EU’re Not The Boss Of Me

The EU does a Greece on Germany, illustrating neatly that, whoever the real enemy at the heart of the EU is, it isn’t the Germans. Austerity, or rather the German version, has left much of Germany, unable to create and supply its own currency as it relies instead on the Euro, in many ways now in a similar state to the one Britain’s reduced to after Austerity. It’s worth remembering we didn’t need to get our money rationed by the ECB as Germany has, our politicians did that all by themselves, leading Economania to ponder again on who exactly might be the real enemy here. “Thousands of bridges need repairing or even replacing, roads are riddled with potholes, plaster is crumbling from the walls of schools, and there are concerns over an under-equipped military. Germany lags well behind much of the rest of the world on high-speed internet. Just 2% of households are supplied by fibre broadband, compared to 75% in Japan and South Korea, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This is all despite an eye-watering record budget surplus for the first half of 2018 of €48bn.”

That budget surplus is the money which has been ‘saved’ by not spending it on obviously very necessary maintenance of essential infrastructure. It frankly baffles Economania why the Germans, not a people we easily associate with meek acceptance of adverse circumstance, are putting up with this nonsense. However: “According to fiscal observers Germany has been too fixated on the so called schwarze null or “black zero” – the sacred national obsession with balancing the budget.” Does this explain it? We think they badly need an education if it does… We understand from economist Bill Mitchell the German infrastructure has been deliberately run down with a view to presenting to the German people the idea that, as the country has no money, they’ll have to borrow the money from corporations to get the country working again, at a suitable rate of interest, of course. Like PFI then. This will leave the Germans, who appear completely in the dark about this, effectively working to pay tax to their neofeudal corporate overlords.

While we are aware it would be a dangerous, perhaps suicidal folly, quite apart from in practical terms impossible, simply to walk away from it, it’s clear that unless significant changes are made in the near future, inside the EU isn’t somewhere any sane nation would want to be.

Ending the UK

Following on from what I was saying about migrants and the effects of the exchange rate, it seems only sensible to me that the North of England be declared its own country and granted its own government and currency. It’s a common view, one with which I agree, that the South of England is regarded as an extension of the Westminter political village so its desires are pandered to while the needs of the North are ignored.  Policies are made for the benefit of the South and nowhere else as that’s where the political hub is.  If the country breaks up into seperate countries, Southern England, Northern England, Wales and Scotland and they each have their own government and currencies, each government can produce policies which best serve their immediate neighbourhoods. One probably effect would be that given the high relative value which would no doubt be placed upon the Southern currency by the world’s financial markets it would then make economic sense for Northern lads to come down to the South and work because of the favourable exchange rate just as it does with the Poles etc. now.

Why Immigrants Can Find Work Here And Enjoy It When Britons Can’t And Don’t.

How is it that immigrants can come here from abroad and walk into jobs?

Because certain jobs aren’t even advertised in the UK, the employers only advertise them abroad.

Why are immigrants happy to do jobs Britons turn their noses up at?

Because of the exchange rate. Immigrants can come here to work for a few months, live six to a room and frugally in general, work all the hours they can and save all they can. Then they can go back to their homelands, change their pounds for the local currency and be quids in, many and substantial amounts of quids in. How so? Because the pound’s worth a lot more over there than it is over here. When they change their pounds for zlotys ( or whichever) the local currencies have far more purchasing power locally than the pounds do in the UK.

Effectively, then, they get paid a great deal more for doing the same job. There’s no comparison between them and Britons as no doubt immigrants would turn their noses up too if they were offered the same lousy deal many Britons are offered these days for full-time work. The suggestion they have a better work ethic seems to have no practical basis.

Let’s look at this another way. Suppose you run a small coffee shop. You need staff but the business model means you can’t afford to pay them much, not a great deal more than the minimum wage if that. You find the Britons by and large are grumpy and sullen (when you can get them to work at all) and that’s no good as you need them to be bright and cheerful to attract customers. One day a Polish girl pops in out of the blue and asks you for work. You’re impressed and give her a spare spot. She excels and you give her a full-time job. Later on she mentions her friend who’s in the country looking for work, an Estonian girl, so on that favourable recommendation you give her a try. She works out great too, so well in fact you start looking out for foreign girls to employ over and above British girls, they’re happier in their work and the customers like them. For a time you get by with friends of the two you already have, and their friends, but eventually you realise the best way to get them (things are going so well you’re thinking of opening another coffee shop) is to advertise in their country. That’s what you do. The Britons don’t get a chance to apply for the jobs anymore as they’re never advertised in this country (let alone on the expensive abomination that’s Universal Jobsmatch) and, even if they did get the job, unless they had aspirations at management via the ‘starting-at-the-bottom’ route it would be of no practical use to them from a financial perspective as the pay’s so low it’s just not worth their while.

Grasping this basic principle doesn’t seem to be that difficult, after all, it’s hardly rocket science, is it? So why then do so few appear to understand it at all?

P.S. I wrote the above after the subject of immigrants came up on The Big Benefits Row and no-one seemed aware of the reality.

A week or two later the subject again came up on so-called political discussion program (BBC’s Question Time) and it took a member of the audience to point out that some jobs weren’t advertised in the UK at all, only in other countries. The probable influence of favourable exchange rates simply never entered the discussion.

It seems to me that both points are integral to any examination of why some menial jobs are attractive to foreigners but not to UK citizens, yet none of the (I assume) informed experts on the panel brought them up.

This leads me to the conclusion, not for the first time, that all political discussion on mainstream media is for purely cosmetic purposes, there not to discuss important matters, but instead to make an ignorant, ill-informed public believe they’re discussed. Reality never gets an airing.

Close-Ended Questions

What’s a close-ended question? Here’s an example;
A politician might ask, in response to criticism of, say, allegedly ‘green’ policies, policies which were dressed up as caring for the planet but in reality were about setting up a system of sophisticated financial instruments called carbon futures (creating a new casino for the banksters to play in), so when you object to this a politician might ask “Don’t you believe in saving the planet?”

The only obvious answer would be, yes you do believe in it, and if pushed you’d probably say something like “Well, yes” albeit hesitantly, because that’s not REALLY what you wanted to say and it isn’t REALLy what you were trying to talk about in the first place. Our hypothetical politican knows this full well.

The main point about a close-ended question is that it isn’t genuinely interrogative. It isn’t an attempt to elicit information, it’s an attempt to curtail debate by effectively forcing a specific response from your mouth. People who need to stifle debate while appearing to welcome it are usually in some form of authority, one with no substance whatsoever, and especially one that simply can’t bear the scrutiny of open debate.

It’s technique. You use technique in debate or question-and-answer scenarios just the same way you use technique and experience in a boxing match, the crucial difference being that boxing is a medium where blows can be seen to be exchanged. One opponent is recognisably better than the other because of technique and experience, not because either is in any way somehow morally superior. If one boxer beats another in a fair fight, no-one thinks it appropriate to accept his policies or world view to be in any way superior to the losing opponent’s. But we assume in debate, you see, if one politician scores points over another in debate we assume that, somehow and wholly irrationally, their world view, their morality, their policies are somehow superior. Winning in debate though, just like boxing, is very much a consequence of experience and technique. It has nothing whatsoever to do with being right about anything except winning in debate. It’s irrelevant when it comes to judging the right thing to do in any given circumstance.

The typical close-ended question prompts a specific reply instead of inviting consideration of the underlying question. In other words, you’re prompted, without realising it, to give the answer that the questioner wants you to give, not to say what you intended to say or would say given the opportunity to in a frank and open discussion. Someone who asks you close-ended questions is someone who wants to control you, no doubt of it.

I remember watching a program about recruiters for the first World War, how as things grew more and more desperate they’d be roaming the streets of London trying to force young lads to recruit by asking them why they hadn’t and “Are you a coward?”

Obviously and particularly in a time of war young lads, not yet old enough to have found their own identity or properly formed their own opinions, felt compelled to answer that they weren’t cowards, of course not, and were then asked that in that case then of course they wanted to sign up, didn’t they? which in turn compelled them, albeit rather awkwardly I gather, that yes, they supposed they did. Then, having been bludgeoned into “volunteering”, they were sent off to die in the trenches. I heard this from a veteran of those days, one of the very few survivors. If those lads had been educated in recognising a close-ended question for what it was, I’m guessing they wouldn’t have answered as they did.

More recently, a former Muslim/Al Queida terrorist was asked about methods used to recruit young potential terrorists in Britain. Potentials are asked, “Are you British or are you Muslim?” You see the attempt to trap them into an either/or answer? It isn’t a genuinely interrogative question, that would have been something like “How do you feel about being British and Muslim?”, or “Do you feel there’s any conflict about being Muslim and British?” which would allow the responder to answer in their own manner. Questions like that are called open-ended. You’re invited to put across your feelings, to express whatever emotions, to give whatever information you wish so you can really get your point across. Instead, the manipulative technique of close-ended questioning is used. In responding to the questions at all, you’re compelled by the lack of options into giving the questioner the answers they want.

More recently still, (you have the feeling I’ll be adding to this page on a regular basis!) Pakistan was taken over by its military. One of its ministers, obviously in favour, was on British TV to ‘discuss’ this; “Well do you want a stable Pakistan or not?” he asked. The clear suggestion being that military force was the only way to accomplish this, yet he offered nothing by way of evidence to suggest that this might be so. He appeared to be there for the sole purpose of shutting down any meaningful debate – would we be right in assuming that no reasonable defence of the military’s actions could be mustered? I’d say so – this was in front of the world, and that was the best a minister could come up with, a blatant attempt to close down debate? I’m not familiar with the circumstances in Pakistan so I couldn’t say who’s right or wrong but that clumsy attempt at justification for the military action didn’t exactly inspire confidence in it.

 In the present day we have the Atos disability testing. The stated point of the testing is to weed out those who are faking illness or disability and so fraudulently claiming benefits. In practice though the design of the testing suggests the goal is to deny people benefits no matter how ill they genuinely are.

Consider, some are asked, “Do you make your own bed”? or “Do you cook your own breakfast?” and “Do you do the washing up?” Not “Can you make your own bed?” or “How often do you cook your own breakfast?” nor, and here’s the kicker, are claimants asked “Can you tell us about any difficulty you have with ordinary daytime tasks like making a bed, cooking a meal and doing the washing up after?”

That last would be an open-ended question designed to glean information from answers like, “Well, I make the bed certainly but only once a year or so if it gets messed up… I don’t sleep in it you see, I sleep on the couch because of my bad back, with my back resting against the back of the couch for support. I don’t like sleeping in a bed, no support for my back, you see, and making the bed’s very difficult since my operation what with all that bending…” and so on. From this it can be worked out how ill a person is and how they might fare in the workplace. Open-ended questions like that in the Atos assessments are conspicuous by their absence, both in the application form itself and, according to a wealth of anecdotal evidence, in the verbal questioning at the actual assessment.

I can think of only one reason close-ended questioning would be used this way under these circumstances and that’s to prevent disclosure of information revealing how bad a claimant’s health actually is. Crucial facts simply never enter the conversation. The technique enables the assessor to get the answers they want then manipulate them to create an entirely false picture of a claimant’s condition. This false picture is then used to deny them benefits.

I’m no lawyer – perhaps we could hear from those who are on this – but if an Atos assessor uses this technique on claimants it looks like a deliberate attempt by that assessor to ultimately defraud claimants of their rightful benefit entitlements.

Now it could be individual assessors are alone with their aim being merely to keep their jobs with Atos (we know from Dispatches and Panorama assessors are expected to work to targets or ‘norms’) or it might be they’re working this technique under instruction from their Atos paymasters. If this were the case it would appear to be not just an attempt to defraud but conspiracy to defraud and on a national scale too. Atos themselves could be following instruction from the DWP in this matter, and they in turn might be following advice from the Unum insurance company, who the DWP haveemployed as consultants on ‘welfare reform’. Given the clear conflict of interest this escalates the conspiracy theory considerably.

Whatever, it’s high time m’learned friends were involved. This needs to be sorted out in the courts.

Physiotherapists banned from touching patients

The story is here

Physios in Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire, physiotherapists of all people, can no longer actually touch the patients they’re trying to apply physical therapy to. You’d think the clue is in the name, and you’d be right too, but helping the patient’s no longer the guiding principle in healthcare. Instead, making money is.

This is to save the private medical companies, the ones who now brand themselves as the NHS thanks to the Lansley Bill, the Bill that had the Cabinet pounding the table in triumph when it was passed, it’s to save them money. The technique is one of blame transference from doctor to patient and is a logical follow-on from the biopsychosocial model described so well by Gill Thorburn Essentially it involves blaming the patient for their illness and so alleviating the medical profession of any responsibility for their condition. No need for further treatment and no need to spend any more money.

Here’s how it works. After a recommendation by a specialist, the patient arrives for physio. In the traditional medical model, physio would be applied by a trained expert. If  the patient responds, all well and good, if not, then this is duly reported back to the specialist in charge and a different approach will be tried. Surgery, perhaps. The medical profession accepts the continuing illness of the patient and spends more resources in attempting to heal them. Responsibility for the patient’s condition remains with the medical profession.

That’s what we had. We’ve lost it.

In this new model blame for the patient’s condition is shifted to the patient. It’s now their fault they’re ill, not the medical profession’s.

It’s done like this. Instead of actually applying physio, the patient is given a broad outline of how it works and told to treat themselves. Obviously in many if not most cases they can’t, but that’s irrelevant. When they don’t get well or even improve, they can then be told it’s because they’re not doing it right or because they aren’t doing it at all. It’s their fault then, that they aren’t well, and the medical profession need no have no further expensive involvement.

Also, and this will be a major attraction to government, it can and no doubt will be argued that because it’s their fault, any sickness-related benefits they may be receiving can be withdrawn as well. After all, will say the DWP, we have it from the healthcare professional in charge (i.e. a representative from one of the private medical companies mentioned above) that these people could be well if only they’d do what they’re told. It’s their fault they’re ill, then, so they’re not deserving of benefits.

The same attitude will no doubt be adopted by the private insurance companies, who we know (with the full approval of this and previous governments) are largely behind all this. See,

There, in a nutshell, you have the principle which will govern the future of healthcare in Britain. It’s not the medical profession’s fault you’re ill, it’s yours. The medical profession won’t want to spend any money on you and you won’t be eligible for any sickness benefit or any unemployment/ill-health insurance you may have paid for. Expect to see it implemented nationwide in short order.

I mean, when you heard the Cabinet were banging on the tables that they’d got away with this, what did you THINK they were so happy about? This is the reality. Welcome to 2012, baby. The Mayans were right – the world you knew is gone.


The Great Apprenticeships Con.

I was just reading about the government’s newly-created apprenticeships over at the Sunday Mail I understand the pay for these jobs is £2.50ph as being apprenticeships they fall outside low wage regulation. So then, on the one hand the government raises the minimum wage but on the other it reclassifies jobs to make them pay less than that minimum. These people should be learning the ropes alright but they should be receiving the minimum wage while doing so and their employers should not be getting any taxpayers money for it. Giving it to them represents no more than theft from the public purse.
Further, these unfortunates being so low paid will bring very little purchasing power to the economy, far less than if they were properly employed, thus the economy is dealt a double blow. This is the government damaging the economy to subsidise its big business chums. This is bad enough in itself, but in the long-term it damages the financial environment in which we all must dwell. It may bring some short-term political advantage but in the long run. It does no-one any good. Our leaders don’t seem able to see that suggesting to me at least there’s something quite seriously wrong with them medically. One hears of  instances where unfit leaders are declared to be so by their second-in-commands and duly replaced. What mechanism is there to bring into play when it’s the leaders of the country itself who are quite clearly unfit for command? In my view, we’ve needed it for some time and that dismal fact is increasingly becoming more apparent.


Disability Bashing and My Arse

A new study clearly indicates the government are talking complete nonsense about the economy’d-have-thought-it-‘real’-welfare-is-working/

This just underlines what I keep saying, the government has no idea whatsoever what to do about the lack of money in the system as it’s all down to the banks and the government doesn’t want to come out and admit it a) has no real control over the economy and b) has no control at all over the banks. All this disabled-bashing is just to make it look like they’re doing something constructive and there’s no need for any of it at all. You might start wondering, when you realise, just what it is exactly that the government does have control over, and what it is exactly that we pay them for. Ah.

Osborne Bails Out Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne (who will eventually become an Irish Baronet, we should remember) today announced a bailout loan for the (basically insolvent) Irish banking system of around £7bn, this to come from the British taxpayer. He defends this as in our national interest because we export more to them than we do to several of the emerging economies combined. True enough no doubt, however, it’s difficult not to think his real concern is to preserve the British banks that are owed billions by the Irish banking system. They made loans presumably agreeing with the then Shadow Chancellor, one George Osborne, who in 2006 was so impressed by the Irish economy that he asked “What has caused this Irish miracle, and how can we in Britain emulate it?”
The fact the British banks made loans to the Irish says little for their grasp of sound banking principles. If they made bad loans, they deserve to go out of business, not be preserved at the expense of the taxpayer. Preserving them only allows them to repeat their mistakes again and be bailed out again in a vicious circle that can only end with the destruction of the entire economy.
The Chancellor appears to have no more idea than do the banks he wants to preserve. We need to get shot of the lot of them.

Incidentally, today comes news that the Chancellor’s promised White Paper, due soon, in which he promised to detail his plans for growth will not now appear till sometime next year. It appears for all his bluster he hasn’t even got a plan A, let alone a plan B.


Not Waving But Drowning – Clueless Bernanke

It’s suggested in many quarters that Germany’s finance minister has called Bernanke ‘clueless’ after hearing about Bernanke’s planned implementation of QE2. There is a further and I believe more accurate suggestion that suggests this is a poor translation of what was actually said, and Bernanke was more correctly described as being ‘at a loss’.

This works for me. I’ve said since Mervyn King bought in QE1 in the UK that this was a completely irrelevant measure, made for cosmetic purposes and nothing else. He just did it to make it  appear as if he were doing something constructive, while in reality there was simply nothing constructive at all that could be done. Bernanke is following suit, clear indication that he’s got nothing left in his arsenal either. The Germany finance minister obviously understands this and has said so. Reporting what he’s said as something different, as is happening in the mainstream press, is simply misleading. Is this wilful? I would say so. 


Economic Dynamism and My Arse

What happened was the multi-millionaire David Cameron walked into a room full of frustrated businessmen, talked a lot of old flannel and walked out again. He’s still a multi-millionaire and they’re still frustrated businessmen. What he didn’t say was the one thing they needed to hear, “Here’s the money”.
All that happened was the status quo was maintained. He’s got lots of money, they haven’t, and they can’t get it because they’re denied the funding they need to run their businesses. He’s rich, they’re not, and that’s how things are gonna stay. This is the message we take away from the occasion.