2016 and the future – Robert Henderson
The most optimistic possibility for the West is that parties which do have some real attachment to what the great mass of people seek will be both elected and when in office carry through their pre-election promises. But this is far from certain. It does not follow that what will replace globalism will be a politics which reflects the wants and needs of Western voters because the existing elites may drop all pretence of being anything other than an authoritarian clique and go in for wholehearted suppression of any dissent. There are already signs that this might happen with the growing willingness amongst Western elites to censor political ideas, potent examples of which have been the recent conviction of Gert Wilders in Holland for inciting racial hatred by saying there should be fewer Moroccans in Holland , while in the UK the Prime Minister Theresa May has just sanctioned the putting into law of a definition of anti-Semitism so broad that any criticism Jews or Israel could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. Much will depend on how Donald Trump’s presidency develops.
In Britain the EU referendum has dominated everything both before and after the vote to leave in the political year .The anti-democratic mind-set of those who wanted to remain in the EU has been nakedly shown by colossal attempts to sabotage the result of the referendum through legal and political action and an incessant bleat about how they want a soft Brexit not a hard Brexit when only Brexit exists.
Something which the government calls Brexit will eventually emerge, but it could easily be a beast which is directly at odds with what the British people voted on when they went to the polls on 23rd June, namely, for a clean break with the EU. If this government, or conceivably its successor, concludes a deal which stitches the UK back into the EU with such things as free movement of EU citizens into the UK, the UK paying for the “privilege” of remaining in the Single Market and the UK being subject to the European Court of Justice, there is surely a serious risk of political violence. But even if that is avoided British politics would be seriously curdled by such a betrayal.
The other pressing political need is for an English parliament and government to balance the devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A procedure to have only MPs sitting for English seats voting on English only legislation (English votes for English laws or EVEL for short) began a trial in 2015, but it has few teeth because it is difficult to disentangle what is English only legislation, not least because MPs for seats outside of England argue that any Bill dealing solely with English matters has financial implications for the rest of the UK and , consequently, is not an England only Bill. Nor does EVEL allow English MPs to initiate English only legislation. Most importantly England , unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is left without any national political representatives to concentrate on purely English domestic matters.
The House of Lords review of its first year in operation makes EVEL’s limitations clear:
The EVEL procedures introduced by the Government address, to some extent, the West Lothian Question. They provide a double-veto, meaning that legislationor provisions in bills affecting only England (or in some cases, England and Wales, or England and Wales and Northern Ireland), can only be passed by the House of Commons with the support of both a majority of MPs overall, and of MPs from the nations directly affected by the legislation.
Yet English MPs’ ability to enact and amend legislation does not mirror their capacity, under EVEL, to resist legislative changes. The capacity of English MPs to pursue a distinct legislative agenda for England in respect of matters that are devolved elsewhere does not equate to the broader capacity of devolved legislatures to pursue a distinct agenda on matters that are devolved to them
The most dangerous general global threats are plausibly these in this order
- Mass immigration, the permitting of which by elites is the most fundamental treason because unlike an invasion by force, there is no identifiable concrete foreign enemy for the native population to resist. Yet the land is effectively colonised just the same.
2 Uncontrolled technology, which leaves the developed world in particular but increasingly the world generally, very vulnerable to suddenly being left without vital services if computer systems fail naturally or through cyber attacks. Judged by the number of reports in the mainstream media the frequency of personal data being hacked and major computer systems going down, most notably banks, is increasing. This is unsurprising because both state organisations and private business are remorselessly forcing customers and clients to use web-based contact points rather than deal with a human being. This in itself makes life unpleasant and for older people in particular most difficult.
In the medium term – probably within ten years – there is the existential threat to humans of general purpose robots being able to cause a catastrophic drop in demand by taking over so many jobs that demand collapses because huge numbers are rapidly made unemployed. To that can be added the development of military robots which have the capacity to make autonomous judgements about killing humans.
The general lack of political concern and a seemingly universal inability of those with power and influence to see how robotics and AI systems generally are rapidly developing is astonishing. Time and again when the subject of robots and AI systems is raised with such people they will bleat that new jobs will arise due to the new technology, as new technology has always created jobs, and these developments will provide the jobs for humans.
This is sheer “it’ll never replace the horse” ism . Intelligent robots and AI systems will not only take existing jobs, they will take most or even all of the new jobs that arise. This is the potential catastrophe that humans face from robots and AI, the rapid loss of such huge amounts of employment that the economic systems of both the developed and the developing world cannot function because of the loss of demand, not the SF style scare stories about intelligent robots making war on humans. The other thing that politicians do not seem to understand is that when there are robots and AI systems sophisticated enough to do most of the jobs humans do, the loss of human jobs will occur at great speed. We can be certain of this for two reasons; our experience with digital technology is of rapid advances and robots and AI systems will be able to design and build even more advanced robots and AI systems, probably very quickly.
Aside from digital technology, advances in genetic engineering and ever more radical transplant surgery raise the question of what it is to be a human being if full face transplants are now available and the possibility of things such as a head being transplanted in the not too distant future. We need to ask ourselves what it is to be human.
- Islam – serious unrest is found throughout the world wherever there are large numbers of Muslims.
- Ever increasing general instability. Contrary to Steven Pinker’s view that the world is becoming more peaceful, if civil conflict is included things are getting worse. Formal war may be less easy to identify , but ethnic (and often religious ) based strife plus repression by rulers is so widespread outside the West that it is best described as endemic. Globalisation = destabilisation because by making the world’s economic system more complex , there is simply more to go wrong both economically and socially. Sweeping aside traditional relationships and practices is a recipe for social discord. All of economic history tells you one thing above all else: a strong domestic economy is essential for the stability of any country. The ideology of laissez faire, is like all ideologies, at odds with human nature and reality generally and its application inevitably creates huge numbers of losers when applied to places such as China and India.
The most dangerous specific threats to global peace and stability are:
– The heightened tension between China and the rest of the Far East (especially Japan) as a consequence of China’s growing territorial ambitions.
– China’s extraordinary expanding shadow world empire which consists of both huge investment in the first world and de facto colonial control in the developing world.
– The growing power of India which threatens Pakistan. An India/Pakistan nuclear exchange is probably the most likely use of nuclear weapons I the next ten years.
– The increasing authoritarianism of the EU due to both the natural impetus towards central control and the gross mistake of the Euro. This will end either in a successful centralisation of EU power after the UK has left the EU or the attempt at centralisation will lead to a collapse of the EU.
The Eurofanatics continue to play with fire in their attempts to lure border states of Russia into the EU whilst applying seriously damaging sanctions to Russia. It is not in the West’s interest to have a Russia which feels threatened or denied its natural sphere of influence.
– The ever more successful (at least in the short run) attempt of post-Soviet Russia to re-establish their suzerainty over the old Soviet Empire and Putin’s increasingly martial noises including substantial re-armament. However, these ambitions will be likely to be mitigated by the plight of the Russian provinces of the Far East where there is unofficial Chinese infiltration of the sparsely populated and natural resource rich land there. Eventually China will wish to capture those territories.