I started writing this particular opinion piece in 2015. As such it includes the Occupy movement which was big news that decade. It touches on the Leveson inquiry in the U.K, pre-dates Pres. Trump and the U.K. E.U. in or out referendum.
It has sat as a draft for five years yet the gist and headline is as relevant as ever if not more so.
"Is corruption always the name of the game?"
The covid-19 pandemic has left countries reeling with the financial implications but the uber rich continue to increase their wealth. Back in 2015 as government austerity measures trundled on in parts of the E.U. and U.K the rich were doing quite nicely thank you!
Op-Ed: "Sifting through news stories and media reports there seems to be one defining similarity between most of them - that is corruption. Whilst some people will baulk at that word it is hard to know what else to call it. We may have all heard the adage "you scratch my back and I will scratch yours" but it seems to be a way of life for powerful people in this the 21st Century.
So here we are with hindsight looking back at four years of President Donald J Trump who is now seeking four more years as POTUS!
Was Pres. Trump and P.M Johnson credible in 2015 - hell are they now?
In 2015 U.K. debt reportedly escalated to an all time high of One Trillion Pound with claims "it means that every man, woman and child in the country owes around £16,400 to the City and global lenders who help keep public services running." That wording was via the right wing Evening Standard.
Now here we are October 2020 with news that "The UK’s national debt hit a record £2.024 trillion at the end of August, £249.5 billion more than the same time last year. To put the figures in some perspective, the debt level works out a roughly £30,000 per person living in the UK."
They will blame the current covid-19 pandemic but the Conservatives have been in government now for ten long years. They continue to make bad choices.
The fats cats still prevail. The wealthy are doing quite well by and large during this pandemic while ordinary folks are short-changed financially, health-wise and more.
So I ask again.
Is Corruption the name of the Game in the 21st Century? Because in this bloggers humble opinion it sure looks that way.
Related UK reading 2020 just for starters
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Call for inquiry into why senior Tory helped donor avoid £40m tax
Robert Jenrick admits approving funds for town in Jake Berry's constituency
Dido Harding appointment ‘corrupting our constitution’ – Lord Falconer
Dominic Cummings dodges £50k in unpaid taxes after Durham council decides to 'write off' charges
How billionaires got $637 billion richer during the coronavirus pandemic
British politics is full of bluster, half truths, propaganda and smoke and mirrors right now. Maybe it always is.
But distraction politics often mean that the electorate becomes almost obsessed about a single issue, such as Brexit, giving those in power a free rein to hide, bury and simply ignore many real issues that could affect us all.
So now it seems is a good time to re-share our brief history of that well-used phrase, it’s all smoke and mirrors.
Have you heard the expression, "it's all smoke and mirrors?"; do you know what it means and its history?
No? Well let's see if we can address that, as it could be a phrase that you hear and see a lot these days -- after all so much that is currently going on around the world is "All smoke and Mirrors"
A strict definition of the phrase is "Trickery or deception, often in a political context"
The phrase, however, has its origins in magic; a conjurer on the stage attempting to fool the audience into believing his "trick" would use smoke and mirrors. This would deceive the eye of the beholder and enable the magician to fool the audience, perhaps a bit like all politicians around the word do at times.
The "trick" would truly appear to be 'magic' when in truth it was simply a slight of hand manoeuvre.
In more recent times this phrase has been used to describe politics and, as it is so often called these days, political spin, plus conflicts and war. Whilst this is now common practise it does make it hard to know just what and who to believe.
Reading a good cross section of reports can help but that is time consuming. Even then views may be subjective rather than objective.
Into the pot we also need to add the fact that these days foreign agents often infiltrate countries and organisations in order to manipulate what is happening; more smoke and mirrors. The U.K. is not a stranger to this. British political leaders these days employ spin doctors to weave a web of whatever, which some would call a web of deceit.
Consider people like Boris Johnson’s right-hand man of the moment Dominic Cummings.
A clear, honest manifesto would be more appropriate and appreciated by the electorate but would it prove as politically useful?
American journalist Jimmy Breslin is generally attributed with the modern usage of the phrase all smoke and mirrors. In his "Notes from Impeachment Summer" in 1975 he wrote, "All political power is primarily an illusion... Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors... If somebody tells you how to look, there can be seen in the smoke great, magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms, and maybe they can be yours." "The ability to create the illusion of power, to use mirrors and blue smoke, is one found in unusual people." Since then the phrase has been adopted by many."
As the Conservative Party 2019 kicks off in Manchester watch out for the smoke and mirrors.
It may be PM and Tory Party leader Boris Johnson feeding into the minds of Brexiteers, making vague promises re the NHS, promising that sometime in the future money will be available in communities or whether the relationship between Johnson and American ex-model and entrepreneurs Jennifer Arcuri was more than he claims but rest assured smoke and mirrors will be heavily involved.
A good place to start would be removing the wall that holds the people of the West Bank prisoners in their own country.
Johnson's criticism of the BDS movement and others supporting a trade ban with Israel illustrate a complete lack of empathy or understanding of the many issues.
Perhaps Johnson's drug experimentation as a young man has caught up with him and resulted in an addled brain? In 2007 the Guardian published drug confessions of a series of high profile politicians from the U.K. and beyond and this is what they wrote about Johnson:
Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP for Henley, said: "I tried it [cocaine] at university and I remember it vividly. It achieved no pharmacological, psychotropic or any other effect on me whatsoever." He added that he had smoked "quite a few spliffs" before he went to university. He said: "It was jolly nice. But apparently it is very different these days. Much stronger. I've become very illiberal about it. I don't want my kids to take drugs."
Months later Johnson was spilling the beans on his teenage drug use to the Mail Online.
Johnson came onto the political scene as something of a joke and morphed into a semi-popular entertainer especially with younger people. His appearance on comedy political quiz show "Have I Got News for You" put him firmly in the public eye and a few years on he is a politician that is rumoured to be going places.
Touted by some Conservatives as the next leader of the party Johnson has a series of gaffes already under his belt.
His buffoonery of course could be part of a winning act?
Johnson will not care about offending people he perceives as a bunch of lefties - if there is such a group he would never receive their vote. However are all right-wing people in the U.K. pro-Israel? One would think not.
It is not about being anti-Semitic but about being pro the people of Gaza and Palestine; not wanting a small country pushed into oblivion; not wanting that tiny country to continue as an outdoor concentration camp.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson a.k.a. Boris Johnson like David Cameron and other 'chummies' attended Eton; they are part of a 'set'; a group of people that at one time had British politics sewn up and all to their advantage.
"Boris being Boris" is a statement that has been perhaps overused to let this foolish man off the hook in the past. It is way past the time he grew up and shut up.
Johnson should be careful who he offends; there could be actual or potential Tory voters in that group he describes and dismisses as nobodies and a "bunch of corduroy-jacketed lefty academics."
The remaining funds are being raised by the Garden Bridge Trust, which is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the bridge, through private donations. These donations exceed the public funding package and the Trust’s fundraising programme is ongoing.
There are other locations where further crossings over the Thames would be of great benefit which is why the Mayor and TfL are keen to see the delivery of many more crossings. As announced this summer, TfL, alongside local businesses, has provided funding to Sustrans to examine the feasibility of a pedestrian and cycle bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf with all parties awaiting the outcome of that study. TfL is also progressing with the Silvertown Tunnel, crossings at both Gallions Reach and Belvedere and following progress with the design competition run by the London Borough of Wandsworth for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge between Nine Elms and Pimlico with keen interest.
Public Liaison Officer
Greater London Authority
[The following links provide further reading and information on the Garden Bridge:
Thames Central Open Spaces
A Folly for London]
Is it to keep we the little people in our place or does he expect civil disobedience in the near future or could it be to justify the £218,205 spent on buying and refurbishing the three water cannon from the German federal police?
Summer 2015 may yet prove volatile following the Tory election victory in May and with a series of strikes planned.
Protests in summer have obvious advantages to strikers but when workers feel at a loss how to make real and positive change they will take industrial action be it winter or summer.
Salaries, working conditions and pensions are just a few things under attack - all important issues though.
London's bumbling Tory mayor Boris Johnson said in 2014 he planned to use water cannon in the city of London if and when the need arises. As the Daily Mail so eloquently put it "Boris Johnson has bought a job-lot of three aged German water cannon for what he says is a knockdown price. Presumably the word 'Polizei' on each of these vehicles will have to be painted out. The London mayor told a radio interviewer yesterday [June 29] that he was prepared to be blasted by one of the cannon to prove they are safe. I do hope he's not being serious. He could be badly injured."
This writer hoped that last bit was tongue in cheek and that Boris would go up against the water cannon and sustain injuries. If that happened it would be lesson learned for Johnson.
The Daily Mail reporter continues by doubting that even enemies of Boris would like to see him ravaged by water cannon but why not? If he thinks they are suitable to use against strikers and British protesters let him test the equipment out at full throttle.
In 2014 the Mail quoted a man seriously injured by water cannon. "Dietrich Wagner, a 69-year-old retired German engineer, was hit in the face four years ago at a protest against the redevelopment of Stuttgart's main railway station. His eyelids were torn and some of the bones around his eyes fractured, causing his eyeballs to fall out of their sockets. He's now blind."
Still think water cannons are ok to use against British citizens Mr Johnson?
If he does it proves one or two things. Johnson is as stupid as he seems or he does not care on jot about those he represents, as after all he will represent some of those preparing to strike in the UK or stage protests.
To Britain's shame water cannon were deployed in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Their use may have restored a semblance of peace but will have injured and alienated many.
Political pundits believe that Boris played to the hard core Tory supporters when he purchased the water cannon in 2014, also casting one eye to any future leadership battle in the Conservative party.
His main opponent for the job of party leader may be Home Secretary Theresa May so he wants to look the tough guy; perhaps May has her own reasons for stepping on Boris's toes this week.
David Cameron supported the purchase of the water cannons but in June 2014 Theresa May refused to be rushed on the decision. Alpha male Johnson made a pre-emptive strike and ordered the goods without her approval.
The coalition government looked set to authorise the use of the water cannon when 'needed' in the UK but by and large police commissioners distanced themselves and opposed the plan.
That said in January 2014 the Guardian reported "Chief constables are to press the home secretary, Theresa May, to authorise the use of water cannon by any police force across England and Wales to deal with anticipated street protests."
In the short-term the issue would water cannon be used against British protesters and strikers is resolved. However in the long term that could change. Johnson said this week police will continue to train on the water cannon and at some point in the future application for a licence to deploy the cannon can be sought again.
38 Degrees ran a petition which began -
Dear Theresa May, The Association of Chief Police Officers want to introduce the use of water cannon on mainland UK to disperse [austerity] protests. I believe you should deny this request so as to maintain the public's right to peaceful protest.
Follow this link to the petition now and it says SUCCESS and was closed Wednesday
Related - London Mayor Boris being sued over ban of anti gay advert
Boris Johnson fails IQ test after slamming the poor