribe in its most basic form.

What if different decisions had been made: There might not have been a Scottish Parliament. The SNP might have never secured an Independence Vote. Nicola Sturgeon may never have been the Holyrood Lead. Ruth Davidson might already be an MP in the Westminster Parliament. The UK might not have been at significant risk of breakup as it is today.

1999

Establishment of Scottish Parliament

Following the Devolution process, the Scottish Parliament was first established in May 1999.

What if different decisions had been made: We may never have had the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. David Cameron may never have weaponised the SNP by making unnecessary concessions the morning after. The Conservatives might never have won a majority in the 2015 General Election. The 2016 European Referendum may never have happened. Brexit as a word could have never been invented. None of us would now be worrying what Leave might look like. Theresa May might never have been Prime Minister. We might now have Ed Milliband as Prime Minister, working his way towards a 2020 General Election. Jeremy Corbyn might never have become Labour Leader.

2001

General Election

Tony Blair’s New Labour win an almost identical result to the 1997 General Election, leaving the Conservative Party well and truly stumped.

What if different decisions had been made: William Hague might have been Prime Minister. There could have been a completely different Leader of the Labour Party soon after. We might have left Afghanistan earlier. We might never have been involved in the Iraq War. We might now have had a Labour Government led by a politician who we will now never know.

Iain Duncan Smith becomes Tory Leader

William Hague steps down and hands over the Opposition Leadership keys to Iain Duncan Smith (IDS).

The only real commonality between the two is being the butt of press ridicule and the hard reality that under both periods of Leadership, the Conservative Party appears to be going nowhere.

What if different decisions had been made: It’s quite possible that another Tory MP would have become Conservative Party Leader. The Tories might have won the 2005 General Election. We might never have been involved in Iraq.

You are beginning to get the picture.

2003

Michael Howard becomes Tory Leader

IDS accepts that he cannot lead the Conservative Party as it is. Michael (Now Lord) Howard has previous Government experience, is a ‘seasoned’ politician and is Elected Party Leader.

Howard’s arrival heralds the first real indications that the Conservative Party is ready to embrace change.

What if different decisions had been made: The Conservative Party might have not returned to Government in 2010. David Cameron may not have been Elected Tory Leader in 2005 and become Prime Minister in 2010. The SNP might not have bee given a Referendum. Brexit may never have happened….

Are you starting to picture the links?

2005

General Election

Tony Blair wins New Labour Election Victory No.3. The Tories pick up a few seats and there is a sense of small change, but in practical terms, at this stage at least, it resembles none.

What if different decisions had been made: Michael Howard would have been Prime Minister. Gordon Brown might never have become Labour Leader and in 2007, the PM. David Cameron may never have become Tory Leader. The Lisbon Treaty may never have been signed. The Immigration issue might never have materialised. The Scottish Referendum might never have happened. Brexit might not have been invented. We might now have another Labour Government with a PM who would have been….?

David Cameron becomes Tory Leader

Following the Tories third successive defeat to New Labour, Michael Howard knows that he has to do what is best for the direction of the Conservative Party which means only one thing.

Howard remains leader whilst a Tory Leadership Campaign takes shape, leaving contenders ‘2001 new boy David Cameron’ and ‘Europhile Big Beast Ken Clarke’ to fight it out for a Membership Vote Win.

David Cameron wins the Leadership race and becomes Tory Leader.

What if different decisions had been made: Ken Clarke might have become Prime Minister in 2010. We might now be more involved with the EU than ever before and Brexit would for many still be a hopeless dream. Gordon Brown might have won a Labour Majority in 2010, or at worst, been the leader of a Labour/Lib Dem Coalition, with the Tories perhaps broken, reforming as a new party or doing something else somewhere in between. The Milliband Brothers might still have been on a Labour Front Bench. Jeremy Corbyn could still be out of sight on the back benches.

2007

Gordon Brown ‘Crowned’ PM

Awaiting his moment noisily in No.11, Gordon Brown became Prime Minister on Tony Blair’s Resignation in June 2007.

Without the same skills and attributes of his immediate predecessor, Brown was unable to wow the crowds. The biggest moment of his tenure probably came with the event of the 2007-2008 Financial Crisis when his Government bailed out the privately owned Banks using Public Money, thereby sending the National Debt stratospheric from the point where after 10 years of Labour profligate spending already, it should never ever have already been.

What if different decisions had been made: We might have had a different Labour Prime Minister from 2007 until the next General Election which could have come in 2009 or 2010. Labour could have won a majority in 2010 or been the lead player in a hung parliament. David Cameron might never have been PM. Nick Clegg could still be in frontline Politics. The Lib Dems could now have been the third biggest Party in Parliament.

2010

General Election

The result of the General Election is hung.

Backroom deals are the flavour of the day, and whilst Brown sits it out in No.10 hoping for enough support to patch together a ‘Rainbow Coalition’ which keeps the Tories out of power, Nick Clegg does a deal with David Cameron which creates the Coalition Government with Cameron as PM and Clegg as Deputy PM.

As part of ‘the deal’, Cameron agrees to a Referendum on an Alternative Vote system. The two also agree to pass the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which technically secures a standard 5-year term for any Government, and removes the ability of a sitting PM to call a General Election without having to ‘work’ the Parliamentary system to do so.

A disproportionate number of Lib Dem MP’s secure Ministerial Office, causing significant upset within the Conservative Party.

Nick Clegg is forced to renege on his commitment to scrap Tuition Fees for Students.

Gordon Brown steps down as Labour Party Leader.

What if different decisions had been made: Gordon Brown could have remained PM and leader of a ‘Rainbow Coalition made up of Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP etc. David Cameron might have resigned. The Scottish Independence Referendum might have been held and Independence won. There might not have been an EU Referendum in 2016. There might have been a different Conservative Leader of the opposition fighting the 2015 General Election. David Milliband could have been the next Labour Leader.

Ed Milliband becomes Labour Leader

Now consigned to the memory of just a few, Gordon Brown’s departure left a vacancy which led to a fight between two ambitious politicians, but one of a family kind too.

Both David Milliband, who had ministerial experience, and his younger brother Ed, squared up to each other in a campaign which to this day has a cloud over it because of the way that the Labour Party attributed votes to this Leadership race.

Despite lacking the level of credibility of his older brother, Ed won the Labour Leadership.

What if different decisions had been made: David Milliband could have become Labour Leader and might now have been Prime Minister too. Jeremy Corbyn might never have become Labour Leader. Theresa May might never have become Prime Minister. Boris could still have been London Mayor.

2011

The Alternative Vote Referendum (AV)

Purely at the insistence of new Deputy PM Nick Clegg, and as one of the key ‘prices’ of 5 years support in Coalition for the Tory-led Government and David Cameron as PM, a Referendum was held in early May to consider replacing the First Past The Post electoral system with AV instead.

Based on Proportional Representation, the system favours small Political Parties and moves the emphasis from voting for a named representative to direct Party support.

Proportional Representation is a much less democratic system, focusing the shift towards supporting policy in a snapshot moment, which is always thereafter subject to change, in stead of providing the opportunity to select the best person to represent a constituency and be responsible in adapting to the changes during their elected term, but always doing so in respect of the common good.

The vote was lost by an overwhelming majority against the change of 67.9%.

What if different decisions had been made: It is likely that First Past the Post would now be dead, and all political offices would be elected using forms of proportional representation. We might never again have a majority Government sitting in the Westminster Parliament. Anything that the public now vote for might never again even have the chance to matter, because policy would always be decided between the Political Groups who make deals after each election to patch together a coalition, because none of them could achieve an outright win. We might never have had a European Referendum. David Cameron might have been the last ever Conservative PM. Jeremy Corbyn might never again have been elected as an MP.

2014

European Elections

I’ve included the European Parliamentary Elections in 2014, not because the European Parliament itself is influential. It is not.

The Parliament is little more than a patsy, created only to give the wider EU autocracy the appearance of being a democratic institution. It is not.

It is included because of the UK Result, which saw the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) win an additional 11 Seats, making them the biggest UK presence with 24 Seats in the European Parliament.

The result sent shockwaves through Westminster. UKIP was suddenly a real electoral threat to the Establishment ‘status quo’.

What if different decisions had been made: It is likely to have been the key deciding factor in David Cameron’s promise to hold a Referendum on EU Membership as part of his 2015 Manifesto for the General Election Campaign. It is likely that he thought the result would be another 5 years of Coalition with the Lib Dems at best, or at worst, a Vote he would have lost and seen Ed Milliband in No.10.

Would Cameron have promised the EU Referendum if he had been certain of electoral victory in 2015? We may never honestly know.

Scottish Independence Referendum

The result of the Referendum on the Question of Scottish Independence on 14th September 2014 was a majority against of 55.3% to yes of 44.7%.

The outcome itself may not have had any significant impact upon anything other than what the SNP would do next.

It was David Cameron’s decision to come out on to the steps of No.10 the following morning and make a range of commitments to the SNP, which was probably a lot more influential upon what was now in store.

What if different decisions had been made: Scotland might now be an independent Country. But the SNP might well have committed the Scots to Remaining within the EU at that time if the different chronology had given the EU a different view. That is of course if the 2015 General Election result had subsequently been the same.

2015

General Election

David Cameron’s Conservatives win an unexpected small, but nonetheless working majority in the Commons.

The Coalition is over. Cameron is committed to holding the European Referendum.

What if different decisions had been made: Ed Milliband would have been Prime Minister. The European Referendum would never have been held. We might ask the question what is Brexit? Jeremy Corbyn would never have become Labour Leader. Labour Momentum would never have existed.

Jeremy Corbyn becomes Labour Leader

No. It was far from being a certainty. Yet Jeremy Corbyn cleaned up in the Labour Leadership Election following Ed Milliband’s post-General Election Resignation.

Corbyn was never taken seriously as a Candidate, and it is regrettably likely that at other times sensible Labour MP’s gave him their support to run, with the intent of causing disruption to the Campaigns of more credible participants. Those who did so were blind to the even the short-term realities of the outcome if Corbyn actually won.

Which he did.

What if different decisions had been made: Labour might have had a more credible, mainstream leader, who isn’t a Marxist at their core. Labour may well have won the 2017 General Election. The Brexit Negotiations might have now been in the hands of a Labour Leader. Theresa May might never have become Prime Minister. Boris might now be leader of the opposition.

2015-16

David Cameron’s EU ‘Renegotiation’

The Renegotiation of the relationship between the UK and EU that never was.

It is likely that following on from the many dubious wins against an unknowing pubic in which ambitious politicians had previously used manipulation, spin and complete bullshit to win before, Cameron had concluded that big theatrics and dramatics suggesting real effort resulting in something meaningful, would line him up for a Referendum Win.

The reality was that Cameron never achieved anything even remotely meaningful in his ‘renegotiations’, and the EU was already viewing the intrsigence of a Member State which had the audacity to question its future with the EU as being insubordinate and behaviour which must quickly be consigned to the bin.

So sure of success was Cameron and his closest allies such as then Chancellor George Osborne, that they never even began work on putting together the steps of a Contingency Plan, if their attempted stitch-up leading to a Remain Win in the EU Referendum was then denied.

What if different decisions had been made: In theory, Cameron could have really gone for the jugular when he squared up to ask the questions of the EU, from which real results could have given him a genuine Referendum Win.

In reality, the EU has made very clear that every nation which becomes a Member is restricted to the same rules and must therefore consider itself without any real means of having separate identity.

Once you are in, it doesn’t matter what bullshit you give to Voters (or sleeping politicians), you accept that EU Members States behave as one.

2016

European Referendum

The Leave or No Vote wins 51.9% to 48.1% (A difference of 1,269, 501 Votes with a 72.21% turnout of the Electorate).

Britain’s Exit – thereafter known as ‘Brexit’ is born.

What if different decisions had been made: David Cameron would probably have still been our PM. We may well have now been on the way to adopting the Euro. We might well have been up to our necks in surrendering what’s left of the armed services to the new ‘Euro Army’. There would probably have been an increase in European workers coming to the UK. The rate of Public Services crashing through lack of funding may well have increased substantially. The list of more and more powers being surrendered to Brussels would probably now have been much much longer. It is likely that the true designs of the EU to become the United States of Europe would now be in the open, either directly, but more likely through yet more manipulative PR management which is designed to make all of us think that everything is staying the same.

David Cameron Resigns

Probably one of the most notable ‘oh fuck’ moments of recent UK political history, would have come at around 25 minutes to 5 on the morning of 24th June 2016, to the then occupant of No.10.

We know that Cameron didn’t see the No Vote coming. We know he didn’t because the Establishment didn’t expect it. And there are a great many Leavers who despite voting NO, didn’t quite believe it was possible to win our Freedom through a democratic process too.

To be fair to David Cameron, he clearly never believed in Brexit. Although he had given the impression that he would lead the implementation of a No result, accepting that he could not deliver something that he didn’t himself want and that resigning was therefore the right thing, was almost certainly the most responsible thing for him to do in the circumstances. Unfortunately, it was a point missed by Remainers in the Cabinet who coveted the top job.

What if different decisions had been made: If Cameron had stayed, there may have been many similarities to the current Premiership of Theresa May, in that his heart would not have been in Brexit and instead of building a relationship between two separate entities, he would have likely focused all efforts on doing the absolute minimum that would be seen to qualify as ‘Leave’. 

Alternatively, he might well have embraced the instruction from the British People in the spirit that it was given, and done everything to get the best from a situation where nobody from either side could genuinely predict everything that could be achieved.

The big difference is likely to have been that Cameron is unlikely to have called the 2017 General Election, which would have in turn given him choices with a working majority, that Theresa May would by now never have.

Boris knifed

It was an open secret that Boris had returned to the Commons as an MP with the Leadership of the Tory Party in mind.

So when Cameron lit the fuse on the Leadership contest, few were under any illusion that Boris wouldn’t be one of the two final contenders when the Vote went out to Conservative Party Members.

That was until on the morning of Boris announcing his Candidacy, Michael Gove’s change of mind in supporting him as a Leadership Contender came fully into view.

Boris had nowhere to go. And whilst the true aim of Gove’s decision to pull the rug from under Boris’s Leadership chances may never be known, the intervention did nothing to help Gove’s own hopes of becoming Conservative Party Leader.

Before anyone had the chance to take a second breath, the contest was already down to just two.

What if different decisions had been made: Despite the many voices ranged against him, Boris Johnson was likely to have become PM, and was almost certain to have done so if the question had gone out to Conservative Party Members.

The talk of Boris being nothing but ambition rang true, not simply because Boris was and remains ambitious – he does. But because it is the same ambition that is rife amongst all the senior Members of the Conservative Party, who are desperate for their leadership hopes to come to fruition – no matter the real cost.

Boris may be to some no more than a lovable buffoon. But what he has which beyond the pure, unadulterated form of ambition which drives many of his Conservative colleagues, is the skill to read and often be a step ahead of the public mood, just in time to make decisions that can actually work out well for Voters too.

This ability is likely to have served him very well during negotiations with the EU, and in delivering a clean Brexit. Because Boris being loyal to Boris, he would have ensured that he was committed to delivering what the real public – that’s everyone beyond the bubble of Westminster – has demanded that the PM and Party of Government should actually achieve.

Boris’ moment may come again very soon. But the terrain is now much different and outcomes that could have easily been very different if different choices had been made, will now influence the outcomes of responding actions and outcomes to come, whether deliberate or otherwise.

Whether or not Boris would be good leading the UK in a crisis situation, like the wartime Leader Churchill who he wishes us to see his behaviour modelled upon is a different question altogether.

Like May being ‘Crowned’ in 2016 to ‘take care of Brexit’, we might soon step into a very different kind of Government Leadership which will not be about Leave or Remain, but responding simply to a very long list of unknowns.

Andrea Leadsom exits Tory Leadership contest

Leadsom seemed to appear from nowhere and as such, didn’t appear to have the baggage of the other final contestant in the Tory Leadership Campaigns – Theresa May.

But where May had made keeping her mouth shut during the European Referendum an art form, Leadsom’s inexperience with the Media regrettably led her into a mess over making comments relating to her understanding as a mother which was unavailable to Theresa May. From that moment, her time as a Candidate to become next Prime Minister was pretty much done.

What if different decisions had been made: Theresa May might not have been Prime Minister, as Leadsom may have been much more appealing to the Conservative Party Membership, once the Campaigning side of Theresa May which we only saw in the 2017 General Election Campaign had come into general view. The 2017 General Election might never have been called. The Conservatives might now have a working majority to push through a meaningful Brexit.

Theresa May ‘Crowned’ PM

With Andrea Leadsom stepping out of the Tory Leadership Contest, Theresa May become the de facto Conservative Leader Elect.

Cameron quickly went to the Queen and stepped aside.

May entered Downing Street giving everyone the impression that when it came to Brexit, she was now committed and very much on the UK side.

What if different decisions had been made: Pretty much what has been discussed under Boris and Andrea Leadsom above. But May wouldn’t have been PM and the chances are that one way or another, we would not be in such a terrible mess as we are today.

2017

Article 50 Triggered

At the end of March 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50, the device or ‘clause’ for a Member nation to Leave the EU.

This action started a 2-year countdown to 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019, when the UK would formally leave EU Membership.

What if different decisions had been made: Triggering Article 50 – assuming that the UK leaving the EU would always be conducted in relation to EU processes – was not a question of if, but was certainly a question of when.

May could have waited and overseen full preparation before doing so which would ideally have included a real understanding of what Brexit must achieve, therefore allowing the negotiations between Triggering Article 50 and Leaving to be meaningful in between.

Alternatively, May could have got on with triggering Artcile 50 much sooner, working on Brexit from the point of the UK being independent and then developing a new relationship with the EU for whatever would then happen for the future, rather than doing everything possible to Remain, whilst doing the absolute minimum to sell her efforts as a commitment to Leave.

General Election

It was so clear that Theresa May was sure of Victory and of winning an increased majority that would ensure her plans for Brexit were delivered.

Despite the Party machine not being ready, there already being a small but nonetheless working majority in the Commons in place, nor the fact her ability as a ‘street-fighting campaign leader’ had ever been tested, May listened to the Polls, went for the General Election, and assumed that like everything else, public support was no more than a question of applying process, and that her glowing future would soon be in the bag.

Things quickly began to unwind. Corbyn proved himself good on the stump, making hollow promises which appealed to aspirations without any respect for practicality, and the Lib Dems, still nowhere after the 2015 rejection, were not even in the middle and nowhere to be seen.

May couldn’t match Corbyn on the Campaign trail and was soon exposed as not being ‘natural’ with people, being far too scripted, meanwhile exhibiting all the behaviour which has made the label ‘Maybot’ stick – and in doing so seem very fair.

What if different decisions had been made: May could have had a working majority now BEFORE attempting to do deals to allow for the Conservative die-hard Remain faction. The Parliamentary pathway to where we are now might have been much smoother over recent months, giving the PM more room to play with as she dealt with the EU. Olly Robbins would probably not have been the Civil Servant leading the Brexit negotiations.

£1 Billion that could have been spent elsewhere on Public Services might not have been firehosed at Northern Ireland at the price of securing 10 DUP Votes for the duration of the Parliamentary Term.

2018

‘The Chequers Plan’

In the Summer of 2018, May’s true credentials as a Remainer Prime Minister and her Plan to welch on Brexit finally came into view.

Within days, David Davis, then Brexit Secretary and then Boris Johnson, then Foreign Secretary had resigned.

Yet all other Cabinet Ministers remained still and quiet, heralding yet more concessions on the part of the MP’s who had the real ability to stop this whole charade, and rescue Brexit from the mess it is now; the sell-out of democracy that in May’s hands, it is still likely to be.

What if different decisions had been made: More of the Cabinet could and arguably should have resigned.

The cumulative numbers of resignation at the top level would have soon made May’s continued Premiership untenable and a new Conservative Leader would have by now been crowned.

That there has only ever been talk of further Cabinet Resignations until now is a worrying sign.

For the Conservative Party, it may mean a bleak future. Culturally, the Cabinet incumbents are far more focused on lining themselves up ‘securely’ for a leadership bid, rather than doing for the Country all that is right. 

The thing that they all need to remember is that no matter what they do or choose, only one of the current crop of Conservative MP’s could replace May as Prime Minister, but the ridiculousness of their own ambition is now making even that option look very tough indeed.

In Summary & Ending

As I suggested earlier, these points are all a view of what has happened, set against just a few of the possibilities of what could have been if sometimes very small decisions had been made.

The point I am making is that from small decisions, BIG consequences are formed. And those consequences are rarely apparent in immediate view.

Consequences can be anticipated and accurately so. But they cannot be controlled and it is certainly true that every action will have a reaction, even when the person or persons taking that action are no longer involved.

Theresa May and the Establishment, along with the EU are currently doing everything that they can to manufacture a very different kind of Brexit to the one which the People intended, either deliberately or through acts of unintended stupidity.

These are actions that are not only going to impact on the true outcome of Brexit, but on many other things in both the UK and Europe which right now are out of sight, out of mind.

Because of their actions in trying to manipulate Brexit, they will ultimately deliver unintended consequences and outcomes which would otherwise unlikely to have ever been seen.

 

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The Welfare covenant is broken and Universal Credit is not the answer when it already creates victims

October 12, 2018 Leave a comment

Basic Standard of Living Q

It is regrettably all too easy for some to overlook the realities of life for others when  everything is going well and there is no need to look to anyone else for help.

Sadly, this is not the case for many. At one time or another during our lifetimes, there is every chance that we will need a safety net in place for when plans don’t work out quite as we thought they might, and we find ourselves in need of money, food, clothing, transport, warmth and maybe even a home.

State provision of such a safety net within a civilised society is not only right. It is also necessary when government is convened, managed and operated with the greater good, benefits and consequences for all are firmly in mind.

However, our Welfare and Benefits system has and is being continually abused.

It is being misused by those seeking help. But it is also being mis-purposed by those who have been given the responsibility in Government for providing that help on behalf of us all.

The Welfare covenant between those helping and those seeking help has been broken. And for the benefits system to work beneficially again for all, there must now be a new way of thinking.

No form of Government provision can truly be beneficial to all if victims have been created of any kind.

Universal Credit has therefore proven itself flawed before it has even began operating fully.

With many struggling recipients identified already, we should all be asking questions about the many more who are yet to come and the consequences that will surely follow.

This doesn’t mean that the system we have had until now is good. That it is working. Or that we should just stay tied to the same old thing.

We shouldn’t, because the current DWP Benefits regime really isn’t working for anybody, and we are all in desperate need of a solution which really can be seen and experienced as a ‘win-win’.

Now before we get lost completely with how Politicians are getting Benefits and Welfare wrong, there must also be an acceptance on the part of us all of what it is fair to expect to receive, how we receive it, and under what circumstances that help will actually come from the State if we should ever find ourselves in the position where we genuinely need it.

As we look at what is really wrong with the system as it is, we must also understand and accept that if the Law allows certain types of behaviours to exist, it is inevitable that there will be people who will employ them.

It doesn’t make their behaviour right. Their actions are not inevitable. Everyone has free will and can choose how to behave, even when a rule covering that action or behaviour may appear to be absent.

If the system doesn’t accommodate for the misuse of Beneficiaries and those affected, it is the people who are responsible for its design and implementation who are equally responsible for identifying what is wrong, putting it right and ensuring that either good or bad, nobody who should be receiving help gets missed or is able to slip in between.

Why the benefits system isn’t working, isn’t simply about something structural, the technology used or the people who administer or receive Benefits of any kind.

Like most policy failures today, it is a combination of factors which are not being considered. Many of them overlooked for the cause of political expediency, or because their place and influences sit outside of the specific or central theme – in this case the Benefits regime.

The real cost of a Basic Standard of Living is not understood by Government

The greatest injustice visited upon the unemployed, is the Government and DWP assertion that in 2018, one person can live on a basic income of £73.10 per week.

They can’t.

And when the Government itself has set the Minimum Wage at £7.83 per hour, which at a 40 hour week would be the same as £313.20, who exactly do they think is going to step in and replace what for some will be the destitution-busting £240.10 per week which sits so ominously in between?

Yes, there are many other Benefits other than and beyond the scope of Jobseekers Allowance.

But Universal Credit is being sold as a method of simplification by rolling everything into one, when the true aim of saving money will not stop a similar way of allocating money to the very same things from then existing, just under the umbrella of being just one application.

Government must provide a Basic Standard of Living income to those who qualify and need it.

If it is too expensive to do so, those in Government would do well by beginning to ask themselves the question ‘why?’

Government has surrendered responsibility for setting the prices of goods and services essential to a Basic Standard of Living to the private sector

Sadly, little attention is paid to the elephant in the Benefits room. That being the escalating prices of goods and services which provide for everyone’s basic needs in life.

That’s food, clothing, accommodation, transport and utilities.

Not First Class or on the upper side of ‘Taste the Difference’.

Just the stuff that anyone would need to be kept fed, clothed, warm, able to get themselves to a job and home again, and knowing that at night they will have a roof over their head.

Control of all of these goods and services is now completely under the infuence of commercial interests which have money as their one and only god.

Free Marketeers and Neo-Liberals will tell you that the Markets will look after everything when they are completely free to do as they choose. They don’t, they won’t and they will continue to do everything to make profit from every opportunity, for as long as they are gifted with the freedom to choose by gutless Government. Government filled with Politicians who see ethical intervention in the Markets and Financial Sector as a problem because they believe that they have too much to lose by doing so.

No service which is essential to the public good should be placed in private hands or under the undue influence of any self-serving cause.

No food supply essential to basic, healthy survival should be subject to the whimsy of the Markets where multiple traders, agents and handlers are seeking to add one profit margin on top of another, just on one item supplied within any one producer-to-plate supply chain alone.

If the Government genuinely wants the Benefits system to work, it has to find an effective way of controlling these two essential areas of daily life so that once a system that does work has been identified and implemented, it is then not rendered useless by private interest, based on nothing but profit.

We are culturally conditioned to assume that all Benefits Claimants are in some way bad

Mud sticks, as anyone who spends any time on social media or reading the news will know.

But the phenomenon of people assuming the worst of others based on the first story they are told is nothing new. And when it comes to the unemployed, being work shy is basically the accepted view.

The truth is not as straightforward and anyone at any stage of their career can find themselves out of work and having to ‘sign on’ in order to get help.

The problem with the ‘accepted truth’, is that the system itself, both mechanically and culturally treats everyone who comes through the Jobcentre door as if they don’t want to work, cannot be trusted in any way and that they all fit into the same mould as each other.

This approach overlooks the fact that people find themselves knocking on the door of the Jobcentre and the administrative centres of the DWP for very different reasons.

Some are poorly educated. Others have grown up in conditions that reinforce a world view that this is all they are worth. But there are others too who have landed themselves with significant debt to gain degrees that have proven to be of no use. People suffering illness and mental health problems which restrict the work that they can do. And even highly experienced and very well-educated professionals who cannot provide anything like as simple an explanation for what life has put them through.

Sit in a Jobcentre for long enough and you will hear claimants complain about having to wait for the money they are entitled to. You will see others lose their rag because they have not conformed to the regulations that they are supposed to. You will also witness the presence of so many security guards, it clearly suggests that behaviour of this kind is not only possible, but actually the expected constantly and all of the time.

But not all Benefits Claimants are a burden. Many want to work. But they are branded as ‘no-hopers’, instead of gaining the help and support which reflects them individually.

It is little wonder that those outside of the expereince of having a ‘down period’ in their lives take what they have for granted. Then look on and see all these people as being worthless and occupants of society’s bin.

Taking this approach is little more than deliberately setting up Benefit Claimants to fail.

It is not the action of a Government which respects and fully fulfils its role as the representative body of a civilised society. Nor is it illustrative of a Civil Service which is fully considerate of its role.

We can hardly expect the general population to think differently when the system so demeans.

A significant element of Claimants consider themselves entitled to what they receive

Because the system has been so poorly thought through and has not evolved positively in a way that sees its role strategically and as a way to raise expectation from the ground level upwards, it encourages the belief that it can be used as a substitute for real life. For not taking part. For resenting the success of others and as such seeing Benefits as an entitlement or a worthy redistribution of wealth from others.

The Benefits system only works for those who surrender themselves completely to it, leaving no incentive to escape and provide us all with that so far mythical ‘win-win’

Because the Benefits system has been so poorly thought through and has not evolved positively in a way that sees its role strategically as a way to raise expectation from the ground level upwards, it encourages the belief that it can be used as a substitute for real life. For not taking part. For resenting the success of others and as such seeing Benefits as an entitlement or a worthy redistribution of wealth from others.

The Benefits system only works for those who surrender themselves completely to it. It  leaves no incentive for Beneficiaries to escape and benefit anyone but themselves.

With restrictions placed upon how many hours a Claimant can work without losing Benefits, and the process of reinstatement being long and arduous – even before Universal Credit begins, there is zero in terms of incentive for people to take on more hours and work towards self-sufficiency.

Because the 6 Benefits together are so very complicated for one person to qualify for already, the further any Claimant journeys into this portfolio of direct and indirect income streams the less and less likely they are then to leave.

We can only ask ourselves the question if we were to find ourselves in the very same position. When everything is taken care of already, what serious advantage is there to be gained by going out and working for a wage which might never come to anything near the total that becoming subservient to the system and therefore being a Benefits slave can achieve?

Again, we cannot blame people for responding this way when the system itself not only allows but facilitates behaviour of this kind.

Help should always be given to those that need it.

For those who currently choose to be beholden to the system, there must be a process of incentives which doesn’t leave them without all the basic essentials.

It must also encourage them and accept and appreciate that they have responsibility for themselves as well as the wider community. A community which is ready to help, but is itself entitled to see those who voluntarily choose a life on Benefits as a drain on resources that we desperately need focused to provide other Public Services and that they are as such disadvantaging others on little more than a whim.

As taxpayers, we are effectively subsidising the employers of low paid workers by providing the in work benefits which allow them to survive

I have already mentioned what it costs to live and the need for a basic standard of living above.

Yet the conversation and discussion needs to go even further than the power of commercial interests over the essential goods and services for life.

The debate and the action that follows also needs to recognise the role which our Government is playing in keeping wages low and propagating a system where profit margins for large companies are exploding, whilst the millions of people on low incomes are now being farmed for the debt they have to carry, just to survive.

The money that lower income workers receive is in many cases too much to allow them to be on additional Benefits, yet not enough to allow them to be self sufficient. It keeps them ‘functioning’ at the behest of others, somewhere within the ‘in between’.

If we could freeze the prices of goods and services right now, so that they no longer rise, and we could focus in on what it actually costs a normal person on their own to live, self sufficiently, to feed, clothe and take care of themselves, put something by, have a holiday, a realistic pension and have a life which reason would tell us would make a normal person happy, we can soon begin to see the disparity between where wages sit and where right now, in these ‘static’ circumstances they would need to be.

At £10.20 per hour in London and £8.75 per hour outside, without the help of Government with Housing Benefit and Tax Credits too, even the Living Wage Foundations advisory level for a basic income doesn’t come close to what self sufficiency – that’s what complete independence from Government support –  would actually require.

Such a reality where Government support for the growth of small business is concerned alone would probably make the whole thing more palatable.

But the real beneficiaries of this State-sponsored in-work poverty are the big Companies making significant levels of profit that would in reality only dip slightly if they were to pay wages to front-line staff which would allow those employees to function within the overpriced society which their Employers have helped to create.

That this situation has been allowed to exist is beyond questionable.

That successive Governments of all kinds have allowed a situation to exist where the Taxpayer is paying over the odds for products in services in their face value alone is simply wrong.

That customers are then paying again to subsidise the wages of the staff serving them would be funny, if its implications and the reality which surrounds it not so very serious indeed.

This whole process has only been possible because Government has either borrowed incredible amounts of money, or has cut other and arguably more essential Public Services in order to allow them to provide this massive giveaway. A free-for-all that has broken the Country financially and is one of the key reasons why unfettered immigration of low skilled workers from Europe has been possible. Itself an issue which is seen by many Remainers as key to the majority vote for the UK to leave the European Union and the one which they are still obsessively attempting to resolve.

There would be some sweet irony in this if this financial mismanagement had really been helping people and UK communities, rather than being overtly beneficial to commercial interests, private profit and yes, the EU all along.

But there hasn’t, and in terms of management of expectation, this and previous Governments would appear to have hamstrung any future Government which wants to take a stand and do the right thing.

Be that as it may. Doing the right thing, is the only way that all of this is going to end up working right for everyone involved.

The solution

Like almost everything that Government and Politics touches, the key to delivering change in the Benefits and Welfare system is thinking differently.

And it’s the thinking and ideas at the top of British Politics which needs to change first before it can change anywhere else.

The responsibility of Government

Before the Benefits problem can be fixed, the understanding of what the problem actually is, must be broadened to include the wide range of factors which feed and influence the issues which those claiming Benefits experience.

Right now, there is an obsession on the part of decision makers. One which leads them only to attempt to address the effects of any problem, rather than to tackle each and every one of the causes.

Until all of the causes of problems are addressed, the Benefits system will only ever work temporarily at best, until those factors which are outside of the scope of that consideration inevitably change and then exert their negative influence once again.

A Basic Standard of Living level or the real Living Wage will only be achieved and maintained when all contributing factors fall within the reasoned influence of non-idealistic Government that considers the consequences of policy making upon ALL.

Politicians simply do not understand the power they have to change things. They do not see the scope of their roles and they have no appreciation of the influence that they could really have if they were to put the interests of ALL the people who have elected them first, rather than themselves, their Political Parties and whatever ideas or interests sit around that self-serving mix.

It will not matter how simple or complicated existing of new systems like Universal Credit might be. If they fail to consider and be considered as part of the bigger picture, they will always fail – and our Politicians have both the ability and responsibility to ensure that this is no longer the case.

It is their choice to now decide and it is their choice which must come first.

The responsibility – and acceptance of Claimants and Beneficiaries

For any solution to gain traction, it is also vital that ‘being down in your luck’ is accepted as a normal part of life, rather than being a condition which renders any of us as being sub-standard to it – the position under which Benefit Claimants are often perceived.

Those claiming Benefits fall into two predominant groups. Those who are or should be  temporary claimants and are able and willing to work. And those who are longer-term or permanent claimants who are unable or unlikely to be able to consider working again because of disability, illness, or other genuine debilitating circumstances.

All of us as beneficiaries must accept that there is and never has been a magic money tree of any kind. That the support that is given can only be provided through the act of others contributing through taxation on earnings, whether they themselves earn little or some extraordinary figure that might blow our minds.

Whilst it may currently behave as if it is, and some Politicians continue to seek election on the basis of perpetuating this myth, Government and the Public Sector is not a separate and ‘benevolent’ entity which doles out cash to Welfare recipients on the basis of being kind.

Government exists to represent the best interests of ALL British people. Government is there to help us all to succeed in whatever way that might be possible for us as individuals. And on  behalf of us all, it is there to help and provide support to those of us who cannot do so, in such ways that we may never feel like an after thought or something that others have in some way been left behind.

Government is the formal community power which represents and is therefore ‘for all of us’.

Those of us receiving help should therefore be mindful that the help we receive comes from the people next door, up the street and across our Cities and Towns.

As recipients, we are not ‘entitled’ to anything. It is simply that looking after those in genuine need is the basis upon which our civilised society can be found.

 

 

 

 

 

Rail fare hikes and tough talk on welfare waste: Today’s problems will not simply be solved by continually taking more from pockets when there is even less to replace it.

January 2, 2013 2 comments

With a 4.2% average rise in ticket prices hitting rail commuters today, just how long do politicians think that rises in the cost of essential services, utilities and products will remain ‘sustainable’?

Stories such as this one and also the attack on welfare payouts by Iain Duncan Smith in just the past two days alone demonstrate just how little emphasis there really is in dealing with the root causes of problems, which may be unpalatable to those in power, but are nonetheless very real indeed.

As a businessman with both conservative and capitalist principles, I have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to be both enterprising and entrepreneurial throughout my career. However, I also learned very early on that there are basic laws at work within business, one of which is that costs will generally be fixed, but profit will always be variable.

Where this goes wrong in the economy is in situations where those in control of businesses are able to fix minimum profit margins and then seek the cost of investment and renewal through price hikes which usually only affect people and other businesses who themselves have no ability to raise their own incomes or margins to cover those very same costs.

Those reading this who have experience of the commercial sector in its broadest sense will know that the circumstances which generally allow this darker side of capitalism to thrive, only exist within monopolies or within industries which provide services or products which people must have; many of which were once in public hands.

The history which has given privately owned businesses the ability to dictate the ‘breadline’ or to become able to ‘profit in misery’ is a long one. Profligate spending by idealistic politicians who believe in the principle of something for nothing, simply created a situation which left others with a more realistic understanding of the way that an economy really works with little choice in the way they had to respond.

The age of privatisation was soon born and responsibility for its evolution cannot be levelled at the door of any one Conservative, Labour or Coalition Government, as all have played their part since the 1960’s.

What can equally be said is that no one person who can ask for the votes of many thousands of people, can reasonably expect to retain any sense of respect as an MP if they have accepted that responsibility and then failed both to recognise and then to act upon the damage and pain that such levels of power are causing in the wrong hands.

Yes we need travel fares that make a job worth travelling for. Yes we need reform of welfare, benefits and taxation so that there is an incentive for all to work and stay in this Country. Yes we need managed investment in just about every area of life and infrastructure that we could conceivably imagine.

But we also need Government which is responsible, confident in taking risks and ready to deliver reforms which may well include legislative restructuring of businesses offering essential services in order to limit what they actually make.

The failure of Government to ensure and safeguard basic costs for independent living is a root cause of many of today’s problems and will not simply be solved by continually taking more from pockets when there is even less to replace it.

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