Democrat July-August 2012 (Number 130)
Arthur Smelt asks is there to be
Co-operation or Chaos?
When Barack Obama was elected president of the US, many voters hoped he would steer a path away from Bushism. He promised to close Guantanamo and end the atrocities being committed there, together with talk of ending the Afghan conflict. These promises, and many others have gone unfulfilled leaving the electorate disillusioned.
Unfortunately this kind of behaviour by politicians is not confined to the US but is universal, not least in our own country where the democratic deficit widens by the day.
The idea that our representatives in Westminster or Brussels are elected to represent the interests of those who voted for them is absolute tommyrot. EU decisions are made by an appointed bureaucracy not by an elected parliament. We are witnessing neo-liberalism gone mad.
The mindless dogma of the 'free market' being forced upon us is contributing, not to economic recovery but to its further demise. The outsourcing of work, selling off public utilities to private companies here and abroad means that not only is public money being funneled into private pockets, but this contributes to more unemployment.
One example of this is that of ATOS a French corporation being paid millions of pounds by our government to assess people with disabilities and to declare fit for work, those who are patently unfit. This firm is also in line for a further contract of £1 billion to carry out the new personal independence payment assessments.
What kind of a society do we live in where billions are spent promoting the fit and able so they become rich, famous and honoured whilst those who are sick and disabled through no fault of their own, are persecuted and robbed to pay for their misfortunes?
Recently John Humphries of the BBC reported on a visit he made to Greece. Greece joined the Euro 12 years ago. At around that time Greece had a huge debt due to hosting the Olympics. In their desperation to join the Euro the Greeks cooked the books and the EU turned a blind eye. Now pensions have been cut by 30%. Unemployment now at 20% could reach 40% before long. Volunteer organisations are springing up to help the needy. With widespread unemployment, volunteer help is becoming a dire necessity. Families do not know how to feed their children. Some go to school without food and there is no free food in Greek schools. When children become ill there is not medicine to treat them. Even essential medication is missing. People are unable to sleep because of worry and suicides are at an all time high. There are schools without books and public coffers are empty whilst massive wealth exists in the hands of the very rich, where corruption and kick-backs proliferate. This is not only a Greek crisis but the severity of it is frightening.
Those responsible for the mess are still in power and cannot rescue Greece from this catastrophe.
As usually happens in such circumstances minority groups are being targeted by fascists. Imigrants are being blamed. People distrust conventional politics. One fifth of public sector workers have been laid off. The enemies as seen by the majority are the troika of the EU, IMF and ECB.
Among the plethora of accusations made is that Greek people do not pay their taxes, but the people who do not pay their taxes are the big money boys, the rich and powerful companies.
Unless we cooperate together to ameliorate this economic mess we are suffering here in Britain, we could end up in a the chaos that is Greece.