War and BREXIT

I wasn’t surprised to wake-up this morning to an email from my regular “hater” Rick. Back when I lived in Austin I’d regularly get anonymous letters, sometimes just pages from magazines with words highlighted to make messages. Much more often than that though, I’d get emails from Rick.

Today’s email Rick said:

As I’ve told you before, you should get off your high horse and stop blogging; you are just conflating two things to suit your own agenda, I just wish you’d go away, no one cares about your opinion.

While the Iraq war might seem to have little to do with the BREXIT vote, it actually has everything to do with it. Last nights Panorama, where reporter Adrian Chiles goes home to the West Midlands to meet Leave voters. [Currently(Rick) you can watch it here and here on youtube, but neither are official and both likely to be taken down].

Listen for the causes for the justification to vote LEAVEs, lack of jobs, lack of school places, problems with Doctors and Medical, Pensions and more. All of those things have been hit by the austerity required to attempt to address the debt occurred from the British involvement in recents wars. Rather than discuss wars, the blame is squarely put on the EU and the open borders, thus the immigrants.

Typical of the people interviewed is Tracy, she says she isn’t racist and that a few racist people are giving the leave voters a bad name.

It’s got nothing to do with race, I mean, immigration is what makes the world go around, it’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. To me that’s how the world should work.

I feel like this country is falling apart, I voted leave because I don’t feel like the government isn’t putting enough back into the community, our councils, our housing situation. We are helping everybody else yet we are forgetting here.

For the record, I totally believe Tracy when she says she isn’t racist, but what she is confused about are the causes of her anger and frustration, and simplistic reasons for believing LEAVE will solve her problems.

It isn’t that the immigrants have been taking what’s “theirs”, it’s that along with an overall decline,  it’s that with the increased cost of war, the British Government cannot afford to invest to keep up with demand, and hence even maintaining levels of spending leads to austerity.

ukgs_chart2p22[1]
Source: http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk
As a follow-on from my post of yesterday, Blairs willful denial of the true cost of Iraq, I went to look for the cost to Britain of some of the recent wars and on defense spending.

So while Britain now spends 3% annually of GDP on defence spending, and notionally the UK will now no longer have to pay and annual £12.9Bn to the EU, that is less than half defense and war spending. The UK though has the 3rd largest defence budget, larger than Russia, Germany, France, India and everyone except the USA and China.

The British Pound has now fallen below the Argentinian Peso as the worst performing currency, and the consequences of this, plus the other financial issues, will mean that the LEAVE voters will have to get used to things getting worse with little outlook for them getting better. OK Rick?

Mission Accomplished

With the devastation yesterday in Oklahoma following an enormous tornado, with a winds in excess of 200MPh, leaving some 24 dead and miles destroyed buildings, the US News and Media is rightly focussed on that.

mission[1]Almost 10-years to the day when then President George Bush declared “Mission accomplished” after landing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to declare a end to major combat operations in Iraq.

Arguably Iraq has seen one of it’s worst weeks of car bombings and sectarian deaths. Yesterday alone saw

  • 9 car bombs go off in Baghdad striking at bus stops, marketplaces and in the streets in busy morning hours
  • At least 24 people were killed and 120+ injured
  • 2x car bombs in the city of Basra, one near a restaurant and the other at a bus stop
  • At least 10 people dead and 27 wounded

Meaning more than 200 people have been killed in bombing incidents in the last week alone, following on from some 700 violent deaths in April 2013. This weeks total includes

  • Ramadi, the bodies of 8x civilians who were kidnapped by gunmen Saturday. All eight had been shot to death.
  • The bodies of 6x police officers who had also been abducted Saturday were found dead on a highway in western Ramadi.

While Iraq was far from perfect prior to the invasion, you’d have hoped that some 10-years after mission accomplished, and the billions and billions of dollars it has cost, we’d have accomplished something.