Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Opportunity’

The ‘Brexit divide’ cannot be healed until we have ALL crossed over it and returned home

October 9, 2019 1 comment
img_4319

We cannot serve two masters.

Attempting to do so will inevitably leave us devoted to one and despising the other.

Yet this is precisely what we the British People AND our MPs have been expected to increasingly do as the foothold of the EU has grown and reached progressively further into our lives over the past thirty years – all without any democratic review.

It is the one defining experience of Brexit and all that has led to it that Leavers and Remainers share and have in common – the difference being only the point of view.

In June 2016 the British People were given the opportunity to speak out on the state of the unhealthy and outwardly dysfunctional dichotomy that is the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Whilst the outcome of the 2016 European Referendum was never sold as such by either side of the debate, the choice Voters had that day was always a defining one.

That choice was not just binary in the terms of Leave or Remain – as the question on the Ballot Paper clearly was put to us. But whether we wanted a future defined by our own democratically elected leadership, or one imposed by unelected bureaucrats that come from an overwhelming majority of foreign Countries that are not our own.

The UK and the EU are now, have always been and always will be mutually exclusive entities.

The unspoken strategic aims and priorities of the EU have ensured and enshrined this. And the silent process of changing and transforming the governance structure of the UK from within, simply to adhere to the systems and procedures of an alien country with which we do not naturally identify, has led progressively and for many of us unconsciously to what we now experience as the Leave vs Remain division between us, or rather, the ‘Brexit divide’.

The instruction to Leave the EU given to British Politicians was clear.

The biggest mistake on the part of those who lead us was therefore the failure to recognise the differentiations of loyalties involved. How translated at lawmaking level, the inability of MPs to step back or rather step away from personal loyalty and emotional entrenchment over Brexit to the position of acting appropriately and with integrity, was going to be for most of them what feels like an impossible thing.

All that defines the UK as a Nation State, our culture, our history, our language, our way of doing things, ‘our Britishness’ and more, is completely incompatible with continued Membership of the EU.

The EU and the people that lead it have known this all along – as was made only too clear by Angela Merkel yesterday in her conversation with No10.

The hard truth for everyone and not just for those of us loyal to the EU ideal to swallow, is that we must completely cross the divide that now exists and extricate ourselves fully from the grip of the EU and with it every purpose that it’s policies serve, before we can all begin to heal.

As a culture, race and community, the British People will not be one and united again until we recognise that the strongest and most defining thing that we have in common is our National identity. And that the independence and sovereignty that necessarily comes with it, are the tools that we will use to repair everything that is broken in this Country.

We simply must reclaim control of our own destiny if oneness across the UK is to be the aim with which a shared unity of purpose can be restored.

Being out of the EU doesn’t mean the UK will not have a good relationship with it. As Europeans we have the capacity to rediscover and reestablish a healthy working relationship with our continental neighbours and get along perfectly well.

But there is no halfway house. No inbetween. No middle ground.

And it is only fair to expect our politicians to be bigger than everyone. To put their own ideas to one side and embrace the responsibility of taking the steps and doing everything that is necessary to make Brexit and our departure from the EU work for the UK and everyone within it.

This is the practical reality and requirement. Not some idealistic cause.

The Brexit divide cannot be healed until we have all crossed over it and returned home.

It is only by doing so that we will we be able to put the divisive feelings and language of Leave and Remain aside.

 

image thanks to unknown/Loctite

Changing Politics for the better Pt 7: Social Care

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

It’s very easy to forget that most of us will become old, and that 1 in 4 of us will require care in the later part of our lifetimes.

Whilst there currently some resentment of the ability for older people to influence politics with their Votes ‘because they won’t be here to see it’, the reality is that every single person in this Country should receive care and support at any time during their life – should they need it, whether it be just through the provision of education, access to the NHS, benefits or more specialised support, that includes Social Care for anyone who needs it when they become elderly.
Most of us would agree with this approach upon reading it. But the reality is that right across the provision of services to people who need them in this Country today, there are too many experiencing lower levels of service than it would be reasonable to expect from the Public Sector, and in some cases, they are not receiving help at all.
Of these services, one of the hardest hit by changes in local Government Budgets and the way that Local Authorities are now run is Social Care.
There is no longer the level of consistency of service provided to guarantee that the support needed, wherever or however that need might require, will be the same for everyone.
This must change.
But we must also address the causes of the problems with Social Care and Public Services first.
When we hear Politicians talking about Social Care and how they intend to address the problem, they will almost certainly suggest that the problem is all about money or lack of funds. Sadly, thinking that throwing money at every problem will solve it, is just something that current Politicians do.
Yes, in the short, but probably only the immediate term, additional funds can appear to make a problem like this go away. But without looking deeper into the much wider problem and facing up to the changes that must now be made, the problems with Social Care and all forms of Public Service Delivery are simply not going to go away.
In a Country as wealthy as the UK appears to be, we should all have unhindered access to the Public Services that we need.
Those Public Services should be affordable if they are managed and delivered in the way that they should be. And we should all be happy that the contributions that we make through Taxes and National Insurance will be spent appropriately and that everyone will receive help and support to cover all their needs, if and when they genuinely need it.
A good Government could begin by:
  • Reversing the European Working Time Directive and replacing any other restrictive working practices that make workers rights more important than the ability of the organisation or business they work for to perform economically.
  • Installing new legislation to protect employees that works sensibly and fairly for both the employee and the employer.
  • Doing away with any rules, regulations and laws that mean it is more cost effective for a Local Authority or NHS Trust to outsource or contract out any role, supply or service to a profit-making private contractor, than keeping the provision or service ‘in-house’.
  • Removing gold-plated and disproportionate pension schemes that are being subsidised by Taxpayers and the expense of service provision.
  • Creating new profiteering laws to prevent third party agents or middle men from taking profit from supply chains at any stage, without adding real value to the services or products offered.
  •  Legislating to prevent Councils and Health Authorities seeing Temporary Staffing Agencies as an easy option to overcome staffing difficulties.
  • Undertaking sweeping Public Sector Reform to ensure that Officers and those employed by any Public Service are ready, able, prepared and unhindered in doing their job, without the influence of blame culture, or fear of doing wrong.
And there is definitely much more….

Changing Politics for the better Pt 5: HS2 & Travel by Rail

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

HS2 is an unnecessary expansion of rail infrastructure using public money. A lot of money that could be spent more wisely and more effectively in other ways. A final bill that is only set to grow like the cost of Crossrail has.

Politicians have been guilty of fire hosing money at problems, rather than giving thought to solutions that would be better and cost less – usually because there is much more effort and political risk involved.
HS2 is not a transport project that offers genuinely good value. It is not creating a new link in the way that HS1 did when it linked London with Brussels and Paris via the Channel Tunnel.
HS2 gives the impression of creating more opportunities for travel whilst not solving or doing anything to address the problems with rail travel in the UK that we have already got.
Yes, we do need more capacity on the UK rail network. But capacity can be significantly increased without spending billions on new lines and line beds across open countryside.
We just need to make better use of existing infrastructure, improve it where it needs it and be realistic about the benefits vs. the cost.
A lot of the problems with rail travel today were brought into being by the shortsightedness and backward view of politicians and the consultants they employed as consultants to advise them in the 1960’s.
Public Services always cost the Public money. But that’s because a fair and comprehensive level of service provision for all will never offer blanket profitability.
The minimum requirement from any public service should only be that surplus or ‘profit’ generated from one area of an operation should be allocated to those that cannot do so with the aim that surplus offsets any cost. Run commercially but without shareholders taking dividends would soon keep subsidies required to the absolute minimum and ensure that they were seen to be an investment, rather than a form of commercial loss.
A good Government MUST scrap HS2 and change the way that problems with rail travel in the UK are being addressed.
They could begin by doing the following:
  • End the HS2 Project and take any so-called losses on the chin.
  •  Reopen closed line beds and stations across the network.
  •  Take franchises back into ‘public care’ and run them as commercial enterprises without shareholders.
  •  Increase capacity in the network by extending existing terminus stations, building new ones where services get ‘turned around’ and rebuilding those demolished as part of the enactment of the Beeching Act.
  • Use Computer Technology to reduce gaps between services safely.
  •  Create partnerships with heritage railways to provide passenger services using their existing rolling stock and introduce green and efficient rail cars to increase capacity and services in rural and poorly served areas

Changing Politics for the better Pt 4: Housing

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

If a housing shortage forms the basis of the housing problem, why is it that every time a new estate is built, prices of those new-builds and the homes in the communities around them don’t simply go down?

That is the question that we must answer, because the answer is not to keep on building and concreting over our fields and what used to be our green and pleasant land.
The UK is pretty much alone in prizing property, its value and the accumulation of personal private wealth off the back of it in the way that we do.
With disproportionate buying power having enabled exceptional overvaluing at the top of the market and a money-generating culture having made it normal for doing everything on credit to be normal and therefore for debt to be farmed, the housing market has become inflated over and over many different times to the point where the value of a home is disproportionately higher than the average salary in each and every British Town.
At the top end of the scale, people have so much money that they can afford to own or purchase more than one. Second homes have squeezed many of our rural and seaside communities, where low priced homes for life have been absorbed into a weekend and holiday market, for no better reason than just because.
There is no reason to be down on those who are successful, if that success is not generated by riding off the back of others or then used to disadvatage others lives.
Yet a system that not only allows, but actively encourages property ownership as a way of generating income for financiers and builders, without regulating ownership and disincentivising under use can only succeed by making housing a growing problem for everyone else.
A Government working for all MUST change the way that the housing problem is being addressed.
It could begin by doing the following:
  • Stop the push for green-field building.
  • Regulate builders and the financiers working in the property market .
  • Make unnecessary profiteering on house building and community property illegal.
  • Bring in a higher level stamp duty or purchase tax on second homes.
  • Introduce higher tiers of council tax for second or multiple homes.
  • Use a penality system to discourage houses in rural areas and by the seaside being left empty for days or even weeks at a time.
  • Give local communities a real and meaningful veto over large scale development and not leave it up to appeals to the Secretary of State before a planning decision can be put on hold

Changing Politics for the better Pt 3: Money

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

The role of money is now seen and accepted as being a key to every part of life.

For many of us, monetary wealth is a benchmark or reference point for happiness.
Money has been elevated to the status of a god. And we interpret our reality based on what we believe.
Because it has become such an emotionally powerful tool, the role of Money has become imbedded in the psyches of decision makers and is automatically considered to be the key or default factor when all decisions are made.
As such, Politicians make decisions based on the premise that spending more money or simply lowering costs will be the best way to solve any problem – no matter what the non-monetary costs, knock-on effects or consequences for us all are involved.
When it comes to the creation of money and the economy itself, very few Politicians have a genuine understanding of the processes and real responsibilities that are involved.
It is a fact that successive Governments have simply abdicated responsibility for the one area of policy that is guaranteed to have an impact on us all.
They look upon the banking system peripherally and listen to economists who give them the messages that they want to hear.
Often, they interpret and perceive information only in the short or electoral term and are only too happy to allow problems with debt and overspending stack up for later generations. It’s only ever the quick-hit to gain our buy-in and support for them about which we are told.
Beyond the ineptitude of the Politicians, the finance industry has become a law unto itself in these circumstances and whilst capitalism itself is pretty much an intrinsic personal state, untamed and allowed to flourish on the basis of exploiting others and taking value from supply chains without adding any or putting anything meaningful back in, is itself having an incalculably negative impact upon the basic cost of living, and why we are in a situation where going into debt is for many the only way that People can keep going and have ‘normal’ lives where these unseen influences have made basic life too expensive to afford.
We cannot continue allowing anyone with the power to do so, to keep pushing up prices directly of indirectly beyond what it is reasonable for an average salary and typical commitments to afford.
Monetary responsibility must be returned to the hands of Government and not entrusted to the whims of so-called specialists and experts who have no understanding or no desire to understand the impact and consequences of what they do on anyone else, so long as there is a juicy profit involved.
A good Government could begin addressing the difficulties being created in our lives through the miss-use, miss-creation and miss-management of money by:
  • Removing the ability of banks to ‘create’ money through any type of leverage process.
  •  Abolish the practice of spread-betting, hedging or any financial activity which involved speculation or making profits from activities which are at arms length from the businesses or bodies with which the shares they are handling are affiliated with, and so are not in any way actively involved .
  • Create a Law to stop unreasonable Profiteering from any financial or business activity that removes agents and middle men who take value from supply chains simply by assuming temporary ownership and adding fees and margins without adding value to whatever it is that’s involved.
  •  Work with the City to create a new and hopefully temporary set of Regulations to restore ethics to all financial practices and above all refocus the way that publically owned businesses are run to prioritise service and value, rather than returning guaranteed levels of profit to shareholders.
  •  Incentivise banks to speculate on the creation an development of small businesses, placing the emphasis on there being risks involved for bankers too, rather than allowing them to walk away from opportunities that would benefit us all if realised.
  • Create a new People’s Bank which will provide cash-free services to all People who are receiving benefits from the Government of any kind, and will fill the gap in supporting new businesses and projects for growth that the time it takes the banks to transform to responsible capitalism leave behind.
  • Considering a reset of our currency in whatever form that might take, to ultimately bring values back in line with where they should be, so that those with much cannot continue to leave those with very little behind.
  • Introduce a Flat Tax system.
  •  Tax all retail business at the geographical point of sale
  • Remove the ability of commercial organisations or bodies that they have control of to oversee credit ratings and the influence they can have on businesses or individuals of any kind.

Changing Politics for the better Pt 2: Bringing Jobs & Manufacturing home

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Globalisation and the Global Marketplace have been sold to us for decades as the place where a forward-looking economy should belong.

But like everything else in the world of the old politics, there is no mention of the consequences for us all, for our industries, for our communities and our Country as a whole, by embracing this kind of deep-seated policy which is sold to us on the basis of making the cost of living cheaper, whilst the true and far reaching costs are never mentioned, but massive profits keep coming to shareholders, the City and all of those who are intricately involved.
The truth about globalisation is that money and making more of it for those who are financially invested in it is all it ever has been and will be.
The benefits for everyone else are far outweighed by the costs that are significantly higher and reach into so many different areas of life negatively – and contrary to everything that we are told.
When businesses move factories across the world, they do so to save money on the costs of operating here, whilst exploiting less advanced economies elsewhere, thereby taking all the benefits from selling into our own economy, without having to contribute anything meaningful here or there.
It’s exploitation and blatant profiteering irrespective of how positively the concept is then sold.
As an economy, we are better prepared, resourced and able to be specialists as manufacturers and producers in certain things.
So it is with goods and products that fall outside of this where we should engage the wider world positively and encourage them – through importing those things – to do the same kind of things.
For goods, services and produce that British People use regularly or pretty much every day, the businesses that provide them should be based here, pay tax here and benefit the wider economy which is benefitting their owners in a very dynamic way.
Localism is a term that has been heavily misused by politicians in recent years. But that doesn’t mean that a Good Government should not now pursue a genuinely localistic view.
Companies and their owners should be encouraged and incentivized to provide goods, products and services that not only appeal to the people that live near to their premises, but are also used by the people they employ.
This isn’t about having a downer on capitalism. It’s about keeping capitalism as a concept that is open and beneficial to all and not just the few.
Globalisation sounds great until the penny drops that it is completely screwing everyone here, over there and is only beneficial to those who have money involved.
A Good Government MUST engage with the global economy differently, encouraging the import of goods that we cannot produce here, whilst securing our own market for all the things that we can supply and do well.
It could begin by:
  • Imposing additional taxes on goods imported that could be made or otherwise produced here.
  • Taxing British Companies that have moved manufacturing to other Countries to encourage them to return.
  • Create Laws and Legislation that underpins realistic levels of profitability, so that Companies cannot simply create a cost vs. benefit disparity on the basis of the money they earn for shareholders as an excuse to move abroad .
  • Incentivize new startups and developing businesses that have the ability and desire to thrive in our Markets.
  • Changing employment Laws to make employing British People more attractive, whilst ensuring that the choice for employees to work with contracts that benefit them and the businesses that they work innovatively are voluntary in every sense and not just imposed.
  • Promote and further the concept of responsible capitalism and encourage a business culture where profit is not simply measured in financial return alone.

Changing Politics for the better Pt 1: Public Sector Reform

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

The key aim of my discussion on change in politics is to talk about Brexit and the possibilities that it opens up to us more openly, and how a good Government can go about putting the ideas underpinning A New Politics into practical and meaningful form.

In the first instance, it is easy for us to assume that these changes can come about just by changing the way that Politicians think, or replacing the Politicians themselves. But the reality of changing the way that Government and the Public Sector works is so very much more.
One of the reasons it has become so important that we get the right Politicians in place, is because the Public Sector itself has as a result of EU influence and poor political management over many years, become rotten to the core.
The Public Sector has become for many senior officers one big gravy chain with tentacles that reach outwards and far beyond. There is a protectionist culture in place from top to bottom that shies away from responsibility and passes the buck onwards an upwards – usually to consultants who actually add nothing new, rather than simply getting the job done, which is after all exactly what all Government Officers and Civil Servants are employed to do.
Rather than the priority of Public Services being to serve the Public, the focus has become all about the people who are employed within its jobs. The employment rules and regulations and bottomless pits such as the Local Government Pension Scheme are a gargantuan drain on just about every resource.
And it is because it has become so very expensive to employ staff directly and to keep up with the legal obligations to those staff that once were, that significant incomes generated by Council Tax and Business Rates go nowhere near as far as they should.
Poor Management, management based on self-interest and management which is incompetent whilst selling itself as knowing better than elected decision makers is at the core of this rich malaise.
Any original thinking that could find solutions to the problems is restricted by all the rules that being tied to the EU has put in play.
And the rich mix of key positions of influence in the Public Sector being filled by people who really shouldn’t be there, entwined with the incompetence of politicians who are in it for themselves as simply assume that the executive is there to decide what work to do, rather than being there to do as they are told, means that the whole Public Sector System is failing us. Is too expensive to run. And is at the mercy of idiots who have concluded that getting more money from Central Government is the only way to get anything done.
A Good Government will immediately embark upon top to bottom Public Sector Reform.
To begin with it could:
  • Create a new code of ethics and protocol that requires all public employees to fulfill both the obligations and live up to the responsibilities of their jobs.
  • Ban the use of outside consultants, agencies or temporary staff to carry out work that a public sector employee could do.
  • Ensure that Employees and the expectations placed upon them are realistic and where extra is required from them, that they are happy to undertake additional work voluntarily if that is the most sensible way to get things done.
  • Stop councils and other public sector bodies contracting out services to profit making contractors and agencies.
  • Reform and remove the guarantee of the gold-plated pension schemes and put them on a par with those in the commercial world.
  • Reverse the reforms that Gordon Brown enacted to Pension Schemes in 1997.
  • Remove the Working Time Directive and any Employment Rules that mean the employer has to prioritise the rights of the Employee above the execution of the job and the responsibilities that they were employed to do.
  •  Put a fixed, realistic and mandatory pay scale in place for each and every level, role or position, placing the emphasis back on jobs in the public sector including the benefit of putting something back, rather than being all about what the employee can gain from being in the job that they do.
  • Take appropriate steps to stop ambulance chasers and everything that contributes to the culture of blame. Public employees need to know that they are trusted to do their jobs and to adapt to circumstances rather than having to do everything based on a risk assessment first in case they should be accused of intending to hurt others in some way, or do something that could otherwise be interpreted as being wrong
%d bloggers like this: