22 Jun
2016

Thoughts before voting

Try this, at some stages you may disagree.

1.       We are facing several interconnected ecological crises many combinations of which have the likely outcome of:
a.     Rendering large portions of the world’s surface unable to support self-sufficient human lives.
b.     Leaving insufficient benign habit area to support 6 billion humans at even a subsistence level however they are distributed.

2.       These effects are starting to become very evident now, and on current trajectories (including the most optimistic Paris 2015 agreement outcomes) will impact within 20 years.
a.     The scary evidence is starting to look like 5 more years of business as usual could be optimistic. Can we afford to hope they are wrong? What are the costs of behaving as if the evidence is correct?

3.       This is therefore an existential crisis for anyone aged under 65 – within their lifetime the world will have insufficient habitat to support the current number of humans at even a subsistence lifestyle.

4.       Given the lag between pollution and effect, in order to maximise the human supporting habitat that will remain in 20 years it is essential to massively reduce net resource consumption and pollution output in a very short timescale – for example less than 5 years to reduce to zero the pollutants that have long term impacts – particularly CO2, CH4, and radionuclides.

5.       New technological solutions to these problems which would allow something like a Western lifestyle to continue for those who currently have it simply cannot be introduced within the necessary timescale and without unintended negative consequences even where the base technology exists today.
a.     For example to replace the entire UK petrol/diesel/lpg fleet with electric vehicles would require 35 million new cars, demanding around 87 billion kWh of electricity at 4kWh per mile (currently best is around 3) equivalent to 14 million new large wind turbines (3MW) simply in order to keep consuming transport miles as at present –  at a density of 1 per acre (typical for large wind) that means a quarter of the UK’s 60 million acres is turned into a wind farm. Never mind where the resources are coming from to make the motors, batteries, turbines and so on.

6.       The much vaunted by greenies who want to vote remain environmental protections that the EU has managed to introduce have two problems:
a.     At the same time as these measures have been introduced the EU has also overseen and encouraged a massive increase in polluting and destructive activity through its systemic promotion of economic growth. At best the environmental protections are a slight moderating influence on the worst excesses of growthism, at worst they are ineffective and routinely ignored or subverted at lower levels.
b.     A deeper problem is that of morality, mores, social consensus and control which are essential for laws to be effective. In brief the further from the gathering round the village oak tree it is that laws for the common good are made the less effective they become and the more they reflect the will of all (the sum of what each individual wants) and not the general will (what all agree would benefit the community as a whole).

7.       The EU exists fundamentally as a market mechanism, it is a capitalistic project to promote growth including ultimately the growth of inequality and the concentration of power. It is simply not possible to reform from within such an organisation to negate its very reason for existence.

8.       Nowhere on the ballot paper does it say, or even imply, that leaving the EU would automatically mean that the Tory party would win even the next election (which if we leave could be sooner than 2020) never mind every one hereafter.  Also nowhere does it say or imply voting one way or the other is racist or isolationist. Most – in fact the vast majority – of people in this country are not right wing extremists, or even mildly racist and the obscene implications that they are coming from the Remain camp simply beggar belief.
a.     If we vote to leave it seems likely that it will cause a major split in the Tory party and they may well find themselves unable to get a majority or even a potential coalition government of the neo-Lib Tories and the ukip-Tories in power. In many places the split between a ukip-Tory and a neoLib-Tory may well enable a third party – Labour or other – to come through the middle.
b.     If we vote to remain then that will cement the current administration in place (maybe with a new PM eventually) until at least 2020 and will expose the massive cognitive dissonance in the Corbyn position of being inherently anti-EU (which is the traditional old school Labour position – Tony Benn was good on this) whilst voting to remain because he is scared of a few racist Tories making a noise. Stupid hardly covers it, but the consequence will be an enfeebled Labour in 2020 and probably at least 5 or maybe 10 more years of Tory business driven rule. Where then the environment – green crap?

9.       Globally there seems little doubt that the UK leaving will provoke some economic instability – how bad it will be or whether the powers that be will be able to keep it under control remains to be seen. At the very least it will be a slap in the face for the growthist agenda, and potentially much more. Staying in holds no such prospect.

10.   Whatever happens the future is going to be very very difficult. Believing the scare stories about Farage Johnson bogeymen taking control is no help at all – it just paralyses you from seeing a bigger picture. In essence the referendum debate as it has been conducted is purely about an internal division in the Tory party. Put succinctly if you are a Tory supporting business who trades with Europe you are a Remainer, if you are a Tory supporting business who trades with the rest of the world you are a Leaver. Either way the little guy continues to get shafted, the environment continues to go to hell in a handcart.
a.     Incidentally just as Corbyn is at heart anti EU but going against his instincts for short term political reasons, so Johnson is at heart pro-EU but going against his instincts as part of his play for Tory leadership and next PM – check out their respective opinions from 2 or more years ago.
b.     In a post-leave situation those who can genuinely say that they were in favour of leaving will have a political edge in the new situation wherever they are coming from. It is very worrying that so many people who are capable of going beyond operational thinking to see the whole system are failing to do so. One risk with voting remain is that you will be disempowered if we leave.

In conclusion this really is a Tory in-fight circus to distract us from the ecological situation we face. Those who are continuing to accumulate wealth and see the writing on the wall reckon to be able to buy their way onto a lifeboat as the ship goes down. Those who do not have wealth but read the writing on the wall reckon to create as much disruption as possible whilst having taken a seat in a lifeboat and launching it. Who joins us in the future will depend to what extent the rest are taken in by the useless money waved by the rich and who survives the bloodletting that is now inevitably coming on the path to a downsized future.
Whoever joins us, or whether or not we make it through ourselves, the near term future is going to be very tough.

Interesting times eh? Friday is another day, and then Saturday…

Roger

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