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Anti-Government claims challenged

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It is worth reflecting on Lord Acton’s comment that “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. It is not a problem confined to those in public service. All power – including economic power, can corrupt those who enjoy it. One of the roles of a government can be to hold to account those who have power.

That’s why I believe in active and strong legislative bodies – they can limit the accumulation of unaccountable power – through anti-trust (competition) laws; can regulate against activities which involve the deception; exploitation and endangering the health and life of others (consumer protection laws) they can bring those who abuse power to account for their actions (Congressional and, though weaker British parliamentary Select, committees).

Much has been achieved through progressive use of political power. Consider the exploitation of people in the 19th Century. We no longer permit child labour; there is a minimum wage; in most countries there are safety nets to protect people from the misfortunes of chance (and I’m very proud of the British National Health Service).

If you don’t trust your politicians, hold them to account – I have little sympathy for those whose motives in denigrating politicians and public servants is to allow the holders of economic wealth to escape accountability; to enable them to expand their unjust exploitation of fellow humans; animals and the planet on which we live. I’m very suspicious of those who are always calling for a “bonfire of regulations” and “getting government off their backs” – because I’ve found that in practice they mean they want to be free to kill off competition; pay others little while making a grossly unfair profit off other people’s labour; stop accountability through Parliament/Congress or the Courts (like so called “Tort Reform”).

[This was a response to an attack by one of the anti-government/progressive rants I received from the likes of a tea partier to my recent video]

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Written by David

October 19, 2011 at 6:25 am

The malign influence of the American Right

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I have been warning for some years about the dangers of Right Wing American money being used to surreptitiously influence politics. This morning’s Observer – in response to the Liam Fox scandal – has published some of these clandestine links.

Watchers of the right-wing American scene will recognise the names of the Koch Brothers and others. People who have used their wealth to push their ideologically extremist agenda. I repeat my oft-made comment – we in Britain (and in Europe) need to make ourselves aware of these peoples’ activities – and the way that they have used their money to bring the extremist right to a position of considerable influence and power in the US. They are the people who have put up the money for a network of right wing organisations who had now reached the position that they are ‘framing’ political discource in the USA. They are the ones who have promoted apparently unrelated organisations, to entice people in, then fill them with their loathsome ideas.

Can I recommend some useful books which exposé their activities and methods –

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves, and Beggared the Nation

The Conservative Assault on the Constitution

Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

and some of the works of Sidney Blumenthal

Rise of the Counter-Establishment: The Conservative Ascent to Political Power

The Clinton Wars

Written by David

October 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm

The Challenges We Face

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Written by David

October 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Humour – with a serious point

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Written by David

September 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

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London 2012

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Written by David

September 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

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Watsroc is back

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After a break of a few months, WATSROC is on its way back. Please review the previous posts – and then new posts will soon start appearing

David

Written by David

September 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

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Short sighted policies threaten the West

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Bad news for the futures of the USA and UK. When we should be seeking to strengthen our ability to compete in a world where new economic powers are becoming stronger – we are wasting our natural and human resources.

Deficits should be reduced – where they are the result of wasteful spending. But we endanger our future if we cut back on our infrastructure; if we fail to prepare the next generation of income earners.

The US is taking its eye off deficit reduction – by granting extended tax cuts for the very richest. Conservative ideology – and the self interest of those in Congress (who themselves are extraordinarily rich compared with the average American – and who are financed by extremely wealthy individuals and corporations) is trumping the needs of the USA. For years the richest have been contributing less and less to the society they benefit from. As a result of policies followed the rich have skimmed off the wealth – infrastructure improvements have not been made – and the US has ceded some of its competitive advantage. Tax cuts have become more important politically than preparing the nation for the challenges of 21st Century.

In the UK Parliament is due to vote today on increasing student fees. Again over a period of years we have “chosen” to enrich the few (PFI schemes are an example of this – note the Public Accounts Ctte report on how banks have put up the costs – “Overall, bank financing costs increased by 20-33 per cent compared to bank charges before the credit crisis. This added £1 billion to the contract price, payable over 30 years, for the 35 projects financed in 2009. Furthermore Treasury did not require individual projects to submit detailed re-evaluations to assess whether contracts were still value for money.”) – and tax for the richest has been kept down. At the same time it has been made more daunting for lower income students to enter Higher Education. We need to encourge participation in Higher Education – we need, as a society, to invest more in the intellectual capital of the future.

Great empires in history have fallen when their rich and powerful elites became flabby and complacent. If the UK & US want a prosperous future – we must harness all our people’s energy. The agenda of conservatives will eventually destroy us.

Written by David

December 9, 2010 at 8:03 am