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What makes the world go around

The thing that amazes me about the Establishment and politicians is that things never change. In recent months I’ve just been getting on with my life, watching the world go by in the background, but I guess the fact is, as someone once said – I thought it was John Lennon in his lyrics to the song Beautiful Boy, but an internet search I just made suggests it may have been someone called Allen Saunders in 1957 – ‘Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans’.

Certainly it is difficult to credit the extent to which politicians the world over essentially operate in reactive mode, responding on the hoof to crises as they arise, firstly by doing everything they can to deflect criticism by distancing themselves from blame and shifting responsibility to others – and then busking it.

Let’s take a few examples, simply because they represent ‘incoming fire’ examples at a near-record rate at the moment:

Donald Trump as the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination for its US Presidential candidate.

The EU ill-thought-out supposed ‘elastoplast’ solution over its foreign immigration problem on which, as the BBC’s correspondent in Brussels informed viewers on the television news last night, “Everyone is just keeping their fingers crossed’ as Turkey (bribed with euros) apparently exhibits an unpreparedness to cope with numbers and Amnesty International and the UN claim that the entire pack of cards is illegal in international law.

The Port Talbot steel-producing crisis as Tata ‘bails out’ of its UK investments, on which the Tory government seems to have been ‘caught on the hop’ (or is it ‘asleep at the wheel’?) and – it now appears – the available ‘short-term financial help’ solutions it is scrabbling around to develop in an attempt to solve the issue may be doomed even before presented because they are de facto ‘disallowed’ by EU rules.

Which brings us to David Cameron’s ‘from the hip’ commitment to hold an EU Referendum – need I say more?

The ongoing ‘PFI’ funding [off-balance sheet] NHS scandal, first hatched by the Labour government but since also actively pursued by both the Coalition government and now the Tory version, which means that the British taxpayer will be paying through the nose for decades to come with an end-result of practically nothing to show for it.

The row over the Government’s intention to make (sorry, imposition of) changes to the NHS junior doctors’ contracts, now proceeding on some form of judicial review into the law courts.

… and those are just the ones that came immediately to mind as I began drafting this post.

panamaLast night, prompted by the various ‘trails’ that featured on BBC radio and television, I sat down to watch the Panorama programme Tax Havens Of The Rich And Powerful Exposed on BBC1 at 7.30pm.

Its report by Richard Bilton was not quite the ‘slam-dunk’ devastating expose as which it was hailed in advance, but it did shed light upon some pretty damning facts and suppositions about the extent to which the world’s powerful shelter their money from the tax-grabbing exertions of governments around the globe. The catalyst for its series of revelations was the insider leak of some 11 million documents (The Panamas Papers) from an apparently respectable financial advising organisation housed in Panama with twenty-plus other offices around the world, called Mossack Fonseca. It seems that over the past forty years everyone from bank robbers to businessmen and 70-plus world leaders have been taking advantage of its services to shield both their capital and financial gains from the taxman.

You might ask why. The answer is simple – and it is not just because they don’t want to pay tax or let people know how much money they have stashed away – the bottom line is that it’s because they can.

We learned last night that David Cameron, our esteemed Prime Minister, the one who only last year enacted legislation (or was it a statutory instrument?) forcing the exposure of – or was it shining a new, searching ‘transparency’ spotlight upon – who exactly owns what courtesy of those countries and territories around the world that operate as tax havens, may have a little spot of ‘trouble close to home’ himself on this issue, for it seems his deceased father used to take advantage of such facilities via an offshore company established in the Bahamas.

newmanYes, folks – the world is a bit of a mess at the moment. But as Alfred E. Newman [fictitious mascot of Mad magazine] used to say “What, Me Worry?”

There’s absolutely zilch that any of us can do about it, so maybe we should all just lie back and let it all wash over us. That’s what the bulk of human beings on this planet have been obliged to do ever since the dawn of human civilisation, so why should we 21st Century versions be any different?

We just leave it to the politicians to ‘do what they do’, hoping and praying they don’t mess up everything and ruin our lives – but there’s an inevitability about the fact that, whomever they are and whatever their political hue, they probably will.

 

 

About Simon Campion-Brown

A former lecturer in politics at Keele University, Simon now lives in Oxfordshire. Married with two children, in 2007 he decided to monitor the Westminster village via newspaper and television and has never looked back. More Posts