Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A Good Time To Bury Bad News: Four Things To Keep An Eye On

Call me cynical but can you blame me? This has been floating about since last Tuesday and I can't help thinking that now that the activists are aware of it, the powers that be are working to suppress it with everybody's favourite pastime: making outraged noises about kiddie fiddlers in high places. People of Britain, we need to talk about the five things we need to be keeping an eye on where Our Glorious Leaders are concerned.


1. Fracking


The Environment Agency has extended the time period for the Roseacre Wood and Preston New Road sites, set to be developed by Cuadrilla, to give interested groups a chance to respond. - Insider News North West

I should think so. They've got reams of paperwork to go through, and despite Cuadrilla's claims of sunshine and rainbows where pro-fracking is concerned, it seems that the anti brigade is holding its own at the moment. Where I live is less than 50 miles from it and I worry about the pollution fracking will cause. Homeowners living near to where it's taking place should be concerned about their insurance premiums. They'll be going through the roof.

2. Surveillance


As I pointed out to my MP Hazel Blears, mass surveillance for fun and profit will not save us from the terrorists and no amount of scare-mongering is going to convince me that it will. Remember the advice we used to see plastered all over the place during the Troubles? Now we're getting this:


I'm not having it. The existence of a blatant revolving door between government office and private contracting is an indictment of the system and it needs to be addressed but hey, when you can demand $1 million a month, why would you care about what the public thinks?

3. The Great Data Sell-off


So our government is selling our data to the highest bidders. This is a good thing if you're a marketing company but I can't help thinking it's disingenuous to promote it as a beneficial thing. It's not. We've been commodified and our government is only doing this because they can't admit their economic policies don't work.

Our government whines about Google spying on us, selling on our data, but we know they do it and we accept it as the price we pay for using their services. Government services are already paid for via tax and we're obliged to provide it. Google can't fine us or put us in jail if we don't tell them what they want to know.

4. FTAs


Early day motion 202 is a cross-party initiative that seeks to draw Parliamentary attention to the ISDS clauses in the TTIP, a trade agreement I'll be attending a meeting about tomorrow. I've been complaining about this for some time and of course I've written to my MP. Let's take a closer look at it:

TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP, DEMOCRACY, RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW

That this House notes that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership includes investor-state dispute settlements that are being designed in secret, so enabling multi-national companies to intimidate and sue governments for lost profits due to Government policies designed to protect the public as consumers or workers or to change the level of public ownership, that such settlements will be decided in private by arbitration panels, not in open court, that such actions and arrangements threaten to compromise the UK's established democracy, human rights and the rule of law and that the shared fruits of trade should not be at the expense of the social and economic justice that democracy demands; and therefore calls on the Government to ensure that all proposed arrangements are fully scrutinised by Parliament and that no arrangements are made which compromise established standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Much is being made of our slide into feudalism, with the Libertarians openly salivating at the prospect thereof and the sane people plotting the fightback we need to get started. Quite frankly, I've got a massive problem with "One dollar, one vote," whoever says it.

As the scandal at Westminster continues to unfold, by all means spare a thought for the victims but don't take your eyes off the other bad guys. They may well try to sneak other laws and policies under the radar while they think we're not looking. These are the people who conflated fracking with geothermal energy. I wouldn't put anything past them.

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