Category Archives: Therapeutic mutterings

My therapy.

Every


Every moment you were physically here.
Every second you remain with me to this day.

Every lesson you taught me.
Every memory you left me.
Every bruise you kissed away.
Every time you ruffled my hair.
Every face you pulled in distaste.

Every sacrifice you made, and;
Every time you said. “it will be okay.”
Every birthday card signed in your name.
Every time you offered me a hug.
Every sigh you made when I said, “I’ve fucked up………..again.”

Every shopping trip for shoes that would never quite fit.
Every pain, ache, and discomfort you handled with grace.
Every time we refused to say, “goodbye.”
Every time your husband tried to cook a pie, and;
Every time my sister teased me about being a mummy’s boy deep inside.

Every day I think of you Mum.
Because, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I will be forever proud to be called your son.

Man in Labour

Sitting behind the bluntness of North East folk and our landscape of gradually diminishing industries was a sense of identity, connectivity; some would say community and others would say solidarity. My parents, like their parents before them, were driven by a natural desire of love that is shared by parents from across the globe, for their children to live a better life to which they had experienced. It was a generation that had witnessed at first-hand war on home soil, the effects of absolute poverty, created a welfare system and the movements to resist the unacceptable forces of privilege. Politics for my parents evolved from the experience of actual daily life rather than top-down, textbook theories, but organic, imperfect, slow and at times frustrating. It was a pragmatic type of socialism that built social spaces. Social spaces with stable job’s, the council house I was brought up in, The Worker’s Education Association where I took evening courses, the working men’s club my father frequented, the bingo hall my mother enjoyed, the annually planned visit to the seaside and the Christmas pantomime by a local club.

Yes, there were those amongst us who held views and opinions that were considered aberrant, but sadly these type of people exist in all walks of life, cultures, and classes. Those from outside the immediate community often have a self-interested tendency to point the finger elsewhere to avoid attention to their behaviour and reinforce their imaginary stereotype. In our social spaces, aberrant views could be challenged, filtered, and the values of respect, individuality, social justice and responsibility became interchangeable meanings and refined haphazardly through discussions and blunt observations.

Growing up in the 1960s & 70s in these industrial heartlands the Labour Party, its wider shared values held influence in everyday life. My decision to join the Labour Party in 1979 at age 18 was not in reaction to the election of Margaret Thatcher, far from it. It was in my DNA and a decision born out of my class, but it has not been a journey without frustration or questionable loyalty. At its worst, it can become self-indulgement and eat itself with voracity, but at its best, it is a force for good and can change lives for the better. It is a journey that has witnessed me join picket lines. Enabled me to forge everlasting friendships, participate in endless meetings on the most microscopic detail. Deliver leaflets, be elected as a councillor, play a small part in improving the lives of the people I represented, seek nomination to become a Member of Parliament, become a silent member and witnesses the neverending cycle of highs and lows revolve on its axis again, and again.

No Class, Seriously?

Since the 1990s the Labour Party has seemed more comfortable with an increased emphasis on the politics of equality for women, race, disability, race, sexual orientation and faith while being less confident with the profound inequalities between the wealthy and poor. As a result, inequality increasingly became a technical statistic to be measured and benchmarked. The flesh and bones relationship between people and their role in society, which focuses attention on class seemed to become unfashionable.

Some political thinkers even went as far as to suggest that class no longer mattered and that we were moving towards a classless society. There is little doubt that this thinking informed the emergence of ‘new’ Labour, which central ethos was one of pursuing ‘aspiration’ which slowly withered credibility given the lack of progress in turning around the economic misfortunes in Labour’s heartlands. Immigration and the free movement of people across international borders have had a further detrimental impact on the plight of working class communities, but to raise any concerns immediately draws criticism of being intolerant, thick and racist. It is working class communities who have historically and continue to be the point of integration for those seeking new homelands. It is also working class communities faced with the consequences of the under-resourcing of resettlement, which are subject to the draconian effects of austerity.

Given this can it be any surprise that a minority within working class communities who wrap themselves in a life of bigotry and self-loathing are easy pickings for the dark forces of the extreme right peddling their lies that people from far away land with dark skin are grabbing local jobs and sponging off the welfare system. The fact that the richest countries in the world have historically been the recipients of immigrants should be enough to dispell the lie, but racism and bigotry are not logical. The industrial heritage of the North built on work, skilled trades, production, and selling goods runs deep. Town centres and villages, which were devastated following the collapse of manufacturing genuinely hoped that ‘things can only get better’, but increased expenditure in public services was not, is not, and never will be an adequate replacement for stable employment and a fair wage.

If Labour is no longer capable of understanding this and more importantly be competent to do something about it through a robust industrial strategy, then why should working class communities invest their faith in a party that does not invest in them? The seed that Labour was fast becoming southern, London-based, out of touch with its working class communities and more interested in defending the plight of specific interest groups was not difficult to sew. The political vacuum in working class communities has created a breeding ground for a toxic mix of rightwing, nationalistic, hate filled and reactionary politics. The myth that class no longer exists is quite staggering given in 2017 we live in a world that has never been so unequal regarding wealth, power, food, safe shelter, education and security. This level of inequality between the wealthy and poor has not happened by accident.

A systematic programme of economic, social and environment policies have deliberately destabilised and eroded a whole way of life, as well as forcing a wedge between people who only have their labour to sell be they a computer programmer, street cleaner, bricklayer, or nurse. Divisive policies designed to pit families and communities against one another in an endless downwards spiral of competition. Those pushed to the sidelines have their lives constantly disrupted by the state through an onslaught of ever-changing benefit rules, skills retraining, housing and welfare programmes, which are deliberately designed to disempower and humiliate.

Local to global

The industrial working class is a global, fragmented and impoverished phenomena. According to The United Nations, Human Development Report, the richest 20% receive 86% of the world’s gross product. The middle 60% get 13% while the poorest 20% receive 1%. Meanwhile, more than 20,000 people a day die from hunger-related diseases, yet we produce sufficient food to feed everybody on earth.

In the UK the poorest fifth of households has 6% of national income after tax, while the share held by the richest top fifth is 45%. So regardless if employed in the sweatshops of Indonesia, assembling mobile phones in China, a technician in a UK nuclear power, or whatever social position, you place yourself, the reality remains that if your economic existence depends on you selling your labour, then homelessness is only a handful of paychecks away. These extremes in poverty are not only tolerated but are now part of the natural order of managing economies.

Destabilise, isolate and instil fear

The dark forces, which our grandparents and parents fought against now cast their shadow across the globe into working class communities regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or faith. It is an insatiable machine of greed, which knows no bounds. Its only purpose is to absorb as much resource as possible for those it serves, who are increasingly becoming the new elite citizens of the world, able to move across borders with impunity with their capital in search of safe tax havens, secret banking arrangements and minimum regulation. Their only nemesis is being held accountability and the risk of losing their wealth. It is the same dark forces, which are once again turning their attention to home shores under the guise of populist and nationalist movements, partly due to the instability they have caused in far away places, which has facilitated popular resistance on one hand or fanatical faith-based terrorism on the other.

Organisation’s capable of threatening their status must be owned, controlled or destabilised be it, political movements, The European Union, trade negotiation bodies, or even the United Nations. Elected government, which should provide a platform of accountability increasingly resembles a game show where politicians can sliver with ease from the responsibilities of a nation to dance routines on light-entertainment programmes, while a Member of Parliament is shot dead on our streets by a political terrorist. Hate based entertainment is parading the poor through ghoulish poverty porn shows filled with a never-ending diatribe of stereotypes to be laughed at and repulsed. We have increasingly become immune to the horrors of disasters, and even the footage of dead children being washed up on the shores of Europe like discarded litter is the new undeserving poor.

The optimism initially offered by social media to bring people together has turned into a self-indulgent pantomime of pouting selfies, sexualisation, food envy, cats, dogs and throw away memes celebrating trivia. Political exchanges through the likes of Twitter often slide into derogatory language, death threats and degrading images feeding a narrative that nobody cares or should be trusted if they are in need, different or vulnerable. Protected behind the unaccountability of the keyboard prejudices are recycled time and time again, like a windmill grinding away, unable to move from the foundations it is anchored.

A report by US psychologists suggests that more than two hours of social media use a day doubled the chances of a person experiencing social isolation. The report claims exposure to idealised representations of other people’s lives may cause feelings of envy. The research team questioned almost 2,000 adults aged 19 – 32 about their use of social media. Professor Brian Primack, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said: “This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among young adults. We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalise us instead of bringing us together. While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for.”

Resistance is not futile, but it needs alliances

Every single life affected by poverty is a stain on our humanity, but we increasingly look as if we are willfully surrendering to blind materialism while declaring ourselves powerless as poverty levels creep up, homelessness increasing and the dark hand of hunger is once again knocking on the doors of many families in the UK. Those prepared to challenge this continuous drift into the abyss are looked upon with suspicion or denounced as part of the liberal elite.

Politics and social attitudes, like an economy, works in a cycle. Alliances come together when people experiencing poverty or injustice can align with people who are naturally compassionate, alongside those who intuitively know when something is far from fair. The conditions for change then become prevalent. The economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, the ongoing degradation of local services like parks and open spaces, care for our elders and vulnerable young, libraries, the current crisis in the NHS and the growing levels of poverty in the UK these conditions should be ripe for the forging of alliances. While no single political party has a monopoly on caring, and after almost a decade of austerity, the Labour Party should be at the helm of forging this alliance. It is not.

Oh, Labour were art thou?

At the moment the Labour Party is obsessed with talking to itself and in danger of becoming fixated with its membership of 600,000 rather than being a champion for 15 million people. The left of the Labour Party continues to recycle the narrative that increased industrial strikes, grass-roots campaigns and local councils refusing to set legal budgets will somehow ignite and build the working class resistance to fight back against capitalism. This narrative represents the type of politics, which in 2017, is more likely to repel most working people given they are not the uniting force they were 50 years ago.

While seeking to tackle tax evasion will always be popular trying to create an alliance on the back of just committing to increase public sector borrowing, spend and state ownership is not likely to attract sufficient support for two reasons. The first and most difficult is that for a lot of people their experience of and loyalty to the public sector is not positive. The second is the perception of economic mismanagement caused by too much borrowing by the last Labour Government.

Poll after poll, beyond any, reasonable doubt has indicated that Labour is not trusted economically even in working class communities, but like a broken record stuck on maximum volume, those on the left resemble a Victorian missionary with little to offer outside the scripture and doctrine handed down to them.

Those on the right of the Labour Party are equally constrained given they have swallowed and continue to eat the economic principle of the deregulated free global market. The very economic policy, which has destabilised, so many working class communities.

Blaired vision

A manifesto solely based on soundbites and hope without any substance is unlikely to rebuild the Labour Party’s fortunes and restore trust north of the border. The fundamental problem runs much, much deeper given neither wing of the Labour Party can look, think and breath beyond the shadow of Tony Blair and New Labour. No debate can be entered into without, in due course, reference back to Blair regardless if he is considered a demon or saint. Lord Peter Mandelson (a new Labour advocate) has been reported to say that he works every day trying to overthrow the current leader of the Labour Party.

The Labour Party, for good or ill, needs to live with its recent history, understand it, learn from it, leave it behind, stop talking about it and focus on the present and future. After all, why should the general public believe in a party that does not believe in itself? The truth is there is no easy way forward for the Labour Party, or indeed a centre-left perspective given there is nothing to give traction for the holding of a broad alliance together outside the anti-austerity agenda and that alone is not sufficient.

Re-socialisation of life

Maintaining and navigating a complex balancing act of a mixed market, which promotes enterprise, protects the environment, delivers robust public services and tackles innate economic and social inequality should provide the foundation, but the thinking needs to go outside the usual comfort zone of the Labour Party. Socialism in 2020 cannot simply be about the refinancing of public services, delivered through monolithic state-run departments with professional bureaucrats sitting at their helm. It must be about the design of personal services, tailored to the needs of the recipient who must hold the decision-making.

To achieve this requires coherence in leadership, able to paint a compelling vision, communicate it and then forge the necessary alliances to make it happen. Being honest, principled and decent are virtues all leaders should possess, the norm, alone they are not enough.

Not since the 1940s has there been a need for a coherent political response to the current state of affairs, which starts to re-socialise our lives, families, neighbourhoods, communities, country and ultimately the world. Speaking like this at the moment to my fellow Labour Party members can at time feel like being in labour. Meanwhile, Prime Minster Theresa May, aware of the tipping point taking place has nudged the Conservative towards appealing more directly to a minority of traditional Labour voters and thus building her alliances across social classes.

SAYING SUMMIT

The 9th February and found me at the annual Summit of Lush Ltd the cosmetics retailer held in the Grade I listed Tobacco Dock Warehouse in the East End of London. The invite had materialised from being involved in a film project exploring food poverty and homelessness in the UK. My engagement with Lush until recently has been one of passive customer occasionally popping into their shops to purchase a gift. To be perfectly honest I have also felt a sense of cynism when a private business adopts a proactive approach towards charity, but then there is a marked difference OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbetween charity and charitable causes. Thankfully Lush know the difference. In a time when ‘dumbing down’ is the order of the day not many private companies have taken the courageous position of supporting charitable causes that question, educate and force debate while selling their products. The Lush Summit is a colourful mixture of unadulterated fun, product sales, lectures, workshops on no violent civil disobedience and stalls promoting a whole range of causes and campaigns. The audience is young, by my standard very young. My cynism between the sale of ethical bath bombs and heart-wrenching stories are eased when I quickly discover that through the sales of their products Lush are able to support OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthese stories to be heard. In fact, amongst the many campaigns and causes I visit and speak to during the day it’s the one called Obliterated Families, which brings me to the point of tears.  Obliterated Families documents the stories of families during the Isreali government’s 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip. Anat Shenker-Osorio, a communications expert, and researcher provides a fascinating and very informative talk about how we can change the narrativeimg_3646 when discussing immigration. In another room campaigners against airport expansion give workshops on the effective use of non-violent civil disobedience, while in other rooms group’s exchange information across a wide spectrum of issues from human slavery, refugee support, international peace, disabled people against the cuts, animal welfare campaigns, hunt saboteurs, etc. Lush are incubating an eco-system of resistance, which an inclusive political system would normally embrace. Through their work, Lush are helping to challenge the ascending narrative that general ignorance provides political leaders with the legitimacy to denigrate those in need of a little humanity, while at the same time helping to equip our politics with the next generation of progressives. Long may they carry on this good work.

 

No Trump Here

img_3626While we watch the digits click away on the Petition to Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom (heading towards 1.4m signatures at the point of writing this blog). Our thoughts should turn to our local politicians, elected Mayors, councillors and civic leaders. As well as providing the important democratic overview of our local taxes and services, Elected Mayors, Councillors and Councils are your local democratic hub representing the views of your neighbourhood and community. So here is one thing that you can do, if you would like to mobilise support against a potential visit from Trump to your town or city during his proposed state visit.

Now, to be frank, if you are here looking for a debate as to why this issue is important then to be honest you need to go elsewhere.

Most if not all council websites support an e-petition facility. In my home City of Bristol, this can be found here, which provides you with a good example of what you can expect.

Here is an e-petition , which is currently live on the Bristol City Council website. I know this type of action is often considered symbolic and we live in an era when people feel increasingly powerless, but petitions are a small important part of our democracy. They help set the tone. It reads:

NO CIVIC SUPPORT FOR A TRUMP VISIT

What the petition is seeking: In our view, no ceremonial duties or civic welcome should be bestowed upon or tax payers funding, assets or buildings utilised to facilitate any potential visit to the City of Bristol by the President of the United States (Mr. Donald Trump) whilst on his state visit to the UK. I call on the Mayor of Bristol to promote this approach with other core cities in the UK.

Why: In our view, the presence of the President of the United States (Mr. Donald Trump) will be a risk to the community cohesion of our great city.

If the council accept the petition then it should be posted on their website pretty quickly.  The point of this approach is to let your elected representatives know that while Trump might be welcomed into the UK by the Prime Minister he certainly is not welcomed into your community. Please feel free to share this information.

It’s the end of the year as we know it (and I feel fine)

In 2016 a new study from the world’s leading health journal reported that the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990. British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests, home to the wonderfully named ‘Spirit Bear.’ World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years. Child mortality is down everywhere, and it keeps going down. Peru and Bolivia signed a $500 million deal to preserve Lake Titicaca. New chemotherapy breakthroughs have increased the 5-year survival for pancreatic cancer from 16% to 27% (and is getting better). In March, the US government abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, reversing its decision from a year ago.  Scientists figured out how to link robotic limbs with the part of the brain that deals with intent to move, so people don’t have to think about how they will move the limb, it can just happen. After nearly 13 years of difficult negotiations, Malaysia established a 1 million hectare marine park that pioneers a mixed-use approach to marine conservation. Thanks to the ice bucket challenge the gene responsible for ALS has been found, meaning we are closer to an effective treatment. More than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. A solar powered plane circumnavigated the world. New research showed that acid pollution in the atmosphere is now almost back to the level that it was before it started with industrialisation in the 1930s. The numbers of tigers are growing pandas are now officially off the endangered list. In 2012, the US and Mexico embarked on an unprecedented binational project to revive the Colorado River. By 2016, the results had astonished everyone. Pakistan has made strides toward outlawing honor killings. The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%. Fresh evidence showed that public smoking bans have improved health in 21 nations. 70,000 Muslim clerics declared a fatwa against ISIS. Uruguay won a major case against Philip Morris in a World Bank ruling, setting a precedent for other small countries that want to deter tobacco use. Pokemon Go players went insane with placing lure modules near hospitals for sick kids. Malawi achieved a 67% reduction in the number of children acquiring HIV, the biggest success story across all sub-Saharan nations and since 2006, they’ve saved 260,000 lives. Volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours. Child mortality rates came down by 12% in Russia. Coffee consumption has been proved to help curtail cancer and suicide rates. Life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000, thanks to improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control, and expanded access to ARVs. Mobile phones made significant inroads in the fight against rabies, a disease that kills more people annually than all terrorists combined. 500 elephants were relocated to a better, safer and bigger home. Thailand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Liberia was officially cleared of Ebola, meaning there are now no known cases of the deadly tropical virus left in West Africa. We made massive strides in Alzheimers’ prevention. The WHO announced that measles has been eradicated in all of the Americas, from Canada to Chile. It’s the first time the disease has been eliminated from an entire world region.The ozone layer is still repairing itself, and all the work we did to get rid of those aerosol chemicals was actually worth it. For the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid. A new therapy developed in Israel could cure radiation sickness. In February, Ontario announced a $100 million initiative to curb violence against indigenous women.The Anglican church resolved to solemnize same-sex unions. The Rabbinical Assembly issued a resolution affirming the rights of transgender and non-conforming individuals. Myanmar swore in its first elected civilian leader in more than 50 years. In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%. Two brothers saw color for the first time thanks to specially-designed glasses. Taiwan is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. Portugal ran its entire nation solely on renewable energy for four days straight. The Gambia and Tanzania banned child marriage, following sustained lobbying by civil society groups. In June, after years of wrangling, the drive to end female genital mutilation in Africa made a major breakthrough, when the Pan African Parliament endorsed a continent-wide ban. An Afghan teacher has been delivering books via bicycle to villages that lack schools. 200 strangers attended the funeral of a homeless WW2 veteran with no family. Germany took on rape culture, introducing a law to broaden the definition of sex crimes by zoning in on the issue of consent. Two weeks before Brexit, the African Union announced a new single African passport that permits holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states without a visa. Italy became the last large Western country to recognise same-sex unions in 2016, following a long-running battle by campaigners. The 24th year in a row that teenage pregnancy rates declined in the United Kingdom and the United States. New medicine has been shown to increase melanoma survival rate to 40%. Gambia became the latest African country to show that voting does count, and dictators do fall. Over 800 Boko Harem Hostages were rescued by Nigerian Army. The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history.Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016. It’s the third year in a row emissions have flatlined. The Chinese egypt-society-media-gallery-steve_bell_do_somethinggovernment placed a ban on new coal mines, created new rules for grid access, and doubled its renewables targets for 2020. Following the end of the conflict in Colombia in 2016, all of the war in the world is now limited to an arc that contains less than a sixth of the world’s population. ISIS quietly started preparing its followers for the eventual collapse of the caliphate it proclaimed with great fanfare two years ago. In April, a new report revealed that for the first time ever, the death penalty has become illegal in more than half of the world’s countries. Crime rates in Holland plummeted, with total recorded crime shrinking by 25% in the last eight years. One-third of the country’s prison cells are now empty. Norway became the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation. The average number of large oil spills around the world has been drastically reduced, from an average of 24.5 per year in the 1970s to just 1.8 a year in 2015. Plastic bag use plummeted in England thanks to the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015. Wild wolves started coming back to Europe, and for the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon began spawning in the Connecticut River. Green sea turtles in Florida and Mexico were taken off the endangered list. The US finalized new regulations to shut down commercial elephant ivory trade within its borders and stop wildlife crime overseas. Mongolia created one of the world’s largest protected areas for snow leopards. Germany took in an additional 300,000 refugees in 2016, despite growing concerns about integration and a backlash from populists.

If you made it to the bottom of this list, then thank you. It was culled from a variety of good news stories, blogs, and articles. We may have lost some good people in 2016, and some election results may have gone against those with a kinder heart, but if you genuinely want to protect what has been achieved then sitting behind a computer screen is not an option. The biggest step to change is the one you take to get involved.

Sniffing and Spoofing

At the core of the digital world sits a new generation of electronic gatekeepers: a mixture of highly sophisticated computer algorithms tended and programmed by a small cadre of elite technocrats who determine what we see in the online world.  In 2010 the stock exchange suffered a ‘flash crash’ when shares fell by 6 percent in 5 minutes. The crash was caused by trading algorithms. Trading algorithms are now so sophisticated they can feed on each other’s intentions and try to trick each other into making buys or sells favorable to the companies that unleashed the algorithms in the first place. Some trading algorithms, for example, can detect the electronic signature of what is called a V-WRAP (Volume-Weighted Average Price.) This important because V-WRAP’s are a trading benchmark used especially in pension plans, so they are relevant to the overwhelming majority of people. The detecting of the electronic signature is nicknamed ‘algo-sniffing’ and can earn its owner substantial sums: if the V-WAP is programmed to buy particular shares, the algo-sniffing program will buy those shares faster than the V-WAP, then sell them to it at a profit. Whatever the ethics, algo-sniffing is legal. Some trading algorithms are specifically designed to fool other trading algorithms. This process is called ‘spoofing.’ A spoofer might buy a block of shares and then issue a large number of purchase orders for the same shares at prices just fractions below the current market price. Human traders would then see far more orders to buy the shares in question than orders to sell them and likely to conclude that their price was going to rise. They might then buy the shares themselves, causing the price to rise. When it did so, the spoofer would cancel its buy orders and sell the shares it held at a profit. It’s very hard to determine just how much of this kind of thing goes on, but it certainly happens. In October 2008, for example, the London Stock Exchange imposed a £35,000 penalty on a firm (its name has not been disclosed) for spoofing.

Sell Yourself

Each year, Ofcom the UK’s telecom watchdog publish a report on the state of the international communications market. The report includes data from countries including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Japan. In the latest edition, it says that 39% of Americans agree or strongly agree with the statement “I am happy to provide personal information online to companies as long as I get what I want” the highest of the nine countries sampled. While 70% of respondents either agreed or were indifferent to the commercial use of their personal information in return for free services.