THE SUNDAY ESSAY: Why we will never defeat Madthink with Tunnelthink and Don’tthink.

3monkeys

The Muddied, the Muddled and the Confused

The London Capital Markets guru Brenda Kelly tweeted last week, “Nobody has a clue what’s going on”. It was a brave thing for a senior executive to do – and also, searingly accurate. But in pointing out the presence of utter and total snafu, one is of course looking at the symptoms of chaos, not the causes of it.

The long-term cause of our current surfeit of flying anti-matter was lots of greedy idiots taking the half-baked theories of Milt Friedman, and swearing eternal allegiance to them purely for their own lasicivious need to have more, and more, and more ad infinitum….or nauseam, depending on whether one is inside or outside the tent.

The medium term cause has been the adoption of the drivel’s provably wrong and/or selfish tenets by the business and political media commentariat….to the point where it chirps parrot-like about growth, reform, privatisation, liquidity, QE, Zirp/Nirp, philanthropy and austerity-recovery as if it made any kind of sense. The best example of this is the way inflation has changed from being Spawn of the Devil to Little Baby Jesus in twenty years flat. It’s codswallop framed to excuse debt – period.

In some ways, I have found the ease with which Madthink was sold in after 1985 truly terrifying. The fact that an overrated, ivory tower Sorcerer found many elves (made willing by self-interest) didn’t just deliver unto us Sorcerer’s Apprentice syndrome: what we have today is a world run by the Tommy Cooper Was God sect.

But the short-term reason why nobody knows whatTF is going on is unquestionably down to denialism from the political and media big beasts, and their desperate defence of every last piece of Luis Vitton baggage that comes with neoliberal monetatist globalism. Either side of this, almost like an old-fashioned pre-digital soundtrack, is the narrow narrative insisting that any deviation from the Holy Trinity of Friedman, Levitt and Thatcher is beneath contempt….and probably an anarcho-socialist plot to boot.

It has become, effectively, a stream of monotonous obfuscation.

I think many of those of us repelled by ideology and undeserved privilege have expended enormous effort in trying to reveal Madthink for what it is. Perhaps we have been a little too inclined to follow the Jesse James approach of robbing banks and blowing up iron horses. Maybe the time has come to switch from attacking injustice to pointing out the enormous advantages to all but a few fatties of an economically viable alternative….and above all, showing its advantages  holistically – rather than the tactic of those Defenders of the Faith spouting cod mathematics, putting up endless charts and talking jargobollocks at great speed on the 24/7 ‘news’ channels.

Before you all get the glazed eyes thing, let me assure you it is not my intention to attempt that from A to Z today: that needs a book, not a blog.

But I do think that starting from the basics in a positive way has more chance of influencing the increasing numbers of people who are now hovering around the ‘doubtful and confused’ crossroads. Too often, what we get today is akin to the Marquis de Sade debating the sanctity of human life with Bertrand Russell: gripping, but unlikely to persuade either side. We’re back to the old adage, “Never try and teach a pig to sing: you won’t get a song, and it just annoys the pig”. (A good example of this is the contemporary proliferation of Leavers and Remainians goading each other on Twitter)

For starters, a key thing is to eschew technical jargon, get back to a straightforward, quantified case constructed in plain English, and make the deconstruction of nonsense accessible to the doubters.

What follows now is a small selection of examples to (I hope) make the point.

Telling it like it is

Issue: worker salaries in the West are not recovering, and nor indeed are hours worked. Long-term unemployed figures are, however, rising everywhere.

The élite’s answer has been in turn to talk about ‘the jobless recovery’ (more Madthink) and then assert that ‘once salaries start to move up again, confidence will return’. There is no linkage at all in that thinking, but it never holds them back.

This is the empirical, chartable Truth: a combination of moving jobs to Asia, computerisation, robot development, and uniqely rapid technological change means there are no longer enough jobs to go round in the West. They are not coming back.

All these developments have occurred for the sole purpose of enriching the few….and have in fact been exacerbated by senior executives preferring bonuses/stock buying to investing in training – as indeed, the bourses prefer to slam down hard on any failure to deliver the numbers, rather than accept now and then that workforce and product development are sound investments.

Alongside the social consequences of this has come the biggest single complaint against all large international IT and comms companies: the truly disgraceful, devious and frustrating nature of appalling after-sales service.

The Law needs to force ‘service’ providers to do what it says on the tin, and provide well-trained humans at the end of a phone likely to have the same first language as the customer.

This is not collectivist job creation, it is demanding that the laissez-fairers walk the walk: if the Customer is King, stop treating your customers as if they were smelly meths-drinkers creating a nuisance in Reception.

‘Increased productivity’ that decreases customer productivity ought to produce new competition to punish this short-termist attitude. But it doesn’t, because Suprastate bureaucrats, TTIP and a million corrupt politicians prefer big donations and brown envelopes from globalists to listening to their own citizen constituents. That’s why with less globalism we will get better services and more jobs. That’s why with more alternative ways of raising capital to bourse neurosis and shattered banks, we will get more competition and SME job creation.

Issue: Sovereign, corporate and household debt is at astronomical levels, and is the factor above any other that distracts from the development of responsible and renewable capitalism

The élites either ignore this topic, or suggest the opposite is bad “because we godda have liquididy”, and credit is “a driver of markets”. It never occurs to them that if no market can grow without credit any more, the problem is almost certainly systemic. The steadfast rule remains: no debt foregiveness.

Since 2010 The Slog has argued consistently for debt forgiveness where (a) there are obvious and pressing humanitarian issues (b) the loan was sold perniciously, irresponsibly or usuriously (c) the loan bonds have later been bought from lenders at a massive discount purely for insurance gain (d) a tiny élite in the borrowing sovereign has benefitted from the loan and/or embezzled a lot of it, or (e) the money loaned was created out of nothing by crooked fractional reserve book-keeping in the first place.

Given one or more of those points apply to almost every cent of sovereign debt borrowed this century, there is an obvious solution: forgive all of it, and move on. Except that this would, overnight, potentially implode most of the private banking and lending sector, and render every bourse trader on the planet bankrupt. So nobody takes that one very seriously. I would, because it has always seemed to me that caveat emptor is a tad one-sided: why does nobody ever suggest that caveat auctor should also apply?

But that’s a debate for another day: the truth is that most Sovereign debtors go to the money markets and borrow via bonds – gilts, T-Bills and so forth – and then that debt is frequently traded on ‘second-hand’ markets. One therefore winds up with an eclectic bunch of people who are holders. They’re often referred to pompously as ‘the creditors’ in a sort of linguistic attempt to suggest precedence, respectability and worthiness of the sympathy vote. (As often as not they’re vulture funds and other assorted necrophiliacs: but what everyone’s learning now is that we the banks’ customers have suddenly become creditors….and it doesn’t seem to make us deserving of any precedence.)

The bottom line fact is that every loan comes with risk. The fact that lenders want to charge a premium for the risk (but then flatly refuse ever to accept any losses) has always amused me, but then such hypocrisy is wired in at the factory….and it should not guide remedial action.

Despite the degree of unfairness loaded onto the borrower, we have to be realistic: the only solution that will ever fly is one in which, after any form of debt Jubilee, nobody wins or loses.

The financial sector as a whole continues to insist that, come what may, in the derivatives sector every gamble made is ‘netted’ with the opposite gamble ‘so there is no risk’, and the cheque’s in the post. Now that – especially over the last 2-3 years – everyone from Mrs Kowalski in Chicago to Ms Yellen at the Federal Reserve is becoming equally mired in unsustainable debt, it seems to me something of a no-brainer that we could introduce debt forgiveness netting.

The more sharp-eyed among you will have spotted that this issue was on the last G20 agenda. Nobody got very far on it…least of all the Wheelchairbound Ball of Bile from Berlin. With the Germans, it’s a historical compulsion; with the bankers, it’s greed.

Issue: Everyone obsesses about growth. Does there really have to be growth every year?

“Of course” says the econo-financial clique, looking at the questionner as if he might be mad.

The logical free-thinker, however, asks “Growth for whom?”

It is completely, hypocritically potty to say growth is a must when (a) far too much notional money exists anyway (b) the sharing of the fruits of it is so obscenely inequitable (c) a ridiculous amount of it is financialised and available only to the super-élite (d) for many Sovereigns, much of the income goes into servicing debt, and above all (e) it palpably fails to deliver any improvement in life quality….on the contrary, it tends to dilute it.

It’s not that hard to see why growth is necessary in an emerging region where the default housing was a ditch prior to economic development. But the last fifty years in the West deny the case for it among the mass citizenry.

Sometimes, I marvel at the life my Dad enjoyed in his forties. There was little credit, falling UK ouput, 83% top tax rates, and a vast public sector. He was home by 6 every night, and we had a family car, a telephone, modern kitchen appliances and varied television. He had four weeks holiday a year and a six-month rolling contract. He retired at 60 – with more than enough to see him through to his exit at 91.

Despite the religious fervour used to describe growth in Western economies, by the time I retired the economy – which had allegedly doubled in size – hadn’t produced one single benefit for the population at large. I had, without doubt, less free time, higher housing costs, higher educational costs, higher health insurance costs, a poor balance between home and office life, a better car, and in real terms, a bigger bank balance.

And I am very, very lucky. The vast majority of UK citizens have smaller pensions, poorer services, lower real-worth wages, zero job security, zero capital, and zero hope of cutting the millstone rope.

Growth in the West has failed the classic Benthamite/Utilitarian test: the greatest fulfilment of the greatest number. It has done so because unregulated greed, opportunistic corruption and sharp practices have sucked up 95% of the material benefits for the 3% – leaving a good 60% to ‘enjoy’ a quality of life reduced by 50%, while walking the tightrope above a 40% weaker safety net for a 70% bigger population.

You have to admit, it’s a scam.

Why are we stuck with this blatant theft of our opportunities?

There are many social, educational, media, desperate apathy, energy, geopolitical and global development reasons why our lives have seen a catastrophic change for the worst, but only two reasons why an unopposed, self-appointed élite hasn’t been stopped from ballsing it up any further long before now.

Those two reasons are, as ever, ideology and privilege.

Ideology divides without adding any new arguments in favour of change. It forms tribes, and the tribes squabble.

And human wiring insists to most Alphas that an accident of birth should bestow upon them endless privileges, perks, and immunity: that’s the thing with those who see themselves as exceptional – they insist on being the exception to the Rules.

Because the various Resistance factions would rather hurl insults (at the élite, but also at each other) and debate angels on a pinhead rather than coalesce into solidarity, the minority of piggies stay with their noses firmly in the trough…and absorb their rules into a new Rule of Law – a body of political legislation that, eventually, muzzles the opposition forever.

75% of those entitled to vote did not vote Conservative in 2015, but the Party achieved power with a working majority of MPs. The Labour Party is ideologically split, the Liberal Democrat Coalition collaborators were almost wiped out, and the Scots are only interested in secession.

I blame the activists, not the apathetic. If the neoliberals suffer from Madthink, the traditional opposition ideologies suffer from Tunnelthink.

Bottom-of-the-heap apathy stems from a collective variety of desperation, endless dashed hopes in the past, a risibly accepting model of education, the soundbite tabloidisation of media, and low IQ. These people combine with smug south-eastern white collar Conservatives to form the 65-70% group who represent liberty’s biggest enemy, Don’tthink.

If we are to shift the balance back in favour of decency, then the politics of Resistance will have to become genuinely ecumenical, and its critiques far more accessible, positive and persuasive among the divided decency spectrum that already exists. Only once this has been achieved, and the costed alternatives to Friedmanism made abundantly clear, will this reality diffuse down to those media consumed by the most disadvantaged…and at least stand some chance of being converted into boycotts, other demonstrations of citizen power….and ultimately, enough doubters and sufferers casting their votes in favour of the radical change our civilisation so badly needs.

Last night at The Slog: something a little less serious

23 thoughts on “THE SUNDAY ESSAY: Why we will never defeat Madthink with Tunnelthink and Don’tthink.

  1. The true nature of Capitalism has obviously been forgotten over time.

    Today we think it brings prosperity to all, but that was certainly never the intention.

    Today’s raw Capitalism is showing its true nature with ever rising inequality.

    Capitalism is essentially the same as every other social system since the dawn of civilisation.

    The lower and middle classes do all the work and the upper, leisure Class, live in the lap of luxury. The lower class does the manual work; the middle class does the administrative and managerial work and the upper, leisure, class live a life of luxury and leisure.

    The nature of the Leisure Class, to which the benefits of every system accrue, was studied over 100 years ago.

    “The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions”, by Thorstein Veblen.

    (The Wikipedia entry gives a good insight. It was written a long time ago but much of it is as true today as it was then. This is
    the source of the term conspicuous consumption.)

    We still have our leisure class in the UK, the Aristocracy, and they have been doing very little for centuries.

    The UK’s aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

    Feudalism – exploit the masses through land ownership
    Capitalism – exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

    Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

    a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
    b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

    All this was much easier to see in Capitalism’s earlier days.

    Malthus and Ricardo never saw those at the bottom rising out of a bare subsistence living. This was the way it had always been and always would be, the benefits of the system only accrue to those at the top.

    It was very obvious to Adam Smith:

    “The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers.”

    Like most classical economists he differentiated between “earned” and “unearned” wealth and noted how the wealthy maintained themselves in idleness and luxury via “unearned”, rentier income from their land and capital.

    We can no longer see the difference between the productive side of the economy and the unproductive, parasitic, rentier side.

    This is probably why inequality is rising so fast, the mechanisms by which the system looks after those at the top are now hidden from us.

    In the 19th Century things were still very obvious.

    1) Those at the top were very wealthy
    2) Those lower down lived in grinding poverty, paid just enough to keep them alive to work with as little time off as possible.
    3) Slavery
    4) Child Labour

    Immense wealth at the top with nothing trickling down, just like today.

    This is what Capitalism maximized for profit looks like.

    Labour costs are reduced to the absolute minimum to maximise profit.
    The beginnings of regulation to deal with the wealthy UK businessman seeking to maximise profit, the abolition of slavery and child labour.

    The function of the system is still laid bare.

    The lower class does the manual work; the middle class does the administrative and managerial work and the upper, leisure, class live a life of luxury and leisure.

    The majority only got a larger slice of the pie through organised Labour movements.

    By the 1920s, mass production techniques had improved to such an extent that relatively wealthy consumers were required to purchase all the output the system could produce and extensive advertising was required to manufacture demand for the chronic over-supply the Capitalist system could produce.

    They knew that if wealth concentrated too much there would not be enough demand.

    In the 1950s, when Capitalism had healthy competition, it was essential that the Capitalist system could demonstrate that it was better than the competition.

    The US was able to demonstrate the superior lifestyle it offered to its average citizens.

    Now the competition has gone, the US middle class is being wiped out.

    The US is going third world, with just rich and poor and no middle class.

    Raw Capitalism can only return Capitalism to its true state where there is little demand and those at the bottom live a life of bare subsistence.

    When you realise the true nature of Capitalism, you know why some kind of redistribution is necessary and strong progressive taxation is the only way a consumer society can ever be kept functioning.

    A good quote from John Kenneth Galbraith’s book “The Affluent Society”, which in turn comes from Marx.

    “The Marxian capitalist has infinite shrewdness and cunning on everything except matters pertaining to his own ultimate survival. On these, he is not subject to education. He continues wilfully and reliably down the path to his own destruction”

    Marx made some mistakes but he got quite a lot right.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Excellent. However, I believe the only way we’re going to see decency again is as a product of, and in the aftermath of, horror, and the only way that things are going to change is by means of violent ‘insurrection’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It matters not a jot if you are right or wrong these days, if you don’t fit the current paradigm you are shouted down, belittled, and generally abused and ostracised oh, and suspended from your job. This is what it has become. They have a very firm grip on the tiller, they are about to let go anytime soon, for anybody….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good stuff, but not being a “right on” up to the moment jargonist I needed to work out some of the terms.

    Are the don’tthinks just the precariat when they are not worrying about how to make ends meet today?

    This excellent blog needs rewriting in language that the don’tthinks really can understand and be presented in snippets that show there are alternatives to madthink.

    As someone who is also retired with a paid for occupational pension and a property that is owned out right- thanks to the way my mortgage worked since 1970 I can be reasonably optimistic about not suffering personal financial disaster this side of the grave.

    I gave up investing several scams ago and just try to spend what I have as slowly as possible hoping it will last me out, leaving it in the bank/building society accounts where it has long been. Whenever I have acted in a considered way, since I was 16 and first ‘invested’ in what I was told was a good thing – a mutual endowment insurance policy, a few years later, there has always turned out o be a catch. The most recent ‘catch’ being that the folk who by default, I and others allowed to be elected to run the Cooperative Bank and its owning society, lacked basic business competence. (As basic as “debits go next to the window” and make sure every now and then that your assets if realised really will cover all your liabilities and only pay out dividends when you are sure you have actually earned some excess income)

    I fear for my children, who are in far worse employment and accommodation situations than I was at their ages. I doubt I have enough skill to manage my dosh so they can make it to their graves without needing ‘Welfare’. Plus, continued fuel/power security seems likely to be hard to be sustain coupled with the likely costs of climate change and managing migration etc – as not surprisingly, those with even less current security are going to try to get here in ever greater numbers.

    Yet when the day’s graft is done and they sit down to watch, say the news, all they are going to hear is the latest controversy and not be lured to really think any of this stuff through.

    My parents generation, have almost gone now, they saw continual improvements and missed the bad consequences of the economic crash – that seems to me to have been postponed, rather than fixed by transferring debt from those who were bankrupt to governments, who eventually as The Slog is here telling us will eventually not be able to fiddle the figures any longer and prevent the UK from being just like Greece, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to work in IT support, fixing code bugs in commercial software (stuff the average punter doesn’t know exists, let alone sees).
    Management consisted of looking at spreadsheets of the number of issues opened versus the number of issues closed.
    If the latter was larger than the former, things were considered good.
    Consequently, engineers were under pressure to churn the queue – finding any and every pretext to close an issue (including providing a fix that they knew would not work) and only reluctantly reopening them.
    This meant that problems could go unsolved for months or even years, being closed and reopened tens or hundreds of times.
    Software was charged at 60% for the licence, 40% for support.
    Any attempt to take the time to properly diagnose and correctly fix an issue would earn one nothing more than a bollocking for “being slow” and possibly thanks for the client, though that would not help one’s case.

    I quit the job.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. One of your best JW. It bears several re-readings.

    @SoS – thank you, a clear diagnosis.

    Having grown up in the eighties, I remember the way in which the Friedmanite bollocks became the dominant paradigm. It was almost as if any heretics were ‘burnt at the stake’, ostracised, ridiculed and silenced by the entire media establishment. (I recall BBC news referring to ‘Sterling M3″ and Sterling M* on a nightly basis. When the monetarist voodoo was clearly failing, these measures were quietly dropped.) An entire generation has been brainwashed to believe that ‘free market capitalism’, and its chancrous offspring financialism, are the only games in town. It is interesting to note that both the destructive Friedmanite economic sect and the foreign policy criminals who created the current Middle East chaos were birthed from the University of Chigago womb.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6750.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @kfc1404

    Agree entirely. Sorry to quote Orwell, but “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” The PTB do not want revolutionaries.

    It has become a touchstone for me that if the reaction to one’s questioning is outrage, ostracism, ridicule or even criminal charges, rather than a rational response, then someone has something to hide.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The elites never do evidence
    They do belief – belief that they are genetically superior to everybody else
    That they are the entitled ones
    And so everybody else can F/O

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Andrew Hatton terminology is the curse of economics throughout history rather than have a stated formula and adding to it completely different words are used to describe very similar if not the same point,i believe one of medicines science great advantages as been the give all there components a universe title that everyone knows what it if they take the time to learn,economics seems to deliberately fail to do so! creating unnecessary confusion. take the seen and unseen,window of opportunity and the multiplier all basically advocating the same but all different and interpreted slightly differently also

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  10. Good point – the ghost – I started to write something about my trade – probation and social work in England and Wales (different arrangements persist for publicly delivered probation & social work in Scotland and Northern Ireland – where the principles gained from professional practice and experience as well as research are better respected)

    It was difficult to be succinct & I deleted my remarks – but it is a tragedy the way professional expertise has been cast aside on politicians belief’s supported by managers & those in the employing agencies, with limited practice experience – so that the whole shebang has been diced up and effectively mostly been handed to the same sort of private companies who took over the Welfare Benefits and Job Finding services – now tax payers are paying shareholders to provide far worse services, that are likely eventually to lead to further social conflict – just look at the state of our prisons – In England & Wales.

    I am amazed that the NHS and teaching has held up as well as they have – so far – but I see the UK following the USA to third worldism – somehow people with real knowledge and expertise need to be heard above the ridiculous YahBoo din about whatever is at the top of the 24/7 news agenda today.

    What can we do? – There seem so many disparate voices – the only source of actual power – by way of changing and enforcing legislation is by way of the UK parliament – but without better organisation the current system seems almost unshakable apart from minor changes and now we have witnessed the complete sell out of the LibDems for some short term power lust satisfaction!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Andrew, madthink, what can we do?

    well, I think we should all take time out and reflect on the massive contribution that Nancy Reagan made to Britain. We should have a day of mourning at her demise by running out of breath at 94 – she gave so much and had still, so much to give. (30 minute tributes c/o BBC/ SkyNews)

    Honestly?

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  12. I think I have it now: The army is being turned into a multi cult militia !
    Les reluctance to put the boot in with the hungry? New game in play now… a later-day operation overlord happening …using disposable landing craft and human shields this time ….children and babes in arms and a well twatted media, all will primed with contempt for locals and invaders!

    Like

  13. dfn

    the army and the police (see crowd control at Spurs match yesterday) are soon going to join in the middle. There is no doubt in my mind that they, collectively, will be used against any dissenters to the current political scenario – for dissenters are now terrorists

    the american elections are being foistered on us routinely now. I have as much/ maybe more trepidation at the chance of Clinton getting into the white house as I did when thatcher got into number10. I also don’t want to live in the 51st state of the usa.

    this is a scary time to be alive – the more so if you have an ounce of intelligence and wit

    people are routinely being killed by this government under the false name of welfare reform (we don’t have welfare we have social security) – it’s only another move, another change of gear for the remainder of the population to be in their sights … and it’s happening already

    What can we do is a very real question

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  14. Take the national debt, say £1.7 trillion double it £3.4 trillion divide by the number of uk subjects who have been citizens for say 18 years about 48million =about £72,000 each. Now create a new bank of england owned by all those people and issue each of those individuals £7,200 worth of credit at 0% interest every year for the next decade, if they have debts they can take a lump sum at the start of the year to pay down that portion of their debt otherwise they get it in monthly installments. Have a transaction tax of 2% for private and 5% for commercial transactions carried out in this currency. Use the ‘money’ raised to pay down the national debt. To clear private debt and crawl out from under debt serfdom you’d need to double the amount, if you include unfunded liabilities [civil service pensions and suchlike] treble it.
    To understand whats going on you need to be an insider and they’re thin on the ground. https://www.sprottmoney.com/blog/the-one-bank-revisited-jeff-nielson.html

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  15. Since the 70’s the police in the UK have become politicised (Tony Bunyan the history and practise of the political police in Britain) More recently their equipment and uniforms have transformed their public appearance into a paramilitary force.. With the stroke of a pen the Home Secretary can put troops on the streets if he feels law and order has broken down.
    Sweden is rapidly heading towards a cashless society and the EU is abandoning the 500eur. note. Cash transactions and the carrying of more than loose change cash is frowned upon and illegal beyond a certain limit..Not only does electronic payments do away with anonymity bur also make a cypriot haircut absurdly easy. We are told by camelflung that if we do not agree with him we are terrorists. The modern education system is designed to turn out docile cannon fodder that does not question but simply obeys.We are rushing headlong into an Orwellian nightmare down a one way street with no exit.

    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
    This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
    Dear for her reputation through the world,
    Like to a tenement or pelting farm.
    England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
    Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
    Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
    With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.
    That England that was wont to conquer others
    Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
    (apologies to the Bard)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. JW your essay is frighteningly profound, but in the times we now live in, it’s extremely difficult to feel optimistic. Is there any good news John? I’ve nine g/children, & one great g/child.

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