The Mask of Anarchy – reblog from George Monbiot

My Comment:  While this piece is aimed more at the issue of Brexit and attendant serious drama, it shouldn’t be dismissed by any of us. The same “disaster capitalists” intent on turning Britain into a Third World country are just as hard at work undermining all social advancements made within our “democracies” wherever they may be still found. This is no longer a question of profit but of absolute madness.  My question is, are we going to continue to support the sickness or are we going to stop them?

The Mask of Anarchy

Posted: 11 Feb 2019 04:21 AM PST

Why disaster capitalists are praying for a no deal Brexit.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 8th February 2019

Part of me wants to smash it all up. I want to see the British bubble burst: the imperial nostalgia, the groundless belief in the inherent greatness of this nation, the casual dishonesty of those who govern us, the xenophobia, the intolerance, the denial, the complacency. I want those who have caused the coming disaster to own it, so that no one ever believes them again. No Deal Brexit? Bring it on.

Such dark thoughts do not last long. Then I remember it will be the poor who get hurt, first and worst. The rich leavers demanding the hardest of possible Brexits, with their offshore accounts, homes abroad and lavish pensions, will be all right. I remember the eerie silence of the City of London. While the bosses of companies producing goods and tangible services write anxious letters to the papers, the financial sector stays largely schtum. Shorting sterling is just the first of its possible gains.

The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, caused by the IMF’s insistence that countries removed their capital controls, began with an attack by foreign speculators on Thailand’s baht. As currencies tanked and nations raised their interest rates, indebted companies went down like flies. Foreign corporations, particularly from the US, swept in and bought the most lucrative assets for a fraction of their value. Though the causes are different, it’s not hard to see something similar happening here. If it does, the City will clean up.

But this is not the end of it. What a no-deal Brexit might offer is the regulatory vacuum the Brextremists fantasise about. The public protections people have fought so hard for, that we obtained only through British membership of the EU – preventing water companies from pouring raw sewage into our rivers, power stations from spraying acid rain across the land, chemical companies from contaminating our food – are suddenly at risk.

In theory there are safeguards. The environment department has been frantically trying to fill the regulatory chasm. It has published more statutory instruments than any other ministry, and has drafted an Environment Bill, with plans for a watchdog to hold the government to account. But a series of massive questions remain, and none of them have easy answers.

The Environment Bill will not be put before parliament until after the Queen’s speech (probably in May). It won’t be passed until autumn, at the earliest. The green watchdog (the Office for Environmental Protection) will not materialise until 2021. During that time, there will be no body equivalent to the European Court of Justice to ensure that the government upholds the law. Instead, there will be a “holding arrangement”, with an undefined “mechanism” to receive reports of environmental lawbreaking, that the watchdog might be inclined to investigate when it eventually materialises.

Replacing just one of the EU’s environmental functions – registering new chemicals – requires, before March 29, a new IT system, new specialist evaluators, new monitoring and enforcement across several agencies and new government offices, filled with competent staff, to oversee the system, in the four nations of the UK. All this must happen while the government attends to scores of transformations on a similar scale. If the shops run out of food, hospitals can’t get medicine and the Good Friday Agreement falls apart, how much attention will it pay to breaches of environmental law?

Already, we are witnessing comprehensive regulatory collapse in the agencies, such as Natural England, charged with defending the living world, due to funding cuts. If they can’t do their job before we crash out, what chance do they have when the workload explodes, just as government budgets are likely to slump? The government’s nomination of Tony Juniper as Natural England’s new chair is a hopeful sign, though the general astonishment that an environmental regulator will be chaired by an environmental champion show just how bad things have become (since 2009, it has been run by people whose interests and attitudes were starkly at odds with their public duties). But the underlying problem Natural England faces will also hobble the green watchdog. Unlike the European Court of Justice, the Office for Environmental Protection will be funded and controlled by the government it seeks to hold to account.

Last week, the Guardian reported panic within government about the likely pileup of waste the UK currently exports to the EU, in the event of no deal. The combination of a rubbish crisis, administrative chaos and mass distraction could be horrible: expect widespread flytipping and pollution. So much for the extremists’ euphemism for no deal: “clean Brexit”.

The government’s commitment to upholding environmental standards relies to a remarkable extent on one man: the environment secretary, Michael Gove, who has so far doggedly resisted the demands of his fellow Leavers. Had any one of his grisly predecessors been in post – Owen Paterson, Liz Truss, Andrea Leadsom – we wouldn’t have even the theoretical protections Gove has commissioned. Boris Johnson has suggested that leaving the EU will allow us to dismantle green standards for electrical goods and environmental impact assessments. Iain Duncan Smith has pressed for the removal of the carbon floor price after Brexit, that has more or less stopped coal burning in the UK.

With Liam Fox in charge of trade policy, and the US demanding the destruction of food and environmental standards as the price of the trade deal he desperately seeks, nothing is safe. A joint trade review by the British and Indian governments contemplates reducing standards on pesticide residues in food and hormone-disrupting chemicals in toys. This must be heartening for Jacob Rees-Mogg (known in some circles as Re-smog), who has proposed that we might accept “emission standards from India”, one of the most polluted nations on earth. “We could say, if it’s good enough in India, it’s good enough for here.”

There is no guarantee that Michael Gove, the unlikely champion of public protection, will stay in his post after Brexit. If we crash out of Europe, the dark money that helped to buy Brexit will strive to use this opportunity to tear down our regulations: this, after all, was the point of the exercise. The tantalising prospect for the world’s pollutocrats is that the United Kingdom might become a giant export processing zone, exempt from the laws that govern other rich nations. It’s a huge potential prize, that could begin to reconfigure the global relationship between capital and governments. They will fight as hard and dirty to achieve it as they did to win the vote.

A combination of economic rupture, sudden shifts in ownership, an urgent desire to strike new trade deals and a possible regulatory abyss presents a golden opportunity for disaster capitalism. Our first task is to see it coming. Our second is to stop it.

http://www.monbiot.com

8 thoughts on “The Mask of Anarchy – reblog from George Monbiot

  1. Phil Huston

    For those who are waiting for the sky to fall with all this end of the world chicken little reactionistic blame bullshit here’s a news flash – The sky has already fallen, get a life, start a farm. What we need to adopt is a different way of life where we don’t need to dump our trash somewhere else. Where better living through chemistry isn’t an option. Where people stand together. What if all the #metoo women and those who stand with them took a global stance to stop buying a Saudi Prince a new yacht every hour and refused to put gas from their oil in the cars they drive. Oh, wait, that would be right, but not expedient. Expedience is the way of the economic world, and if lives of the lesser are in the balance, too bad. Anybody ever read Stephen King’s “The Running Man”, written back before he was writing under his own name? The rich got smog filters that worked. That’s how it’s always been. Is anyone willing to feel the pain of standing against expedience? I wonder…

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Your comment is right on the money. It isn’t a “collective” problem, but a personal issue. We have choices – we always have choices, and… “Is anyone willing to feel the pain of standing against expedience? I wonder…” Great close.

      Reply
  2. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Never under-estimate the capacity for the British to still cling to the belief that the 19th century has not ended. Whereas there is much in Mr Bonoit’s words, the basic fact is that a large minority of the British people have an endemic belief in this and do not need any wealth-bloated interests to convince them.
    Thus to we sink into the west (or north, south or east) and History claims another bunch of chumps.
    (PS: Read “The Malefactus Conundrum by T’Sing Tarleyn (The Antierra Manifesto) and will e-mail you)

    Reply
  3. Sha'Tara Post author

    Thanks for the comment, Roger. Choice always choice and someone or something has to pay the price for the wrong ones made.

    Reply
  4. Hyperion

    Here I go again in my usual incomprehensible rants. Apologies in advance. I’ll admit my turning away from the daily idiocy of news has left me uniformed of Brexit, why The UK felt it necessary to join the EU and then leave it, I’m not sure. As far as I can tell, America has not entered the fray publically en masse although I suspect the ones who could profit from a Brexit are suited up and ready to invade at the first opportunity. I am not a supporter of governments being the be all end all of every aspect of life. Governments historically fail dramatically at managing every aspect of life, while the citizenry lounge around complaining of a late delivery of all the things they think they are in entitled to. It won’t work. It never has, at least for very long. If the citizens don’t take control of government and their representatives, then we’ll get what is coming and learn to live and die with it. I believe in the power of united common sense dedicated to real beneficial sustainment of resources and land. I believe in a justice system that serves the people, by the people. I know, I know. I’m a freeking dinosaur, but that is how I see it. I’m pretty sure we can take these new developments in civilizations across the world and with proper application of extreme violence, we can realize not much has changed since the collapse of civilization in 1187 bc, and get back on the right path. We can make things better in every concievable way, we just have to start. What will make us start is likely some real pain and suffering. As an example was when the upper 1/3 of my state was completely wiped out by an unprecidented 325 tornadoes, we had zero government and infrastructure. Thousands were killed or wounded, tens of thousands homeless or displaced. The was no electricity, no phones, no banks, no stores, no nothing. Our president, the Abomination Obama, hated us because we were rural and voted against his party so we got no news coverage and no useful federal help. But people joined hands, helped strangers, cleaned up the destruction together, and rebuilt. Businesses destroyed had business owners out in the blood and mud helping communities instead of wailing about their losses. The local governments reorganized and materialized to restore service. In my area only three thugs attempted to vandalize homes with destraught home owners still there trying to survive in their damaged homes. They were shot dead. No one else looted without permission. The sheriif announced over the emergency radio channels that every citizen was authorized to defend their property and their lives because we had no organized police protection. Crime was reduced to near zero. Why, because the citizens protected themselves and each other from those who would prey on the weak and unfortunate. This was the true nature of the people in this area of America. The world never heard of this. No country in the world offered assistance, the federal government abandoned us for pure political chicanery. We never noticed. We didnt need anything but each other. So, as London descends into a frightful sewer they will have a choice; save themselves or disappear into a nebulous history written by those who never saw London before. While the governments dog paddle in circles, the citizens will find a way.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      That’s a great comment Daniel. What you are saying is, yes, there are still some real Americans left. Of course the Obomber couldn’t come to the rescue, he was too busy approving new drone strikes on schools, school buses and hospitals and partying with Big Pharma. ‘Nuff… you got me going… and quote: “While the governments dog paddle in circles, the citizens will find a way.” As always ’cause they ain’t got no choice. Who needs the profession criminals from Washington, Ottawa, Paris or London??? F**k em all!

      Reply
      1. Hyperion

        We are of one mind. I like that last line in your comment. I think I should do the American thing and have a Tee Shirt made with that slogan on it.

  5. Sha'Tara Post author

    That should have read “professional criminals” but I’m sure you caught that… Self empowerment, it’s where we’re heading, even if kicking and screaming against it and dragging our ball and chains of central religions, central banking, corporations, governments and super governments of empire, EU, Untied Nations (deliberate typo!), etc.

    Reply

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