Monday, 30 January 2017

Blog 8                                                                                          30/01/2017

New Horizons?

Looking at a particular illustration: rather than ‘the grand’ or larger picture, we are all familiar with the ‘side stepper’. Some of these steppers are more adept than others. I refer to the politician under scrutiny by an interviewer.  Imperceptibly, almost - the interviewee changes the original football pitch. The football pitch on which the game started!

The interviewer can be left none the wiser and rather frustrated, the viewers may feel there are other issues they were unaware of, and feel a little foolish: whereas the politician blithely leaves the studio feeling satisfied the waters are muddied sufficiently and may continue unabashed. The public will continue not to view that which was not intended.

The actions of any individual wishing to distract another asking a question (that they would prefer not to answer): are known. One, may be visual- pointing to some movement in the far distance, or perhaps in the immediate vicinity. Making the question and often the questioner not the main issue at present time or staging a mini-accident/distraction; those adept at this could give a much longer list

My thoughts in writing this perhaps illustrate that clarity is probably unachievable. Focus on one factor without surrounding circumstance: distorts. Add an interplay of players; and the art of time casting a different light makes all nebulous.

One of the greatest deflections I perceive at present, although it has been happening possibly in this country since the 1960’s is by blaming- the other side (in what has been a two-party system), or it could be displacement to another country, or another person. Observation of squabbles between young children illustrate this. Siblings are capable of elaborate plots to implicate the other at a very early age!

One apparent reason is to deflect attention from themselves. When individuals started to be highlighted as “evil” (the George W. Bush speech after 9/11) this appeared to be a new ball game.

It may be recognised that countries appear, at times to act with the nature of individuals. Some, we need to admit, are more mature that others. Some with older experience, (although more may be expected of them), may deliberately seek to influence those with less.

The balance of weight of weaponry on two sides created a type of ‘peace’ after WW2, fear also being a factor: by recognition of the might of the modern bomb. The inhabitants of Japan, their children, children’s children bear testament.

The issue basically is based on blindness and a presumption of superiority and a right to exist where others don’t. This can only work with a strong sense of nationalism and identity. If groups are portrayed as alien and dehumanised, castigated through lies and generally unworthy- it is easier apparently to drop bombs on them. If too, they are portrayed as some threat to the dominant race it is easier to manipulate ‘their people’ into (through fear) which leads to persecuting the down trodden further (Afghanistan is rated as one of the poorest nations on Earth).

The root is ‘money’. The West, relies on sale of weaponry and wars to test latest new developments with a view to producing more. The difference today is some of us at least, are aware of the mammoth wide scale suffering this is causing. Another change being a development of global both in finance, trade and the movement of peoples.

To conduct war - you need enemies. Weapon production is mammoth business and reliable. It has been a corner stone in injecting a boost into the system a, a system now favouring fewer and fewer. There is little incentive for the powerful to rely on anything else, or change. Change requires more effort and imagination and after all they have done very well so why change it?

Politicians morph into corporations which is of mutual benefit to some individuals. At the same time funded from the Public purse.

There is now an awareness, a waking up and it is only through public opinion and the ballot box, that Joe Blogs: me - the people next door, can change anything.

The American President has distracted or focused away from US problems- the third world within- lack of mental health care, shootings by police, and unrest by pointing at Muslims. Mass murders in public places are frequently due to mental health issues (break down of community structure), alienation of individuals. and/or the number of weapons widely available to the public. On the other hand the President has offered hope to the dispossessed needing jobs even a new view on world order by suggesting working with Russia and its allies to find strategies to deal with extremism in the ME.

Monitoring Muslims complies with the finding of the new enemy after 1989 when the Cold War ceased, but it is apparent the embers are being stoked again. Other embers are being stoked of elitist Western supremacy. Whether this is due to fading memory of WW2 and Hiroshima, or due to Western economies dependence on arms creation, or Western wish to be omnipotent by having Power to destroy: or some, or all of these - is an open to question.

The basing of economies on the suffering of multitudes, the destruction (as in Iraq, Syria and Palestine) of their Cultures while preaching something other, war making, protection of boundaries, aggression tends to be more male than female. Perhaps it is admirable to celebrate difference but as lines become blurred that too needs to be acknowledged.

Those ‘Liberals’ who wished a different outcome to the US election the only alternative was of continued destabilisation of the ME. The previous President however well-intentioned continued almost like the previousone. It was done more covertly, but in the same direction.  The Democrats there, and the Blairites both merely dress up the unpalatable to make palatable like a sugar-coated pill perhaps naked reality could offer more – at present? Let us hope so.  

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Mankind's Deterrents


Blog 7 

Mankind’s Deterrents

The giving of blind faith is measured – using security of the Realm and bravado engender little confidence in present government. Good will can be fickle. The issue of the failed Trident missile in June last year around the same time as the Referendum and it’s concealment strike badly at this.

Theresa May reiterates her commitment to involve “the whole” the UK but with little explanation, a potential trade deal with US has not been explained as well as detail about Brexit: these three make heavy demand on public confidence plus now more serious -Trident.

Taking, only Trident renewal: the swiftness of the David Cameron’s resignation after the Brexit vote, the appointment of our PM and Government, many were still in shock when the renewal of Trident was discussed in Parliament, rather too promptly. It appears now that as the test on missile launch failed, by withholding this important information it is likely to have had effect on the outcome. Reasons given have not been convincing.

Our Chancellor of the Exchequer had moved from Foreign Secretary and prior Defence. He had previously proclaimed his support for Trident renewal suggesting the standing of Britain on the World stage depended upon it. Both America and Britain have depended upon it since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. A type of Power by the threat of destruction.

It does not apparently factor that by having the most powerful (or at least one of them). “deterrent” within the arsenal of biological and  chemical, it is an encouragement to others, in order to defend themselves, to have the same or some equivalent protection. It also needs to be factored, that the more “deterrents” there are, the more likely there is to be accident or serious incident. This perhaps could leave areas on the Planet unviable for habitation.

In the Climate changing more rapidly than scientists predicted and the type and location of the changes unpredictable i.e. whether due to the Arctic melting ice stressing ocean currents and creating an ice age, or extensive droughts, or flooding, or all: much of the Planet may become unpleasant or uninhabitable. Population increase has led to large conurbations possibly more vulnerable to sea rise.

The deterrent is massive with potential of vast contamination. It is always more costly than present estimate of £40bn and that is just on submarines. Is it as a deterrent more likely to be used when there appears not to be available a more measured and appropriate response?  One warhead has 7-8x the capacity of all the bombs which destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Each Trident II D5 missile can carry five warheads. One submarine can carry eight missiles. Each missile costs £17mn bought from the US. It becomes momentarily visible just what big business this is.

Perhaps a versatility of response which is more flexible would be prudent. Feet on the ground may provide help in crisis as well as defence? Britain and America continue to claim greatness in a World where cyber-attack possibly is now more of a threat. A threat possibly to the use of the West’s weapons themselves? Drop bombs may increase enemy resistance in the longer term: perhaps attention could be given to not creating so many enemies in the first place?

There is an opportunity as the new American President had suggested, working with Russia to deal with the instability in the ME. Apart from Extremism, Climate Change is also a common threat. Holding a Moratorium on a Global strategy for dealing with the legacy of Nuclear waste: tackling together the stresses on the Planet for the Planet and its inhabitants, could be some common issues?



Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Breakfast Dinner

Blog 6                                                                                                                     18/01/2017

A Breakfast Dinner

Age may teach a judgement from a more overall distant view, both in physical and time-dimensions, it can, I hope, give valuable judgement. It is often said we would have made an alternative decision, if we had known that, then.

More and more I find track record and an awareness of the outcome of what has happened in the past in similar circumstances an indicator of a likelihood of something similar. All depends on memory unless you are a scholar. Sadly, brief life offers a dimmer - just when potentially we may be getting an understanding!

With the use of some of the attributes mentioned plus a great respect for balance- these are my present offers on the phenomena of Brexit- a name with a connotation of a large breakfast related to a dog’s dinner!

With the broader view with time and space it is only by comparison can we judge if one road may be of benefit over another. Often it is the secondary consequences of action which become the predominant issue, rather than the issue itself. It usually is over simplification just to grab an idea with conviction.

It is a sadness that I observe the phenomena of the divide. Binary is the order of the day as are computers. Today a better attribute is that individually we have our own ideas and minds, nuances of difference abound. Binary political Parties now are confused.

There is a choice to ignore different views, and Politicians to grasp their old friend ‘dogma’, just where did that land us in the past? Or, another trick may be to regain control/respect through the public being afraid, so gather support that way. Another ploy is all have a common enemy. If there are no common thoughts among us bring in a country or leader to hate. At least it helps to point all in a common direction. Is this not now wearing a little thin and becoming transparent?

The other potential controller is a significant down turn in the economy. At this time many are vulnerable when there is so much debt. The question is, is Brexit going to be successful. The Government faction leading are telling us it is as with UKIP.

Perhaps in Mrs May’s speech she tried to simplify our exit to avoid delay. Delay and uncertainty being bad for the economy, is this almost inevitable? If it is: at which stage would it be best to happen? Leaving the EU to sort out its own burdensome bureaucracy rather than this country employ droves of civil servants may be helpful? If indeed that is possible.

Perhaps magically the European Union could fly into the air and the pieces land in a more pleasing fashion with a movement to less, looser ties and a more overall agreement relating to immigration.

The chances of an effective independent immigration policy in Britain are not great. Successive governments have promised to control it for decades unsuccessfully. There are sounds from other EU countries that they too wish some control. The chances of agreed policies with these or/and the EU would I believe have a better opportunity of success and be less costly.

Usually, it does not make good sense to fall out with neighbours. Usually also, imbued with dogma and bravado may muster public enthusiasm temporarily, but when/if an economic downturn kicks in: it could well be great regret, rather than bravado for supporters of Brexit.

Starting negotiation with a new American President supporting Britain could well be treated with suspicion and mar good deals. The trade agreement TTIP with Europe has not been approved. Getting an agreement even through the back door could be favourable for the Americans. It needs to be remembered that the EU is a competitor.

Is this deal good for Britain? Does it involve GM crops and more pesticides and the sale of fracking equipment? American debt is enormous and dependant at present on the sale of armaments. The number of fines issued to foreign firms increases, barely a week goes by without one. Any trade agreement with them could increase our vulnerability.

Britain could jump out of a frying pan into a furnace. Another worrying factor is control of immigration and Brexit, is by trying to implement one in this present climate influenced by UKIP, could this lead to more racist attacks and bias: apart from making the Country more unpleasant? If this does not bother Brexiteers then unrest costs money- another down for the Economy.

Another alarming factor: is with the possibility of economic slowdown this could herald more deregulation. We have already in very recent memory been down this road. One would have hoped all would remember.

The good news is that our PM will not go ahead if ‘Leaving’ is worse than staying in, or rather more damaging. That was my understanding of her words. I just hope that this realization does not happen too late. My understanding says it could be.