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Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?

A New Leadership

What is Starmer saying? Does he really want to get rid of fossil fuels?

He’s using the language of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion.

But unlike them he is the leader of a political party who claims to believe in democracy.

Under Jeremy Corbyn Labour made a commitment to cut emissions to net zero by 2030. But is this even possible?

Will Starmer intervene to ‘save the planet’?

Where will the cuts in energy consumption come from?

From what level to what level? Who is going to have to make the sacrifices?

If Starmer’s plan is to move Labour in the direction of environmentalism then why does he have people in his Shadow Cabinet who voted to expand Heathrow?

Angela Rayner, Rachel Reeves, David Lammy, John Healey, Jonathan Reynolds, Jonathan Ashworth, & Kate Green all voted to expand Heathrow in 2018, along with most Tories. Boris conveniently left for Afghanistan that day.

Billionaires Vote Democrat, The Republican Party is for Mere Millionaires

Given the huge majority of MPs who voted for Heathrow expansion, you would have thought the expansion would go ahead.

But anti-expansion campaigners won the appeal and now the case has been heard by the Supreme Court which will deliver its judgment in January.

The case can be watched here

SC-Hearing-Memo

Heathrow still plan to build a third runway.

But who exactly are Heathrow’s owners?

25% Spanish, 20% Qatari, 12.62% Canadian, 11.2% Singaporean, 11.18% American, 10 % Chinese, and 10% British.

So the majority of MPs have decided to go with foreign capital to build a third runway.

At the same time that the Government is accelerating deportations, increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric, and airlines are going out of business due to the current financial crisis.

So what’s to be done?

Will UK PLC find a way to be awarded the right to build another runway, even as the Government ploughs ahead with COP26 (sponsored by Nat West)?

Mr Starmer himself voted against the expansion of Heathrow Airport, but that’s not to say that every Labour MP who voted against Heathrow expansion is against expanding airports.

My MP Karen Buck told me that she voted against Heathrow because she prefers Gatwick.

Starmer, like former Transport Secretary and current London Mayor Sadiq Khan, is proud to call himself pro-Business.

Can business and environmentalism co-exist?

When ex Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who will play a prominent role at UN COP26 in Glasgow in November, claims to want to monitor climate risk and avoid climate breakdown I am reminded that he was appointed by the Cameron Government which went from Vote Blue, Go Green, to Vote Blue, Get Real.

Carney also said nothing when Theresa May got rid of the UK Government Climate Change department. May generally voted against measures to prevent climate change.

Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?

Richard White is an American historian, the author of influential books on the American WestNative American history, railroads, and environmental history.

This article was written 25 years ago. I’ve never read it but just stumbled across it now. I couldn’t find it when I last searched for it in 2013. I did listen to some of the Richard White podcast above around the same time. Mr White mentions the tar sands in Canada.

sust-white

The Money System

COP26 looks like it is going to be a an authoritarian power grab by the banks.

This is Roger Lewis of Moduloft’s recent magazine on the Great Reset.

It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court rules on Heathrow in January. There will be a ruling on Julian Assange around the same time.

It’s hard not to look at these cases and not feel that British Justice itself is on trial. With the current people in charge, I’m certainly not betting on justice anytime soon, but you never know.

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BREAKING: Blood-soaked Babylon Health CEO taints NHS by attending Davos in the Desert

Blood, Tech, & Smears

On Tuesday 29th October 2019, Ali Parsa, CEO of Babylon Health, the firm that competes with the NHS for GP business, will be speaking at “What’s next for Life and Health?” , a plenary at Future Investment Initiative, also known as the Davos in the Desert, hosted by the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia.

The Chairman of the PIF is Mohammad Bin Salman the controversial Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who ruthlessly tortured and asset stripped many of his cousins in November 2017 in a move that was compared to the way Putin often chases Russian oligarchs, before ordering the extraterritorial killing of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi.

White House Chief of Staff Jared Kushner will attend.

Homosexuality is banned in Saudi Arabia and there are many rules that prevent even a semblance of equality for women.

Hypocrisy is order of the day as liberal Kushner’s father Charlie, though feigning to be a devout practiser of the Jewish faith, also happens to be a practising homosexual.

Ali Parsadoust of Babylon Health is marked as representing the United States!

PIF own stakes in Babylon Health, which is currently undermining the NHS, expanding massively in Britain, and has been praised to the heavens by British Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently identified that PM Boris Johnson’s Chief of Staff Dominic Cummings has been paid for consultancy work for Babylon.

Here is the full programme:

Khashoggi-2

Babylon were the subject of a London Conversation blog earlier today:

For more on Babylon, London Conversation published this blog post two days ago, the Babylon part is toward the end:

Other conference attendees include Jared Kushner, former UK PM David Cameron, Bilderberg man Martin Sorrell, Trade Minister Graham Stuart, Manchester United Managing Director Richard Arnold, Head of HSBC sustainable finance Zoe Knight, PWC’s Health Partner Hamish Clark, London Stock Exchange’s David Schwimmer, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and more.

In December the World Heavyweight Championship Boxing champion will be decided in Saudi.

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Nudged in New Cross

Behaviouralist Bants

So I thought Skinner was the bad guy. The really mechanistic one. Or was it Watson?

Who said we are basically all the same and that our feelings and personal stories don’t really matter.

That there is no such thing as experience. That we are all automatons. The one who put his daughter in a box.

These guys were out of fashion when I learned about them in the early 90s.

But then there was a behavioural revival of sorts. Which in turn enveloped economics.

But behavioural economics said we are all predictably irrational. That classical economics is wrong but behavioural economics is right.

But there are assumptions in behavioural economics too.

Such as that we have limited time and limited information.

Gigerenzer shows that lifting the information and time caps leads to bad decision making – even for experts.

He says we all excel at fast and frugal decision making and that overthinking things induces a form of judgment paralysis.

So behavioural economics itself is quite wrong in terms of how it is applied outside the narrowest of conditions.

And refuses to admit it only thrives under controlled conditions.

But it’s about control.

Choice architecture. Avoiding decision fatigue. Favorably automating information flows. Forcing people into certain situations and pretending it’s both logical and exemplifying freedom.

Someone tell Oliver Letwin.

He’s kind of gone now. Still an MP but not quite the eminence grise he once was.

He spoke about his ideas at the institute of government in 2014, I think.

Outlining the Road from Mont Pelerin that his parents and he had trundled. And then he admitted that he now realised that Intervention does work.

What kind of intervention do you mean, Oliver?

Surely not state intervention in markets – not a liberal like you?

Nor QE, where central banks do the heavy lifting that austerity governments ought really to be doing.

Oliver Letwin revealed that he was taking about the nudge unit.

Though he didn’t mention the job centre – he was probably talking about over there too.

His wife Isabel was head of legal services at The Department of Work and Pensions and at the Department of Health. Oliver’s crackpot ideas will have been used on mental health patients and “under” & “unemployed” people who didn’t really need them.

Of course the machinery of government exists to prevent anyone really knowing the consequences of their actions.

Agnatology is another word for ignorance studies. Sociologist Linsey McGoey has a book out on the topic next year. The Unknowers. Watch out for it.

There is always a latest fad via which the old school asset stripping is masked.

Dark Pools

At book club we looked at Dark Pools. The rise of AI and high frequency trading. I couldn’t help but think when presented with these smart idealist insurgent American price scalpers – You Got To Pick a Pocket or Two!!!

So there. From Hangman on the High Street to Richard Thaler’s Nobel 2017 Prize for Nudging.

Cancer research UK has me thinking of the Crick Institute, big pharma and the next Goldman Sachs social impact bond. This a featured big under Cameron, Osborne and Letwin and was just an excuse to privatize the NHS and get volunteers to steer the handover.

Will Davies looks at some of this stuff in Happiness Industry and Nervous States – links between neo-liberal policies, technology, happiness and “well being” discourse. I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure big pharma has its place in there too.

There’s some great work being done on investigating all this but it’s pretty under the radar.

Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Once you start looking into any of this funny things start happening.

The Road from Mont Pelerin.

I met up with John Christensen of tax justice Network yesterday who told me about The Finance Curse, a new book out by Nicholas Shaxson.

There’s some research accompanying the launch, this Friday, which sheds light on the colossal cost to the UK of the Finance Curse.

Meanwhile check out his film The Spiders Web on YouTube and for updates on what the Tax Justice Network are up to check out the TaxCast with Naomi Fowler.

When discussing Mont Pelerin, I told John I once met Linda Whetstone, whose father, Anthony Fisher, set up the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

John asked me how a man who so frequently invoked freedom could make his money from forcing hens into cages barely big enough for them to even breathe.

The Macron Curse

It looks like Macron is going to copy Blair and go all out for neoliberalism.

God knows what that will do to the environment and the Paris Climate accord!

I’m meeting Chloé Farrand of DeSmogUK tomorrow and will report back where she thinks we are heading.

The finance curse has done nothing to improve the gender pay gap in London. So I wonder what the figures look like in France.

London Conversation

I’m planning on publishing more frequently.

The idea is that with heightened fluency might come some sort of style.

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Culture Wars: When ‘Consent’ means Rape

Adultery just made an appearance in the NYT Ethicist Column:

  1. The reader claims although he and his wife love each other, she’s been very ill and has said he can have affairs.
  2. He’s agonising over whether to be honest about his situation with future sexual partners.
  3. He disclosed his circumstances on a dating site and ended up being called an adulterer and a ‘dirty old man’.

Here is the Ethicist’s reply:

Marital vows should not, in ordinary circumstances, be subject to renegotiation. But you have taken your wife’s declaration to mark a departure from ordinary circumstances. What now? Sex requires the consent of all parties involved, and real consent rules out substantial misrepresentation. So you’ll have to find a partner who’s O.K. with your situation. This, as you’ve discovered, may be difficult, given the attitudes of the women on your dating site, most of whom will want at least the prospect of a romantic relationship. (You refer to having your wife’s permission; some of your respondents may have wondered whether she really felt she had a choice. But presumably you’ve decided that her consent was in fact full-hearted and freely given.)

So what is Consent anyway?

This bit:

 Sex requires the consent of all parties involved, and real consent rules out substantial misrepresentation.

Ok, so this is interesting. We’re now talking about full consent and partial consent. Where partial consent would be based on incomplete or unreliable information.

a.k.a. Alternative Facts / Unknown Unknowns.

How many of Weinstein, Spacey or Savile’s alleged victims could be argued to have consented?

On the grounds they were free to reject their alleged assailant’s advances?

It wouldn’t require a particularly skilled lawyer to make such an argument.

Not if the courts put the onus on victims to prove, without evidence, that they refused to consent.

Culture War

November 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther kickstarting the Reformation by nailing his demands to a Wittenberg church door.

Sexual Reformation

The smart people at the Spectator recently found a way to combine the Westminster fallout from the Weinstein Sexual harassment scandal with the anniversary of Luther’s Reformation.

They likened the media frenzy about sexual abuse in Westminster to a witch hunt and painted it as positively Puritan.

Even the Conservative Woman decided to get in on the act and attack the left’s feminism for depriving men of sex.

Yes that’s right – The Conservative Woman!

So what would a real Puritan have to say about all this?

Peter Hitchens attacks the Jihadi Left.

When Rape becomes Consent

Under certain circumstances actual rape, as above, is reclassified as consent.

What about the other way around?

In the British Spycops case several law-abiding UK campaigners ‘consented’ to sex with undercover police who had infiltrated their activist groups by using false identities and lying about the state-funded nature of their motives.

In one case a policeman fathered a child with an activist — before going missing.

One victim has referred to this as Institutional Rape.

Given the seriousness of these crimes and the fact that they were carried out by law enforcement officers following orders, it is staggering that there hasn’t been a full Inquiry launched so as to ensure complete transparency about this chapter of our history and to be able to learn lessons and move on.

Instead we face more cover-ups as our cowardly leaders close ranks once again and teach us that they literally rape with impunity.

 Sex requires the consent of all parties involved, and real consent rules out substantial misrepresentation.

PM Theresa May and current Home Secretary Amber Rudd will both be fully aware of these cases.

But there’s a culture war being played out.

Both have presided over failed Child Sexual Abuse Inquiries again involving Westminster Paedophiles.

The stakes are high and until May or Rudd chooses to end the culture of abuse, the reign of terror will have no end.

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Accidence & Incidents: Aurobindo, Koestler, Oakeshott

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

FT political leader writer, Sebastian Payne recently referred to the Conservative Party’s pre-eminent post-war philosopher — Michael Oakeshott.

So why do Tories love him?

1. Oakeshott was a philosopher — not a neo-liberal economist.

2. Unlike Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman, or even Arthur Seldon, Oakeshott was a bona fide English Gentleman.

3. He wasn’t actually that interested in politics.

Oakeshott was appointed Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics in 1968 – at a time when Daniel Cohn Bendit (Nous sommes tous les Juifs Allemands / We are all German Jews) was over from Paris attempting to foment revolution at the London University.

By simply not being a leftist, unlike his predecessor Harold Laski, Oakeshott did more to foster the LSE neo-liberal counter insurgency than many realise.

Oakeshott was very good friends with Oliver Letwin’s mother Shirley Letwin who wrote the Anatomy of Thatcherism shortly before passing away in 1993.

A lot of these relationships are outlined in the wonderful Thinking the Unthinkable by Richard Cockett.

Thatcher once said “Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.”

Given that Oliver Letwin has since discovered Behavioural Economics, as outlined in a previous post, it is telling that he chose to name his new book on the Conservative Party — Hearts and Minds.

Nudging people into loving deregulation hasn’t gone quite according to plan. In a way Letwin was hoist by his own petard. He wrote a paper called Drift to Union in 1988 in which he pointed out the risk of a Ever Closer Union and a European Superstate. But nevertheless he believed it would have been better to remain in the customs union whilst arguing for reforms.

He talks about the morning of Brexit as reminiscent of passages by Nadezhda Krupskaya on the morning of the Russian Revolution. A coup d’état had taken place with the ‘arch-Machiavelli’ David Davis being one of the major players.

Was all this madness just to suit the ambition of a bunch of Tory psychopaths?

A Guide to the Classics

Oakeshott wrote a book in the 30’s about how to pick the winner at the Epsom Derby.

Applying conservative principles to the world of horse-racing Oakeshott translated his way of thinking to something everyone could relate to — dealing with uncertainty.

In some fields this could be termed rationality, empiricism or even heuristics.

Oakeshott’s principles included checking a horse’s breeding and form and not just betting on a horse because of its name.

“Airborne”

Despite Oakeshott’s advice I couldn’t help but notice — at the top left of an early edition — a horse going by the name of ‘Airborne’.

Airborne, for a couple of years, was also my nickname for Daily Mail Columnist Peter Oborne.

And it just so happens that Oborne wrote the foreword to the June 2017 reissue of Oakeshott’s Guide to the Classics — the only reason I picked it up in the first place.

Merely co-incidence? Of course — but fun all the same.

It turns out that Airborne was a surprise winner. Nobody had heard of it but lots of people bet on it because of the airborne division in the war.

Oakeshott never claimed to make you rich, merely to help you think about how to think.

The Routes of Co-Incidence

Psychogeography

Several years ago I met a cousin of the great Indian teacher and Spiritual Guide Krishnamurthi. He (the cousin) was friends with my mother. I understand both were devotees of the late Sathya Sai Baba.

Krishnamurthi (for that was also the cousin’s name) told me all about Sri Aurobindo and the Upanishads.

For a mix of Oakeshottian and non-Oakeshottian reasons I decided to follow these leads, albeit at a leisurely pace.

The Krishnamurthi who I had  spent time with was an eloquent inspiring man.

I soon discovered that I had (briefly) attended the same school as Aurobindo in London — St Paul’s.

I call my reasoning partly Oakeshottian because of the  breeding component.

Not racial necessarily — but I did also find out that Aurobindo was Bengali.

Turns out most Bangladeshis may be Dravidian — not unlike yours truly — a Tamil from Sri Lanka (via Paddington).

Aurobindo would have been a Hindu – like the Bengalis I came across at St Paul’s

They were all very high caste. Or so it appeared.

From Death to Death will go the man
who discriminates between,
What is seen in the unseen world
and unseen in the seen

This is my re-edit of a line in the Upanishads that I found highly useful.

As a Hindu, once I die, I don’t want to come back.

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Breaking: Corrupt Money Launderers HSBC bankrolled Corrupt Cameron & Corrupt Osborne’s Trips to Davos

Corrupt Money Launderers HSBC bankrolled David Cameron and George Osborne’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009, it has emerged.

The controversial lender lent the gaffe-prone billionaire bookie and former Tory Treasurer Michael Spencer £200 million pounds just a day before the massive Iceland Crisis that wiped billions of pounds off the balance sheets of many UK Local Authorities.

Many of these cash strapped Local Authorities had invested in Iceland because of advice given to them by one of Michael Spencer’s firms — Butlers.

Shortly after getting a £200million bailout from HSBC and narrowly avoiding bankruptcy because of the Iceland debacle (unlike his local authority clients), Spencer donated a million pounds to the Tory party.

It was around this time that Spencer’s holding company IPGL paid for Cameron and Osborne to fly to Davos by private jet.

This revelation is all the more galling given that Cameron and Osborne are known to have shaped regulation to favour HSBC and Spencer’s ICAP and torpedoed investigations into both firms both in the UK and the USA.

Some anti-corruption researchers and campaigners raised this issue with the HSBC board at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London on Friday but were sidelined.

The Canary have run a piece on the scandal which has received zero pick-up in the mainstream press.

For more info on Spencer read this article by the excellent I am Incorrigible :