Friday, November 25, 2011

Recycling Past the Office

You may have guessed I've been away this week; over in Abu Dhabi on business.

With some irony, I see that despite being officially listed as 'away, this minor travel detail was lost on the editor of Thanet Gazette, who gives me an acerbic mention in 'Smudger', for not being prepared to take journalists calls abroad. Instead, I did tell the paper by email, where I was and directed the enquiry on local recycling statistics to the press office at TDC. This apparently isn't good enough for the Gazette as I'm supposed to carry the complete detail in my head and snap to attention from the other side of the earth. I see that even when given the detailed information, the story on recycling in this morning's paper, is as wildly unbalanced as I might expect.

Let me explain that journalists seeking forensic detail on services should contact the council press office as a first port of call, because that's what a 'press office' exists for. For political and policy related issues related to my own portfolio, by all means send me an email or try a call but you might find that going through the press office first is much more effective in seeking and directing answers to questions as  people forget that being a councillor is a part-time and not a full-time role.

Thanks to email, I did manage to deal with all my other urgent council business, as well as two press releases and the unfortunate news that the wave of public toilet vandalism which curses our small island, carries on unabated.

With time to kill on two seven hour flights, I had plenty of opportunity to read through Karl Marx' 'Communist Manifesto' and arrive at the same conclusion as a number of economists have recently.

Marxism is frequently used a pejorative term but it appears as if Marx, quite successfully predicted the circumstances that have led us to question the success and future of unrestricted Capitalism in the face of the current global ;financial crisis. Marx (pictured in Margate below) offers a theory of history itself, or more precisely a theory of the dynamics of major historical change. He asks why social classes should live in a state of permanent warfare? His conclusion, is that the causes surrounds the history of material production and the nature of human labour as an entirely abstract phenomenon, one which establishes relationship with other commodities, independent of the concrete life of its producers.

It's a theme I may expand on later if time allows but with protesters camped-out in the financial centres of major cities, it's uncomfortably thought provoking and I wonder if there is some small political space for the Marxist argument and Conservative policy in the same room?

On a completely separate note, I did see that the BBC, in the new Nick Robinson Documentary, 'Your Money & How They Spend It' visited the Turner Contemporary for an interview with Victoria Pomeroy and a 'Vox Pop' in Margate. (Minute 22:54) Quite by magic, it seems, the only local councillor they could find to comment on the story, suited and booted outside the gallery, was, well, Cllr Ian Driver, from Ramsgate of course, not a member of the Cabinet or even our Mayor of Margate, Iris Johnston. It does rather lead me to wonder what the corporation's political  agenda really is these days. However, watch the programme anyway because it illustrates how the Government spends an average of £6,000 for every family in the land (pensions, benefits, education etc) but closer to £8,000, here in Thanet and much more in Scotland which benefits from Westminster genorosity.

I would ask the Labour Group, who consistently deny the public deficit argument to watch minute 31:00 of the programme to better understand the reality of the financial crisis and the size of the deficit, a loss of control over the nation's fiscal policy, explained by Mandleson and Darling rather than the revisionist political myth, presently peddled by Ed Balls.

Meanwhile, back in the air and the luxury airline of Abu Dhabi, Etihad, must also be making 'cuts' of sorts. The last snack before landing was a 'Pot Noodle' and warm water. Next time, I think I'll bring my own curry flavour choice with me!


Anonymous said...

Oh come now, Simon, surely a far left Ramsgate Ward councillor is the obvious choice as spokesman on a Margate based art gallery. After all, he did stage his anti-animal exports protest outside it recently.

Bet Clive will feel highly slighted at the BBC's rudeness in not talking to the leader.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see all that developement going on in Abu Dhabi, Would not be allowed here of course, it may affect some exotic green slime, bats, foxes, English heritage, or the residents of Arlington House. Oh and I forgot.. the anti brigade who blog (all Four of them)

Anonymous said...

Nice to see all that developement going on in Abu Dhabi, Would not be allowed here of course, it may affect some exotic green slime, bats, foxes, English heritage, or the residents of Arlington House. Oh and I forgot.. the anti brigade who blog (all Four of them)

Anonymous said...

So right, 1:49, whilst the industrial giants like the US and China pay lip service to reducing CO2 immissions, we cripple our own industry and price our products out of the market by our grand gestures. All the wind turbines and other green measures will make not one iota of difference except that we will slide further down the world economic league table.

Meantime, the anti-live exports luvvies will cripple many farmers if they succeed in their quest.

Makes one wonder when we are back to living in caves heated by a log fire, if one can find any wood, just what we might eat. Even a 'pot noodle' might be welcome then.

Nigel Farage and Dan Hannan increasingly sound like the voices of reason in this liberal dominated land.

John Holyer said...

I read with interest your appreciation of the theories of Karl Marx. The aspirations contained in Das Capital are in many ways admirable. The trouble is that Marxism does not work in practice.

I do not know if you have ever visited a Communist state. I have lived and worked in one and I have first hand knowledge of several others. Believe me living in a Communist state is a paradise for the party apparatchiks; but it is a nightmare for the ordinary people.

DrM. said...

I would agree that the historical evidence clearly shows that Marxism doesn't work but his theory; ie labour/production and fluctuating class struggle as episodes in history increasingly suggests to some observers and economists that raw Capitalism doesn't work either.

John Holyer said...

DrM I agree with you. Capitalism is a flawed system. But it is the best that we have.

There is a saving grace about Capitalism in that it denies a Government total control over the lives of its citizens. Whereas applied Marxism does quite the reverse.

I was talking to a Marxist a few weeks back. He agreed that Marxism fails to work because it goes against human nature. His solution to this was to change human nature, by force if necessary. A chilling thought and the one that gave birth to the repressive Communist States.

But my Marxist was young, barely out of his teens.

DrM. said...

Capitalism, like democracy, is tired and flawed but as you say, it's the best we have.

I'm sure we will witness the consequences of the latter view in the weeks ahead, locally and nationally.

Anonymous said...

Capitalism and Marxism are two sides of the same coin. In both a privileged elite rise above the rest of the population and live comfortable lives paid for by the efforts of the rest. As John says, the only advantage of Capitalism is that is supports the concept of freedom from State interference, although most Capitalist states blur the edges on this one.

Anonymous said...

And the usual Conservative rant about BBC bias - of course when abroad I guess Simon religiously avoids tuning into the World Service or BBC News, but sticks with the local unimpeachable news service instead.

DrM. said...

I think you may be confusing communism as introduced by Lenin with capitalism? Marx was deeply suspicious of top down revolutions for this very reason, as he saw it simply as creating one form of elitism to replace another.

Marx has the proletariat as the instruments of revolution but his philosophy was corrupted by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Kim Il Jung and Pol Pot

Mao Tse Tung may have been somewhat closer, at the start at least.

Its not until i read Marx that I realised that like so any others, i had a narrow preconceived idea of his central argument

DrM. said...

I don't think its unreasonable to ask why the BBC chose to interview an extreme left wing councillor from Ramsgate outside the Turner? Would you call that balanced reporting? I think not.

John Holyer said...

DrM You suggest that I am somehow confused. I am not. Neither am I conflating Marxism and Communism because there is nothing in there to conflate. I suggest that Lenin and his subsequent Bolshevik Revolution does not advance your argument.

It is much too late at night to engage in Marxist dialectic, which is anyway a one of the most boring subjects.

DrM. said...

Marxism is not a question of thinking-up some fine new social ideals but rather asking why it is that the fine ideals we already have have proved structurally incapable of being realised by everyone. I don't think that Lenin solved that particular problem.