Author Archives: Steve Trevethan

Memorials?

 

We may not have a monument to Margaret Thatcher but we do have a monument to “Thatcherism”. It is the Grenfell Tower.

The foundation of Thatcherism is the minimisation of the state. It plans and proceeds to reduce government regulation and suppress its spending. It does this without the guidance of long term consequence and human cost.

Tower blocks, like Grenfell, lack sprinkler systems, alarms and secondary exit routes which, before the “bonfire of red-tape”, were the norm. They have been mandatory in New York since 1967. Grenfell proves that they are necessary and yet HMG has not yet withdrawn a press release of 03/04/2016, entitled “Government going to further cut red tape by £10 billion”. It has not reviewed or withdrawn its doctrinaire and dangerously unspecific “One-in, Three-out policy” under which three regulations must be removed every time a new one is introduced.

As well as its economic and social consequences, Thatcherism has affected attitudes, behaviours, relationships and language.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

This election is about protecting our democracy

Remember the Brexit “Battle Bus” with this slogan, “We send the EU £350 million a week lets fund our NHS instead Vote Leave”? It was powerful and “misleading” according to the UK Statistics Authority. Mr Farage referred to it as a “mistake”.

No! “The number plastered on the side of the Brexit bus was a big fat lie.” 

It was not a mistake because it affected the “Brexit” result the way Mr Farage wanted.

In short, we were misled and those who subverted our democracy with this deception have gone unpunished. Therefore it will happen again to further diminish democracy.

Last month the CPS announced that there would be no criminal charges brought against 14 MPs over their expenses in the 2015 election. In March 2017, The Electoral Commission fined the Conservative Party a record £70,000 for “numerous failures” in reporting expenses for the 2015 General Election. For that election the Conservatives raised some £38, 000,000. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 6 Comments

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
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 17th Aug - 10:29am
    The sooner the Government actually starts living in the real world by testing their ideas with the EU negotiators the better. It is after all...
  • User AvatarChristopher Haigh 17th Aug - 10:20am
    We need to set up an all party parliamentary pressure group to combat irresponsible brexit.
  • User AvatarYeovil Yokel 17th Aug - 10:10am
    John Bennett - I agree, the Brexiteers probably see Vince's return to Parliament and leadership of the principal anti-Brexit party as posing a significant threat...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 17th Aug - 9:37am
    @ Neil Sandison " Move on from the tuition fee debate its stifling progress in policy development " I agree with the other priorities you...
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 17th Aug - 9:13am
    Move on from the tuition fee debate its stifling progress in policy development .We will like the brexit referendum always appear to be the party...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 17th Aug - 8:56am
    Catherine, I am in agreement with you on this. We must not abandon our commitment to a second referendum, which is a vital democratic principle....