Friday, 4 January 2019

2019 - If We Get Lucky.

Sweet Dream Scenario:  As Vice-President Mike Pence is being sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States - following Trump's sudden resignation - he suffers a massive heart attack and dies. His constitutionally designated successor is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. By a strange twist of fate, the United States of America gets its first female president after all.

PREDICTING THE FUTURE is a mug’s game. If it could be done, then gambling would be impossible and stockmarkets would crash. Not that these and a host of equally strong objections ever prevented professional seers from giving us the benefit of their prognostications. Some of them, by the simple law of averages, will be correct. Most, however, will not. This is because, as a wise woman once said: “We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

In that spirit, allow me to describe the coming year as it might look – if we get lucky.

If we get lucky, then Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will present a report which damns President Donald Trump in ways unanticipated in even his worst nightmares. Republican and Democratic legislators, alike, conclude that his continuing occupation of the White House has become untenable.

Congressional leaders privately inform the President that there is more than enough support in both the House and the Senate to secure his impeachment. The President reaches for his cell-phone – only to discover that the Deep State has prevailed upon Twitter to shut down his account. Realising that the jig is up, the President resigns.

As Vice-President Mike Pence is being sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States he suffers a massive heart attack and dies. His constitutionally designated successor is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. By a strange twist of fate, the United States of America gets its first female president after all.

If we get lucky, then the House of Commons decisively rejects Theresa May’s Brexit Deal. Defeated and exhausted, the Prime Minister advises the Queen to dissolve Parliament and call an early General Election. May then resigns.

A Special Conference of the Labour Party votes decisively in favour of making a Second Brexit Referendum the centrepiece of its election manifesto.

With the Conservatives torn by all manner of political and personal conflicts, Labour cruises to a landslide victory. For the first time in forty years, the United Kingdom has a socialist prime minister and an unashamedly left-wing government. The Second Referendum records upwards of 60 percent of Britons opting to remain in the European Union.

If we get lucky, then the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, negotiates a general peace settlement and mutual defence pact involving Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. The Kurds secure regional autonomy within the Syrian state, guaranteed by the Russian Federation.

If we get lucky, then the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, fearful that President Xi Jinping is about to launch a massive purge of senior party cadres, deposes him. A hastily-summoned National People’s Congress, in a climate of unprecedented independence, elects a moderate reformer as Xi’s successor.

If we get lucky, then the National Party responds to a sharp decline in public support by jettisoning its current leader, Simon Bridges, and replacing him with Judith Collins. The choice of Collins is itself a reaction to the rapid rise of the right-wing populist New Conservative Party. Collins, it is hoped, will staunch the flow of National support to the NCP.

Appalled by this dramatic shift to the far-right, thousands of moderate National Party supporters swing in behind NZ First and Labour, lifting their combined support to nearly 60 percent of voters.

The Coalition Government, buoyed by this sudden shift in its fortunes, decides to reject the Tax Working Group’s recommendation favouring the imposition of a Capital Gains Tax. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is persuaded by Winston Peters that such a tax would turn every farmer, small business owner and landlord in the country into her personal enemy. Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, resigns in protest. Jacinda replaces him with David Parker.

If we get really lucky, then the leadership changes in the USA, the UK and China produce a sudden and radical shift in the global approach to anthropogenic global warming. Rather than relying on yet another international conference, the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council meet in secret and thrash out a concrete plan for keeping the planet’s remaining reserves of oil and gas in the ground while they co-ordinate a planet-wide “Green New Deal”.

According to the wise, the only sure thing about luck is that it changes.

I’m counting on that being true.

Happy 2019!

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 4 January 2019.

34 comments:

Mark Hubbard said...

I can't believe you'd want that dreadful antisemite in charge of an English government Chris.

And if they go to a second referendum, as well as signalling the end of democracy, England will erupt into violence.

I reckon you might want to be a little more careful in what you wish for.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I am glad you added Pence to your argument Chris, because as a Christian Dominionist and all-around evil person he is far more dangerous than Trump in some ways.Far more focused, which makes him more likely to be able to legislate. Trumps just a mess, but Pence knows how the system works, and I suspect where the bodies are buried.

peter petterson said...

You want a ton of luck mate. A violent protest in England would see a lot of immigrants here. Happy New Year.

Nick J said...

Mark, if you mean by anti Semite somebody who rejects the actions of the state of Isreal towards Palestinians then count me in. That is Corbyns "crime". I share it.

Seems to me that being Jewish and Semetic gets conflated with supporting Zionism. Fortunately many Jews are very anti Zionist.

Nick J said...

Chris I don't get your support for a deeply flawed Deep States efforts to bring down a democratically elected President, even if he is a buffoon and clown.

And if you think deplatforming Trump by cutting his Twitter account off a good idea I'd suggest that that impinges on free speech provisions in the Constitution. Unless you have been hiding under a rock you should be aware of the war being waged by the social media platforms against individuals who the tech Giants deem for whatever reason to have unacceptable opinions. I hope this year sees Google, Facebook, Twitter and Patreon forced to adhere to legal and constitutional free speech provisions.

And on the note of Brexit I hope that there is no second referendum, otherwise what was the point of the first? It's akin to saying that if you don't get the result you want you keep holding repeat referenda until you do. What I really hope for is that Europe frees itself of the agenda of Brussels parasitic unelected rulers and German bankers. Yes, a Europe of free sovereign states. Seems to me that people in yellow jackets are leading the way.

Anonymous said...

There's two kinds of luck Chris. And one of them is 'bad'.

Mick

Larry Mitchell said...

YOU wISH"! But nonetheless, many eminently desirable/sensible outcomes.

No way Collins ... she has NO parliamentary National Party support.

There are "others" though, as Soimon says ... to use his own! vernacular is ... "just f*ckin useless"

Guerilla Surgeon said...

How on earth can a second referendum signal the end of democracy? It's a vote. That's what democracy is all about. What to me – although it's an exaggeration for effect – signalled the end of democracy was the outright lying of the Brexit people. And the outright denying that they lied afterwards. "Let's spend £350 million a week on the NHS!"... "I never said that!"
Not to mention that those eejits who advocated Brexit obviously had not read any of the provisions that they needed to abide by to actually exit, or in fact the mechanisms by which they exited. And obviously either knew nothing about the problems associated with leaving, or gratuitously ignored them. Hence the biggest cluster fuck you've ever seen along the road to ruin. Now that everything has become clear, it seems to me that people DESERVE another vote, although Corbyn doesn't seem to favour it more's the pity.
And of course all the conservatives posting here were saying it would be the best thing ever for Britain. Obviously Chris is correct in that prediction is difficult. Though no doubt if Britain never becomes prosperous sometime in the next hundred years, if they are alive still they'll be saying "I told you so." Open-ended predictions are easy. Eventually, everything will happen.:)

David Stone said...

An item in the Information Clearing House today...http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50879.htm, claims the Trump is being completely defied by the military in Syria, that no US soldier has left Syria and they are not going to. This level of defiance/insubordination must mean they are intending to dump him. What would that say about the institution of the US presidency/US democracy.
D J S

Jenny said...

The US Kristallnacht 

If we get un-lucky, then Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will present a report which damns President Donald Trump in ways unanticipated in even his worst nightmares. Republican and Democratic legislators, alike, conclude that his continuing occupation of the White House has become untenable.

Congressional leaders privately inform the President that there is more than enough support in both the House and the Senate to secure his impeachment. The President reaches for his cell-phone......

Now, why would Donald Trump, reach for his cell phone?

Oh that's right to send a tweet to his millions of followers, to unleash the violence he said would be unleashed if this day would come.

He needn't make that phone call, Some of them have already jumped the gun.(literally)

https://forward.com/opinion/412823/how-trumps-anti-immigrant-hate-led-to-a-synagogue-shooting/

For the rest, when they hear Trump's communications have been cut, it will be all the trigger they need to release their pent up rage, resulting in a paroxysm of right wing violence.

They know their targets, Trump has told them often enough; The Media, Immigrants, Muslims, Black Lives Matter, Liberals. 

No matter how much we might wish it. Pence will not suffer a heart attack. As acting Head Of State Pence will declare a National Emergency and order the President's release.

The President will go on nationwide TV to call for calm, before stating, "There was violence on both sides folks" before declaring Martial Law, "To restore order".

One of the first to find themselves in handcuffs will be Mueller. (to prevent disorder, of course).

Just in: Donald Trump might not even wait to be impeached to declare a National Emergency.

Polly said...

Seasons Greeting Chris.
Muslim immigration, legal or otherwise, into Christen or other non Muslim religious countries is a complete fallacy to peaceful societies in the future.
Russia and China realise this fact and to their absolute credit discredit the practice.
The Christian religion and their democratic Politicians are weak to the onslaught, both are sowing nonsense for the Worlds future.

Nick J said...

GS we live in flawed times with a flawed system. On Brexit both sides told monstrous untruths with scaremongering rampant. Both sides might as well have lived in separate countries such was the socio economic and geographic divides. I'd contend however that despite all the misinformation both sides voted in their own percieved interests, and I very much doubt despite dodgy opinion polls that much has changed.

So to my anti democratic description of a second referendum. The first was held by the then government that they would enact the result. Consequently they kept to their word, remarkably given most opposed it. That was a democratic miracle given that the numbers were respected in the decision.

We might also argue that Cameron's government abrogated their democratic decision making responsibility by going to a referendum at all. After all we supposedly vote governments in on the basis of their policies and nobody except UKIP campaigned to leave EU. It would have been far more honest and democratic to go to the people in a general election.

A second referendum...what if the result is the same? Do you agitate for another until you get the result you want? What if you win and the losers decide they want a third referendum? Is that undemocratic?




Nick J said...

It says exactly what you imply DJS, that by way of miracle somebody who was not part of the security / military industrial complex got elected. The latter in prior times would all have ended up hung drawn and quartered for treason. They are in open revolt, a house divided cannot rule or be ruled.

David Stone said...

@ Nick and GS on Brexit

The second referendum to watch for is a three way referendum calling for a vote for (1)May's deal (2) no deal or (3)no Brexit. That will split the vote for Brexit in two and give a totally false Remain result. That's what I expect will happen.
D J S

greywarbler said...

Guerilla Surgeon you seem the most positive about this, not getting lost in the woods like some others who might get eaten by The Big Bad Wolf. What a shame. I love your little dream Chris. Keep sending the brain-waves up into space and perhaps there will be a change in molecules or neutrons whatever, that will cause the dominos to fall in order.
Hope, you are my friend.
Imagine: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkgkThdzX-8

greywarbler said...

What if they can get an agreement on an intelligent and unarguable level of direction from the electorate - say 80/20. Can the uk parliament set this up so they don't look like bloody players who have arrived at their level of incompetence as in The Peter Principle.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"A second referendum...what if the result is the same? Do you agitate for another until you get the result you want? What if you win and the losers decide they want a third referendum? Is that undemocratic?"
If the result is the same so be it, but the first referendum was held before people knew what the whole stupid mess involves. And the fact that they were not told is down to both sides I guess, but a second vote is needed now that people have a better understanding of what Brexit involves. Something they were pretty much shielded from before. And something that the Brexit people either deliberately ignored, or themselves were ignorant of. I suspect the latter. The remainers had less excuse TBH, but anyone who brought up the complexities of the thing tended to be howled down.

Anonymous said...

Small problem: the EU doesn't allow unashamed socialism. Or even social democracy. It's a right-wing neoliberal monster to its core - which is why Corbyn has spent his entire political career opposing it.

(Honestly. For all her faults, Theresa May can be voted out. You can't vote out the European Commission. Quite why the online Left have fallen in love with Brussels is one of life's mysteries).

David Stone said...

@GS
I believe that the British voters voted for Brexit without any complex intermediate abortion of Brexit. If it is repeated with a clear choice between hard Brexit and remain the result will be the same as last time. It is the Remainers who are desperate to modify Brexit so that it is not Brexit. May's Brexit always meant anything but Brexit.
D J S

greywarbler said...

Anonymous
I suggest that the UK government is "a right-wing neoliberal monster to its core" so better breathe through its nose and keep its mouth closed, and stay where it is most useful. NZs didn't go there to fight an invaded Europe just so that the UK could flick its skirts, give a two-fingered salute and frolic off on its own on a whim of imperial grandeur, leaving the much-needed negotiated political and economic arrangement that took till the 1970's to get.

AA Milne had a pome about this; his old lady puts on her golden gown and ventures forth. (I think she has never been found to this day, so beware!
And we haven't a King John to offer a reward, although the Queen may have some trenchant things to say, and give a koha to someone who can lead home the poor bewildered thing.)

James James
Morrison’s Mother
Put on a golden gown,
James James
Morrison’s Mother
Drove to the end of the town.
James James
Morrison’s Mother
Said to herself, said she:
“I can get right down to the end of the town
and be back in time for tea.”
King John
Put up a notice,
“LOST or STOLEN or STRAYED!
JAMES JAMES
MORRISON’S MOTHER
SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN MISLAID.
LAST SEEN
WANDERING VAGUELY:
QUITE OF HER OWN ACCORD,
SHE TRIED TO GET DOWN TO THE END
OF THE TOWN—FORTY SHILLINGS
REWARD!”

greywarbler said...

Hey hold on me hearties. Call the Royal Navy in to chart a course through the rough seas on the way to Brexit. They at least know when they start on a voyage that they have to know where they are going and where the reefs are, and what the weather is likely to be. They also know about making allowances for magnetic variation. Not allowing for that means that a small error at the beginning compounds into a wide disparity between desired destination and reality.

Surely the UK govt can blame somebody, or fudge or lie; they have been doing it for years. What's wrong with the forked-tongue franchise that standards have dropped so low? They could blame misinformation and Nigel Farrage? and if they could, find a European girlfriend for him, thus showing that he was 'running with the hares and hunting with the hounds'.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I believe that the British voters voted for Brexit without any complex intermediate abortion of Brexit".
On the contrary, I believe they haven't got a clue what they were voting for, except for some nostalgic view of Britain from the 1950s – with long hot summers and white people everywhere.Because no one had read the rules about exiting. Or if they did they had ignored them. It's like all that small print crap at the bottom of the program you're installing on your computer – nobody reads that either. And the rules made it complicated. If the proponents of Brexit had read the rules, and had noticed that it was quite complex to actually leave, they kept really quiet about it. In fact as I remember it there were questions asked about problems, but they were dismissed with something like will look at that after the vote. And then after the vote nobody really wanted to look at the problems and if anyone raised the problems they were held down as negative Nellies or something. That was particularly down to those arses Farage and Johnson, who I have to admit ran a very good campaign – full of lies though it was. I'm sorry but I believe this is a total clusterfuck for which the Brexit people must take most of the blame. Although the remainders must take some because they did not stress what the rules actually said.

Shane McDowall said...

Simon Bridges will be lucky if he is still leader of the National Party at the next election.

And if he does he will be dumped straight after losing.

Judith Collins is not a viable alternative to Bridges. She has the electoral appeal of a carrot.

The person I would be watching is Mark Mitchell.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Ah, so many assumptions, so much speculation, so much ill informed comment, but the Brexit train still rolls on.

When the referendum on on Scottish independence was held the Scottish Govt. produced a 500 page report on the pros and cons of leaving the union. The people were well informed in other words.

The English, and I use that word instead of British, were given a big read bus with a huge lie painted on the side. The vote was about EU immigration which was neatly confused with illegal immigration fostered by the extreme right and social media which was fed by the Russian troll factories.

Who ever heard of the Irish border and good Friday agreement way back then. Whoever thought that the entire British car industry would upsticks and move if Brexit happened. Not to mention Rolls Royce, Mini, the Airbus factories etc etc etc.

If Brexit happens, which now seems unlikely, Europe loses, the UK loses, the world loses......the only country to gain is Russia.




Nick J said...

Mr Nobacon, explain how does Russia benefit? Please no unsubstantiated diatribe, reputable established facts only.

Nick J said...

Hope GS read your last comment. Brussels is an unelected beaurocracy that is steadily making sovereign decision making by nation's redundant. That was a key argument for Brexit. As was the incompatability of legal systems.

On top of that seems to be a love affair by the Left with German bankers imposing austerity via Brussels on workers throughout Europe.

That said I don't believe the real rulers of the UK greatly care to remove austerity and improve workers life. Same old Tory meanness, Brexit or no Brexit.

greywarbler said...

Lord Haha
What does Russia gain from the disorder? The mere satisfaction of a troll similar to the RW trolls so often seen who just enjoy the world going into chaos because they imagine that they will somehow come out on top - that 'their' side will win? I don't think the Russians are so foolish - they may have such a big game ongoing with so many players that your mind can't take it in. But if you think you do know please add a bit more explanation.

pat said...

@ Lord Egbul

You may well be largely correct in your assessment of the duo of referendum but would you care to explain exactly how Russia may benefit?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"unelected beaurocracy "
Aren't all bureaucracies unelected? Except in the US were they cause huge problems.

"On top of that seems to be a love affair by the Left with German bankers imposing austerity"

That does make sense, and I fully agree. It's the main weakness of the EU that they've let the Germans impose their nutty ideas about debt and the common currency.

Geoff Fischer said...

The majority of the affluent classes, and in particular those on the political left, want life to be safe and predictable. That is why they preferred Hilary Clinton to Donald Trump and European Unionism to British nationalism. That is why they want to impeach Trump and obstruct Brexit.
For the majority of workers the safe and predictable life came to an end in the last decades of the last century, sacrificed at the altar of liberalism by the left-wing political elite. That is why, to the astonishment and umbrage of the left, many of the working class cast their votes for Trump and Brexit. They saw nothing to lose by playing the wild card, or pulling away the pillars of the temple of capitalism down upon their own heads.
Now the left is embarked on a quest for quasi-constitutional though dodgy ways to thwart, upset or reverse the democratic process which has delivered such "wrong" outcomes. Displaying the same arrogance that provoked the poor to vote for Trump and Brexit in the first place, they believe that their task is to undo the mistakes of the voters and put the capitalist train wreck back on the tracks from which it was so cruelly and foolishly derailed by ignorant voters.
They might get capitalism back on the rails this time. But there will be another bend in the track and another rock on the rails. The anger of the poor will not dissipate. It will only grow as they come to understand that those who control the economic system also the control the political system, and that capitalist "democracy" is designed to be nullified by vested interests on the left or right.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"For the majority of workers the safe and predictable life came to an end in the last decades of the last century, sacrificed at the altar of NEO-liberalism by the extreme right political elite." FTFY.
I remember exactly who sacrificed the workers safe and predictable lifestyles, and it certainly wasn't the left. It was Roger Douglas, and it was the National party who gutted the unions and made it easier to fire workers. And if you really believe that statement above I have a bridge I need to sell you.


"Displaying the same arrogance that provoked the poor to vote for Trump and Brexit in the first place,"
The poor didn't actually vote for Trump. The average income of people have voted for Trump was higher than those of people who voted for Clinton. So that's another of your statements down the tubes.

I'm also pretty sure that the "poor" know that capitalist democracy is run by vested interests. And I'm also pretty sure that the "faceless bureaucrats" of the EU are not a great deal different to the faceless bureaucrats of "Yes Minister".
It's also true that the Brexit referendum was characterised by egregious lies spouted by the leave campaigners – the most obvious one of course was the £350 million a year "to be spent on the NHS". After bullshit. When you consider that people who were dissatisfied with their health status heavily voted to leave..............
The British government should have produced information on the complexities of actually leaving, and the difficulties of economic relationships afterwards. Friend of mine's son-in-law has already lost his job because the people he worked for are shifting to the continent. I guarantee if people knew about all this they certainly wouldn't have voted to leave.

Geoff Fischer said...

Guerilla Surgeon wrote:
"I remember exactly who sacrificed the workers safe and predictable lifestyles, and it certainly wasn't the left. It was Roger Douglas, and it was the National party who gutted the unions and made it easier to fire workers"
It was of course Roger Douglas, son of Norman Douglas, scion of a family deeply entwined in the New Zealand Labour Party, the one left-wing party of any great significance in New Zealand history. But not just Roger Douglas. The assault upon the working class was the work of the whole of the fourth Labour government, the Labour parliamentary caucus and the New Zealand Labour Party at large. This was a project for which the ground work had been carefully laid by left-wing intellectuals of the Princes Street branch of the Labour Party at least a decade earlier.
The National Party then had no option but to "gut the unions". New Zealand producers could not compete with third world commodities while paying first world labour rates. Better, they reasoned, to gut the unions than stand by and watch the economy collapse.
Britain, the US, Russia and China followed slightly different courses, but in each case the left-wing parties played a pivotal role in the transition to the unrestrained rule of global capital.
I can only recall one dissenter in the NZLP caucus, namely Jim Anderton. There were dissidents in the CPSU, the CCP, the British Labour Party and the Democratic Party in the US. ("Guerilla Surgeon" may also have been a dissident, although his or her championing of institutions of global capitalism such as the European Union leave that open to question).
None of that really matters. The historical role of a movements or organisation is not defined by the dissenting minority or the "menshevik" faction. It is defined by those who make policy and set the direction, and the historical role of the left in this country has been to usher in the rule of global capital.
Some leftists, such as "Guerilla Surgeon" are anxious to distinguish "liberalism" from "neo-liberalism". There is a difference of course, but not a fundamental distinction. "Neo-liberalism" is simply untrammeled liberalism, applied consistently to all areas of life, both social and economic. There are a significant number of people who are socially liberal and economically conservative, and another body who are socially conservative and economically liberal. But they don't count for much, and the contradiction between their social and economic convictions severely limits the scope of their influence.
The mainstream media and political parties clearly demonstrate the prevailing orthodoxy in New Zealand is social and economic liberalism, consistent, rigorous and thorough-going liberalism, or "neo-liberalism" if you must.
Guerilla Surgeon persists with the notion that there has not been a move among the poor and the working class away from the left and towards the radical right. That is a case of self-delusion. When the left talks of "multi-culturalism" the working class hears "cheap labour". When the left talks of "diversity" the working class hears "professionals living in mansions and workers sleeping in their cars" - and there is nothing wrong with the hearing of the working class. There has not been a wholesale lurch to the right among the working class, but enough to tip the balance, and it is hard to see any way back for the leftist parties. Will Ardern deliver? Would Sanders and Corbyn? Time will tell in the first case, chance and circumstance may in the second, but I remain doubtful.
I suggest that if "Guerilla Surgeon" wants to try to sell me a bridge, he first ask a few questions of the people from whom he bought it.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh – Jesus wept. I'm not going to reply to this bullshit except to say this. If you think Roger Douglas and his small coterie of eejits who basically bullied the rest of the Labour Party into acquiescing with their bullshit policies were left wing I have a bridge to sell you. You really need to read the history of it all.
And the definition of liberalism depends on where – and for that matter when – you live. Not to mention is a very nebulous concept to begin with.

Geoff Fischer said...

If the Labour Party could be "bullied .. into acquiescing with ... bullshit policies" as "Guerilla Surgeon" alleges, then it does not matter whether the bully (in this case Roger Douglas) is from the right or the left because it implies that the NZLP is fundamentally gutless, gormless and prey to any bully or wide boy who happens along to a party conference.
If "Guerilla Surgeon" is right about this (I personally believe that it is part of the truth of the matter, but not the whole truth), then that is a very good reason for the workers of this country not to place their trust or their votes with the New Zealand Labour Party. Which kind of confirms my thesis.
Fortunately, there are a few on the left who are able to look more critically at the outcomes from a century of social democratic and Marxist political organisation, and realise that, from the perspective of the working class, things have had a tendency to go badly awry. Until that reality is addressed the left will be going nowhere.