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 Quarterly       Q3, 2020  


Freedom
It is so important
New editorial team


APEurope editorial
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Announcement

The editorial team of Emancipation has changed as a result of the end of the 2019 franchise editorial contract.

The new editorial team is in place and the first edition will occur in January 2020.

Emphasis will be on current affairs in the United Kingdom from the standpoint of constitution and constitutional economics as a basis for sustaining social wellbeing through freedom of choice and peaceful co-existence.

January, 2020

The current state of affairs in the United Kingdom

A rough and somewhat bizarre impression of the current challenges facing the constituents of the United Kingdom can be summarized in the GEL cartoon which appeared recently on CybaCity.com and which we reproduce below.


©2020 GEL-Great Effects Lab
This cartoon is communicating a message concerning the past failures and accumulated outcomes of UK government policies, by using the common technique of an exaggerated image of economic crisis. However, on closer examination, and ignoring any partisan political bias, the messages contained within the cartoon's pollution cloud are, in general, factual. These details are slowly dawning on the constituents of the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom is already in an economic crisis which is inadequately covered in many UK media. This dulls the popular perceptions as to the associated risks on the part of many leading to a lack of urgency in preventing an inevitable transformation of this state of affairs into a constitutional crisis. This situation has been created by inappropriate decisions and policies, introduced by past governments led by the prime ministers: Margaret Thatcher (Conservative), Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (New Labour), the David Cameron-Nick Clegg coalition (Conservative-Liberal Democrats), Theresa May (Conservative) and Boris Johnson (Conservative). The cumulative result, for all to behold, is a decadence in the structure and operation of the UK economy which is prejudicing the wellbeing of increasing numbers of constituents.

If one reviews the number of issues needing to be addressed it becomes apparent that the government is unlikely to be able to address them all in a timely manner.
Exasperation?

When advisers, whose main job is to win an election, are required to turn their capabilities to policies in governance, they often face a problem; they run out of ideas. The knee jerk reaction is to appeal to brain storming in an attempt to clutch at anything to save the day. An indicator of any such a panic is a search for people with "out of the box" capabilities which suggests the adviser's, and government's, boxes are empty.

The actions of Dominic Cummings, a special adviser to Boris Johnson, may have exposed such a decline in confidence in a recent blog-based job announcement he posted calling for "super-talented weirdos", "wild cards" and "unusual mathematicians" to work in Number 10; he also included other capabilities.
This is because the political system's inability to manage the BREXIT decisions over a three year period demonstrates the tragically incompetent nature of party politics, on the one hand, and ineffective effective constituent representation, on the other. In the United Kingdom, these are not the same thing. BREXIT and TRADE have filled the media and parliamentary time to the detriment of arguably more important decisions. The prospects for the next two to five years is more of the same because many civil servants have been transferred from other briefs into the BREXIT cauldron. This is giving ministers in all other briefs more decision-making power because of a growing deficiency in civil servant support. This, with a large Conservative majority in parliament, is a recipe for more prejudicial decisions and a potential disaster. There is no doubt that this will deepen the emerging economic and constitutional crisis.

An early decline?

The scale of the non-BREXIT issues facing the country and government, summarized in the GEL cartoon above, are beyond the capability of this government to resolve. The cabinet and Boris Johnson appear to have realized the thin ice they stand on.

The Prime Minister has reacted in an impulsive way by warning his cabinet members to perform, that is, to deliver policies on their briefs, otherwise face relegation to the back benches in parliament and loss of income. Johnson is trying to pass on blame for likely failure to other members of his party in parliament, he is exposing self doubt on the quality of his cabinet.

This impetuous high profile decision is characteristic of the deplorable tactics deployed in parliament1 and the election campaign, but which, in this case, is beginning to unravel. Many ministers, in fact anyone in those positions, will find it extremely difficult to formulate policies able to bring about required changes. This is a direct result of their being virtually no policy instrument options existing in the threadbare policy tool box that Conservative party ideology supports. Their continued fixation with quantitative easing is a central cause of this state of affairs. The state of the economy provides ample evidence that the economy is not safe in their hands.

Johnson's somewhat high profile declarations have only drawn the public's attention to there being "problems". This is likely to represent a tipping point for the initiation of a decline in public trust in the Johnson-led government.




1 Johnson removed the whip from many well-established, highly experienced, "one nation" MPs with outstanding track records in parliament. This was because in a parliamentary vote they exercised their freedom of expression based on their conscience, as is their unalienable their right to do.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson sustains a bubbly enthusiasm and apparent confidence that getting BREXIT done will clear the decks to enable his government to solve the issues that "concern the electorate". He enthusiastically voices this opinion in a boisterous fashion through a blustering, boyishly naive positivism and can-do-will-do manner. But he increasingly says whatever he thinks needs to be said, to convince, according to the particular circumstances and context of his delivery. Indeed, all politicians do this. However, the tally of what appear to be exaggerations of the feasibility of achieving what he states government will do is cumulating into an archive of misrepresentations or even gross exaggerations of ability to deliver or true intent, in short, plain lies. There is an emerging crisis of confidence.

Although Boris Johnson's strategy is managed by others, including "special advisers", his ability to deliver an effective message is declining rapidly. Tony Blair, for example, had a more effective and deft ability to mould misrepresentations of the facts into convincing messages delivered with a completely straight face.

A significant problem facing the Conservative government is their need to realize that the ways and means they won the election do not translate into the most effective ways of creating appropriate policies and governing in a manner that will maintain public support (see box "Exasperation" on the right). This particular topic will be reviewed in future articles in Emancipation since it is a significant component of the emerging constitutional crisis.

In the future editions of Emancipation we will explore all of the constitutional and economic challenges facing the United Kingdom. Much of this analysis will concern inappropriate decisions made by different "leaders" which represent a mix of belief in unreliable economic theories which in practice failed. There is also the ingredient of the taking of tactical decisions to maintain the power of private political parties with tiny, almost, inexpressive memberships. It is often not fully appreciated that the governance of the Britain has been dominated by factional minority political parties. This has had a significant impact on the quality of governance over an extended period. This is a direct cause of the apparent lack of intellectual critical mass and relevant talents within the body of Members of Parliament and from which political parties select ministers and a leader (prime minister). Such governments are not at ease with an impartial civil service but normally wish to push an agenda. This has given rise to the need to contract in unelected "special advisers" who have not been subjected to adequate scrutiny. Naturally with such deficits in the capabilities of politicians justifying the contracting of "special advisers" the balance in decision analyses invariably ends up with the adviser gaining too much influence over decision-making affecting the wellbeing of the population. This reality appears to have resulted in dishonest election tactics deployed by political parties and, in government, assertive, poorly designed actions and non-participatory decisions to implement them.

This analysis will not be aimed at attacking individuals but rather will attempt to highlight what were often honestly held wrong ideas leading to inappropriate decisions. It was inevitable, and is no revelation to state, that the leadership of the country, under such circumstances, has increasingly lost grip of an adequate understanding of constituent needs and has increasingly shifted emphasis towards identity and dog whistle demagoguery.
Conservative party antics have set in motion a socio economic impulse that could break up the Union
This trend, paradoxically, is an approach worked out by the New Marxists as "a means to become elected and to stay in power" in the period Neil Kinnock was attempting to become elected. All of the parties who became elected since that time to form government have applied this approach. For more than a decade this approach has made use of social media to increase its effect making use of special advisers specialized in this type of manipulation and social media who promote and earn income from manipulated content and directed communications. There are here significant examples of our political parties supporting modes of expression directed to the national constituency that are dishonest and an abuse of the notion of freedom of expression.

Forthcoming topics

  • A review of the practical utility of the different "schools" of economic thought
  • The emerging crisis of the Union - The gaps and needs facing constituents in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • Emerging initiatives to reduce the impact of current types of use and manipulation through social media while sustaining "freedom of expression"
  • Our investigation into foreign influence in UK electoral, media and national affairs
  • Time to stop the rot and tell the Westminster revellers the party is over

General

Government social and economic policies have multiple implications arising from their impacts on families, individual wellbeing and state of the economy. The analysis of the likely impacts of policies is somewhat of a maze. A significant problem facing constituents is misrepresentation and propaganda disseminated by the leading UK media and some representatives of political parties.

However, it is important to be able to review and compare the significance of each type of policy decision for families. We therefore intend to provide analyses that are balanced, thorough and presented in an easy to understand format so that constituents can identify those options that are preferable and worthy of support.

This work has been initiated through Policy Forum a site for the development of propositions for change focusing on the interests of the majority of UK constituents and involving constituent participation. This new iniytiative was launched and is supported by APE (Agence Presses Européenne). The site can be accessed by clicking on the image on the right.

We have recently passed through a period where proposed policy benefits have been misrepresented though exaggeration of benefits when in reality they are likely to benefit very limited numbers of individuals who are closely associated with political parties through financial contributions and influence through the media. Unfortunately politicians make promises to gain votes and yet they will abandon such promises if their majority is sufficient so as to enable them not to be bound by their mandate promises. Under the UK electoral and parliamentary arrangements parliamentary opposition can achieve little under such circumstances. Naturally, transparency on the actual balance of distribution of benefits and prejudice throughout the population is an essential factor in policy analysis. It provides a basis for voters to identify those policies they should not support.




Even what appear to be simple policy solutions to straight forward matters require a complex analysis to make sure all factors have been taken into account....


DABs help identify policy options that minimize risk and waste of resources. Successful policies combine social, economic and environmental sustainability gaining effective traction ....


1 DABs-Decision Analysis Briefs were first proposed in the constitutional proposals contained in McNeill, H. W., "The Briton's Quest for Freedom - Our unfinished journey..." (Chapter 26, "Parliament, DABs-Decision analysis briefs" and in Note 104) HPC, 418 pages, 20072 as a proposal to add clarity and relevance to policy proposals. DABs are concise descriptions of the gaps in provisions and the associated needs of all, or sub-groups within, a national constituency. The identification of the constraints giving rise to the gaps and needs also raises awareness of factors that will have to be accommodated or overcome by any proposed policy actions. DABs make use of transparent quantitative models of cause-and-effect relationships of relevance to the issue/s in question. The identification of the determinants, or key factors as policy instruments, that influence the results of policy actions (policy targets) are used to compare possible policy solutions to identify the best option/s in the form of projections that describe the likely outcome scenario.

2 Agence Presse Européenne (APE) is negotiating with the author of "The Briton's Quest for Freedom" to secure exclusive rights to post the serialized version of the full revised and updated text of this book in all APE sites worldwide. We hope to start posting this series as from the second edition of Emancipation in Q1, 2020. Gel will be providing the illustrations in support of this series.

Update: Added box entitled: "An early decline?", 19th January, 2020.