Post-Brexit Blues

As the dust settles on an historic day in Britain’s socio-poltical life, we are left to reflect on the full realisation that ‘we have done it’. That is, we have just voted to leave the European Union. A slap in the face of the Brussels autocrats we came to loathe, a wave goodbye to the unyielding Jean-Claude Junker. If only they had agreed to review their free movement of labour charter, then maybe this wouldn’t have happened?

Let’s remind ourselves how we got here…Well, when the Common Market was first set up, the French tried to block us from joining. This irked our politicians who then wanted to join even more, despite warnings that the Franco-German drivers of the free trade union were looking for closer fiscal and political union. Britain was unsure so a referendum was held in 1974 and the result was ‘Yes’. By then, General de Gaulle was dead, so we were permitted to sign the Treaty of Rome that gave us access to free trade with other (at the time) twelve members.

Fast forward 40 years and several treaties later, and, what is now the European Union has doubled in size, has its own currency, and is making no secret of its plans to become a federal super-state.

Over in Britain, the buoyant economy and relatively high wages had continued to attract a steady flow of migrants looking for work, at the rate of a third of a million per year. This had started to irk those who saw their living space being invaded, access to school places and health care restricted and jobs threatened, causing rumblings of discontent, roundly ignored by politicians and castigated as ‘rascist’.

Meanwhile, over in the Westminster Bubble, the ruling Conservative Party decided to action their campaign pledge to have an In/Out referendum on our EU membership, smugly believing that if they threatened and cajoled the electorate enough, they must surely vote to Remain. This would then dampen down protestors and allow them to go on their merry way of replacing expensive and troublesome British workers with cheaper alternatives.

They mis-judged the mood of the citizens in large parts of the country, and despite the combined urging of political leaders of all main (bar one) parties, the USA, IMF, EU, China, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, the stubborn Brits – mainly the English and Welsh – cast their votes to leave, winning an overall majority.

So now we sit contemplating possible trade isolation, a shrinking economy and the impending break up of the United Kingdom. Or, the glorious revival if a truly independent Great Britain….depending on your point if view.

Hooray for Politics!😠

A Dystopian Brexit

“George picked through the odd assortment of items in his trolley outside the looted supermarket. Life inside the Red Zone had descended into a desperate battle for survival, as the caged-in labour pool waited glumly to find out if they had been chosen for a day’s work in the Green Zone to the east, or the Blue Commercial Zone to the west. A day’s labour for food tokens was as much as the working class could hope for in 2044 Britain….”

Welcome to the Red Zone

Yes folks, the EU In/Out Refendum poll takes place this week, on Thursday 23rd June, with the opinion polls now showing ‘The Remainers’ edging slightly ahead after a fraught period of bitter deadlock where ‘The Leavers’ appeared to have gained the ascendancy.  The violent murder of a Labour MP, by a mentally ill man shouting ‘Britain First!’ has been callously exploited by Remainers as a further threat to your personal safety in the wilderness of a non-EU Britain.  It appears to have tilted the predicted outcome in their favour.  Fear and threats are now standard tactics in British politics.

Resistance is crumbling and an air of resignation has set in amid threats of a collapsing economy and further hardship being piled on the ‘difficult’ white working class if they vote Leave as some kind of protest against the dark forces of Capitalism. They are angry that their ability to earn a descent wage is being eroded, their quality of life and future prospects are being gradually stripped away, as is their right to feel comfortable in their living space, recently invaded by millions of ‘alternative’ workers from poorer countries. But will a Leave scenario really help them?

If the vote really comes down to a question of ‘which right-wing politician do you hate the least?’ then it is a damning indictment of where we are after 30 years of Thatcherism, under which we are witnessing our national assets being privatised and the on-going dismantling of our welfare state, depressingly aided and abetted by the Labour Party. The disenfranchised working class have been backed into a corner, and now plan to vote Leave in a futile two-fingered protest against the Establishment, ignoring the fact that by doing so they are doing the bidding of political leaders who care less for them than the ones currently in charge.

It is a bleak scenario, a world where hope is gradually being strangled, and citizen’s rights are being sacrificed on the altar of capitalist greed. Our property market ignores the basic need for shelter for our people and has become an investment platform for the world’s rich, with no one asking how they got their money. The Establishment are lined up on both sides of the referendum debate, each group calculating their profits should their side win. They threaten, cajole and brow-beat a tired and increasingly powerless population, confused with so much mis-information, to vote for their side, so they may continue with their own brand of oppression.

It really is no choice at all for those at the lower levels of society. ‘What brand of personal hell would you like to vote for, sir?’ Go ahead and protest-vote for Leave, thinking it might slow up the process of replacing you with a cheap and easy to exploit foreign doppelganger. Now it’s immigrants, but in the future it will be robots – whatever is the most efficient and cost-effective way of having basic functions fulfilled in a world becoming polarised between the haves and have-nots.  What has happened to us?  Are we really sleepwalking into losing our rights, welfare and dreams?  It’s the illusion of hope that ultimately kills our souls and destroys our motivation to resist.

As for me, I’ll exercise my democratic right to vote (whilst I still have it) by presenting myself at the polling booth. But I intend to put a big cross through my paper – a NO THANKS vote. A spoilt ballot, but still a democratic statistic. I reject them all, and continue to hope for a sea-change in British politics, a change to a citizen-focussed agenda. I will not be the puppet of right-wing zealots.  That’s my personal protest.  Let the sneering BBC presenters pour cold water on all those who don’t buy into their misguided one-world utopian (but not in my street) hypocrisy.  They are misguided fools who are merely doing the work of those who exploit us for profit.  How about prioritising the needs of British citizens?  An unpopular proposition in this age of greed and short-sighted liberal do-gooding.

A plague on Bojo, Farage, Cameron, Osborne and the Slithy Gove! They are all products of the same private education system that props up the Establishment. They are all power-mad narcissists who only have their own interests at heart, who would rather seek out the company of international murderers and thieves with money to invest or launder in Project Off-Shore Britain than you or I.

Our role in their vision of future Britain is as low paid and powerless serfs.  So I say again, why should I vote for them? It’s like voting for your own internment in a Labour Pool Camp (see above). I have finally decided….I’m registering my protest at the failure of our democratic system to deliver an equitable and fair society, and at the elevation of selfishness and greed to an acceptable mode of behaviour, by SPOILING MY BALLOT!!!

How Much is Enough?

So, how much is enough when it comes to top executive’s pay? (‘earn’ doesn’t seem to come into it). Today’s news (15/04/2016) includes a story with the headline:

 

FATCAT BONUSES… ENOUGH’S ENOUGH!

 

Rich man poor manThe story concerns a shareholder’s revolt at oil giant BP’s plans to pay their Chief Executive a £14 million package, set against a background of a declining share price, £4.5 billion in losses and 7,000 jobs cut. It raises the questions, how much should a senior executive earn, and should it reflect company performance?  A shareholder asked if it was ‘morally right’ to hand him huge bonuses to boost his £1.3 million wages.

59% of shareholders voted against the proposed bonuses for their big cheese CEO, with another shareholder saying, “While much of the population must accept austerity, it is not right to increase director’s remuneration.” Clearly he didn’t get the memo from Tory HQ.  Shareholders are pissed-off because their dividend was less than expected, so their ire is more to do with, Surely we should ALL share the pain?

The Swiss started the debate on capping senior executive pay by putting a proposal to their citizens to limit the earnings of top executives to 12 times the wages of their lowest paid employee. Despite this 1:12 earnings ratio being rejected in a 2013 referendum, it has continued to fuel debate in Europe and North America on the thorny question, How much is enough?

 

The wealthy elite remain fireproof, despite recent offshore banking probes, showing how untouchable they are and unlikely to ever pay their fair share of tax on earnings. In the UK our Conservative Government shows no signs of easing up on their plans to protect them at all costs whilst bashing the poorest and most vulnerable members of society with their malicious austerity programme.  To suggest a cap on earnings ‘in the interests of society’ is abhorrent in our age of capitalist greed and insane wealth hoarding.

I’ll leave you with the words of comedian Frankie Boyle, commenting on the offshore savings probe: “The Panama Papers show that rich people aren’t even rational: they send their money on holiday to the Caymans, and live in perpetual rain in Britain.” Surely they can afford to do it the other way around?  Oh yes, but they would have to declare their pile to the tax man and contribute to the running of the country… We can’t have that!

Welcome to the New Gotham

A headline in this morning’s Mirror newspaper (11/04/16) caught my eye – Tories’ London ‘Now a Capital for Laundering’. Candidate for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has finally come out and said what many have been thinking for some time: “We have people from around the world laundering money through London’s property market leading to hyper-inflation in property.”

Canary WharfIt’s almost as if he has broken a taboo by speaking out about our run-away property market, particularly in London and the South-East that actively seeks foreign investment, at the expense of the ability of citizens to buy a roof over their heads.  The insanely greedy buy-to-let spin off is causing much suffering amongst families and workers battling to survive in a divided city with a growing multicultural underclass of people forced into poverty by unaffordable mortgages and rents.  Homelessness is rising, and residents are being forced out by social cleansing.

The piece is accompanied by a colourful graphic showing how money laundering works:

  1. Placement. A criminal wants to hide sum of illegally obtained money, concealing the origin and ownership. The money is placed in an offshore account, usually in a British Overseas Territory.
  2. Layering. A complex network of transactions is created through several offshore company names making the money difficult to trace back to its origin.
  3. Enabling. UK professional services, such as lawyers, accountants and banks facilitate the transfer of the money into the UK.
  4. Integrating. The criminal uses the funds to buy UK property, luxury goods or art to integrate laundered money into the UK.

Khan goes on to say, “What possible reason could there be to buy a property using an offshore company? What possible reason could there be to buy a property from a tax haven?”

The Mayor of London would not have the powers to force buyers to be named, unlike in New York City, where they are ahead of us in this game of money laundering posing as ‘foreign investment’. Khan has called on the Government, “to ensure transparency.”

Meanwhile, over in the Houses of Parliament today, a cornered Prime Minister, David Cameron, will attempt to explain to the country his hitherto carefully hidden personal finances. He has benefited from his father’s tax-free offshore investments, from inheritance money ‘gifted’ to him in a tax dodge, and conveniently forgotten about a second property his family owns that yields income. His estimated net worth is over £40 million, but we will never know the full truth, or gain a clear insight into his privileged world. Wriggling like a worm on a hook, he has already lost credibility as a trusted leader who can lecture us on what is right and wrong. He is at the centre of a system that encourages the wealthy to hide their money from the taxman, whilst hypocritically lecturing us on the importance of paying taxes and the need for cut backs in public spending.  This is sounding more and more like an episode of Gotham, with its comic book characters, who seek to out do each other with their outrageous behaviour, whilst manically laughing all the way to the bank.

We can all understand the desire to pay as little tax as possible, and maximise on income. But here’s the thing. The majority of workers are employees who have tax and national insurance deducted from their earnings at source, and have no chance of wriggling out of payments for the running of the country (including MPs expenses). We are the cash cows of a rotten system. A system that encourages money laundering and welcomes ‘investment’ by murderous leaders of repressed countries with sham democracies; the world’s criminal elite. Picture a meeting of criminal gang leaders around a Gotham City bar room table.

We will all be made to regret the Thatcher legacy of the dismantling of the welfare state, the cheap sale of national assets, deregistration of the finance sector, and the whittling away of our personal rights and freedoms. Welcome to the New Gotham – where money can buy you anything, and no one asks where it came from.  It is a society divided between rich and poor, where criminal gangs battle with a shrinking police force and fear is used as a political weapon to keep the citizens in check.

A Pandora’s Box of sleaze has been opened, and the Joker has escaped.  Where is Batman when you need him?

Devil Gate Sundown

Thanks to all the 300+ who took the time to read my opening 5,000 words and nominate my novel, Devil Gate Dawn, on Amazon Kindle Scout. This is a promotional platform for exposing new authors.
Today (8th April) is the last day of my 30 day exposure, so if you haven’t already, follow the link and nominate me!
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3AC6627K4Q0B2

All who nominate will get an email from Amazon in a week or two when the ebook is published on Kindle, with a link.  I intend to make it a FREE download for the first 7 days, to encourage as many reads and reviews as possible.
Thereafter, I will put a nominal £1.99 price on it and see how it goes!
Thanks to all my friends, my copy editor and beta readers for your valuable feedback. Changes have been made to the final version to make it a more compelling read.
I hope you all enjoy reading it, and PLEASE put a Star rating and brief review up on Amazon for me!

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Please Nominate My Book!

My first novel, Devil Gate Dawn, has been selected for the Amazon Scout scheme (it has been professionally proof-read and copyedited and they have approved my manuscript).  This means I am competing with other debut novelists for an Amazon Kindle publishing deal.

Their stats record how many reads I have of my 5,000 word opening extract, and I have an encouraging 200+ reads after the first week – the promotion period runs for 30 days and ends on 9th April.  When they first put up my opening 5,000 words I carefully read through it and yes, spotted a couple of minor errors and things I’d like to change, but also notice, with horror, that my first dramatic moment comes just after the cut-off!

I got in touch with them (amazon.com in the USA) and requested a re-submit.  After a couple of days they agreed, and I did some editing and re-submitted.  The new version went ‘live’ on Friday evening, and it now reads much better (in my view) and ends on a dramatic high…

Please read my extract and if you feel it is worthy, please nominate it.  After the 9th April, the book with the most nominations wins a publishing deal…help make it me!

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3AC6627K4Q0B2

 

On Being Patronised By Hypocrites…

It’s been a long time since UK politics got me agitated.  But now, in the run-up to the May General Election, I can see that this election is the British people’s last chance to save themselves from a miserable life of economic slavery.  We are being patronised by a bunch of hypocrites who expect us to believe that cuts to our Welfare State are justified and that ‘We are all in it together’.

We are not – we live in a divided society where our work prospects and standard of living are being eroded, along with our democratic freedom – witness the Metropolitan Police announcing that from now on all public demonstrations will have to pay for policing.  If you can’t afford the average £4,000 fee then you can’t demonstrate.  Shut up, stay at home and pay your taxes.

The current Coalition Government has systematically lied to us about the justification for their Austerity programme.  ‘We are all in this together’ they say, when clearly we are not, as the wealthy elite are encouraged to avoid tax and to exploit the population.

The latest scandal to hit the news is that major bank HSBC has been exposed for advising its wealthiest customers on how to avoid paying tax.  It is not a crime to have a Swiss bank account, but it is a crime to avoid paying tax.  The rich are mocking us, as they are the untouchables, guiding the hands of our political leaders and effectively dictating policy. “1,100 Super Rich Cheats, 1 Conviction”, is a headline in one of the dailies.  We are definitely not in it together, as the gap between the wealthy elite and the rest continues to widen.

Whilst the majority of citizens are heavily taxed in the UK, the super rich manage to keep their cash and accumulate vast personal wealth, much of which is externalised in overseas bank accounts and foreign property.  Meanwhile, at home, ordinary citizens are trapped in a shrinking comfort zone and are subject to punitive fines for any form of avoidance – late payment of income tax, TV Licence avoidance, and benefit sanctions for late attendance – all of which collects a fraction of what is lost in tax evasion by the wealthy – estimated to be £80 billion a year.

We are being herded like cattle, and if we don’t resist this deadly trend, we will find ourselves sleep walking into a return to Victorian poverty and loss of all the rights our forefathers fought for.  The wealth elite are happy for immigrants to come into the country as it creates competition in the labour market, leading to lower wages and greater profits.  They are happy to see our urban areas turned into slum townships, and for British people to be sucked into a world of squalor and degradation.  To the rich we are all just units in a labour market that serves them.

Resist!  Whilst you still have a vote.  Make it count and throw out those who are the puppets of the depraved super rich.  They will not all want to live in Luxembourg or Panama City when there are much better shows on in London’s West End!  Call their bluff and chase them for tax avoidance.  Some may leave – and good riddance – but the majority will grumble and pay up.  After all, how much money can you spend in one life time?  This is not about envy – it is about fairness and social justice.

It’s time for Britain to wake up and smell the coffee – we must say a resounding ‘NO’ to David Cameron and George Osborne.  They are cynical class warriors, intent on grinding our noses in the dirt and rewarding their rich friends.  This is not our vision of a free and fair society, where all are equal and can live peaceful and fulfilling lives.  Reject the patronising hypocrites who have evil plans for us, and free yourself!

Social Responsibility and the Super Rich

The Super Rich are attracted to the UK because of the Government’s covert policy of turning a blind eye to tax dodging in the mistaken belief that having lots of rich people in the country will drive the economy and create a ‘trickle down’ effect to the rest of us.  We will all somehow benefit from the scraps that fall from the tables of the wealthy elite.

For me, this is at odds with the notion of a developed society that highly values its citizens and hard won democracy and personal freedoms.  We can do what we like, say what we like, believe what we like and think what we like, provided we adhere to the Law of the Land, and understand basic citizenship mores and values.  In the eyes of the Law we are all equal, a reason why many choose to move to the UK from more restrictive or oppressive countries.

However, Britain is increasingly becoming a divided society. Life in Britain is polarizing at an alarming rate between the rich elite and the rest – a 1-99% split, in fact, with the 1% sitting on greater personal wealth that the remaining 99%, who under our capitalist system are seen as serving their needs.  We cannot be truly equal in such a society, where those who have the most pay proportionally the least towards the country’s running costs and have the ability to accumulate huge wealth from which the majority are excluded by low wages and high cost of living, exacerbated by high property prices.

“But I’ve earned it and I want to keep it!” shriek the super rich.  Of course you do.  But you should not shirk your responsibility to the society in which you live.  You freely enjoy the infrastructure of a developed country – airports, roads, transport system, street lighting, rubbish collection, luxury accommodation, shops, arts, leisure and relative good security – all the support services desired by the wealthy are in London and the South East (sorry the rest of the UK!).

They also seek to maximise profits by reducing wages, a process that involves the replacement of expensive, high maintenance British workers with cheap and easy to bully migrant workers, many coming from poorer countries – our celebrated multi-cultural society is putting pressure on health, education and housing, and is increasingly a cause of irritation with British workers. In the run-up to the UK General Election in May, austerity and real poverty in Britain has become a hot election topic.

In the news this week the billionaire boss of Boots the Chemist, one of Britain’s leading, and oldest, high street pharmaceutical stores, has claimed it would be a “catastrophe” if Labour were to win the election.  A catastrophe for him, perhaps, as Italian Stefano Pessina is a non-dom tax dodger living in Monaco, with an estimated personal wealth of £7.5 billion.  He would probably argue that he has earned his money, whereas I would counter-argue that he has amassed a huge fortune in part through over payment, bonuses, shares and tax avoidance. I’m sure he loves coming to London for board meetings and enjoys the privileged lifestyle, whilst making sure he doesn’t exceed his allowed quota of days to qualify for non-dom status.  Isn’t it time this tax loophole was closed and those who earn their wealth in the UK are made to pay taxes here?  They are selling goods and services to us because we are a wealthy country with an active consumer society.  Or maybe we’re just mugs – sheep to be shorn.

The other tax dodge which is reducing Government income is the avoidance of corporation tax by big international companies, who operate in a low tax framework in countries where they don’t have their head office.  The Sunday Mirror (01/02/15) reported that, “Six of the world’s biggest companies paid just 0.3% of their UK earnings in corporation tax last year.” The report says the accounts of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, ebay and Starbucks were examined, and found that they reported a combined revenue total for the UK market of £2.7 billion.  Many more billions worth of sales are recorded every year by sister companies often located in tax havens like Luxembourg and Switzerland.  However, they pay a pittance in corporation tax and move their profits off-shore, leaving us with the uncomfortable feeling that we are being exploited.

This comes against a back drop of a ‘miss’ by £9.4 billion on the target set by Government for corporation tax collections, due to a reduction in the rate by Chancellor George Osborne.  Government policy remains to indulge the super rich and encourage tax dodging by individuals and international companies.  This whole policy exposes the Government’s austerity programme as being little more than cynical ideological warfare against the poorest in our society – the rich get richer and everyone else pays for it.  Worse than that, real employment opportunities and quality of life are deteriorating in Britain, as people suffer from reduced income and declining services.  As the Government cuts funding to the welfare state, there is growing anger in the country as it becomes apparent that this is unnecessary if only the wealthy elite paid their dues.

My personal journey has taken me from the private sector to the non-profit sector, so I have seen life on both sides of the fence.  As such, I am not one to cry, “Tax the rich to pay for the poor!”  I believe those who work hard should enjoy the benefits of their labour.  However, what I can’t abide is the culture of insatiable greed by those who are already rich, and the cynical and cruel treatment of the most vulnerable in society.  We will all get old one day, so why make pensioners suffer?

This meanness is the nasty side of our capitalist system, and we now find that those who work hard are no longer rewarded as the fat cats get it all. It is a Tory lie that hard work brings reward – bankers are back earning their bonuses whilst the rest are told they must tighten their belts. We need to reverse this worrying trend for the sake of future generations and in the interests of decency and social accountability.  We will not be bullied by greedy capitalists with the ‘if you tax us we’ll leave’ argument.  They like the benefits of living and running businesses in the UK too much to leave for the sake of a few thousand pounds from their bulging off-shore accounts.  They like money but they don’t need it.  Call their bluff, and remind them of their social responsibilities.  Maybe, just maybe, some of them will be shamed.

Fiscal Water Boarding in a Colony of Debt

Not my words, but the words of Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, back in January 2015.  Now, in July, they are facing the very real prospect of defaulting on their debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  The Greeks have been squeaking under the austerity measures put in place by bail out lenders the EU and the IMF, and elected a Government whose main policy aim was to resist the harsh repayment conditions levied on them, putting them in a similar situation to some of the World’s poorest developing countries.Greek crisis1

The problems in Greece are not dissimilar to those of most Western countries – the wealthiest have been allowed to get away with tax avoidance.  Politicians protect the super rich and instead talk about cutting public spending.  Education, health care and transportation all suffer as a result, and the quality of life of citizens deteriorates.

This is why the rest of Europe is keenly following events in Greece.  The EU is at a crossroads – do they show leniency to Greece when other member states are in similar financial dire straits and struggling with their own austerity programmes?  Somehow, I think not.  The Greek referendum set for Sunday 5th July will either precipitate a Greek Exit (Grexit on social media) or push the reluctant government to accept the repayment ‘deal’ offered by their creditors.

Also in January, charity OXFAM released a report stating that the top 1% of British society will own more than the entire wealth of the remaining 99% by next year – surely the time has come for a re-think on our divisive culture of greed and pandering to the wealthy.  Recent television documentaries have exposed the ‘trickle down effect’ as a lie, as the majority are not benefitting from the economic activities of the super rich.  They are self-serving elitists who control our political systems and manipulate all situations for their benefit.

The challenge for the EU moving forward is to search for ways to have a fairer society where wealth is shared and people feel valued.  This is not communism, we have moved way beyond that failed ideology.  Perhaps look at Switzerland’s policy of capping top earners wages.  By defining an earnings ceiling they are saying ‘This is enough’ – an idea that must strike terror in the hearts of the UK’s top 1%.  I would love to start a debate on capping earnings and defining what is enough.

Britain is lagging way behind in this regard, and we should strive for more social honesty and accountability from the wealthy.  Let’s stop the decadent practice of salting money away in offshore accounts and ‘investing’ in domestic and overseas properties, which has the negative effect of inflating property prices and making home ownership unaffordable for many.

greek crisis2

I say Good Luck to Greece – there is more than enough wealth generated in the World for all citizens to have an acceptable quality of life.  The challenge here is to think outside the box of our current capitalist and financial speculation model.  In many countries, the UK included, the quality of life and rights of citizens are being swept aside in the mad rush to make money.  The Greek crisis gives us a fixing point for a re-appraisal of our values.

Trickle Down to Revolution?

The thought-provoking and slightly hysterical BBC documentary series, The Super Rich and Us reached its climax on Thursday 15th January with a chilling warning of possible REVOLUTION if the divided society continues to widen.  With 85 individuals owning more than half of the personal wealth of the World, things have simply gone too far, and the super rich are now starting to fear a backlash from the disenfranchised majority.

The overriding theme of the new millennium has been a widening divide between the super rich 1% of the UK and USA populations and the rest, with Britain becoming a haven for the World’s richest people in higher concentrations than any other country due to successive Government’s covert policy of allowing tax avoidance.  This is done in the belief that the richest people generate wealth for everyone, with a trickle-down effect putting money in the pockets of the rest of us – a kind of return to feudal patronage in a society based on greedy exploitation and misinformation.

The stark warning of the programme makers is that we are heading for a crash, with 1% of the population having most of the wealth and charged with the task of growing the economy through capitalist and consumerist activity.  It is unsustainable and the cracks are showing.  The mouthpiece of the super rich in the UK is Chancellor George Osborne, who is ruthlessly driving through an austerity programme aimed at taxing the poor to subsidise the rich.  The middle classes are suffering as never before, with declining income and a growing cost of living.  Those interviewed on the programme give the impression they now realise that they are being excluded from the orgy of excess being enjoyed only by the super rich elite.

The programme charted the history leading up to the financial meltdown of 2008, starting with a nostalgic description of the 1970s as the most egalitarian decade ever.  Wealth was more evenly shared with a relatively modest gap between workers and bosses wages.  But wait…wasn’t the 70s the decade of power cuts and strikes?  Yes, it all went horribly wrong for Ian Callaghan’s Labour Government, with an oil crisis leading to recession and striking workers bringing the country to a standstill.

This opened the door for Margaret Thatcher’s capitalist revolution in the 1980s, and the age of greed and borrowing was ushered in.  Britain’s bankers mimicked their American counterparts, who were making millions on Wall Street gambling on stock futures and the securities market – creating massive wealth which eclipsed the value of all manufactured goods worldwide.  Thatcher cheered it on, encouraging the cynical asset stripping of British businesses and the cheap privatisation of national assets.  Fortunes were made and ordinary people were encouraged to get on board the consumer boom by borrowing beyond their means.

It was unsustainable and reached a peak in 2008 when the securities market gave way under the weight of too many defaulted mortgages, causing a domino effect across the banking sector, collapsing the property market and triggering a global recession.  What have we learned from this?  Not much it seems, as the same capitalist greed model remains in place, and the programme presenter solemnly reported that the super rich made profit from the big crash.  Most Government bailout payments ended up in the pockets of the wealthy elite who saw opportunity in disaster, and the gap between the wealthiest and the rest has continued to widen over the past five years.

The last five minutes of the excellent documentary deals with stark warnings from a UK military chief and a US IT billionaire, that our two societies are reaching a tipping point.  Already austerity protests in the West are hinting that the people have had enough.  If you exclude the majority to the extent that they feel they have nothing left to lose then watch out.  President Obama talks about the “Great Divergence” being the “defining moment of our times.”  “A highly unequal society is a recipe for revolution or a police state”, says a wide-eyed billionaire, who is already thinking of ways to increase security on his mansion.

The programme concludes with a piece on exploitation of workers through zero hours contracts, and an increasingly dog-eat-dog society where people must scavenge to survive.  The super rich have made money out of both ends of the market – luxury goods as well as pound shops, gambling and pay day loans.  We live in a modern capitalist culture that encourages people to aspire and better themselves, but is now seen by many as unattainable as the reality of inequality leads to increasing frustration and anger.

The solution lies with a re-balancing of values in our society, before our weak and easily manipulated politicians lead us blindfolded into a police state.  We are losing not only our jobs, quality of life and self respect, but also our hard-won freedoms.  Obama is right – it is a defining moment, and we need to fight for our rights if we want a better life.