Comment: Our regulators are as mad and bad as Mussolini
By Godfrey Bloom
The accusation of fascism has long been a rather worn out, knee-jerk rhetoric by political opponents of almost any colour.
It has been reduced to a simply pejorative term. This is as ridiculous, as it is dangerous. Fascism is a political creed, very much in the ascendancy in the Europe of the 1920s and 30s. National Socialism in Germany was a mutation and there was sympathy for it at every level in the United Kingdom, albeit much weaker. The real political enemy of fascism until the outbreak of World War II was Communism, paradoxically the other side of the same totalitarian coin.
Let us look for a moment at the two creeds, for the sake of simplicity. Communism aims to own the means of production, fascism aims to control the means of production. The American economist Thomas di Lorenzo has coined a new name for the modern political system, fascilism. You guessed it, a mixture of the two.
In a modern industrial economy the new god is regulation. People are persuaded regulation is necessary, indeed essential to protect the helpless, down-trodden vulnerable consumer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Regulation is simply a tool to control the means of production post de-nationalisation. Water, energy, railways and telecoms have been put into private ownership yet controlled by a regulatory authority. The system is run and authorised by government usually invoking enabling acts, conferring power on bureaucracies undreamt of hitherto and certainly quite outside of the principles of English law or protection of the constitution in the USA, which share the same roots.
I have far too often used the Financial Services Authority as an example in the UK. An Enabling Act, a self written rule book (four million words!) a secret adjudication procedure, no court of appeal, fines kept and a strict protocol for keeping the press out of the procedure. The senior executive is usually 'lay' and politically sponsored.
The system is not even nominally responsible to an elected chamber, a fact made abundantly clear to a parliamentary committee by the recently dethroned unlamented Hector Sants and his boss, fascinatingly inept Adair Turner.
Energy is another classic example: policy is dictated by the EU implemented by government and enforced by regulation. The energy companies oligarchical in themselves deliver gas and electricity to a captive market. The inevitable outcome is, of course, no-one can afford their energy bills. Well, not ordinary folk in any event.
The phenomenon is replicated in America. Here we have big business in a truly unhealthy partnership with the state – a blueprint conceived by Mussolini's Italian fascism between the wars.
Big business welcomes regulation, they manipulate it so that only they remain in the game. Only big business can afford lobbyists, boondoggles and 'seminars' in the sun.
The FSA in London had the sole purpose of driving small advisers out of business in favour of the new nationalised retail banks. They did it by arbitrary arrangements on adviser remuneration. How can this be legitimate in a free society? Whatever happened to liberty of contract?
So there you have it: the western industrial democracies control the means of production through enforcement agencies, the quangocracy or fake charities, the anachronistic honours systems hands out the baubles and the great and the good thrive on salaries and pensions most of us can only dream of. Who pays for all this? The consumer, of course. There is no one else.
A trawl through the names of senior executive and non-executive roles with regulatory authorities and their counterparts in big business show the direct correlation to political patronage. It is all about deals behind closed doors which keep small business, the electorate and backbench political representation completely out of the loop.
What better example can there be of this collusion when disgraced senior government minister Chris Huhne comes out of prison, where he was sent for dishonesty and deceit of awesome proportion, and walks straight into a £100,000 job with a renewable energy company?
Forty years ago that would have been inconceivable. Now it does not raise an eyebrow. Any wonder that most people do not bother to vote, newspaper sales go down and national cynicism is at an all time high?
Godfrey Bloom is an independent member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber
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