Our politicians make a hash of it because they’re bought, not because they’re braindead

mcteeth From Athens to Washington via Berlin, Paris and London, we are getting the wrong policies for us, because they’re not designed to be for us in the first place

Herewith a very small proportion of some major political cockups of recent vintage:

The EU ‘annexed’ former Soviet satellites in central and eastern Europe without giving a thought to what the effect might be in terms of cheaper goods and lower-cost workers.

The EU and US conspired to meddle in Ukrainian politics, and as a result were given a bloody nose by Putin.

The EU created one currency across 18 cultural divides without giving any exit door, and as a result the Greek population is paying for the crimes of the pro-EU oligarchy.

The EU is imposing a mad scorched earth policy on the Greeks in the bizarre hope that the grass will regrow two minutes after the fire goes out.

The EU trampled all over Cyprus, and as a result Putin has completed a bailout deal with them….in return for naval bases there.

The EU created a government structure in which unelected functionaries have all the ‘ideas’ – and the elected MEPs get to rubber stamp them – and hoped that democracy would flourish.

The US blundered into Iraq twice, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, bombed Iraq for a third time, supported the rebels in Syria, and then changed its mind to support Bashar Assad and bomb the rebels…all in pursuit of energy control, without ever trying with any consistency to develop beyond fossil fuels.

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in Ankara heaping praise upon closet Islamist Recep Erdogan and referring to Gaza as “a concentration camp”….while Erdogan was busy supplying the unfortunates living in the small State with arms.

Cameron hired Andy Coulson despite being warned by a dozen well-placed people that he’d committed myriad crimes while at Newscorp.

The UK supported Bush in the Gulf War without any thought for the jihadist consequences…leading directly to 55 deaths in London and a wholesale radicalisation of British Islamics.

Successive UK governments allowed immigrants to pour into Britain over a 40 year period, dismissing all naysayers as racists – but without a thought for where they were all going to live….and now dismisses all opponents of their radical house-building policy as tree-huggers.

The UK government supports fracking – despite the calamitous fall in the oil price and the obvious threat to Britain’s already compromised water supply…and thus also increased lack of land on which to build homes to house the migrants they thoughtlessly let in after 1970.

…………………………..

I could go on like this all day. For a week even – and never stop, except for comfort breaks and sleep. Whichever way you cut it, these politician chaps are not very good, are they? Also, they’re incorrigibly corrupt…as the latest revelations in the UK showed only too well this week. And not very bright. Unpleasant when you meet them. Unresponsive. In fact, incapable of seeing the consequences of anything they do. So we need another bonfire –  after the ones for civil servants, lawyers and accountants die down – on which to chuck the politicians.

The current crop of politicians in the West are indeed pretty dire, and woefully lacking in leadership skills or the ability to unite rather than divide. But they’re the product of a culture – nothing more, nothing less.

The one thing all these idiot policies have in common is self-serving lobbyists.

In consecutive order, the lobbying that dictated the disasters listed above came from the US State Department, multinational business, the CIA alongside Silicone Valley, multinational banking, the German Interior Ministry, Wall Street, the European Central Bank, the US oil industry, NATO, Newscorp, the race relations industry, neoliberal employer organisations, and the construction industry.

Now you could argue that a lot of those lobbies are merely part of the political process, but they are not. Only two sets of people should set political policy: elected legislators, and the electorate. The rest – especially Whitehall – are supposed to shut up and pay attention, but they don’t. The same applies to central bankers, bourse districts, and business generally. The policies currently driven by lobbyists fail over and over again because they are about ego and bottom lines, not the needs or Will of the People.

When Jean Blondel wrote Voters, Parties and Leaders in the late 1950s, he described what he called ‘pressure groups’. Their job was to bring to the government’s attention plights and opportunities, not to bribe them: such a thing was thought completely improper then. Today, US, UK, and EU civil servants openly take up positions in banks, multinationals, and energy companies after leaving the bureaucracy. This is a twofold phenomenon: the reward for past favours done, and the ability to show the poachers how to avoid the gamekeepers.

You may choose to believe, for instance, that John McCain is mad. But he is far from that: he is almost exclusively bankrolled by the oil and munitions industries – especially the US areospace business. So instead of ‘mad’, think Middle East, ISIS oilfield attacks, arming the Ukraine, and bombing jihadists. All the wrong policies, and all for the same reason: more munneee for Mr McCain, more contracts for the arms business, and security of supply for the oilcos.

If you take a degraded culture – some would even say a depraved culture – and allow it to produce the politicians…who then get offered free wonga by obsessive multinationals, this is the entirely predictable result. The final result might, one day, be final in the most terrifying sense of the word: greedy little men like McCain starting World War III as a result of selling jets to Iran, or 2D undetectable weaponry to the Israelis, or covert nuclear delivery to the Germans, tactical nukes to African mercenaries, or anybody else – never mind who, business is business kid – that has the munnneeeee.

I’ve been giving Syriza something of a bashing this week (which I think they richly deserve) but the great thing in their favour is the desire to make Greece a more open, honest and accountable culture. It is the ultimate c-word, and the only way real radicals can effect change now. We need a different way of rolling back greed through education and example: what we don’t need is the old Big State Left and Neolib Right ideologies replayed yet again: they don’t bear any relevance to social anthropology, and so I switch off once the empty historical syntax gets trotted out.

Syriza’s form of localism appeals to me because its communal and bottom-up. Sadly, I now fear that the situation will go tits-up before they get the chance to put it into practice. One thing people who don’t ‘get’ Greece can’t grasp is that Syriza’s ‘natural’ franchise of voters is probably under 6%, if not less. It is a loose collaboration of convenience designed to stand up to Brussels and get rid of the Greek oligarchy. Once people think its leaders are just as boneless as their predecessors, Greek politics could easily descend into chaos…perhaps even civil war.

But Tsipras and co still have a chance – albeit a slim one – to tell the EU where to get off, and then watch as the opposing edifice collapses in acrimony. If they do, then four things have to go in Greece: neoliberal drivel, privately funded political Parties, dishonest officials, and lobbying. If they can start to make a go of that alongside communal support and better education, they might just achieve something truly worthwhile for citizens everywhere around the World.

Yesterday at The Slog: Is the price to pay for having the internet too high?

42 thoughts on “Our politicians make a hash of it because they’re bought, not because they’re braindead

  1. It’s never been about ‘us’ and it never will be. The upper echelon of don’t inhabit the same planet as the rest of us, and, they have no desire to, and they will do everything in their power to influence/buy/bribe/threaten/cajole or whatever it takes to keep the status quo for them. It has always been as such and always will be. It is human nature.
    The question we should ask ourselves, although I actually doubt whether to not we would give a truthful answer, is: Would we be any different their shoes? I think not somehow. I don’t mean to do anybody a disservice, I just think it’s human nature, and we can’t escape it.

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  2. John, pkease consider publishing a blog sonetime soon on the outcome of the UK May election.
    What would be your thoughts on the UK political process achieving anything at all under a 2 to 3 party coalition as seems a ” pissability” (sic) based on current polls ?

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  3. @John Problem.

    Provided they are not professors in politicis or economists and useful skills I fully agree.
    A professor in politics or economists would be more professional at being corrupt and dishonest is all.

    If any of those I mentioned don’t like it I will gladly debate with either the social and economic policies they HAVE CARRIED OUT.

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  4. Agree with every word you’ve written here except this bit at the beginning: “The EU ‘annexed’ former Soviet satellites in central and eastern Europe without giving a thought to what the effect might be in terms of cheaper goods and lower-cost workers.”

    Because I am a cynical old whatnot I suspect that the EU (or at least that part of it which operates behind the scenes in its duplicitous, undemocratic and totally corrupt manner) knew precisely what it was doing. I was once taken to task by the directors of a certain large UK corporation for “not seeing the global picture”. One of the self-important, condescending, expense account troughing chancers left the table in tears after I suggested an alternative viewpoint. I do see the global picture – at least a bit more clearly than most, thanks in no small part to this site – and the self-elected self-serving elite in the EU are pursuing a course which will profit them enormously and pauper the rest of us. And they don’t give a flying thingy about the misery, deprivation and sheer horror that will follow.

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  5. But they’re the product of a culture – nothing more, nothing less.

    Yep and their culture (policies) not ours because we are not allowed to do that right? Tax evason for the poorest like don’t pay any … oooops :-) By electing the same current dumb bunch who then get to dumb down the masses intelligence, over the last century the human species have certainly developed retarded tendencies like …

    Electing the same corrupt bunch.
    Choosing to bury heads in sand and not face reality.
    Permit politicians to spout lies and deceit.

    We took millions of years as a species where the dumb ones routinely got killed and eaten to evolve with what was left into a supposedly clever species that then allowed themselves to be dumbed down once more. I do have a sweet name for that population now, I call them dumb f*&ks. You got to be to allow it.

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  6. A man with his back against the wall is dangerous but heaven preserve us from a PM who wants to look important on the world stage, he is very dangerous indeed. Cameron, with his boasted two aircraft carriers and no planes which can use them, will send 75 military to Ukraine and wants to exclude Russia from using the SWIFT system of transferring money internationally. This makes him look well hard, eh? All mouth and trousers.

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  7. @Caratacus.

    I agree with your cynical attitude.

    An elite when make a decision (they are not dumb) consider the outcomes and what they intend to achieve. Once you start to understand this mindset then look at the policies being implemented you start to see those that will profit and those that will lose time and again.

    Now we hear at the moment all the attempts to politicise the youth but I am chuckling so hard. See that youth by being politicised now will know politics going forward and they can look forward to all THEIR broken promises in the future. Now explain to them how THEIR Keynes / FIAT economic policy works for their future well being. Don’t mention the immigration level though that’s racist!

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  8. Regarding this piece’s literary assasination of John McCain by cheese eating surrender monkeys and friends….here are some facts:

    John has committed his life – both in uniform and in Congress – to protecting and strengthening America’s national security. He knows that there is no greater responsibility for the federal government than providing for America’s defense. As a Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John works to ensure our military is equipped, trained, and ready to protect America and our allies, and that the Department of Defense (DoD) spends taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently.

    John is proud of Arizona’s unique network of military communities and training grounds that prepare our nation’s soldiers. Nearly all A-10 and F-16 fighter pilots train at Davis-Monthan and Luke Air Force bases, while Fort Huachuca leads the Army intelligence, cybersecurity, and communication network operations. In addition, the Army’s weapon and equipment experts test armored vehicles, drones, and other weapon systems at the Yuma Proving Ground, and the nation’s most elite Special Operations Forces such as Rangers and Navy Seals train at the Military Freefall School to become expert parachutists and jumpmasters. John is also proud of the Arizona National Guard, which has a distinguished record of defending our national interests in Iraq and Afghanistan, responding to threats along our southern border, interdicting drug trafficking in cooperation with local law enforcement, and training international pilots on Apache helicopters.

    John has long fought to support these installations with the resources they need to succeed. In 2005, John ensured that no major military installation in Arizona was closed under DoD’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process and will continue to oppose any future BRAC rounds. In addition, he worked with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to save the A-10 attack aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which the Pentagon wanted to retire. Further, John is leading the way to reverse “sequestration” cuts that have unnecessarily hurt Arizona military communities and endangered our national security.

    Arizona’s aerospace industry, which includes companies such as Raytheon, Honeywell, and Boeing, provides thousands of high-tech, good-paying jobs for Arizonans while equipping the military for combat. John has tirelessly worked to ensure that the federal, state, and local governments do their part to keep these great companies and their jobs in Arizona while looking to bring even more aerospace and defense industries to the state.

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  9. I think you mean all mouth and no trousers!

    But you must admit, when he comes out with “no ifs, no buts” and gives a “cast iron guarantee” – he does sound tough – especially when accompanied by the right body langauge!

    You are correct about his cock-ups over the Harrier and the A400M – not to mention Nimrod (who are we borrowing our submarine detectors off at present?). This ties in the BAe systems not wanting catapaults fitting to the carriers in case someone realises they can then equip the carriers with F16s and the like at a fraction of the cost of F35s.

    BAe dictating UK armaments is another facet of John’s original piece.

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  10. Professor,

    Nobody suggested that Sen McCain hasn’t diligently represented his constituents. Given his history, his support of our troops is understandable and laudatory. But he doesn’t stop there.

    As a veteran with over 30 years service, I detest a love of military interventionism and adventurism. Sen McCain has placed that mantle around his shoulders. He is not a reluctant warrior. It is fair for others to observe that fact.

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  11. Mr Ward, you write, “The UK Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in Ankara heaping praise upon closet Islamist Recep Erdogan and referring to Gaza as “a concentration camp”….while Erdogan was busy supplying the unfortunates living in the small State with arms.” I was wondering which small state you were referring to. Israel has received uniforms and boots from Turkey in the past, but I would not call the denizens of Israel unfortunate. If you are referring to Gaza, is this a repeat of the unsubstantiated allegation of a few months ago re. the Gaza flotilla?

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  12. Sadly the situation you describe is not new. More than a hundred years ago when Frank whatsisname wrote “The Wizard of Oz”, he was describing how the power structure had bought the politicians in those days it was the gold standard bankster locking up the credit against the free silver populists who wanted the government to open up the economy with unlimited coinage of silver which in America we had in abundance The cowardly Lion was William Jennings Bryan and the brainless tin woodsman was the American people and Dorothy wore silver slippers, the meaning was obvious with unlimited coinage of silver it would take away the bankster power to rig markets big alternately easing and the drying up credit.
    Alas the power structure was so powerful that in the Movie they had the slippers change to ruby, and the tin woodsman the brainless American worker, never caught on any more than he caught on that FDR’s alphabet soup welfare acts of the thirties disguised his kowtowing to the His own bankster svengali Bernard Baruch. And while the dumbed down American were blissfully unaware their major industrialists turned the bankrupt Germany into the biggest arms producer in the world. I still laugh at the people who marvel how quickly an uneducated mentally disturbed house painter turned Germany into an economic powerhouse when the entire west was floundering in a depression. Well, if you ignore Brown Bros bank Chase Manhattan Morgan Stanley General electric Ford IBM DuPont Shell oil, and a host of others that made an 18 page list in a post war congressional investigation ( that was quickly stonewalled and forgotten) I guess you will still be wondering.
    John, since you live in France I suppose you can give me the proper French for the expression , “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

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  13. Dear John
    you really made me laugh at that comment and I am still chuckling. Whenever Sen McCain opens his mouth, personally I think he should be forced to put a sock in it, before issuing any statement at all.His history is irrelevant given the hawkish, warmongering, belligerent and dangerous stance he now has.
    I am still waiting for one of the Sloggers to offer me an ” I love Putin T-shirt” on one side and an “F-You -USA” on the other. I am planning to visit Russia in the Autumn- Trans Siberian express etc to put my money where my mouth is. Not able to use my mouth as effectivelly as you, because I am not as erudite John. Keep the Slog rocking and many thanks for the hours you must put in in order to inform us.
    best wishes from Austria

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  14. Depraved does not seem too strong a word to describe our present enlightened western culture, JW.

    How – if it can – is it to be peacefully undepraved?

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  15. We need to start teaching the schoolchildren and students how to think again instead of just how to pass exams.

    In the past, that was the point of an education at the better schools and universities, but, only for the children of the elite. Now we have the chance to allow every child to learn how to reason, argue, debat and think.

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  16. How we laugh at history -why did people stand for it in feudal times- ———–
    Oops, look where we are now, in in the middle of an era of robber barons.

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  17. None… the smart money is on a 2nd election in the autumn – beware Boris riding the populist right of centre disaffected UKIP voters.

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  18. Foucalt: In feudal times the peasantry had certain rights in the land, heritable tenencies, reciprocal rights and duties, access to common lands etc. The feudal system lasted so long because for the general population things were not as bad as painted by modern popular historians. The encosures produced the modern dispossesed of which most of us are members.
    John is correct as usual. I used not to believe in consiracy but I was brought up steeped in the scientific method. One of the tenets of which is predictability/repeatability of a theory /experiment. At about the time of the Iraq war I saw an interview with an American four star general (Wesely Clarke ?) in which he said the US plan was regime change across the middle east, in addition to Iraq, Egypt, Libiya, Lebanon, Syria and ultimately Iran. So after the Libiya intervention I could predict Syria etc. What they had not predicted was that Russia/Putin might resist.

    All wars are bankers wars – so help us

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  19. @ FU BAR
    Good comment on well overdue problem.
    Internet technology education at home will eliminate student debt , eliminate vastly bloated and endless education budgets , and improve our appalling record on productivity in the workplace.

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  20. Pingback: Our politicians make a hash of it because they’re bought, not because they’re braindead | gold is money

  21. Pingback: John Ward – Our Politicians Make A Hash Of It Because They’re Bought, Not Because They’re Braindead – 1 March 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  22. THE most powerful lobby in the U.S. is A.I.P.A.C.Once you factor that into your thinking,nearly all of these “blunders”
    help a certain mid-east country which really isn’t happy unless it’s neighbours are weak,divided & in disarray.

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  23. Another fine post JW.
    I was wondering round Glasgow the other day, when I started to notice how many non christian religious centers were dotted around the place, I was staggered at the numbers, the size , the gaudiness and unsuitability for the locality, I never asked for a multicultural country, this country was the most diverse small island on the planet once. From Cornwall to Thurso from Kent to the Outer Scottish islands, from Wales to East Anglia , every major city was had a different accent and culture, counties , regions all were distinct , we made things. Now we have beggars from every country in Europe littering our streets and people who’s values we do not share and who do not share ours.
    My favorite irony is Spanish speakers in the USA who are to dim to realize their language is a colonial tongue imposed by force on them by the Spanish at the cost of their own native languages and that USA English is actually a language that under pins their freedom, and when the talk in Spanish they are reinforcing that colonial past.
    Sorry if this sounds racist its not it’s a celebration of diversity but to each his own, if I want to see your way of running the world I’ll come and visit you.You do not need to come here.

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  24. “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.”

    – Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli of England, in 1844.

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