Tag Archives: Political

Amavel Vitorino

A photography I took while visiting the Museum of Aljude: Resistance and Freedom in Lisbon last week. Graphic composition by Paulo Andringa Caldeira of Amavel Vitorino a shoemaker from Mora, Portugal, made with the faces of political prisoners. Vitorino was arrested in December 1940 for making “unpleasant comments on the current political situation of the country and its leaders.”


I don’t recall his name, but it was New Years Eve 1998, the comedian walked on stage and was warmly welcomed. His opening gag, “Scotland is celebrating tonight….Lena Zavaroni has had a shit.” His comic timing was impeccable. The room filled with equal bouts of laughter, gasps and groans. It’s a gag that has stuck with me.  Not because of any comic value, but its cruelty, given it was common knowledge that Zavaroni, a child star of the 1970s, had been suffering from anorexia since her teenage years and within a year of this gag the 35-year old Zavaroni was dead. The only thing I took heart from that night was the thinning audience seeking refuge in an adjourning bar where it was concluded the comic was boring, a one-shot pony, no depth and no charisma to manage an audience beyond aiming to shock. Years later 3 things often cross my mind from that evening.

  • The feelings of those in the process of losing a loved one, if they were to discover their loss, suffering, pain and devastation was joke material.
  • The ability to offend and be offended is an integral part of a functioning democracy and should be defended. An argument often overlooked by those on the left and misused by those of the right.
  • Thirdly, by walking out of the comic’s routine, which he will have noticed, we the audience, were in effect holding him to account.

20 years later and the willingness to say something shocking, offend, slag off or degrade is epidemic, even those seeking, accepting or obtaining public office are in on the act, but like that comic, they are often dull and as sure as night follows day accountability ultimately catches them up. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson MP the illustrious Secretary of State for Foreign affairs in the UK (one of the prominent 3 positions in UK Cabinet government). Johnson has sought to position himself as a Trump type character for the common man. Endlessly projecting himself as an affable, jovial person, he is now widely viewed as an incoherent train crash on Thomas the Tank proportions.

Johnson is of that ilk, a background of wealth and privilege giving a pretentious and mistaken belief they are not constrained by the standards decent people self-regulate to demonstrate their dignity. A sense of respect towards others including those less fortunate.  Johnson sense of privilege allows him to casually describe war-torn Sirte, Libya as potentially the next Dubai once the dead bodies were cleared away. In this context, it became of little surprise that Johnston ran to the defence of his fellow traveller Toby Young, (journalist and self-styled educationalist) who has recently been appointed to a government-funded educational quango (The Office of Students). Young believes people attacking his appointment is because of his ‘outspoken Tory’ views, but while this may provide logic to some people, as a parent, with a daughter entering the university sector shortly, his politics are not of my concern on this occasion.

There are principled conservatives, as there is across the political spectrum, who have a sense of service, standards and ethics. They understand the tone they adopt provides a sense of responsibility, leadership and integrity, which underpins our trust and confidence in those wishing to serve the greater public good. Toby Young is not one of them. Toby Young is my 1990s forgotten comic making observations about “huge knockers, having a dick up a woman’s arse, gloating over baps, wanking over the efforts of Comic Relief to raise money for those in need and referencing working people as stains and deformed.” The critical difference between my 1990s forgotten comic and Toby Young is simple. My forgotten comic has never, to my knowledge, sought or accepted public office.

Young’s appointment is rightly receiving the criticism it deserves, and given the noise, he has released a statement regretting “the sophomoric, politically incorrect remarks on twitter and I hope people will judge me on my actions.” Schizophrenically Young is seeking to present himself twice. The virtual Toby detached with less accountability and the Toby in the real world. The real world Toby is demanding to be taken serious convinced in his self-belief, righteous education and privilege that he was born to offer us all the benefits of his gracious service.  There will be those who find Young’s observations as the pinnacle of modern ironic comedy as part of the fight back against a politically correct world constructed by the liberal elites, which he and his ilk have built in their heads.  A world, which they believe suffocates their freedom to call a spade a spade. It is a world where the ‘alt-right’ see themselves as freedom fighters against disabled ramps. A world where the context of equality is determined by wealth, status, the social network you belong too and what remains is a matter of charity.

2014, in an open letter to sitting Prime Minister David Cameron, Lord Paul Bew, who chaired The Ethical Standards in Public Service wrote about the public desire of wanting those involved in public life to adhere by common ethical standards. Lord Bew hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “for the public how things are done are as important as what is done.” The ethical standards Lord Bew was talking about are Integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and that holder of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour

By appointing Toby Young, Theresa May is setting the bar for her standards, so what next how about Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown to head up a public body into women’s health. Katie Hopkins to front up a refugee relief quango, how about an Honourary Lordship for Trump in recognition of his work in building religious tolerance? To use your own words Mr Young “I hope people will judge me on my actions.” Well for my small part here I am judging you by your actions and the standards in public life.










The Downs Festival


The subject matter is and always will remain challenging. Homelessness: The Reality on the Ground is the type of issue that can generate fear and ignorance in equal proportions. Those who may have believed they were at little risk of the housing crisis are increasingly being sucked into the vortex of a perfect storm. Inaccessible market values, extreme rent levels, a lack of supply, the return of poor landlords and the paralysed inability of government has placed the fundamental human need of shelter into the hands of the speculators and spivs. As we discovered during the panel presentations and discussion (Downs Festival 2017) homelessness once considered the blight of those on the fringes of our society is now showing its ugly face amongst paid workers, especially the working young. There is a broken promise in any social contract between individual and state when homelessness rears its ugly head. The crisis we now face sits at the feet of those who have governed for the past 40 years and willingly encouraged the breakdown of decency towards humanity. Homelessness on the scale we witness has not happened by accident. It is a deliberate policy designed and orchestrated by the government.

So what is to be done as we sit in self-imposed ignorant bliss, knowing the causes, but claiming to be ‘powerless’ to do anything? Being powerless can, of course, be a convenient excuse and one that in its worst condition seeks self-reflected pity on oneself. The cold reality is that some people vote to be powerless. The first step in demanding change is the realisation that you are not powerless and by actually doing something, no matter how little, you become a small, but integral part of a social movement and movements change things on a big scale. The words ‘political struggle’ in one of the wealthiest economies, had until recently,  become an almost embarrassing term to use given the abundance of riches at our disposal.  It is clearly back on the agenda for a younger generation who are quite rightly increasingly restless and angry at the inheritance being offered to them by a tired and self-imposed ‘powerless’ older generation. While government (nationally and locally) is blindfolded in a downward spiral of spin, apportion blaming and rebranding their diminishing resources as new. Informal networks of self-motivated people armed with nothing more than compassion and love are seeking solutions. On one hand, a growing number of people are not prepared to ‘walk on by’ and ignore the injustice staring them in the face and on the other hand young people are increasingly motivated to get involved in direct-action and structured politics. It’s too early to say if this is a fad and it may suffer the relentlessly grind wheels that have often warm many a good person down, but positive seeds have been sown.

It was an absolute honour to have co-hosted the panel on Homelessness at the Information Stage, Bristol Downs Festival with friend and film director Anthony Tombling. The panel brought together people and groups who did not fall for the self-indulgent notion of ‘powerlessness’ and did the right thing. They got engaged and became part of the solution rather than the problem. Ordinary people from a variety of backgrounds, faiths, genders and cultures. My deepest respect goes out to Bristol Reconnect, Brixton Soup Kitchen, Homeless Heroes (Birmingham) Feed the Homeless, St. Mungo’s, Help Bristol’s Homeless who are doing some amazing work often off the radar. If you would like to find out more about these groups and get engaged with what they are doing then just click here.

There will always be armchair cynics in life who can’t, don’t want to be won over, or are only comfortable with the status quo. My advice is equally simple. Following the words from one generation to another…. “come, councillors, MPs and Government please heed the call don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall……come mothers and fathers throughout the land and don’t criticise what you can’t understand your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.”








A time to listen

29th April 2017 I was asked to facilitate a community session for the Mayor of Bristol (Marvin Rees) and Kerry McCarthy MP. The localised issues raised at community engagement sessions can often be listed beforehand housing, transport, education, fly-tipping, but nesting amongst these issues was the ongoing ramifications of Brexit. The audience while not large certainly reflected the diverse nature of opinion concerning the Brexit debate. What became clear during the session was that when politicians listen and engage with the fears and concerns of ordinary people a more considered debate takes place, which in turn helps forge a more objective understanding of the complex issues that are often presented in simplistic headlines. My lesson from facilitating this session is that we need to develop ways of breaking down the often perceived barriers between elected representatives and the general public.

It will not be easy, but social media has its limitations. There is no real substitute for eye to eye contact and exchange of opinions, which often energises and secures the principle of accountability. We have allowed the vilification of our elected representatives to cloud our wider engagement in our democracy. That is not to say some of our MPs and elected representatives have not been the cause of their own vilification. But there is a space, a void and dare I say a responsibility we need to claim back to make our democracy and accountability work.

If we are to recapture hearts and minds then it will need to be done community by community, neighbourhood by neighbourhood reconstructing the relationship and replacing it with politics that works for people.

No Class – Really?

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 00.05.22I took some time out to read the Gender Wage Gap briefing by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which was reported in the press today. One of the most striking observations in the report, which  I came across but failed to get any reporting or comment by those lazy politicians who jump on headlines was the following remark,

“Looking at women who leave paid work, hourly wages for those who subsequently return are, on average, about 2% lower for each year that they have taken out of employment in the interim. This relationship is stronger, at 4% per year, for women with at least A-level qualifications. We do not see such a relationship for the lowest-educated women, which is likely because they have less wage progression to miss out on or fewer skills to depreciate.”

The concept of anybody being paid less simply because of their gender is just fundamentally wrong, but there is also an elephant in the room called class but let’s be honest it’s not fashionable to mention that.

Immigration figures are falling literally

In September 2012 Jose Matada, a young man of Mozambique heritage boarded a Boeing 747 at Luanda airport, the Angolan capital on route to Heathrow, London. His aspiration was simple, a hope of a better life. It is a hope that has driven migration across continents since the dawn of the human race, but what made Jose’s story quite distinctive from his fellow passengers is that Jose did not get the opportunity to saver any of the inflight food or entertainment.  Jose’s body was discovered in the streets of an affluent west London suburb below the flight path of the Boeing 747 he was travelling on. He had fallen from the planes undercarriage when the wheels opened for its descent. Whilst only wearing light clothes Jose seemed to have survived the bulk of the 12-hour trip, although low oxygen levels and temperatures of -60C in the unpressurised wheel recess would have left him unconscious. He died on his 26th birthday, with a single pound coin in his pocket.

Whilst Jose’s case is rare, it is not unique with several deaths being reported on inward flights over the years. Apart from avoiding armed security guards getting into the wheelbay of a Boeing 747 is not easy. It involves climbing one of the aircraft’s 12 enormous wheels, then finding somewhere to crouch as the deafening engines taxi the plane to the end of the runway.  Clinging to huge pieces of steel  the plane accelerates to 180mph. It is unlikely that until the wheels start to retract that those hidden in the wheelbay understand just how much trouble they are in. Within minutes of take off passengers, only a few feet away are starting to enjoy their inflight movie, whilst the temperature in the wheelbay will have already fallen below frozen and hallucinations kick in from a lack of oxygen.

As the dust settles after the general election in the UK one thorny issue is destined to pierce the psyche of the UK as we slowly move towards a debate and referendum on our future membership of the European Union.  This issue is immigration. Even if not said explicitly immigration will dominate the debate and subsequent vote.  During the run up to the UK general election we were presented with an opportunity to pause and reflect on the constant dehumanisation of people we label immigrants. A journalist in one of the UK’s largest selling tabloids had published an article which contained the following, “No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care…..make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches.” 48 hours of this article appearing the Italian PM Matteo Renzi was leading calls for more European Union action on migration. His call followed  the sinking of a 70ft long boat carrying up to 700 people. Only 28 people survived. The resulting pictures were heartbreaking, which may have melted slightly for one moment the iceberg heart of the journalist who wrote of migrants as cockroaches and wanting to be shown bodies floating in water. You would think this man made tragedy and its circumstances would have helped frame a more humane attitude – I am yet to be convinced.

Headlines of shame

Headlines of shame

The ensuing debate and referendum on our future membership of the European Union has opportunity to bring forth what is truly great and decent about this country. It could help lance a few boils and open honest dialogue about who we are as a people now and into the future, which is often overshadowed by the unspoken glass ceiling of class rather than the colour of ones skin. It could give confidence to positively challenge the plastic Alf Garnett’s and “pound shop Enoch Powell’s” who nipple feed on our fears and project back a grotesque bastard off spring, who then deludingly believe they have a birth right to be the mouthpiece of so called but undefined British values. The ensuing debate and referendum could help forge the UK as a more compassionate partner both with our European partners and the rest of the world especially for those people labelled immigrants, who more than often tend to be impoverished and black.  Equally, it risks setting a course that could result in retraction from the world at large in the hope that we can somehow just solider on in perfect isolation whilst the gramophone crackles out the national anthem, the Union Jack is hoisted and the good old folks can bask in yesterday’s promises.  Regardless, which side you sit on,  this debate is needed because the UK needs to find a settlement not just within Europe, or the world but also within itself.

Meanwhile on 18th June 2015, police were called to an incident where a body of a man has been discovered on the roof of a west London office building. The man in question seems to have fallen from a Boeing 747.

In Love We Must Trust

A soldiers life is one tragic case in the history of a small part of London that has been allowed to drift out of sight and out of mind.

The community of Woolwich reminds me of shifting fault lines, which create the vulnerability of earthquakes. Like most of London its is melting pot of changing demographics, cultures, faiths and races, but unlike most of London it is a place of polarisation. It is a place of reluctant acceptances and begrudged tolerances. There maybe a dome close by, but this part of London never milked the riches of the greedy 80s and it is destined to suffer most in the austerity hit UK.

The upper echelons of the aspiring white working class, which until the 1960s supplied an abundance of labour too the surrounding military industries have by and large shifted out to the enclaves of Charlton, Eltham, Plumstead and if lucky to the Lewisham boarders of Blackheath. Neighbouring places like Thamesmead, where the buildings are almost entirely of concrete, in a Cubist/Brutalist/Modernist style, and include a number of high-rise blocks that provided the back drop for Stanley Kubrick’s ugly and violent A Clockwork Orange film.

With it’s historically pride rooted in the manufacturing of war munitions it is the birthplace of Woolwich Arsenal Football Club, which spread its wings and flow north of the river to became one of the largest football clubs in the world. The nickname of the modern Arsenal Football Club ‘The Gunners’ remains the only evidence of its birth cord back to Woolwich. Not 10 minutes travel by car towards the tourist trap of Greenwich meantime you will find yourself in the Valley home to Charlton Football Club.

Football was a fundamental working class sport and until the TV rights greed of the modern game football was the cheap and accessible entertainment of the working man. In work trade unions provided solidarity and outside work local pubs, shops and communities flourished around the football clubs. Along the river Thames adjacent to Woolwich the hussle and bustle of  small enterprise and family run factories once provided work for locals. And for those wanting to escape the ever present army provided a route out.

The collapse of the UK’s industrial base in the mid 1970s, exposure to unregulated global market forces, capital allowed to flow freely across international boarders and the influx of cheap labour from the commonwealth, as well as the growing migration across European boarders changed the face of communities like Woolwich forever.

Woolwich and its immediate locus like Thamesmead become the resettlement centres for large sways of immigrants, providing relatively cheap housing on the peripheral estates where half decent overground train links make it a destination for new arrivals. These communities have some of the largest populations of none-white English residents in the UK.

Tensions between 1st, 2nd and in some case 3rd generation immigrants has not gone unnoticed. Local mosques, which have traditionally been Pakistani/Asian based have manged a growing African Muslim community. Whilst the white middle class has been able to celebrate and embrace the richness of the UK’s growing multi-cultural make up from the comfort of cultural events. The scares of these changes have remained like open wounds in the poor white working class communities.

In these areas white working communities have increasingly become economically and politically marginalised as their opportunities demise, institutions like trade unions have became demonised and their political voice traditionally provided by the Labour Party up sticked, like Woolwich Arsenal Football Club to join the well to do brigade. These communities have had to manage and absorb the reality of globalisation whilst any sense of economic stability was pulled away from under their legs.

There could be little surprise that amongst this growing resentment the evils of white extremists started to fill the political vacuum. The National Front’s infamous bookshop in the 1980s was based in the neighbouring borough of Welling. The bookshop was headed up by Richard Edmonds a veteran of British far right politics who became Deputy Chairman and National Organiser of the British National Party.

Racial tensions between black and white teenage gangs were on the increase and on the 22nd April 1993 an incident took place that shocked a nation. Stephen Lawrence was waiting for a bus when he and his friend heard somebody shout from the opposite side of the road, “What, what, nigger?” A gang of white youths quickly crossed the road and ‘engulfed’ Lawrence, who then received two stab wounds to a depth of about 5 inches on both sides of the front of his body, in the chest and arm. Both of the stab wounds severed axillary arteries. His friend Brooks began running, and shouted for Lawrence to run to escape with him. They both ran in the direction of Shooters Hill, though Lawrence collapsed and bled to death after running 130 yards.

Stephen Lawrence was 19 years old and his murder for a period transfixed this country, as the pains of his partners, family and friends played out whilst the police service stumbled incompetently to manage the case. We move forward 20 years and 10 minutes drive from where a plaque, which is occasionally vandalised, marks the place where the life of Stephen Lawrence was taken and lost. It’s Wednesday afternoon 22nd May 2013. Im at work in South London and news is starting to surface of a terrorist attack in Woolwich.

Through the gift of new technology we sit frozen watching video and photographs of two Black men, wielding blooded knifes and meat cleavers. They have just murdered a young white man, a brave young solider, on the streets Woolwich. I know these streets. I lived in nearby Charlton for five years. I worked in the centre of Woolwich for 2 years. I know people there and I see the streets I walked with work colleagues, my family, small daughter, neighbours and friends. I think about old work colleagues and neighbours and hope they are safe. Lee Rigby, 25, had many times before walked safely down the streets of Woolwich where he was attacked.

The father of a two-year-old boy, was killed in front of dozens of people and the after events were widely filmed on personal mobile phones. Whatever this young man did for a living and if we agreed with it our not, does not justify his murder.

People in the army follow orders. Very few have any genuine influence over the decisions that take them to far away lands to fight, kill or save lives. In the same vain the Iraqi or Afgan family who may have lost their son, or daughter to violence. The vast majority of victims from violent military interventions tend to be from the least economically powerful communities who share the same aspirations of stability and just wanting something better for their children.

In a callus and politically opportunist moment it will not have gone unnoticed that the ex boss of Richard Edmonds (the veteran British neo-nazi written about earlier in this blog) Mr Nick Griffin leader of the British National Party visited Woolwich on 25th May 2013. There is a time for politics and that time is not now.

Now is a time of dignity, reflection, consideration of others and most of all respect. Mr. Griffin will have caculated and knew what his presence meant to a very small number of white people in that immediate area, as well as the general populous. The opening up of fault lines will create the risk of further violence that will niggle on through mistrust and hidden resentments in the streets, coffee shops, schools and markets of Woolwich until the next victim is filmed laying in the streets.

These shocking incidents may have national and international forces setting their context, but neighbourhoods that remain polarised and insular around culture, creed, faith and race create the conditions for a perfect storm. Like a magnetic attraction the perfect storm pulls an incident towards its increasingly swirling centre. Once the storm subsides we turn our attention elsewhere, but the conditions remain for the next storm to occur.

Like the savage murder of Stephen Lawrence 20 years ago on the same streets of south London  my heart and respect go out to the family and friends of Lee Rigby. If it were possible to offer something that could console their pain for 1 second I would like to believe I could offer it, but these are but words.

My respect also goes out to the brave people of Woolwich who sought to console a dying man. As I watched the story unfold and the increasing number of disturbing photographs on social media. One photograph stuck in my mind. It was poignant, but may have gone unnoticed.

The lifeless body of the young white man lay in the middle of the road and two Black women are attending to him trying their best to offer comfort. One of the women is holding the young mans hand speaking to him.

Amongst the pain and horror 20 years on things may have changed, but not all for the worse.

In Love We Must Trust

Freddie and the Dreamers

Freddie and the Dreamers were an English band who had a number of hit records (May 1963 through to November 1965). Their stage act was based around the comic antics of the 5-foot-3inch-tall lead singer Freddie Garrity, who would bounce around the stage with arms and legs flying.

The Dreamers had one of their biggest hits, If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody in 1963, which reached number 3 in the UK. At roughly the same time an alternative Freddie and the Dreamers (a later day covers band) were also dreaming up their own hit. A hit that would take almost 50 years in gestation the global financial and banking meltdown of 2017, which would throw millions out of work, cause irreversible damage to lives and domestic economies across the world.

The University of Freiburg is amongst Europe’s top research and teaching institutions and it is here that Friedrich August Hayek theories of neoliberal economics started to form. By 1984, Friedrich August Hayek was appointed as a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for his “services to the study of economics.” Shortly before Hayek died he also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom from George .W. Bush. In his life time he would be lorded by his followers as one of the greatest economic and political thinkers of modern time.

Hayek’s essay, “Why I Am Not a Conservative” took a broad swipe at traditional ‘one nation’ conservatism, which had embraced a moderate political agenda and following the second world war sought consensus on key issues such has full employment, housing and health related policy. Hayek was critical of conservatism’s inability to adapt to changing human realities remarking, “conservatism is only as good as what it conserves”. A sobering analysis for any political theory or party, but one on this occasion that had been designed specifically to awaken a root and branch theological debate within the ranks of centre right political parties. Hayek challenged the economic and social consensus.

An ex leftist he vehemently opposed the concept of government engagement in economic planning as an affront to personal freedom and hindrance to the free market, which he advocated needed to be less regulated. In 1974 the Centre for Policy Studies a British Centre-right policy think tank was established. It was founded by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher to champion economic liberalism and dissemination of free market economics along monetarist theories. What can be called today neoliberal politics and Friedrich August Hayek was its its first director.

On her only visit to the Conservative Research Department Margaret Thatcher in 1975 party researchers had prepared several briefings for her. Once the hapless party hacks had finished their presentations Thatcher famously reached into her case, took out a book and banged it on the table. It was a copy of Hayek’s Constitution and Liberty, she is reported to have said sternly, “This is what we believe in.” In 1975, Sir Keith Joseph claimed, “It was only in April 1974 that I was converted to Conservatism. I had thought I was a Conservative, but I now see that I was not really one.”

The one nation conservatives over the course of the next decade would be marginalised in government. a process that would only be reversed when the nation conservative Michael Heseltine challenged and facilitated the end of the Thatcher years, but by then it was too late. A very Conservative Coup had taken place. A coup that would ultimately have far wider ramifications outside of the centre right political world.

Through the Centre for Policy Studies Hayek helped to prepare the policies of the incoming Thatcher Government, initially moderate in policy and finding its way around the Government machinery. Thatcher building in confidence after the Falklands war started to increasingly use the power of the government executive to introduce Hayek inspired policies.

Hayek’s influence was also working away across the pond in the USA. During 1950 and 1962 Hayek was at the University of Chicago and was engaged with fellow right wing economists like Robert Fogel and Milton Friedman.

Robert Fogel is infamous for arguing that slave owners approached slave production as a business enterprise and as such there were some limits on the amount of exploitation and oppression they inflicted on the slaves. According to Fogel, slaves in the American South lived better than did many industrial workers in the North. Fogel based this analysis largely on plantation records and claimed that slaves worked less, were better fed and whipped only occasionally.

Milton Friedman served as a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board during 1981. During 1988, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. He also advised both Thatcher and the fascist leader of Chile General Augusto Pinochet, whose dictatorship resulted in thousands of people being killed, up to 80,000 interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children.

The Hayek, Fogel and Friedman partnership was central to the neoliberal polices adopted and pursued in the USA and UK since 1979. Their blind obsession with unregulated ‘markets’ was summed up by Hayek when he said, “free choice is to be exercised more in the market place than in the ballot box. The first is indispensable for individual freedom while the second is not: free choice can at least exist under a dictatorship that can limit itself but not under the government of an unlimited democracy which cannot”

For Hayek the trading of commodities was far more superior to freedom and democracy, which he saw as a hinderance to the free market. Whilst Friedman supported and advised the fascist dictator Pinochet of Chile And Fogel wrote about the economic success of slavery.

This toxic trios blind, militant and obsessive intellectual concepts, which had no basis in the reality of most people’s lives had but in place the foundations of the economic chaos we now find ourselves in. An economy of deregulated stock markets and banking services industry free to expand at will. Decades of unrelenting greed inspired economics had replaced any notion of economic stability through mass creative production with complex market derivatives trading. The inevitable end being a worthless economy resembling an empty vessel riding a storm that provides little protection to those caught in its eye, unless of course you were a major investor or stock owner of multinational corporations facing financial meltdown.

If you were lucky to be one of these guys then the doors of government funds were flung open to feed on and protect existing wealth, privilege and ultimately power. In retrospect a kind of obscure socialism for the rich. These distorted and miltant free market economics have exposed white and blue collar workers to the chill of global competition, whilst steadily increasing the wealth of the top 1% worlds richest people.

In the UK the 27th October 1986, was dubbed the “Big Bang.” The phrase Big Bang was used in reference to the sudden deregulation of financial markets and coined to describe measures, including abolition of fixed commission charges and the distinction between stockjobbers and stockbrokers on the London Stock Exchange. Big Bang became one of the cornerstones of the Thatcher government’s financial reform programme and was designed to stimulate new financial innovation and financial products. Money became easy to access, including home loans, credit, refinancing packages, etc. and did we gobble this money up and spend it. The trouble being we had stopped making stuff to sell and most of the assets we owned “collectively” through government were hived off through privatisation programme. Things we already owned were effectively sold to us!

The U.S. Senate’s Levin–Coburn Report (April 13, 2011) asserted that the crisis was the result of “high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.” Up until the financial crash of 2007 no government (left or right) had the ability, or willingness to challenge the economic framework devised by Hayek, Friedman and Fogel. The Labour Party faced with decades of rejection from the electorate in the UK embraced the Hayek, Friedman and Foge economic framework, with Tony Blair becoming an international advocate of neoliberal economics.

This of course was all dandy until the money run out. Today is a new dawn, we have an opportunity to truly change things beyond rhetoric. Will we do it? It’s in the balance, but we can’t afford to allow a further remix of Freddie and the Dreamers, ‘If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody’ to find its way into our lives via The X Factor.