We learn this week that major corporates have shall we say favourable investment-taxation mechanisms in the UK for Oil and Gas exploration, extraction and life cycle. o much so that as David Cameron liked to point out in Indryref #1, oil revenues were a trifling £43m. Yet in that same year, Norway could base over 70% of its’ state budget on oil related tax revenues. It transpires that AustraliaLiberalifor it, even New Zealand recieved a higher tax income from certain oil giants than No.11 Downing Street could muster.
Oil is just another case on the path of wealth extraction successive governments have pursued, gone along wittrindly or simply been a bit ignorant too. The malaise in the UK economy is not really to do with the credit crunch, the collapse of the global credit and bank lending system, that was just a symptom. The malaise in low gains in standard of living and more people not being able to make ends meet is caused by leverage and wealth extraction being part and parcel of nearly everything in British life. From cradle to grave now, the UK rentier economy is ready to take more from you for just the brazen act of living and breathing within a monetary system.
Excluding Scotland, the majority of rUK economy is dominated by two sectors- retail and financial services, which are bigger than manufacturing, farming and fishing put together. The money floating around in the economy is by in large being put through the consumer and levered out for profit , or in the first pace gross margin. Because companies, like BP and starbucks don’t make profits in the UK, they have the hugely charitable act of employing people and ao don’t need to pay more than their munimal legal requirements to the state for providing a safe democracy with the rule of law, and a decent infrastucture of transport links, education and health.
Indyref 1 was a kind of taste of things to come, not just in Brexit, but more so in today’s dangerous times of true post elected democracy. The terrible Scots were on the march, akin to bonnie prince charlies progress as far as Derby in the 1745 rebellion. Westminster were routed, and suddenly the oil cash and 50 ‘safe’ Labour seats needed to be secured. Fear of course, but there was plenty of that in Brexit too for Remain, but also appeasement. “Union” won at all costs, but then walked away from the promises in the ‘pledge’.
Winning at that point in time was all that was mattered. As with Brexit, there was a residual British core of older voters, done well out of the UK or otherwise ideologically aligned to the Union Flag by religion or military service. However to stop the positive indy campaign’s momentum it came down to a series of propoganda pedalling via the BBC and other media outlets, wheeling out ‘economic experts’ or institutions, all woe-sayers. Brexit seems to have been a bit like Trump – marginal gains over building impresssions around terror, unemployment, and good old Britishness. Taking back control!
But control from whom and to whom? The trouble is that the guiding economic philosophy of the 3 decades 1980 – 2010 had ground to a hault for even average income employees, who were experiencing for the first time an errosion in their material living standards, while being expected to work longer hours to secure this real terms reduction. My generation are the first to encounter this – smaller houses, later premises for starting a family, less discretionary spend and most of all much, muxh more debt in an astonishing earnings-credit ratio our parents would have thought ludicrous. As indeed it is.
But to whom goes this new control then ? Well to whom ever thinks they can win. Trump. UKIP. Whom ever can come up with an alternative to both the social democratic keynsian model and the Neo Liberal one. Who ever can win a sound bite, a marginal opinion poling gain or a shit fight in twitter. Whom o ever can make the impression they are racist to the raciat minority, while offering immugration control to those who fearoe their level of income. Whom ever who can be seen to be winning and pulling those minorities together, meaning many things to many people, whom ever who can be seen to be wielding power, doing something decisive.
These sound bite battles and proto anarchic revolutions like Trump, Brexit and the EU ‘populists’, who arent that popular really, are being won not to really achieve a racist agenda. Theresa May will be opening the gates to Indian and Chinese ‘Talent we Need’ as part of trade deals with them. No- race, xenophobia and simplistic economics like ‘ taking our jobs and keeping our wages down’ are just stalking horses for a new power elite who are either self sponsored like Trump and Arron Banks, or in the wealthy elite circle and paybook like muchbof congress and the parliamentary cabinet.
The trouble is though for this new “elite” who are invading the post Neo Lib’vacuum, is democracy. They have used it to their ends, but they face oknce again the tyranny of the masses, and if any of their qausi protectionist and anti immigration policies work, they can be ‘land grabbed’by centre right and even Labour parties. Unlike Putin, they will not run over countries with a divine right of a Tsar, a strong, unweilding hand above even the rule of law.
Liberalism and Socialism grew from this kind of corruption and arrogance in the ruling classes, who had in their day risen from the conquest of fifedoms and their warlords with violence and deciept. Today’s tribal violence is “contra-confined” in internet land, where the petty racist 20% of society can be vocal and use veils of cultural defence in their posturing and spear throwing. A Neo, Neo Liberalism witb the freedom of the individual within society will arise aloing with new social justice, just as it has done before. Change is the only constant, a barometeic shift will eventually swing and victory beome again hollow as the pendulum swings back witb the tyranny of the masses.