Kagey

January 1, 2014

Welcome to our friends from the East

Filed under: Human Rights,Nuclear Weapons,Politics — Traveller @ 6:00 pm

Thirty years ago I lived in a Nuclear First Strike Hotspot. Our home sat in the overlapping Soviet targets of RAF Greenham Common airbase with it’s US Cruise Missiles, Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, The Royal Ordinance Factory in Burghfield Common where the war heads for the Trident missiles are made and serviced and RAF Welford, reportedly the largest conventional arms dump in Europe. As Thatcher and Reagan ramped up the tension with the USSR and the Doomsday clock crept beyond five to midnight and towards Armageddon many of us considered our chances of survival. The government’s Protect and Survive leaflet designed to offer helpful advice to the populous in the event of a nuclear war dropped through every door. Seemingly drawn up by wildly optimistic DIY enthusiasts it contained plans for an inner shelter made from the interior doors of the house. It recommended painting the glass in the windows white and should anyone die from the effects of radiation after an attack they should be shoved outside. The sense of doom was hard to escape. My eldest son had nightmares about foreign soldiers coming to our village.

I began to rehearse my response to the future sight of the mushroom clouds on the road to home. Would I have time to get back to my family and spend those last moments together or if we were to survive, organise our shelter? If we were ever to face our adversaries it would be as an occupying force of Soviet Bloc troops… of Russians and perhaps Poles, East German, Ukrainians or Czechs… maybe even Romanians?

The years passed and a new age of youthful optimism blossomed in the East, the Berlin Wall fell and the streets of Prague sang to freedom and peace. People took to the streets and grasped at what had seemed impossible only a few years before; a united and peaceful Europe beyond the boundaries of the old Cold War battle lines. Though the growing pains have been intense with the conflicts that boiled to the surface along old ethnic lines for once we have a continent that seems less likely to rip itself apart.

And so as I witness the small minds and short memories of those who throw their arms up in anger at the prospect of more Romanian and other immigrants from the former Eastern Bloc coming here to work I am deeply dismayed. The petty prejudices and racist remarks that fill the media and the comment threads. Thirty years ago we stood on the brink of a conflict that could have incinerated us all, East and West or at best would have wiped out any vestige of the culture we call being British. Instead this is the Peace Dividend that back then we could only have hoped for. Living and working together for a better future in a united Europe. I welcome you friends from the East!

Ken Finn

September 18, 2013

Grim Fairy Tales and Hard Times

Filed under: Debt,Money Creation,Politics,Poverty — ken finn @ 5:28 pm

Sitting comfortably for this tale of tales and tale of lies?

In this land and some far, far away The King has long been naked. While the tailors of the City spin their fabric of lies all are mesmerised by their charms. So skillful of  tongue their silken words have captured the keys to the citadels. In these days the herald plays only their tune while the minstrel mocks the boy who blows his discordant whistle. The wicked witch’s spell begun so long ago is nearly complete.

Skillful silken words… words to tangle the truth, to turn common man against common man and woman. To deflect and turn and turn until in a dervish confusion we accept the tale. And tales they are, as tall as edifices they construct to their own glory.

However hard our times are they are of our making for if I was to continue packing metaphor on metaphor most would spot the allusion.

We know the lies and we know the liars so how come we accept their grim fairy tales and accept the hard times. Hard times that will not go away. How can they? For those who created the problem, the bankers have not been made to change their ways and the debts their failure created will never be paid for by piling hardships upon the poor. The poor didn’t create the deficit and neither did they run up a debt that equals the entire global GDP many times over. We all bailed out the banks and we were promised a new start.

In the days and months following the crash we expected a new accountability and regulation of the banking system. Unimaginable amounts of tax payers money was poured into the banking system to help sustain it while a solution to the crisis could be mounted. At the expense of the real economy and our social programs money was diverted to save the banking sector. This liquidity designed to keep the system and the economy afloat was instead hoarded by the banks as insurance against a future crash. And it seems it could happen again as the London house price bubble would indicate that little has changed.

That opportunity for change it seems has passed. In the years before the crash the City insisted on light touch regulation and governments obliged. The whip was in the claw of the Golden Goose and the City’s importance to the UK economy was its shiny golden egg nesting at the centre of the European money markets. When the egg went rotten our governments should/could have acted. At that moment there was a perfect moment for democratically elected leaders to act, to take back the power and to regulate the banks. Instead they dithered and in a perverse turn around our governments now have had to come to heal. Our governments borrow money on the Bond Markets, IOU’s to the banks to fund day to day business and short falls in income. If the bankers don’t like a country’s policies they hike up the interest rates increasing government costs and the need for more austerity. No one likes the Greek shoes so policies are designed to please the markets.

The Robbin Hood tax, the breaking up of banks, tighter regulation, none of it can happen because the puppets in government have to perpetuate the fairy story, that the banking sector is good for us. Yet how can public sector workers, the sick and the poor be scapegoated for a banking failure of such a magnitude while the true villains of the piece go unchallenged?  I watch with despair as the spinners spin their lies with a growing confidence. Plain untruths are delivered unchallenged by the peddlers of the latest facts or news. Statistics that support the petty prejudices that turn citizen against citizen are bandied about with little or no basis in fact. Propaganda that would have passed muster in Joesph Goebbels ministry seems to enthrall the mainstream media in its willingness to toe the line.

What saddens me most is the evidence that the fairy story is taking root, the small minded campaigns that declare ‘I’m Proud to be British’ with their racist message hardly veiled or the way the skiver versus striver story plays out in the Internet comment threads or in the tabloids. We’re not in this mess because of immigrants, benefit claimants or the welfare state. Instead we live in a time when the greatest transfer of wealth is being carried out under our noses. There is no austerity for those who created the crash instead they get wealthier while we argue whether those with a spare bed should be penalised.

What can we do? Well, we must where ever we can have the discussions about the real reasons for austerity. We also have a stake in the banking sector through our ownership of RBS and a big chunk of LLoyds TSB. We don’t have to ask these banks to behave, we can tell them what we want them to do. Our banking system is flawed but we could have an alternative on the high street. The Royal Bank of Scotland could be transformed into a national network of banks that have to focus on their local needs and the needs of it’s owners, you and me. Let’s stop the government just selling it off at a knock down price to their mates. It’s ours, we paid for it and that’s the end of the story.

Ken Finn

January 8, 2013

Non Essential, Desirable and Damaging


“I don’t have a problem with anger, I have a problem with the things that make me angry, and I think the main problem I have is that most people – society in general – are not sufficiently angry about those things that upset me. That in itself makes me angry – a sort of latter-day angry young man.” Roger Deakin

There are times when a shared sentiment flies off the page. Reading ‘Notes from Walnut Tree Farm’ today this passage distiled what I’ve been feeling for such a long time. My own excitement of moving onto our smallholding, Harewood, has helped to keep the black moods at bay but never far from the Internet I am saddened by the continued obscene set of priorities of government and the propaganda dressed as news from a media that often seems to collude rather than challenge.

Simple truths that threaten to destroy us all hardly get a mention, a favourite slogan from the Occupy Movement goes ‘those who maintain that continued economic growth on a finite planet are either mad or an economist!’ As the obvious signs of depletion continue to become apparent our governments continue to maintain growth as priority over all else. And what is ‘all else’? It’s the engagement in the destruction of the last wilderness, the oceans and it’s coral wonders, forests, fish stocks, diversity and rare and wonderful people. If life on earth is possible without these things which I doubt, it won’t be life as we know it.

For instance in West Papua Indigenous people are subject to genocide, the eco-system is being decimated and most of that destruction is directly linked to the demand for the resources required to feed our behemoth consumer habit.

Watch this short film and tell me that you’d allow this in your name for growth, because this is what growth looks like. It may be happening a long way away but we’re up to our elbows in the blood.  Look into the eyes of Guru Jemaat Steve Su and tell me that 400,000 lives are worth the pursuit of growth; meat for hamburgers, nickel for cheap electronics, palm oil for bio fuels and the destruction of the forests and everything that lives in it..

Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolescence (becoming unfashionable).

Infact most of what we buy fits into a neat acronym NEDD, items the Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke say’s stands for  ‘non essential, desirable and damaging.’ Yesterday he introduced the Welfare Cash Card Bill to the commons to restrict the consumption of this stuff. Well actually not, its just another Tory government headline stealer. ‘No Booze and Sky for Shirkers!’ Designed once more to keep the focus on those who actually consume relatively little and whose footprint is tiny. I have no doubt that it will keep the middle England media enthralled while ‘the Strivers’  a group this government loves to bounce on it’s knee like a fat little baby will continue to strive for even more, whatever the consequences.

So am I wrong to be angry that our leaders don’t make it a daily duty to tell us there is a problem with our consumptive lifestyle in much the same way that they tell us at every turn that the Welfare State must be reformed? Am I wrong to be angry that millions have and will continue to die because of our economic model? Am I wrong to be angry that the very planet is at risk for the sake of stuff that will be discarded within days or months? Am I wrong to be angry that tomorrow’s headlines will be about shirkers?

You tell me.

Ken Finn

As a Postscript … The UK Guardian Newspaper published a telling graphic on how little of the current UK deficit is down to those un-employed and recieving Benefit… It’s a tiny percentage… Well, well at least one paper is telling it like it truly is. Check it Out

August 28, 2012

Blow’ins at Harewood Farm

Filed under: Alternative Living,Harewood Farm — ken finn @ 10:22 pm

We’ve finally made our transition to the rural life; we’ve kicked off our Brighton boots and made our way West to the beautiful Cornish countryside. It’s a new direction and a new way of life and so far full of discovery. Though we’ll be considered ‘Blowins’ by the true Cornish inhabitants for years to come we’ve been made very welcome. It’s a beautiful place to be and we’re more in love with our 25 acres every day.
I’ll be posting more news from Harewood Farm in the coming months.

January 23, 2012

The Cap Don’t Fit Duncan Smith

Filed under: Debt,Money Creation,Politics — ken finn @ 1:37 pm

I read this morning that Ian Duncan Smith has jumped on the criticisms of the Benefit Cap that will limit the amount available to the families of the un-employed. Claiming that the principle that it should always be more rewarding to work than claim benefit is one that everyone will support.

However it suggests that claimants are exercising a choice over whether to work or claim benefit, to in IDSs words work hard and commute long hours or presumably sit on their arses watching daytime TV. As if £35k jobs were in abundance! Im sorry but its the same old nonsense and distraction that runs well in the tabloids. It sets people against each other to obscure what lays at the heart of the problem; how money is created.

The Benefit Cap is about moving the un-employed out of high value city centre properties to reduce costs as the house price bubble that has continued grow even in tough times shows no signs of shrinking and bringing relief to the governments Housing Benefit burden. It is however a burden of their own making.

Why do property prices continue to rise when its plain that prices have moved beyond many peoples ability to buy? The answer has less to do with demand and more to do with where the money comes from in the first place.

The modern banking system has developed in such a way that 97% of all the money in the economy is created by Private Banks. Youd be wrong if you thought the Government or the Bank of England creates most of our money as the BoE prints around just a measly 3%.

Whats more banks dont need to actually have the money you apply for to extend you a loan or a mortgage. The bank just creates digital money out of thin air for you to make your purchase albeit a car, holiday or a home. Its simply a matter of creating numbers in your account.

As banks control how most of the money in the economy is used they inevitably choose the safest bet. Property for the banks is a no brainer Simple, automated credit checks enable decisions to be made quickly and if in the end the borrower cant meet the loan the bank can repossess. Consider for one moment the position of the bank in this scenario. The bank created the money for your mortgage out of thin air but if you cant keep up the repayments they get the very real asset that was your home!

In the last decade the money supply created out of property debt has ballooned dwarfing the money available to the productive economy. While banks have fuelled a property price boom the money made available to businesses continues to be rationed.

For years we have been fed the myth that rising property prices are beneficial, creating wealth, jobs and a sense of wellbeing. Looking around its not hard to see why weve been robbed. As property prices rise, essential but marginal businesses start to disappear. When the value of the village bakery is distorted by what it could fetch as a country home it soon becomes history together with pubs, petrol stations and independent stores. In towns, workshops and small industries disappear along with anything else that is more valuable as residential or commercial property. Historic places of work like wharfs and canal side workshops become waterfront properties. Rising property prices are as destructive of community as they are a sap on the productive economy stealing places to work and marshalling money away from the things that generate real prosperity and diversity.

In the past a blend of social and private housing ensured that even in cities there were necessary homes for key workers and the low paid who helped to fulfil necessary functions. Today, the Benefit Cap is just another step along the road that Margaret Thatcher began with the sale of Council Houses; from mixed communities of incomes, skills and backgrounds to segregation along the lines of ability to pay, to convenience for those with money and increasing commuting for those who cant.

The power to create a nations money supply endows the Banks with tremendous power and it is clear that they influence many government decisions including financial regulation. The banks have acted in their own interest for too long and clearly in way that has created many distortions in the way things are valued. Government cannot scapegoat scroungers, the work shy unemployed, immigrants or whatever else they can dream up to cover the reality that they are complicit in a allowing private corporations to create our money.

There is an alternative way and I would urge you to begin to understand the monetary system its not as complex as they would have you believe. For real change to come about depends on how much our current government has vested in maintaining the status quo the level of privilege, wealth and connections in the current administration suggests that change wont come easy!   Ken Finn

Read/View/More Info

http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/

http://www.neweconomics.org/

May 3, 2011

Paddle without a Canoe

Filed under: Climate Change,Environment — ken finn @ 10:43 pm

“Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle” is a saying which most of us are aware of, it describes a hopeless situation. The origin of the term may be disputed but I believe it refers to a human and environmental disaster from Victorian London. On the 3rd of September 1878 the Paddle Steamer The Princess Alice carrying around 750 day trippers returning from a day out collided with a heavy iron ship the Bywell Castle on the Thames below Barking Creek at Galleons Reach. In minutes over over 550 people perished in a foul mixture of Raw Sewage, Chemical Waste and river water in what is still the heaviest peacetime loss of life in the UK.

Just before the disaster struck a little up stream the Barking Creek sewage outfall had just discharged thousands of tons of sewage to be flushed out to sea on the tide and to make things worse this mixed with industrial waste from factories further up river which dumped their waste directly into the water. It was into this toxic brew that Victorian ladies in their finery floundered in their heavy frocks, kissed their children and sank. Records show that up to 550 men women and children drowned within 8 minutes.

The prospect that  flowers of Victorian society should perish in such filth was to outrage Parliament and new measures to deal with effluent were put in place and it could be said that this was the event that first moved government to introduce environmental legislation.

While it seems that we have progressed, our rivers and waterways have been restored and our countryside is protected our ‘out of site, out of mind’ mentality persists. The Victorians built parks and gardens and beautified London while pumping their effluent down river out of sight to pollute the lives of others. Now the developed nations do much the same. Our countryside is pristine while we export our waste to make ‘Shit Creeks’ of other less fortunate lands and expect the natural world to cope with the pollutants we pump into the atmosphere.
Just like our Victorian ancestors we are heading to towards another collision and another rude awakening. While nations argue who’s shit is causing the problem and even if shit is a problem anyway we drift inexorably towards catastrophe.
Even as the ice caps melt and the effects of our lifestyles are plain as the receding ice shelves and rising temperatures we choose to steam onwards.
If you care about your children and grandchildren then prepare a lifeboat for them now. Make sure they know how to grow their own food and give them practical skills for it may be too late to turn the boat about.
To underline what may be around the corner listen to the BBC’s ‘From our Own Correspondent’ Richard Wilson’s account (18 mins in) of a recent visit to Antarctica and how unexpected changes are hastening a major melt of ice that could increase sea levels dramatically and very quickly…

Ken Finn

March 7, 2011

Taking Peston to pieces on tax

Filed under: Debt,Economic Growth,Politics — ken finn @ 6:44 pm

Taking Peston to pieces on tax.

George Monbiot reported on a tax heist by this government which was dissed by the BBC’s Robert Peston… The above is a good rebuttal

The original by George, ‘A Corporate Coup Detat’ is a compelling read – Read it Here

March 3, 2011

Blair Hugs and Humbug!

Filed under: Oil,Politics — ken finn @ 11:51 pm

Blair Hug

What if Gadaffi Survives?

If the Colonel looks to recent history he may take heart from the events of June 4th 1989 in Tiananmen Square. Slaughter on BBC News
The blood was hardly dry from the slaughter of nearly a thousand pro democracy protesters by the Chinese Army when Conservative Trade Minister Micheal Hesteltine headed the largest Western business delegation to ever visit Beijing. Then as always trade was promoted as the way to strengthen the liberal movement within the hard-line regime.

So what if Gadaffi wins back control in perhaps a short but bloody strike on the protesters? Will the Middle East Peace Envoy, Mr Blair be hugging the Colonel once more, will BP be lobbying for a return to business as usual?

The World’s leaders are lining up to condemn the man but in two years time will they be lining up to do business with him?

August 19, 2010

Earth Boots – Listen Again!

Filed under: Earth Boots,Mr & Mr Finn — ken finn @ 1:54 pm

November 19, 2009

Carbon Pumping Label Junkies

Filed under: Climate Change,Human Rights — ken finn @ 11:39 am

Carbonlabels

We await the latest round of climate negotiations to begin in Copenhagen as if some great contest is about to begin. Who will blink, who will win the advantage? How far will they go and what is politically possible?  Somehow the whole concept is like a bunch of people in a hot tub arguing over who gets to defecate in the water and with what regularity.

At the heart of problem is the belief that we are separate from one another, that as individuals we are islands of consciousness that operate in an environment that begins at the outer layer of our skin. What’s inside is self and what’s outside is other. To navigate this world of separateness we attach labels to everything even the intangibles like faith.

Inside our skin we have labels for our sensations and the feelings they invoke and we have a mental map of how our body works too. We  know that our beating heart is separate from the functioning of our bowel or the workings of the brain but there is an understanding that all this is connected and interdependent.

Inside the body as far as I know there are no negotiations going on; the brain needs blood and the heart delivers. It’s in our nature to understand the interdependence of the system, that without a functioning brain our heart would also die. This service the heart offers to the brain may described as a transaction but it comes without condition for benefit of mutual survival.

Outside our body it seems that we have lost sight of our part in a larger interdependent system.  As a species we spread across the earth evolving along the way to meet the conditions that we found, we developed language and cultures to make sense of it all but a human heart is still a human heart. We have accepted the borders placed upon us that create countries, nationalities and differences but with human ingenuity a white man’s heart can be made to beat within a black man.

As humans we depend on one another for all sorts of services and we have an elaborate way of conducting them and negotiating advantage has become the prime motivator. Creating profit is king and separateness allows this to system to function, winners and losers are just more labels.

When it comes to saving our planet, using a system based on seeking advantage through ‘negotiation’ for our mutual survival  is bound to fail. It might be possible for rich countries to continue pooing in the hotub for a little longer at the expense of the developing world but at this rate we’re set to join the Dodo. Its pretty clear that the only process bound to succeed is one where a safe level of global emissions is set and we all get a carbon allowance.

In times of peril our perceptions of differences diminish and in the past we have come together to pitch for a common cause.  Its at moments like this that we should see beyond the borders of label and country and touch our commonality, the hopes for our children and grandchildren and the future of our world. In Copenhagen we need leadership not prevarication; cooperation not negotiation.

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