An occasional e-mail to friends, November 2008, # 50.
The myth of an ever-expanding economy has been shattered by the credit crunch. We trusted the financial advisers who proliferated during the boom years and believed that they could turn our savings into a fortune. We thought that they understood the market and were able to predict the future. We might have doubted them during the recessions of the 1970s and the 1990s but we followed them into the present crisis.
Now the experts are telling us that they saw it coming all along; that It was not their advice that burst the bubble but our own insatiable greed. But all will be well, they insist, if we prop up the banking system with massive infusions of taxpayer’s money. We must maintain the illusion that the banks have enough money to cover their loans.
In the days before Margaret Thatcher our economy was based on production. We used to sell cars, motorcycles, machines, printing presses, locomotives, ships and planes to the world. But the doctrinaire Thatcher government decided to screw the truculent trade unions by dismantling industry and turning us all into call centre operators and burger flippers.
So we abandoned our coalmines, scrapped our factories and turned our docks into luxury developments for Russian billionaires. We were so sure of the future that we took out insurance, mortgages, pensions and overdrafts until we were buried under a mountain of debt. We wiped out our industries with cheap Chinese imports and watched as house prices rocketed as fast as banker’s bonuses. It all seemed too good to be true; and indeed it was.
Since the last recession of 1992 we have enjoyed years of prosperity on borrowed money; football stars, lawyers, foul-mouthed TV presenters and other non-producers have pocketed fortunes. But the boom has run its course and the inevitable bust is upon us. Now pensions and investments are threatened and property prices are falling as fast as once they rose. Things will not return to normal until we base our economy on industrial and agricultural production instead of deficit spending funded by international finance.
Time for change
The conferences of the Labour, Liberal and Tory parties were rather subdued this year. With the major British banks on life support, a collapsing property market, rising unemployment and the FTSE in freefall, the old gang ran through their tribal rituals with little enthusiasm.
Dave Cameron did manage to get a cheer out of the Tories simply by mentioning the name of Margaret Thatcher. It didn’t occur to any of them that she started the rot by turning the traditional mortgage lenders into banks. It was the Tony Blair government that freed the Bank of England from state control but deregulation was a Reagan-Thatcher obsession.
In those days the followers of Milton Friedman instigated total freedom for capitalism including open borders and “free trade.” Almost immediately the rich countries started “outsourcing” jobs to the poor countries and the steady stream of Third World migrants to the West became a raging torrent.
Because we have a limited human lifespan we look for contemporary solutions.
But historians of the future will make little distinction between the depression of the Thirties and the current situation. It’s the same crisis, caused by the same racket and in need of the same treatment.
In Mosley’s 1951 essay “The ABC of Modern Economics” he examined the causes of our problems and looked to a future free from financial manipulation.
“ The real cause of this trouble is that we are tied to the international system of trade and thus made the victims of international chaos. The things now discussed by the parties are either symptoms or ineffective efforts to escape from the fundamental trouble. So long as we are tied to the international system, it does not matter a rap whether the system in this country is international capitalism or international socialism: or an unworkable mixture of the two, as at present. It is now proved that internationalism will not work for reasons we pointed out years ago. The truth we spoke is now shown to be a fact: unfortunately by the sufferings of the British people and the loss of British greatness. We still have to sell our exports in open competition on the markets of the world in order to buy the raw materials for our industries, without which, we cannot live. We have to join in the scramble for these raw materials on world markets. But we are handicapped in this struggle because we have weakened ourselves to the point of death by unnecessary wars.”
Nothing has changed in the 57 years since Mosley wrote these words. We are still battling to survive and fighting unnecessary wars. The old system has failed and must be replaced by a sustainable geopolical alternative. The state funding of banks is at best a temporary solution but it proves that unfettered capitalism does not work.
This first appeared as Bill’s War Diary on Sharon Ebank’s website in 2007
The War on Hepatitis
Hepatitis B is a highly contagious viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver and, if untreated, can result in cirrhosis – scarring of the liver – liver cancer, liver failure and death. It used to be considered a tropical disease and was extremely rare in Britain, but since the mass migration of Asian and Afro-Caribbean economic refugees it has spread and one London clinic has reported 2,000 cases of the infection in the past two years, mostly amongst immigrants.
Around the world there are nearly 600 million cases of Hepatitis B and C. Infection rates are rising in Europe and on 1st October 2006 in Copenhagen Sir Bob Geldof, The World Health Organization and the European Liver Patient’s Association joined forces to raise public awareness of Hepatitis. Their message is – Get Tested.
The World Health Organization is strongly advocating the compulsory immunization of all babies at birth. The United States and some European countries have already complied with this advice but the United Kingdom continues to practice selective immunization aimed at high-risk groups such as drug abusers and Third World immigrants.
In The Netherlands they offer vaccination to children with at least one parent from a Hepatitis B endemic country. The Irish medical authorities have decided that their increasingly multiracial population would see such a policy as discriminatory; they are considering universal immunization.
Because Hepatitis B can be sexually transmitted it has become stigmatized together with AIDS and other STDs. But newborn babies can hardly be blamed for getting infected. Contaminated bodily fluids including blood and saliva spread the infection. It can be caught from sharing needles, from having sex with an infected partner or simply from bad hygiene.
The British Medical Journal is now calling for universal immunization to counter the viral infection, which they frankly state is: “due to immigration mainly from endemic areas.” A BMJ article published in March 2006 argues that vaccination of newborn babies would cost less than the lost employment, hospital bills and liver transplant surgery that now result from this imported problem.
Hepatitis B is just one of several diseases resulting from Third world immigration into Europe. According to the United States Library of Medicine:
“In most parts of the world – and in developing nations in particular – cities and rural areas are becoming more densely populated and more interconnected. This makes it easier for germs to spread from person to person.
Many of the emerging infections we’ve seen recently – hanavirus, monkeypox, SARS and bird flu – result from animal to human transmission. That’s because viruses that cross the species barrier often originate in areas where people live in close proximity to animals, especially pigs, which are an ideal ‘mixing bowl’ for virus genes.”
Hepatitis B comes from the Third World but it is infecting people here in Britain. A nationwide programme of vaccination of babies would protect us against it. We are justifiably proud of our National Health Service that pioneered immunization against diphtheria and poliomyelitis. We must now provide protection against Hepatitis B. We are spending billions of pounds fighting unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We should be spending this money on health care for our nation. Let’s make war on Hepatitis B instead of wasting our money on pointless military adventures. This is a war that can be won.
Judge Daphne Wickham has refused to extradite the Australian historian Dr Fred Toben to Germany on charges of denying the Holocaust. But he is on bail pending an appeal. The EU Arrest Warrant of 2004 was rushed through the European Parliament in response to the terrorist bombings in London, Madrid and Istanbul. It was designed to catch terrorists and dealers in child pornography but like all such legislation it is used indiscriminately.
In 2006 the “Natwest Three,” Giles Darby, David Bermingham and Gary Mulgrew, were extradited to the US on charges relating to the Enron fraud. The leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies Campbell argued that the US government had not ratified the US-UK Extradition Treaty of 2003 because of pressure from the “Irish lobby” wanting to protect IRA suspects in America. In this case the courts upheld the extradition warrant.
Like all countries Britain’s legal code is modified by international agreement. We subscribe to the UN Declaration of Human rights and have extradition treaties with the rest of the world. The difficulty arises when people have committed no crime in the country that arrests them. At present the Californian authorities are detaining Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle, the so-called “Heretical Two,” on race-hate charges brought by the British CPS although they have broken no law in the USA.
The Belgian authorities have refused to extradite people to Poland on charges relating to abortion or euthanasia because these activities are legal in Belgium. They have ignored the European Arrest Warrant and established the precedent that national law overrides international agreements on extradition. Dr Toben’s opinions may be controversial but he has broken no law in the UK and should never have been detained for four weeks. He should be allowed to continue his journey to Australia and recompensed for his shameful treatment.
The EU and Zionism
A correspondent argues that the EU is a Zionist tyranny and a factor in the global economic crisis. It’s true that Austria, Germany, France, Poland and Romania have specific laws against Holocaust denial but Italy, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Denmark and Finland do not. All member states subscribe to the 2007 EU Directive for Combating Racism and Xenophobia except Spain whose constitutional court has rejected it.
The directive states that the following conduct should be punished by 1 to 3 years imprisonment: “publicly inciting to violence or hatred, even by dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material, directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.” This is in line with the British Race Relations Act.
Parties opposed to Third World immigration are in government in Italy and serve in the parliaments of Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria. The EU directive has not stopped them from campaigning. Most of the right wing parties keep a low profile on Zionism. But left wing parties and newspapers all over Europe are fiercely critical of Israel. The Independent and The Guardian have both been objective on this issue.
The UK would be just as Zionist outside of the EU. We would still have the same politicians, financiers and industrialists. And we would be driven even closer to America, the paymaster of Zionism. The citizens of the USA enjoy free speech but their taxes support the brutal occupation of Palestine and their formidable navy protects Israel by patrolling the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
Euro-sceptics see the European Union as a monolithic empire but it remains a federation of nation states each pursuing their own interests. Progress towards unity has been slow since the European Coal and Steel Community was founded in 1951. When the current crisis broke European leaders rushed to protect their own people. Only later did they get their act together and adopt a common policy.
The worst affected country in Europe is Iceland, a barren island in the far north with a population of 320,000. They became a major banking power by offering unrealistically high interest rates. Iceland is not a member of the EU but they belong to the European Economic Area and are considering adopting the Euro now that their currency has lost over half its value.
The financial crisis resulted from the export of “toxic” American mortgages. It would have happened with or without the EU. But as a result America will be forced to slash spending and the rest of the world will realign to suit the changing climate. The project known as the New American Century was supposed to conquer the world for globalism but it collapsed after only eight years.
Mussolini – a new life by Nicholas Farrell
The life of Benito Mussolini was lived in turbulence and ended in violent death. Nicholas Farrell traces his journey from militant socialist journalist to dictator of Italy. He looks at Benito the man, the soldier, the husband, the father and the lover. And he looks at fascism the creed that transformed Italy into a modern state and gave the Italians unity and purpose.
Farrell does not fall into the historical morality trap that usually spoils biographies. He looks at Mussolini as an early twentieth century man and does not react with horror to the Italian colonization of Ethiopia at a time when most of the European powers had African colonies. He reveals that Mussolini’s campaign to bring Italy into WW1 was financed by Britain. And he shows how the shortsighted and neurotic Anthony Eden drove Italy into alliance with Germany in WW2.
The fascist revolution was all about Mussolini. On New Years day in 1920 he wrote in his newspaper Il Popolo d’Italia: “ We don’t believe in programmes, schemes, saints, apostles; above all we don’t believe in happiness, salvation, the promised land. We don’t believe in a single solution – whether of an economic, political or moral kind – a linear solution to the problems of life, because – oh illustrious ballad singers of all the vestries – life is not linear… Two religions vie today for dominion over spirits and the world: the black and the red. From two Vaticans, today encyclicals depart: from the one in Rome and the one in Moscow. We are heretics of these two religions. We alone are immune from the contagion.”
Farrell examines the complex relationship between Hitler and Mussolini and the basic differences in their philosophies. Il Duce was convinced that North Africa and the Mediterranean was the key to the future; Hitler had always looked east to Russia. But their fates were linked together and there was no turning back for either of them.
Today fascism is remembered for the war and for getting the trains to run on time. But Mussolini’s fascists governed Italy for twenty years and pioneered motorways, drainage, irrigation, industrial development, education and social security. Who knows what they would have achieved but for the war?
Running through the story is the constant intrigue that threatened the Partito Nazionale Fascista. Mussolini did shoot his son-in-law but the slaughter of Gregor Strasser, Ernst Rohm and the Sturm Abteilung was not repeated south of the Alps. They did not suffer a Night of the Long Knives and Il Duce remained a socialist to the bitter end. The Italian Social Republic was organized along socialist lines and the reactionaries and monarchists were dealt with. But by then it was all too late. Communist partisans murdered Benito Mussolini in April 1945.
Mussolini – a new life by Nicholas Farrell, published by Phoenix 2003.
Paying the piper
Shadow chancellor George Osborne and Secretary of State Lord Peter Mandelson met Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska at the Taverna Agni in Corfu. Fund manager Nat Rothschild, media heiress Elizabeth Murdoch and Tory chief executive Andrew Feldman were also there. George Osborne has denied asking for money on behalf of the Tory Party and former EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has denied doing any favours for Mr Deripaska.
Politicians and wealthy men have always been friends. In the case of George Osborne and Nat Rothschild they were at school together so it’s natural that they should keep in contact. But when members of cash strapped political parties talk to foreign billionaires and City financiers suspicious minded people are bound to jump to conclusions.
This affair has revived the preposterous call for political parties to be state funded. Under such a scheme your taxes would support parties that you detest in the interest of democracy. You would, like Voltaire, be defending your enemies right to have their say. In this way you could support the mass importation of Third World immigrants, the sending of British troops to Iraq and Afghanistan or the continued occupation of Palestine.
We already subsidise the parties to some extent but the idea of pouring millions of pounds in the coffers of the old gang is too much to bear. If we really want democracy we must adopt a proportional representation system that reflects all shades of opinion.
At present we have two major parties with almost identical policies. Under proportional representation there would be scores of parties from the lunatic left to the rigid right. If all these groups were represented in parliament we would have consensus politics. Of course there would be communists, fascists, Islamics and the BNP sitting with Labour, Liberal and Tory MPs. But at least this would reflect public opinion. It would only be necessary for the state to provide TV time and election address facilities.
The parties would be smaller and funded by their own members. None of them would be big enough to govern on their own; they would be forced into coalitions and obliged to listen to their constituents. The Labour/Tory duopoly would be broken and it would no longer be possible for an arrogant government to steamroller repressive legislation through parliament.
So long as political parties are supported by donations from organized labour and big business the piper will call the tune. No party can be genuinely independent if it relies on donations from people with their own agendas. Instead of state funding we should demand transparent accounting, strict auditing and punitive sentences for those caught fiddling.