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Brexit again and finally

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Monday, 15 Jan 2018, 19:28

I sent this letter to the local paper which was printed just after Christmas.  I’ve edited it again for the blog.  I’ve pulled together all my reasons for voting Leave so apologies in advance to those points I’ve already mentioned before and this will probably be my last word on the subject…

 As a Brexiteer, I made my decision to vote Leave, on the basis of careful consideration of what I believe to be, legitimate concerns about the political direction of the EU.   As well as the lack of democratic accountability within the European Commission, I believe the EU is working in the interests of the corporate elite and not the people of Europe, consider also, if you will, the following;

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP 

This trade agreement was drawn up between the EU and the US and was, in effect, handing over the democratic institutions of the countries of Europe to global corporations.  Part of the TTIP agreement was ISDS, which stands for Investor State Dispute Settlement.  This would have allowed corporations to sue governments in secret courts, if they brought in legislation that affected their business profits.  The Philip Morris conglomerate did this in Uruguay and Australia, over anti-smoking legislation.  Ironically, we have Donald Trump to thank for getting rid of it.

The Euro 

The introduction and subsequent collapse of the Euro has wrecked the economies of Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, and has allowed the corporate elite through the EU, the IMF and the World Bank to come in and asset strip the public sector and privatise public utilities.  The people of Ireland will know this through the attempted imposition of water charges that they fought so successfully against last year. The people of Greece too, know this as their public utilities have been sold off and they have been saddled with debt, in the form of loans from the IMF and World Bank, which their grandchildren will be paying for.

EU Army  

When did the EU change from a ‘common market’ to a United States of Europe with its own army?  Why does the EU need an army and more importantly, who will control it?  Why are they continuing to expand eastwards and why did they try and provoke a conflict with Russia over Ukraine, 2 years ago?  If the governments of Europe are really interested in peace then why do they not support Russian membership of NATO?  In whose interest is it to continue to paint Russia as an enemy of the West?

 The EU and the Bilderburg Group 

The Bilderburg Group are an elite group of 120 -150 bankers and corporate CEO’s who hold secret meetings every year to decide political policy in the EU and the US. They were formed after the Second World War and were instrumental in setting up the EU.  These are the people who control the government which is why for the last 37 years; policy has remained the same, regardless of who was Prime Minister. 

Costs and waste

The EU moves every month from Brussels to Strasbourg and back again at a cost of millions.  It costs £250,000 just to move the files.  It also has its own shopping centre and pays for private schools for the children of their staff.  This is only a small sample of how it wastes resources but if you research online you will find plenty more.

 Free Movement

There is no free movement of goods and services.  All the talk about hard borders and customs is propaganda dressed up in media hype and fear-mongering.  Anyone who trades within the EU will know that customs papers still have, and always had to be filled out and anyone who imports or exports within the EU will know about Intrastat reports where every item has to be coded, accounted for and submitted to the tax authorities every month.  The customs have never gone away, the only thing that happened is the actual barriers on the road were taken down and if you still believe in free movement, ask anyone from Ireland if they can buy a car anywhere in Europe and bring it back without having to pay import duty. 

 The people of Ireland seem to have forgotten that they rejected the Lisbon Treaty but were bullied into another referendum with the threat that they will continue until the powers that be get the result they wanted.  Sinn Fein at the time, were also opposed, a fact that seems to have been forgotten lately. 

 Trade Deal

China is one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world at present.  China does not have a trade agreement with the EU, yet most of what we buy seems to be made in China. 

 Immigration

The narrative created and promoted by the media that anyone who voted Leave is an ignorant racist and shouldn't be allowed to breed, let alone vote, is to distract from genuine concerns in relation to the lives of the working-classes and while I believe we in Ireland, North and South, have benefitted from immigration, I do recognize the reality of life in working-class areas of Britain where immigrants have been placed disproportionally in working-class, as opposed to middle-class, areas. 

 On top of this demographic reality, jobs that used to be done by the working-classes have been allowed by successive governments and the EU to walk offshore.  The work that used to be done in factories here and in Britain are now in China, South Korea, India and a number of other 2nd and 3rd world, exploitable economies.  The jobs that are left are insecure with no guarantee of hours or permanency, union rights or protection. 

 The last 37 years have also seen the decimation of Britain’s coal, steel and car manufacturing industry and a fisheries policy that has led to the seas around Britain and Ireland being fished dry.

So, when working-class people in Britain complain about immigration and job losses, this is the reality of what has happened in working-class areas over many years.  This isn't necessarily racist although it suits many in the national press to twist this into a narrative that appears racist and an idea for others to exploit.  That's not to say, there aren't some people who are racist.  Of course, there are, that's reality.  However, to be anti-EU is not necessarily to be anti-Europe or anti-European.

John Pilger, in his article ‘Why the British said no to Europe’ called the Brexit vote, ‘an act of raw democracy’ where millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied and intimidated by business leaders, bankers,  media commentators and political ‘representatives’.  I would encourage everyone to read it.

 Tony Benn in his book, Letters to my Grandchildren, states that the ‘first basic right in a democracy must be the right of people to elect those who make their laws and the right to remove them’ and rejected the ‘European Empire’ and the unelected and unaccountable, bureaucratic elite who run it. 

 In the midst of all the negative rhetoric and fear-mongering that took place prior to the vote, we were bombarded with propaganda, threats, and all manner of doomsday scenarios were trotted out by economists.  These were the same economists who said that business in Britain would be destroyed by not joining the Euro, and yet completely failed to warn us of the great economic crash that came in 2008.  A further blow to the working classes, who have disproportionally paid for the recklessness of the bankers who caused it, through the Conservative’s ‘austerity’ policies.

 The DUP and Sinn Fein are, as usual, on opposite sides of this debate but are both political cowards.  Sinn Fein fought against tugging the forelock to Britain but go down on their knees to the EU with a begging bowl.  The DUP are like scared children, afraid to let go of Britannia’s apron strings and running away from fighting their corner in a united Ireland that makes practical and economic sense. 

 Have neither of them the imagination to envisage an economic union first and foremost within the UK?  Instead of worrying about a divorce bill from the EU, it would suit Britain and Ireland better to redraw the terms and conditions of the UK with 4 independent nations - Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales - united and working together for the benefit of all the people here and not just the elite. 

 

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 One other point I didn’t mention but may have mentioned elsewhere on the blog was that this was the first time in many, many years that I had the chance to stick one to the governing elite and in spite of all the rhetoric and arguments since, if I had to vote again tomorrow, I’d still vote Leave.

 

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Weddin

Towards Honours

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I had taken my degree in 2015 without honours.  I had a chance to get involved in a writing project for stage which is presently touring the north west and thought I had finished with studying.  But, now things have settled, the pull back to the books has risen again and I've decided to go back and hopefully finish off with honours.

I wasn't sure what to do and was initially drawn back towards literature and A335.  So, I had a longish talk today with a student adviser and after much consideration I'm going to go for a level 3 politics course.  It seems strange now that I ever considered literature before politics, when you look at the content of the blog.   So, it seems to make more sense especially since my level 2 politics course was one of my highest marks.

So, I'm going to make the most of the summer before getting back to the books....can't wait to get started! The only thing now is which level 3???  I think it has to be Living Political Ideas.  DD306, it's really where my natural interest lies.  I just remembered, Tony Benn left parliament because he wanted to get more involved with political ideas.  Well, I think that confirms it.

So, onwards to hopefully upwards.....

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Weddin

Elections and Votes

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 19:11

Looking at the results of the local elections in Britain, I have to say I find it very disappointing to see how low the turnout has been, although considering how democracy has been subverted for many years now, it’s hardly a surprise that people have lost faith in the political system.  I think this is due in part to the fact that there is no mechanism for appeal once a party has been elected, so the politicians can promise all sorts during the campaign trail, but once in office, they can do what ever they like which, of course, they have done and there is no one to stop them or make them follow through on the promises they made. 

 I also think we are still suffering the fall out from the Thatcher era.  Her attack on the unions, strongly backed by a right-wing media (I for one, am delighted that the past is finally catching up with Rupert Murdoch and his whole media dictatorship, having been railing against him for years) has left the working-classes without a way into politics or a strong voice that truly represents them. 

 All the political parties are now populated by upper/middle class public school boys who have no idea how the other 95% of the population live.  That the front bench in the House of Commons is full of millionaires, speaks volumes about our so-called democracy.  Where is the voice of the working-classes in Parliament?  Even the so-called left wingers seem so egotistical and arrogant that they don’t really speak for ordinary people any more, with the exception of Dennis Skinner and, since Tony Benn retired, they are becoming thinner on the ground and there does not seem to be any new blood following in their steps.  Politics is now a career for the upper middle-classes and they work in the interests of one group, and one group only, their own. 

The whole class system too, is part of the problem.  The most obvious example of this is the House of Lords.  The whole idea of an unelected upper house based on class and privilege is so anachronistic in the 21st Century and completely subverts what is supposed to be a democracy.  Why should these people have this right?  It supports privilege for some and exclusion for most of the rest of us.  How can Britain even claim to be a democracy when this system remains in place.

 What is really needed is political reform, but how is that going to be achieved when it is in the interest of the ruling classes to maintain the status quo?  The truth is, is that those who now rule, are not the least bit interested in democracy but are only interested in self-promotion and self-protection for themselves and their own social class.  And I’m really going to p*ss off the middle-classes with this next statement because I believe that they too, are partly to blame for the situation. 

The class system is elitist and unfortunately too many aspire to be part of it.  I don’t believe in the middle-class, and if you think of yourself as middle-class then you are, in my eyes, a working-class snob.  What does it even really mean to be middle-class, other than you have more money and a bigger house (or should that be mortgage, another con, but a subject for another day) than someone who is called working-class.  Middle class is an illusion, you either work for a living or you don’t, and to divide people into class groups is nothing more than social apartheid, and is every bit as disingenuous and damaging, as the racial apartheid that existed in South Africa.

 So how do we resolve the political apathy that exists?  Well, firstly, I would like to say thank-you to all those who did turn out to vote, at least you made the effort.  To all those who didn’t vote or who haven’t voted for years, I challenge you.  If you are so disillusioned with the system and those self –serving politicians, then put yourself forward for election next time.  Go forward as an independent, and let’s start a campaign to fill Parliament with independents at the next General Election, because your vote IS your voice and if you don’t use it, even if it is to spoil it, then you shouldn’t even be allowed an opinion. 

 Politics affects every area of our lives, and almost seventy per cent of the people who were entitled to vote, didn’t even bother to turn out.  Now, what if those seventy per cent had turned out and voted for the most politically independent candidate on the ballot paper?  Or just for the fun of it, voted for anyone as long as they were not a candidate for any of the big three?  What kind of difference could that have made?  Because it isn’t just one vote, it amounts to millions when used collectively or not, as the case may be.  Opting out resolves nothing, if you want to change it, then you have to get in there and do something about it, otherwise things will just remain the same. 

 And when you do get in, remember why you are there.  Get rid of the House of Lords, and while you’re at it, do your best to dismantle the class system, and that means removing the Queen from Parliament.  The monarchy is an out-dated system and doesn’t really have a place in a truly democratic society.  I have nothing personally against the Queen, she seems like a really nice woman, she can still be Queen if that’s what people want, but an honour’s system that confers titles, again supports the social elitism of the class system and she doesn’t have any political power, so why is she even there?  I read in the paper today about a move to bring in changes to the Honour’s system by removing Empire from titles and instead give awards that are more reflective of the reality of life in Britain today.  Rather ironic that the Queen’s Lord Lieutenants are more in touch with the social reality of Britain, than our so-called Parliamentary democracy!!

 And remember too, that when elected, regardless of who has, or who has not voted for you, you have a moral obligation to govern in the best interests of all the people in the country, because the business of government, is the business of the people, and the business of the people, is the business of government.  This means, that government has a moral obligation to work in the best interests of the entire population and that the population too has a responsibility to be aware of what their government is doing, and to hold them accountable for it, and the only way we have of doing that at the present time IS WITH YOUR VOTE.  So please, use it!

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