Sunday 30 September 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012 Posted by Jake No comments Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Sunday, September 30, 2012 with No comments | Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Money has been devalued. I do not refer to inflation here. Money has been devalued because people don't value the things they can get too easily. 

The people who control our economy - the top politicians and businessmen - have served themselves extremely generously over the last few decades, and now for them money is commonplace. Because it is of little value they carelessly give it to some (themselves and their associates) and thoughtlessly take it away from others (the rest of us Britons). They do this with no more concern than casting a shadow.

People with vast amounts of money think people with merely lots of money are poor. In a campaign speech Mitt Romney, an American presidential candidate, said he thought the average American earned a quarter of a million dollars. Presumably he regards $250,000 a year as a very modest amount. Thus he and his ilk blindfold themselves to the consequences of their actions with the assumption that the poor only have lots of money, rather than pots of it, allowing their consciences to let them rip off an extra few hundred pounds with an increase in ticket prices and utility bills. And rip off another extra few hundred pounds with freezes in pay and cuts in benefits and pensions. Money isn’t important, they tell themselves, therefore it isn’t important if I help myself to some more of it.

But just as people don’t value the things they have in plenty, they do value what they have little of. For 90% of Britons, whose income has stagnated in real terms for decades, money does have value. And when it goes, it hurts.

Britain is going through some painful changes. One of which is a public intolerance of lying and cheating. Vilification is everywhere: bankers (for a compendium of dodgy activities that have come to be known generically as ‘banking’); media moguls (phone hacking, bribing officials, etc.); suppliers ripping off the government (MOD paying £22 for 65p lightbulb, etc.); insurers (inflating repair costs to hike premiums, etc.); MPs (fiddling expenses; lying about anything including swearing at cops; providing commercial favours; complicity in kidnapping and rendition, etc.). Pity the banker/MP/mogul who now find themselves in deep doo-doo for doing precisely the same thing they were openly doing when they were fêted as ‘leading citizens’. Pity? Perhaps not.

Bankers have been manipulating LIBOR for years, an open secret that was shouted across trading floors with bankers offering one another a choice of rates like sweets from a tin of Quality Street. Strawberry Delight or Orange Crunch, up a little or down a lot? Fabulous profits tumbled in from the Payment Protection Insurance scam, insider trading, grotesque charges on pensions and investments. All these scams were hardly a secret to an insider or an insider’s friends or his friends’ friends, their spouses, paramours and personal trainers. The perpetrators of these scams were not just quietly indulged, but were proudly trumpeted as the jewels in the British industrial crown. To keep them, we are told, we must pay them generously and regulate them pusillanimously.

Unimpeded and celebrated dodgy behaviour became an open secret that spread like a flu virus infecting the upper echelons of Britain. Ripping off clients, customers and constituents was in order to harvest as much money as the bankers. Confusing rewards with merit, they proved their ‘excellence’ by the amount of money they could grab. And then justified the amount of money they could grab by their ‘excellence’. Even our sainted family doctors got in on the act with a 58% pay increase over 4 years for doing less work. British culture itself went through a sarcastic period, Sarc-Art, when unmade beds, stuffed sheep, lights going on and off, and crumpled pieces of paper were selling for ludicrous prices to people with too much money to value it. As soon as our Brit-Artists realised that their sarcasm was profitable, perhaps they too believed in their own excellence?
Britain is going through some painful changes. But some changes go in a circle, and return you to where you started. A painful diet can lose you a stone or two in weight, but in all probability the weight will gradually return. 

We see British politicians and industrialists following the example of Fabius Maximus, the ancient Roman general known as “the delayer”. Fabius Maximus saved Rome from the Carthaginian invasion of Hannibal by avoiding battle and slowing Hannibal down until he ran out of va-va-voom and left Italy. This Fabian strategy – now in the form of various enquiries and name changes – is the hope of the modern day rippers-off to slow things down until the public anger passes, so they can get back to business as usual.

Sadly we ordinary Britons are probably doomed to Hannibal’s fate. When the economic crisis eventually lifts the public anger will lessen, and the Delayers will have won. But at least we can, like Hannibal, aspire to be heroic losers. Do not lose your va-va-voom. Have your response to the lies ready:
  • When they tell you the finance sector is the premier employer, it isn't true. Employment in finance has stagnated for years well below other sectors: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you the finance sector is a major contributor to tax, actually their corporation tax is just 2% of the total tax take: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you it would be a disaster if the financiers left Britain, the Independent Banking Commission said only less than 6% of banking tax revenues (including payroll taxes) can be easily moved out: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you cutting taxes on the rich will make us all richer, decades of tax cuts under Tory and Labour has left 90% of us with zero real growth in pay over the last 2 decades: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you cutting tax will make the economy grow, figures show there is no correlation between tax cuts and growth: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you energy prices follow wholesale prices, show them graphs from Consumer Focus demonstrating this is not true: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you rail ticket prices must go up to pay for investment, rail regulator figures show that while prices have gone up investment has plummetted: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you consumer law protects us from rip-offs, show them extracts which specify only the 'average' consumer is protected (i.e. the less than average 50% are not): click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you pensions are running out of control, show them figures showing the share of GDP going in pay and pensions has been falling since the 1970s: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you saving with pension companies will give you a prosperous retirement, point out that UK pensioners lose upto half their pension pot in charges: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you the change linking pensions to CPI instead of RPI won't make much difference, just show them the graph with the grim mathematical truth: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you there is an unfair differential between public and private sector pay, tell them about the rigged figures used to prove this: click here for counter-argument
  • When they tell you ensuring people only claim what they are due in benefits, not a penny more not a penny less would save money show them that benefits are actually vastly under-claimed: click here for counter-argument
This should be important to activists in all political parties. Not even the Tories can afford to ignore what is happening to 90% of the electorate. The fact is, most voters of all political tendencies are being ripped off. The strongest tactic of the delayers is to make false statements - such as "Income tax cuts for the wealthy make us all richer". The best counter-tactic is to know your facts, and knock this kind of fib on the head without delay.

In all probability the delayers will outlast us. The small number who want to delay the reforms needed to stop the scams will hope to be rewarded with millions. The vast number of us who want the scams to stop will be rewarded with nothing more than justice. Justice: another under valued commodity.


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