Is Boris’s prorogation of Parliament a ‘Reichstag Fire’ moment?

Prorogation is about Brexit, right? But the ‘Reichstag fire’ allusion has suddenly alerted me to the course the real, ecological crisis will take.

This Prospect magazine account examines this in detail, but the parallels with Germany in 1933 are too close for comfort.

[Thank you Simon, for informing me that my original link did not work]

Simon Duffy
2 September at 11:22

Populist leaders with simplistic, unrealistic solutions to problems arose, and gained power after the first world war due to a general feeling of insecurity.

The insecurity fuelling the current crop of populists is due to growth strategies persisting (long) after they became toxic.

The above sentence is in bold because most normal minds (I self-diagnose as Asperger’s)  miss the real significance of the Tragedy of the Commons (Not linked – please see my ‘Page’)

I have difficulty separating the two crises. The real purpose of Brexit is to give tnc CEOs more leverage as against democratic institutions, useful post-Brexit, but essential when the eco-crunch comes.

As the Prospect article explains, factors inhibiting Trump, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and others such as Orban and Erdogan were less of a problem for Mussolini or Hitler, but their unnerving progress is – to my mind – obvious and predictable from the historical precedents. All that is needed now is something which will suffice as a pretext to justify emergency powers, which is how both Mussolini and Hitler gained legitimate authority

XR thinks we are already on course for just such an emergency. The measures necessary to save the ecosphere from the consequences of indefinite growth have been available ever since the MIT warned that they were necessary in 1972. They have been wilfully ignored for two reasons: without an unconditional basic income (UBI) downsizing to one planet would be overwhelmingly rejected, and no individual ‘wealth creator’ would do any good pulling out of the rat-race.

But I find it difficult to believe that the neoliberals actually in power are really so stupid, Trump excepted. They almost certainly have plans to avoid the worst effects of ecological breakdown, but they do not need to take the risk. Although most tnc CEOs are de facto successful high stakes gamblers, they are also mostly intelligent enough to incorporate the removal of democracy, but at the last possible moment, so as to allow profits as long as possible. It worked well enough in Germany at first, though Hitler later re-wrote the script.

All this could have been avoided, and even now is not necessary, with an unconditional basic income (UBI). I have a vision of clever bastards still being wealthier than the rest of us, but without either the bloodshed or oppression which now look increasingly probable. Not only individuals and those supplying their perceived needs,  but  also governments (for what they are worth) and the CEOs with the real power can have that identity of interest in dealing with ecological limits.

Oddly enough, my ‘vision’ includes the notion that once individuals have the economic freedom conferred by the UBI, democracy per se may not be as essential. Democracy does have limitations even where it is nominally functional particularly in units as large as the EU, USA, or Brazil.

I must here repeat my caveat that the UBI is dangerous if not tied to the ecological narrative, but my vision is probably a mirage. It seems only to occur in a minority of abnormal minds. But if there are any of you who do share my dismay that an opportunity is being missed to avoid, or at  least mitigate the real disaster, please re-tweet and re-blog, and generally join me in shouting from the housetops.



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