Sunday, 27 February 2022
Glad You Could Join Us
What would happen if both parties went bust at the same time? Both Londongrad and the trade unions increasingly give the impression that they are sick of paying for the privilege of having their faces spat in, even if the Government does still care a lot more for Russian oligarchs than for Ukrainian refugees. Of course, both parties care a lot more for oligarchs in general than they do for refugees in general. Into the very recent past, it was officially a “conspiracy theory” to suggest that the Russian oligarchy funded the Conservatives.
With all of that in mind, a warm welcome to those of you who are new to the fields of energy independence, diversification away from the international trade in arms, cleaning up the City and its tax havens, cleaning up the funding of political parties, and even so much as recognising the symbiotic relationship between NATO and the EU. Some of us have been here for a very long time.
Brexit is a double opportunity, both to reorganise the British economy under State direction, and to begin to develop a fully independent British foreign policy. We need an all-of-the-above energy policy based around nuclear power and this country’s vast reserves of coal; Britain was the world leader in clean coal technology until the Miners’ Strike, and it ought to be so again. We also have increasingly evident reserves of lithium, and we have our own oil and gas reserves.
Around these, by all means let there be solar power, wind power, tidal power, and anything else that we could possibly use to bathe our country in heat and light while keeping us away from any entanglement involving, for example, Saudi oil or Russian gas. Wind and tidal turbines are of course made of steel, the manufacture of which requires coal such as we have in abundance.
Among other things, the all-of-the-above energy policy would make possible an all-of-the-above transport policy with public transport free at the point of use, plus electricity free at the point of use up to really quite a high level of usage, with only a nominal charge thereafter. The State should ensure both the manufacture in this country of vehicles that could be run on domestically produced electricity, and the universal availability of charging points.
As an aside, so much for the idea that Donald Trump was a Russian stooge. He spent four years trying to scupper Nord Stream 2 while he flooded Ukraine with illegal arms such as are now being put very much to use, and not on the Russian side.
We should end this country’s poisonous relationship with the Gulf monarchies. Instead of NATO, we need bilateral nonaggression treaties with all other European countries including Russia and indeed Ukraine, with the United States, and with Canada. We need nonaggression treaties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and preferably with each of their members bilaterally.
There should be no foreign military bases on British soil, but justice for Harry Dunn, self-determination for the Chagossian people, and victory to Julian Assange. Military force should be used only ever in self-defence, and only ever with the approval of the House of Commons, the composition of which therefore needs to be changed dramatically.
BAE Systems should be renationalised as the monopoly supplier to our own Armed Forces, with a ban on all sale of arms abroad, and with a comprehensive programme of diversification in the spirit of the Lucas Plan. And instead of Trident, an extra £70 billion should be given to each of the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force.
This would not entail depriving anything else of funding. The issuing of currency is an act of the State, which is literally the creator of all money. A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has as much of that currency as it chooses to issue to itself. All wars are fought on this understanding, but the principle applies universally.
The State also has the fiscal and monetary means to control inflation, means that therefore need to be under democratic political control in both cases. That is what both fiscal policy and monetary policy are for: to encourage certain politically chosen forms of behaviour, and to discourage others. They are not where the State’s money comes from. Nothing is “unaffordable”, every recession is discretionary on the part of the Government, and there is no such thing as “taxpayers’ money”.
Armed with this understanding, and shielded by a strict statutory division between investment banking and retail banking, large amounts of central government credit, at low interest rates and over a long term, must be used for public works. Those would then pay for themselves many times over, ably assisted by pro-business tariffs and subsidies, by a pro-business National Bank to promote the growth of productive enterprises rather than speculation, by collective bargaining and trade union representation, by cooperative and mutual ownership, and by reconceived models of public ownership.
We should require the approval of the House of Commons for changes to interest rates, introduce a Glass-Steagall division between investment banking and retail banking, extend the Freedom of Information Act to the City of London, and conform its municipal franchise to that of local government in general.
All tax havens under British jurisdiction should be closed, non-domiciled tax status should be abolished, the Big Four accounting firms should be broken up, auditors should be banned by Statute from selling extras, and they should have unlimited liability. Crown immunity should be abolished. Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships should be required to have at least one member who was a natural person resident in the United Kingdom.
The State should buy a stake in every FTSE 500 company, large enough to secure Board-level representation, for the exercise of which both the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be accountable to the House of Commons. After any investment in public services, the dividends would be distributed equally to everyone.
Public bodies and public contractors should be required to buy British wherever possible, and to buy local wherever possible. Employment rights should begin with employment, and apply regardless of the number of hours worked. There should be a four-day working week by 2100. Our people should be active in the trade unions appropriate to their jobs where applicable, or otherwise in Unite Community. The unions are crucial to the necessary mutualisation of the gig economy.
Every part of this country should be on the Belt and Road, not because we liked the Chinese regime, but because we had to be at the table to avoid being on the menu, and we had to be on the bus if we did not want to be under it. We should encourage the building of one or more Bering Strait crossings, as part of a wider and deeper realignment with the BRICS and other emerging economies on the understanding that “development is the new word for peace”. The principles of the Antarctic Treaty should be extended to Outer Space.
And so on. To return to the question of Trident, as Russian nuclear weapons are put on high alert, consider that British ones always are. Provided that he could get permission from Joe Biden, then it would never take Boris Johnson more than 15 minutes to blow up the world. Britain is the only country in which Party Leaders are ever asked whether they would do so, and even then the Leader of only one party ever is, thereby compelling him to say yes even though that it was almost certainly not true either of him or of his Conservative counterpart, who is pointedly never asked.
For all his faults, Jeremy Corbyn did and does stand up to this madness. He did and does so having questioned what was then the emerging alliance with Vladimir Putin as early as 2001, having accused Putin of rigging elections in 2008, having called for Putin’s assets to be frozen in 2010, having called for a Magnitsky Act in 2012, having called in 2013 for Russian arms corporations to be barred from Britain, having accused Putin of war crimes in Syria in 2016, having accused Putin of the Salisbury poisonings in 2018 (look it up), having in that same year questioned ill-gotten Russian funding of the Conservative Party, and having condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the first line of the Stop the War Coalition’s recent statement.
If I were to be elected at North West Durham, then I would have on my parliamentary staff an adviser who had served in each of the Armed Forces, preferably having been honourably discharged after at least 22 years. Let the armchair generals and the Short Commission Brigade argue with them. Although there would have to some sort of formula to ensure that candidates were at least in broad political agreement with me, I would be most minded, in return for the smallest possible administrative fee, to have those advisers elected by former and if possible even serving members of each of the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force. At the very least, I challenge every other candidate at North West Durham to match that commitment.