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Real Estate Negotiator required. Immediate start.

18 May

Pancreas & Jones – London’s fastest-growing estate agents – require an Agent Negotiator with immediate effect. Generous basic plus fantastic bonus. Nearly all our negotiators earned more than £80,000 last year!

Working out of our first floor office suite in the vibrant East End of London, excellent basic plus sick pay and staff pension are all included for the right person. Minimum £1,000 per passed-on hot lead that gets 3rd Party closure.

Brand New Porsche Sportster (6352 miles only) and allocated parking space and permit. All parking citations/tickets paid by management. Restaurant slate at Marco’s.

Your company Porsche is fully financed by us for all your mileage regardless of type of use.

It used to be Marcus’s. Marcus got shot leaving Black Magic’s at Dagenham last night and is plugged into a machine that goes beep. Things are developing by the minute here as we try and work out why.

Marcus was possibly the most dangerous and inconsiderate driver in this area up to Bow Church. His unrelentingly vicious attitude towards cyclists and pedestrians is legendary. He also owed quite a few shopkeepers for produce.

All shit will break loose if we don’t have someone out there, covering Marcus’s collection route. You didn’t think this was all just about selling apartments to retired Belgians, did you?

And in the mean time, you will be driving around at twenty miles an hour through a crowded city in his very distinctive Porsche.

You will never realise how hated that Porsche is until you’ve done the first two hours. But you’ve just signed a one month contract with us. We even let you close it yourself. Top Closer – you asked for more and we gave you more: 20% bigger basic.

Just visit and introduce yourself to the people on the list you have been given. They will all already know about Marcus because we have already phoned them.

Once they have invited you to sit down with them, they may issue a few simple comments regarding their position. For instance: “I am looking for three apartments like the one Gavin showed me”. Or:   “Tell Gavin I am unavailable until next Thursday”.

Write these simple instructions down exactly as they are relayed to you, thank the client and leave to your next appointment.

You will receive some surprised looks from certain people you meet during your day. Do not be concerned.

It will be because, unknown to yourself, you happen to look exactly like Marcus.

Delivery Driver Required. IMMEDIATE START…

11 Jun

Due to a SUDDEN BEREAVEMENT within our close-knit group of drivers, a vacancy exists for a DRIVER.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THE TRUCK AT ALL AND THE BRAKES WORK PERFECTLY IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED BY EVERYBODY AND NOTHING IS WRONG IT ALSO HAS A NEW DRIVERS SEAT AND WINDSHIELD.

If you would like to work for a boss who writes everything in CAPITAL LETTERS and is semi-literate but still feels it is necessary to micro-manage his secretary’s advertising copy then please give us a call.

The successful applicant will be HARD WORKING AND LOYAL AND 100% TRUSTWORTHY AND LOYAL. GOOD TEAMWORKER, PUNCTUAL AND NOT DRIVE LIKE A NUTTER.

Pay will be commensurate with experience. The successful candidate will be given a trial period of three weeks, after which they will probably turn down the job because it is very difficult for most people to get on with Dave who runs the company and his brother Mad Eric who services the trucks. Most people leave on day three.

YOU WILL BE HARD WORKING AND LOYAL AND USED TO HARD WORK. LOYALTY WILL BE REWARDED. YOU WILL BE PAID FAIRLY FOR A FULL DAY’S WORK.

Please contact Marjory (me) in the first instance on the number below.

046TRUCK

 

Freelance Writer Required

9 May

Chance of a lifetime for the right writer…!

 

Giraffe Books are looking for an enthusiastic and loyal freelance writer to join their award-winning team of enthusiastic freelance and loyal writers.

You will be confident working in an environment of poisonous vitriol. You will have your own extensive list of publishing contacts or else you will say that you have at your first interview.

Since the exciting merger last week between Giraffe Books and Editions Hitler, exciting opportunities for promotion exist within this  new and vibrantly exciting publishing house.

Required Abilities:

♦ Answering phones in our up-scale city-centre offices.

♦ There’s six of them, stacked up. You will answer them all. Are you some kind of communist…?

♦ If I have to tell you how to do your job one more time then you are toast. History.

♦ Dealing confidently with highly demanding executive level visitors and never having a nervous breakdown.

♦ Crisply ironed. I say no more.

 

Desirable Attributes:

♦ Getting over it quickly.

♦ Not EVER mentioning that you are a pretty good writer yourself.

♦ Empty my bin.

 

Giraffe-Hitler promote from within. You will only notice that this is a complete untruth once you are within and realise that you have not been promoted.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. It works like this:

1) We ask you to tell us your experience and qualifications.

2) You tell us.

3) We tell you that you are pretty much a novice and virtually unemployable.

4) You join us on startlingly crap terms and conditions because you have serious debts and a family to keep.

 

All applications should be made via email to  untermensche@girhitpublications.com

British Economic Development Explained:

23 Apr

To my many faithful readers who live in all parts of this wonderful planet and who occasionally lie awake thinking:

“I’ve had such a great day…but I simply cannot get to sleep because I am not sure how the British economy actually manages to operate in the 21st century”.

Here is a picture of a British pub. it acts as the perfect metaphor to explain:

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Key to picture:

Let us imagine that this pub is the ‘British Economy’

The chimney at the top centre and the building below and to the left of it is the basic British Economy.

It was designed and built by many clever people. One day, while on his way in to work, one of the builders found an old wooden ship and thought some of the wood might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants gave the builder his job back and promoted him to Chief  Builder In Residence.

It was decided that the economy must expand because the population had increased. The architect designed a large extension with six floors and a spire on top to fit on to the right hand end of the existing pub/British Economy. Work started immediately.One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old fireplace complete with chimney stack and thought it might come in useful. The architect fired him once he saw the result but the accountants fired the architect instead and got a new one. They kept hold of the Chief Builder In Residence.

The new architect cancelled the idea of the seven floors and went for just two, with a nice sloping roof made of the finest slate. The accountants were delighted with him but said they had heard rumours that the second floor was a bit dark inside and could a window be put into the nice sloping roof?

The new architect had a word with the Chief Builder In Residence. They both got on very well. They both shared the suspicion that you only survived if you kept the accountants happy and read the contract closely. One day, while on his way in to work, the builder found an old window and thought it might come in useful.

The accountants were delighted. However, they asked the architect if perhaps a second window could be put in as well because the first one, though excellent in many respects, was attracting ridicule?

The architect asked the builder and the builder refused. He pointed out that he had met his contractual obligation since there had never been any mention of multiple windows to him before. The architect explained this to the accountants.

The accountants fired the new architect for negligence and had a meeting with the Chief Builder In Residence. They explained that many more windows and a bigger building were needed because the economy was still expanding. They reminded him that he had been doing very nicely out of this project and they expected him to come up with a solution, especially since all the architects seemed so useless.

The Chief Builder In Residence suggested building a second wing, coming out from the new extension at a right-angle, on two floors.

The accountants laughed and explained that this would be far too expensive. How about just one floor? The Chief Builder In Residence explained that if they only built a single story extension, then the first floor window on the existing building would have its view blocked by the pitched roof of the new extension and also the guttering would be a nightmare to maintain after the first year.

The accountants smiled and reminded him that, as a builder, it was none of his business how the maintenance costs worked out after the building was completed. The Chief Builder In Residence told them he had just about had enough of their smug attitude and they could stick their extension up their inkwells. He had decided to become an electrician, instead. There was more money in being an electrician.

The accountants made a quick drawing of what they wanted and then found a new builder. The new builder built the new single story extension exactly as they wished. The accountants were very pleased. They promoted him to Associate Builder Designate.

As a token of thanks, the new builder told them he’d include a pretty little security camera disguised as a lamp and install it for free on the side of the old, original building. He’d also create a landscaped garden at the front and build a monument in honour of the accountants.

The accountants were delighted.

The Associate Builder Designate installed the cute little security camera disguised as a lamp and went home to bed. When he came back in the morning, somebody had stolen the security camera. He bought another and put it up so that the accountants would not be disappointed. That also disappeared the following night. In desperation he contacted a local electrician to help him sort out the problem.

The electrician visited and suggested mounting a second security lamp just above the little cutesy security camera and said he happened to have one in the back of the van that he had found on his way to work and thought it might come in useful. The Associate Builder Designate was delighted and begged the electrician to start immediately and then send him the bill when he was finished.

The electrician smiled and began to work. Within four minutes he had finished installing a security lamp above the security camera on the side of the original building and so he presented his bill to the Associate Builder Designate.

The Associate Builder Designate was horrified. He explained that the electrician had charged him almost as much for four minutes work as he – the Associate Builder Designate –  earned in a month. The electrician smiled. He asked the Associate Builder Designate what other work he had to do to fulfill his contract to the accountants. The Associate Builder Designate wiped his eyes and explained that he had promised to create a landscaped garden.

All of which brings us to that hanging basket of flowers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin Hart and the art of being British.

26 Feb

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A few hours ago, US actor and verbalist Kevin Hart sat down in a BBC television studio in London and ‘did’ an interview, plugging his new film.

In order to ‘do’ one of these promotional interviews, you have to have at least one ‘anchor’ person who ‘does’ the role of asking you the right questions – the ones that allow you to sell your film.

Ideally, two anchors – one male and one female – should ‘do’ the questioning. These ‘anchors’ should always dress like your parents. In fact, TV Anchors are the viewer’s metaphorical parents in an idealistic, slightly off-kilter version of reality on Planet Earth. They are unfeasibly polite, informed, interested and well groomed. Nothing like reality.

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On this occasion, a live breakfast slot in a foreign country and a perfect storm created Television Gold. Sochi Olympic Games…? You have nothing on what happens next. Within 45 seconds, Hart had started demolishing everything in site. Intellectually speaking.

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He completely took the piss out of everyone in the studio – including his management and financial backers.

He destroyed the place.

He killed them all.

He did it ‘live’ and everybody loved him for it.

Here, thanks to Aunty Beeb, is the original footage, still warm. It seems to only have two edit points, so this is pretty much live and without a pause. Please watch it now! I’ll wait here while you do.

Taking The Piss

It is so hard for the British to explain to the wonderful plethora of people living elsewhere in the world what we mean when we talk about ‘taking the piss’. Taking the Mickey, extracting the Michael. Some countries ‘get it’ more easily than others. North Koreans in particular have difficulty with it. Only 35% of North Americans get it. The French? 10% at most. Latvians – 98.3%. Local Police Officer who just pulled you over in your car? .025%. Don’t go there.

Kevin Hart is taking the piss. If you do not see it then it doesn’t matter. If you laugh at his jokes and think that he is funny then that is great. No problem!

But he is.

Hart is described as an actor and ‘comedian’. He has busted his chops on the standup circuit in his own country and he has not been handed a backstage pass to fame. Along the way, he has learned like all standup comedians that his world is actually the world of the Gladiator.

Ideally, this is a point that the audience is unaware of but every standup comedian contemplates only one thing in their quiet moments: Death.

Comedians speak of ‘dying’ on stage. They dream of ‘killing’ their audience. Only one can win.

Kevin Hart makes no secret of his inspiration. Step forward Cosby, Murphy, Chapelle and Rock. That is all fine.

But really – there is something much faster, sharper, sooner, quicker and nastier about Kevin Hart. He is very much a man of his own design and this BBC footage perfectly describes that. He can ‘riff’ and feed off the slightest input but he can do it so fast that, when you re-run the videotape, you still marvel at his sure-footed and lightning fast responses.

This is rapping, finally crossing over into standup. The intonation, the stanzas, the speed of delivery.

In a world where it is now safe to agree that HipHop has become truly multi-cultural and truly a World genre, is Kevin Hart the first ‘verbalist’ to break rap into standup, like a chef cracking an egg into a bowl to make an omelette?

Okay, let’s leave the food analogy to one side. Today, he killed. He became a killer. Count the number of words per minute. Count the separate ideas delivered. Count the punchlines. Measure the total time on air and look at the sheer speed!

Kevin Hart in a black tuxedo, driving a ’65 Aston Martin. Tick box if Insurance Indemnity purchased. Box ticked. Since nobody else is currently standing up to the line, Mr Hart will be happy to serve.

UK In Floods Of Tears

17 Feb

DSC00027 (2)

Frustration

Sadness

Loss

Despair

Release

Relief

That is the Official List of British Tears and the order in which they must be presented to the TV News crews.

Already, the national news here in WaterWorld is skewing slightly to highlight a traditional and typically British attitude: cynicism towards our own government and armed forces. Damp locals huddle in chilly pubs and draw diagrams of Kevin Costner’s boating equipment from memory. If you approach too close to them, they close ranks while one of them swallows the plans.

And in this next clip, Prince Charles is seen talking with a selection of pre-selected and security vetted locals. Prince Charles sticks it to Prime Minister David Cameron by openly voicing his doubts on the very matters where David has been pretending all is good.

So, Cameron responds by saying everything that can be done will be done…and that includes what he describes in pure political euphemism as “an end to the pause in dredging on the Somerset Levels”

An end to the pause in dredging? Do you now see why we Brits get cynical?

So, if I decide one day that I shall not to pay my taxes, when I am dragged in front of the judge months later, I can simply explain to him that I was pausing. I shall now ‘end the pause in my paying taxes’. I am sure the judge will understand.

Today, Cameron has announced that he is bringing the Army in to check the flood defences. They (the British Army) will achieve within five weeks what normally takes two years when left to the Environment Agency. They will work at 20.8 times the speed of an expert agency.

Why are we Brits so cynical?

Have you ever seen the British Army in action? They are remarkably effective at what they excel in which is essentially beating the crap out of non-UK passport holders. You don’t even have to come to them – they are quite happy to visit you in your own country. But the last time a Prime Minister was stupid enough to let them loose among British taxpayers was during the General Strike of 1926.

Briefly, in the 1980’s they were ordered to drive ambulances. It went badly. The Army only stopped when patients finally demanded to be driven to hospital instead by a local fourteen year old in a stolen Vauxhall Astra. Survival was more likely than being driven through busy London streets at high speed in a dark green and camouflaged ambulance by an enthusiastic eighteen year old from Manchester.

It was a PR disaster in 1926 and it was a hugely covered-up tragedy during the ambulance strike in the 1980’s. From then on, every British Prime Minister wrote in pen on the inside of their hand: “Don’t let Army near UK’s hard-working taxpayers. V. Important! Doesn’t work!”

Now Cameron is about to break this rule.

And we will now have thousands of well paid soldiers grabbing away the work from the specialist civilian workers in the Environment Agency who are paid much less and are facing redundancy anyway?

Oh, well done, Prime Minister!

And the Army, who are not in the least bit knowledgeable at a local level of Britains flood water defences will be working at 20.8 times the speed of these Environment Agency specialists who are being swept aside and made redundant?

Oh, well done, Prime Minister! What could possibly go wrong…?

The photo at the beginning of this article shows the author after having been coated from head to toe in raw faeces during a storm on a waste treatment site. I am shown smiling through my tears. (advanced students only).

Do you see that brown line around the tank on the right?

That is not caused by rust…

 

TB-infected beef sold back into UK food chain by DeFRA

30 Jun

cow2JPGAccording to the Sunday Times today, DeFRA – The UK government’s Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – has been selling diseased cattle meat to caterers who supply hospitals, schools and the armed forces.

They have bought the carcasses of cattle infected with bovine tuberculosis and sold them back into the food chain.

Despite concerns by several agencies, Defra sees no wrong in its actions.

“We are the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues. Our priorities are to grow the rural economy, improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health.”

The above quote is from their website.

DeFRA recently charred its already dirty reputation with most Brits by shrugging off the scandal of horse meat appearing in beef products. When the news broke in Europe, DeFRA’s head of public affairs legged it over to France for an ‘important meeting’ and laid low. As the full extent of corruption in the food chain was revealed over following weeks, DeFRA seemed curiously detached from the situation.

Is it not puzzling that a Ministerial Department responsible for regulating and monitoring the food supply chain in the UK should

*decline to take leadership in a contamination crisis?

*generate approximately $14m revenue by purchasing and selling diseased cattle meat into the human food chain?

*not mention anything in its mission statement (above) about human welfare – any duty to citizens and consumers?

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Perhaps, their point is that their priority is to maintain the wealth and prosperity of those who own the fields and the cows. That they are not concerned with any consequential issues. Not concerned with issues relating to health and the possible spread of disease – however small.

But in a political era where the UK government has fostered exaggerated fears of terrorism, economic uncertainty, financial insecurity and invasion of privacy among its citizens, is it not strange that one of its own departments intentionally sells tens of thousands of tons of meat from diseased cattle into its own country’s food chain?

It does not take a conspiracy theorist to notice that DeFRA have again expressed not one single concern at their wildly indefensible actions while the Press and public are again outraged. Once more, actions that are highly likely to cause distress and concern among the public have come from…a government department. 

Can DeFRA’s actions really have been the result of ignorance and innocence as to the risks being taken with the public’s health and wellbeing?

The Sunday Times quotes DeFRA’s chief scientist Ian Boyd warning that bTB (bovine Tuberculosis) could “spill over” to pets and “potentially to humans”.

M bovis, the bacterium that causes bTB can survive cooking up to 60C. – source: Sunday Times, 30th June 2013

cows4cows5

Margaret Thatcher. No flowers, please.

17 Apr

In a few hours time, Margaret Thatcher will exist only in the history books. To help ensure that she is indexed correctly, I am proud to hand over Roadwax to acclaimed author, newspaper columnist and feature writer  C J Stone

The Empire of Things:

In Memory of Margaret Thatcher

Seventeenth Century English protest rhyme

It was Margaret Thatcher who said there was no such thing as society. “There are individual men and women, and there are families… It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then… to look after our neighbour,” she said. “People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

She said this in an interview with Women’s Own magazine published in October 1987. Six years before that, in 1981, riots had ripped through Britain’s inner cities. There were riots in Brixton in London, in Toxteth in Liverpool, in Handsworth in Birmingham and Chapeltown in Leeds. There were further riots throughout the 80s, including Broadwater Farm in 1985, and Peckham that same year.

On coming to power in 1979, on the steps of Downing Street, Margaret Thatcher had quoted from St Francis of Assisi: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”

Never have a set of words proved to be less appropriate, or more vain, or less honest, or more ignorant of the truth.

The central idea behind Thatcherite policy was an economic theory known as  Monetarism. The aim of Monetarism was to break the post war consensus which had given working people unprecedented wealth – a welfare state, a national health service, free education, participatory democracy – and to redistribute that wealth to where its proponents believed it should go: back to the very rich. It did this by deregulating the banks, by breaking the trade unions, by selling off public assets, and by a form of social engineering in which traditional Labour voters were lured into property ownership by selling their council houses to them at drastically reduced rates, and in this way, getting them into debt. Debt became the driving force of the new economy.

Within one year of this we had the first riot: in St Pauls in Bristol.

The Enemy Within

In 1984 Thatcher took on and defeated the Miners. She called the Miners “The Enemy Within”. They were the bastion of working class solidarity in the United Kingdom, fiercely socialist in their outlook. This came directly from their work. Mining is a dangerous job. People who work underground have to watch each other’s backs. This creates a form of solidarity which they then bring back to the surface with them, into the over ground world.*

It is out of adversity that socialism arises. It is out of love. Solidarity is another word for love.

The National Union of Mineworkerswas an organisation of love. You listen to any old Miner talking about their union, and you will hear it. You will hear it in the tone of their voice and in the words they use. It was their organisation, forged out of their solidarity, out of the bonds created in the terrible conditions they encountered in their work, out of their history of struggle, out of loyalty to their class and their fierce independence. The NUM actively stood against the kind of world that Thatcher was promoting. It had to be destroyed.

We had love, and they had greed, and greed won. The defeat of the Miners lead directly to the kind of world we live in now.

There was an irony here. Thatcher appealed to a form of cod patriotism. She promoted patriotic values, waving her rhetorical flag for the assembled audience. And yet she helped destroy this most British of institutions, the National Union of Mineworkers, and to undermine trade unionism as a whole – a British invention – while encouraging an invasion of international corporations in the service industry, such as McDonalds, in which trade unionism was actively banned.

Waving the patriotic flag while inviting a foreign invasion. There’s a word we normally use for this. Under other circumstances we would call it “treason”.

McWages

If the young are not initiated into the village,
they will burn it down just to feel its warmth.

African proverb.

Roll on 30 years, to a new Tory government, to a new Monetarism, to a new austerity, a new Thatcherism.

And don’t be in any doubt that this is exactly what it is. When George Osborne told MPs that his deficit-cutting plan had made Britain a “safe haven in the global debt storm”, what he meant was that the financial institutions, to which he is obligated, have approved of his policies. They don’t have to loot the British economy, because Osborne is already handing the loot to them.

It’s a form of protection racket. The world has already seen what a financial mugging looks like. They’ve already broken the backs of governments in Ireland and Portugal and Greece. Give us your wealth, they say, or this is the fate that lies in store for you too. Give us your public property. Privatise, privatise, privatise, and no institution – not even the Health Service – is sacred.

That is what deficit reduction means. It means privatisation: not by the back door, but by the front door. Financial looting. It means taking British capital, currently held by the British state, and handing it over to financial institutions at a reduced rate. “Waving the patriotic flag while inviting a foreign invasion” again.

We are in the midst of an age of unprecedented structural change in our world, a return to feudalism. Feudalism arose out of the collapse of the Roman Empire. It involved a robber class living off the back of a servant class, using rent as its means. The new Feudal Lords use financial rent – indebtedness – in the same way. What we are watching is the collapse of the New Roman Empire into a new Dark Age of institutionalised plunder, a takeover by the banks.

The austerity measures are already being implemented, and it is the young who are being targeted. So tuition fees are going up to £9,000 a year, while theEducation Maintenance Allowance for 16-19 year old has been scrapped. Inflation is rampant, while real wages are declining. There is no future for the young. No jobs, no education, no skills, no apprenticeships. These were mostly scrapped by Thatcher 30 years ago. A nation built on skill has been reduced to a service economy, to McJobs and McWages in a McSociety.

You can call it “muck” if you like.

As Above So Below

“When your most elite, most powerful members of society adopt a strategy of plundering…. they will develop a morality that doesn’t simply permit plundering, but valorises it. When that happens the moral structures of a society will inevitably deteriorate. In the upper classes that leads to polite looting. In the underclass it leads to street looting.”

Bill Black on the Keiser Report, 16/08/2008

The illusion that’s been created is that we are separate beings. We are not. We are social beings. Margaret Thatcher was entirely wrong when she said there was no such thing as society. Society is the very essence of who we are. We are tied together by bonds of language, by bonds of morality, by bonds of loyalty, by bonds of family, by bonds of society, by bonds of love. You break those bonds and the social world begins to fall apart.

Society is the individual writ large. The individual is society in microcosm. As above, so below. The unconscious is not underneath us, it is around us. It is not inside of us, it is outside of us. The unconscious is that part of ourselves that lies in other people. It is in the obligations we owe to the people around us, in our human interactions, only barely recognised, as we negotiate our way around our social world.

In the individual personality, rampant, out-of-control egotism is a form of mental illness. Commonly called psychopathy, it is a mental state in which the individual only concerns himself with his own gratification. So if a psychopath gets pleasure from murder, then he will murder, free from conscience, because personal gratification is his only concern. Not every psychopath is a murderer, though. There are psychopaths all around us, and everyone is capable of psychopathic behaviour. Everyone who seeks personal gratification at the expense of his fellow creatures is a psychopath to some degree.

In the social sphere, the financial sector is a kind of collective psychopath, destroying the health of the economy for its private gratification. We honour the psychopath in our current world. It is the world of private gratification through private power. We give power to the psychopath, while denuding and deriding thecommon good that arises from our common world.

All private wealth is won at the expense of the commons. What we are witnessing right now are the new enclosure acts, the new clearances. We are beings born of the commons and not only our economic, but also our mental and emotional health, is measured by how much we bring to the common good.

Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
I’ve seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a sixgun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won’t never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.”

Pretty Boy Floyd by Woody Guthrie.

Democracy

“If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.” Gandhi.

I saw a BBC reporter interviewing a community activist in one of the riot areas. The activist compared what was happening to the Arab Spring. “But this is a democracy,” the reporter said, in a slightly defensive tone.

Is it though?

There are four pillars to a functioning democracy. We need an effective police force, a free press, rational political institutions and an efficient financial system. All of them must be regulated and free from corruption. What we have instead is a corrupt police force in hock to a corrupt press, with corrupt politicians serving the interests of a corrupt financial elite. Corruption from top to bottom. Corruption in every avenue of our public life. Top policemen taking bribes, politicians on the make, an intrusive and bullying press, distracting us with trivia and gossip, while covering up its own illegal practices, and a City of London which is entirely out of regulatory control, and which is plundering the nation’s resources for its own private gain.

And you wonder why the young riot? The kids are looting the shops. The banks are looting the nation.

Then we have the Labour Party – the Party created by the working class in the early part of the last century to institute socialist policies through democratic means – being seduced by high finance, and taking part in the financial rape of this country. Tony Blair amassing a personal fortune by taking us to war. Gordon Brown bailing out the banks and indebting the nation, borrowing money from the banks to give to the banks, imposing dangerous levels of debt on future generations. Peter Mandelson declaring: “We are all Thatcherites now.” What hope for us when even our own party stands against us?

The Empire of Things

“These people are living in a financial prison, and this is a prison riot.”

Max Keiser on the Keiser Report, 16/08/2008

We’ve had over 30 years of rampant individualism, of consumerism, of me-ism and the devil take the hindmost; 30 years of mortgaging our future to pay for our present consumption; 30 years of selling off our birthright for a mess of consumerist pottage; 30 years of corruption and greed, of the worship of Things. It is an Empire of Things. So we have our technology and our consumer durables, our computers and our mobile phones, our technical baubles. Well some of us have. Many of us don’t have these Things. The young in particular, don’t have these Things. The young from the sink estates, the second and third generation underclass.

So we’ve set these Things up in place of our values. We’ve substituted them for the social ties that used to bind us together, and we’ve told the young who can’t afford these Things, that they are the only measure of value, that you don’t count unless you can flaunt these Things in the faces of your peers. That only Things count. And then society starts to break down under the pressure of the new Feudal arrangements, in which we are becoming economic vassals paying homage to debt, and the kids take to the streets in a blind fury of acquisitive excitement. And what do they do? They steal. They loot. They plunder. They obey the rules laid down on them by the Empire of Things. They collect the very Things we told them to, declaring fealty to the Things that are our Lords in the new fiefdom of debt.

They do what we tell them to do and then we punish them for it.

The bankers have plundered the economy, and they have been rewarded. The politicians have plundered their expenses, and they still sit in Parliament. The Murdoch Press has corrupted our values, and yet they are still allowed to own newspapers. The police have taken bribes, and yet they talk brazenly of the criminality of the streets.

Young people are put in gaol for the theft of a bottle of water, while bankers are given bonuses for the plunder of nations. People are losing their homes because their children are suspected of rioting, while politicians, who claimed for multiple homes on their expenses, are allowed to bleat on about rioters and looters from their privileged position in the House of Commons.

It’s at this point that I would like to agree with Margaret Thatcher. As she said: “People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

To whom do we owe the obligation? To society, of course.

*Anyone who doubts this should consider the Chilean Miners. During their first 17 days underground – before they were contacted, when they were nearly starving, and fearful that the probes might not find them – they had instituted a form of democracy, a form of socialism, which many of them say saved them from a descent into barbarity.

This article originally appeared on C J Stone’s website and is reproduced here with his permission.

Is your new car watching over you?

14 Feb

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In the 1980’s, if Britain or the United States governments had declared that every citizen must report their personal whereabouts and also to whom they spoke, there would have been an understandable mass revolt and rioting in the streets.

Instead, we citizens were sold the mobile or ‘cell’ phone.

Lured by the promise of entertainment, technology and kudos, we rushed out and bought phones for ourselves and our children.

We bought the phones willingly. The needs of government were met.

It was all about information – being connected and being in communication. Being the first to know, the first to hear.

Twenty years later, we now understand how our cellphones pinpoint our position and our conversations and texts are widely and routinely intercepted and analysed ‘in the interests of National Security’.

Our billing information has been sold and resold a hundred times. British Police forces have sold personal details of car crash victims to ambulance-chasing insurance firms. Apparently, that is okay by us. Absolutely fine.

Since we are anxious to be seen as law-abiding citizens, we trade in our privacy in a way that was utterly unthinkable, even as recently as 1990. We ignore the outrageous  invasion of our privacy by Google, Microsoft and a million life insurance and healthcare agents who now own copies of all our private details.

Some of us actually help out by uploading our private life and photo album details to Facebook.

Next on the agenda of big business and world government: our car.

“…all citizens shall declare their car  journeys, itineraries, speeds attained and addresses visited…”

We are sold ‘infotainment’ and connectivity packages for our new car. We buy them, using our own money.

Intel put it perfectly in their press release:

“…Cars are gradually transitioning from an information isolated island to a mobile information processing platform…”

The statement is almost benign in its apparent casualness.

However, be not fooled. The parking camera package that you bought because you are too stupid to park your own car can now record the license plate of the car behind and in front.

One click of a switch at “Headquarters” and every driving citizen becomes an unmarked Police cruiser, fitted with Automated Number Plate Recognition.

Your three year old car already tells tales on you to its manufacturer. When you send it in to the dealer to have it serviced, you naively believe that the big red box it gets plugged into tells the mechanic what is wrong.

It doesn’t. It uploads data to the manufacturer, who then tells the mechanic what is wrong. The manufacturer now knows if you hit the rev limiter…while in sixth gear. How often the ABS has been activated today.

028rwtrafficYou naughty thing, you! Let us hope that the manufacturer doesn’t tell the Police, or you’d be in deep trouble. Or your insurance company. Or your leasing company. Or your boss, who is considering you for promotion.

Perhaps, having read this far into my post, you are inclined to believe that I am being a little paranoid? Well, it only takes one click and your car uploads its data. The only question that remains is: to whom? 

Your car is already programmed to transmit your speed. Your sat-nav already does so.

Governments around the world are waiting for your opinion. They like opinions. It saves them having to ask.

When will the switch be ‘clicked’?

Well, that really depends on how we citizens feel about it. This is the ‘Big One’. All our other information is already accessed by the State in most Western countries but our car is the last frontier. It has always given us the feeling of freedom.

If we citizens realise that our car is now no longer a source of freedom but instead just expensive transportation, we may decide to take a taxi instead. We may rebel and refuse to buy our next car.

So the trick is to make us want to buy our next car.

It won’t be hard. Governments have progressively increased taxation on older cars and manufacturers have raised the prices of key spares to the point where it becomes uneconomical to keep them working.

As consumers, we take the hint. We buy a new car. Besides, the new one comes with an ‘Infotainment Package’…

Slam dunk.002bankrobber

The bank robber of the future will strip you, tie you up in the trunk of your car, drive to the bank and rob it in your name.

They will walk back to the car and plug in a second-hand ECU under the hood. They will dial a police crime line with your phone, drop it in the gutter and then drive you out to the woods.

There, you will be reunited with your clothes and shoes and given your keys back and told to drive off. As you gratefully sit behind the wheel, the robber will shoot you in the head, put the gun in your hand, close the door and then walk away.

According to the medical records that your doctor sold to your insurance company without your knowledge, you were taking anti-depressants.

According to the Police, always anxious to solve crime, there is an awful lot of even stronger evidence.

CCTV footage shows a person of your height and wearing your clothes and shoes, with a mask. Your phone and your car were tracked across town to the bank. Your phone is found, soaking wet – so no fingerprints there – but its call records are examined. Later that day, you are found behind the wheel of your car by a kid walking his dog.

Why you did it and where you hid the money will remain a mystery. Your life insurance company refuses to pay out to your family.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Millions of new cars remain unsold. Join the dots…

8 Feb

DSC00283roadwax

As more than 10 MILLION brand new cars join the ever increasing backlog of unsold stock across the World – four million cars in Europe alone – factory closures are now to become a reality.

Well-hidden and secure compounds across Europe, Asia and America are the usual first home for newly-born cars awaiting shipping to dealers. But these are now so full that dealers themselves are having to store cars in their already-packed yards.

The backlog of stored new cars in Europe now runs to four million. US sources point to a similar figure for America and things are so bad in China that Mercedes Benz are offering as much as 30% discount on some new models (S-Class, anyone?) as an attempt to shift stock.

No matter how politicians of all persuasions in all car-making countries try to dress it up, the fact is that production lines and whole factories now stand to be closed as a means of reducing output to match the drop in demand.

As Jorn Madslien’s BBC article here points out, the 7 – 10% annual drop in European demand since the Banking crisis of 2008 is set to continue through 2013 according to industry analysts.

There is no evidence to suggest that this trending reduction in demand will halt. Unemployment, static wages and financial insecurity continue to keep potential customers away from showrooms.021roadwax

What many ordinary people have overlooked in the last three years is the part that national politicians have played in this unfolding catastrophe.

Anxious to deflect criticism of themselves from voters already outraged at the corruption within the financial industry that has wrecked economic prospects, many political leaders have persuaded car giants to keep production at a steady level to avoid redundancies.

In the last three years, American car-making states have seen the quite shocking sight of trains loaded with brand new cars leaving the factories bound for the deserts – where the cars are simply off-loaded and parked up – as an alternative to laying off workers or reducing pay-packets.

Now, this temporary vote-buying strategy has resulted in such high levels of surplus vehicles that the need to close whole factories has replaced the idea of cutting the odd work shift. There is now no other option left.

Discounting of new car prices at dealership level is now rising into thousands of dollars. Some makes and models are almost dead in the water, effectively having so few interested potential buyers that they may as well not be offered.

Chrysler, for example, has more than six months worth of 2013 Dodge Darts parked up right now, as the Wall Street Journal’s article here reveals.

Six months worth of Dodge Darts. At what point does a ‘new’ car technically become an ‘old’ new car? Can a car that has sat out in the open for most of a year still be described as ‘new’? One can easily imagine the challenges that car manufacturers now face.

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But showroom price discounting – especially up to amounts like 30% – can wreak havoc with the residual value of that car’s marque. The prices of ‘nearly-new’ second-hand versions plummet at auction and fleet clients and Hire Purchase customers can become saddled with a kind of negative equity on their own vehicles. Fleet News made this point six months ago in their article here.

Some commercial vehicle manufacturers have been hit really hard as savvy fleet operators have held onto their trucks for an extra year or two to avoid this depreciation risk. One major truck maker sold zero units of its product in the UK in 2011 as regular clients simply sat tight.

General Motors has only now struggled back into profit in the US after years in the red with an unloved product range. Desperate for small cars it didn’t have, it hastily re-badged Asian Daewoo products, slapping a ‘Chevrolet’ badge on them and shipping them into America.

Now, it is watching as its twin European badges – Vauxhall and Opel – fight a desperate war to survive. It is abundantly clear that 7-10% over-capacity plus some ageing and inefficiently designed production facilities cannot be propped up at all cost.

roadwaxJeep 101

In this situation, the cost will be production line workers. There are no deserts in Europe to hide millions of unwanted cars.

The emerging giant economy of China fueled the revival of hopes in 2009 for top marques like BMW, Cadillac and Rolls Royce. Dying on their feet as Europe and America struggled with a banking collapse, these big names spearheaded a rush to satisfy Chinese auto sales volume growth of 46% in that year.

But by 2010 that figure had dropped to 32% and in early 2011 it slumped to 2.5%.

We are not supposed to use the word ‘problem’. The fashionable and politically correct word today is ‘challenge’.

The ‘problem’ is over-production of depreciating consumer goods.

The ‘challenge’ for today’s politicians is to find unemployed workers jobs that can generate their family a surplus income. Enough to buy yet more depreciating consumer goods and certainly more than enough to live on.

If today’s politicians actually have a solution to this challenge, then they are keeping very quiet about it.

 

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