Categories
Power Dynamics

Sowing the Seeds of Discontent to Gain Power

Grenfell Tower

The Grenfell Tower blaze shocked the world. How could a fire spread so quickly and kill so many in one of the wealthiest cities in the world? I won't waste time investigating the details of flammable cladding or the absence of a sprinkler system. However, to the untrained eye these apartments seemed fine and could be rented privately for £2000 a month, which is below current rates for comparable flats in this upmarket area of inner London.

Let's face it, accidents happen, especially when we rely on high tech infrastructure such as high density tower blocks in inner cities, aeroplanes, trains, motorways, nuclear power stations and sewage treatment plants. All these systems can kill large numbers of human beings if they malfunction. By the same token if we fail to provide such services as affordable modern housing, inexpensive electricity, rapid transportation and clean water, millions will die. It stands to reason such systems should adhere to very strict safety standards to avoid the kind of human tragedy we saw in Grenfell Tower.

We don't yet know the exact death toll, anywhere from a low of 60 to as many as 400 (based on the estimated number of missing people who have not survived), a human tragedy by any stretch of the imagination. As I write, protests continue across London not just against the negligence which let such a disaster happen, but against a weakened government as it attempts to negotiate Britain's exit from the European Union. Some forces would dearly love to seize any opportunity to derail Brexit and bring Britain back into line with their vision of a one world government. To even suggest such a calamity was made more likely by rapid population growth in the English capital only invites instant derision by vocal social justice warriors eager to blame a dwindling bunch of aristocrats within the Tory Party.

However, as a rule it's much easier to plan and build affordable housing and provide all essential services people need if we have a stable population and ensure most people can earn their upkeep. This means taking a holistic long-term gradualist view, rather than short-term view based on economic expediency or radical social engineering. Herein lies the crux of the matter. Most ordinary people, away from the hustle and bustle of our metropolises, take the gradualist view, while our political elite increasingly take the radical view. If such a revolution empowered commoners, I might support it. But given the extreme concentration of power in a handful of transnational tech giants and banking cartels, this is not going to happen. We will just see the transfer of power from one bunch of elitists to another bunch, using the poor as mere pawns in their game.

The Reincarnation of the Socialist Dream

I think elements of socialism are desirable at a local community level. It's called solidarity or helping your neighbours. Extremes of wealth and power do not bode well for social cohesion, but they're inevitable in any system that relies on a technocratic elite. That said I think the steady advance of artificial intelligence and robotics alongside globalisation will destroy neoliberalism. We should start writing its obituaries soon. Neoliberalism advocates the deregulation of large corporations so they can compete in an open worldwide market. The neoliberal era from the late 70s to the present day has seen an unprecedented rate of technological innovation and improvements in material living standards worldwide. Indeed many prophecies from the 1970s have not transpired yet. While we have had some localised famines, fewer people than ever, at least proportional terms, suffer from undernourishment. The big story of the last two to three decades has been the rapid movement of people in the developing world away from traditional rural lifestyles to large towns and cities and thus in touch with modern technology and subject to the rules of modern economics. Millions of Africans have gone from growing their own food to selling products and services in exchange for money they can use to buy food and other essentials of our modern way of life. While once we understood whence our daily bread came, now we just expect to have enough money in our bank account to purchase everything we need or desire in our local supermarket. Most of us fail to understand how our work translates into the physical goods or practical services we can afford. We may now see the rebranding socialism to mean universal basic income.

Competition only works among the Highly Motivated

Neoliberal theory is that competition drives innovation. In practice this only works among highly motivated and talented individuals. A higher salary might motivate a street cleaner to turn up for work on time and pursue his job diligently, but his productivity can be infinitely boosted through smart automation. Increasingly middle managers try to keep semi-skilled workers away from any mission-critical operations or decisions. We've thus seen a huge rise in temporary non-jobs, more concerned with people management than actually providing the goods and services we need. As such non-jobs are expendable, they seldom command high wages or inspire workers to innovate. We thus have the dilemma that by raising the minimum wage, we merely incentivise more automation and greater welfare dependency. Not surprisingly governments have been subsidising low pay and high rents for some time now.

Most residents of the infamous Grenfell Tower block would not have been able to pay the £2000 monthly rent and no property developers would fund high quality accommodation unless they had a guaranteed return on their investment. It only took a couple of days for Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to suggest seizing empty dwellings owned by wealthy property speculators. I understand the superficial attraction of this policy. Such properties remain empty because their owners cannot rent them out at market rates and would prefer to keep their real estate assets in pristine conditions until they find wealthy tenants or buyers. If such properties were made available for social housing, their market value would decline. Wealthy city dwellers pay more to stay away from the riffraff and all the potential dangers of social unrest and technical faults resulting from substandard equipment, i.e. an exploding fridge triggered the fire which then spread due to flammable cladding, both extremely unfortunate coincidences. Like or not, London's wealth is built on banking, advertising, media and property speculation. Labour and Tory governments alike have tolerated an extreme widening of the gap between rich and poor in the metropolis to boost the economy and thus their tax intake. If market forces cannot pay bus drivers more than £30,000 a year (a very low wage by London standards without housing benefit), then either the state has to subsidise these jobs or they will be automated. Big business now needs strong centralised state organisations to transition to new economy where ordinary people are paid to consume and participate in non-essential social management initiatives. It's been obvious to me for some time that powerful corporate forces are bankrolling rapid socio-cultural change. I think we need to investigate not only George Soros's network of Open Society foundations and universities, but hundreds of other well-funded organisations that have seemingly sprung out of nowhere to advocate international socialism. One such organisation is Novara Media, which presents a more radical spin on the globalist narrative we read in the likes of the Huffington Post and the TheCanary.co , but also endorses the cult-like Momentum movement behind Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party.

Only a few years ago, socialism in any form seemed rather outmoded. Sure, a few old-timers and naive young recruits kept the flag flying. You'd think the recent experience of Venezuela, which the usual coalition of global banks and US-sponsored opposition groups have almost certainly helped destabilise, would have deterred any resurgence of socialism among ordinary working people and you'd be right. The radical left have long given up on the traditional working classes, whom they openly view as reactionary. And it's not just the British working class whom they distrust, but any native working class community who still expect their local governments to protect them against rapid globalisation and automation. It seems everywhere in Europe the trendy left loathes its own native working class. France is a possible exception as Jean-Luc Mélenchon tried to build a 1970s-style opposition, known as La France insoumise, to multinationals and to reactionary nationalists. Indeed such rearguard adversaries of current global trends may have to join forces with Europe's growing but sidelined Identitarian movement and anti-establishment protest groups such as Italy's 5 Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle) to offer any alternative to the polarisation of opinion on the nationalism vs globalism dichotomy.

So we now have an odd alliance of global bankers, corporate CEOs, multi-billion dollar transnational consultancies and media-savvy social justice campaigning organisations joining forces to undermine the power of local institutions and small businesses to empower transnational organisations and big business. To manufacture popular consent, our global revolutionaries need some catalysts to sway public opinion away from the old guard and to accept what they loosely call change.

The Revolution That Never Happened

In the 1970s some radical left-wingers genuinely believed a socialist revolution was just round the corner as capitalism would inevitably enter a terminal crisis that only a command economy with direct workers' democracy could solve. Alas after the 1978/79 winter of discontent with striking ambulance drivers, nurses and refuse collectors, many workers opted to support a Thatcherite Conservative Party over a moderate Labour government. The next few years saw a steep rise in unemployment as old unprofitable industries closed or moved abroad and a few desperate attempts to save the integrity of the once proud British working class. The Socialist Workers' Party, to which I briefly belonged, fully supported the 1984–85 Miners' strike. Yet it failed miserably as power stations began to import coal from Poland, still firmly in the Warsaw Pact and allied with the Soviet Union. I recall attending various events where leftwing student groups would attempt to fraternise with heroic miners. I think the latter tolerated us very well, but had little interest in our social justice idealism, only in defending their way of life. Even then I witnessed stirrings of a cultural clash that play out over the next 30 years as a fringe student group known as Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) met hostility from Welsh miners on a demo in Cardiff. Coal miners took enormous pride not just in their close-knit communities, but in their families and cultural traditions. They were not impressed by a bunch of upper middle class punks with dyed hair lecturing them on the oppression of sexual minorities.

Workless Cultural Marxism

Today no serious Marxist could contemplate mobilising an atomised global workforce to defeat capitalism. Far from empowering the working classes, the current phase of globalisation has rendered any tentative industrial action obsolete. If you strike, you will be replaced either by imported cheap labour or by a robot. Free market capitalism is in all but name dead. Instead their strategy is to infiltrate global corporations and especially NGOs to bring about cultural change to mirror an emerging socio-economic reality of complete dependence on a handful of tech giants and banking cartels liaising closely with a network of local governments and charities. Consider Novara Media. They seem very keen on defending the rights of immigrants, advancing the economic case for mass migration and combatting Islamophobia. They're equally eager to promote LGBTQ+ rights and environmentalism. Yet organised high birthrate Islam opposes both gay rights and any attempt to limit consumption through lower birth rates and lower migration to high-consumption regions. Their aim to champion miscellaneous disgruntled groups and offer universal welfare as a solution. The name of the game is to destabilise stable societies in the hope that the desperate underclasses support radical social change. Who is going to provide this global welfare? None other than big business. I'm not sure if Jeremy Corbyn really understands how big business is bankrolling many of these protest groups. Will Facebook, SpaceX, Google and Amazon support a younger version of Bernie Sanders for the next presidential election ? Let's see, but they won't back anyone who does not reflect their selfish interests to expand their stranglehold on planetary power.

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All in the Mind Computing Power Dynamics

Our Workless Future

Artificial intelligence

Could the universal basic income usher in an age of hyper-dependence, hyper-surveillance and a growing divide between technocratic elites and mainstream humanity?

Two of the most influential business leaders in the tech industry have thrown their weight behind the hitherto fanciful universal basic income, a cause until recently championed only by idealistic greens not known for their economic competence. Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and SpaceX CEO and robotics evangelist Elon Musk both openly support the concept. These are of course among the same tech billionaires that our more traditional leftwing politicians would love to tax to fund their welfare and public spending initiatives.

To many basic income sounds too much like universal welfare for all and we really have to ask who would foot the bill? So let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations, shall we? Last year the UK government spent a whopping £780 billion. That works out at around £11,500 per person or £23,000 per worker, only 9% of whom are employed in manufacturing or agriculture. At current prices, it's hard to live on less than £1000 a month once we include rent or mortgage repayments. A realistic basic income would thus be around £1000 per month for adults and probably £500 per month for children under 16. That's a phenomenal sum of around £710 billion, virtually our entire public expenditure. Admittedly we'd save around £200 billion on welfare, pensions and in-work benefits, which are quite considerable for low-paid workers (essentially anyone earning less than £24,000 per annum). Now, you may argue that we could adapt to a greener lower consumption model and make do with much lower basic incomes. But that doesn't change the fundamental maths. If in the near future we let most working age adults rely on basic income, then to maintain social harmony we'd need to guarantee the kind of living standards to which we are accustomed. In all likelihood the authorities will redefine basic income dependents no longer as unemployed but as work-free citizens, lifelong students or carers who contribute to society not through paid employment but simply as responsible members of the community helping to raise the next generation or somehow involved in voluntary community projects or awareness raising campaigns.

Of course, the early basic income enthusiasts would have you believe that universal welfare would unleash a new era of creativity, enabling us all to pursue our personal artistic, literary or inventive passions. We could take time off not only to raise our children, but also to learn new skills, explore the world or participate in new intellectual endeavours. If we were all highly motivated academics, gifted artists or talented sportspeople or entertainers, I think it could all work out very well. The whole world would become a giant university campus. We may choose to work for a few years as a brain surgeon, psychiatrist, artificial intelligence programmer, robotics engineer, architect or social policy researcher, earning good money, and then take an extended sabbatical to investigate the meaning of life.

The trouble is most of us are not highly motivated academics and unless our livelihood depends on work, involving physical and/or mental effort, we are very likely to succumb to carefree leisure. Numerous studies have shown quite conclusively that unconditional welfare provision traps all but the best-motivated and most conscientious people in a decadent lifestyle of easy options and self-indulgence. It's so easy to retreat into a lifestyle of virtual gaming, online video watching, junk food bingeing and stupefaction. Long-term welfare recipients are statistically much more likely to suffer from emotional distress (usually defined as mental illnesses), eating disorders and dysfunctional relationships. Worse still, these psychosocial maladies tend to get worse with each generation.

Welfare dependency controversy

Dr Adam Perkins, lecturer in the neurobiology of personality at King's College London, rattled the politically correct neoliberal consensus in his book, The Welfare Trait, which showed rather conclusively how welfare dependence not only engenders helplessness, it affects our personality, which helps explain the rise of identity politics and growing emphasis on mental health as an issue we must address. Perkins cites voluminous evidence to support his contention that habitual welfare claimants tend to be less conscientious and agreeable than those of us who have to work for a living. Far from building a more egalitarian society with greater solidarity, worklessness fosters a narcissistic culture of entitlement, treating a growing section of the adult population as children in need of constant supervision by the minority who work. Not surprisingly, mainstream academia and social justice warriors have taken offence and gone to great lengths to challenge Dr Perkins' hypothesis, claiming for example that his conclusions could lend support to eugenics. However, if you have actually read the book or listened carefully to couple of good presentations Dr Perkins has given on the subject, you'll find his thesis emphasises psychosocial rather than genetic causes of personality traits. If laziness were largely an inherited trait, we would have to explain how it could have evolved before the expansion of the modern welfare state. In traditional societies lazy people would fail to procreate unless they inherited substantial wealth (even if the idle could mate, they would be unable to fend for their offspring). So laziness as a genetic trait could have only spread among the aristocratic classes. Most people alive today are descendants of hard workers. Our forebears had little choice.

Stigma

However, some may argue that welfare stigmatises its dependents, while everyone, including those who choose to work for extra financial rewards, would be entitled to basic income removing any stigma. We would simply treat our basic income as a universal right, just like water or air, that modern 21st century technology can guarantee everyone. Bear in mind that the coming AI revolution will not only displace manual workers and machine operators, it will also automate most clerical jobs too. Machine learning is already smart enough to perform most tasks currently assigned to accountants, legal secretaries and marketing researchers. Any jobs with predictable results and a finite set of potential variables are ripe for computerisation. Indeed North American lawyers are already losing substantial business to online search engines. Why would you pay someone £100 an hour just to discover a legal loophole that you could have found through a few simple search queries and reading a few forum posts, just to sort chaff the from the wheat? Online legal advice, sometimes with modest fees, is already a reality. The harsh truth is soon there will be few high-paying jobs for even the most industrious adults within the low to medium IQ range and as time goes by so too will be minimum IQ threshold for lucrative professional roles. That doesn't mean there will be no jobs for ordinary people in the medium IQ range, but such jobs will be non-essential and more concerned with persuasion and social control than providing any mission-critical services. Now you may think some service sector roles such as care workers, nurses, bar staff, hairdressers and prostitutes are ill-suited to robotisation as we still need an authentic human touch. The transition may be more gradual for these roles as AI software developers refine human behaviour emulators, but already Japanese sex workers are worried about competition from life-like sex robots.

We should have seen it coming?

Governments in much of the Western world have tried to persuade us their educational and social welfare policies serve to redress the imbalance between rich and poor and to give everyone irrespective of their wealth or social background equal opportunities to thrive. Unfortunately their policies have succeeded mainly in engendering greater dependency on social intervention rather than empowering ordinary workers to assume greater responsibility for the functioning of our complex society. In decades to come I suspect we will look back at the neoliberal hiatus between approximately 1980 and 2020 as the last attempt to make laissez-faire free-market economics work by incentivising people to take control of their lives. We can no longer build our economy on the flawed assumption that workers can earn enough not just to buy the goods that big business sells, but to fund all the services and infrastructure we need. Economic growth in the UK now tends to mean higher retail sales and more property speculation. One seriously wonders how the business model of thrift stores works. These abound in rundown towns across the UK as Pound Stretcher, Poundland etc.. selling cheap end-of-life merchandise to a local community reliant on welfare and public sector jobs.

Behind the scenes the authorities have long been preparing for a future where few of us need to undertake either intellectually challenging or physically demanding work, i.e. the kind of jobs we really need as distinct from non-jobs whose main purpose is occupational therapy. Our schools seem increasingly more interested in familiarising youngsters with new technology and instilling a new progressive set of social values rather than focussing on hard skills that we might need if we wanted to gain some degree of self-reliance. Mainstream schooling strives to produce socially normalised young consumers who worship both big brands and transnational institutions. Anyone who strays from this norm is likely to be labelled with one personality disorder or another. Students who show some degree of analytical intelligence are primed for low level managerial roles, who inevitably join a mushrooming bureaucracy of ideologically driven experts and researchers. Meanwhile the health and safety culture that has infiltrated so many aspects of our lives serves to transfer responsibility from families and independent adults to myriad agencies. It hardly takes a huge leap of imagination to foresee that in the near future these agencies will be supplemented by artificial intelligence. However, this begs the question whether remote advisors have our best interests at heart. Your close relatives and best friends may well give you honest advice that helps you attain your primary goals in life. On the other hand social engineers are not so much interested in you as an autonomous human being but in the smooth functioning of a much larger and more complex society.

Collectivism for the Masses and Individualism for the Elites

Human creativity is both a prerequisite for technological and cultural progress and a hindrance to social harmony, as it relies on competition among individuals and tends to empower critical thinkers to the detriment of social conformists. As we begin to harness the power of artificial intelligence and versatile robots more and more, the managerial classes will want to restrict the independence of creative types and channel their talent to serve the interests of technocratic corporate elites. One phenomenon that has largely escaped the attention of social analysts is the huge growth in the recruitment industry. In many niche professions there are now more recruiters than talented specialists. A nominally free-market economy has created a reality where the development of a software application requires one real programmer, two user interface builders, two designers, three usability testers, one project manager, a business analyst, an information systems manager, three marketing executives and potentially two or three recruiters. In this endeavour only the programmer is mission-critical. Interface building and design could be mainly automated as can usability testing until the final user acceptance testing stage. Recruiters serve not just to identify people with highly specialised skill-sets, but to ensure that such individuals never take full ownership of their creations, but only gain experience as well-paid loyal team workers who know their place. The more circumscribed our professional focus is the less we see of the bigger picture. All too often we dismiss evidence we experience in our every lives as mere flukes and side effects of social progress rather than integral parts of a new hierarchical technotopia.

Letting the genie out of the IQ bottle

As artificial intelligence evolves to undertake more low-level managerial and analytical roles, large businesses will only employ talented individuals with high IQs, rare artistic flairs or charismatic personalities. Freelancers will find it harder to compete in the world without machine-augmented intelligence . Yet since the end of World War Two, mainstream social scientists have preferred to suppress the significance of differential IQ scores among different sections of humanity. While it may be politically incorrect to classify a large subsection of humans as intellectually inferior, tech giants only hire the best. They often have little trust in mainstream education and are fully aware that many universities reward conformity and comprehension rather than analytical thinking. As a contract Web application developer I've often had to take tests, but most tested analytical skills and problem solving more than specific knowledge of a given programming language or framework. If I want to learn the syntactical differences between Kotlin and Swift (just to mention 2 up-and-coming languages that have much in common), I can always search it online or just let my IDE (integrated development environment) do it for me. If you know one, you can easily learn the other, but if you have let to learn the difference between a mutable and an immutable object, you're of little use to most employers.

Most people alive today, at least in countries with a modern education system, have internalised the notion that the Earth orbits the Sun. Many could recite a cursory explanation for this supposition, but only a few could arrive at such a conclusion from astronomical observations alone and even fewer would be prepared to risk social exclusion if they had to challenge orthodoxy to assert their hypothesis as Galileo Galilei famously had to do before his imprisonment and house arrest in 1633. Any intellectual task that has been successfully accomplished and meticulously explained over and over again through human input can ultimately be assigned to smart applications able to deal with complex logical processing.

Late neoliberalism (as I believe this era may be called later in the century) still rewards hard work and creativity and allows the most successful to enhance their physique and intellectual performance through cosmetic surgery, private medicine, private education, food supplements and exclusive neighbourhoods. The rich have always been the first to benefit from new technologies. When bio-engineering merges with nano-robitics and artificial intelligence, the affluent classes will effectively buy an evolutionary advantage over the rest of humanity by adopting machine-augmented intelligence. Future alpha and beta humans could gain instant insights into complex problems that previously would have required extensive experience and lengthy analysis. One section of humanity would be able to detect deception instantly and psychoanalyse unaided humans, while the workless classes would be mere guinea pigs in the elite's social engineering experiments. The real danger is that the masses could be lulled into a false sense of security and just like many peasants in feudal times worshipped religions governed by an ecclesiastical hierarchy, the consumer classes of the future will worship the evangelisers and opinion leaders of our technotopia.

Who's really in control ?

So let's cut to the chase. The real flaw in the basic income concept is not that greedy capitalists want to force us to work for a living (which would only be to maximise profits), but that it would disempower most of the population. As mere welfare claimants we would have no bargaining power at all. Any freedoms we may retain would be at the discretion of the elite who still have meaningful jobs. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality could easily give the wider public the illusion of democratic control. As dependants it would no longer matter if we suffer from learning disabilities or mental health challenges, which are increasingly treated not so much as psychosocial problems or neurological deficits, but as divergent categories of people whose special needs must be accommodated. Currently an intellectual disability usually only applies to people with an IQ below 70. The US army refuses to hire people with an IQ below 85. Most semi-skilled jobs require an IQ range of 90 - 105. Most high-skill professions (doctors, engineers, scientific researchers etc.) require an IQ over 115. Beyond an IQ of 120 (approx. in the 90th percentile) fewer and fewer people can compete on natural analytical intelligence alone. By the time reliable and effective machine-augmented intelligence devices become available to wealthy buyers, this subgroup of humanity could acquire genius status, setting it apart from mainstream humanity who by comparison would then have significant learning handicaps.

Is there a viable alternative that could protect us against technocrats ?

When the computer revolution first entered public consciousness in the late 1970s, many foresaw a 20 hour working week and early retirement. Quite the opposite has happened. Young professionals are now working longer hours to further their career and pay off debts while the age of retirement is rising progressively to 70 in the UK. While we should certainly welcome our longer life expectancy, we're clearly not sharing our collective workload very fairly. However, when left to market forces alone, employers prefer to hire fewer reliable highly skilled professionals working longer hours than to spread the workload and invest in training apprentices who have not yet acquired the same expertise. It may be more expedient for future employers only to hire workers with an IQ over 120 while bankrolling consumer welfare and sophisticated social engineering programmes, but is it fairer? Should mainstream humanity, i.e. people within normal IQ range, not contribute to the organisation of their society by being intimately involved in the development of the technology that makes their lives possible? I know 1 experienced programmer, with the right productivity tools, can outperform a large team of novice programmers. Indeed I'd go further. Most novice programmers write naive routines that if deployed in a production environment could be very hard to maintain, but if you don't start with simple scripts you will never progress to more advanced concepts. By the same logic we could argue that learning arithmetic at school is redundant because calculators can do it faster. This is true, but if you rely solely on calculators, how do you know if their output is correct? What matters is not simply performing a cerebral task, but actually understanding what's going on. Let's take that a step further. If we rely on search engines and fact-checkers to find out the truth about our government and business leaders, how can we verify the objectivity and completeness of the selective information they provide ? How do we know which facts they have suppressed ? Indeed some may wonder what the purpose of life is if we are denied the chance to exercise our free will and critically explore the real world around us. If we are kept in a state of artificial contentment, then nobody will be motivated to change the system, which may well malfunction for reasons beyond the comprehension of most commoners. The more people that are involved in the research and development process, the harder it will be for a superclass of humans to pull the wool over our eyes. If you care about personal freedom and democracy, it may make more sense to share a complex R&D project among 20 people with an average IQ than to let one genius have a monopoly over true understanding.

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Power Dynamics

Did social media and pressure groups sway the UK election?

Social media

The outcome of the UK June 2017 General Election has taken most psephologists by surprise. Though many sensed a marked movement towards Labour over the last 3 weeks that would deprive the Tories of a large majority, few expected Labour to gain as much as 40.3% of the popular vote. That is 15% greater than Labour's lowest poll ratings and their highest share since 2001 on a lower turnout. Indeed Labour obtained their largest national vote in absolute terms since Tony Blair's famous 1997 victory with the full blessing of the Murdoch Press and widespread support in Middle England, though we have to admit despite a disastrous campaign the Tories still attracted more votes, 42.4% or 13.6 million as smaller parties were squeezed. Demographics have changed since then as many metropolitan areas are now dominated by young professionals, students and a motley assortment of diverse ethnic communities and welfare dependents with special requirements, while the traditional working classes have largely retreated to the outer suburbs and market towns.

Only two years ago most pundits predicted a hung parliament. Yet a much more moderate Labour Party under Ed Miliband failed to capture the public's imagination and the Tories won a surprise majority on just 36.7% of the vote. Following last year's EU Referendum the Conservative government under Theresa May hoped to capitalise on the unexpected outcome to leave the continental superstate. As the the government pumped more money into the economy to offset market instability, the Conservatives soared in the polls to the heady heights of 45 to 48% as former UKIP voters switched to the Tories. I suspect many potential new working class Tory voters either abstained or switched their vote to Labour to send the government a clear message. Media coverage of the Conservative Manifesto and its proposals for a dementia tax (i.e. using the value of a patient's property to pay for care) didn't help. Throughout the campaign Theresa May appeared wooden with robotic soundbites about a strong and stable government, rarely engaging with the public except in staged events usually in remote rural backwaters and empty factories. Could Ms May have been set up to lose in order to derail Brexit? Who advised her to call a general election, whose outcome has weakened her country as it negotiates a new relationship with the EU? The post-election shenanigans and the likelihood of another general election in the not-to-distant future can only harm the UK's reputation and its ability to meddle in foreign affairs. I have no answers to these questions, but as some have accused the Americans and Russians of interfering in foreign elections, it is at least conceivable that well-funded pro-EU pressure groups might have dabbled in some underhand tactics to engineer a hung parliament, in the full knowledge that Corbyn's could never realistically fulfill his public spending promises.

The Youth Vote swung it

Superficial analysis of electoral swings would show the former UKIP vote went evenly to the Labour and the Tories. Does that mean, as some have suggested, people have changed their minds on Brexit and, more important, the need to stabilise migratory flows ? Few polls before yesterday would suggest so. Millions of traditional Labour supporters voted to leave the EU. Migration, border security and inter-ethnic integration remain major public concerns, especially in the wake of two vile Islamist terror attacks. Jeremy Corbyn struck a chord with millions of voters when he blamed UK intervention in the Middle East for the growth of radical Islamism. Ed Miliband would never have dared to make such a comparison, only a half-hearted apology for New Labour's support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

What happened is quite simple: many older voters stayed at home and younger more idealistic voters turned out in greater numbers. The turnout among 18–24 year olds has risen from 52% in 2010, to 58% in 2015 and to 72% this year, higher than the average turnout of 68%.

Social media played a major role in persuading young people to cast their votes. Shortly before the election 1 million young people registered to vote following a high-profile online campaign. A number of prominent campaigning organisations such as 38 Degrees, Avaaz, the SumOfUs.org and Change.org run awareness raising drives on issues that appeal mainly to young adults or to vulnerable individuals with special identities. I've sympathised with some of these causes myself, many of which seem innocent enough. However, many heavily promoted causes have strong ideological agendas that may not seem immediately obvious to the uninitiated. Labour not only promised to drop tuition fees (originally introduced under New Labour in 1998), they promised to increase spending in virtually every area of social intervention from mental health care to refugee resettlement. While New Labour still paid lip service to the concept of earning your own living through hard work and lifelong learning, they expanded social welfare allegedly to tackle poverty and promote community integration, both laudable aims at least on paper. In education successive governments have failed an entire generation of poorly motivated school leavers with limited literacy and numeracy and often few practical skills that will help them gain employment in many essential trades. Labour gave up and instead facilitated the immigration of better motivated young workers from Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Fast forward 14 years, and these new workers are now deemed essential not just in catering, farming, food processing, building and plumbing, but in our wonderful National Health Service. Not surprisingly Left Labour has billed itself as the only party capable of saving the NHS from Tory privatisation, a process that started ironically under New Labour.

Don't get me wrong, part of me really wanted Corbyn to win. At last we had a major party that not only opposed military adventurism, but had vowed to stop arms sales to despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia. Some would argue arms sales provide jobs and boost the economy, while I've long argued there are much more important things in life than short-term economic growth. However, Labour has no plans to balance either migratory flows or the budget deficit, only promises to deal with rogue employers of cheap imported labour and to tax the rich more heavily, which would only cause them to dodge more taxes and very likely persuade many of our best engineers and surgeons to accept more lucrative job offers in Australia, the Middle East or USA. A Labour government, however well-intentioned, would have been just as captive to global corporations as a Tory government. It would have no other source of income. The UK is a net importer of most essential resources and can only sustain its current standard of living by selling its services and brainpower abroad.

Debt and Artificial Intelligence Time Bombs

The general election debates focused mainly on how we should spend our wealth, not on how we can create more real wealth or repay our mounting national debt. Indeed the pro-immigration parties (Labour, LibDems, SNP and Greens) continued to peddle the myth that population growth boosts per capita living standards rather than overburden our existing infrastructure and thus drive up demand for more housing, roads, sewage treatment plants, power stations, hospitals and imported resources. None addressed the biggest existential issue that will affect young people entering the work force over the next 30–40 years: automation of most repetitive manual and clerical jobs that require neither advanced analytical skills or a high degree of authentic emotional intelligence. Even many high skill jobs such as heart surgeons or dentists will soon give way to AI-enhanced robots, with humans acting more as consultants than operatives. The long and short of it is if you have a practical IQ below around 110, you'll be relatively useless to most wealth-creating businesses. Whether you like or not, non-productive public services may support wealth creation, but they don't actually create the real material wealth we need to sustain our way of life. Creating more jobs in social services merely pays people to monitor other people. If you just want to boost consumer demand, you could pay people to do nothing as long as they are well behaved. This long-term trend towards greater welfare dependence rather than less may be another key factor behind Corbyn's surprise win. Many young people simply do not see themselves earning enough to fund their lifestyle without a helping hand from someone unless they are blessed with a rich parents or an extraordinarily creative talent. The paradigm shift away from free market capitalism to a new form of technocratic corporatism has begun with support from surprising quarters such as the CEOs of major tech giants and well-funded NGOs.

Derailing Brexit

To some leaving the European Union was about restoring the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. Yet the small island state has long depended not only on global trade, but on tight integration with the US and European economies. Tory Brexiters never really cared that much about controlling migratory flows to protect native workers or safeguard our shared cultural heritage in a fast-changing and unstable world. With a minority government reliant on the votes of Northern Ireland's DUP (Democratic Unionist Party, formely led by Ian Paisley), the weakened Prime Minister will be forced to make major concessions in her Brexit negotiations. It now seems almost certain that the UK will stay in the European Single Market, potentially with some exemptions on the misnamed Freedom of Movement, which given dwindling demand for semi-skilled workers will soon become untenable without harmonising both welfare provision and salary levels across countries with very different economic realities. If it were possible to join a Community of European Nations cooperating on join environmental and security concerns, I'd sign up tomorrow. What we needed to defend was the concept of compact nation states with control over the levers of economic and social power, so each country can not only respond to the culturally sensitive concerns of their citizens, but also experiment and innovate in different ways. Nation states are the only way to preserve both cultural diversity and the kind of liberal social democratic values that have engendered the most successful and peaceful societies ever. What most voters did not want were deregulated labour markets and rapidly changing communities, especially not the kind of ethnic cleansing that blights many of our inner cities. I don't see any of the major parties addressing these long-term issues and also suspect the remnants of UKIP will struggle to regain any electoral relevance in their current guise. Their policies may have made some sense 30 years ago, but are unfit to address the challenges of the 21st century.

Silver Lining

Scottish Independence was always a pipe dream. Scotland's economy and people are inextricably bound to the rest of the UK. The only hope the SNP ever had was to reinvest the massive proceeds of North Sea oil into new high tech industries. Alas oil prices have plummeted and new oil fields lie 1000s of metres below sea level, making extraction a very resource-intensive process with a low EROEI rate. The SNP's other strategy, Independence within the EU, has backfired because people know Europe as a whole is struggling to deal with unprecedented migratory flows from poorer countries . The idea that Scotland could soon emulate the wealthier regions of the EU is as fanciful as imagining we could become a new Switzerland or Norway (both outwith the EU) with such a high rate of welfare dependence and a failing education system. Scotland was thus the only part of the UK where the Tories made significant gains in this election. While the SNP pitched themselves on the anti-austerity left, Scottish Labour managed to recover and gain a few seats and a healthy 27.1% of the popular vote (SNP 36.9%, Tories 28.6% and LibDems 6.8%). Scotland often bucks UK-wide trends. If England shifts right, Scotland appears to veer left. This time the opposite happened and given the rapid demographic transformation of urban England, it should surprise nobody.

Categories
Power Dynamics War Crimes

Another Day, Another Attack

British and Saudi Royals

How the British Foreign Policy Elite favoured its short-term commercial interests over the long-term security and wellbeing of its citizens.

Just in case you haven't read the news. Seven people were killed and 48 others injured in a van and knife attack on London Bridge and Borough Market, in which three suspects were shot dead by police. The perpetrators chanted This is for Allah. This comes just 12 days after an attack at the Manchester Arena with 22 fatalities and dozens more casualties.

When will we finally admit it? We can only enjoy the relative freedom to walk the streets of our cities in safety unperturbed by random terrorist attacks or oppressive policing, if first we manage our social environment sensibly and second we all share values of common decency and mutual respect. The fiction we prefer to believe is, despite many teething troubles, we are somehow all embarking on a new era of universal peace and love, breaking down barriers that once divided us and opening our hearts and minds to humanity's wonderful diversity. I agree cultural diversity may often be an asset because there's more than one way to interpret the world around us or organise complex human societies. The reality is too many of us are competing in a global rat race to acquire a bigger slice of the wealth created by a handful of global corporations to further our own subculture (whether it's postmodern narcissism or Islamic fundamentalism), genetic lineage or just satisfy our whims and fancies. In short, we may preach one-world love, but we practice selfish indulgence, which naturally lets others, smarter or more influential than we are, manipulate our desires and prey on our weaknesses.

Many wishful thinkers (a hackneyed epithet, I know) simply want to have their cake and eat it. They want to benefit from the wonders of dynamic, vibrant and fluid multicultural societies (which are really converging on a consumer monoculture) and a growing economy with plenty of technological innovation, yet complain when a few misfits spoil their party with acts of the vilest hatred imaginable. Whatever crimes our rulers may have committed, one can hardly blame carefree youngsters enjoying a pop concert, performed incidentally by an artist who has supported pro-refugee charities, or late night revellers in one of Europe's most ethnically diverse cities. The attackers did not care if you read the Guardian or Daily Telegraph, if you support open borders, if you oppose the Syrian government, if you hate Vladimir Putin, if you favoured gay marriage, marched against the Iraq War or dutifully displayed refugees welcome signs. To indoctinated Jihadis, you are all just infidels and will suffer the same fate as Orthodox Christians in Syria and Egypt. These attacks have grown in intensity over the last five years with hundreds of deaths every month and tens of thousands forced to flee their homes.

Let us face the ugly truth. Islamic fundamentalism is by any measure one of the most illiberal, intolerant and regressive ideologies that has ever cursed our planet. Its respect for human life and real cultural diversity is comparable in every way to Naziism. Yet today's self-declared anti-fascists, who in Britain organise under the banner of Hope Not Hate, prefer to march against fringe Little Englanders, UKIP or anyone else who supports stronger immigration controls, wishes to preserve traditional English, Welsh or Scottish culture or just uphold the kind of liberal values we had adopted by the 1960s and 70s in the face of Islamic fundamentalism and state-enforced suppression of intellectual freedom. If Hope Not Hate and antifa really wanted to combat totalitarianism, they would march against Islamic extremism rather than appease it.

Establishment Complicity

Our government's reaction to these attacks has always been the same: to restrict everyone's freedom and privacy. It took Prime Minister Theresa May just 12 hours to announce higher levels of Internet surveillance. So we all have to have our social media and private electronic correspondence monitored just in case we express sympathy for proscribed organisations or even for political causes opposed to our rulers' vision of globalisation. I honestly do not buy the theory that Western governments want to impose Islam on Europeans and North Americans. If Islamic fundamentalism colonises the West, as Francophone Algerian writer, Boualem Sansal, foretells in his recent apocalyptic novel 2084: The End of the World, it could in my view only occur due to a systemic collapse of Western civilisation, which continues to spread in the form of mass consumerism and rapid technological innovation in most of the world. If Saudi Arabia represents a threat, it does so with weaponry we sold them and with the proceeds of our addiction to its abundant cheap oil, which just happens to lie under their sand. If there were easy alternatives to fossil fuels, our energy companies would have adopted them decades ago. Indeed Norway and Japan have already converted most of their cars to hybrid or all-electric engines, but that transition will only partially relieve our dependence on petrochemicals. The Middle East quagmire and the emergence of radical Islam or Wahhabism is a direct consequence of decades of US, UK, Israeli and to a lesser extent French foreign policy in the region.

Naturally the affluent elites can always buy greater seclusion from the masses and the kind of internecine urban warfare that inevitably follows the breakdown of social stability, especially in locales with divergent ethnocultural communities. The last adjective implies a difference in ethnic background and/or in cultural identity. One's ethnicity is largely transmitted through one's parents and upbringing, while one's cultural identity, such as religious affiliation or adopted lifestyle, tends to be much more fluid.

Deliberate Destabilisation

There are two ethical justifications for military interventions abroad. One is to defend your own country against foreign aggression. The other, known as humanitarian intervention, is to prevent mass murder or obscene human rights abuses. For most of our history, our rulers have presented these rationales as defence of the fatherland and spreading our superior civilisation. Thus the British Empire saw its role as civilising primitive tribes and backward societies. Yet these pretexts have a very bad track record as the outcome of one allegedly defensive war can soon justify another war, whose rationale depends on a selective interpretation of objective reality. While we can certainly cite examples where the bad guys, i.e. the side with the most repressive or murderous regime, lost (e.g. the defeat of Nazi Germany), there are countless others where the winning military power is so dominant from a cultural and technological standpoint that it can rewrite history to fit the narrative it wishes its new citizens to believe. Europeans did not conquer the Americas and Australasia in order to liberate the native peoples of those continents, but to expand their mercantile empires and colonise new resource-rich land.

As Britain transitioned from a colonial power to a modern European state, its foreign policy elite had to find a new role as mere vassals of a larger US-centred corporate empire. Yet the UK continued to exert considerable influence in the post-colonial era. The Foreign Office and secret services had acquired a good deal of expertise in forging strategic alliances with ethnic or religious factions with a grievance against their new governing authorities. This was especially easy in the many artificial states created by post-colonial planners or in the case of Iraq, hastily drawn on a map as the victors of WW1 carved up the former Ottoman Empire. The Foreign Office's has for the last 60 odd years endeavoured to make the world safe for big business and thereby to capitalise on Britain's post-imperial influence on one hand, while destabilising any regional powers that threatened the supremacy of global corporations. In a complex world, this is no easy task especially when you're competing with rival powers such as Russia, China or India or even settling scores with allies like France (e.g. UK support for the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front to embarrass France over its previous support for the deposed Hutu-led Rwandan government).

Since the late 1990s the Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May administrations have presided over two policy areas that favour Britain's commercial and geopolitical interests over the security of its own people.

  1. Interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have not only destabilised those countries, they have unleashed a large migratory wave from a region with a high birthrate and serious environmental challenges. If humanitarian intervention had been successful, we might expect the migratory tide to ebb.
  2. Relaxed immigration controls from the Muslim countries with easier family reunions. Official immigration restrictions may have seemed rather strict and even unfair on a personal level (the liberal media loves to cite examples of Australian or US citizens whose work visas have expired despite being married to UK nationals), but in practice a well-organised army of migration lawyers manage to circumvent most restrictions, so the UK's Muslim population has continued to grow both through new immigration and a high fertility rate. Vast swathes of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, Luton and many other towns and cities across the country now have Muslim majorities who live as parallel communities. The so-called liberal media has tried its level best to downplay the scale of creeping ethnic cleansing, but I've experienced its reality first hand. Many state schools in these voluntarily segregated districts have no non-Muslim pupils at all. Worse still, Islamic schools, often funded with Saudi money, have proliferated in our larger cities. For all the talk of multicultural harmony and integration, communities have grown apart as the traditional settled communities vote with their feet and move to outlying suburbs and satellite towns. Yet to many globalists, even to mention this problem is tantamount to racism.

However, the complicity of our ruling elites goes much deeper. British secret services have long colluded with Islamic extremists to destabilise unfriendly regimes. Mark Curtis, author of Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam, has detailed how the Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, and his father were members of a Libyan dissident group, covertly supported by the UK to assassinate Qadafi in 1996 . This is a very funny way of combatting religious extremism and fostering social harmony in a tolerant multicultural world. Many now yearn for the days when London cafés only served eggs, bacon and chips with a cup of tea, but at least you could identify common criminals.

Categories
Computing Power Dynamics

Capitalism is Dead, long live global corporatism

Why some greedy bankers may want Corbyn to win

I had wanted to expand on my Brave New World thesis in relation to mounting calls from the trendy left and business leaders for a universal basic income. We now see an alliance stretching from social justice warriors, environmentalists and no-borders activists to corporate CEOs all advocating what is in practice a global welfare state. Since Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, joined SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to support UBI (universal basic income), it's become clear to me that tech multinationals are planning for a future where most of their customers will not be workers, who earn money by providing services that big business needs, but citizens whose main responsibility in life will be social conformity and deference to the techno-elite. Just as we thought capitalism had won the great idealogical battle of the 20th century, it has now outlived its purpose as the primary engine of social and technological innovation. Capitalists rely not only on the exploitation of workers, but also on profits from the sales of their goods or services. As workers demand higher pay, shorter working hours and better working conditions, capitalists naturally resort to outsourcing and greater automation. The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution will redefine the relationship between businesses and customers. Previously the market worked by selling goods to workers who in turn earned a living through their productive endeavours. Now big business has dispensed with the need to have so many semi-skilled workers and as AI progresses, so will the minimum IQ required for remunerative work. Most of us could end up either being carers, reliant of state handouts, or being labelled subnormal and thus also dependent on welfare largesse. In the not too distant future the main responsibility of governments may be to redistribute wealth created by tech giants and to supervise their local population to prevent social breakdown. If most people depend on corporate welfare, albeit rebranded as universal basic income, it doesn't really matter where they live. That's why so much of the debate on mass migration misses the point. Naturally if the citizens of a given country wanted greater autonomy, they would need a sustainable population and cohesive community with shared values. In a traditional economy immigration can boost demand and fill skills gaps, but can also lead to unbalanced labour markets and social upheaval. By contrast in a world reliant on corporate welfare only a small minority of working age adults can fill a dwindling number of remunerative high skill jobs. Even most tasks performed by carers can be automated. Human carers can only outperform robots in advanced emotional intelligence and authenticity, both of which require cultural compatibility. If you just need some help dressing and bathing, you may well prefer a smart robot to an underpaid migrant carer with a poor command of your language. If tech multinationals are willing to bankroll universal basic income in Europe or North America, why should they not extend the same privileges to the rest of the world? If your sole role in life is to act as a good global citizen looking after your family and neighbours, then surely you could fulfil that role anywhere, but that would also subordinate all governments to the same worldwide technocratic elite. Nonetheless, my thesis remains incomplete as we see rifts in our ruling elites, some still favouring the illusion of laissez-faire capitalism.

Could Corbyn really win ?

However, events in the UK have kind of overtaken me. Just a couple of weeks ago most political pundits believed a sizeable Tory majority in the coming UK general election was a foregone conclusion. May's local council election results would seem to back this up. Labour did fairly well in trendy cosmopolitan urban areas, while amazingly the Tories gained support among traditional working class voters with LibDems doing best in affluent leafy suburbs. Even in Scotland, which often bucks the English and Welsh trend, we saw the Conservatives pick up votes in some unexpected places as the main opposition to the dominant SNP (Scottish National Party). Then the mainstream broadcasters and social media campaigners began to present Labour's policies in a much more positive light. Corbyn's Labour now promises to renationalise the railways (something New Labour failed to do) and scrap tuition fees while naturally boosting social welfare in many other areas, all presumably funded by raising corporation tax and income tax for the top 5% who earn more than £100,000 a year. Labour has pledged to respect the outcome of EU referendum and prioritise training of British-born youngsters to address perceived skills shortages. More important, Labour has been much more active on the ground than the Tories. While Corbyn may not have the confidence of bellicose Blairite MPs, his leadership has energised an army of young activists, who true to their convictions have attempted to reach out to the working classes, whose confidence Labour have lost.

Islamic Terror rocks the Election Campaign

Last week's bomb attack at Manchester's Ariana Grande concert shocked the nation. What kind of ideology could justify deliberately detonating a nail bomb in a crowded music venue killing 22 innocent revellers including many young girls? Even the IRA tended to target politicians, soldiers and adult protestants. This attack targeted carefree youngsters having a good time. Many have commented on the mainstream media's reluctance to blame radical Islam head on. Britain's growing Muslim community has many difficulties integrating with the country's settled non-Muslim population with radically different cultural attitudes on sexuality, marriage, women's rights, alcohol and gambling. More disturbingly the establishment media has suppressed the scale of mainly Muslim grooming gangs. Yet most people are smart enough not to blame a whole religion for the actions of a tiny minority of its adherents. Islamic terrorism seemed confined to a handful of trouble spots in the Middle East and Central Asia, until our enlightened liberal elite decided to intervene there to overthrow local regimes responsible for abuses of human rights. Rather than stabilise the region, Western intervention has unleashed a hornets nest of Islamic extremism that has spread its tentacles far and wide among the growing Muslim diasporas in the West. So rather than blame their Muslim neighbours, many voters have laid the blame for the murder of 22 innocent youngsters with the government and it doesn't take a genius to work out that on foreign policy and arms sales Theresa May is much closer to Tony Blair than Jeremy Corbyn. Saudi Arabia has long been one of the major funders of Mosques, Islamic schools and madrasas in the West and the cradle of Wahhabism, the most virulent strain of Islam fundamentalism. Yet British governments have been happy to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which currently spends more on military hardware than Russia, despite the former having a much smaller territory and fewer citizens to defend. Of course, one could also blame rapid mass migration and ethnic cleansing of some inner city districts, but that's not something we can change overnight without triggering even worse social unrest. So when Jeremy Corbyn attributed part of the blame to UK involvement in recent conflicts in Libya and Syria, he had a point. Indeed Mark Curtis, author of Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam, has detailed the Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, and his father were members of a Libyan dissident group, covertly supported by the UK to assassinate Qadafi in 1996 . Of course that does not fully explain why similar attacks have occurred in Sweden, Germany and most notoriously in France, except Islamic terrorists do not really distinguish Western countries they way we do. Theresa May's response was to deploy army reserves onto the streets to supplement armed police, only revealing her earlier cutbacks in policing as home secretary.

The long and short of this whole sorry saga, is that in just two weeks the Tory lead over Labour has shrunk from 15% or higher (some polls showing staggering leads of 46% to the Tories with Labour on just 25%) to as low as 3% (The YouGov poll released on 01/06/2017 for the Times had topline figures of Con 42% and Lab 39). Corbyn's Labour is now polling higher than the party did under Ed Miliband or Gordon Brown. Indeed even Tony Blair, despite enjoying the support the Murdoch press, only gained 35.2% of the popular vote in 2005 and just 43.2% in alleged 1997 landslide. Although I'm no seasoned psephologist, I suspect a marked movement away from the Liberal Democrats and Greens to Labour and only a much smaller trickle away from the Conservatives and UKIP to Labour. Most intriguingly, Labour seem to be doing best among affluent cosmopolitan professional classes, the youth vote (18–24 years) and of course among its special interest groups, the rainbow coalition of ethnic minorities, Muslims, gays, transsexuals and welfare dependents).

As discussed earlier, this heterogenous demographic is only set to grow in coming decades. Corbyn's politics may seem like an anachronistic throwback to the 1970s, but his naive inclusive universalism may serve other long-term agendas brilliantly. The latte-sipping Guardian reading classes now loathe USA's climate change denying President and Vladimir Putin much more the Europe's authoritarian politicians or a Labour leader in bed with a bunch of unreconstructed Marxists. Only ten years ago the bien-pensant metropolitan elite still supported Blair's third way. Now they are throwing their electoral weight behind a more radical strand of globalism.

Derailing Brexit

Only a year ago, the outcome of Britain's EU referendum signalled public discontent with enforced rapid globalisation. Ever since the Conservative Government have attempted to use this somewhat unexpected result to drive their own vision of a more globally connected Britain, while placating public concerns about unbalanced mass migration. Brexit, like most neologisms, means all things to all people. As said I have nothing against a community of European nations cooperating on many strategic environmental and economic issues. Indeed I'd prefer a European Community that stood up for the rights and rich cultural heritage of Europeans as a counterbalance to the growing power of China and India and as a bastion of liberal values threatened by authoritarian tendencies within Islam.

Amazingly Theresa May, who wanted to remain in the EU, has capitalised on public distrust of the European superstate, while advocating policies that seem perfectly aligned with those of Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron. How could she possibly renege on her commitment to take Britain out of the EU with a slender Tory majority reliant on the support of fervent Brexiters such as David Davis, a curious politician with refreshingly honest views on personal freedom and military adventurism (he opposed many recent military interventions and many laws restricting personal privacy). However, with substantial majority, as Peter Hitchens suggested in his Mail On Sunday blog, PM May could safely ignore her nostalgic Little England colleagues and push through a compromise that would in practice differ little from our current arrangement, leaving large corporations as the main mediators between British and EU interests. But that scenario may not happen. Many reluctant Tory supporters (i.e. patriotic working class voters who used to vote Labour) could well stay at home, making the unthinkable, a hung parliament, a real possibility, except unlike in 2010 the LibDems may only muster a handful of MPs.

We may speculate on the growing role of social media. Both Twitter, which I use, and Facebook, which I don't, have become intensely monitored outlets for virtue-signalling social justice campaigns, usually of the kind that the Corbynite Momentum group would wholeheartedly support. While I realise these days we only need a small group of graphic designers, video editors and Web developers to produce a polished media campaign, I sense the omnipresent hand of international big business behind the myriad campaign groups and NGOs that endlessly promote these awareness-raising spectacles. How else can migrant rights groups afford plush offices in expensive cities ? I really started to question the authenticity of today's corporate left when Greenpeace (an organisation I used to support) supported the White Helmets, which as Vanessa Beeley has amply documented are little more than war propagandists bought and paid for by the US and UK governments.

They are clearly working in cahoots with a tangled web of trendy tech entrepreneurs, globalist bankers such as George Soros whose through his Open Society Foundation, countless NGOs bankrolled by big business and a motley crew of old school Marxists who have long dreamed of a borderless utopia.

I still predict Theresa May will win her snap election albeit with a smaller majority than initially hoped, largely because most older voters would rather side with the devil they know than risk an unpredictable Labour-led coalition, who could hasten the rate of cultural change.