BY COURTENAY BARNETT
I dispatch this missive to those who are thoughtful, intelligent ( whether from the right or the left) and who do believe that in this globalised world of ours, we actually all do need each other. In fact, even back to ol’ Ghengis Khan’s time and before – ‘globalisation’ is not, on an accurate historical assessment, a new phenomenon. It has so been packaged to serve the interests of a narrow modern day elite ( but that commentary for another day and another time). Today we shall examine, in a brief way, the recent British election results.
First, let me go wide to narrow my observations.
For those of us who follow global political processes, then this becomes evident. Jo Swinson, of the Liberal Democrats, took a position which did defeat Labour remainders. She lent her support to Boris Johnson and his call for an early election. That is where it all started. Comment: Swinson lost her seat to the Scottish National Party ( SNP) – a point to which I shall return.
Put the politics aside for the moment and let me share my opinion ( for what it is worth) on the more important issue of the economics of the moment as it may impact the United Kingdom going forward.
Frist, across the wide Atlantic we find some similarities between the US and Britain:-
- In the US there is a so-called ‘rust belt’.
- In the UK there is the midlands and then Northern England.
- With regards to both A and B these are primarily working class and blue collar people areas which traditionally are either solidly Democratic or Labour voters.
So, what happened in the UK?
I answer my question in this both practical and theoretical way.
It is not highly likely that persons faced with daily bread and butter issues are going to be raising questions in their minds about what is structurally dictated unemployment? Or, what is, as related to the first question, globally dictated structural unemployment? The first question relates to domestic shifts in investment and the latter to the global situation. But, what does all of that have to do with anything? Actually – everything.
When global capital decides that it is investing in a region, or country ‘A’ or ‘B’ or ‘C’ as the case may be, the decision is made in totally pragmatic terms. More profit relative to the level of investment.
So, when jobs move from the traditionally established Western countries to more attractive and profitable regions of the world, such as China, then there is an unemployment hole left in the former US and UK industrial belts.
Well, the unemployed, or under-employed situation and others suddenly need an economic answer. How does that come?
It comes in the US from Donald Trump making a series of anti-immigrant; anti-Muslim; anti-Semitic embraced speeches and statements ( such as that there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville Virginia where the neo-Naizs were marching) and a general anti ‘other’ set of politically motivated speeches – which help to create tensions amongst diverse people within a country. Playbook followed over in Europe too.
But what is the real problem?
Well, ‘dear leader’ Boris – may I suggest that your real challenge is as follows:-
- How do you address the issues which the people in the Midlands and the North of England face – especially regarding jobs and unemployment?
- If you can succeed in striking a US/UK trade deal – then on what terms and will same be proven to be mutually beneficial for both the US and UK? We already know that Donald, as with all his other ‘successful’ business ventures will be angling to do as he did with China – only to find that he has absolutely no basis of understanding of economics 101 when it comes on to trade-wars. But, be forewarned – the UK does not wield as much power as China.
- You have promised more, much more investment, in education – and – you are to be commended for that.
- There is the question of the future treatment of the NHS – and that remains to be seen.
- The relationship with Northern Ireland and whether you prove to be a man to your word – remains to be seen.
- Last, but not least, there is the SNP victory, which now necessitates an early, if not immediate second referendum on Scottish independence.
Boris, I am not your enemy, for at heart and throughout my legal career I have demonstrated and proven myself to be a humanitarian. Hate not – and – try to assist as best one can as a human being – one to the other.
I have given you a short ‘dirty dozen’. Do not despair – my hearty congratulations on your victory.
My short six( 6) points constitute just an adumbrated form of the challenges which you face going forward.
But victor Boris and vanquished Jeremy, really and truly do not despair. I am on the cusp of completing my five(5) star Villa in the Caribbean, hopefully to be operational by mid-February, 2020. When the post-election stress hits both of you, be assured that both of you shall be welcomed. As regards you Boris – you are an avowed capitalist; and you Jeremy are an avowed socialist.
Let me give both of you a warning.
Boris – you will have to pay top dollar, for that is what the market commands and you will have to pay full price for a top retreat and your much deserved relaxation.
Jeremy – there shall be no Turks and Caicos Islands state subsidy paid out for your retirement and a justly due vacation. Full price as usual.
Based on that understanding, please book in advance.
* COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He lives and works in the Caribbean.