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Computing Power Dynamics

Fair Trade Not Free Trade

Fair trade

Free trade has now become an untouchable sacred cow, which alongside economic growth and free movement of labour forms a sort of mercantile holy trinity. Without free trade, we are told, we would have a smaller variety of more expensive products and, worst of all, economic stagnation. However, all this assumes an idealised world of free markets and a level playing field in terms of environmental regulations, workers' rights, welfare provision and taxation. Such a world of laissez-faire entreprise is pure fantasy as the technologies on which our hypercomplex societies rely require a degree of organisation and material resources only available to the largest corporate players. While small players may often innovate, they need a little help from venture capitalists to win the financial resources required to take their ideas to the next level. If our government doesn't regulate our way of life, other organisations fill the void and regulate human behaviour to suit their quest for greater power. Capitalism, if left unregulated, ultimately destroys itself through its natural tendency to let more successful companies dominate the market, either as oligopoly as in the case of cars and many electronic goods, or as a quasi-monopoly, and as may appear in the case in the productivity software industry. No elected government decided that Adobe Photoshop â„¢ should be the standard image editing application or that Microsoft Wordâ„¢ should be the only word processor acceptable in business, education and government administration. Two large software companies first established a market lead in their respective fields and then through an army of sales agents and lobbyists locked key organisations into their ecosystem, largely by enforcing cryptic file formats that other applications had to deconstruct. They can thus charge government and small businesses whatever they can get away with because key decision makers are unaware of alternatives. It's often hard to work out if one is dealing with public or private organisation and they both behave in similar ways. The prison service has clients rather than inmates and the NHS has customers rather than patients. Both outsource many of their activities to private service companies like Serco, Capgemini, G4S, Virgin Health etc.

The British Isles produces around half of its food and imports most manufactured good and strategic raw materials. We're no longer self-sufficient in oil or gas and even import coal as it works out cheaper than exploiting our last remaining deep-vein coal pits. To add insult to injury we import thousands of tonnes of Chinese steel while letting the British steel industry, once a pioneering world leader, shed most of its workforce. However, for some spurious reason in the current debate on EU membership, both sides seem to agree on one thing: Free trade is good or is it? On the one hand the Remain crowd keep reminding us how 3 million jobs depend on trade with the EU, while the Leave side have just produced Brexit the Movie which advocates an even more globally integrated future than possible within Fortress Europe, a myth that spread in the late 1990s just before the WTO negotiations had completed under the New Labour-appointed EU Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson. I'm not alone in having viewed the European Union as the lesser of two evils back in the heady 1990s. It seemed for a while that it could protect workers' rights and environmental standards while nurturing a competitive internal market. Southern Europeans, especially entrepreneurial Northern Italians, prospered as their small and versatile businesses adapted to meet demand for niche products in Northern Europe. However, their competitive advantage would not last long as the EU expanded eastwards and forced governments to remove protectionist tariffs and subsidies. Combined with greater automation and the fast pace of technological change and obsolescence, globalisation led to the failure of thousands of small businesses and rapid rise in youth unemployment and that was before the 2008 credit crunch and Euro crisis.

Economic students learn the old mantra that protectionism always fails. One need not look to extreme examples such as Cuba during its special period in the early 1990s or the former Soviet Bloc, most advanced mixed economies, including the United States, had tightly controlled national or supranational markets until the mid 1990s. Governments understood the advantages of competition, but also the need to retain a skills base in strategic industries and more important maintain full employment and social stability. If the local economy depends on hundreds of small textile businesses, it's no good telling voters they have to adapt to new market conditions with dirt cheap imports from the Far East.

Tariffs are effectively a tax on low pay, poor working conditions and minimal environmental standards. If a competitor from another jurisdiction can undercut local producers because they pay their workers peanuts, dump waste in the sea rather than invest in an expensive effluent treatment plant or pay hardly any taxes in their home country, this is unfair competition. You may get cheaper consumer products in the short term, but unless the workers laid off in your high-wage country can retrain or upskill to fill new vacancies in the service sector, you'll end up paying more in welfare handouts. Thus over the last 20 years of unshackled global trade, the welfare bill has skyrocketed in much of the advanced Western world. While some former manufacturing workers have transitioned to the service sectors, tens of millions have been left behind. Not everyone is cut out for sales, marketing, research, graphic design or informatics. Some can find new niches as personal trainers or dog walkers. Others try their luck with online retail businesses, while others tap into the insatiable demand for instant gratification via sexual services or narcotics. As a result fewer and fewer of us have a direct stake in the real economy responsible for putting food on our tables or a roof over our heads. We simply trade favours and compete for a bigger slice of corporate profits, while in other parts of the world resources are depleted, workers are exploited in slave-labour conditions and natural habitats are destroyed in the name of economic growth.

We could only have free and fair trade if we had a level playing field, i.e. a global minimum wage, global corporation tax, global environmental regulations and workers' rights. Why should Malaysians make kettles for the British market? Why should Indians process English council forms? The two main reasons are for temporary economic expediency and to prevent workers from holding their employers to ransom. Today few groups of organised workers can trump the power of global corporations to move their operations from one part of the world to another or in the longer term to invest in greater automation.

Infantile globalist leftwingers dream of a world with Norwegian workers' rights and welfare provision, Tanzanian consumption levels and cutting edge green technology that will enable everyone to enjoy an Australian lifestyle. I recently exchanged tweets with one deluded leftist who believes in free energy, i.e. a conspiracy by oil companies to deny us free and clean water-powered vehicles. With current levels of youth unemployment and ecological destruction, believers in a such utopian vision live in cloud cuckoo land. Each viable community needs to find its own way to reach the ideal equilibrium of technological progress, environmental protection and social justice. More important everyone needs to feel that are stakeholders in the social and economic life of their country, which requires a strong sense of social cohesion, trust and shared values. Free markets empower unaccountable corporations, while fair trade lets each community decide what is in the best interests of its workers.

What is Fair Trade?

Like many other good things Fair Trade has been hijacked by big business as a sort of ethical kitemark (stamp of approval) to mean some external agency has vouched for minimum workers' rights, earnings and environmental standards. We are supposed to place our blind trust in international bodies supported by big business to monitor their compliance with various well-intentioned regulations. This inevitably empowers larger businesses with sophisticated marketing and PR operations who can afford the additional overheads to the detriment of unscrupulous small businesses. Next-generation automation technology will soon displace banana pickers or coffee plantation workers anyway.

What Fair Trade should mean is trading only when it makes good long-term social and environmental sense. It may be temporarily cheaper to import to apples and tomatoes from Spain, Chile or South Africa, but these fruits grow in the British Isles too and people used to adapt to seasonal fruits and vegetables. As people have grown accustomed to a plentiful supply of seemingly fresh fruit shipped from halfway around the world, we waste much more, offsetting improvements in agricultural yields and preventing the development of feasible alternatives such as the greater use of greenhouses. That doesn't mean we should not import at all, but should aim to be as self-sufficient in staple foods and essential goods as reasonably possible. Certainly it makes little sense to outsource manufacturing of goods mainly consumed here. If kettle production can be fully automated, why should that take place in China rather than in the UK? More important, by insourcing more manufacturing we become more aware of the true environmental consequences of our shopping habits. Why should we keep throwing away cheap imported products just because it's more cost-effective than replacing inexpensive spare parts that are mysteriously unavailable locally? Many recent technological advances such as 3D-printing could actually enable greater localisation. Rather than ship goods thousands of miles, we could simply send a design to a local 3D-printer to produce a customised component. To sum up free trade focuses on short-term corporate profits and their need to maximise retail sales and minimise labour costs without having to invest in new technology or training. Fair trade focuses on identifying products and services that regions can exchange to their mutual long-term benefit without displacing workers overnight or creating unsustainable social and environmental imbalances.

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Power Dynamics

Does Mass Immigration Help the Economy?

As net migration to the UK hits record levels, many opinion leaders, especially in the Labour and Green parties, claim this is no bad thing. Don't worry about the numbers. They are just a sign of our interconnected times. We get to go on holiday or retire in Southern Europe and they come here to do all the jobs we used to do, add a little spice to our life and, of course, boost our wonderful economy. Naturally more people lead to greater retails sales, but any net benefit can only measured on a per capita basis.

However, one of the most cherished claims we hear from mass migration lobbyists is that EU migrant workers pay more in tax than they receive in welfare. Both Caroline Lucas of the Greens and Alex Salmond of the SNP have parroted the statistic from 2007 that EU migrants contribute net 2.5 billion to the exchequer. I should sincerely hope so as otherwise they would not contribute at all to the services they consume, such as transport infrastructure, street cleaning, health, schooling or policing. Unless you live in a tent in a sparsely populated region without access to electricity or running water, you inevitably consume public services. This then raises the question if that 2.5 billion in tax covers the services consumed by over 3 million EU citizens working in the UK, do they pay enough tax?

Currently if you earn less than around £32,000 a year, you are on average tax-negative, i.e. you consume more in services and welfare than you pay in tax (read Are you a contributor to or a burden on the nation's finances?). Of course, besides income tax we also pay sales tax (VAT and other duties), council tax and vehicle excise duty, however, these are just levies on consumption. Like most governments the UK runs a budget deficit. It needs more than half the population to be tax-positive to subsidise the other half who cannot afford to pay more, but still need services. Initially clever-dick economists told us Eastern European migrants would not burden our public services because they are young, childless and will return to their home countries after a few years in the UK. Now schools and hospitals are overwhelmed by increased demand from the same newcomers, who have miraculously had children, aged and succumbed to ill health. Indeed the fertility rate among Eastern Europeans in the UK is higher than it is in Eastern Europe because our relatively generous child benefits. Polish women in the UK have on average 2.4 children compared to just 1.4 in Poland (see Poland's baby boom … in UK! and End of 2.4 children, as Britain has biggest families in Europe).

Despite a massive rise in inward migration, the UK still has a substantial skills shortage in Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM), because a higher population raises demand. As advances in artificial intelligence enable far greater levels of automation than we dreamed possible only ten years ago, the demand for a select number of high skilled jobs will increase while many other jobs can be fully automated. Indeed the only low-paid occupation that is likely to see increased demand is personal care where empathy and cultural affiinity are distinct assets. Does it make any sense to import care workers from poorer countries just to undercut local workers? We have a huge oversupply of unskilled and semi-skilled workers. The overwhelming majority of new international commuters do jobs that native born Britons could easily do with appropriate training and, more important, sufficient motivation. Only a small proportion of 630,000 new immigrants (the 333,000 figure is the net amount after discounting emigration) are talented engineers, doctors, architects or academics. We do not have a shortage of sandwich makers or bar staff, but a growing divide between low-paid workers competing with other low-skill workers on little more than the minimum wage on one hand and professional elites on the other. The latter group do not see their jobs threatened by newcomers from other countries. They enjoy cheaper childminders and more attractive bartenders and will probably retire to a holiday home in Southern France, Spain, Greece or Bulgaria. Indeed the arrogant liberal elite do not like native Britons at all, too uncouth, lazy and borderline racist, unless they learn to repeat the same old line about the wonders of multiculturalism and diversity.

If you listen to globalising evangelists, you might believe immigrants only ever come to the UK to work in our health service, help us build houses and pay more taxes. Sadly this is just a fantasy. Most people come out of shrewd self-interest to earn more than they would do back home. Southern Europe has over 50% youth unemployment as a by-product of enforced free markets and an unsustainable currency union. Some may well have some rare skills, but most will just be fairly average and have little to offer other than enthusiasm and perseverance. Meanwhile, any chances of economic revival in much of Southern Europe are scuppered as their best and brightest have left.

While globalisation seems unstoppable, unbalanced migratory flows always harm the poorest most. Neoliberal pundits should stop calling the native working class racist and start listening. They may actually learn economic growth as in bigger profits for leading supermarkets does not translate into a happier more egalitarian society. Most people just want more affordable housing, greater job security, more accessible healthcare, less congested transport network and more social cohesion around common values and experiences. By all accounts quite the opposite is happening. The economy may be growing, but people's real lives are under greater stress.

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All in the Mind Power Dynamics

The #Remain Youth Marketing Campaign

In the forthcoming referendum on British sovereignty, you'd be forgiven for thinking it were some sort of X-factor style contest on the relative merits of continental Europe. The latest propaganda from the StrongerIn campaign press all the right psychological buttons:

Youth appeal

Young people want to stay in Europe. If you're young in fact or at heart, so should you. Although partly true, this is a purely emotional argument. If asked most young people would also favour democracy and self-determination. Here they are really just passing a judgement on the virtues of Europe as opposed to Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent or any other cultural macroregion. However, as the pace of globalisation advances unabated, regional lifestyle differences are fading anyway. You can be an online gamer or Manchester United fan in any locale with Internet access these days.

Intellectual Superiority

Better educated people are more inclined to vote remain. This begs the question: in what way are university graduates, usually from more privileged backgrounds, wiser or brighter than those who left school at 16? So if you like to think of yourself as intelligent, you might want to vote remain. But shouldn't intelligent people think for themselves and always weigh up both sides of an argument critically?

Celebrity Endorsement

Englightened celebrities want to remain in Europe. This is just a variant of arguments 1 and 2. If you want to be like these smart cultural icons, don't think for yourself, but be positive about Europe and of course its cherished governing body. Why don't you recycle all the usual hype about reforming the EU and joining forces with progressives from other European countries to campaign for change. But what change? The EU is currently at loggerheads with many national governments over debt management and migrant quotas. For some inexplicable reasons many voters in national elections are not keen on either having neoliberal economic policies imposed on them or having to accept massive migratory flows. The truth is the Identitarian movement is growing across Europe, especially in France, Austria and Eastern Europe. Identitarians reject enforced globalisation and seek to reassert their national and regional identities and culture in the 21st century. While the EU used to pay lip service to European culture, its leaders are busy overseeing the dismemberment of viable nation states, economic and cultural convergence with the rest of the world and mass migration to wealthy regions. These trends are not merely coincidental, they are a consequence of an extreme concentation of power in a handful of corporations and their tentacular network of lobbies, NGOs, charities and spurious campaign groups. The EU really just plays a role in managing the transition from compact nation states to a form of global governance. Mistaking the EU for Europe is like confusing Russia with the old Soviet Union. Europe is a cultural entity built on civilisations that took 3000 years to mature and most Europeans still identify with their countries first. The EU remains a remote institution that few ordinary Europeans trust.

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Power Dynamics

7 Reasons why you should vote #Remain

  1. You love French wine, German beer, Dutch cheese, Italian recipes, Spanish beaches, Austrian ski resorts, Czech castles, Swedish furniture, Finnish saunas and, did I forget, Belgian chocolate. Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Verdi and Mozart may also be music to your ears. Modern philosophy would not be complete without Voltaire, Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Plato and Aristotle? Just think of the all wonderful art galleries and museums of Paris, Vienna, Barcelona, Prague, Cracow, Florence, Athens and Talinn? Surely, if we left Europe, we'd have to make do with boring British culture, abysmal weather, traffic jams and ageing second-rate rock stars. It hardly matters that all this splendid culture predates the European Union or that rapid cultural and demographic changes are sweeping aside much of Europe's wonderful cultural heritage. Surely the Italians will not let us eat pizza if we vote to leave the EU and the Belgians will refuse to sell us chocolate.
  2. You do not want to be on the wrong side of history. As the remain side are going to win anyway, how could you conceivably admit to supporting a motley crew of UKIPers, failed Tory politicians, Labour mavericks from the 1970s and George Galloway? The EU may be flawed in so many ways. It may be corrupt and on the verge of signing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but never mind young progressive people don't care about old-fashioned nation states, they look to the future of a United Europe stretching from Ireland all the way to Ukraine and Turkey.
  3. You do not wish to be associated with racists or with politicians who make incomprehensible Hilter analogies. That's right anyone opposed to the abolition of nation states must be solely motivated by a desire to deny other human beings of their rightful share of corporate profits. It hardly matters that most of the world is not in the European Union, but that may change soon.
  4. You do not want to appear mentally unstable, liable to believe all those wild conspiracy theories about big corporate lobbies and NGOs colluding with corrupt Eurocrats to undermine national democracies. All sane people know the squeaky clean European Parliament is run by young progressives who want to make Europe a safer and greener place for all and sundry.
  5. You do not believe all this anti-immigration nonsense and close your ears and eyes whenever some crackpot fruitcake tells you that current migratory flows are unsustainable and bound to end in social unrest. The fault must lie with those ignorant native working classes brainwashed by the Daily Mail and evil extremists like UKIP and Pegida. We need more BBC documentaries on the wonders of multiculturism and the evils of nationalism. Down with primitive native Europeans!
  6. The English are simply too stupid. Unlike the more open-minded Scots and Welsh, too many English voters opt for the Tories or UKIP. We cannot trust them to make rational decisions. They need guidance from enlightened European politicians.
  7. You wish to reassert your unswerving faith in the globalist establishment, represented by Barrack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Tony Blair and Christine Lagarde. Their economic, military, security and migration policies have been such huge successes, have they not?
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All in the Mind Power Dynamics

Infantile Leftwing Globalism

Save the bees! Save the Trees! Save the refugess!

You might naively imagine the main focus of the Green Party is to promote environmental sustainability, while the Labour Party seeks to defend the rights of ordinary working people in their country. Yet increasingly both serve the interests of global corporations, just as much as their nominally centre-right counterparts in misnamed conservative, liberal or separatist parties.

Today no mainstream political force, and that includes the Greens, can implement the wishes of their activists. They may make a few eloquent speeches on subjects that can inspire strategic audiences and give us a semblance of democratic debate, but the only campaigns that ever succeed are those that win the backing of key corporate players via their myriad NGOs and lobby groups. The conservatives pretended to champion family values and curb unsustainable net migration. In reality they were unable to stem migratory flows, while failing to help stay-at-home mums (yes incredibly many intelligent women choose to take time off work to look after their children). Likewise New Labour had 13 years to tackle falling standards in state schools and a burgeoning housing crisis.

Radical environmentalism seeks to build an alternative model of development focused on a long-term sustainability rather than short-term profits or whimsical consumer desires. Likewise the Labour Movement was founded to empower workers, favouring long-term social wellbeing over short-term commercial gains. I sympathise with both green and red politics. I certainly do not want either a grotesquely unequal society or an environmental collapse.

Yet if history can teach us anything it is to be very careful what you wish for. As the green movement gained momentum in the 1980s, eco-sceptics claimed ecologists wanted a return to a pre-industrial era of horse-drawn carts, peat fires and peasants toiling 12 hours a day just to grow enough to feed their community. Some would argue that the Greens have never opposed technology, only bad technology. The trouble is without evil polluting technologies such as coal-fired steam engines or monstrous chemical processing plants our modern world could never have evolved. The industrial revolution initially saw a huge rise in infant mortality as young boys were sent down coal mines. It later produced the material wealth needed to invest in more efficient and human-friendly technology. By the mid 19th century child labour and slavery had become anachronisms in the eyes of capitalists, superseded by technological developments that capitalist competition had spawned. Capitalism was both a financial oppressor and a technological liberator, that the later Soviet Union could only mimic by enforcing an authoritarian form of state capitalism. Herein lies the first glaring dilemma for self-proclaimed anti-capitalists.

Back in the real world capitalism has long given way to corporatism, a marriage of major enterprises and state institutions. Left to its own devices laissez-faire capitalism would have died in the early 20th century. Indeed it would never have expanded as fast as it did without the help of state-funded armies, navies and airforces. Free trade, as we know it, has largely been won by gunboat diplomacy and later as its tentacles spread far and wide by financial coercion.

The greatest advances in workers' rights occurred in the first half of the 20th century, admittedly interrupted by world wars and national dictatorships. Capitalists had little choice because they needed highly skilled workers both to design, operate and manage their machinery and to buy their goods. In many ways the outcome of the second world war made the western world safe for a new era of mass consumerism. As mean living standards and productivity rose governments could offer more generous welfare and provide an illusion of democracy as conservative and social democratic managerial teams vied to win the favour of a docile public.

Endless Growth

However, corporate capitalism relies on continuous economic growth. The physical possibility of infinite growth on a finite planet depends on our definition of growth. It may simply mean greater circulation of capital, as happens during periods of high inflation, but most of us understand it to mean higher material living standards and thus higher aggregate consumption. We are currently on a trajectory to have a peak population of ten billion human beings. The problem is they will likely expect a Western European standard of living meaning the number of motor vehicles is set to grow from 1 to 5 billion over the next 50 years. They may well be electric cars, but they will still require billions of tons of steel, aluminium, potassium and plastics to manufacture as well as thousands of square of miles of asphalt and an exponential rise in energy demands. While many talk of a transition to public transport, walking and bicycling in urban areas, for the time being at least alternatives to cars only appeal in congested cities. When left to market forces, people will choose convenience and prestige over environmental friendliness or fitness. Our obsession with appearance and body image means many prefer to drive several miles to a gym than make a fool of themselves cycling or jogging along busy roads earning the ire of impatient motorists. Many wishful thinking Western eco-activist's are rather surprised when new immigrants to their country choose to drive short distances when they could easily walk, cycle or catch a bus. That's because they did not move to a richer country to promote environmental sustainability, but rather to enjoy a higher material living standard, or as we once said, live the American dream. Herein lies the second great dilemma of today's bien-pensant green left. Mass migration is driven, indeed actively encouraged, primarily by the same corporate system that ecologists claim to oppose or do they?

Impotence

In the UK Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party and Natalie Bennett's Green Party are powerless to challenge the hegemony of the multinational corporations that shape every aspect of our professional and consumer lives, for they all agree to transfer any scrutiny of our true masters to a supranational entity, the European Union. The SNP may well run the Scottish Parliament, but dare not limit the power of the corporations that run Scotland's consumer economy. In 2016 the likes of Tesco, Walmart, SkyTV, Raytheon, BP, Shell or GSK hold greater sway over public policy than the Westminster talking shop. Indeed the SNP are so keen on ensuring that big business pay their taxes that they promised lower corporation tax to boost inward investment. As a nominally autonomous country within the European Union, they would be powerless to pursue independent economic policies. They could merely liaise as a minor player with the European Union, itself beholden to the other organisations such as WTO, IMF and the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. How could any party that enjoys the editorial support of Murdoch-owned newspaper, the Scottish Sun, be anti-establishment anyway. The SNP only oppose the old guard of British aristocracy.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party seems to have greater anti-establishment credentials. Indeed the corporate media has been quick to denounce Labour's new leadership as dangerous extremists, naive pacifists or apologists for terrorists and Nazi-sympathising Israel bashers. The whole polemic about Ken Livingstone's Hitler comments is a case in point. You'd seriously think he had denied the Nazi holocaust or advocated the annihilation of Israel. In actual fact he had merely alluded to the 1933 Haavara Agreement between Zionists and the newly elected National Socialist regime, which incidentally still had important commercial ties the United State and Britain. We had the spectre of a Labour MP patronisingly shouting “Have you read Mein Kampf†at a former colleague.. This manufactured controversy over alleged antisemitism had two effects: to discredit the main opposition party and to restrict intellectual freedom. The other details were lost on a general public accustomed to a simplified Hollywoodesque portrayal of recent European history.

In 1981 before Argentinian General Gualtieri intervened to boost Margaret Thatcher's popularity, a much more radical Labour Party under Michael Foot won 41% of the vote in local elections compared to just 38% for the ruling Tories. In similar elections Jeremy Corbyn's party could barely muster 31% within England. Short of a miracle, Labour are extremely unlikely to win the next general election. If they oust Corbyn, then many Labour members would leave probably to join the Greens. With Corbyn, they can only hope to appeal to the core Labour vote in areas of high welfare dependency and/or Muslim populations as well as trendy professional elites. The party has lost much of its traditional working class vote. First in power it did little to protect British workers against unfair global competition and encouraged the migration of a new generation of immigrants from Eastern Europe to fill short-term vacancies in the country's volatile, but booming, labour market dominated by agency staff. Left-leaning opinion leaders and even government ministers would dismiss low-skill British workers as lazy and unmotivated, while failing abysmally to reform the welfare system to make work pay. Indeed Gordon Brown's flagship working family tax credits merely subsidised the kind of low-paid jobs to which new immigrants were attracted. Of course, nothing has changed under David Cameron's tenure either. Net migration has continued to hover around the 300,000 a year mark and more and more young people are employed under zero-hour contracts. While inflation-adjusted spending on the NHS has actually risen, a growing population is clearly putting it under enormous strain. Yet Labour and Conservative spokespeople always like to remind the descendants of the great British working class that we could not run the NHS without immigrants, a sly way of telling native Brits that they either too stupid or too well paid.

Ironically many in the Labour movement would agree with my critique of trendy champagne socialists, infantile eco-warriors and no-borders activists, the kind of people who think can they simultaneously cut industrial pollution, fight climate change, save endangered species, protect natural woodland and greenbelt, build more houses and allow million more economic migrants to enjoy a 1980s British standard of living. Many middle-of-the-road Labour activists from the 1970s and 80s just wanted Britain to be a peace-loving country that protected the interests of its own people without expropriating the resources of other countries or interfering in their affairs, except to deal with environmental catastrophes or to avert genocide. A humble country that would lead only by example. However, our economy has become so unbalanced and dependent on imports of goods and export of services as to make any government captive to the diktat of major multinationals.

In purely ecological terms the UK is a global parasite. It extracts much more from the rest of the world than it gives back. It has effectively become a large shopping mall complete with airports, a motorway network, millions of offices and matchbox houses. If you are worried about the destruction of the Amazonian rain forest, endangered species in Borneo, peace in the Middle East or carbon emissions globally, then buying imported goods at Tesco or taking a cheap Ryanair flight to sunny Spain will not help. Indeed our consumer habits outsource environmental destruction to the rest of the world.

Hands Tied

If Corbyn and Bennett really wanted to overthrow capitalism, they would not call for more economic growth or advocate corporate welfarism. They would oppose unaccountable and wasteful corporations and transfer their business operations to cooperatives respondent to the needs of local communities rather than short-term profits or longer-term commercial expansion. We would bring our consumption in line with our essential needs (e.g. we could eat a lot less and still live healthier lives), rather than short-term consumer fetishes. Most important a genuine workers' party would ensure all families have a stake in our real economy, i.e. at least one member who contributes through meaningful and rewarding work. If we outsource manual labour or let next generation automation displace workers in all but the most intellectually demanding roles altogether, we will have a nation of expendable consumer slaves.

The Greens may well oppose fracking and building on greenbelt, yet their leadership fully support the causes of fracking and habitat destruction. Capitalists do not lobby governments to allow hydraulic fracturing because they want to contaminate drinking water or destroy our countryside, but because they believe for the time being fracking is the most cost-effective way to produce the extra energy we need to power our growing economy and satisfy the consumer demands of the country's growing population.

Many Greens I've debated with live in a parallel universe, in which highly skilled and ecologically aware immigrants help us address an acute labour shortage and compensate for a shrinking and ageing population. This may be true in a few remote Devon villages, but the UK's population has grown from 58 million in 1997 to well over 65 million now. While youngsters born and bred in the UK struggle to find permanent jobs, agencies import ready-trained nurses and careworkers to look after the disabled and elderly.

What's Wrong With Old People?

If there is one demographic group the infantile left loathes more than any other it's the native British elderly, the kind of people who distrust the European Union, disapprove of gay marriage and may, heaven forbid, not be too happy about the displacement of indigenous communities with transient communities of international commuters. Yet an ageing population is hardly sign of failure, but a cause for celebration and an immense opportunity for a younger generation unable to compete with robots, but perfectly able to care for their elderly relatives and neighbours rather than twiddle their thumbs in marketing agencies or sell spurious legal services. If the UK had had zero-net migration since 1997, i.e. a sustainable balance of immigration and emigration, our population would only have declined only slightly today and we'd have smaller class sizes, much less congestion and a much smaller housing crisis. Indeed the fertility rate has risen from a low of 1.6 in the mid 1980s to 2.0 today (partly due to higher birth rates among some recent immigrants). By contrast countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany and Poland have fertility rates between 1.3 to 1.5. Singaporean women have on average just 1 child. People in these countries have merely adapted to the reality that our survival does not depend on having an excess of children. Raising a child to become a successful adult with good career prospects now requires massive investment in time and money. That why millions of European and Japanese couples simply opt out of parenthood.

Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will soon displace most most manual and many clerical jobs. Banks are busy closing branches, driverless vehicles are already a reality and manufacturing workers will be replaced by a handful of programmers and technicians. However, the elderly and disabled will still prefer human care-workers ideally with a similar cultural background. Would it really matter if over several generations the population halved through entirely peaceful and non-coercive means? Not at all, it would merely bring our numbers back to the population we had in the 1960s and it would certainly make it much easier to address the challenges of rising material expectations, resource depletion on a finite planet and the inevitability of greater automation. A true environmentalist would aspire to attain an equilibrium with a steady state economy and stable population, but we are not going to run out people any time soon.

Useful Idiots

If the Greens and Left Labour pose such a great threat to global corporations, why do they get so much airtime on TV and so great prominence in social media. People are not being arrested for expressing opposition to austerity cuts or staging refugees welcome demos, but rather for expressing socially conservative opinions critical of globalisation. This is because our real masters are not the old national aristocracies, but global corporations who positively loathe nation states. Both the European and North American elites are planing a new borderless playground for a new technocratic upper class. The main wheelers and dealers are not populist politicians eager to placate the concerns of a conservative electorate, but large banks, transnational enterprises and increasingly NGOs and charities. While the infantile left may rant and rave about our wonderful NHS and the evils of TTIP, trendy business consultancies are busy new ways to expand the market reach of their corporate healthcare clients and rebrand TTIP to placate European politicians. When professional services networks such as Price Waterhouse and Cooper, Ernst and Young, Deloitte or KPMG talk of global governance or localisation, what they really mean is the transfer of decision-making away from national institutions to large corporations. Increasingly national parliaments debate merely how and when to phase in policies decided elsewhere. Cultural convergence is seen as a historical inevitability that merely has to be managed. In this context the mass migration of people from the Middle East and North Africa may lead to a temporary culture clash. but the long term aim to displace all autochthonous cultures with a global superculture. Civil unrest, decreased social solidarity and the spectre of terrorism all provide excellent pretexts for more surveillance and greater centralisation of powers in supranational bodies. Not surprisingly, the Eurocrats always respond to economic, environmental and human crises with calls for more Europe, by which they mean greater powers for unaccountable institutions intent to undermining the will of ordinary Europeans.

Yet across the European continent the growing divide is no longer between the lifestyle left and the economic right, but between those of us who care about the identity and thus sustainability of our cultural heritage and those who wish to supplant all traditional cultures with a brave new world order, to which all but the enlightened elite have to conform. They are quite happy to use green activists and even trade unionists to push through policies that will both destroy our environment and undermine workers' rights. The real xenophobes are not those who defend their own cultural traditions, but those who cheerlead ethnic cleansing on an unprecedented scale.

The imbecile left will never thwart global corporatism, but will merely claim credit for policies emanating from corporate think tanks such as global taxation of corporations or their new favourite, the basic income, which will inevitably be a form a global social welfare subsidised by global corporations to the workless underclasses in exchange for their acquiescence.

It often helps to observe critically what is really happening rather than formulate a convenient worldview based on personal prejudices, peer pressure or official reports. Some will tell you the green lobby is harming ordinary working class motorists through their obsession with global warming and carbon emissions. Back in the real world green politicians support policies that increase carbon emissions by actively supporting the migration of people from poorer to richer countries and recycling propaganda about how a larger population boosts our wonderful retail economy. We thus witness a manufactured debate between small businesses, often keen on easier road transport and lower taxes, and globalist greens, usually keen on tigher regulation of private transport. Larger companies always find it easier to comply with new environmental regulations introduced to please green lobbies. All the while massive out-of-town superstores with huge carparks are sprouting up everywhere. They may have a few token cycle racks and sell fair-trade bananas, bu their bottom line depends on more eager consumers buying their imported merchandise. In power and in opposition, the greens have been disaster for our environment.