Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Beginning

When the London Stock Exchange closed yesterday, it became possible to compare the year-end positions for 2010 and 2011. The FTSE 100 was down 5.6% over the year. Banks fell more sharply. Oil and gas shares rose. The High Street remains in dire straits, partly due to the impact of online shopping, partly due to you know what. This is also the time of year when rents have to be paid, the straw that breaks the Christmas camel’s back.

A year’s data is no better guide to economic trends than to climate change (though 2011 was the second warmest year recorded in the UK, second only to 2006). But the economic data is not other than we might expect. Growth is over, banks are dead in the water, and as the price of fossil fuels rises, so the profits accruing to those who still have them to hand will increase. What consumption survives is much more hard-headed and conscious of costs in the round.

And politics? Well, the choice is no different to usual. Either one of the London parties, all now steaming towards a corporatist merger with big business to protect the interests of the rich and powerful. Or the regionalist alternative, putting communities first, within the context of a world that is fast changing for ever.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Horrific Outbreak of Democracy in Paris

The French Parliament appears to be on the brink of allowing mistakes in regional boundaries to be corrected by a vote in the d├ępartements directly concerned. The new law would remove the right of voters in the wider region to veto change – a right that, in effect, keeps folk locked in an administrative marriage to which they never consented.

It may come as a surprise to our readers that any right of referendum already exists in French regional law. We certainly don’t have it in England. As far as the London regime is concerned, we’re thick yokels who couldn’t punch our way out of a wet paper bag. Folk who wouldn’t know a credit default swap from a collateralised debt obligation, let alone be capable of defining our own identity.

So there’s no vote in prospect for Hampshire on whether it’s right for the historic capital city of Wessex to be in a different region from the majority of our shires. Nor in Cornwall on whether it’s right for a Celtic nation to be in an English region at all.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Peace & Goodwill?

This September, those who died in terrorist attacks on U.S. cities were commemorated, ten years on. Although the death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan combined is over 300 times the death toll of 9/11, few words were spared for the victims of those U.S.-led crusades for oil, unleashed under the pretext of fighting terror, with terror. Those who care at all will not care enough to withhold their votes from the politicians responsible and cast them in a more sensible direction. Although about 71% of Britons think the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable, according to a ComRes poll for ITV, most tolerate the lies, the lies about ‘our boys’, devoting themselves to ‘keeping us safe’, that we may ‘sleep at night’. Well, wake up!

In October, the conflict in Afghanistan involving western troops entered its second decade. It has cost the UK taxpayer £18 billion and rising. Deaths among the British armed forces have reached 392, among Afghan civilians over 8,800.

Today, we ought to reflect on how little it has all achieved.

Saddam Hussein was tried and executed, for unrelated crimes, while Osama Bin Laden was not tried at all but executed anyway. In contrast, our own conspirators are still very much at large. Some of those, like David Cameron, who voted for war in 2003 enjoy all the trappings of high office, courtesy of the British electorate. So should we now accept Tony Blair’s advice, to ‘draw a line and move on’? It’s true that such issues may seem a long way removed from devolution but they do demonstrate the pressing need for change in our constitutional arrangements. If ‘our leaders’ can be excused justice for reasons of state then there is NO justice, no equality under the law. And the longer they’re allowed to get away with it, the more they’ll feel capable of doing the same again.

Meanwhile, 3% of Wessex continues to be occupied as training grounds by those preparing for the next pre-emptive strike to keep the peace. A less cynical, less Orwellian world used to call them wars.

Almost nightly, our screens are filled with the uniformed portraits of the latest casualties in Afghanistan. Newsreaders don’t normally tell us the names of everyone who has died in a preventable accident at work. Or in collisions on our overcrowded roads. Is it because morale is so low that those ‘heroes’ foolish enough to take the Queen’s shilling are paraded before us? So that, surely, we ought to nod helplessly and approve of them wasting their lives in a pointless cause? British soldiers are NOT ‘heroes’. For two reasons. One is that heroes save lives, not take them. The other is that there is nothing heroic about this shabby little war.

What most appals those who lived through the Second World War is that rampant militarism now goes unchallenged. The priority of disarmament has given way to the priority of ‘intervention’, as if ‘our’ government had some right to act not just as world’s policeman but also as world’s political surgeon. As the dust settles in Libya and talk turns to the contracts for reconstruction, we can see the real agenda all too plainly. As ‘statesmen’ look around for something to restart the engine of ecocide, plenty of advice will suggest that trade follows the flag, that the markets demand greater and greater offerings of human hearts. There’s even a name for it: weaponised Keynesianism. Globalisation – aggressive trade liberalisation coupled with contempt for sovereignty, identity and democracy – is a crime against humanity, a desperate bid to win control of the world’s resources before they run out. Daft, but true.

‘Royal’ Wootton Bassett now has the same initials as Red, White & Blue. It began to enter the national consciousness by spontaneously honouring the war dead passing through. It ended up receiving an honour of its own, for which it never asked, an honour some find manipulative and tawdry. The Mayor told journalists that he expects locals will carry on calling the place simply ‘Bassett’. The establishment could not spare the Queen to present her Letters Patent in person this year but deputed the Princess Royal to convey to the townsfolk the thanks of “the whole country”. Thanks for what? Thanks for “responding with dignity and respect to the losses that this country’s operational responsibilities have forced upon us”. Forced? And when exactly did a war of choice become violence under duress? Perhaps the Queen, as ultimate commander-in-chief, would like to answer that question at The Hague?

We are all Cameron’s conscripts, despite the best efforts of the Peace Tax campaign. It has become unacceptable in most circles to voice any criticism of the remilitarisation of our society. Laws are being twisted to punish those who do, trampling on fundamental rights of free expression in a chilling evocation of the flag desecration laws found in totalitarian states. True patriotism cannot arise from coercion and it would be a despicable thing if it could. The burning of Remembrance Day poppies as a protest against the continuing fact of war does appear to be on the increase, an ugly sign of ugly times. Does it show less respect than allowing the warmongers to lay their wreaths of hypocrisy? Who then are the real criminals?

We are all instructed, even by the young Lefties of the BBC, what to think and feel about RWB and Carterton, and much else surrounding the British murder machine. It’s time the truth was able to be told and fingers to be pointed in accusation. Because regime change begins at home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nuking Weymouth

According to financial analyst David Malone today, “2012 is going to be the year of unrest and repression.”

A London establishment that has spent the last decade, and more, treading heavily on the world has now invited the world round for a spot of sport. And is getting worried. It might be a very good idea not to be in southern Dorset next summer, in view of some of the scenarios now being modelled.

Of course, nothing at all may happen. But a lot of useful experience in crowd control and the like will have been gained...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Missing the Obvious

There’s a water crisis looming. The Coalition wants us all to be more careful. Hippy conservationists seem to agree that water meters, dual-flush toilets and garden water butts will take the pressure off. Maybe sharing showers or bathwater would help. All of which is nonsense. It’s nonsense because we would actually have more than enough water if we’d limit ourselves to a sustainable population. Climate change, if it proves to be anything more than a corporatist hoax, may make the shortage worse but the real cause is letting folk live where the water ain’t.

Over the past 90 years we have seen a long-term drift of England’s population from north to south. The northern cities, supplied from reservoirs in the Pennines, the Lake District and Wales, are not short of water, just inhabitants to use it. The southern cities, growing unsustainably, depend on squeezing water out of exhausted aquifers and planning new reservoirs on good farmland. Bristol has a clutch of reservoirs supplied by rain off the Mendips yet still has to import half its drinking water from Wales via the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. The Thames valley has a significant water deficit, which re-opening of the Thames & Severn Canal may partly relieve. Swindon remains a growth area, despite drawing its water from the Thames and the groundwater source that feeds the Kennet, one of the most heavily abstracted rivers in the country. There’s talk of building a national water grid to redress the imbalance between supply and demand but there are limits to how much the gathering-grounds of upland Britain can realistically deliver, not least because water is heavy and pumping it uphill uses scarce energy.

Obsessed with markets, Ministers seem more keen to allow users to switch suppliers and investors to extract profits than to focus on managing resources sustainably, let alone democratically. (We should never forget that municipal water departments were STOLEN from local folk by the London regime in a series of moves between 1973 and 1989. No compensation has ever been paid: the proceeds from privatisation funded tax cuts for the rich.)

The fact is that we’re all being taken for idiots. The forthcoming shortages are self-inflicted. Pulling together, Blitz-style, to do our bit for water conservation is the kind of script that well-meaning Guardian readers love. Like the mythical slow-boiled frog, they cannot see that the problem can ONLY get worse so long as development in Wessex continues. No doubt they’ll be among the first to offer up their garden shed to ease the housing shortage too.

Freedom cannot thrive in high-density environments. Throughout the history of human settlement, urban areas have always been more tightly regulated than rural ones, because the pressures on resource management are greater. The point is the same whether the subject matter be fire regulations, waste disposal, clean air or congestion charges. Professor Leopold Kohr, in The Breakdown of Nations, warned that density also has direct social consequences: “the police force of communities, to cope with the ever present danger of sudden social fusion, must increase at a more than proportionate rate as the population increases, not because larger cities harbour proportionately more bad men than smaller ones, but because, after a certain point, social size becomes itself the chief criminal.”

The obvious is being missed: that it is always better to have the foresight to prevent problems arising than to panic over what is ultimately the inability to devise any lasting solution compatible with liberty.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Occupied by London

Witney’s witless MP, David William Donald Cameron, was in Brussels this week to bargain over a new European treaty. He didn’t get what he wanted in return, a hands-off approach to regulation of the ‘socially useless’ activities of the City of London. That’s no surprise. He could hardly have chosen a less popular cause to die in the Channel for.

The City IS the national interest? The Coalition promised to rebalance the British economy, away from casino chips towards real stuff instead, to at least acknowledge the 90% of GDP that doesn’t come from financial services. But like a dog returning to its vomit, they just can’t let go. There’s been much talk of ‘moral hazard’ in propping up dead banks but the greatest moral hazard is that the UK Treasury is so addicted to skimming off a tiny part of the City’s wealth in tax that it will do anything to save it from a well-deserved collapse.

The strategy is now taking shape. The UK is to be simply an offshore tax haven. Wessex and East Anglia are to be commuter, weekender and retirement zones, with excellent road and rail links to London (and nowhere else). Political correctness laws are to be deployed to suppress our dialect and customs. Local decision-making is to be restructured to entrench the friends of London in power and open up the countryside for development to accommodate their wage-slaves. Human rights laws are to be used to enforce the right to live anywhere and demand the house-building to make it possible. Public money, raised from local folk but taken to London to count, is to be doled out to communities on the basis of whether or not it will be spent to advance London’s agenda.

Shrill voices will be on hand to denounce any criticism of the masters of the universe, whose skills with numbers, battered as they are, are all that stands between us and disaster (for them). We can expect ‘financial terrorism’ laws to be introduced to ban the spreading of information on how we can bring down bad banks by co-ordinated switching of deposits. Free markets have had their day – the beneficiaries have new rules to write now.

Our President, Colin Bex, was in the City of London this autumn, helping out with the ‘Occupy’ protests. It’s about time that Wessex occupied London because they’ve occupied us for centuries. The Normans started it, then in the 14th century the Duchy of Cornwall was endowed with lands across Wessex, to support the Prince of Wales and his family in a lavish lifestyle at court. And on campaign, in places like Afghanistan. No, France, actually, but nothing’s changed. Our railways overwhelmingly point east-west because they were built to supply fresh meat and milk to the capital. From farms owned by absentee landlords living it up in London. And still it goes on. Large parts of Wessex are military training grounds, where the occupation of our depopulated villages is literal. We even have to pay a special tax to be allowed to fly our own flag.

Wessex Regionalism is about ending the occupation. It’s about breaking the chains that shackle us to London, yoked by a political class that serves the interests of a financial class that treats us with contempt. Wessex Regionalism is about reclaiming the right to proudly be ourselves in our own land. Indebted to no-one.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Crooks In Command

The Western Daily Press leads today with a story about an open letter from wildlife groups in Wessex and Cornwall “incredulous” about the Coalition’s “stunning disregard” for the natural environment, citing the Chancellor’s recent description of it as a “ridiculous” barrier to economic growth.

Tony Richardson of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) responded robustly that “We are keenly aware that more than any other region we trade on the quality of this environment. Far from being a barrier, it is difficult to see how economic recovery can be achieved here without safeguarding the very thing that makes the region attractive to visitors and a good place to do business.” Then he spoilt it all, by continuing, “We are not anti-development but we have to proceed with wisdom – with careful planning, under the requirements of the regulations, development can work for both wildlife and the economy.”

What’s wrong with that? Where do we begin!

First of all, we have NO sympathy for green groups that treat Westminster politicians with any respect whatsoever. We appeal to them to join the Party and work for the eradication of the whole top-down Westminster system that allows Osborne and his kind any say in the first place. Stop the fawning, and start the resistance!

Secondly, why, oh why, do seemingly intelligent folk insist on making their continuing ritual obeisance to Mammon? ‘Of course, we’re not against growth, as such, just…’ No? Well, we certainly are. Living within environmental limits is either meaningless waffle while our planet burns or it implies a cap on development. Now.

A third point is illustrated by another story from the WDP today: a vision from a group of “influential business leaders” calling themselves The Initiative. (Or is it The Matrix? Something like that.) Their blueprint for Bristol in 2050 calls for a population increase of 500,000 and vast urban sprawl that would swallow up Bath and much of the Green Belt. The RSPB simply have no idea of what they’re up against. Folk like The Initiative care about nothing but the destruction of the environment to advance their own private wealth. There are a lot of them about and they aren’t the least bit interested in what the RSPB think.

From the same WDP page comes news that new powers could be devolved to cities like Bristol – but only if they vote for an elected mayor first. Bribery used to be the word for that and we used to have laws against it. We live in an increasingly closed, post-democratic world where “business leaders” are treated like gods, where local democracy is restructured to give them exclusive control of the common wealth and where national democracy, such as it is, lives or dies at the whim of rating agencies whose own competence is pitiful.

One of the silliest questions that can be asked about our policies is, ‘Are you pro-business, or not?’ The answer all depends on what sort of business it is. It’s very important to distinguish between good businesses and the rest. There are businesses playing their part in the transition to a sustainable society, businesses finding new ways to reduce resource use in a world where all that has sustained us in the past will be shrinking. The best businesses are those seeking to make themselves smaller, by doing more with less and expanding leisure time. You could call it economic anti-growth. But ranged against them there’s also the dark side: the businesses who don’t realise that ‘business as usual’ is over. Until they learn that it is, they’ll go on making millions miserable by their contempt for the environment and our quality of life. They may not be criminals as the law stands. But those who make morally crooked choices do not deserve to be excused justice in an appropriate form. We’ll be fighting every inch of the way to ensure they get it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where Does All The QE Go?

Not difficult to guess!

The Campaign for Real Constituencies

Followers of this blog will know that we have consistently opposed the Coalition’s efforts to force all Parliamentary constituencies to be the same size, along with all of the nonsense this will mean on the spot. County boundaries respected since the first ‘knights of the shire’ attended the first Parliaments over 700 years ago are no longer sacrosanct. A large part of Devon will share an MP with a large part of Cornwall. The same thing will happen to Dorset and Wiltshire. Gloucester Cathedral will no longer be in the Gloucester constituency but in the Forest of Dean. (It’s not possible under the new rules for the Gloucester seat to be left alone: it has 315 voters too many!)

The Boundary Commission’s consultation on its initial proposals closes on Monday and we have today sent in our response, which is reproduced below.

The Wessex Regionalist Party offers the following comments on the review.

1. We believe that the legislation governing the review is fundamentally flawed in its devaluing of community identity. We also believe that MPs failed to understand that limiting variation in the size of the electorate to no more than 5% would mean that shire and other local loyalties could no longer automatically be respected. We believe that the Commission has a responsibility not only to carry out its task within the remit of the legislation but to convey to those responsible the degree of public disquiet at what may be unintended consequences of that legislation.

2. We welcome the Commission’s proposals where they succeed in respecting the traditional boundaries of Wessex shires. We remain concerned that important local boundaries within shires, notably those of the City of Gloucester, have been treated insensitively.

3. Without prejudice to our primary position that constituencies in Wessex should not cross the traditional shire boundaries, we suggest that the proposed ‘Warminster & Shaftesbury’ constituency could be named ‘Heart of Wessex’. There is a precedent for this in the former European Parliamentary constituency of Wessex (1979-84).