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Mary Robinson fails to mention the corruption and self-serving that has characterized the “elite global agenda”

An article by Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a member of The Elders, may be read on a sister site. She opened:

mary-robinsonMillions across the world feel that the current globalised system is not working in their best interests. From unemployed former steel workers in the US rust belt, to the small island states in the South Pacific where livelihoods are threatened by climate change, people are angry that decisions taken by governments and in corporate boardrooms appear blithely indifferent to their daily struggles. We know from history that crude populism offers no real solutions, creating only false hope and scapegoats. Yet it is also clear that there are many politicians who will cynically exploit genuine grievances for their own ends”.

She ended by calling on citizens across the globe to trust their best instincts and work together for justice, but thoughtful commentators pinpointed omissions which underlie the uneasy reaction of some readers (extracts follow, all links added).

John Bruce addresses Ms Robinson: “With immense respect the air in your ivory tower isn’t what the rest of us breathe”

This article epitomises the views of a human being with a great heart but so out of touch as not to begin to understand the realities of life as understood by those who voted Brexit, or for Trump, or who are, and will be, powering the whole ground swell of global discontent.

It is not about leadership per se, but its abuse in pursuing greed over decency and values

Simon elaborates: This tip of the hat to the discontent of the “Millions across the world” seems well intentioned.  But Robinson fails to embrace the significant corruption and self-dealing that has characterized the “elite global agenda”.  

Yes, in theory globalization offers much promise, but its idealistic promoters have inexcusably turned a blind eye to abuses, distortions and fraud in globalization’s execution.  All too frequently, dissent has been brushed aside as populist ignorance.  

Globalization’s idealistic leaders (The Elders?) have lost credibility precisely because they have failed to call out the “fellow traveler” profiteers in their own ranks, and likewise been cheerleaders to globalization’s stark imbalances.  

John Bruce continues: One price of this has been consumerist capitalism – a policy to enrich the wealthy at the expense of the not so well.

The mechanism has been education to a belief that “I shop therefore I am” – all on the back of expensive debt to the individual, supplied at near zero cost by institutions which, in a free market, would no longer be in it.

That is the cause of disaffection and it threatens revolution. Corbyn is right 20/1 is a pay ratio the civilised world needs to adopt or, had we still been here, the future would have been a time of immense violence – politics by other means to get rid of the oppressive mortmain on the lives and aspirations of the many by the protected and privileged few. An elite whose leadership has long been to protect the status quo and vested interest. Not something anyone with the power to do anything wishes to change.

The deep entrenchment of such leadership, based on the comfortable misconception of its beneficiaries, that the answer to poverty is simply to make the rich richer and it will simply trickle down, has come to put humanity at risk never before faced.

The second price to be paid for consumerist capitalism is its carbon footprint 

Nature has the capacity to re-cycle 280 – 300 ppm carbon pa (note Keeling). The system has been out of control since about 1980. Now, 40 years later and in absence of intervention – to make clean energy to put coal oil and gas out of business and convert current engines to run clean – we have no future.

It is, on the evidence, that stark.  But just as the conventional wisdom was wrong in thinking the RMS Titanic couldn’t sink so today we no less deliberately deny ourselves the reality, preferring a delusion which allows us to think that by cutting carbon we can remain below 1.5C.

Bruce ends prophetically: “What drives our weather will set our destiny.”  

 

 

 

 

Corbyn would probably agree that a foreign policy based on subservience to the United States is a source of deep shame for many Britons

A reader sends this link to an article by Peter Oborne. The following highlights may tempt readers pressed for time to open it.

With barely two weeks to go until the election of a new Labour leader, a British establishment project has been launched to stop Jeremy Corbyn at any cost. Most of the mainstream media as well as the majority of Labour MPs and party donors are part of this conspiracy to nobble the front-runner.

The Western powers always assert that they support democracy. But the truth is different. Mr Corbyn’s critics always claim that they want democracy. But do they really? They only want democracy, so long as it does not threaten the interests of their powerful backers.

Some Labour strategists envisage that Jeremy Corbyn should be duly defenestrated if he becomes Labour leader in 15 days time – so that Labour supporters can be made to vote again. I am not a Labour voter, let alone a member of the Labour Party with a vote in the current election. However, I am certain this would be a disaster for British public life.

If he wins, he must be allowed to lead his party and to make his case.

Mr Corbyn is the most interesting figure to emerge as a leader of a British political party for many years. This is because he stands for a distinct set of ideas and beliefs which set a new agenda in British politics. If he wins on 12 September, he will be the first party leader to come from right outside the British mainstream since Margaret Thatcher in 1975.

Corbyn is mounting a direct and open challenge to the British system of government of international alliances as they have worked since Tony Blair became Labour Party leader.

For two decades both main parties have shared the same verities about British foreign policy. They have regarded Britain as automatically subservient to the United States. This in turn has meant that we have interpreted the partnership with the Gulf dictatorships – such as Saudi Arabia and UAE – as central to Britain’s Middle East focus, while taking the side of the Israeli state against the Palestinians. In the Middle East this approach has ensured that we are confronting a growing terrorist threat in the region with an ever-decreasing base in popular support, and actually hated by an ever-growing population who identify Britain with their oppressors.

No matter which party was technically in power, British foreign policy has remained unchanged. David Cameron is indistinguishable in foreign policy terms to Tony Blair. (Indeed, the former prime minister has become one of Mr Cameron’s most valued foreign policy advisors.)

Jeremy Corbyn would smash this consensus.

Most people would agree that on the most intractable foreign policy issues of our time Corbyn has tended to be right and the British establishment has tended to be wrong. What Corbyn does or thinks today is likely to be vindicated a few years later. Hard though it is for the British establishment to stomach, Corbyn’s foreign policy ideas have generally been more balanced and far-sighted than those of his opponents.

This certainly does not mean that he is always right. I believe that he has been naïve about Vladimir Putin, ruler of an authoritarian state which is founded on corruption and violence. He has been unwise to contemplate British withdrawal from NATO.

Corbyn is our only current hope of any serious challenge to a failed orthodoxy. Blair and Cameron have both adopted a foreign policy based on subservience rather than partnership with the United States, which has done grave damage to British interests.