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Democrat May-June 2010 (Number 129)

Lies and more lies

A point of view -Arthur Smelt

Bunch of bananas

According to reports, Joseph Stiglitz recently referred to events taking place within the EU as "Europe's man-made disaster." How very true.
However, over the years we have been fed the most outrageous nonsense with regard to almost every aspect of our everyday lives.    

When North Sea gas was discovered we were told that gas would be unbelievably cheap to the consumer. Over a number of years we were repeatedly regaled with stories of how, with advances in technology, automation would revolutionise our lives. We would be able to reduce considerably the number of hours we needed to work because machines would do the work normally carried out by human effort.

This would enable us to develop other aspects of our lives like learning to play the violin, paint pictures or study for a degree. Instead we are now being told to work harder for longer and retire later in life. This at a time when jobs become more scarce all the time. What madness is this?

More recently huge amounts of taxpayers' money has been used in attempts to brainwash the people of Europe into believing that EU membership and all it entails, is necessary to ensure more trade, full employment, the elimination of wars, an end to currency exchange problems and so on.

Reality is now well and truly upon us. Even the most fanatical proponents of EU are a little more reticent or are talking of rescue bids, although they have absolutely no idea how this will come about.

European Union has been imposed on us in the most undemocratic fashion. Not for the greatest good of the greatest number, but in an attempt to consolidate and make irreversible a political and economic system which ruthlessly favours the rich. This is one of the major reasons for the present economic crash where the top 1% grab billions, avoid paying taxes and ordinary people take the rap.

   Many people feel they are being pushed around by the system. This creates anger and unrest. There is a dire need for new values, different priorities, and a totally new approach.

   The International Labour Organisation recently produced a report in which it pointed out that widespread unrest is expected to grow as governments impose welfare cuts and fail to reduce unemployment and inequality. Spanish workers demonstrated in 50 towns to protest about cuts and an increase in unemployment.

   The ILO pointed out that the situation in 27 EU countries was becoming more unstable. Overall the Social Unrest Index showed agitation increased in 2011 compared with 2010. It seems we have a European Union which has brought about considerable disunion.

   The ILO report expressed concern at the way young people were being shut out of labour markets and the rise in short term contracts which seem to hit young people and women most. The long term effect of this will be lack of skills and experience in the future.

   Because the EU pushes the idea that the 'free market' is the be all and end all, our public utilities and services are being sold off to foreign companies which means that absolute essentials like health services, transport, water, gas and electricity become subject to the vagaries of the market.

   It is becoming increasingly obvious that the nature of the society in which we live is causing more corruption and malpractice. Even organisations set up to investigate corruption are in far too many instances inept and corrupt. This kind of circumstance we have grown to expect in banana republics. And yet bent bananas or cucumbers are supposed to be taboo in the EU!