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Freeports – and why we do not need them in the UK

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 3:33pm in

I recently submitted a fairly lengthy comment to the Government's consultation on the creation of new Freeport in the UK, suggesting that it was almost impossible to identify any benefits that might arise from this proposal, whilst there were plenty of downsides to all-too-easily spot. This video builds on the ideas in that submission, pointing all the issues (including opportunities for the facilitation of crime) that such arrangements usually provide:

JOHN PILGER: Another Hiroshima is coming unless we stop it now

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 12:00pm in



 Another Hiroshima is coming unless we stop it now

With racially-motivated aggression towards China escalating, it's important to reflect on history to avoid the catastrophe of nuclear war, writes John Pilger.

WHEN I FIRST WENT to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open.

At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite.

I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then I walked down to the river where the survivors still lived in shanties.

I met a man called Yukio, whose chest was etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped.

He described a huge flash over the city as “a bluish light, something like an electrical short”, after which wind blew like a tornado and black rain fell:

“I was thrown on the ground and noticed only the stalks of my flowers were left. Everything was still and quiet and when I got up, there were people naked, not saying anything. Some of them had no skin or hair. I was certain I was dead.”

Nine years later, I returned to look for him and he was dead from leukaemia.   

‘No radioactivity in Hiroshima ruin,’ said The New York Times front page on 13 September 1945, a classic of planted disinformation. ‘General Farrell,’ reported William H. Lawrence, ‘denied categorically that [the atomic bomb] produced a dangerous, lingering radioactivity’.

Only one reporter, Wilfred Burchett, an Australian, had braved the perilous journey to Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing, in defiance of the Allied occupation authorities, which controlled the “press pack”.

‘I write this as a warning to the world,’ reported Burchett in the London Daily Express of 5 September 1945. Sitting in the rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter, he described hospital wards filled with people with no visible injuries who were dying from what he called ‘an atomic plague’.

For this, his press accreditation was withdrawn, he was pilloried and smeared. His witness to the truth was never forgiven.

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an act of premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality. It was justified by lies that form the bedrock of America's war propaganda in the 21st Century, casting a new enemy and target — China.

During the 75 years since Hiroshima, the most enduring lie is that the atomic bomb was dropped to end the war in the Pacific and to save lives.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946 concluded:

...even without the atomic bombing attacks, air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that... Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war [against Japan] and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

The National Archives in Washington contains documented Japanese peace overtures as early as 1943. None was pursued. A cable sent on 5 May 1945 by the German ambassador in Tokyo and intercepted by the U.S. made clear the Japanese were desperate to sue for peace, including ‘capitulation even if the terms were hard’. Nothing was done.

The U.S. Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, told President Harry Truman he was fearful that the U.S. Air Force would have Japan so “bombed out” that the new weapon would not be able “to show its strength”. Stimson later admitted that “no effort was made, and none was seriously considered, to achieve surrender merely in order not to have to use the bomb”.

Stimson's foreign policy colleagues – looking ahead to the post-war era they were then shaping “in our image”, as Cold War planner George Kennan famously put it – made clear they were eager ‘to browbeat the Russians with the bomb held rather ostentatiously on our hip’.

General Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project that made the atomic bomb, testified:

“There was never any illusion on my part that Russia was our enemy, and that the project was conducted on that basis.”

The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the “overwhelming success” of “the experiment”.

The “experiment” continued long after the war was over. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States exploded 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific: the equivalent of more than one Hiroshima every day for 12 years.

The human and environmental consequences were catastrophic. During the filming of my documentary, The Coming War on China, I chartered a small aircraft and flew to Bikini Atoll in the Marshalls. It was here that the United States exploded the world's first hydrogen bomb. It remains poisoned earth. My shoes registered “unsafe” on my Geiger counter. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations. There were no birds.

I trekked through the jungle to the concrete bunker where, at 6:45 on the morning of 1 March 1954, the button was pushed. The sun, which had risen, rose again and vaporised an entire island in the lagoon, leaving a vast black hole, which from the air is a menacing spectacle — a deathly void in a place of beauty.

The radioactive fallout spread quickly and “unexpectedly”. The official history claims the wind changed suddenly. It was the first of many lies, as declassified documents and the victims’ testimony reveal.

Gene Curbow, a meteorologist assigned to monitor the test site, said:

“They knew where the radioactive fallout was going to go. Even on the day of the shot, they still had an opportunity to evacuate people, but [people] were not evacuated; I was not evacuated… The United States needed some guinea pigs to study what the effects of radiation would do.”

Like Hiroshima, the secret of the Marshall Islands was a calculated experiment on the lives of large numbers of people. This was Project 4.1, which began as a scientific study of mice and became an experiment on human beings exposed to the radiation of a nuclear weapon.  

The Marshall Islanders I met in 2015 – like the survivors of Hiroshima I interviewed in the 1960s and '70s – suffered from a range of cancers, commonly thyroid cancer; thousands had already died. Miscarriages and stillbirths were common; those babies who lived were often deformed horribly.

Unlike Bikini, nearby Rongelap Atoll had not been evacuated during the H-bomb test. Directly downwind of Bikini, Rongelap's skies darkened and it rained what first appeared to be snowflakes. Food and water were contaminated and the population fell victim to cancers. That is still true today.

I met Nerje Joseph, who showed me a photograph of herself as a child on Rongelap. She had terrible facial burns and much of her was hair missing.

She said:

“We were bathing at the well on the day the bomb exploded. White dust started falling from the sky. I reached to catch the powder. We used it as soap to wash our hair. A few days later, my hair started falling out.”

Lemoyo Abon said:

“Some of us were in agony. Others had diarrhoea. We were terrified. We thought it must be the end of the world.”

U.S. official archive film I included in my film refers to the islanders as “amenable savages”. In the wake of the explosion, a U.S. Atomic Energy Agency official is seen boasting that Rongelap “is by far the most contaminated place on Earth,” adding, “it will be interesting to get a measure of human uptake when people live in a contaminated environment”.

American scientists, including medical doctors, built distinguished careers studying the “human uptake”. There they are in flickering film, in their white coats, attentive with their clipboards. When an islander died in his teens, his family received a sympathy card from the scientist who studied him.

I have reported from five nuclear “ground zeros” throughout the world — in Japan, the Marshall Islands, Nevada, Polynesia and Maralinga in Australia. Even more than my experience as a war correspondent, this has taught me about the ruthlessness and immorality of great power: that is, imperial power, whose cynicism is the true enemy of humanity.

This struck me forcibly when I filmed at Taranaki Ground Zero at Maralinga in the Australian desert. In a dish-like crater was an obelisk on which was inscribed: ‘A British atomic weapon was test exploded here on 9 October 1957’.

On the rim of the crater was this sign:



Radiation levels for a few hundred metres around this point may be above those considered safe for permanent occupation.’

For as far as the eye could see and beyond, the ground was irradiated. Raw plutonium lay about, scattered like talcum powder; plutonium is so dangerous to humans that a third of a milligram gives a 50 per cent chance of cancer.

The only people who might have seen the sign were Indigenous Australians, for whom there was no warning. According to an official account, if they were lucky, “they were shooed off like rabbits”.

Today, an unprecedented campaign of propaganda is shooing us all off like rabbits. We are not meant to question the daily torrent of anti-Chinese rhetoric, which is rapidly overtaking the torrent of anti-Russia rhetoric. Anything Chinese is bad, anathema, a threat: Wuhan, Huawei. How confusing it is when “our” most reviled leader says so.

The current phase of this campaign began not with President Donald Trump but with Barack Obama, who in 2011 flew to Australia to declare the greatest build-up of U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region since World War Two. Suddenly, China was a “threat”. This was nonsense, of course. What was threatened was America's unchallenged psychopathic view of itself as the richest, the most successful, the most “indispensable” nation.

What was never in dispute was its prowess as a bully — with more than 30 members of the United Nations suffering American sanctions of some kind and a trail of blood running through defenceless countries bombed, their governments overthrown, their elections interfered with, their resources plundered.

Obama's declaration became known as the “pivot to Asia”. One of its principal advocates was his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who, as WikiLeaks revealed, wanted to rename the Pacific Ocean ‘the American Sea’.

Whereas Clinton never concealed her warmongering, Obama was a maestro of marketing.

Said the new President in 2009:

“I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment and desire to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Obama increased spending on nuclear warheads faster than any president since the end of the Cold War. A “usable” nuclear weapon was developed. Known as the B61 Mod 12, it means, according to General James Cartwright, former Vice-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that "going smaller” makes its use “more thinkable”.

The target is China. Today, more than 400 American military bases almost encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to South-East Asia, Japan and Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, as one U.S. strategist told me, “the perfect noose”.

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is titled ‘War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable’. Commissioned by the U.S. Army, the authors evoke the infamous catch cry of its chief Cold War strategist, Herman Kahn: "thinking the unthinkable". Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war.

Kahn's apocalyptic view is shared by Trump's Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, an evangelical fanatic who believes in the “rapture of the end”. He is perhaps the most dangerous man alive. “I was CIA director,” he boasted, “we lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses”. Pompeo's obsession is China.

The endgame of Pompeo's extremism is rarely, if ever, discussed in the Anglo-American media, where the myths and fabrications about China are standard fare, as were the lies about Iraq. A virulent racism is the subtext of this propaganda. Classified “yellow” even though they were white, the Chinese are the only ethnic group to have been banned by an “Exclusion Act” from entering the United States because they were Chinese. Popular culture declared them sinister, untrustworthy, sneaky, depraved, diseased, immoral.

An Australian magazine, The Bulletin, was devoted to promoting fear of the “yellow peril” as if all of Asia was about to fall down on the whites-only colony by the force of gravity.

As historian Martin Powers writes, acknowledging China's modernism, its secular morality and ‘contributions to liberal thought threatened European face, so it became necessary to suppress China's role in the Enlightenment debate... For centuries, China's threat to the myth of Western superiority has made it an easy target for race-baiting’.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, tireless China-basher Peter Hartcher described those who spread Chinese influence in Australia as ‘rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows’. Hartcher, who favourably quotes the American demagogue Steve Bannon, likes to interpret the “dreams” of the current Chinese elite, to which he is apparently privy. These are inspired by yearnings for the Mandate of Heaven of 2,000 years ago. Ad nausea.

To combat this “mandate”, the Australian Government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed one of the most secure countries on Earth, whose major trading partner is China, to hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American missiles that can be fired at China.

The trickledown is already evident. In a country historically scarred by violent racism towards Asians, Australians of Chinese descent have formed a vigilante group to protect delivery riders. Phone videos show a delivery rider punched in the face and racial abuse in supermarkets. Between April and June, there were almost 400 racist attacks on Asian-Australians.  

“We are not your enemy,” a high-ranking strategist in China told me, “but if you [in the West] decide we are, we must prepare without delay”. China’s arsenal is small compared to America’s, but it is growing fast, especially the development of maritime missiles designed to destroy fleets of ships.

‘For the first time,’ wrote Gregory Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists, ‘China is discussing putting its nuclear missiles on high alert so that they can be launched quickly on warning of an attack… This would be a significant and dangerous change in Chinese policy…’.

In Washington, I met Amitai Etzioni, distinguished professor of international affairs at George Washington University, who wrote that a ‘blinding attack on China’ was planned, ‘with strikes that could be mistakenly perceived [by the Chinese] as pre-emptive attempts to take out its nuclear weapons, thus cornering them into a terrible use-it-or-lose-it dilemma [that would] lead to nuclear war’.

In 2019, the U.S. staged its biggest single military exercise since the Cold War, much of it in high secrecy. An armada of ships and long-range bombers rehearsed an “Air-Sea Battle Concept for China” – ASB – blocking sea lanes in the Straits of Malacca and cutting off China’s access to oil, gas and other raw materials from the Middle East and Africa.

It is fear of such a blockade that has seen China develop its Belt and Road Initiative along the old Silk Road to Europe and urgently build strategic airstrips on disputed reefs and islets in the Spratly Islands.

In Shanghai, I met Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and novelist, typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her best-selling book has the ironic title Socialism Is Great! Having grown up in the chaotic, brutal Cultural Revolution, she has travelled and lived in the U.S. and Europe.

She said:

“Many Americans imagine that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them… They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty and some would say it’s 600 million.”

Modern China's epic achievements, its defeat of mass poverty and the pride and contentment of its people (measured forensically by American pollsters such as Pew) are wilfully unknown or misunderstood in the West. This alone is a commentary on the lamentable state of Western journalism and the abandonment of honest reporting.

China's repressive dark side and what we like to call its “authoritarianism” are the facade we are allowed to see almost exclusively. It is as if we are fed unending tales of the evil super-villain Dr Fu Manchu. And it is time we asked why — before it is too late to stop the next Hiroshima.

John Pilger is a regular contributor to Independent Australia and a distinguished journalist and film-maker. You can follow John on Twitter @JohnPilger.

Private Eye’s Demolition of Fraudulent New Labour Pro-NHS Privatisation Paper

This is another piece I found in an old issue of Private Eye, for 15th-28th October 2004. New Labour was as keen as the Tories to privatise the NHS, all in the name of introducing into it the supposedly greater efficiency and management skills of private enterprise. They were heavily influenced by the American private healthcare company, Kaiser Permanente, which was used as a model for their NHS reforms. But the report comparing the supposedly greater performance of Kaiser Permanente to the NHS was biased and fraudulent, as Private Eye’s article ‘NHS Privatisation – Kaiser bill’ revealed in that issue’s ‘In the Back’ section. The article runs

LAST WEEK’s NHS modernisation Agency conference on the much-hyped treatment centre programme – the mix of private and NHS one-stop units springing up around the country to offer quick and relatively easy diagnosis and surgery – struck a self-congratulatory note.

But a study published this summer suggests there is no evidence that bringing private companies into the NHS is increasing efficiency or reducing costs. Quite the opposite in fact.

This news will not please the government, which has always promoted health secretary John Reid’s favourite private US healthcare providers, Kaiser Permanente, citing a seven-page research paper in the British Medical Journal in 2002 which purported to show that Kaiser offered “better performance at roughly the same costs as the NHS”.

This conclusion, extolling the benefits of competition, was manna from heaven for health minister who had been criticised for closing 10,000 NHS beds since Labour came to power. But it seems it was all nonsense.

For a start, two of the report’s three authors,used to work for Kaiser; and their paper triggered a storm of protest in the US and from the medical and scientific community here, highlighting its flawed analysis and conclusions. It emerged that Kaiser’s costs were deflated while NHS costs were inflated; Kaiser patients were the “working well” but NHS patients included the poor, elderly and chronically ill; and individual Kaiser charges for visits and treatment were ignored.

Nevertheless, the protests were ignored and the paper – described by one leading academic as “not worthy of a first year student” – went on to form British government policy, featuring in the 2002 review of NHS funding by Derek Wanless and the subsequent white paper on how to deliver the NHS plan. The department of health even joined forces with Kaiser in “learning from Kaiser Permanente” projects managing chronic conditions and care.

In the summer, however, the scientific record was finally put straight with a paper in the British Journal of General Practice which comprehensively exposed that the Kaiser paper was propaganda masked as science. It detailed the way in which authors used counting tricks including a curious foreign exchange currency conversion which had the effect of almost doubling NHS costs. Despite this evidence the Kaiser paper has still not been officially withdrawn. Instead it is still promoted on health department websites.

Allyson Pollock, professor of health policy at University College London and one of the authors of the critical BJGP paper, said: “There is no evidence that introducing private companies increases efficiency or quality or reduces costs. Indeed all the evidence goes the other way. Markets – even those underwritten by the state – do not deliver comprehensive universal healthcare. Research in the US has shown how private health providers select the profitable patients, treatments and conditions and at a greater cost than public providers.”

Professor Pollock is a very long-time opponent of NHS privatisation. I think I put up another article from Private Eye from nearly 20 years or so ago, in which she led a campaign against the New Labour closure of a hospital in Wyre Forest. She’s also one of the contributors to Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ book attacking the privatisation of the NHS, NHS – SOS.

But New Labour continued in their piecemeal privatisation of the NHS, and this has been followed by the Tories. Boris Johnson wants to include it in a trade deal with the US, but has kept it and the rest of the deal secret. Jeremy Corbyn revealed what the Tories were doing, and our mendacious, scumbag media howled that he was lying. But it’s the Tories who were.

Corbyn promised to renationalise and revitalise the NHS. That was one of the reasons the right-wing political and media establishment hated and reviled him and his supporters: he threatened to return the Labour party to its working class, socialist roots, empowering ordinary people and restoring the welfare state. And dismantling the zombie economics of Thatcherism. And that really couldn’t be tolerated. Hence the smears of him as a Communist, Trotskyite and anti-Semite.

Now we have Keir Starmer instead, another Blairite, who seems determined to restore the power of the Thatcherites in the Labour party. And carry on with their failed, destructive policy of NHS privatisation.

Ted Cruz's Hearing on Anarchist Protest Violence Was a Total Farce

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 2:55am in


Justice, Politics

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, questions State Department Special Representative for Venezuela Ambassador Elliott Abrams appears before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 4, 2020.

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

On Tuesday afternoon, with Congress still failing to agree on an urgent pandemic relief package, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, brought together a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to propagandize. Instead of helping the pandemic-stricken, Cruz chaired an hourslong spectacle of a hearing designed to peddle misleading narratives about anarchists and anti-fascists.

If the propagandistic title of the hearing — “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence” — wasn’t enough to show his aims, Cruz’s own comments made clear the proceedings’ purpose as political theater. In a telling moment, Cruz twice chastised his Democratic colleagues for praising peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters while failing to condemn “antifa” and the “terrorists” who killed a federal security officer, Dave Patrick Underwood, during a May protest in Oakland. Cruz’s implication was clear: The left killed Underwood.

Right-wing extremists have carried out 329 murders since 1994. In the same period, a grand total of zero murders have been attributed to antifa participants.

Yet Underwood was killed by a member of the far right — one of 329 murders carried out by right-wing extremists since 1994.

In the same period, a grand total of zero murders have been attributed to antifa participants.

The political affiliations of the man charged in Underwood’s murder have been public knowledge for nearly two months. The alleged killer, Air Force Sgt. Steve Carillo, who also killed another federal officer during the premeditated ambush, is an open adherent of the boogaloo movement, which is aimed at hastening a second civil war.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., pointed out Cruz’s error after the Texas Republican’s first mention of Underwood, noting that the killer was on the far right. This did not stop Cruz raising the killing again later in the hearing, once again within the context of a blustering speech about antifa.

The hearing was just the latest stage for baseless overtures on the threat of the far left. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, made numerous attempts to change the afternoon’s focus onto a more worthy target — deadly white supremacist violence — to little avail.

For the government to ignore white supremacist violence and focus instead on the far left is nothing new. The Intercept reported last month, based on leaked law enforcement documents, that while the Trump administration has sought to demonize and target antifa, reports amassed of deadly white supremacist violence and substantive threats — including to the police themselves.

Not that the police should be let off the hook for the right’s pernicious priorities. U.S. law enforcement has an unbroken history of deprioritizing, if not outright aiding, white supremacist movements. During Tuesday’s unnecessary hearing, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox said that she was overseeing a task force to investigate current anti-government threats, which was not focused on white supremacists.

One of the few voices of reason throughout the afternoon, Michael German, a former FBI agent specializing in domestic terrorism who is now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, noted the “sensationalized” focus on the far left has “distracted from focus on the deadly threats” posed by the far right. “As a matter of policy, far-right violence is deprioritized,” German said.

In line with German’s criticism, the hearing proceeded with paranoiac speeches about the tactics of anti-racist, anti-fascist protesters. Acting Deputy Secretary of of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli discussed protesters using laser pointers and small projectiles, like frozen water bottles, against brutal federal agents in Portland, Oregon. He spoke as if he was describing weapons of mass destruction when he said that demonstrators were taking up “the oldest weapon in history” — rocks.

Meanwhile, as German previously told The Intercept, on the far right “you have these heavily armed groups right there, who have a much more direct and lengthy history of violence than anything antifa or anarchist-involved does.”

The only member of the media called to testify was right-wing provocateur Andy Ngo. Ngo spoke of the long history of antifa organizing in Portland, but unsurprisingly omitted the most obvious reason for it: In recent years, Portland has become an epicenter of far-right violence, to which anti-fascist action is a rightful response.

Kyle Shideler of the Center for Security Policy also testified as an alleged expert on the nature of antifa as an organization of international terrorism, drawing comparisons to Al Qaeda. As Hirono pointed out at the hearing, the Center for Security Policy is designated by the Southern Policy Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group. Only one witness identified as an anti-fascist and a participant in the ongoing anti-racist protests for Black lives, Nkenge Harmon Johnson of the Portland Urban League; she was asked no questions by the committee after her brief statement in support of the movement. Cruz, meanwhile, gave Shideler extra speaking time to defend his hate group against criticism.

Cruz closed the proceedings with a frenzied tirade about the dangers of Black Lives Matter — purported criticisms that bear no repeating. Suffice it to say that Cruz, a racist police apologist, is no fan of Black liberation icons like Angela Davis and Assata Shakur.

Yet — and there’s no surprise here — Senate Democrats at the hearing did no favors to the ongoing uprisings either. Hirono may have made welcome reference to the scourge of white supremacist violence, but she also dismissed the serious and reasonable demand to defund the police at the center of the protests. “Who takes that literally?” she said, “I certainly don’t.” Such are the establishment powers against which anarchists, among many others, have good reason to act.

The post Ted Cruz’s Hearing on Anarchist Protest Violence Was a Total Farce appeared first on The Intercept.

Not much has changed since the 90s

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 2:53am in



Not much has changed since the 1990s when it comes to Euro-scepticism. This was recorded during the Major years by John Bird and John Fortune:

And for those lacking a sense of humour, please go and find one before commenting.

Hat tip to: (No, on second thoughts, I’ll save his blushes).

Joe Biden, Donald “Duck,” and a Steady-State Soul of America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 2:05am in

By Brian Czech

Joe Biden wants to restore the “soul of America.” It’s a noble goal befitting an elderly statesman combining Uncle Joe charm with Uncle Sam chops. And, it’s badly needed after four years of soulless, sickening corruption of the White House. It’s also a huge opportunity, not only for restoring but for reforming that soul.

Reform is needed because the soul of America was hardly spotless to begin with, on either side of the political aisle. Let’s not forget that Donald Trump, the greatest liar in presidential history, was somehow popular enough—distinctly among Americans—to con his way into the White House. What does that say about the soul of America before he was elected? A “reality” show joker, insulting and crass and unbelievably arrogant, got enough of the vote to become the face of America. That’s not a sign of a healthy soul.


Joe Biden: Elderly, experienced, and good for the soul? (Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, Credit: Gage Skidmore)

On the other hand, what were the choices? If the innocent consumer finds nothing but liquor stores on one side of the street and drug dealers on the other, an edifying purchase is highly unlikely. In this case the other side of the street was Hillary Clinton. She was despised for numerous reasons, many of them unfair and owing to the propaganda of an electoral axis of evil running through the Koch Brothers, National Rifle Association, and Crossroads GPS.

Unfortunately, there were more legitimate reasons for rejecting Clinton, too. Steady staters had one complaint in particular: She was the epitome of the win-win rhetoric that “there is no conflict between growing the economy and protecting the environment.” For environmentalists, scientists, and ecological economists—as well as loggers, miners, farmers, and ranchers—nothing ever seemed more cynical. It was a politically polished tarnishing of the self-evident truth that there is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and environmental protection.

The win-win rhetoric was made all the more deplorable by Clinton’s prefacing, “Some people just don’t get it…” She’d say this with dismissive ease, and then “there is no conflict…,” as if dishonesty was second nature. For those of us in the battle for governmental truth-telling on the conflict, such insolence was especially galling.

My guess is that not a single steady stater voted for Trump, but many couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton either. They stayed home or perhaps voted for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. (Stein provides little leadership on limits to growth, but at least the Green Party of the United States features the steady state economy as an economic plank in its platform.)


Biden’s Rare Opportunity

You hate to call it an “opportunity,” when it’s borne out of such distress, yet there is no question that Joe Biden comes into the 2020 election in one of the most unique situations in American political history, including as it pertains to limits to growth. Plenty of factors and scenarios contribute to this limits-to-growth uniqueness, but let’s consider the primary themes:

Limits to growth. The USA, and indeed the world, has never been closer to limits. It might be more accurate to say that, according to ecological footprint metrics, we have never exceeded those limits by such a dangerous margin. And, while biodiversity loss and other environmental threats fail to gain traction as political issues, climate change is now thickly in the mix, helping to raise public awareness of the limits to growth.

COVID-19 pandemic. With almost 5 million confirmed cases and 160,000 deaths, no disease since the Spanish flu has stalked the land so rapidly and ruthlessly. Many millions of Americans are sitting home scared, worried about when their lives will get back to normal, and even re-thinking what “normal” means. While the pandemic isn’t a clear-cut instance of limits to growth, at least not in the sense of resource depletion or pollution, it’s hardly unrelated. It spreads fastest where people and economic activities are too crowded, and it knocks the economy to its knees.

Economic implosion. We’ve just experienced the single biggest quarterly drop in GDP ever. Not even degrowthers and steady staters can appreciate such a shock to the economy. But politically, while bombastic Trump blames the “Chinese virus,” just about everybody knows (although some won’t admit it) that Trump’s incompetent handling of the pandemic plays a large part in the implosion.

Donald Duck Trump

Joe Biden’s opponent, Donald “Duck” Trump. (Image of Donald Trump: CC0, Credit: White House)

Lame duck opponent. No candidate has ever run against such a ham-handed, bridge-burning “Divider in Chief.” With 90 days left before the election, Biden finds himself with a comfortable lead because Trump hasn’t been smart or talented enough to hide his autocratic tendencies, much less soulful enough to transcend them. Enough of Trump’s erstwhile voters are finally onto him that states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are turning blue again. The salient point for steady-state purposes is that Biden has a rare opportunity to provide some unprecedented leadership on big-picture, long-term challenges, because even if it caused him a point or two, his lead is big enough to absorb the blow. It’s a political luxury of sorts, similar to what emboldened Ronald Reagan when President Carter had become a lame duck. Lame ducks leave room for sweeping policy change.



Three Distinctive Approaches for Biden

Given the themes identified above, Biden has three basic approaches available to him for handling the economy. Two such approaches represent short- and long-term perspectives, respectively: growth at all costs and steady statesmanship. The third approach would be fence-riding on limits to growth via the Green New Deal. Let’s consider each in turn.

Growth at All Costs. While the cloud of the COVID-caused recession has a silver lining, the cloud has come to dwarf the lining, politically at least. It is such an unprecedented implosion that it could very well set the stage for a political competition on who can regrow GDP the fastest.

Trump will argue that, if it weren’t for COVID-19, GDP would be growing like never before, and all because of him. Virus or no virus, he’ll tell you, he’s the man for regrowth. And he would pull out all the stops for GDP. He’s not bluffing. The truth stops there, though, because Trump is lying about what it all means for the environment, public health, and the tax-paying middle class (not to mention the fact that pulling out all the stops can backfire even in GDP terms, as his handling of the pandemic illustrated). His cavalier concern for posterity combined with his abject abuse of the truth put him in a category reserved for himself, the Dark Money crowd, and maybe Madison Avenue. While Trump hardly rules that world, he’s the epitome of its ethic, so “Trumpism” is a fitting title. Trumpism is basically the dishonest version of growth at all costs.


Three distinct approaches for Joe Biden, plus Trumpism. The antithesis of Trumpism is steady statesmanship. (Credit: CASSE.)

Could Biden be baited into a GDP challenge, pulling out all the stops as well, or promising to do so? We can’t rule it out. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and—just like Trump—Biden is no young’un. As with virtually all politicians of his era, his mind is pro-growth programmed. There will be plenty of neoclassical economists, straight out of the 20th century, advising him in that direction, too.

Steady statesmanship. We can have a moderate level of hope for Biden taking up the mantle of steady statesmanship, or at least for raising awareness of limits to growth. Biden is known as a no-nonsense exposer of bunk, and he’s known as the antithesis of Trump. He cares about the truth, and he cares about posterity. That’s a combination made for steady statesmanship.

Let’s think about what a steady-state speech could sound like—Joe Biden’s intonation and all—incorporating elements of the themes we explored earlier. It could conclude thusly, following an articulation of the daunting problems we face in the midst of the COVID-caused recession:

Yes, we have to get the economy back on track. But not the way it was, folks! Not the way Donald Trump ran it, tearing up our hard-won environmental protections, burning bridges with our friends abroad, bringing us to the brink of a cold war with China, and threatening posterity with his blatant disregard of climate science. No, we’ve seen what a sociopathic obsession with GDP looks like, and we’ve had enough! It’s cost us our biggest treasure of all: precious American lives as Trump has rushed moms and dads back to the workplace—and kids back to schools—just so his GDP numbers would be on the upswing in time for the election.
Friends, the world doesn’t revolve around GDP. Just ask any parent with a sick child, or anyone who’s lost a friend to COVID. The economy is supposed to be for us, not the other way around. We don’t live to grow the GDP. GDP was never supposed to rule our lives, trash the environment, or push us to the brink of war. Trump’s blind pursuit of GDP growth—growth at all costs—is like miles per hour being the only thing that matters when driving a car, instead of smartly and safely avoiding the obstacles. It’s like consuming as many calories as we possibly can, instead of the right amount for healthy bodies and sharp minds. It’s like building as many towers and casinos and golf courses as we can squeeze onto the landscape, instead of maintaining our national parks and forests and heritage sites.
Aside from ruining our environment and risking our lives for the sake of his GDP numbers, Trump doesn’t know anything about the economy. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and knows nothing about the struggle of everyday Americans. You know what he knows about? He knows about Manhattan real estate, luxury living, and beauty pageants. He knows about discriminating, rigging, and cheating. He knows about grifting, grabbing, and getting away with it. There’s a reason—probably many reasons—he won’t show us his tax returns. This is a president who lies as part of his everyday life, as part of his business model, as part of his golf game, as part of his politics, as part of his presidency. He’s the world record holder with over 20,000 lies and counting.
Friends—and I mean Democrats and Republicans alike—we can’t afford to leave the economy in the hands of a con man. We need experience, expertise, and intelligence for managing the economy. When you elect me, you’ll have experience on your side. And I, instead of shuffling pawns and yes-men in and out of the West Wing…I’ll have the best possible advisors on my side, men and women gathering the most relevant intelligence. I’ll have a team, not of “elites,” but of smart, devoted subject-matter experts thinking in advance of the big-picture, long-term problems as well as the immediate crisis. Together, we’ll all steer this economy through the pandemic in a way that balances all of our concerns for the environment, public health, human decency, stable jobs, and most importantly, the soul of America!


It’s not at all far-fetched to envision Biden making such a strong, steady-state pitch, is it? The words make too much sense at this point in history and in this specific political context. While the Joe Biden of our hoped-for speech doesn’t go so far as to propose the steady state economy per se, he sets the stage for it unmistakably. His connotations are all over limits to growth, the stupidity of growth at all costs, and the dark underbelly of Trumpism. Yes, moving away from GDP growth as economic policy is a paradigm shift; it would be a major political gamble under normal conditions. But conditions have never been less normal, and Biden can afford to push the envelope as Trump’s duck gets lamer by the day.

Green New Deal. Perhaps the easiest way out, politically, is to avoid either growth at all costs or the steady-state stance. Biden has to have some kind of economic platform, though, so avoiding growth at all costs and steady statesmanship entails a third distinct approach. It would almost have to be the Green New Deal.

Nancy Reagan

Heading for Cloud 9 on Green Growth Street? Take Nancy Reagan’s advice and “Just don’t do it!” (Image: CC0, Credit: The White House)

The Green New Deal (“Green Deal”) certainly incorporates a healthy concern for posterity, but it has a debilitating truth problem called “green growth.” Green growth is an oxymoron and synonymous with the Clintonian win-win rhetoric that helped get Trump elected to begin with. While perhaps the most famous face of the Green Deal, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, seems firmly grounded in 21st century reality, many other Green Deal principals (Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, for example) are confirmed “green growthers.”

Where does Joe Biden stand? Evidently, according to Joe’s Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.” Thankfully, Joe’s plan says nothing about green growth, at least not yet. So, despite the bow to the Green Deal, Biden could yet end up in any of the three camps (that is, the camps available to those refusing to wallow in the soulless swamp of Trumpism).

Please think about it, Mr. Biden. Stay off Green Growth Street, which is like that twisted street of liquor stores and drug dealers. The people there have a distorted perception of reality. “Green growth” is bunk; it’s definitely not you. If you find yourself tempted to venture down Green Growth Street, remember the wisest words ever spoken by a Reagan: “Just don’t do it!”

Brian Czech

Brian Czech is the Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

The post Joe Biden, Donald “Duck,” and a Steady-State Soul of America appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

Rashida Tlaib and Slate of Local Wins Signal Progressive Revival in Michigan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 12:57am in



Detroiters put Rashida Tlaib in a strong position for reelection in Michigan’s 13th Congressional District on Tuesday night, as she beat back a rematch from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in the Democratic primary. While it could be weeks before a final vote count is known, Tlaib’s margin with most precincts reporting was 66 percent to 34 percent of the vote on Wednesday morning.

Tlaib’s seat was considered the most vulnerable among members of the so-called Squad, as the congresswoman faced off against a more or less unified Detroit political establishment and the ire of President Donald Trump. Tlaib’s presumed win comes alongside a host of down-ballot wins by progressives, including Karen McDonald for Oakland County prosecutor. Michigan progressives, crushed by the 2018 defeat of Abdul El-Sayed and the 2020 defeat of Bernie Sanders in the state’s critical March primary, could be seeing a revival of sorts.

In 2018, after former Rep. John Conyers resigned, Jones was elected to serve out the remainder of his term, but lost by 600 votes to Tlaib for the much more important nomination for the full term. Tlaib’s victory was driven by the presence of an additional candidate in the latter nomination race, state Sen. Coleman Young II, the son of legendary former five-term Detroit Mayor Coleman Young.

This time around, all of Tlaib’s 2018 opponents united against her, a difficult proposition given that she had received just 31 percent of the vote in 2018. But Tlaib gained greatly from national publicity around the Squad and dramatically out-raised Jones, $3 million to $270,000. Tlaib also had the support of organized labor, a blow to Jones, a former Communications Workers of America local president who had gained labor’s support in the previous election. Tlaib additionally benefited from an independent expenditure by the Working Families Party in partnership with local group Detroit Action, which sent 234,000 texts to registered voters in the district, according to Detroit Action Director Branden Snyder.

Along with Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Tlaib is one of two members of Congress who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israeli human rights abuses. But Tlaib has not faced the same influx of pro-Israel money into the primary as Omar, whose opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux, has been attacking Omar with charges of anti-Semitism. Jones’s previously vocal support for the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan likely played a role in the decision of outside groups to stay put. Other questions about Jones could have influenced the decision by outside groups to keep their powder dry. The Intercept revealed in April that Jones had violated state campaign finance law and in May tracked the role of Quicken Loans in Jones’s political rise.

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, activists in Detroit have lasered in on the Detroit Police Department’s use of controversial facial recognition technology, which the Detroit City Council, under Jones’s leadership, approved in 2017. In June, a car caravan protested outside of the homes of members of the Detroit City Council, but not Jones’s, though she called the protest “totally disrespectful” and told the Detroit Free Press that she would request that the police ticket protesters for violating the city’s noise ordinance if they do so again.

Tlaib, on the other hand, has been a vocal critic of the racially discriminatory aspects of the technology, saying in an October 2019 op-ed that “facial recognition technology will have racist results and relying on human analysts for intervention is inadequate. We need to ban facial recognition.”

In Oakland County in the Detroit suburbs, incumbent County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper is losing to criminal justice reformer Karen McDonald, who earned 65.7 percent of the vote with all but three precincts reporting.

McDonald, a Michigan circuit court judge, had gradually come to realize that the real power in the criminal justice system rested with prosecutors. So she stepped down and challenged Cooper, the hard-line incumbent. Oakland County’s criminal justice system recently attracted attention for incarcerating a 15-year-old girl for not doing her homework. The girl has since been released.

McDonald had the backing of the Working Families Party and won the endorsement of the Detroit Free Press, which had previously backed Cooper in each of her elections. “Times change — and Cooper, 74, has changed little,” the paper editorialized. “The incumbent prosecutor is the wrong person to take on the challenges confronting law enforcement in 2020.”

Voters agreed, and now McDonald is perhaps uniquely well-positioned to reform the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. She has seen the way that the justice system fails people and families from nearly every systemic angle. Her platform calls for an end to cash bail, pressure on prosecutors to amend and reduce charges, a commitment to revisit old convictions, an end to marijuana possession prosecutions, and an array of diversionary programs.

In Washtenaw County, home to Ann Arbor, reformer Eli Savit won in a close race. Savit has pledged to eliminate cash bail, prioritize violent crime and corporate prosecution, and set up a wrongful conviction unit. There was at least one notable exception to this streak of wins: In Wayne County, Victoria Burton-Harris, the progressive challenger to incumbent Kym Worthy, came up short.

Two progressive candidates running for state representative also jumped to early leads: Abraham Aiyash, who would be one of the nation’s first Yemeni-American elected officials, running to replace Isaac Robinson, a Sanders campaign vice chair who died of Covid-19 in March; and Helena Scott, a Jobs With Justice organizer. As of Wednesday morning, Roslyn Ogburn, a housing organizer backed by Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is trailing Karen Whitsett, an ally of pro-developer Mayor Mike Duggan who has cozied up to President Donald Trump. Also leading in his race is controversial former gubernatorial candidate Shri Thanedar, who is running for a state representative seat as well.

The post Rashida Tlaib and Slate of Local Wins Signal Progressive Revival in Michigan appeared first on The Intercept.

‘Spitting Image’ Returning on BritBox

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 12:44am in

I found this promising little snippet in today’s I for 5th August 2020. It seems that satirical puppet show, Spitting Image, will be returning to TV after nearly a quarter of a century. The article runs

Johnson’s ‘Spitting Image’ revealed

Boris Johnson, his chief adviser Dominic Cummings and the Duke of York feature among the latest Spitting Image puppets unveiled ahead of the show’s return;. The satirical series will air later this year on BritBox after running on ITV for 18 series between 1984 and 1996. Donald Trump, Beyonce, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Vladimir Putin will also feature prominently.

There were plans to bring it back a few years ago following a retrospective on the programme as long ago as 2004, I believe. Channel 4 looked into it, but turned it down because it would be too expensive. Health and Safety legislation also meant that the conditions in which the puppets were made back in the ’80s and ’90s, which did use dangerous chemicals, would be illegal and need to be improved. In the meantime, we briefly had Newzoids on ITV, which also mixed puppets and CGI to satirise politicos and celebs, but was obviously cheaper.

I thought, however, that Britbox was a streaming service for oldshows broadcast by the Beeb and ITV. This suggests that they aren’t just showing re-runs, but have commissioned new material. It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.

And to see if the new, revived Spitting Image is as vicious, incisive and hilarious at its previous incarnation.

Book Review: Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System by Colin Yeo

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/08/2020 - 8:49pm in

In Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System, practising immigration lawyer Colin Yeo explores how the UK immigration system functions in both principle and practice. Offering invaluable insights into how the current system actually works and the consequences for individual lives as well as practical suggestions for change, this book is recommended reading for anyone interested in UK migration policy, writes Alan Manning.

Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System. Colin Yeo. Biteback. 2020.

Immigration is an emotive and contentious issue in many countries, including the UK. Colin Yeo is a practising immigration lawyer who also runs a website (https://www.freemovement.org.uk/) that is an invaluable resource for non-lawyers (like me) attempting to understand how the UK immigration system works in both principle and practice. Welcome to Britain provides his overview of the UK system as a whole and, importantly, concrete suggestions on how to improve it. There is a chapter on each of the main routes by which migrants might enter the UK (as family, asylum seekers, workers, students or unauthorised) and on how they can settle permanently and become citizens. There are also more specialised chapters on free movement, deportation and detention.

The book is very clearly written, which is no small feat given the complexity of UK immigration rules (over 1000 pages, having quadrupled in length in the past decade). That the rules are overly complex, and most successful in generating work for immigration lawyers, is one of the underlying themes of the book. One consequence of this complexity is that individuals may find themselves accidentally in an unlawful situation or, if lawful, unable to prove it.

And the book makes clear that the system can be harsh as well as complex with punishment for infractions sometimes disproportionate to any offence. The process often seems to assume someone is guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent (what is termed the Home Office’s ‘culture of disbelief’). And proving oneself innocent may be dependent on documents one had no prior obligation to retain and may not be readily available and requires specialist legal advice that is unaffordable. The Windrush scandal is the best-known example of this, but there are countless others, documented both in this book and some other recent contributions to the literature (see, for example, Maya Goodfellow’s Hostile Environment and Amelia Gentleman’s The Windrush Betrayal). You can be born and brought up in Britain of migrant parents, be entitled to have become a British citizen, but perhaps your parents or the local authority if you were in care never made the application; if you are convicted of a criminal offence, you can be deported to a country you have never visited.

The victims of this are almost always Black or Asian; alongside this pattern of discrimination, the system seems to harshly punish some, while rules are not effectively enforced for many others. For example, those whose applications for asylum are refused are meant to leave the UK, but there is a considerable unexplained gap between the numbers who are meant to leave and the figures for those who are recorded as leaving.

Many discussions of immigration tend to become very binary (immigration is ‘really bad’ vs immigration has ‘enormous benefits’) and very polarised (the idea of the immigrant as superhero/heroine on the one side or as supervillain on the other), perhaps because of the fear of giving any ground to the other side, which is often presented as something of a caricature. One of the refreshing things about Welcome to Britain is that it mostly avoids a binary discussion. Although it does generally argue for a less restrictive policy, it is unafraid to mention, for example, that there have been areas of the immigration system where there has been fraud (for example, in part of the language testing, though how much fraud there was remains unclear). However, it is not completely immune to lapsing into polarised thinking (an easy thing to do, as I know from my own experience): for example, the student chapter is titled ‘Students: Awesome or Bogus?’, when there are probably other options. (In fairness, the ‘Awesome or Bogus’ dichotomy is taken from the Bill and Ted series of films, but this might be lost on readers who are not of a certain age.)

I also like the fact that Welcome to Britain is mostly positive about what it would do, rather than simply saying what it would not do. The latter course of action is quite easy given there is so much not to like in the current system, but one thing I learned as Chair of the UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is that it is easier to come up with criticisms of the system than solutions, because a solution to one issue may well cause other issues to arise. I think immigration policy is often likely to be hard and to involve uncomfortable decisions based on difficult trade-offs. I am not sure these trade-offs always come across as strongly in the book as I would have liked. To give a specific example, the author would like to go back to the pre-2012 rules in which it was easier to bring elderly migrant dependents to the UK.  For me the key issue here is how one balances the rights of individuals to bring in elderly relatives they want to care for against the interests of the taxpayer who is likely to pay for the health and care costs of these migrants. It is a perfectly reasonable position to say that the right of the individual dominates the interest of the taxpayer, but I don’t think it is right to give the impression that all those opposed to more liberal rules are necessarily motivated by an irrational desire to reduce numbers or prejudice against ethnic minorities – though racism and an obsession with figures certainly shape the views of many.

Related to this, I felt the book was much stronger on the rights and legal side of immigration than the economics, though I probably would say that given I am an economist (the author would likely feel similarly if I attempted to write about legal issues). The chapter on economic migration concludes that ‘Labour’s economic immigration policy undoubtedly did enhance economic growth’ (171). As MAC Chair I studied a lot of economic evidence and I am not sure how one would arrive at such a sweeping conclusion. If, by economic growth, one means a higher level of GDP, the statement is almost certainly true: more immigration means more people, which generally means higher GDP.  But if, by economic growth, one means higher GDP per capita (which is a better, though imperfect, measure of living standards for an individual), my view is that the evidence for the statement is weak to non-existent. For example, though there is little evidence that immigration has depressed wages to any great extent (as is sometimes alleged), there is also equally little evidence that wages have risen as a result of immigration.

Whatever one’s views on Brexit, it is an opportunity to re-set the UK’s immigration policy.  In that redesign I sincerely hope that many of the suggestions in this book are adopted.  But perhaps more than specific proposals embodied in rules, there needs to be a culture shift in the Home Office. At the moment, the Home Office too often gives the impression that admitting a migrant is something to be done grudgingly, only when they have run out of objections and have no other choice. I do think there need to be rules and some regard to how those rules are being used. But there should be a ‘culture of the correct decision’, not a ‘culture of disbelief’. One should aspire to a situation in which one can say to those who are admitted, ‘Welcome to Britain’, without the slightest hint of irony.

If you are interested in UK migration policy, please read this book. Welcome to Britain offers invaluable insights into how the current system actually works (many of which I have been unable to summarise in this brief review) and the consequences for individual lives, and it provides practical suggestions for change.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Image Credit: Home Office Immigration Enforcement vans parked in the City of London (Andy Thornley CC BY 2.0).