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Caught in the middle

Keep calm and tax the richThe battleground for the future of humanity has been clearly marked.

On one side are the masses, a vast majority of the population of the globe, armed with nothing but their own passion, energy, heart and intelligence.

On the other side are a small band of crooks armed with all the heavy artillery they could wish for, primed to mow us down at any moment.

The dividing line is public interest and private interest. Welfare and greed. Society and plutocracy.

At two different meetings this week, this battleground could be clearly seen. And in both cases, it was those few private business owners who have gained once more.

In Europe, a false narrative allowed the crooks to strike a hammer blow. The British public escaped injury only because our compatriots on the opposition have led us away from the killing fields, to execute us in the woods instead.

The narrative told us that the debt crisis we endure had been caused by excessive public spending. It was not. Our problems have their root in the reckless greed of the private sector – and they know it.

Covering their backsides, the private interests spun a lie and spent three years shouting it from every available rooftop. Now we have a new treaty that will force the public majority to pay for the problems caused by a wealthy minority.

In Africa, the public have been attacked from another angle. Here, national leaders met to decide how to overcome the greatest problem our civilisation has ever faced.

Climate change is advancing rapidly, and to solve it, private industry must be shackled. It is the oil propagators, the loggers and the miners who need to be restrained.

But in Durban, the discussion was about something else: How to force world governments into accepting targets they have no intention of meeting.

Our future is being staked on the hope that 193 different states – most of them corrupt and undemocratic – can all be trusted to follow a set of instructions without incentive or threat of punishment.

If such a deal is ever agreed, or equally worse, if no deal is ever agreed, the masses will suffer and private interests will continue to reap the rewards.

What we need instead is a single global mechanism that provides the financial incentive for multinational firms to cut their dependence on carbon, and a new body to enforce it. Anything less than this is a step off the climate change cliff.

In Europe and in Africa it was the governments that were caught in the middle. They were in the centre of the battlefield, and they had to choose. Public or private?

They could represent the masses, or they could represent the private interests with whom they have already been colluding for decades. The decision was no surprise.

But what these governments need to remember is that it was the public who built the weapons that the private now wield.

If our national leaders won’t take them back, we’ll have to do it ourselves.


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