Friday, 27 June 2014

Helping people into to work.

I am fed up with pseudosociopolitical tropes.

I was reading this article on Al Jazeera entitled "Is there a war waged against British youth?" by Yiannis Baboulias.  The simple answer is 'Yes' but I stopped reading half way through because my ADHD symptoms cannot read waffle and junk for very long.  I'm sure the article is good and I am not lambasting Yiannis for bad journalism.  The article raises some good points which need discussing.

In the article Yiannis states "A recent survey shows that some 54 percent think that today's youth will have a worse life than their parents."

It was soon after this I couldn't read any more.  A few remarks about median incomes, inflation, unemployment and pensions and I was just reading more words about a situation which in my opinion is so misunderstood and misrepresented I can't stand to keep reading mile after mile of what is essentially an erroneous argument based in a false paradigm.

In essence people want a believable, sustainable, reasonable life.  They want that for their children too.  But somewhere along the line we have constructed the cultural illusion that we want life to 'improve' at every turn.  It is the same self-defeating trope as companies needing to increase profits to 'stand still'.  I call it a trope partly because of the use of the word in modern parlance (an often overused plot device) and partly because of its literal meaning from its Greek roots (derived from the verb τρέπειν (trepein), "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change" see Wikipedia Trope).  It seems we invent a way of seeing the world and repeat it often enough that we begin to believe it is the world.  The 'trope' is the device that 'turns us away' from the general reality we are trying to understand.  I am struggling to understand the deeper issues and causes of right-wing versus left-wing politics.  It is obviously a large and complex subject but one consistent error (of many) on the right seems to be to see a general problem, find a particular case as an example, create a solution for the particular case and justify applying that solution to the general case.  Sanctioning the unemployed being one prevalent example.  The consequence of this is devastating.  The left tries to argue against the form of the solution but cannot win the argument because they have engaged in the false premise (trope) that the example has some validity relevant to the general solution.

So what is a pseudosociopolitical trope?

It is a false conceptual model of society used to justify a political policy.  A good example is that people claiming benefits are somehow failing to look hard enough for work.  I put it that mildly to avoid inviting claims of hyperbole.  In any set of people there are some who are stronger than others and some that are more intelligent; there are people with more limbs than others and there are people with better circumstances.  So there is always a range of attributes.  In any modern society there is always some unemployment - it is inevitable and apparently necessary.  In the UK unemployment is not statistically severe (it may be for some individuals but that is a different issue) by any measure.  And yet it is cited as a major problem.  For most individuals who are unemployed it is a problem.  Interestingly the 'benefits' paid to the unemployed are not a problem because they are actually a cheap way of maintaining the surplus workforce needed for the level of unemployment required to maintain tension in the employment market.  But the concept of the national debt (another complex pseudosociopolitical trope) is used to suggest that 'expenditure' on the 'unemployed' is adding to the debt and therefore any policy designed to reduce that expenditure is beneficial.  The next step is to illustrate the false construct with examples of unemployed people who are languishing on benefits (Ian Duncan Smith's bizarre cognitive nonsense) and to justify 'helping' them off benefits as if this will reduce the national debt.

This approach is a fallacy.  With 100 people and 80 jobs it is inevitable that the 20 people without work are not going to be the most well endowed with functionally useful attributes.  It is then suggested that if these wasters got off their behinds and did what the 'employed' people did then they would have jobs too.  This is the specific case turned into a generalisation.  Take one person who performed certain actions and got a job and conclude that anyone who takes those actions will get a job.  This 'cognition', this conceptual model, this argument is evidently false if one understands the bigger picture in which the events are occurring.  It is remarkably narrow minded and unintelligent.  It is, in fact, stupid.  If there are 100 people and 80 jobs then there will always be 20 without work.  There are many possible and differing solutions to this problem but the incredibly 'short logic' argument illustrated here is not one of them.  The whole idea that there are unemployed people causing the national debt is a pseudosociopolitical trope.  It is consequentially deducible that the false idea of 'helping' people into work is inevitably going to fail and the evidence supports that conclusion.  The tragedy is that when it doesn't work the narrow minded cognition hits dissonance resulting in the increasingly familiar phenomenon of "cognitive dissonance".  The consequence of which is to feel anxiety which is interpreted as the problem getting worse rather than the solution being wrong, with a net result that they try harder to 'help' people into work.  A one way downward spiral to hell.

A cautionary note:  Helping an individual find work in a specific case is a good thing - but it is not a general solution.

The idea of helping people into work is akin to helping everybody win at musical chairs.

Friday, 6 June 2014

No to NATO military exercises in Ukraine - CENSORED

HM Government e-petition "No to Nato military exercises in Ukraine" is censored.

Lindsey German, convenor of the 'Stop the War Coalition', submitted a petition to the UK government e-petition web site on 7 May 2014.  The e-petition was entitled "No to Nato military exercises in Ukraine" and this clearly didn't suit the governments own agenda and intentions because they simply wouldn't publish it.  Only when journalists started badgering the government site did they finally publish the petition 3 weeks late.

Please sign this e-petition if you are a UK citizen.

Censorship of e-petitions is not limited to this petition.  The Morning Star submitted an FOI (freedom of information) request and discovered that over 1,800 e-petitions had been censored since the e-petition site was created.  Of course stopping some of these may be legitimate but given the case of the "No to Nato military exercises in Ukraine" petition it becomes clear that they cannot be trusted.  These facts were reported in an article entitled "Con-Dem ministers censor 1,800 E-petitions" in the Dorset Eye.

Initial signatories to this petition include such notables as:

Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War Coalition
Kate Hudson, general secretary of CND
Caroline Lucas MP for the Green Party
Jeremy Corbyn MP for the Labour Party
John Rees, Stop the War Coalition
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Ken Loach, film and TV director
Mark Rylance, actor
Miriam Margolyes OBE actor
Michael Rosen, author and broadcaster
Salma Yaqoob, former leader of the Respect Party
Andrew Murray, chief of staff for Unite union

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Queen's Brain is Fracked.

Ok so I'm very distressed today.  Not only do Atos wake me when I am deeply asleep for the only 2 hours I got last night, leaving me shaking with my heart pounding and 'fluttering' (or more like positively gurgling in the most disturbing way) but I am left listening to the most appalling insanity being spewed out across the air waves by Radio 4.

The illusion of freedom.

So there we are like cattle being herded to the slaughterhouse through a number of channels.  Unlike cattle we come to junctions and, to allay our fears, there are kindly looking people explaining that we are free to chose which way to go.  "This is a democracy;  You can choose which way to go.  Would you like to go to the right or to the left?"  Too true we can choose but it's all going to the same end point.  Loki was right " It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation."

Radio 4 informs me that:
1: The queen has a new coach.
2: Fracking under your house will become legal.
3: A new 5p charge will be applied to supermarket plastic bags.

I don't know where to begin!

1. I looked into the Queen's new coach - "Not literally, fool!" - officially named "State Coach Britannia" and it is a far more interesting story than I had anticipated.  I love art and craftsmanship and this coach excels in many respects.  It is not only a traditional ornate masterpiece of coach building but it encapsulates an extensive range of historical artefacts from the Mary Rose to the Stone of Scone.  At only a few million quid's worth when you consider the years it took to build I can't help feeling that although it represents the opulence of the dominant plutocratic class it is actually and ironically a jolly good thing in itself.  Of course the inequality across the globe and in the UK is disgusting, unacceptable and inhumane and as such this artefact is symbolic of the abusive nature of our culture but compare it with the neoliberal madness, the corporate insanity and the utterly dehumanising nature of industrialised manufacturing and what we have in the coach is a lot of dedicated and creative people working diligently with integrity and skill on an individual masterpiece with some functional purpose.  Human beings at their best - just a pity it is in the service of such a ridiculous hierarchy.  But 'value for money' is probably surprisingly true.

So my presumption that the tax-payer (what a fucking stupid bit or Orwellian doublespeak) had been robbed to provided the Queen with more moreness was partially wrong and the whole topic is too complex to sum up because the artistic endeavour is good and the sycophantic adoration of authority is bad so I will simply leave it at that for the time being.

But items numbered 2 and 3 are simply overt madness.

2. In the Queen's speech of 4 June 2014, in only her second sentence, she says "My government’s legislative programme will continue to deliver on its long-term plan to build a stronger economy and a fairer society." That is simply not true.  Some would call it a lie.  Some people may believe that the lunatic neoliberal philosophy will deliver more fairness but there is no substantial rational or logical indication that it could nor is there any evidence to date to support that belief.  The evidence that is available clearly indicates it creates inequality which as far as the English language stands today means a reduction in fairness.  And in line with the usual perverse political doublespeak she goes on to say "The Bill will enhance the United Kingdom’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites and maximising North Sea resources."  Well that makes it sound like a jolly good idea.  "Enhance UK's independence" from what?  The unspoken assumption is from dependence on the supply of oil from other countries (arguably breaching the fair trade agreements with those countries and their ability to profit from the UK) but this is not made explicit and there is also the unspoken assumption that destroying the geological integrity of this country is a reasonable manner in which to achieve that "independence" which it is not.  If the UK wishes to be 'independent' there are numerous ways of achieving that but the Queen goes on to say "by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites".  So the objective is not independence but rather the 'method' of achieving that condition.  Independence is the excuse not the objective.  The objective is to enable fracking in the UK and even this is denied any explicit mention by, instead, obliquely referring to "shale and geothermal sites".  So, inherent in the wording is the overt guilt that what is being done is illegitimate.  What this woolly wording aims to obscure is the real subject of breaking the laws governing trespass.  Because the oil and gas industry cannot damage the underlying structure of land which is owned by someone else this makes it impractical for them to indulge in their massively destructive process of eking out the traces of gas in the geology of Britain.  The intent is to write new laws making it 'legal' to steal other people's gas and destroy the land upon which their house is built.  This is legalising theft by large corporations- as simple as that.  It is not only insane it is also cruel and unacceptable.

3. This would be funny if it were not so incredibly gratuitous and profoundly stupid.  The Queen, with her very royal fucking vocal chords, then uttered the insane nonsense "My government will continue to implement major reforms to the electricity market and reduce the use of plastic carrier bags to help protect the environment."  The most amazing thing is that one expects the Queen to have standards even if her speech writer is an ignorant arsehole.  Yet again the actual subject remains unspoken.  The subject is 5p on supermarket carrier bags.  The wording yet again refers to an excuse not an objective.  And the excuse is overtly contradictory with other issues raised in the same speech - namely fracking.  How, exactly, is fracking protecting the environment?

The stark stupidity is stunning to anyone with the slightest ability to string two thoughts together.  It seems the Queen's brain has been fracked for profit.

Britain could achieve energy independence by investing in wind, sun and sea power which we know are more environmentally friendly than oil and gas.  Supermarkets already produce biodegradable plastic bags and could easily provide free paper bags.  But what is so insidious about this is that it is another tax on the poor masquerading as an environmental issue specifically to distract from the corporate rape and murder of the ecology of Britain.