Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine: Your views – Part 2

Picture: Every Night for Ukraine 022 Russian Embassy Finland.  Author: rajatonvimma /// VJ Group Random Doctors

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding before us following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.  The risk of a major military conflict is remote but real, and the situation on the ground continues to change.  We asked our contributors how they think Putin’s aggression will impact politics and policies in the UK and what if any changes are needed?

Back to Part 1 | On to Part 3

“Ukraine constitutes unfinished business from the end of WWII, the breakup of the USSR and the Cold War we had the arrogance to believe we had won. What is playing out now, in the worst that humanity can offer, is a failure of vision, leadership and values on all sides. For the west only, add inconsistency”

Peter Sonnex, veteran, former Brexit Party candidate and political campaigner.

I despair. As an Army Veteran, I ache for the senselessness and failure that is armed conflict – the so-called last resort in our international rules-based order. Of course, there are those whose interests will be satisfied by all this and who will benefit from it in some way. Then, there are the rest of us, the ordinary citizens of the west, Russia and Ukraine who are paying the price.

Ukraine has been an independent state for more than thirty years. It has aspired to join the EU and NATO. Such memberships have not been forthcoming, and we ought to ask ourselves why this should be. For everyone hailing and siding unequivocally with the bravery and resolve of a sovereign Ukraine in the face of Russian ‘special military operations’, I’m sorry, it’s all a bit bloody late.

To be clear, I am no cheerleader for Vladimir Putin. In a protracted game of chess it is he, with Sergey Lavrov (with whom I have shared the same room), who has had the longer-term strategy in mind. Short-term, narrow-minded EU and NATO sabre-rattling, whilst failing to put their money where their mouth is has not helped. Annexation of Crimea and the Donbas without consequence has not helped. An ongoing civil war in Ukraine has not helped. A young country with divided communities and conflicting loyalties has not helped. For all of us, Ukraine constitutes unfinished business from the end of WWII, the breakup of the USSR and the Cold War we had the arrogance to believe we had won. What is playing out now, in the worst that humanity can offer, is a failure of vision, leadership and values on all sides. For the west only, add inconsistency.

I’m very nearly done with it. The same people who brought a disproportionate response to Covid-19 and are stoking the fires of a climate crisis without first considering our prosperity and energy security, have delivered another war and another humanitarian crisis in Europe. We can be outraged, even signal our virtue, but not while conflicts and humanitarian crises are evident over the rest of the world with hardly a mention – some facilitated by us.

We might change how we vote in order to challenge the incompetence inherent in the unacceptable status quo – no?

Back to the question, but I’m afraid with even more questions… If we were to substitute Northern Ireland for Ukraine and the institutions of the EU for Russia – how might we consider an answer? Clear to me are the ambitions of the EU as they may relate to the island of Ireland. Clearer to me is the lack of resolve at home to defend the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of which I am a citizen. Do the unionists in Northern Ireland have the resolve to send the clearest message in May elections to those who hold their interests elsewhere that the Union is worth defending? Or will our apathy hitherto over Ukraine and now over Northern Ireland prevail until it is likewise too late?

If you thought chess was complicated, wait until you try Mah-jongg…

“For us here in the UK, we must be careful not to join the war mongering drum beating narrative, desperately trying to emotionally manipulate public opinion into supporting military action by the international community with a no fly zone”

Maureen Martin, Lee Green Ward Lewisham candidate for the Christian Peoples Alliance.

The situation with Russian military action in Ukraine is much more complex than the narrative being promoted by the mainstream media and those that control them.  We are being led to believe that Putin is as always the “big bad wolf” and Ukraine is the innocent victim of a bully.  It is not that cut and dry!  There is propaganda on both sides. Quite frankly I am very reticent to agree with the same people who have fed us a steady diet of lies for the past two years concerning the pandemic and all things associated with it, call me a sceptic if you wish! The news cycle has suddenly shifted from covid, mandates, masks and vaccines to Ukraine/Russia.  Covid has been completely abandoned by all major news outlets.  

Several European nations EU member states have been manoeuvred into a very precarious position especially Germany who rely on Russia for the majority of its gas.  In it’s haste to go “green” they decommissioned two nuclear power stations and started buying gas from Russia, now as a knee jerk reaction to the current situation and the realisation that they are compromised are taking steps to reduce their dependency on Russian energy, too little and too late! The sanctions being implemented are not any different to the sanctions that have been in place for some time. The only sanction that is a step further is the use of the swift system.  This will impact Russia, however I do believe that Russia has alternative means of doing international business and this will not be as effective as hoped.  However, there is a war being waged economically and the Russian economy is under attack, coupled with cyber warfare all these methods can be deemed by Russia as acts of war. In fact Russia has other nations who would be happy to buy their wheat and other commodities; China!

For us here in the UK, we must be careful not to join the war mongering drum beating narrative, desperately trying to emotionally manipulate public opinion into supporting military action by the international community with a no fly zone which would effectively be engaging in kinetic war.  This is a regional conflict which I do not believe the UK needs to engage in on any level.  We are not dependant on Russian gas comprising only about 4% of our supply, our involvement at this time can only be in response to international allies and has been slow in comparison with other EU nations, also bearing in mind that we are no longer part of the EU. Boris Johnson has blacklisted several Russian Oligarchs.  

There is a view that the reason for the reticence of the UK in applying harder sanctions is the significant contributions that some of these billionaires have made to the Conservative Party coffers as well as the financial secrecy services provided by the UK in places such as the Cayman Island and Jersey. The UK is a major actor on the world stage in proving financial secrecy services resulting in an estimate worldwide tax loss of approximately £190bn annually. 

Essentially the UK is not doing anything apart from the official line “co-ordinating with partners on sanctions aimed at starving the Russian Government of funds to further its unprovoked war against Ukraine” Just as in the case of Covid we are falling into line with the other G7 nations singing from the same hymn sheet.  

“We seem to have moved from censorship of ‘medical and scientific consensus’ to other areas including what’s going on in Ukraine”

Nigel Jacklin, Founder, The Democratic Network.

I do not know what is going on in Ukraine.  I think the bigger question is…if I wanted to get a balanced view…how would I do that?  There may be misinformation on both sides…I’d like to hear from both sides and decide for myself.  We seem to have moved from censorship of ‘medical and scientific consensus’ to other areas including what’s going on in Ukraine.  I have no idea whether Putin is more or less aggressive than we have been in the last two decades.

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2022 Predictions and Wishes – Part 2

Image from Ragnar1904

With the New Year upon us, we asked our contributors for their predictions on, and wishes for 2022.

Thanks to Tam, Nigel, and Peter for their contributions.

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“In Scotland I predict we will see the SNP try to centralise more power. An attempt at least to introduce more draconian legislation with possibly another attempt to bring in Named Person Legislation or something similar”

Tam Laird is the leader of the Scottish Libertarian Party.  They can be found online, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

I think the most worrying development we may see this year is the introduction of CBDC (central bank digital currency) It may be the beginning of a cashless society which has massive implications for individual privacy and liberty. Especially if it goes hand in hand with a concerted effort by government to erase competing crypto currencies such as bitcoin. No easy task but government may decide that if you use crypto you are automatically involved in criminal behaviour and if caught face stiff penalties. They did it with gold before and there’s nothing to suggest they wouldn’t try it with crypto currencies.

Prediction: In Scotland I predict we will see the SNP try to centralise more power. An attempt at least to introduce more draconian legislation with possibly another attempt to bring in Named Person Legislation or something similar. They may also attempt to ban home schooling.

Wish: What do I want to happen? That’s simple enough. For the Scottish Libertarian Party to increase its support and membership and perhaps even win a few seats in the upcoming council elections in May.

“I would also like the government to abandon its plan to sack NHS staff who are not fully vaccinated and respect their right to informed consent.  Most nurses know more about health than the ministers responsible for this decision”

Nigel Jacklin is a statistician and market researcher.  He also runs www.TheDemocraticNetwork.org which helps new and independent candidates stand in local elections.

Prediction: Many of us who would like to break the hold of the Westminster parties on local Councils will fail to prepare for and take advantage of the May 2022 local elections.  Whilst there are not too many places with elections this year, rules and guidance which are created centrally tend to get implemented locally.  I predict there will be more candidates who feel the measures taken by the UK government in response to Covid-19 have done more harm than good.  These candidates will be best placed to counter over-reach by Council jobsworths.

Prediction: One month will be the warmest/coldest/wettest/driest month for the past 20 years.  This is a statistical joke.  Another would be predictions that something very bad may happen, to justify some imposition.

Wishes: My wish for 2022 is that the NHS resets the Covid case definition such that it is in line with other diseases.  This will put an end to the narrow focus on Covid and mean further restrictions will be unjustified.  I would also like the government to abandon its plan to sack NHS staff who are not fully vaccinated and respect their right to informed consent.  Most nurses know more about health than the ministers responsible for this decision.

“Many of us are politically homeless and will be seeking a values-based, principled alternative to the increasingly illogical, irrational and irrelevant legacy establishment and established parties”

Peter Sonnex, former Brexit Party candidate and political campaigner. Peter can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Gettr.

Through our conversations together in 2022, even protests, in the public square – engaging, explaining, encouraging and exposing wherever necessary, essential freedoms of expression, speech, association and peaceful assembly – I make two predictions and have one wish.

Prediction: The mainstream emergence of hopeful alternative, beneficial and compelling Covid and Climate narratives. As with Brexit, many commentators in 2022 will be manoeuvring themselves to the right side of history as the increasingly illogical, irrational and irrelevant legacy narratives crumble.

Prediction: The mainstream emergence of a hopeful alternative, beneficial and compelling political opposition. Many of us are politically homeless and will be seeking a values-based, principled alternative to the increasingly illogical, irrational and irrelevant legacy establishment and established parties.

Wish: “Modelling” is brought back into the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study – building on our knowledge – of the structure and behaviour of the physical, social and natural worlds through predictions (hypotheses), objective observations and experimentation. We used to call this “science.”

Two notable enablers in all this, for me, are the Reclaim Party and The Together Declaration – both founded on common denominator values and principles that may transcend self-interested party politics and politicking to paint an irresistible picture of a shared future.

Image from Jan Bowman

< Back to Part 1 | On to Part 3 >

Nigel Jacklin of the Democratic Network

The Democratic Network is a new registered political party with candidates standing in six counties.  They aim to:

  • Make it easier for politically neutral candidates to stand in local elections
  • Help those candidates get elected
  • Support them once elected.

Nigel Jacklin is a statistician, market researcher and recording artist. Below is an interview with Nigel, Leader of The Democratic Network and is standing in Bexhill St Marks ward.

“Our party promise is to represent local people and businesses, regardless of their political views. We will only contest local elections. No ties to Westminster parties will mean we can do the job without any political interference”

Nigel, you will be standing as a Democratic Network candidate in the East Sussex County elections.  What is The Democratic Network?

We are a new political party contesting the local elections across the UK.  I founded the party with my wife Sheila.  Our party promise is to represent local people and businesses, regardless of their political views.  We will only contest local elections.  No ties to Westminster parties will mean we can do the job without any political interference.

Why do you want to be a Councillor?

There will be opportunities and challenges over the next four years.  Helping local businesses recover from the last year will require some clear and fresh thinking in the ‘Economic Development’ department.  That’s my main skill.  Health and education will be important too.

How is the Democratic Network different to other parties or independent candidates?

Once elected our promise is to be fully representative, accountable and practical.  That’s our party promise.  We’ll work for everybody.  Our proposals include expert panels and regular dialogue with residents and businesses.  We are fairly serious, but we do know how to have fun!

“My job is to understand what people want, what will work and to help organisations make better decisions.  I’ll bring a fresh approach, balancing the need to look to the future whilst maintaining what’s precious to us”

Tell us a little about your background; what qualifies you to be a Councillor.

My wife Sheila and I moved to Normans Bay in 1992 where we raised our family.  We liked the sea, countryside and the friendly people.  By trade I am a statistician and market researcher.  I worked with Didier Truchot, founder of top market research company Ipsos, before setting up my own business here.  I’ve worked for clients like the Financial Times, the British Medical Journal, MTV and local telecare company Doro.  My job is to understand what people want, what will work and to help organisations make better decisions.  I’ll bring a fresh approach, balancing the need to look to the future whilst maintaining what’s precious to us.

Are there any local issues or organisations of particular importance to you?

We’ve helped college students with work experience and developed a guide to the World of Work with East Sussex County Council and the Financial Times.  I’m a member of the Bexhill Chamber of Commerce and the De La Warr Pavilion.  I’m a Sussex representative of the British Astronomical Associations Commission for Dark Skies.  East Sussex is a beautiful place.  I want to keep it that way, whether that be by everyday beach cleaning or in other ways.

What makes you happy?

My family.  Going to the beach near our house.  Wildlife and plants growing in our garden.

How can people help or get in touch?

Anyone who wants to help, has a question or a point to make can:

DEMOCRATIC NETWORK CANDIDATES – Standing in the County Elections 6th May 2021

Angela MaryniczDevon
Nigel JacklinEast Sussex
Leah Butler-SmithEssex
Paul StevensEssex
Venetia CarpenterKent
Ewen GarrodTrafford
Jonathan LeaWest Sussex

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