( Six minute read)
Six hundred MPs and seven hundred and fifty one members of the house of lords, the crew of the Titanic Brexit Britain.
We literally have no comparisons for the sheer scale of what is happening in Britain there is simply no reference point for it whatsoever.
To call it a statistical outlier would be making a mockery of statistics.
More than 100,000 excess deaths that are on track to happen by the end of this year.
What else killed 100,000 people? Well, the bomb that fell on Hiroshima did. The only other comparison of death at this scale that can really be offered is Covid deaths, during the pandemic’s absolute peak. But then? Societies were in a completely different place. Locked down. At a standstill. Those are the only events in contemporary history, outside war, which produce….absolutely shocking numbers…like this. Perhaps the best way to understand what’s happening to Britain is that it appears to be a society at war. With itself.
This was a choice, and the only one of those that’s a choice falls into the category of war.
Britain appears to be experiencing something so extreme that it can only really be likened to a war by any other name.
This is the kind of calamity that’s needed to contextualize, properly, what Britain’s done to itself.
Britain’s economy is about to be 11% smaller than it would’ve been if Brexit hadn’t happened.
The only point of comparison, really, is the Great Depression.
Consider, let’s say, Russia. Guess how much its economy shrank last year — as the entire world ostracized it, banned it, shut down its access to financial networks, sanctioned it. 8.5% — Less than Britain’s will, thanks to Brexit.
What’s the point, even, of telling you all this, you might be wondering, a little angrily, especially if you’re British?
The point is very simple. These are the facts. And you should know them. If you’re British, something historically singular is happening to your history, and your society made it happen.
If you’re not British, the reason for telling you all this is even simpler. You had better learn something.
Brits wanted to backwards, in time, to an imaginary nostalgic, driven into a nationalistic frenzy which soon became ugly xenophobia and hate — the kind that’s still keeping the left, LOL, the left, from hiring doctors and nurses to save those future tens of thousands of dead Brits.
You had better learn something. This is where it ends. The road of nationalism, hubris, Big Lies, the ones the lunatics around the world now tell — Brittania Uber Alles, Sweden for the Swedes, Make America Great Again, whatever flavour they come in.
Just a decade ago, Britain was still the envy of the world.
It is something history books will teach — as an example of how fast even a developed, wealthy, secure, stable country can not just lose it all, but how much there is to really lose, and how hard it is, then, to teach what has been lost at all, because by then, all that’s left is the lie, sneering at truth, stamping like a boot on the face of history.
Watching Britain turn into what it is now — the first rich European country to become a failed state, which in itself is mind-boggling — is to witness something historic.
“Fear” “danger” “panic” “double panic”. These are the kinds of words we often hear when we talk to people about the economy. The economy is described as “a giant blob” that is “vast and never ending”, “one big circle”, even “a monster”.
So what exactly is the economy?
Where is it? And who controls it?
The economy is nothing but the cumulative result of the way you live your life, and the way everyone around you lives theirs. It’s how we make the things we want and decide who gets what.
Trying to draw hard boundaries around the edges of the economy is a fool’s errand. It doesn’t take much to link almost everything in our world to the system of making and using things. But claiming that anything and everything has to do with economics is a step too far when there’s so many other things that shape our lives.
Economics is just seven billion stories, experiences, and choices. This morning, you decided what time to get up, whether or not to go to work, what eat, and whether to go for a jog or laze on the sofa. Each of those decisions affected the economy in some way, and each were economics.
Many millions of words have been written about what has happened since, but three clear facts stand out from this lost decade.
The first is that people who did not cause the crisis and who had no say in the risks taken in financial markets on their behalf have paid the highest price. Taxpayers’ money bailed out the banks; that was unavoidable.
For the first time in modern records, ‘economic growth’ – a hollow and moribund concept – has ceased to deliver pay rises for many.
There is a growing sense that the economy is not something that should be done to people, but rather with and by them.
Add to this the constantly accelerating pace of digital innovation – both a profound threat and a real opportunity
– and the outline of a world in which policymaking and economics is never going to be the same again is discernible
Here is what is needed to be done. Truly radical thinking for truly radical times.
To realize that you live on an island and the markets that you sell into controls the economy.
To build a purposeful economy. Doing economics as if people and planet mattered – and fashioning the economy to serve the people and the thriving and healthy natural world on which we all depend – is now the most important project of our time.
It is beyond comprehension not to build a green economy self sufficient in green energy, creating millions of jobs and revenue.
A guarantee of basic goods and services for all, in which a basic income and universal public services, such as childcare, health, and social care, are combined with common or co-operative ownership of essentials like energy, water and transport to
ensure a decent quality of life.
Investment in a massive, genuinely affordable, green social housebuilding programme, with local development dictated by
Create a Working Hours Commission, alongside the Low Pay Commission, to set out a framework for achieving shorter
and more flexible hours of paid work for all.
Not building two new aircraft, a high-speed worthless railway, quantitative easing, not deporting badly needed immigrants that can and will contribute to supporting an aging population, not building new nuclear plants, not sending the young into the world with crippling educational debts, not allowing London to suck the life out of the country for the sake of profit.
Renewed prioritisation and a focus on fewer projects might lead government teams to be able to deliver projects to the best of their ability – doing ‘fewer things really well, rather than trying to do everything in a less successful way.’
In 2020, 11 projects in the GMPP (9%) were considered to be ‘unfeasible’ in their delivery. The ICT and digital transformation category had the highest proportion of projects rated ‘unfeasible’ or ‘in doubt’ (53%) which is a record high – no ICT projects were rated ‘highly likely’, which is a drop from 7% in 2019.
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