My interest in Wicca had a significant influence on me whilst I was writing my novel Consciência but it was an indirect path that led me there.

Like most of us I have had periods of reflection in my life during which I have sought to understand if there was any more meaning to life than being a brief accident of existence?  Time and time again I was brought back to nature and our relationship with the natural world. I did however find rational thinking completely inadequate when attempting to understand the importance of this relationship. The importance of my relationship with nature was most powerfully reflected in my feelings and emotions and above all my intuition.


It was during one of these reflective periods that I stumbled upon a work called Natural Magic by Doreen Valliente and was captivated by her understanding of her relationship with the natural world and the energies that link everything within it.

The other revelation about these ideas were that they focussed on the Goddess aspect of our relationship with nature. We live in a world of patriarchal societies that have been dominated by the worship of angry powerful male Gods. These religions railed against the Goddess and pagan traditions as they sought to control and subjugate the population to their will. This has created a great imbalance in our relationship with each other and our relationship with nature and this has come at a terrible cost.

I believe that if we are to restore balance to the world we need to embrace nature, the realm of the Goddess and celebrate the feelings that rise up within us when we open up to her influences. We need to open our hearts to our feelings and listen when our intuition is giving us guidance.

It is my hope that the age of patriarchy is coming to a close and that we will see the birth of a new age of wisdom, an age that celebrates the female aspect of our natures and restores harmony, equilibrium and balance to humanity.

I am pretty certain that neither Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corby would, if asked, think of themselves as servants of the Goddess. To understand why I have made such an assertion I feel I need to explain myself.

Image by TanyaGG – see more of her work

I use the term Goddess as reflecting the female aspect of our Universe and the nature of mother Earth, the fertile womb of all living things. Few who worship the Goddess believe they are worshiping an entity. They are using a process of visualisation to create an emotional attachment and a loving relationship with our natural world.

For thousands of years our human societies have been dominated by patriarchal societies with a terrible cost to our Earth. These societies are characterised by the celebration of power, greed and self-interest. Often religion is a dominant force in supporting the patriarchy through the worship of angry, misogynistic, vengeful male Gods. These societies are also characterised by systematic sexual discrimination and the abuse of women.

It is no accident that right wing politicians around the world, predominantly male, like nothing better than proscribing how women should behave. They like to believe they can also play at being God and that they have the right to exercise control over women’s bodies. In some societies they are trying to overturn hard fought rights for women to access safe terminations and birth control. In some it is turning a blind eye to “honour killings” or tacitly supporting the horrific practice of FGM. Others insist they have the right to decide how women dress and what parts of a woman’s body should be covered. This is so that weak pathetic men, lacking in any self-control, can manage to contain their perverse impulses to sexually harass and molest. How can the minds of such men be so feeble that they find the sexuality of women such a powerful and terrifying thing?

It is estimated that 1 in 3 women in the world have been either physically or psychologically abused. This is over a billion women. I would put it more starkly; in a world dominated by hostile patriarchies all women are subject to some degree of abuse. This has to stop!

Image by TanyaGG – see more of her work

I am also convinced that all the wars in the world would end virtually overnight if we excluded ego dominated men from involvement in peace and reconciliation talks. Today we have various power seeking men deciding how many children they are prepared to sacrifice on the altars of their ambitions. We should instead be asking mothers to agree a future that enables their children to be safe and thrive together. Does anyone seriously believe that after 5 years there still be a war between all these factions in Syria if the negotiations were left to the mothers instead of ignorant ambitious men?

Unlike the world of the male God and his rampaging ego, the world of the Goddess is a world where love, compassion and empathy hold sway. It is a world where the needs of others are as important of the needs of the self. It is a world where the needs of our children and the children of future generations overrides short term thinking based on greed and self-interest. It is also a world where nature is loved and revered and the needs of other creatures are as important to us as our own.

Intelligence is not the same as wisdom. Those who build and sell weapons for mass slaughter are intelligent. Those shamelessly manipulating financial markets to benefit a tiny greed obsessed minority at the expense of the majority are intelligent. The politicians that collude with the wealth obsessed and global corporations for their own selfish ends are highly manipulative and intelligent people.

These examples also illustrate how ignorant these “intelligent” people really are. Their parasitical actions cause incalculable harm to our society and our planet. Wisdom requires a balance of intelligence and empathy and the capacity to love others more than oneself. Fortunately, there are also wise men as well as women in our world and together we can strive to build a different future.

It is this wiser world that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are battling to create. They have a vision for a kinder world, a sustainable world, a world where our children can thrive and succeed. They would have us build a world based on mutual responsibility not naked self-interest and greed. They desire a world where love is rightly considered to be a far more valuable commodity than wealth. They are true servants of the Goddess.

There is no future for a patriarchal world dominated by needy egos and self-interest. Such a world is unsustainable. It is a one-way path to the oblivion of most of life on Earth including humanity itself. It is time that the days of the cruel angry male Gods, both mythical and human and their misguided followers were consigned to history.

I hope that the rise in prominence of Bernie in the USA and Jeremy in the UK heralds the beginning of the days of the Goddess in our lands but their efforts will not be enough without help. This can only truly come to pass if across the world her daughters decide to throw off the patriarchal chains that men have used to bind them and rise up to save her fragile realm.

Here is a extract from my book Consciência that explores these topics further. Click Here

This is a true story of an incident that happened whilst I was on holiday on the lovely Greek island of Corfu. As I wandered towards the beach one morning I saw this beautiful butterfly and as my eyes followed it I caught sight of a huge pleasure yacht moored in the bay. It made me realise how humanity has seemed to have lost its understanding of what is truly precious.

White butterfly

The butterfly and the super-yacht

How improbable and yet how magnificent and beautiful. A large white butterfly, sunlight sparkling off the thousands of cells coating its fragile wings fluttered in front of the crowd of onlookers peering into the bay. All were too captivated to appreciate that something extraordinary was passing before their eyes, after all there were many butterflies but very few had seen what was sailing into the bay of this ancient Greek island.

The crowd’s behaviour was in no way unusual. It is often said that familiarity breeds contempt and if this is perhaps too harsh a judgement on the gathering crowd it was quite evident that it had bred indifference. What had so captivated their attention was a huge manifestation of one man’s desperately needy ego, his extraordinary need for self-aggrandisement and his slavery to greed. There could be no better example of humanity’s worship at the temple of mammon and its ultimate folly than this giant multi-million pound super-yacht.

Life on Earth is astoundingly improbable, the combination of so many variable factors that it seems inconceivable that such a thing could ever come to pass. The Earth is a sparkling gem in the vastness of the universe, so rare and unlikely that its ability to evolve and sustain complex life forms may yet prove to be unique amongst the billions of galaxies.

Humanity has evolved to be the dominant species on this fragile island of life. With this comes a huge responsibility to celebrate, protect and nurture the fragile ecosystems that sustain it. What indeed could be a greater or more rewarding purpose for our human existence?

How then has humanity responded to this extraordinary privilege and grave responsibility? Rather than revere and respect the Earth and the complex life forms with which we share the planet we see it as an exploitable commodity to feed our insatiable hedonistic desires. We plunder the Earths scarce resources, poisoning the land, sea and air, wiping out thousands of species and irrevocably damaging the environments that sustain life for temporary trifles that all too soon turn to dust.

Such behaviour could perhaps be forgiven if this systematic destruction of the Earth was part of some conscious plan to fulfil an overarching purpose in the evolution of the universe. The sad and tragic reality is that we are destroying this unique miracle of a planet simply to fulfil the cravings of our addiction to greed. We collectively act like some deranged parasite that in its hunger to consume its host destroys the very entity required to sustain its own existence.

Humanity is sleepwalking towards its own demise and the demise of so much that is precious unique and irreplaceable. We seem unable to find a greater purpose in life other than to succumb to hedonistic cravings and desires that merely act as temporary distractions from recognising the true horror of what we have become. The path of greed leads to inner emptiness and a hunger for a sense of purpose that can never be satisfied.

'Money to burn'

We live in a trivial materialistic consumer world where our politicians and the rich plutocrats that control them deliberately appeal to the very lowest properties of our human nature so that we become complicit in our own exploitation. On mass we allow ourselves to be deliberately manipulated by those addicted to the path of greed and destruction. We are choosing to embrace the base values that have led us to the brink of our ultimate demise rather than consciously waking up to the reality the true horror of this destination.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There is an alternative Pantheistic path that we can each choose to follow if we can harness the inner strength and self-awareness to do so. We can each choose to embrace our responsibility to future generations and the complex life forms with we share our small oasis in the vastness of the universe. This is the path of true joy, inner harmonisation, fulfilment and happiness. This is the path of generosity to others, kindness, empathy and compassion. This is the path of rejecting short term satisfaction and embracing a viable long-term and sustainable future. Many wisdom teachers through the ages have tried to steer humanity onto such a path but sadly this has been to such little avail.

I hope for a very different future for humanity and our miraculous and irreplaceable planet. In this future there will be many more beautiful butterflies and people will have learnt to celebrate and nurture these miracles of nature. The super-yacht? It is my sincerest hope that it will have become a historical footnote in a discarded path that so nearly cost humanity everything of true value.




The recent explosive leaks from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca opened up just a small window into the murky world of Tax Havens. The public outcry caused by these revelations is still reverberating around the world as highly complicit politicians desperately try to limit the political fallout. This is however one cat that they will struggle to put back in the bag now it has so visibly and noisily escaped!


Aside from the issue of tax avoidance and evasion that has made the headlines, have you ever stopped to think where these trillions and trillions of dollars of financial assets came from? How was so much wealth created and extracted from our societies, virtually unnoticed? It was this question that inspired me to write the following extract from my novel Consciência. I hope it helps to shed another light on the systematic fleecing of society that still continues to take place.

“Roxie, what do you think really happened in the financial collapse that started in 2007?” asked Vanessa.

“Most people believe that money in society is generated by central banks accountable to governments” replied Roxie. “In reality, as I am sure you know, it is mostly created by commercial banks when they issue debt. When someone borrows money it creates a liability which is digitally balanced by an asset in the banks database. This is based on the expected payment of this liability with interest. A bank is considered solvent when the expected realisation value of these assets exceeds the liabilities of the debtors. Once these assets in the banks database have been created, this ‘money’ can be traded and exploited. The interest and charges attributed to all this trading can then be systematically extracted. The only thing required to create this money is the creation of a realistic asset, or more importantly, something that it is possible to get people to believe is a realistic asset.”

“I’m not sure I fully understand what you mean by getting someone to believe it is a realistic asset?” said Vanessa.

“Let me try to explain another way” said Roxie. “Let’s pretend that I am a budding amateur painter who has just produced my latest effort. As an unknown painter with no reputation my effort is worth maybe £5.00 to any prospective buyer that may take pity on me. In effect I have created an asset that is worth £5. I decide to put my painting into an auction where by chance it is spotted by an unscrupulous art dealer. The art dealer believes that my work could be confused with the work of a famous painter; let’s say for instance a Jackson Pollock. This is a bit unlikely I have to admit, if you have ever seen any of my pitiful efforts. The dealer, or rather an obscure company based in the Cayman Islands which is owned by the dealer now buys my painting for £5.00. The dealer then works in conjunction with a renowned art critic who categorically professes to the world that their painting is the genuine article, a previously undiscovered Pollock. This makes my painting worth a potential £500,000 to the dealer when his company sells the painting at auction.”

“We have now created a potential £499,995 of additional wealth that didn’t exist before. This is pretty impressive as you have to remember, should the art world discover the painting is a Roxie not a Pollock, the true worth of the asset is still only £5 not £½ million pounds!”

“Now that the painting has been verified as a Pollock it is possible for someone to borrow money against the expected value of this asset to purchase it. This borrowing is created in the database of their bank and viola, nearly £½ million of real money has been created where none existed before. Now humour me and let’s suggest that this money was borrowed from the bank by a museum in order to secure this ‘Pollock’ for the public interest. After the auctioneer’s commission the art dealer’s company in the Cayman Islands now has nearly £½ million of real money. As the Cayman Islands is a tax haven there is no tax payable by the dealer, and the public purse has accrued an additional £½ million pounds of debt, plus an additional liability for the interest owed to the museum’s bank. Horror upon horror it is now discovered by the museum that the newly purchased Pollock is actually a virtually worthless Roxie! The museum no longer has a tangible asset to cover the liability accrued, but the museum still has to pay off the debt to its bankers unless of course it goes into liquidation, in which case the bank has to write the loan off as a bad debt.”

“Now all we need to do to explain what has been going on in the financial markets is change the characters. The Roxie painting was the millions of sub-prime mortgages taken out on vastly overpriced property that the mortgage holders couldn’t possibly repay. These were basically worthless unsecured debts. At this point nobody would be seriously taken in, let alone invest in them.”

“The art dealer was the traders in the investment banks that invented a cunning financial device called a CDO (Collateralized debt obligation) which most people didn’t understand but which the traders insisted were sound financial instruments. In our scenario the sub-prime mortgages were the Roxie but the rebranding of this debt into CDOs made them into potential financial Jackson Pollocks.”

“The role of our art expert was taken up by the various credit rating agencies that, for a suitable fee, said that these CDOs were indeed sound financial instruments and who gave them top AAA ratings. The Roxie, the sub-prime mortgages, had now been verified as Pollocks, secure AAA rated investment opportunities by the so called experts.”

“I think I understand what you mean” interjected Vanessa. “By validating the worth of the CDOs the ratings agencies effectively created supposedly low risk valuable financial assets where before the same assets as high risk sub-prime mortgages were considered virtually worthless. They created a Pollock out of a Roxie.”

“Exactly my dear,” continued Roxie with approval “but unlike the mere £ ½ million of new money created in my little tale, this ploy created hundreds of billions of pounds of new money. The investment bankers traded these CDOs at great profit many times over and extract vast amounts of this new money through fees, charges and bonuses which were then placed in nice secure tax efficient financial instruments. The banks created vast amounts of debt on their balance sheets, secured against the value of these AAA rated assets which worked absolutely brilliantly as long as the majority of investors failed to understand their true nature. When it was eventually discovered that these CDOs were actually worthless, it left the banks with vast sums of unsecured debt which were then transferred to the public through the aforementioned bank bailouts. Meanwhile these traders, colluding politicians and their ultra-rich customers are now sitting on mountains of cunningly extracted wealth whilst the societies from which they systematically extracted it are now left holding unimaginable amounts of debt. In order to pay off these vast debts, the public have been subjected to ‘austerity measures’ by the self-same politicians who actively colluded in creating this debt in the first place. This has caused absolute misery to millions of the poorest and most vulnerable in our global societies.”

It is truly amazing how language or the use of a word can so influence the perception within our human minds as to what is actually going on. For instance, the recent kidnapping and torturing of foreign nationals by the American CIA was not actually called operation kidnap and torture, possibly as this may have caused a few ripples even in the conveniently myopic US congress. No we had “extraordinary rendition” taking place which of course means virtually nothing to the vast majority of us.

Equally the assassination without trial or any attempt at a judicial process of those deemed as “terrorists” by the US and others, primarily using remotely operated drones, is not state sponsored murder. Nope these are simply targeted killings. Well if they are targeted, surely it must be ok then? The Buzzard does however wonder how enthusiastic the American people might be as and when other states decides to start bopping off American citizens without judicial process in order to meet the objectives of their global aspirations. One suspects that this would not of course be seen as targeted killing but as “state sponsored terrorism”. If I was living in a tribal region of Pakistan and my family home had just been blown apart and my family killed by a remotely operated drone, I might equally feel I was being exposed to state sponsored terrorism too. We all know just how many people, even after having been found guilty by the rigorous judicial process of trial by Jury, are subsequently acquitted on appeal. Yet we are supposed to believe US intelligence and that of their various allies is so excellent that all the people they remotely decide to kill are guilty terrorists. No chance then of murdering entirely helpless and innocent civilians by mistake is there? No need for a judicial process? Maybe these humans and their destroyed lives are just “collateral damage” another convenient turn of phrase. Do you think the American public would have the same view if a family and their home, in say Des Moines, was blown apart by a CIA operated drone based on an intelligence hunch it would be seen as acceptable collateral damage? The Buzzard dreams of a world where every human, regardless of race and culture is treated with the same dignity and respect. Such a world would be a true indication that humans were finally evolving as a species. Sadly there is very little evidence of this becoming a reality


We can therefore see how exactly the same actions can be described in very different ways to make some of the most outrageous atrocities sit comfortably within the human psyche. One of the main battlegrounds for the use of misleading language is the activities of the extraordinarily wealthy, our dear friends the capital addicts of the world who sadly judge their own sense of worth by the size of their capital hoard. Amongst the favourite term that they like to use is “wealth creation” or they may refer to how much they have “earnt”.  Using the term earnt does of course imply a justifiable position in that it is through their hard labours and efforts that they have accumulated a vast capital hoard. Equally “wealth creation” implies that that the activities of these individuals have led to all this wealth being created, rather than just being redistributed in the world. This must surely be to the benefit of us all?

This is the dialogue that our capital addicts, and the politicians who fawn over them in an attempt to join their ranks, would like us to maintain. We the masses should be duly grateful and put up with the somewhat annoying sense of entitlement from such creatures owing to the benefits that accrue from their activities. The trouble is that such language does not actually explain what has really being going on in the world.

Most of the developed countries in the world are steeped in debt which is absolutely crippling these societies and the aspirations of the large majority of people living within them. Average salaries have been falling in real terms, poverty, homelessness and unemployment has been rising. The value of shares in the global stock markets has been stagnant whilst at the same time the greed obsessed minorities in the boardrooms have been awarding themselves exponential salary, pension and bonus increases.

None of this is remotely surprising. Every single povertyteacher in the history of our troubled species had clearly spelt out that an obsession with greed can only ultimately lead to misery. This is true for both the sad individuals concerned and those who are unfortunate enough to be impacted by their actions and our wider societies. We live in a world with a virtually unconstrained viral capitalist model and where capital acquisition has become the new religion. Selfishness and greed are seen as causes for celebration rather than the sad consequences of damaged and deformed human psyches.

What has actually taken place in our societies is really rather simple, we just need a more appropriate language. Rather than wealth creation and earning, what has really taken place is systematic wealth redistribution, capital extraction and exploitation. The capital addicts in our societies use various mechanisms, such as the current investment banking system, to exploit the majority in order to extract value and capital from them. This significantly increases the pointless size of their already over inflated capital hoards to the benefit of nobody, not even themselves. At the same time this has a hugely damaging effect on the rest of the humanity and other the other poor species unfortunate enough to cohabiting with us on our fragile planet.


Recent estimates, as revealed recently by the Tax Justice Network, indicates a conservative figure of £13 trillion stashed away in tax havens by a relatively small number of extreme capital addicts in the world. If you put this sum back into the various economies from which it has been extracted there would be virtually no global debt problem. The publishers of this information and the media that has commented on them have of course missed the point. They have criticized the obscenity of this amount of money being hidden from the taxman. The real obscenity is the fact that, in so called democratic global societies, it has been considered acceptable for a tiny majority of humans to extract these vast sums at the expense of the majority. The impact on our economies, if this sum were to be reinvested in the structures and enterprises within them would of course be transformational. Our economies would grow, living standards, health and wellbeing improve and social structures and facilities enhanced. The world is paying a huge price for its blind commitment to the worship of mammon. This also illustrates how much our democratic institutions have been shaped and perverted by the greedy and manipulative and the politicians who fawn over them. The democratic deficit in contemporary societies is the subject of another series of articles that is being developed and posted on the Buzzard so I will not elaborate further in this article.

So what is to be done? There is certainly nothing to be done if the majority of people passively accept unconstrained exploitation and capital extraction as a socially acceptable norm within their societies. Their labours and aspirations will continue to be harvested by the greedy, like so many stalks of wheat. If this perversity is to end it will require a complete change in attitude to any individual’s right to extract capital.

Now some have accused the Buzzard of being anti-capitalist and I would argue that this is not exactly true. I am anti extreme greed and selfishness by the few at the expense of the many (and the expense of themselves through the damage that pointless addiction to capital does to their own psyches. I would refer readers who desire to explore this further to my eBook “A Certain Lack of Faith” which explores the often malign properties of human attachment behaviour in much more detail). It can well be argued that a certain level of material wealth extraction by a person and their family in society is a good thing. This creates a degree of security; enables provision to be made for pension, housing, quality of living and the cycling of this capital through earnings by spending on goods and services is the engine that finances society. It also creates aspiration and motivation which are essential drivers of energy and enterprise in us humans. The fundamental question that should be asked is at what point does legitimate extraction of capital by citizens that benefits both themselves and society cease. At what point does this start to become a burden and ultimately an obscenity, revealed in contemporary society by the uncomfortable realisation that our once proud economies are now virtually bankrupted with debt?

It is not for the Buzzard to set this point, it would require a rigorous public debate and rational analysis to come to such a figure. My instincts suggest that a multiple of 15 times the average for any citizen in a given society would be reasonable to provide sufficient motivation those who strive for material wealth. This would at the same time mitigate extreme inequality and enable a degree of social justice to take place. In the UK at the time of writing this figure would equate to approximately £1.75 million. I would challenge any human being to argue that they could not have a fulfilled life, with significant deference to their hedonistic desires, having acquired such an accumulation.

The reader will also note that I have not talked about earnings here. It is obvious to anyone with a modicum of wisdom that corporate excesses in pay need to be limited but there is a huge benefit in focusing on capital extraction instead of remuneration. If there is a limit set on permissible personal capital extraction, then any amount of funds gained in any given fiscal year, exceeding the permissible capital limit, will have to be spent (and not on long term assets as these would be included in the capital sum in exactly the same way that businesses value assets). This means that any excess amount accrued in a given year will have to be recycled back into the society that had enabled its creation, thereby benefitting the many. So if our dear capital addict has reached their threshold, they could if they wanted to spend any excess in a hedonistic frenzy which will no doubt quickly cease to give any lasting pleasure but will at least create jobs and develop businesses to feed their appetites. Alternatively they can give this back to society to be invested in social projects for the many, scientific enquiry, the building of infrastructure and for the protection of the most vulnerable.

The diagram below is an illustrative model of the point where a wise society would set a capital extraction cap to mitigate the damage that excessive extraction can cause.

The reader will note that I have not mentioned corporations in this article and these will most probably be the subject of an article at some point in the future. There are however even greater amounts of capital stashed away in tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions by corporations as there are by private individuals in the world. It is again damaging when corporations fail to reinvest their capital back into society and the current situation would certainly suggest the need for the development of a capital withholding tax to be applied to excessive capital hoarding that is not recycled within a sensible time frame. This would certainly incentivise such corporations to invest.

The big question to be answered by the readers of this article is quite straightforward. If you are happy to watch your societies continue to be impoverished through unconstrained capital extraction by a tiny greedy and ultimately sad minority then of course nothing needs to be done. If however you would wish to live in a world where there is a limit to the inequality that is tolerated by society and where everyone has an overarching responsibility to support and nurture the society in which they live, then what are you planning to do about it? We live in democracies; if you want change then you need to throw out the privileged political elite that celebrate the status quo. Change requires organisation by the dispossessed majority and the election of politicians who believe in social responsibility and want to build a world that benefits the many not the few. The path towards a wise society will not be an easy transition for humanity to take. Capital addicts, just like heroin addicts, will fight and cry and cheat and lie to continue to feed their insatiable hunger. Unlike most heroin addicts they are intelligent, entrenched and already holding onto the levers of power.

One warning above all others, be extremely cynical when you hear the greedy and their political acolytes start talking about wealth creation!

Read more of my thoughts on this topic in an extract from Consciência






I intended to write a short introductory piece about Consciência for prospective readers and visitors to the website. Having read this extract from Tanya’s blog I felt that her observations about Consciência are far more eloquent than anything I could have written. With her kind permission I have posted these below. Tanya is also an extraordinary artist and I do encourage you to visit her website


I have finished reading Consciencia by Alex Buzzard. It is so much more than a simple story, and has a profoundly  message that will communicate strongly with you, if your mind is open to it. The thoughts within this book may be idealised; so says the cynic within me. But how this book has made me feel, that is very real. Words and thoughts only have as much power as you allow them to, whether it be consciously or not.

This book has fired up the passion within me, making me feel inspired to create again, as I connect with the innermost feelings that drive me. I wish to keep this book by my side, so that I can use it to rekindle the creative fire when it goes out.

It has made it feel like it is okay for me to care again. That it is okay for me to talk about things that I find important. That I should allow myself to feel compassion for this world that we are destroying, despite complaints that I am just “bringing the mood down”. I have suppressed all of this, and look what good it is doing me! I am self-loathing, because I am not allowing myself to connect with others. I am not allowing myself to hear their problems, because “they are not my problems”. I stopped listening to people, that is why I lost my connection. The fault lies with me, and finally I can see where it has stemmed from.

Habits are hard things to break, so I ask for your patience.

I never used to be this disconnected… (lamenting the past… what good will that do me!? Well the past is a measure against which the present will always be compared, and in a logical sense, how will I improve otherwise? Surely, being self aware in this fashion can be both a gift and a curse.)

After all… I’m only human.

I remember how depressed I felt back in 2013 when I read that the Pink Star diamond, that’s only value and purpose was to flatter the egos and vanity of the obscenely wealthy was sold for $83 million. At the time there had just been a terrible typhoon that had ravished the Philippines and I just couldn’t believe that the buyer thought this was the best use of this vast sum of money. This money could have transformed the lives of hundreds of desperate people, instead it was spent on vanity. I wish I could say that the world has changed but greed and inequality is even worse today than it was back then. Sadly this article has withstood the test of time.

It is time the few individuals who have sucked up the vast majority of the world’s wealth through corrupt and broken capitalist systems are held to account for their actions.

How many nurses would $83 million dollars buy? How Many schools? How many lives in the Philippines could be saved if this money was used for disaster relief? Billions around the world are subject to misery, starvation, malnutrition and death while a perverse minority fritter away scarce assets on meaningless trinkets in a futile attempt to put some meaning in their empty lives.

It is time that every human on the planet realises that the wealth and privilege that they enjoy has an opportunity cost for others. The wealthy would tell you that their wealth benefits society through the trickle-down effect. The financial crisis was directly caused by complicit politicians removing the constraints that limited the exploitation of society by the greedy. This has rubbished the trickle down myth once and for all.

In our current world the lives of humans, the planet’s ecosystem and the extinction of irreplaceable species all take second place to the right of a greedy minority to indulge their pathetic obsession with wealth. It’s about time this stupidity ended.

Read more of my thoughts on greed in an extract from Consciência

Based on an extract from the eBook A Certain Lack of Faith

One of the strangest absurdities expressed in the world of humanity is the universal misuse of the word truth. Alas, anyone who professes to speak the truth is somewhat lacking in self-reflection. We human beings don’t know the truth. Human beings start their lives with the contents of their brains limited to the instinctive programming and emotional attachments inherent at the time of their birth. From this point onwards the human mind is continually augmented through life by the further gathering of information and experiences from the environment which the brain tries to interpret through the impulses of our senses.

41PuAnwSvTL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_When we humans express an opinion, unless deliberately lying, we are expressing what we believe to be true based on our attempts to process the limited information at our disposal in our mental databases and our instinctive programming. This is why arguments can be so much fun to observe as they usually start from the perspective that the participants all genuinely believe they are right. There is no shortage of humans prepared to stand up and tell others what they firmly believe the truth to be, but it is incumbent upon us all to use whatever cognitive abilities we have to put such claims to proper scrutiny. It is a sad characteristic of our species that all too often we fail to do this and in this vein I encourage readers to subject anything they may read on this website to the same rigorous test.

Everyone who goes to court and states that they will state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth should be immediately locked up for perjury and the court should hold itself in contempt for asking such an obviously absurd statement! The best that any human can be asked is to state what they perceive to be true at that moment in time, based on the information that has been made available to them and the limitations of their cognitive abilities.

Scientists amongst you will know this only too well. Yes the truth does exist, but this is only a conceptual idea and it would only be evident to us if we were blessed with universal knowledge. As humans we can but strive to refine our perceptions but let us relish this, after all we may never get to our desired destination but the journey can be awe inspiring and fun.

A Certain Lack of Faith is available to buy on Amazon.

Dear readers, do any of you living in the UK remember David Cameron’s “Big Society” initiative before the 2010 election? Yes that’s the one, the vision that virtually nobody understood at the time and that has slowly faded from the public eye since the election. Well, the Cry of the Buzzard thinks it has solved this conundrum. Cameron’s vision is alive and well and going from strength to strength!

The reason for all the confusion is quite simple; David Cameron really meant to say that he was going to create the Big “Corporation” Society (BCS). We can speculate on the reason why he omitted the word corporation from his vision before the elections. Could it be because the public might have been less than keen to sign up to such a mandate? After the banking fiasco that led to the virtual collapse of the global financial markets the public may have been less than convinced that our salvation lay in having much more of the same broken logic? Maybe it was just a simple misspeak which appears to be much favoured by politicians everywhere. Anyway I am sure that the Government will be absolutely delighted that the Buzzard is in a position to clarify the situation.

Reader: So what is the BCS and will we like it?

Well dear reader, addressing your second question first. Whether you like it or not depends whether you are a major shareholder or board member of a large corporation whereby the BCS gives you a chance to pay yourselves many millions more in salary, dividends, bonuses and pension pots out of the public purse. Or alternatively, maybe you are a politician whose political party benefits from lots of contributions from big Corporations and their lobbyists? If you do not fit into either of these categories then I am afraid that you might not like Cameron’s BCS very much. But let us not pre-judge, I shall now attempt to point out the main aspects of the BCS and you can let me know whether you think you will like the BCS at the end of the article. Fair enough?

Reader: Sounds like a plan, please continue.

So what is the BCS? Well I think all of you living in Britain may have had all had a flavour of the BCS already. If we look at our train services and utility companies, previously nationalised industries, they all show very similar characteristics. Yearly increases well above the rate of inflation, lavish boardroom salaries, generally high levels of complaints and questionable service. The reason behind this is that private companies are purely driven by the profit motive. The mantra of increasing shareholder value was the traditional driver of private corporations. The deregulation of the financial markets has however largely broken this association between shareholders and the directors of these companies. Automatic trading based on financial algorithms mean that it is possible to be a shareholder for just a number of seconds to secure returns on tiny changes in the market.

Today’s reality is that many private corporations are now totally driven by their management boards to maximise the amount of money going into their own pockets. The corporation merely act as a vehicle to enable these empowered capital addicts to extract large amounts of money from society for their own ends. There is virtually no active control in our contemporary society that restrains this greed based feeding frenzy. This is why boardroom salaries for executives have increased exponentially whilst average salaries are stagnating and the FTSE indexes perform so miserably. This should be of no surprise as the prime driver for many corporate management decisions is short term self-interest rather than long term growth and prosperity for the corporation. The banking system is just the most obvious example of this dynamic but it is just as prevalent in many other large corporations.

In a truly competitive market, pressures from competitors force corporations to deliver higher levels of quality and value to their customers to stay in business. The car market is an excellent example of how a truly competitive marketplace can produce real consumer value. The characteristic of public sector privatisations is that almost universally the marketplace is not truly open or competitive. In order to try to constrain the excesses in these industries the Government creates yet more inept regulators usually starting with O, like Ofgem who is supposed to regulate the energy markets or the ORR who is supposed to regulate the railways. Nobody who is paying for the highest railway fares in Europe or seen yet another eye-watering inflation busting rise in their gas and electricity bills think that these markets are working in the public interest. After the total fiasco in the bidding process for the West Coast mainline, there is even heretical talk in political circles about the re-nationalisation of the railways.

Nobody can forget the chaotic mismanagement of the Olympic security contract by G4S whose CEO has a basic salary of £830,000 + perks and also seems to have acquired shares worth in excess of £5 million and a £8 million pension pot. The G4S Olympic staff were reputedly offered £8.50 per hour for their very short term Olympic contracts which may answer the question as to why they often seem not to have turned up. Is this possibly because they felt rather undervalued? Isn’t it funny in our greed obsessed world how those at the top can value themselves so incredibly highly and everyone else so poorly? Shame G4s’s CEO can’t seem to motivate himself to get out of bed for work for £100,000 per year so that all the hard working and poorly paid G4S Olympic staff could have had a nice bonus. Yet this Government is seriously considering putting our Probation Service into the hands of a company like this. Other companies like A4e (whose previous Chairman and current major shareholder recently paid herself £8.6 million in dividends) are being paid hundreds of millions of pounds by the Government’s work programme. Initial figures seem to suggest (with thanks to Channel 4 news) that the results achieved are actually worse than the expected job creation achieved in the target population with no intervention at all. The biggest threat of all is the Governments plans to facilitate privatisation of much of the NHS. The privatised health service in the USA costs nearly 2 ½ times as much per capita whilst excluding all but the most rudimentary healthcare to the most vulnerable in their society.

We cannot actually blame these companies, although we might find the appetites of those at the top in the boardrooms, greedily profiteering for their undisguised self-interest at the public expense somewhat distasteful. Our society celebrates greed and their job is to make profits, the larger the better, and they are doing very well indeed out of most of these contracts. It is the current Government with its obsession for privatisation that is to blame for these on-going tragedies to the public good. Rampant privatisation in poorly regulated markets is a recipe for disaster. Look what happened in banking where every single regulator failed to rein in the greed obsessed institutions who brought it to its knees. Who picked up the tab for this? It was not the greedy few who managed to extract $trillions off to their tax havens, it was the rest of the struggling population who have picked up the tab for this largess by taking on vast amounts of public debt.

There is another reason why these centralised cunning schemes in the BCS so loved by the current Government are doomed to failure. They always massively over simplify the environment in which these schemes are operating. Getting someone into work and keeping them there, particularly for those who may have little education, poor or no housing provision, possibly a criminal conviction, maybe alcohol or drug related problems requires a targeted multi-agency approach. In most communities there are a myriad of small enterprises that can deliver highly innovative cost effective solutions in these areas. Effective commissioning and development of these services requires a detailed understanding of the local environment and an informed understanding of the capability of potential providers in the community. Some of these innovative small enterprises have already gone out of business as a direct result of Cameron’s BCS and many more are likely to follow.

Cost effective long term solutions also require the development of well integrated communications between third sector and other providers, the local authorities, and statutory bodies such as the NHS (until it is privatised in the BCS of course!) and the police. There are tens of thousands of different communities with different problems and challenges and each individual is different in their needs and the support they require to get back into employment and reintegrate into communities. This can be only be effectively done locally as it requires this detailed analysis, empowerment of local resources and informed commissioning previously mentioned.

The central Government model cannot remotely analyse or come up with optimal solutions for all these communities. It is all far too complex and they completely lack the resources, knowledge and systemic controls to manage this complexity. Virtually every attempt to do this has been exorbitantly costly and completely failed to deliver anything like the benefits promised at their inception. So you would think the Government must have learned from this though painful experience? Sadly no. Through the BCS they intend to disempower local groups and local authorities and give all the resources to a few large profit driven organisations that, in defiance of all logic and previous experience, are somehow supposed to deliver cost effective solutions in this environment. After these corporations have taken their whopping great management and administration fee, the amount of public sector money that will be left to actually deliver value to those in need in our communities will be truly pitiful.

What Cameron and his little political gang have achieved and are still pursuing is the exact opposite of the Big Society. He has disempowered our communities and handed over our futures to virtually unaccountable large corporations. Just imagine trying to hold one of these behemoths to account when service provision fails or the costs sky-rocket, when the alternative public service structures we currently rely on have been deliberately dismantled. Any guesses who will pick up the tab when it all ends in disaster?

What the population of the UK (and many other populations throughout our world) face is a stark choice. They can either continue to support a greed obsessed society which results in a few extraordinarily rich humans exploiting the rest of the population in order to create meaningless personal capital hoards serving no meaningful purpose. Or they can choose to throw out this model and actually strive for a true democracy that seeks to look out for the interests of the majority. This will only happen if they can find or create a political party comprised of those with the courage to change our society and that isn’t run by those with the self-same vested interests that currently benefit from privilege and inequality (how many millionaires are there in the current cabinet?). Such humans are sadly rare and not inclined to self-aggrandisement so this will be no easy task. When the longest lasting Prime minister of the so called socialist Labour party over the last 15 years charges 150K for a conference speech (greatest respect to Desmond Tutu for refusing to share a platform with him) and is reputedly to be worth in excess of £30 million, I think it’s fair to say this will be quite a challenge. What are your personal objectives for leading the Labour party Ed? Are you prepared to set a limit to your personal capital aspirations?

So there we have it dear readers, Cameron’s real “Big Society” vision is actually the dismantling of the local organisations and structures that could actually deliver a Big Society. It is leaving us in the hands of Cameron’s Big Corporation Society run by a few huge corporations for their own profit driven ends at the expense of the rest of us with the explicit complicity of our politicians.

So dear reader, I have attempted to answer your first question about the nature of Cameron’s BCS. Let me ask you again the other question we posed at the beginning. Do you think you will like living in Cameron’s Big Corporation Society?

Reader: No Buzzard, I am now thoroughly depressed and am off to read “the Spirit Level” and dream of a society whose core values are motivated by mutual caring and responsibility rather than self-interest and greed.

Best of luck!

Alex Buzzard

Read more of my thoughts on this topic in an extract from Consciência