This website is the result of a long-standing Tory voter finally realizing that current government policies, far from being good for everyone, actually only serve a certain narrow section of society, and ignore the needs of most ordinary people.
I grew up during the Thatcher years, and for a long time was a total believer in the idea that if equality of opportunity is provided to all, then it’s down to the individual as to what they make of it. My own experience seemed to bear this out: having come from a working class background where money was always tight (I was the only child of a single parent – my mother worked very hard running a boarding house), I was instilled with a work-ethic which took me through Grammar School, on to a Physics degree at Oxford, and then a career in IT.
During this time I also completely believed in the theory of Free Market Capitalism, and gladly took part in all the privatisations that were then taking place. I was a Tory voter throughout and also developed an interest in investing in the stock market.
However as time went by I started to notice cracks in the Free Market theory of rewards for the able, and wealth filtering down to the population at large. Bosses who were useless still seemed to get large pay-offs, while the gap between rich and poor seemed to be getting ever-wider. Then came the financial crisis, and it became immediately apparent that we’d all been living a lie, or at least living on debt. Like many people I was initially bemused by what had gone wrong, and wasn’t even sure how we could change things for the better anyway. The levers of power seemed to be firmly in the hands of career-politicians, and there wasn’t a whole lot any of us could do about it. Then came the Occupy protest at St Pauls, and after a couple of weeks’ hesitation I realised this was something different, and I joined.
Having no formal training in Economics, I embarked on a self-imposed crash-course trying to work out what the hell was going on in our society, and what we could do about it. Slowly I came to learn that economics isn’t actually that difficult, and an awful lot of it is actually just common sense – it’s just that the people in charge like to maintain the idea of complexity, in order to keep the masses subservient. This website is an attempt to change that.
I also came to see the extent to which our democratic system has been corrupted by the power of money, and in particular the power of big business. I used to think, like most people I guess, that corruption was basically a third-world problem, and that, a few dodgy individuals aside, practices in this country were generally honest and above-board. The reality unfortunately is that corruption in the West, though perhaps not as blatant as in some societies where bribes and threats are the norm, is nonetheless just as rampant. Here it is much more clever and subtle, with the rules being twisted, loopholes being exploited, laws being manipulated, so that the ruling elites can extract wealth for themselves while truthfully being able to say ‘no rules have been broken’.
I firmly believe that if people are made aware of what is going on, and the way those with wealth and power are constantly enriching themselves at everyone else’s expense, then the balance of power will shift and we can change to a fairer and more equitable way of living. I hope I’m right.
Speech at Trafalgar Square Mayday 2013 (apologies for the video quality but the sound is good):