Category Archives: society

Some Experiences I Had at the Bar (with reference to a recent book on the justice system in England)

I see that The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken (or, as The Guardian online has it, “Brokem“) is published:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/28/secret-barrister-stories-law-review-justice-system?CMP=share_btn_tw

I have no idea who “Secret Barrister” (apparently a criminal specialist) is; in fact I block him (or her) on Twitter simply because he (or she) seems to be friendly with some Jew-Zionists and others who have proven themselves to be hostile to me. It will be recalled by some that, though I ceased Bar practice in 2008, I was nonetheless disbarred in 2016 (!), after a malicious complaint by a pack of Jews calling themselves “UK Lawyers for Israel”. The main facts can be found here:

https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/the-slide-of-the-english-bar-and-uk-society-continues-and-accelerates/

I should add that I have not read the Secret Barrister book.

My Bar pupillage (on-job training year, in my case mostly in 1992), was largely criminal (the rest being mostly civil and public law). Prior to that, I had done –and was only able to do– unpaid “pro bono” work, such as helping an eccentric small publisher to win a libel perpetrated on him by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the famous Russian author having claimed via innuendo that the plaintiff –now “claimant”– had acted as an agent for the Soviet K.G.B. We won £10,000 and costs; if anyone is interested, the case was Flegon v. Solzhenitsyn and was reported on the front pages of the more serious newspapers.

I did no ordinary criminal cases after the mid-1990s and –as mentioned– ceased Bar practice entirely in 2008, and so have no direct knowledge of the damage done to the justice system in England and Wales by reason of post-2010 “austerity” (that being the subject matter of the Secret Barrister book), but my observations more generally may be of interest.

When I was at the “Bar School” (the Inns of Court School of Law in Gray’s Inn, at the time the only place where the academic part of Bar training, culminating in the Bar Finals Exam, could be undertaken), the legal scene in London was vibrant. The pre-recession late 1980s saw major newspapers ( Times and Independent especially) carrying dozens of display ads weekly for lawyers of all types and levels of seniority. In the private salaried realm, pay for employed lawyers went from perhaps £25,000 for very junior to £100,000 and even £200,000. I knew a Bar student who needed to get a salaried job on Call to the Bar. The Crown Prosecution Service, founded only in 1986, offered him £26,000 a year as starting salary, quite good by the standards of many non-legal employees at the time. I have no specific knowledge about the salary which his equivalent might be offered today, but I doubt that it is much more, despite inflation in the succeeding 30 years.

As to those I knew who went on into private Bar practice, I followed their progress from afar, mostly from the USA. One got into criminal chambers doing fairly heavy criminal (including white collar) crime: fraud, armed robbery, serious violence. The frauds paid especially well and my friend was, by the early 1990s, making well over £100,000 a year as junior Counsel often led by a “silk” (QC). This was, to me, a stunning amount for a young man in his mid twenties from a no more than average academic background (a comprehensive school, a law degree from a provincial university) to be making, but in his milieu it was accepted as the norm. I mention all that because it was at that time that the newspapers started to report on the amounts some barristers were making from legal aid fees. Indeed, it was about then, or not very many years later, that a handful of barristers paid via legal aid were starting to break through the million-pounds-a-year barrier.

As to others I knew, they were doing well too: an appearance in the Mags (magistrates’ court) might only pay a couple of hundred pounds, but that has to be set against the fact that many “ordinary people” were paid that much, or less, for a week of work, as opposed to what might well be, in terms of time in court (leaving aside preparation, waiting, travel) only half an hour or less in some small magistrates’ cases. I joined the throng in 1993 and, though scarcely in the stellar league (much at the Bar depends on the quality of the chambers you are in; chambers supply almost all of your work), made a reasonable living, anyway. I do recall one brief I had, an “old-style” committal for trial in a modestly-large multi-handed (7 or 8 defendants) cheque fraud case, at City of London Mags. It went on for a few days and I remember even now that my fee for that was £5,000, which for me at the time was a windfall very gratefully received (it could not happen now and of course I recall it mainly because of its rarity. I did not get the expected £20,000-£40,000 Old Bailey trial, because the Nigerian solicitor gave “my” trial to a recently-Called young Nigerian woman barrister who just happened to be a daughter of his friend…but that’s another story).

Scroll on a decade or so to the years before the Conservative Party victory of 2010. I had made my last appearance in court in late 2007 and had done only privately-paid civil work, no criminal (except for the odd regulatory violation committed by large companies); in fact, I had also spent years overseas in various parts of the world, from the Caribbean to Kazakhstan. During that time, legally-aided Bar fees in England had generally not kept pace with inflation. For example, back in about 1993 I had appeared on a Mention at a Crown Court, this being more or less what it sounds like: the matter is listed, the judge examines any issues arising and makes any directions necessary, then it finishes, about 5 minutes or ten minutes after it started. A silly thing and it paid £46. I read recently that now, 25 years later, the fee is still less than £50! It is said that the same is true of many fees for criminal and family work.

Apparently, about 258 courts have actually closed in the past 8 years. This means that parties have to trek quite far to their cases. Some people are poor, cannot afford fares and may not have a car. Unjust in itself.

It was in the fake “austerity” atmosphere after 2010 (which in fact started before 2010, under the equally “ZOG” Gordon Brown government) that the Jew-Zionist “Conservative” MP Jonathan Djanogly commented, as Parliamentary Under-Secretary (a junior government post), that the UK justice system was “the most generous in the world” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Djanoglyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Djanogly]. This laid the ground for the Ministry of Justice becoming a prime target for “austerity” cuts. Djanogly himself left government in 2012 and his political career has stalled, permanently.

I want to be clear. I have little sympathy for the Bar, meaning barristers, as such (and less for solicitors). I think that those who made good and often very good livings out of legally-aided work (criminal, family and other) were lucky when compared to many people in the UK who work at hard, boring, maybe dirty jobs, often for a pittance. Many at the Bar still are fortunate. Having said that, any decent public service or arm needs to be properly funded, whether it be the Army, Navy, Air Force, SIS, NHS or Ministry of Justice. There are arguments to be had about some aspects of MoJ funding, as about priorities too, but as the book in question seems to be saying (from reviews seen), the justice system (and that includes prisons, probation, forensic science etc, as well as courts and legal services) is now under very serious strain.

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The Rise and Fall of the Pseuds

From 2005 through to 2008, I worked as a practising barrister in England, but spent about half my time in Brittany, commuting on a twice or thrice-monthly basis by sea and air. I did not keep in close touch with UK political affairs. I used my TV in France only for DVDs and videos and had no Sky service. The brief triumph of BNP candidates Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons in the European elections was heard by me via BBC World Service and Radio 4 (which can usually be picked up on or near the coast).

In mid-2009, having given up Bar practice in early 2008, I returned to the UK. I started to take great interest in British political life. One aspect surprised me particularly: the rise to –brief– prominence of persons whose connection to politics was slight. Not so much “commentators” (their usual self-styling) as pseudo-commentators and pseudo-“activists”. One of these was a young woman called Alexandra Swann (on Twitter, @alexandralswann, not to be confused with @alexandraswann, an American blogger). She was (for her “15 minutes of fame”) a UKIP spokesperson:

and the msm started to take an interest in her. For a few months she seemed to be on TV constantly, pontificating (albeit risibly) on social welfare, employment, all sorts of things. UKIP gave her 10 minutes in which to speak at its 2012 Conference:

The Guardian –of all outlets!– gave Alexandra Swann op-ed space, calling her “the new face of UKIP”. She was also called, by others,”the future face of UK politics”!

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/06/leaving-tories-ukip-alexandra-swann

In fact, she described herself as “libertarian” and had been an office-holder at one time in “Conservative Future”, the more or less defunct Con youth wing (the Scottish section even had to cancel its conference, when only 6 people applied for tickets!). Like so many youthful “libertarians” (she was 23 years old in 2012), she had a wealthy father to help her out should she be unable to stand on her own two feet in the approved Ayn Rand manner. Indeed, she was, at the time, still a student, working on a politics-oriented PhD at Sussex.

In fact, it was around that time that UKIP started to split internally between the members who were basically pseudo-nationalist Conservatives (fiscal Conservatives who were anti-mass immigration) and the more social-national UKIPpers who might (and did, briefly) appeal to voters in the Labour heartlands of the North.

Two years later, Alexandra Swann had left UKIP:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rising-ukip-star-alexandra-swann-protests-her-own-partys-stance-on-immigration-9244746.html

She was so politically-unaware that she thought that UKIP should ditch its anti-immigration stance and become a party of Ayn Rand “libertarians” (liberty for the wealthy and austerity/repression for the poor, as I see it). She was not alone in holding such attitudes: some who held elected positions were not far from her in this; one could mention Daniel Hannan MEP, Douglas Carswell MP etc as “fiscally conservative, socially-liberal”. Those far more seasoned (not to say educated and intelligent) figures likewise at least pretended to think that a “small-state” national conservatism could be popular. Needless to say, the idea is anathema to me.

Since that time, Alexandra Swann has retreated into private life and (her tweets have recounted) has even had a job or two, as well as becoming, presumably on a small scale (via family money? I do not know, but how else?), a buy-to-let parasite or “residential real estate investor” if you prefer. I should add that the lady blocks me, though I have never tweeted to her. She must have disagreed with a tweet of mine which was critical of her smug “entitled” attitudes…

What I am writing about here is not this one now-obscure person, Alexandra Swann, as such (she was, in the end, too silly and inconsistent a figure to be taken seriously even in Britain’s decadent political/msm milieu), but as a symptom of a time when the mainstream media promoted almost anyone, especially those thought to be travelling along the “welfare reform”, “austerity” line. A pretty face and youth helped but were not essential. There were others after 2010 who were trying to become media talking heads and/or political stars. Some even became MPs.

There was Louise Mensch, who caught the wave early. David Cameron-Levita-Schlumberger placed her on the “A” List, as a result of which she was briefly an MP, though she resigned for “personal reasons” later (by which time various stories about her behaviour had surfaced, not least the fact that (as she admitted), “hard drugs” had “messed with” her brain…

LouiseMenschDrugging

Louise Mensch could be seen on TV constantly in 2010-2011, supporting the evil policies of the “Conservative” government of Cameron-Levita (and not only on Sky News, but Newsnight, at the time still a programme of some weight).

Since her resignation as MP, Louise Mensch has tried and failed at various commercial social media and Internet activities and was for a few years a columnist for the Sun “newspaper”, until she “left” in 2017. I always wondered why Murdoch paid her (assuming that it was a paid job). It seemed bizarre that a woman who constantly gets basic facts wrong could be a columnist even for the Sun. She still tweets, though: prolifically and sometimes –though unwittingly– funnily. She blocks me on Twitter…

I should add that Louise Mensch has been gunning for me for years on Twitter and elsehow. She loved it when the Jew Zionists managed to get me disbarred in 2016 (I suppose that she thought that I was still in practice and that I would suffer as a consequence) and (together with or parallel to the same Zionists) tweeted directly to me that she was going to get me chucked out of the New York Bar too. She is married to a wealthy Jew. Her desire to extract the “pound of flesh” from me was patent! For the record, the New York Bar does not police its members’ opinions on politics (there’s this thing called the U.S. Constitution…) and I never heard anything more about her complaint against me (if it was ever made) or that made by some London Jews (who threatened me with the same). In fact, I have never practised in New York anyway, and whether I belong to the NY Bar is a matter of supreme unconcern to me.

There were many others around 2010 (in fact from 2009) and in the succeeding years who were to be seen on Sky News and BBC News newspaper reviews, on Question Time and BBC Daily Politics. Some found niche positions in small publications or online, but most have almost faded from view. One is the egregious Caroline Criado-Perez. Like several others of the type now under discussion, she seems to have come from a rather wealthy background, so it scarcely matters to her from an everyday point of view that she dropped out of university in the first year (her Wikipedia entry –pretty obviously mainly drafted by her– mentions her “working in digital marketing for several years”…well, it may be true…).

It seems that some silly and malicious people emailed or tweeted to Caroline Criado-Perez in a threatening way (three were even convicted), allowing her to claim a kind of martyr status for a while. I personally have no objection at all to women of note (no pun intended) being depicted on paper money, but to agitate for that (which had already been done anyway) hardly counts as a career…

Caroline Criado-Perez had an OBE bestowed upon her for her “activism” in getting Jane Austen on a banknote (though Elizabeth Fry had been on banknotes for years). She has now agitated for a statue of a Suffragist in Parliament Square. She still seems to regard herself as a kind of full-time or other “activist” though her Wikipedia entry says that in 2013 she was “in process of completing” a Master’s degree in Gender Studies. Roll over,  Einstein! I have no idea whether she will now get a CBE for having asked that a statue be erected; maybe not.

I have never tweeted to Caroline Criado-Perez, but she must have seen me criticize her on Twitter or, more likely, not take her seriously on Twitter, because she too blocks me…I have only seen her a couple of times on TV and she seems quite pleasant in her interview manner, but “pleasant” alone just does not cut it in these times.

What strikes me about the three women above is how adept, at least initially, they were at self-promotion. Also, how, in the end, self-promotion is not enough. 2010 and 2012 were different to 2018. Times are becoming serious. Yes, you could get on TV shows if you were a pretty girl willing to address (however shallowly) important issues; yes, you could maybe become an MP if you had the right help and image; yes, you could get an OBE for something like demanding that a certain type of person be put on a banknote. However, that’s where it finishes. The pretence of gravity is not the same, ultimately, as gravity. If you are shallow, or ignorant, or a one-trick pony, the more serious times will not carry you along but will dump you as irrelevant.

My intention in writing the above was not to criticize those mentioned but to characterize a time, a time that is pretty much gone now. The new time demands serious people with the ability to think and act seriously. This is no longer the time of the dilettante.

Use and Abuse of the UK Welfare State

I am in favour of the Welfare State, in principle, but that just begs the question. Even the Iain Dunce Duncan Smiths and Esther McVeys of this world go that far, at least in public utterances. The devil really is in the detail here.

The famous economist, Milton Friedman, once said that you can have open borders, and you can have a welfare state, but you cannot have both. That it is even necessary to posit that shows how far the more socialist-minded people in the UK (and elsewhere in Northern Europe) have travelled from reality. Many “refugees welcome” dimwits actually believe that an almost endless number of “refugees” or others can enter the UK without affecting State benefits and services (as well as road and rail congestion etc). This seems to be based on the idea that the immigrants will work, pay taxes, in short become normal citizens or quasi-citizens. Angela Merkel thought the same, only to find that most “refugees” were

  • incapable of any but the most basic work (such as fruit-picking) because of their linguistic and/or educational levels;
  • unwilling, in many cases, to work, in a situation where the State provides free accomodation, free utilities, free transport for some, free food for some, as well as pocket money on quite a generous level.

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The UK does not provide social security (or, in our new Americanized speech, “welfare”) benefits on the generous scale offered by Germany or Scandinavia etc, but the fundamentals are similar.

A personal story: when I was much much younger, in my early twenties, I became acquainted, via a lady I then knew, with a friend of hers (more accurately a woman who had attached herself to her like a limpet). Now this other woman was not British in any sense except that she had married a New Zealander who had (presumably because taken there from the UK as a child) a British passport. The woman was in fact a Jewess from Moscow, who had somehow got to know the New Zealander while he was on a holiday trip to the Soviet Union. We need not examine motives and reasons, but that couple married and went to live in New Zealand. They had two children. After about four or five years, the woman left her husband, left New Zealand and flew to the UK.

When I met the woman in question, I believe that she had been in the UK for a couple of years. She washed-up in Downham, an obscure suburb in South-East London, where the local council provided her with a council flat. I have no exact idea of what other benefits she was granted, but they would have included child benefit and some form of income support. She never had to work, though at first she did a couple of evenings a week teaching Russian at some place or other which I forget (possibly Morley College in Westminster Bridge Road, or the City Literary Institute in Drury Lane, both of which adult education centres I myself frequented at the time).

Scroll on a few years. This “Russian” Jewish woman, with no real connection to the UK at all had been given a quite decent house with gardens in Grove Park, a better part of the same borough. She had been impelled to move, apparently, by a visit from her father, a nuclear scientist (which sounds impressive, but the Soviet Union had legions of them) who had told her that she would have a better flat were she to return to Moscow! Of course, there she would have had to work…anyway, I visited the new house once (out of duty rather than choice)  and so saw it, despite being not much liked by the woman. The woman had been diagnosed with a kidney complaint (though I never saw her looking unwell) and so no doubt managed to claim some form of incapacity or disability benefit; and had also acquired a car (almost certainly also funded by the State). In addition to all of that, the woman and her children also had all the usual UK benefits of free education and health. I do not think that she bothered to do much work after that, maybe a little part-time teaching or occasional low-level interpreting.

Now it might be said, perhaps especially by people more naturally drawn to socialism than capitalism, that she was entitled to these things because lawfully resident in the UK. Perhaps, but look at it from the wider point of view: she had never contributed anything to the UK, just taken. The small part-time jobs here and there can be discounted as having been de minimis. She leeched off the UK’s people since about 1979 and, the last I heard (a couple of years ago), that situation remained unchanged, probably to this day. In fact, she would now be “entitled” to a State pension and Pension Credit. Call it 40 years of being a millstone round the neck of the British Welfare State.

Now multiply the above by millions, the millions of often completely useless people from the backward hordes imported into the UK for decades. For example, it is reported that only 20% of the huge numbers of Somalis in the UK (how? why?) are employed at all.

I repeat, I do favour a decent Welfare State, but it can only exist if

a. the economy can support it;

b. it is not swamped.

The above two conditions really come down to the same thing now, or very nearly so.

For me, the answer to the work and income challenges of robotics, computerization, Internet shopping, AI etc is the Basic Income concept, but Basic Income, like the existing Welfare State, will decline and may fail unless it is restricted to those who are at the very least, genuine citizens.

 

The Train is Hitting the Buffers

The UK train is hitting the buffers. The train crash has been slow, long in coming, but it is now starting to happen.

Decades of decadence, mass immigration, political corruption, Zionist takeover of the legal system, cultural sickness in all mass media (fostered by Zionist infiltration at all levels) etc now results in manifestations that are becoming apparent even to the voting public.

The public has little idea, even now, of the causes, but it sees the effects: National Health Service creaking, beginning to fall to pieces; the housing market effectively closed to most of those who wish to buy a house or even an apartment; sky-high rents paid to speculative parasites by employees and others; congested roads and trains; cities full of those of alien race and culture; schools which brainwash children with “multiculti” propaganda and “holocaust” lies.

Those few (including me) who saw this coming as long ago as in the 1970s (in my case) or even 1960s, were and still are marginalized by a mass media system which is thoroughly corrupted. The same is true of the political system and, increasingly, of the professions, where to speak up at all invites expulsion: see

https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/?s=the+slidehttps://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/?s=the+slide

The Zionists are behind much of this and are now trying to shut down free speech and comment across social media– as happened long ago in the mass media.

https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2017/07/13when-i-was-a-victim-of-a-malicious-zionist-complaint/

The question that now has to be asked is what, in the next 4-5 years, will be the political result of the slow but accelerating collapse of British society in all areas?

It is clear that specifically English (leaving aside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) voters are now, in a semi-rigged “First Past The Post” electoral system, voting against parties rather than for them. There is little enthusiasm for any of the System parties, let alone the more or less washed-up UKIP, Liberal Democrats and Greens, but there is determination to block parties by voting tactically for the party most likely to achieve that in any given seat.

Beyond the wish to block unwanted parties and candidates, there is a general and growing dissatisfaction. Above all, the “Middle Classes” are joining the “workers” and the marginalized at the bottom.

b-cisxdiqaa7qj_-jpg-large

That can only help Labour, despite the misgivings many feel about its MPs and leaders (the obvious example being Diane Abbott). The success of the Corbyn faction and its vanguard, Momentum, may unsettle some voters, but may give rise in others to the feeling that at least Labour is fairly solid ideologically, not a chaotic mess. That is bound to play to Labour’s advantage electorally. Contrast with the Conservatives. This cartoon portrayed the way in which Theresa May achieved office by default:

CnLGOc5XYAALLJdThe next general election will probably favour Labour, though probably not enough for it to win a majority in the House of Commons. After that, one can foresee continuing mass immigration, continuing slide in public services, continuing disparity in wealth. That will be the moment when a social-national party can strike. First of all, one must exist, however.

Taking the Whole Package

This evening, I watched a show called something like “The Real Marigold Hotel”, in which four elderly once-“celebrities” went to a country (in this case, Cuba) in order to see what facilities might be available for retired people. As such, as a “documentary”, it was very superficial and lacking depth, though entertaining. What interested me was the society in general.

The Cuba –actually just Havana– shown (and I have never been there, though I am quite well acquainted with its history of the past century and, in the manner of Sarah Palin, have glimpsed it from the air and from the sea) was in fact largely the stereotype: old American cars in pastel pink and blue, decrepit but charming colonial mansions, palm trees etc. The old people went to cultural classes and talked to Cubans in parks. It struck me anew that any society is a package: Cuba has some culture (both European and its own mixture incorporating the Caribbean and African, as well as that of the USA. The Havana shown was one where the parks were (on the face of it) safe to visit, the people well-educated (one or two Cubans carefully making the point that their good education had been free, as were the classes available to the elderly). Most people know that the Cuban healthcare system is also very good, both in relative and absolute terms. On the other hand, and as the TV programme noted, the Internet is tightly controlled, requires a card (no doubt traceable..) and is mostly only available in “wi-fi” areas such as certain parks; not so many have home Internet connection. It is perhaps pointless to reiterate what most of us know in terms of the Cuban police state (which –in all the documentary films I have ever seen– is so pervasive that it is invisible: you never see the hand of the State in plain sight, though it is there all right).

So there you have the Cuban package: low crime rate (supposedly), no obvious disorder, at least some rather polite, cultured citizens, good education and healthcare etc (one Cuban did say that it was better before the supportive Soviet Union collapsed), as well as a certain charm. As against that, a socialist state which controls the news and Internet tightly, imprisons dissidents for years (not to mention the large number who, in the late 1950s and 1960s, were just shot); a socialized economy which (leaving aside the effect of American embargo) –was and largely is– hopelessly inefficient at providing consumer goods; travel restrictions too.

Let us take a different case. The German Reich in the 1930s was intolerant of dissidents too, though it was far more tolerant than was the Soviet Union under Stalin or, indeed, Cuba under Fidel. The National Socialist state imprisoned some dissidents or placed them in concentration camps such as Dachau (though few now know that many served short sentences, such as 3 months, there and were not there indefinitely). Others were encouraged or more or less forced out of the country. There was a generally militarized ethos. How could a state both German and quasi-socialist be anything else?

In the Reich, there was state interference in culture (though, again, far less than, say, in the Soviet Union). Consumer production was given a lower priority than rearmanent (“Guns Before Butter”), though large projects for the benefit of the people were also pushed into the foreground: the Autobahnen; the VW “people’s car”; the 1936 Olympics; a huge programme of educational and cultural events; the Kraft durch Freude [“Strength through Joy”] programme of Canary Islands cruises and Baltic beach holidays for the people (at a time when, in the UK, most people who had a holiday at all were corralled into poky Blackpool guest houses…); better nutrition for young people, too.

The National Socialist Reich was hugely beneficial for most Germans, certainly compared to what existed in the Weimar period. The Reich solved the inflation problem, the unemployment problem, the decadence problem and, yes, what it termed “the Jewish question”.

In the UK at the same time, there was greater ostensible “freedom”: elections every 5 years, the freedom to eat daily at the Ritz or at the Savoy Grill (if one had the funds..), no obvious book censorship (though, behind the scenes, there was much, not least via the Jewish element, even then). There was official theatre and cinema censorship (via the Lord Chamberlain’s office) and there was also, of course, grinding poverty (especially outside the South East), a very repressive justice and prison system, not to mention the pervasive class system and its inequities.

No state, no political system is “perfect”. All have flaws, and all (most, at least) have benefits (though what might be the benefits of living in, say, North Korea or the Congo might be disputed). The aim can only be to do the best with what is available at the material time. We take everything as a package, as a whole.

Thoughts about Bitcoin

First Remarks

I am not an economist; neither am I, at least in terms of occupation and/or formal training, an historian. I say that from the outset simply because it may be objected that, especially in terms of economics, I have no intellectual locus standi, despite the fact that most predictions made by economists turn out to be inaccurate. Also, “two economists, three opinions”…

Bitcoin

So, Bitcoin. Bitcoin was invented in 2008, possibly in Japan, by someone (or a group) whose provenance and even real name or names remain unknown:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin

What is Money, in any case?

Money is an almost metaphysical thing. Different societies have used seashells, precious metals etc as money, the key characteristic being the relative rarity of the commodity used. In China (in the 7th Century under the Tang dynasty), paper currency was invented and more widely introduced in the 11th Century (Song Dynasty), where it was encountered by Marco Polo and others, who introduced the idea to Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknote

Paper currency was, at first and for a long time, backed or notionally backed by precious metals, notably gold. Paper money only became generally acceptable in Europe a thousand years after its invention in China. The natural scepticism of the people was overcome both by its convenience and by its credibility, that credibility not only bolstered by its supposed convertability into gold or silver but by the draconian penalties visited upon those who counterfeited the notes.

These factors underpin all money, credibility or popular belief in its value being the core.

Speculative Bubbles

One could go wider and say that credibility and belief underpin all valuation of assets, whether money assets, real property or other property in which the population is impelled to invest. Time and again there have been speculative bubbles: in currencies, in shares, in housing, in undeveloped land, in metals and even in such things as tulip bulbs (17thC Holland).

A good history of these bubbles and other mass events of the sort was penned in 1841 after the South Sea Bubble and was reprinted after the Wall Street Crash of 1929: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds

Since that book came out, since its 1930s reprinting, other bubbles have come and gone. Among the more noteworthy were the “Silver Bears” bubble of the 1970s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Thursday

and various real property bubbles across the world.

Bitcoin Goes Viral

At first, back in 2008, Bitcoin was valueless, worth nothing at all. It was just electrical impulses on a machine, effectively. It was still of small value three years later:

“The price of bitcoins has gone through various cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts.[129][130] In 2011, the value of one bitcoin rapidly rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before returning to US$2.[131] In the latter half of 2012 and during the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, the bitcoin price began to rise,[132]reaching a high of US$266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50.[133] On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of US$1,242.[134] In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014 it was under US$600.” [Wikipedia]

Wikipedia continues:

“Ponzi scheme and pyramid scheme concerns

Various journalists,[79][144] economists,[145][146] and the central bank of Estonia[147] have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. In 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that “a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion.”[148] A 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a ‘deliberate’ Ponzi scheme, but that it did thus far meet the “standard definition of a speculative bubble”.[149]:7 The Swiss Federal Council[150]:21 examined the concerns that bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme; it concluded that “Since in the case of bitcoin the typical promises of profits are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme.” In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks referred to bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.[151]

On 12 September 2017, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, called bitcoin a “fraud” and said he would fire anyone in his firm caught trading it. Zero Hedge claimed that the same day Dimon made his statement, JP Morgan also purchased a large amount of bitcoins for its clients.[152]

Speculative bubble dispute

Bitcoin has been labelled a speculative bubble by many including former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan[153] and economist John Quiggin.[154] Nobel Memorial Prize laureate Robert Shiller said that bitcoin “exhibited many of the characteristics of a speculative bubble”.[155] Journalist Matthew Boesler in 2013 rejected the speculative bubble label and saw bitcoin’s quick rise in price as nothing more than normal economic forces at work.[156] Timothy B. Lee, in a 2013 piece for The Washington Post pointed out that the observed cycles of appreciation and depreciation don’t correspond to the definition of speculative bubble.[131] On 14 March 2014, the American business magnate Warren Buffett said, “Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically.”[157]

Two lead software developers of bitcoin, Gavin Andresen[158] and Mike Hearn,[159] have warned that bubbles may occur. David Andolfatto, a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated, “Is bitcoin a bubble? Yes, if bubble is defined as a liquidity premium.” According to Andolfatto, the price of bitcoin “consists purely of a bubble,” but he concedes that many assets “have bubble component to their price”.[53]:21 Speculation in bitcoin has been compared to the tulip mania of seventeenth-century Holland. Comparisons have been made by the vice-president of the European Central Bank, Vítor Constâncio, by JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon,[160] by hedge fund manager Ken Griffin of Citadel,[161] and by former president of the Dutch Central Bank, Nout Wellink.[162] In 2013, Wellink remarked, “This is worse than the tulip mania […] At least then you got a tulip [at the end], now you get nothing.”[163] On 13 September 2017, Jamie Dimon compared bitcoin to a bubble, saying it was only useful for drug dealers and countries like North Korea.[164] On 22 September 2017, a hedge fund named Blockswater subsequently accused JP Morgan of market manipulation and filed a market abuse complaint with Financial Supervisory Authority (Sweden).[165]

The Guardian, CNBC, Forbes and Evening Standard compared bitcoin to bubbles such as the South Sea Bubble, the Wall Street Crash, the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the Dot-com bubble.” [Wikipedia]

Current Situation

Bitcoin started to reach escape velocity in late 2016, going from hundreds of U.S. dollars to thousands. At time of writing (December 2017), a single Bitcoin is valued at over $14,000 [USD], or £10,500 [Pounds Sterling]. People who “invested” less than £100 several years ago have seen their stock suddenly rise to be “worth” as much as £100,000. Those who have risked more (in some cases a million pounds or more) now find themselves in theory able to buy small or even medium-size nation-states lock, stock and barrel.

What Do We Know About Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin’s origins are obscure, to the extent that journalists and others have researched, investigated and written about the names of possible founders and organizers without having come to a definite conclusion;
  • Bitcoin is almost useless as a popular currency: its explosion in “value” has made it unusable for any transaction not involving, at the least, tens of thousands of pounds;
  • Bitcoin, though supposedly limited in overall amount or number, has seen security breaches which, at the push of a button (putting it simply), have at least briefly increased the supply of Bitcoin.

Conclusion

Bitcoin is a classic speculative bubble or, alternatively and perhaps even better put, pyramid scheme. The people who got in early and stayed in are sitting on mirage-fortunes; those who have “invested” more recently will probably lose everything they put in. At the moment of writing, Bitcoin is probably nearing its peak. When it starts to fall rapidly, the panic will probably wipe it out entirely.

The surely inevitable collapse of Bitcoin will take down more than just Bitcoin itself. It may affect the stability of the economy more generally. Beyond that, if (as Bitcoin proponents and/or “investors” say–and their anger at any criticism is perhaps born of subconscious desperation), Bitcoin is as “credible” as any “ordinary” currency (and that is Bitcoin’s strongest point), then the upcoming crash of Bitcoin could take with it much public confidence in the value of the world’s major currencies too. Our major currencies are no longer backed by gold or silver and have only the value we put upon them. We exchange stones for bread. Our currencies are themselves castles in the air and “such things as dreams are made on”.

We recall the hyperinflation of early 1920s Germany, and I myself saw, on several visits to 1980s Poland, how the slide of the zloty affected that country politically and socially. The fate of Bitcoin is not just about Bitcoin.

The General Shape of a Future Society

We should be aiming at a society which contains the good from the present (and, therefore, past) while being oriented toward the future. Humanity is a work in progress. Society is a work in progress.

The basic template for a future society, even in the short-term, can be found in the Threefold Social Order concept:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_threefolding

This is not some castle in the air. Many of the concepts within the overall concept of the Threefold Social Order are already part of UK society to a greater or lesser extent: religious freedom, freedom of thought, equal treatment under the law, the separation of the economic, political/legal and spiritual spheres or realms. Even since, say, 1989 (when old-style socialism died), there has come about a greater acceptance that, for example, the State should not monopolize education, that the State should not directly run business enterprises etc. There have been retrograde aspects too, though: increasing actual slavery, a huge increase in quasi-slavery or economic serfdom (including “welfare-to work” schemes, as well as diminution of employee rights and workplace conditions), the “National Curriculum” in State-run schools etc.

Necessary Changes and Structure

First of all, the migration invasion must be halted and a plan developed to remove as many non-Europeans as possible from the UK and Europe. There can be no decent future for UK citizens unless at least most are of British/European origin and culture. As Milton Friedman said, also, “You can have open borders or you can have a welfare state, but you cannot have both.” The Labour Corbynists have not all, by any means, awoken to this truth.

Special-interest groups, notably the Jewish Zionists, must not be allowed disproportionate influence or power. That applies to politics (eg Westminster seats), the Press and other mainstream media, to the ownership of business enterprises.

All citizens should receive a “Basic Income”. Robotics and computerization are advancing to the point where perhaps a third of the jobs in the UK might go. The choice will either be Basic Income or Iain Dunce Duncan Smith-style DWP snooping, bullying and serfdom, i.e. forced “make work” projects run by carpetbagging companies, validating payment of what is now often called “welfare” (social security).

The State will not run business enterprises, in general. However, it may be that the security of the State and of society requires the State to run or at least tightly to regulate some enterprises: railways, water supply, electricity supply. Having said that, technology may lessen those cases, as in individual electrical power generation via solar, wind, hydro.

Private business should not run what are, properly, State functions: prisons, the armed forces, social security provision overall.

There must be freedom of expression on political, social, historical matters.

The State can organize or fund some things without actually owning or, on ground level, running them: a UK-wide wildlife grid (possibly composed of land owned largely by non-State owners) is one example.

There is a necessity for improvement in several everyday areas: housing must be built or rebuilt to give everyone a decent home and garden space. No-one should own several and certainly not dozens or hundreds of dwelling-homes. There must be a minimum per-person amount of space within every new house or flat, a higher level than usually found at present.

Local transport should be free of charge.

Higher education should regain its credibility: standards must be improved. Grants can be given to the best students, but others may have to do without and perhaps not go to university. The corollary is that a university degree should not be necessary for most, perhaps all, occupations. Other means of selection can be worked out.

There should be huge expansion of branch rail lines using light, ultralight, narrow-gauge etc trains, mostly operated by robots.

A grid of new wide canals should be dug, for leisure, environmental and business use (freight and passengers).

The airship or Zeppelin can now come into its own as a UK-wide passenger carrying form of transport. The tops of some high office buildings in cities such as London can become passenger hubs (while commuting exists).

A New Society Needs New People

The aim must be to create a new people for the future. People create society; society creates people. It is symbiotic. This can be a “virtuous circle”: a highly-educated, highly-cultured people, which in turn will result in society being improved over time and so again. This is something worth struggling and fighting for.