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OPERATION YELLOWHAMMER - WHAT IT SAYS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

OPERATION YELLOWHAMMER - WHAT IT SAYS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

September 22, 2019

This is another current affairs podcast in which we go through the UK Government's plans for the eventuality of a no deal Brexit as outlined in the Operation Yellowhammer document. We include all items discussed in the document but expand particularly on items relating to possible social unrest (item 13), the impact of probable price rises on 'low income groups' (item 13) and the impact on adult social care which is deemed already threatened by 'market fragility'. We note that the government had to be pressured by Parliament to release this document and that a leaked, earlier but very similar version was considered a base scenario rather than a worst case scenario. The document can be downloaded here. (Opens in new window/tab.) [Free. 23 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [3] “LEAVE MEANS LEAVE”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [3] “LEAVE MEANS LEAVE”

September 13, 2019

In this podcast, we unpack the common rhetorical phrase employed by no-deal brexiteers, "leave means leave". We point out that, though the phrase tautological, an implication is indirectly intended by it, whilst simultaneously concealing counter implications. The implication is that there is only one outcome of invoking and implementing Article 50 which would withdraw the UK from all its treaty obligations with the EU. The fact is that the terms "brexit" and "leave" denote a wide range of possibilities which need to be considered as to their probable outcomes and evaluated more generally. [Free. 30 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [2] “#SURRENDER BILL”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [2] “#SURRENDER BILL”

September 12, 2019

In this podcast we deconstruct the hashtag "surrender bill" which Prime Minister Johnson has been repeating at every opportunity. This hashtag attempts to spin the bill which recently passed through parliament making it illegal for the government to allow a no deal brexit or a brexit with a new deal without parliamentary consent on 31st October as somehow a surrender in an imagined war. We trace how this framing attempts to resonate with myths and fantasies around World War 2. [Free.  26 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [1] “TAKE BACK CONTROL”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [1] “TAKE BACK CONTROL”

September 9, 2019

In this podcast, we unpack the slogan 'Take Back Control' which was employed by Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum which resulted in the Brexit chaos the UK is currently living through. As an information source, we go right to the 'horses mouth', a YouTube video of Dominic Cummings, [Campaign Director, Vote Leave] explaining to an audience how the leave campaign came to win the referendum. [Available here - https://youtu.be/CDbRxH9Kiy4.] We argue that the manipulation of people's thought and actions en mass, which is propaganda, erodes the possibility of a flourishing democratic society and a culture of reasoned argument and careful evaluation urgently needs to be built. [Free. 33 minutes.]

THE CASE FOR JEREMY CORBYN

THE CASE FOR JEREMY CORBYN

July 22, 2019

This engagement with current affairs has already been over-taken by events. However, it may contain some enduring points. I consider the billionaire-owned media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist project, including but not exclusively, the charges of anti-semitism. I note the presence of neo-liberal apologists within the UK Labour Party. In the light of my contention that 'business as usual is not an option', given economic, ecological and cultural instability on a global scale, I elucidate and evaluate the idea of a 'Green New Deal' as is being considered by Labour as well as Justice Democrats in the USA, particularly Bernie Sanders. I argue that a glimmer of hope is contained by this movement. [Free. 42 minutes.]

THATCHERISM REVISITED

THATCHERISM REVISITED

March 24, 2019

In this podcast, I read a short essay I wrote in 1989 describing and analysing the previous ten years of Thatcherism. [Margaret Thatcher became PM of the UK in 1979.] I offer it here to illustrate how the Thatcher electoral victory of 1979 gave rise to ideological and practical dominance by neoliberalism which still has momentum, though now running down. [Free. 13 minutes.]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

November 30, 2018

This podcast is the first in a series of commentaries on my own poems in Songs of No and Yes. These are primarily for yoga people, particularly those who would 'teach' others. The first one deals with sitting practice and the productive dialectical tension between self-study and the call of the world. It deals with the suffering of self and others and the temptations to let 'spirituality' settle into escapism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

CAPITALISM WITH A HUMAN FACE?

CAPITALISM WITH A HUMAN FACE?

November 9, 2018

This podcast was stimulated by a riposte to Aaron Bastami's adage that 'Tories exist to break the poor' which cites Disraeli's lament at the class split in the nation as well as to the building of hundreds of thousands of council houses in 1950s UK as evidence of a right wing benevolence. The main point I make against this notion that Capitalism may have a human face is that every working class advantage was either struggled for or 'granted' by the powers that be for reasons of economic necessity rather than generosity. In this context, I discuss the industrial reserve army and the high cost of training workers as productive technology historically got more sophisticated. I take a detour around the recent Greek economic crisis, the power of information and money, the instability of the money system, and the value and danger of utopian thinking. [Free. 29 minutes.]

JUNK ECONOMICS

JUNK ECONOMICS

November 9, 2018

This podcast is a squib inspired by Michael Hudson's J is for Junk Economics [2017] and the tumbleweed now bowling along the deserted high street. In this light, I examine Amazon's rapid metastasis and the phenomenon of believing that 'the stock is the product', to quote Action Jack Barker of Silicon Valley. Consideration naturally follows of Hudson's central thesis that neo-liberal economists are not really followers of Adam Smith, but have inverted his message, championing finance capital, [and, more generally, gaming the system], over and against productive capital. [Free. 30 minutes.]

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

October 12, 2018

This podcast is an abstract consideration of universal basic income which relates it to plenty, scarcity, money in general and political power. I explore both dystopian and utopian possibilities. [Free. 26 minutes.]