Pulling out is effective 73-96% of the time, so how effective could it be for Britain?

The concentric circles of society go outwards, more or less, as follows: the individual at the centre, who then hopefully forms part of a family (not necessarily nuclear), the cornerstone of society, multiple of which come together to form first the tribe, then later the city or region or province, which collectivise under one administration in the nation state and, after the nation state, the intra-national super-state – a cohesive collection of individual countries under one administration. Eventually, it seems logical to conclude, the one world government follows, notwithstanding the logistical practicality of such an undertaking.


Since 1973, we in Britain have been wrestling with the transition from independent nation state to being part of a collection of countries that together increasingly form something with some of the trappings of the intra-national super-state. And now, 43 years after our tried accession into the EU, we the British people are being given the say on whether or not we remain a part of this intra-national bureaucratic-commercial collective, or whether we pull out and hope there are no nasty consequences 9 months down the line.


For something that represents such a fundamental turning point, not only in the British trajectory, but in that of the world – for if we reject political globalisation in this manner, what does it mean for everyone else? – the debate has been thoroughly mediocre.


‘Britain stronger in Europe’ say on their website that “almost half of everything we sell to the rest of the world we sell to Europe – and we get an average of £24 billion of investment in Britain per year from Europe”. In retort ‘Get Britain out’, on their website, state firmly in rebuttal that “less than 5% of UK businesses trade directly with the EU” and that “EU Regulations cost the UK economy a staggering £33.3 billion per year”. The IN campaign note that the Confederation of British Industry estimates that “3 million jobs in Britain are linked to trade with the rest of Europe” while the Outies say these jobs aren’t reliant on EU membership and “not 1 job is at risk from Brexit”. And back and forth and back forth it goes ad infinitum.


So how can the suits at either side of this tug of war both be so assured of facts in direct contradiction to each other? Well, it’s because either side uses different figures from different sources using different methods of arriving at their figures. Each side will quote the CBI, for instance, until it doesn’t suit them, in which case they’ll ignore what the CBI says and go with another source. Both the Office of National Statistics and the Treasury publish figures for the same things, and both of them differ.


The debate is mediocre at best, and insulting at worst. When the opposing campaigners trot out their tired slogans on leaflets and website front pages – “Protect out heritage, control our borders, believe in Britain” versus the admittedly less catchy “The government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK” – they are banking on you looking no further. They are banking on you taking their and only their numerical milk and honey or dark numerical water of the River Styx, depending on the strategy.


The integrationists and isolationists are just as grasping when it comes to celebrity endorsements. In October 2015 the Innies opened their campaign by wheeling out June Sarpong, some TV head with an adorable gap in her front teeth but who has no qualifications to be waxing lyrical about the EU aside from chatting inane shite on Loose Women. Similarly, Nigel Farage was delighted when national treasure Michael Cain came out in favour of coming out. Yeah, he’s really good at telling you how many people know his name in a cockney accent but what relevance is it what he thinks?


For every figure on one side, there is a different figure on the other. For every claim a counter-claim. And why? Because neither side knows what’ll happen. There is no truth in this debate, there is no right and there is no wrong. Neither side can tell you what money we’ll lose and what we’ll win, who’ll get fired and who won’t, which countries will desert us and which won’t should we leave or not leave. All we can know for certain is the amount of money the EU costs us and how much it makes us right now.


But even that we don’t really know. For instance, ‘Full Fact’ state that our membership of the EU isn’t “nearly £20 billion” a year as ‘Vote Leave’ like to regurgitate. This is because we get a £5 billion rebate immediately on our payment, as well as £4 billion being spent by the EU on British farmers and poorer regions in the UK, and upwards of £1 billion to the private sector for things like research grants. And this needs to be added to the money we get back in trade, investments and jobs, for which it’s “far harder to be sure about how much comes back in benefits”.


The House of Common Library has said in a briefing paper of February 2016 “there is no definitive study of the economic impact of the UK’s EU membership or the costs and benefits of withdrawal. Many of the costs and benefits are subjective or intangible and a host of assumptions must be made to reach an estimate. If the UK were to remain in a reformed EU, assumptions would need to be made about what the reforms might be. Any estimate of the effects of withdrawal will be highly sensitive to such assumptions.” So don’t listen to that bellend at your dinner party when he pipes up with a figure he’s learned by rote from either some liberal think piece or the lungs of Farage, because he doesn’t have a clue. He’s regurgitating what seems plausible to reinforce an opinion he probably held anyway but was insecure about because he had no factual way of validating or justifying it.


The underwhelming nature of the debate is compounded by the fact that all parties involved are trying their hardest to reduce a quandary of major constitutional and politico-philosophical significance down to paltry numbers and un-nourishing sound bites.


Gideon has said that leaving the EU will effectively leave every British household £4,300 per year worse off. But do you really think it would? Do you really think leaving the EU will mean you have £4,300 less coming into your bank account? Inversely similarly, Leave.EU say we would be £933 better off if we left. Again, do you think you’ll see a grand more pop up on your statement each year once we leave? Do you think these figures that get tossed around mean anything? They don’t. Each side is trying to tell the future and the fact is they can’t. The only purpose these figures serve is for people to quote in an effort to sound like they’ve put some thought into the question of Brexit.


But ‘Brexit question-mark’ is a question far more meaningful than ghostly numbers. And the majority of people know this, really. The basic impetus for leaving seems to be lust for sovereignty lost. UKIP and the right promise control of our borders, an end to “open door” immigration – the benefits and costs of which are hotly debated, as is whether or not leaving the EU will do anything to it. They also promise that no more will 75% of our laws be made in Brussels. It should be noted that this statistic is another illusory number that is by no means true. Business for Britain created a “definitive” study in which they found that “EU rules account for 65% of UK law” (I guess they don’t realise that there is no such thing as UK law). While they do admit that “not every EU regulation will impact Britain[,] such as rules on olive and tobacco growing”, the number is still misleading. Some measures take into account legislation with only a passing reference to the EU. However, a large chunk – anywhere between 15% and 50% – of laws around the UK have Brussels’ fingerprints on them, but the majority of those laws are regulations that you never even notice anyway, or they are Directives that force our government to create legislation, such as the Employment Rights Act 1996, which codifies a minimum period of maternity leave and notice, and the Employment Relations Act 1999, which covers things like collective bargaining: legislation that wholly protects you, the worker.


But the right’s appeal to sovereignty is muddied and confused. We are the descendants of warring barbarians and proud Saxons; the British are brawlers, imperialists. We are the sons and daughters of an Empire over which the sun never set. We are the saviours of Europe – the scrappy, innovative fighters. We are the moneymen of the world, the bankers and shopkeepers and the stoic council estate tenants. It is hard to reconcile such a proud heritage and such a powerful personality with horror stories of a Britain now the cowed Bulldog under the shadow of the mighty Alsatian’s dripping fangs.


If you define individual sovereignty as pertaining to your self-determination, your power over your reality, with the minimum of interference from third parties, then leaving the EU won’t grant you the individual sovereignty you think it will. It is Theresa May seeking greater powers to watch your social media activity and your phone calls through her Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. It is the Tories cutting disability benefits, not only robbing the wheelchair-bound of their right to self-determination through a lack of means, but so too, perhaps, the right to any meaningful life at all. As for national sovereignty – the independence and self-determination of the nation as a whole, not subject to “Brussels’ bureaucrats” – this vision is out-dated. It forgets one thing – the world has changed. Sovereignty is not sovereignty in the way it used to be. Not being part of a political trading bloc does not automatically render Britain an independent, sovereign nation again. In this age of globalisation, one cannot equate sovereignty with isolationism. In the age of lobbying and massive multinational corporate interests, of Facebook getting away with paying £4,327 in corporation tax and Google striking a ‘deal’ and paying £130 million settlement to HMRC, the concept of self-governance is wobbly.


Meanwhile, those on the left of an outward persuasion charge the EU with being an undemocratic institution run by unelected bureaucrats. It is a charge hard to deny. According to Europa.eu, it is the European Commission (composed of 28 nominated commissioners) that proposes and enforces legislation “in the general interest of the EU”. Albeit, said legislation has to be passed by the European Parliament, which is composed of directly elected MEPs, but they can only vote “yes” or “no” or to “amend” legislation. The Council of the European Union is the second chamber of the European Parliament, made up of ministers sent from the member states depending on the area of policy who we haven’t elected to act in such a capacity (but… y’know… we didn’t elect the House of Lords either). As well, the Council of Europe – I guess the guy in charge of naming things took a day off when it came to those two bodies – is made up of heads of state of each member state and decides the EU’s overall policy and direction, and negotiates on difficult and sensitive areas of EU policy.


So the EU might be relatively undemocratic, but it would be hard to have an international organisation, governing aspects of the lives of around 508 million people, be entirely democratic. Thus far, the EU acts in the best interests of its population. The problem comes, one supposes, when it begins not to, since if there is one solid lesson history has taught us, it is that we can never ever rely on the openness, truthfulness and perennial honesty of those governing us.


At home, if the machinations of Parliament become far too audaciously mendacious and corrupt for us merely to stand on the sidelines watching them on the BBC, we can take to the streets. Although 60 million people is a lot, they can still unite within the bounds of one nation state rather effectively against their Government should the need arise. The suffragette movement shows this, as do the Police Strikes of 1918-1919. Can we guarantee that we can retain such self-representation and self-determination through direct action on such a grand scale as that spanning 28 countries? Well, the current massive protests against the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership are putting that issue to the test.


The furore surrounding the utter bastardry that is TTIP is something that should figure into your Brexit calculations. Although it is ostensibly an EU-driven trade agreement, leaving the EU doesn’t guarantee its stymying. In fact, it might speed it up. Yannis Varoufakis, the unfortunate but immensely qualified and immensely intelligent economist and previous Greek Finance Minister said in an interview with Owen Jones that it is only as a collusive, entire whole united across the countries of Europe that we can stop TTIP. Add to this that it was Cameron’s government that actually demanded one of the most controversial and destructive aspects of TTIP – the inclusion of investor-state arbitration dispute clauses in trade agreements. These basically give private corporations the power to sue countries if they find their local laws – laws that are there for the protection of the people – to get in the way of their profit margins. This isn’t some far off nightmare, it’s already happening – look to Australia, Canada and Argentina.


The reality of the EU referendum is that where it matters, it is largely meaningless. Neoliberalism is still our serenading song, the same multi-national corporations hold the power, the same bankers rip us off, the same Governments trade the will of the people for the will of the financial sector and the same lands get fracked. Really, reformation of our institutions of power is what’s needed, not deciding whether they break apart or not.


If you want to cease our immigration obligations under the Schengen agreement and bring all legislative power back to Parliament and the parties in control, and you don’t want undemocratic, out of sight, multi-national institutions making decisions that could affect your small business, then I suggest you vote out. But if you want to be sure your Easyjet flight to Benidorm will stay cheap and passport control simple, and you want to ensure Vodafone don’t up their charges when you’re in Crete, and you reject isolationism, then I suggest you vote to stay in. At the end of the day, the choice is yours, but remember, the result of this referendum is piss in the wind without anything to follow it.

Shrinking the Cancer

What would happen if global corporations were banned? By that I mean what would happen if we, say, limited the amount of outlets that each company was allowed to have to, say, 10? What would happen if companies were disallowed from becoming incorporated? What would happen if companies were only allowed to carry on in the countries in which they started? What would happen if their CEO’s were not allowed to invest abroad, bank their company’s money abroad or outsource?

Well, firstly, with the prospective size of companies significantly diminished, they would no longer be the swaggering, monstrous giants they currently are. The directors of companies would no longer be able to hold the sway over Government policy they currently do. Take Philip Morris, for instance – the hulking purveyor of all that is cancerous. If they were not allowed to expand beyond US borders, or if they had not have been in their toddler years when they were still growing, and if the amount of factories and warehouses they owned was limited, they would not be able to afford to ejaculate millions of dollars into the pockets of US politicians in order to slow or stop the rate of regulation on tobacco. They wouldn’t, for instance, have been able to sue the Government of Australia in investor-state arbitration dispute because said Government wanted to make cigarette packets plain – an entirely good-willed policy to protect the citizens of Australia (and thats an endorsement coming from a smoker).

If companies were not allowed to extend beyond the borders of the country in which they’re founded then no longer would amoral behemoths like Nike and Topman be able to reach their long, spindly fingers into less-developed countries and dig all out until their blackened nails were scraping the bottom of the decimated and scorched pit they created. These companies would be forced to pluck employees from the populace of the country in which they carry on. This means those employees would be paid the minimum wage as is the norm among the majority of developed countries.

And do not think the above paragraph is an argument along the profound and articulate lines of “British jobs for British workers”. It most certainly is not. With these trundling, all-encompassing tanks of business no longer allowed to steamroll into whatever country they so please, under-developed countries would be spared the one-sided ‘investment’ that further debilitates their development. They would no longer be subject to this post-imperial colonialism. They would be free to develop their own companies, their own businesses, their own economies and ways of doing things.

The most cursory glance at the relevant economic model, perhaps one of Posner’s, will lead you to the conclusion that competition of the sort that Western capitalism has germinated leads, inexorably and inevitably, to oligopoly or monopoly. We live in a global economy atop which sit a few vast and edificial corporations that reign supreme as Kings of the world. With the ability of companies to expand having been limited, competition will once again be restored. No longer would the massive hairy feet of monetary giants be able to squash the sprouting stalks of other start-ups and companies. Companies would be afforded the opportunity to expand but this expansion would not be unlimited. There would be greater equality and, as a result, greater competition.

Speaking of equality, with the size of companies vastly diminished, fat cats would be a little leaner. Massive pay inequality within companies from CEO to floor worker would be fundamentally reduced. For one, these companies, although able to make profit and do business, wouldn’t be able to command the huge sums they do now and their CEO’s wouldn’t be able to bank big bonuses and sizeable salaries. And, with incorporation no longer an option, they wouldn’t be able to fly home with golden parachutes because the companies’ liabilities wouldn’t end with the company. Without the oligopolistic influence they now command, companies would also no longer be able to underpay and rip-off their employees. With their accountability increased because they’re smaller and Governments, no longer restrained by the wallets of these companies, able to act as they should – as regulators – and with a prevalence of different and competing companies so meaning more employment opportunities, companies would be forced to pay their employees fairly.

I am not calling for a reversion from the increasing inter-connectedness of the world, I fully support the fundamental tenets of the EU, including the free movement of people. I am, however, calling for some kind of reversion from the increasing globalisation of corporations, and the vice-grip they hold over the planet and it’s resources. With companies limited in the amount they can grow – like tumours being scalpelled down – competition between countries and collaboration between Governments would be stimulated. Policy would be uninhibited by corporate pressure. Companies like GM, for instance, would be forced to invest in sustainable, eco-friendly cars both because the effective competition between companies and the democratic policy of Government would bear down upon them. People would have more of a say in what they will and will not tolerate.

Obviously this huge upheaval of the present system would cause some kind of seismic shift in national and global politics as well as the major markets. Shares would do things – bump erratically up and down like heart monitors or glowing roller coasters. But I’m not interested in what would happen to the FOREX; its not real. The arguments I propound for the dismantling of corporations are to do with real things, things that actually exist. They are not premised on the illusory concept of the false global economy, in confidence and shares and stocks and futures and all other bloated and twisted growths that extend from the base idea of an economy.

Companies have a purpose. The purpose of a company is to be a vehicle for delivering, on a wider scale or more efficiently or with more quality than an individual could, goods and services that people require, while bringing gains for the people running them because of competition and the profit motive. That is the fundamental idea of the free-market economy. With companies shrunk, their accountability increased and their influence diminished, we would once again return to the base principle of free-market capitalism and we would return to achieving the purposes behind it.

I am not propagating for the things said in here to be taken verbatim as solutions for a new utopia or some other such nonsense. I am merely expounding an idea that reaches beyond the boundaries of our collective mindset and beyond the solutions we are so often spoon-fed. Tweaks to the life support won’t save this flailing, frothing, obese, rotting, dying system. The whole hospital needs a complete overhaul. More regulation here, cutting some tax there, proposing a voluntary living-wage over there – these things do nothing  to stop the tides. Our way of life, everything we know, will come to an end. Its inevitable. It will take a tug of biblical force to pull on this out-of-control horse’s bit so hard its jaw falls off.

Freedom From the Tyranny of Thought

The aim of the infrastructure of any Western democratic Government is to prevent tyranny. It is set up in a way that distributes power so too much isn’t vested in one person and they are left unable to abuse it. This is why Montesquieu so famously propounded the separation of powers between the legislature (law makers), the executive (Prime Minister/ President/ Chancellor) and the judiciary (the courts). The legislature is separated from the executive so that laws do not reflect, beyond what is proportionate, the motivations and, perhaps, selfish desires of the elected head of state. The judiciary is separated from government so that the courts may exercise regulatory scrutiny over it’s decisions.

Beyond this, the executive itself isn’t a permanent, unchanging institution; the set up of the system prevents it being so. In the UK the Government is mandatorily up for election after a 5 year term so the people are afforded an opportunity to express their faith in that self same Government by re-electing it, or to show their discontent by electing a newbie. The yanks take this a step further emulating a trend set by their venerated freedom fighter (the original terrorist as far as the English establishment of the 18th century was concerned) G. Washington, of limiting the amount of times a President can legally serve, to two terms.

Power needs to be vested in some institution for anything to get done. If it were left unallocated it would cease to be power and would just be a muddling tornado of competing views, debate, thrown fists and ‘harrumphs’ because the socialistically inclined Bertha wanted to share everything but predatorily capitalistic Quentin didn’t. The issue, or rather, the fundamental mission of democracy is to vest power in an institution, in a person or group of people, without wrenching it completely from the hands of the citizens. How to legitimate a ruler and give them the go ahead to make decisions that affect everyone. This of course spurred the anti-monarchic revolutions of the 18th century in the US and France when a mandate by God was no longer a sufficient credential for King George to tax the yanks dry or for Louis 16th to powder his face before shovelling fois gras into it while his people starved.

So the answer we’ve come up with? A Government of the people, by the people and for the people. A wonderful Ancient Greek motif personified in modern times by elected representatives. The people that form Government are put there by the electorate on the basis that they will represent the majority’s interests in line with the promises that persuaded the people.

Isn’t this all heavenly? We’ve done it; we’ve produced a veritable oasis of glittering democracy where everyone has a say, our leaders act in our best interests and tyranny is but a term of antiquity relegated to use in reference to Burkha’d foreigners and flag burning heretics in the sandy third world. Yes it’s all so beautiful. It is this set up and its continued operation that legitimates the American’s fevered flag waving and spittle specked protestations that the US is the “LAND OF THE FREE, MOTHERFUCKER!” It’s this system, with its checks and balances, that allows the English to rest content in their arrogant superiority because they are a well-informed and discerning populace who hold influence over their governance. It’s for this reason that the US proudly displays its constitution encased for posterity in plexiglass so its subjects may gaze upon that document of liberation and it’s why the British venerate the Houses of Parliament and the democracy they play host to.

Western democracy with its fabled freedom and exoneration of rights is, however, fallible. These checks and balances that are our birthright can be breached.

In Britain, every Prime Ministerial candidate is cut from the same cloth. They are all products of public schooling, Oxbridge graduates and City boys who will have invariably been involved with, in one sense or another, the Bullingdon club. It doesn’t escape notice that each and every one now sounds like a recording of the other: pompous rhetoric, empty words, and strong sounding nothings.

The UK at the moment seeks change from the ‘same old shit’. And so the rise of UKIP has pervaded British politics; a brilliantly tragic political movement that manages to veil its racism beneath moralistic assertions that its not about ‘Johnny foreigner’, its about the economic welfare of the UK. A party headed by the delightfully salt-of-the-earth, beer swilling little Englander Nigel ‘suspiciously-foreign-sounding-surname’ Farage. His straight talking, shoot-from-the-hip ‘no bollocks’ approach is refreshing for a lot of Britons whose eardrums are numbed from the incessant pounding they receive by repetitive political soundbites and vague, idealistic, crowd pleasing nonsense. Nigel Farage is an outsider, a political maverick, a rebel taking the system from within.

But what of the time before Nigel Farage became the face of suppressed middle-class racism? Well, he was a publicly educated City boy – just like the rest.

The doors to number 10 are fed by a conveyer belt upon which sit black tie and bowler hat clad old Etonians, each with the same upbringing, the same experiences and the same basic world view. While the political system has attempted to stop tyranny and the propagation of vested interests by installing checks and balances in the form of elections and the separation of powers, this is undermined when each new candidate is a clone of the one before.

In the US a rather more insidious state of affairs infects the well intentioned Government structure. Most politicians in the US have sat as members of the board, as advisors, or as lawyers for the bloated, burgeoning multinational corporations that course through the veins of that country. In a political arena defined by lobbyists and political sponsors and in which money not only talks, but screams and won’t shut up, there are no checks and no balances to limit the power of the corporation and the vested interests of the monied few. No amount of re-elections or term limits can rid the US of the tyranny of the corporations or liberate the Government system from its present purpose as an engine to achieve corporate goals.

The status quo has become accepted because we’ve been told over and over again by history classes which compare our utopian society to feudalistic hell holes, by politicians who compare our governance and culture to the fundamentalist religious despots of the middle-east and by our parents who tell us that we don’t know how good we got it. These points are valid, certainly. I would much rather live in the cosy three counties despite all its snobbery, materialism, vapid shallow concerns and infuriating distraction, ignorance and superficial idiocy than, say, be waking up in a gloomy North Korea, dejectedly picking out my Tuesday jumpsuit and going out to the fields to work in return for not being shot.

But this doesn’t change the fact that things need to change. We’ve lost our penchant for change. We’ve lost our drive, our motivation, our concern for things that actually matter. This society seems to think its reached the peak of civilisation and so it can sit back, relax and watch two inbreds argue about whose sister fucked whose dog on Jeremy Kyle, or watch pseudo-journalists discuss the ramifications of the thing that politician said, which offended a couple people, or discuss for hours, with consternation etched in every furrow of its face, how its awful that Brandon isn’t coming to the party and how the fact he performed cunnilingus on Jennifer and never called her is the worst thing to happen since the Rwandan genocide.

We are irresponsible citizens who, like michelin-man-fat drooling babies clapping and giggling on mummy’s living room floor, rely on the status quo, rely on the powers that be; we just assume that everything is fine, we are safe, we are cared for – its not our responsibility, its theirs. Certainly, like the podgy baby, we cry, kick and scream if we don’t get our favourite Furbie, but once we get it thrust into our grasping hands we just giggle, roll over and suck our thumbs, completely oblivious to mummy’s alcoholism slowly burning a hole in the family purse.

Revolution is a word that we don’t associate with ourselves, its a word that only applies to North African and Middle-Eastern dictatorships or to Eastern European Oligopolies. But this is wrong, entirely wrong. Revolution should be a word always on the tip of our consciousnesses. It needn’t necessarily be violent or conjure up images of militiamen fighting the redcoats or royal French heads on pikes, but it should be there. Revolution can take many forms and it is every citizens duty to always remain aware of the status quo, of the ‘issues’, of the trajectory of society and to act accordingly, rather than popping another beer, throwing some Pringles down our throats and getting irate over football.

Of The People, By The People, For The People.

The US Government shut down. It shut down. It ceased to function for 16 days. The US Government! Isn’t that the subject of some faraway Michael Bay film? The entire central nucleus of the biggest military powerhouse on the planet, the financial empire of the world… stopping.

Well, apparently not. Apparently the population of the US managed to get along pretty okay without their supreme leaders for 16 days. So did the rest of the world as it happens.

So a few national tourist attractions were shut down, but in the grand scheme of things some obese family’s annual holiday from Bumhole, Idaho to visit Mount Rushmore and clog their nikkons with out of focus pictures of the towering granite veneration isn’t too important – I’m sure they grabbed a couple of McCoronaries and a slurpie and were too pumped full of MSG and Aspartame to notice.

Well this makes me think, and I’m surprised that my thoughts aren’t shared by the media headlines at least – I’m sure what I’m about to splurge has occurred to other people. Unless I’m mistaken and am oversimplifying and misunderstanding the whole situation, the conclusion of the last 16 days is that the US population coped and got along fine without a central government, right?

I’m assuming the police forces, the fire services, the hospitals (which, admittedly are privatised, the fact of which was part of the reason for the Government shut down in the first place) all ran as normal. In which case, how did they manage such a feat? Well again I’m assuming (and yes that word is going to make a few appearances) that they were run at a local level, as, I’m assuming, is usually the case, right?

Certainly the Government managed to keep the nuclear defence system up and running throughout the administrative chaos because, as we all know, being able to obliterate those of the foreign persuasion in a devastating hellfire of radioactive destruction is much more conducive to the public good, and representative of a Governments mandate, than allowing its population to visit the representation of liberty, the one value on which the country was founded, personified in a robe adorned woman in French metal.

So essential public services ran as normal, the only people unable to work were those employed by central Government, happiness inducing public services were stalled but those capable of armageddon were fine and the result of the upheaval was the passage into law of ‘more time’ to come to a better conclusion and – most fundamentally – the raising of the Government borrowing limit which has so many zeros tacked onto the end of it anyway it looks like Sonic the Hedgehog should be spinning through them as they disappear with a ting and give him points.

I’m sure, also, that the IRS managed to keep going, right? They managed to keep collecting taxes to go towards paying off the national debt. This of course being a gross misuse of taxes in the first place, which should go towards improving a countries infrastructure, but coupled with the US Government then extending its overdraft it seems like a bit of an insult. The American people are like an exhausted housewife scrimping and saving to pay off the mortgage while her deadbeat Government husband comes home wasted after drinking them further into debt, and then, perhaps, slaps her around a bit for protesting on Wall Street (stretching the simile?).

So then it seems to me that the American people, and then by association, any people inhabiting a Western capitalist democracy (I’m excluding other systems simply because I don’t know enough about them) can get along fine without a central Government? Their prime purpose, simply from seeing what they continued to do, and what they ceased to do during the past few weeks, is to wage war and borrow money to wage more war. In which case, I don’t think they’re entirely necessary.

Okay so central Government is the portal to the world, a strong central Government leads to a prosperous nation which leads to a successful contender on the world stage in economic terms. But, isn’t this also unnecessary?

In political rhetoric, in pundit analysis, the economy – in terms of the stock market and of shares; digitised numbers running along the wall of a stock exchange – gets talked about as if it is the planet and all the people in it: “The economy is recovering”, “the economy is strong”. The economy, surely, is a means to an end, its a middle man, a human invented mechanism through which we achieve a higher standard of living for everyone. But it now has become, at least in a cultural sense, from my perspective, the be all and end all.

The economy – which, lest it be forgot, is a HUMAN INVENTION, we invented it, we created it, it didn’t exist prior to us, it is not some autonomous and sentient being – now is our master. Now people suffer in order to feed the beast. And it seems the only purpose a central Government serves is as coal feeder to the trains engine.

We can regulate ourselves on a local level, we can care for each other, we can make things, we can learn, we can create, we can decide our fates all on a local level.

Perhaps there is a place for central Government, and perhaps one day for a world Government so we can better compete on the Galactic stage (I hear the Clingon FTSE rose 10 points when they heard Benedict Cumberbatch was in Star Trek). But whenever there will be a time for centralised power, it would be detrimental for it to be in the hands of those in office now.