Author Archives: Steve Trevethan

Idlib gas attack? Is “Not Proven” currently the least worst verdict?

 

Scottish juries have the choice of three verdicts – Guilty, Not Guilty and Not Proven. This multiple choice is much more real to life than the “English” binary or oppositional choice of guilty or not guilty.

In non-judicial or “everyday terms” the Scottish three-way choice when facing a decision is “yes”; “no”; “I don’t know.” The Scottish choice seems to be closer to real life and so is worth using when considering and possibly taking action on matters of and relating to armed conflict which deals in death, mutilation, madness, theft and profit as well as, if not always, bravery and altruism.

Here are some questions and comments which appear to indicate that a Not Proven verdict is currently the most accurate fit before, it is hoped, an accurate analysis of responsibilities for the gas attacks is made.

How do we know what we are told and shown is reasonably genuine?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 78 Comments

Will current NHS cuts raise prices and lower quality?

 

Most, if not all economic and political decisions have two prime factors – price and quality. And this includes national healthcare. Decision making involves information. Most, if not all information can be placed on a continuum between the verifiable and the fake. (Ditto “News”!) Here are some verifiable items of information relevant to our NHS.

PRICE: Some national average healthcare costs/prices per person per year:

  • The British pay $3,364
  • The Japanese pay $3,713
  • The French pay $4,361
  • The Germans pay$4,920
  • The Americans pay $9,086

Source: OECD Health data 2013

QUALITY: Some healthcare rankings:

  • United Kingdom 18
  • Canada                 30
  • Japan                    10
  • Germany              25
  • France                    1
  • USA                      37
  • Cambodia          174

Source: The Patient Factor

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Some Military Mathematics?

 

Mathematics seems to be the most objective, least easily manipulated form of human knowledge. Consequently it can be considered an essential tool for the assessment of political performance.

Here are some mathematical metrics applied to Mr Obama’s presidential performance in military aspects of what is usually labelled Foreign Policy.

However, it is always needful to bear in mind the inevitable effects of military Foreign Policy on domestic policies. Security and spending, including debt charges, are always affected.

Mr Obama has spent annual average of $653.6 billion on US military spending. This beats the previous post war record of Mr GW Bush by an average of $18.7 billion per annum in 2016 dollars.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Is austerity working? And do all debts have to be paid?

 

These questions invite binary “Yes” or “No” responses. More considered approaches exist. We need to consider the economic consequences of debt repayment, structural and attitudinal causes and contributions, responsibility for debts both particular and general, beneficiaries and losers, and, how they may be prevented in the future. Also, can such enormous debts be paid?

This requires analysis and accurate, accessible language. In Economics and Finance, that which has different labels is sometimes not significantly different and that which is under one label has significant differences. For example, money consists mainly of credit creation since loans create deposits and loans are debts.

Debt is a form of relationship: financial activity connects and affects people.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 35 Comments

Suggestions for constitutional changes after Brexit and Chilcot

The EU referendum was both democratic and dictatorial.

This form of democracy was, is and will be profoundly self-harming of our nation. It destroyed opportunities, such as negotiating for a more democratic and less finance controlled EU, and precipitated unnecessary difficulties, such as having to deal with a massive range of trade negotiations from a position of weakness.

It was imposed unilaterally by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, in an inept and selfish attempt to cohere his party and keep in his job. It has cost us our powerful place in Europe and may cost the United Kingdom the kingdom of Scotland and lead to problems resulting from an intensified Anglo-Irish border.

The Chilcot Report proves that Great Britain was misled into a bloody war by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and an unaccountable clique of cronies and apparatchiks. Its dangerous and cruel consequences increase daily. The costs to our armed forces were, and are needless death, mutilation and mental damage.

Posted in News | 15 Comments

Post-Brexit questions on immigration and emigration

 

Migrations, big and small, have causes, so let’s start by looking at them.

War or military conflict, with and without “boots on the ground” is an all too frequent cause. The huddled masses trying to escape from the war torn and terrorised Middle East provide a pressing example.

“Real Estate” or land-grab forced migration is another category, of which the evictions of Native Americans by US governments provide examples. Not all examples are historic.

Politically purposed, forced migration was used in the Scottish Highland Clearances of the 1740s. The UK government forced Scots to emigrate to weaken and punish actual and potential Jacobite rebels. It is possible that the refugee precipitating conditions created in Iraq, Libya and Syria etc. may be similar. To wreck one country may be regarded as a misfortune: to wreck at least three looks like policy.

Religious and ethnic intolerance can be a people mover and divider, as the partition of India into India and Pakistan indicates. Managed bigotry is a powerful political tool.

The consequences of Global Warming are causing increasing numbers to move.

With sufficient perception, will and power all of these human-made migration-causing activities could, at least, be reduced. Prevention is better than cure.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 11 Comments

Cakeonomics and Free Trade

 

Crumbs!

Not heard of Cakeonomics?

Cakeonomics is a simplified, quick and sometimes fun approach to economics and its connections with everyday life. It uses the metaphor of cake in an effort to make Economics more accessible and attractive, so that more of us can ask better questions about it and be sharper at assessing any answers. We need stronger, more confident knowledge to better analyse and help address the problems of our times, which are also likely to be the problems of our children and theirs.

Your piece of cake depends on various factors. Two crucial factors are the size of your slice and the size of the cake from which your slice comes.

Here’s some data and information about the global economic cake:

The richest 1 per cent increased its income by 60 per cent in the last 20 years (1992-2012) with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 10 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 1st May - 12:18am
    Andrew T Yes, that poll should be enough to change the emphasis onto staying in the Single Market if our Party strategists have any sense.....
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 1st May - 12:15am
    It is perfectly possible to campaign to stay in the Single Market and to offer a referendum on the terms with an option to Remain....
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 30th Apr - 10:32pm
    Does not Davidson know that the spaniel is boss. Doggy will smell Tim and pass him fit for Government!! 'Smell my spaniel.' More honest than...
  • User AvatarJennie 30th Apr - 9:51pm
    Thank you xx
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 30th Apr - 8:37pm
    Purely from her Sunday political television appearances today I thought she was largely mainstream Lib Dem but with a better turn of phrase! Tim Farron...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 30th Apr - 7:49pm
    Labour may lose their moderate MPs while the hard left survive.