Insurgencies Everywhere...

but not reported here. In Berlin, the 'Pirate Party' opposed to the cartels who somehow manipulated the Bundestag into a copyright law has shot forward to 8.5% of the vote. It's a regional election in a city state, and I know that odd things can happen in such places, but it neatly illustrates the libertarian turn that the Depression, or pre-depression, or whatever you want to call it, is taking in some places.

Ron Paul's win in the California straw poll would be a neat counterpart, except there, the electorate was miniscule and Paul spent a huge amount of money securing it. His managers appear to be running for Congress in a presidential election. This mismatch won't do his message any good.

The last big depression saw the rise of authentic American demagogues. Talmadges, LaFollettes, Coughlins, Longs, Sinclairs and FDR himself played to the Alcibiades gallery, whilst Europe and Britain were wracked with Mosleys, Hitlers, Mussolinis, and sundry others. Even Lloyd George had a realistic chance of a return at one point. In Ireland, the remains of the Independence Parties collapsed and reformed, as Fianna Fail took power.

Today, we're seeing similar contortions as what, for want of a better word, you can call the 'system' approaches breaking point. Stripped of ethics, values, competence, nationality, faith or any sense of tradition or history, and having assaulted family and marriage for some forty years now, the West has very little moral capital to fall back upon. Transparency and open debate have deeply degraded and damaged the churches and ecclesiastical communities that ought to provide some moral leadership, because they reveal the extent to which a fallen and corrupted world dragged down the people trading under God's name.

The contrast between Ireland and England is interesting. In Ireland--a smaller country--Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander and now a Catholic socialist, is seeking some form of redemption or affirmation by running as a 'people's president'. He is ranged against an upper-class twit who clung to South-American child rapists because they were anti-American socialists, a person who appears to be campaigning for paedophile rights, a sports organiser on the make, and a country-and-western singing Catholic fundamentalist currently resident in Alabama who may or may not run. McGuinness is offering a 'new beginning'--with no apologies, and with official rhetoric which defines Ireland as Catholic, Protestant or dissenter and seems to leave out people of other faiths or none.

The odd thing is that McGuinness may win, because every 'screw you' statement that individuals who have been royally done over by banks, authority figures and the media that is now made will come with the knowledge that the way to antagonise 'them' is to vote for him. That appears to be the IRA's calculation, and they have not, to coin a phrase, been knowingly undersold for some time.

In England, little seems to be happening on the surface. A few politicians are attempting to organise a referendum to leave the EU, which will probably fail. Others are showing quiet revolts at home. For example, some remarkable journalism by Richard North, seems to suggest that at least three million people--before the depression really hits, I might point out--are engaged in some sort of tax revolt. It involves not paying the absurdly high charge for low or bullying services known as the Council tax. Banks are clearly doing much the same--the poor chap arrested the other day for 'losing' $2.3 billion appears to have been a god fearing west african whose bosses encouraged or ignored the creation of fictitious counterparties in ETF contracts based around the Swiss Franc. They were ignoring authorities for whom they had nothing but justified contempt too. This latest 'rogue' ought to get off, as people like him often do in fair judicial systems; though not always.

We've seen three bursts of rioting--over student fees, in Trafalgar Square, and the criminally-inspired 'top shop' riots of the Summer--and the police appear demoralised and alienated enough to make one suspect that others will happen too. When police are down, they light matches in tinderboxes by throwing their weight about. When times go bad, and they are constrained by a playbook written in good times (a bit like the banksters with their standard deviations) they don't know what to do. When they don't even care, as many anecdotes suggest that they do not, things get even worse.

Meanwhile, the media go on, spinning relentlessly for house prices, false recoveries and a lifestyle that vanished in 2008.

Elsewhere in Europe, people have taken to the streets. Banks are frantically recapitalising as the chairs are taken away and the music slows, the purchasing power of money is falling as more is thrown on the fire at the same time as banks raise fees and deny credit (today's version of an interest rate) and everywhere, there is a sense that something has got to give.

Those not following the mad are clearly in some form of denial--they've attached their ipods to their minds and are going about their business regardless. It's becoming a theme of mine, but we are now at the point where any contingency--a volcano in Iceland, a hard winter, a bank collapse, a death--could push the west over the edge.

Remember, when at the shops; canned tuna, crispbread and beans last some time.


Anonymous said…
Martin, I'm older than you and I do remember Martin McGuiness ranting and raving in lunatic fashion. I was brought up in and Irish republican household and I don't have a problem.

I still find a complete transformation difficult to accept. The man is who he is and who he was.I don't think he can re-invent himself.

Martin Meenagh said…
Thanks for your comment, M. I hope that all is OK with you.
Toni said…
your warnings of the meltdown must make you feel like a guy with an end is nigh sandwich board in Ocford Street. For wat its worth I agree with you although my limited grasp of politics only allows me to comment on the financial aspects. What staggers me more than anything is how people now and in 2008 blythly carry on in ignorance. Most people have no idea te banking system was about to sut down in 2008 and even if they say they do, they don't fully comprehend what that means. I have heard a lot of people say "good, a lot of greedy bankers will lose their jobs". They never think that if the banks cease operations how do they get cash for as long as its good? The atms won't work and your chip and pin will be useless. Also how do you get paid whatever company you work for pays into a bank that is no longer accepting deposits and anyway the company you work for won't be recieving any payment from its customers or paying to its suppliers. The idea that China, a country where the average yearly wage is 2,500 usd a year, is going to come and save all of the businesses in Europe and America is about as reassuring as selling your ox for a few magic beans. In any event closure of te banking system in one country will spread like a plague and the fictional accounting used in China will provide no relief for their financial sector.
On a related subject looks like the time is running out for Greece, couple of big interest repayments due this week.
Martin Meenagh said…
Hi Toni
I agree with you, but deliberately toned down my warnings and observations after 2008. I do think that I laid out the start of the crisis in detail, and that I've mapped out what will happen, but solely doing that puts one in the position of being dismissed as hysterical. It's also the case that it becomes difficult to see through things which could be panics--like the flu outbreak--to things that should be, or are deeply threatening. Things fall together.
I don't think that I've ever condemned bankers as a group and I've always thought that they are necessary. It's just that there should be a free market in investment, with no state interference, and cautious lending for retail banking, a wall between them, and different ethics. I'd also like banks to compete with building societies, credit unions and the post office, and not to be all-powerful oligopolies.

I write that as someone with debts, but who used the credit boom to finish off my PhD and be called to the Bar--and who can pay those debts down. Others, who might feel suckered or pressured into the housing boom and now negative equity, might have reasons to be in a mix of denial and rising anger.

Thanks for your comment, as usual.
Martin. it is easy to be conspiratorial in my thinking. I look at the candidates running in Ireland and the USA - a sad lot on the whole - and wonder of this is the best that is available or are we only given a choice of mediocrity by the plutocrats. However in a recent published book by Ron Suskind, the Confidence Men, I am beginning to believe that we are in this mess because incompetents are in control and don't have a clue how an economy works. One thing is certain, due to their Keystone Cops actions in domestic and foreign affairs they have managed to bankrupt vibrant economies (USA and Ireland to name only two), decimate the middle class and bring death and destruction to a million or more in foreign follies. I heard a statistic on the radio this afternoon while hiking (so unverified) that the number of millionaires in the US has dropped in half during the Obama administration. If true, this is horrendous since it is entrepreneurs and small businesses that create jobs and emerging industries especially when trying to emerge from difficult economic times. Raising money or getting small business loans is just about impossible since the large banks are not lending and sitting on large amounts of cash. If you are a socialist, killing small business is the fastest route to collectivism especially with large oligopolies as your partners. Whether conspiracy or incompetence, life as we knew it will not be the same and given the fiscal and monetary problems in Europe and the USA things will not be getting much better for a while........All the best, Patrick
Martin Meenagh said…
I've always felt for small business people. Having known a few, I've seen them take home pennies, knock themselves out to keep employees on, advance money to people when they needed it--I even knew one who probably died for the chance of liberty that his growing business was giving him. They're overloaded with taxes and regulations on both sides of the Atlantic and they are the backbone of a free state. I'm also aware that, as a class, small business people are prone to what the French call Poujadiste or Thatcherite views, but I don't care, since a proper polity would listen to and balance all elements, and temper extremes.

We're out of kilter now, though, because a combination of money, failed university education, the political process and the way modern media works have massively narrowed the outlooks and choice of candidates for office. People sign up to an agenda, having learned politics or business out of a book, and plough on with it regardless of the human cost which they do not understand. The process is literally psychopathic, and is urged on by the press and a public that has been debased.

The corruption of the system is also frightening--partly by cocaine and immediate gratification, partly by the generation of unprecedented wealth by globalisation, partly by the effect of inflation since the sixties on hard working people without the assets to counter inflation. Europe and Britain have mostly been anaethesitised to it by whatever you want to call it--corporate socialism or welfarism--but time is running out. That pied piper will want his money soon....

And therein lies the rub. Real governments, with cojones, would nationalise the banks, cancel international debts, and lock themselves into low-tax economic reformation. They'd have encouraged innovation and the exploitation of domestic resources in the face of peak oil, rather than dancing on the fall-of-rome stupidity that is climate change. They wouldn't have become subject to the weird policies of gurus and charlatans.

You're right. Things will not be getting better for a while.

Thanks for your comment,


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