Zeitgeist: \ ˈtsīt-ˌgīst , ˈzīt- \: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era, or ‘the spirit of the times’. The spirit of the times in the UK is not exactly flash at the moment. There are long queues at airports and ports all over the UK, especially in Dover. COVID remains a thing, which worries many people still. Inflation is sharply up. Food, petrol and energy prices are sharply up. In fact, the UK has the highest inflation of all the G7 countries, at nearly 10% as of this writing. Winter is around the corner. And now the British public is being shown the spector of two libertarian candidates to lead the Tories for until the next general election. The zeitgeist of the UK is not one for happy campers, unless one happens to have heaps of dosh.
Following on from our last look at the candidates, the field had be whittled down to the final two choices – ‘Dishy’ Rishi and Liz ‘Ready to Hit the Ground’ Truss – the latter affectionately (?) called ‘the human hand grenade’. Public opinion polls put the two candidates as running a neck-and-neck race to the PMQs hot seat. But there is more to this than meets the eye.
The public in the UK, much like the US and many Western democracies – as they are known or as we like to think of them – do not choose their leaders. They elect a political party, who in turn select their leader. In the UK this is done behind closed doors in secret ballots solely by Conservative Party members. It is worth taking a look at the demographics of that party membership to get an idea of how this will play out.
In 2019 The Guardian did an article on Tory members and the following stats stood out: The average age of Tory Party members is 57, with almost 40% being over 66 y/o, mostly male, most of them having joined after the Brexit vote (This is a most-important point), a third of them live in London or the southeast, with the next-highest percentage in the southwest (this is also important), with a party membership of over 160,000 now. And there is decided racism there, also an important consideration, though they do their best to deny it. From the penultimate article:
“If they love their party, Conservative members have an unusual way of showing it. According to a survey by YouGov, 54% of party members say they would rather see their own party destroyed than have Brexit not take place. Sixty-one per cent would prefer to see “significant damage to the UK economy” and 63% would consider Scotland leaving the United Kingdom to be a price worth paying [as in, if they can ‘get Brexit done’].
As they prepare to select the next prime minister at a time of crisis, the attitudes of this group are arguably more consequential for the rest of the country than ever before. And the makeup of the membership appears to be changing – and becoming ever more supportive of a hard Brexit.”
And to add to the sentiment of party members regarding Scotland, they also feel the same toward Northern Ireland. But in a rather interesting twist, they would rather see the UK stay in the EU if Corbyn had been elected PM. Since Corbyn has been smeared and ousted, the Tories see (or think they do) a clear road ahead for a hard Brexit.
Boris Johnson was the result of their choice in 2019, and by and large the Tory members got their wish moving toward a hard Brexit. But he only gave them so much and they now want more. So, here is what we have with this ‘leadership’ contest: A party that wants a hard Brexit, which has no care at all for regulations, which would like to see them gone altogether, who has no care for the lot of the average UK citizen and who really do not care if the UK in its present form even survives, who would not care if the UK suffered a massive economic downturn – all for their precious Brexit.
Basically, the Tories are an English mob, rather than being representative of the UK. If we subtract the percentages of Wales and Scotland from the total membership (as of 2019), that leaves a whopping 86% of Tory members being English. Northern Ireland does not have an appreciable Tory membership base. Northern Ireland is inconsequential to the Tories, except as it serves their interests. No wonder the Tories don’t care if the UK stays intact.
And just how are the polls among Conservatives for the next illustrious leader, the one who will give them their hard Brexit?: After their latest debate, a snap poll among Party members showed that Truss trashed Sunak in the polling. So, what does the astrology of the two candidates say? The chart for Truss with directions and transits is below (bigger):
The immediate standouts are the directions, and these are representative of a political victory, involving Venus, Jupiter and Neptune. Neptune rules plebiscites (or Party voting), Jupiter rules politicians in general (as well as actors, like Reagan, Trump and Zelenskyy, for instance) and Venus rules general attractiveness to voters. Truss has it all, even with Saturn involved. Those directions are both by and to natal positions.
As to her transits, Truss has had transiting Jupiter trine her Neptune and quincunx her Venus, giving her a boost in popularity. Starting next week, transiting Pluto will oppose her natal Mercury, making her more persuasive, if not more prone to gaffes, not that they would matter to the Conservatives. That transit would also bring out more of her fighting spirit, but also tend to make her over-confident, irritable and with an inflated sense of ego. One gets the sense she thinks she has this in the bag, which could lead to her undoing.
The preceding said, ignoring the angles in the chart (because we do not have birth times for either her or for Sunak), the planetary indicators are that if the vote was held in the next couple of weeks, she would win the race to the top, hands down. The polling reflects her astrology. That is confirmed when we look at Sunak’s chart with directions and transits, below (bigger):
Astrologically, ‘Dishy’ is looking about as appealing as a plate of cold spaghetti at the moment rather than a tempting huge bowl of Eton mess. There is no help for him from Venus, Jupiter or Neptune. Instead, he has transiting Saturn at the lower square of his Sun, square to natal Uranus and on his directed Vertex – not a grand omen of success. And anyway, miracles don’t tend to happen with the Saturn transit at the lower square to the Sun. That is a period of starting things anew, with slow, steady progress – maybe a cabinet position after the fact.
With all the preceding astrology in mind now, since we do not have birth times and thereby do not know the angles in the charts, we cannot say definitively who will win the race. And when it comes to the brass tacks, it doesn’t matter who will win. They would both be terrible for the UK, as in the average citizen, and would go on to wreck what is left of the British economy and much of British society, much to the delight of the majority of Conservative Party members. Then again, maybe not. As to why not, we will get to that shortly.
Given her astrology and that of ‘cold spaghetti’ Sunak, along with current polling of Party members, supposing – just supposing, mind you – Truss is elevated to the PMQs seat, what then? To begin, Liz Truss went all existential on us recently when she was heard to say, “I want to surf the zeitgeist to where it’s all happening” – whatever that means. We can see she is firmly in line with Tory policy. We also know the inclinations of the Tories and where their spirit is, probably in a bottle of Beefeater’s, as they toast their upcoming leader.
But instead of ‘surfing the zeitgeist’, meaning the current spirit of the British public, Truss appears to be surfin’ USA, or perhaps surfing with the alien. She may even envision herself to be some version of the Silver Surfer, battling the army (Russian, that is), but she is currently caught up in a fantasy, much like the Tory Party. Song titles and film moments aside, those also carry other meanings.
When it comes to surfin’ USA, if the British public had known the extent to which Brexit was funded and pushed behind the scenes before the Brexit referendum by rich Americans, the UK would probably still be in the EU, and the Tories out of power. And speaking of aliens, there are American and Russian resident aliens in the UK who have a great interest in seeing Brexit work. Of course, the Russians get blamed for Brexit too, and there is some connection there, a carry-over from the ‘90s when Russian oligarchs were laundering their theft from average Russians through the City of London, with some of those oligarchs actually moving to London. That is a story that needs a separate treatment, given the heavy anti-Russian sentiment at the moment.
However, there is a fascist element in the US that is intent on moving in and privatizing social services in the UK and setting up charter cities across the UK coast. From a recent article:
“The American corporate-fascist network, historically backed by the heavy industry tycoon Charles Koch and hedge-fund manager/Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer Robert Mercer, and now bolstered by the new age Tech billionaires finance and insight were more interested in Charter Cities up and down the UK. Not just for the unfettered exploitation of the UK’s people and natural resources, that is undoubtedly part of it, but they have their sights set on more than just taking our money.”
What is a Charter City, one might ask? There is a very slick site that describes what they are, via the FAQ format, using words and phrases like ‘freedom’, ‘improved democracy’, ‘care for the disadvantaged’, ‘not only for the rich’ (that’s a good one!), and so forth. The group’s head of marketing graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, if that tells you anything. Essentially, these cities are monopolies and are autonomous regions within a nation. In one view, they are a slippery slope toward the devolution of a state, reducing its autonomy. Continuing on the preceding quote:
“What are Charter Cities? Exactly what the name suggests, privately owned and operated cities where everything from healthcare, education and the police force to the legislature and judicial system are ring fenced from the host country becoming a privately operated fiefdom. All these institutions and more are operated by a private company that is accountable to nobody else. There is no independent or legal oversight of these cities, just the rules that they set in their privately owned legislative bodies and enforce with their privately owned judicial system.
Paul Romer (professor and mentor to Rishi Sunak who is now spearheading the UK’s Charter Cities plan) first proposed the Enterprise City model, which differed slightly to the Charter Cities plan being rolled out across Britain now.”
That Charter Cities plan is being rolled out by a group calling themselves the TaxPayer’s Alliance, a hard-right group, the members of which probably pay very little if any tax. In fact, they advocate for paying low taxes, which may be music to many people’s ears, but it is a siren song for the average British taxpayer.
So, is there a working example of such a charter city today? The simple answer is no. There were attempts at several in Honduras – Ciudad Morazan, in the city of Choloma; Prospera, on the north coast; and Orquidea, in the southern department of Choluteca, being but a few examples. But they were all scrapped. Why?
“The zones (known as ZEDEs in Spanish) free private investors or business groups from paying duties on imports and exports. The law allowed investors to govern themselves by forming a security force, building schools and even social security systems, according to AP. Xiomara Castro had promised to repeal the law during her election campaign, saying the legal measure would lead to the creation of independent states within the Central American country.
The ZEDE scheme was passed during the tenure of former president Porfirio Lobo Sosa and later pushed by the administration of Juan Orlando Hernández, who is currently in a US jail for drug trafficking charges. Castro has described her decision as “historic”, adding that the revocation was a necessary step to help her country retain sovereignty.”
For the record, Lobo Sosa was ousted on charges of corruption and nepotism. His wife is in prison for theft of government funds and falsifying records, while his son was arrested in the US on drugs charges and is serving a 24-year prison term. Sosa, his wife and his son got mentioned in the Panama Paters for having registered companies in tax havens. Hernandez was even worse than Lobo Sosa, having been charged with having ties with the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico. The cartel has over 100,000 members and very long tentacles. The ZEDEs in Honduras made for perfect vehicles for such an organization.
Why is any of the preceding regarding Charter Cities important? Consider that the Tory members represent roughly 0.2% of the British public. Their stated goals run counter to those of the British public. The British public, for example, want the UK to lead the world in the fight against climate change, they want a close relationship with the EU instead of the hard crash-out, they support public ownership over privatization, they want the monarchy to continue (but they are tepid on another King Charles), and they especially want the NHS to stay in public hands and to be well-funded and supported. The Tories want to take a wrecking ball to all that, maybe with a human hand grenade to boot.
Given what the British public actually wants from their leadership, we see the Tories are way out of touch with the public, not that the Tories care. The British zeitgeist is about to become the Christmas nightmare of Ebenezer Scrooge for the Tories, in all probability. There is a similarity there between Scrooge and the Tories. Why that nightmare might be is because of the rising unrest in the UK, the growing number of strikes, the growing popularity of people like Mick Lynch, who tells it like it is (there are repeats in the video):
One of his key statements is that the current battle is about the redistribution of wealth – anathema to Tories. That is what it comes down to. So, it matters not at all who the next Tory PM is in terms of the leadership contest. Both Truss and Sunak stand for the same things. What matters is how much pressure the British public can bring to bear on the sitting Parliament to force the changes the public wants. The Tories have made their intentions very clear by who they are choosing to be the next PM.
Both Truss and Sunak are barracking for Charter Cities, low tax, reduced regulations, cutbacks in public services, privatization of public services, the Rwanda model for refugees, increases in ‘defence’ spending, privatization of Channel 4 (perhaps a new Murdoch acquisition?), ditching the windfall profits tax and so on. Both candidates are campaigning on false images:
“In the slime-touched final runoff between two bottom-of-the-barrel finds, voters meet two candidates who, in finding wealth or coming from it, seek the ultimate prize of a country that once kept a quarter of the globe in described, cricket-enlightened subjecthood. The prize is barely worth it, and, with Britain no longer part of the EU, barely noticeable.”
On a final note, with the Tories, we have the representation of the ‘0.1 %’ so often talked about in the US. The battle in the UK is the same as that in the US, the redistribution of wealth. The public is offered a choice between what they perceive as the lesser of two evils in any federal election, and nothing much changes.
When Thatcher and Reagan came to power, one of the first things they did was to start the process of union-busting – the old divide-and-conquer tactic that is so well practiced in both nations. Economic conditions then were trending in a similar direction as now. Reagan began by busting the air traffic controllers union, and Thatcher did her part with the miners’ strike. Those leaders were sold to the public on their images – Reagan as the great statesman who brought down the Soviet Union and Thatcher as the ‘Iron Lady’. Liz Truss is no Iron Lady. Both Reagan and Thatcher represented corporate interests and Big Money. The Tories today are no different.
When it comes to the crunch, as is inevitably coming, and as the Tories say they want, Truss will be thrown under the AEC Routemaster, as was Boris. Sunak would likewise go the same way. These are sacrificial candidates. Truss may be surfing the zeitgeist of her Party now, but when the public tidal wave of protests and strikes come as a result of a collapsed British economy, Liz will come off her surfboard, crash out and hit the ground. She says she wants to hit the ground once elected.
That tsunami of protests and strikes will be brought on by decades of neoliberal policies started by Thatcher and aided by a feckless and enabling Labour Party, much as we are seeing with the Republicans and Democrats in the US. Once the reality hits the British establishment between the eyes, the ghosts of past present and future will thereafter haunt the Tories for years to come. That tsunami is coming. To surf properly, one must become one with the wave.
Featured pic from #ICrashedOut