Aidan McQuade cached version 18/01/2019 08:17:31 en Brexit, lies, and rich folk <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The Leave campaign was built on lies, and as the UK hurtles toward the brink the liars who told them are laughing all the way to the bank.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Jacob Rees-Mogg attends a fringe event to discuss Brexit during the Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham in 2018. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.</p> <p>The American social psychologist Philip Zimbardo has defined evil as exercising power to intentionally harm, hurt, destroy, or commit crimes against humanity. Clearly this definition relates to a range of human behaviour from the merely nasty to the historically atrocious. </p> <p>In 1983 the American psychiatrist and writer M Scott Peck published the book People of the Lie, which found a common factor linking ‘evil’ behaviour. Drawing on his experience in clinical psychiatric practice as well as in the US military and government, he argued that lying needed to be given a central place in any understanding of the psychology of evil. </p> <p>He found that if he confronted a parent who was abusing their child, as he sometimes had to do, they would compulsively lie. They would deny even the most conclusively damning evidence. He also found that, at the height of the war in Vietnam, when he asked government officials or military officers about the indiscriminate use of napalm they would always assert that it was someone else’s fault. Regardless of whether an individual was part of the decision-making structure or pressing the trigger to drop napalm on children, everyone claimed they were just following someone else’s orders. </p> <p>In other words, he found that central to the psychology of evil is the denial of personal responsibility. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">With each new lie, Brexiteers seek to re-affirm that Brexiteers are not responsible for the gargantuan mess they have created.</p> <p>Lying and the evasion of personal responsibility seems today to have become epidemic. Donald Trump, the US president and a compulsive liar, has popularised the concept of “fake news” to undermine those with the temerity to try to hold him to public account. His acolytes have invented the notion of “alternative facts” to bolster the self-serving lies that Trump conjures for his gullible faithful.</p> <p>This is anything but a peculiarly American phenomenon. Systematic lying is central to the Brexit political project as well. The lies told before the referendum by the leaders of the Brexit campaigns – the £350 million for the NHS; that there were no downsides to Brexit; that the trade deal the UK would conclude with the EU would be the easiest in human history – have been well documented. When these fantasies collided with hard reality, new lies were invented to paper over the cracks: everything would have been great but for the “Remoaners”; that the DUP speaks for the people of Northern Ireland; that everything would be fine if only a proper Brexiteer was actually prime minister. </p> <p>With each new lie, Brexiteers seek to re-affirm that Brexiteers are not responsible for the gargantuan mess they have created. Many of these go unchallenged by either opposition politicians or much of the broadcast media. This makes it easier for them to stick. </p> <p>These lies, whether told before or after the referendum, have another objective. As Churchill may have put it, they are the bodyguard of a deeper truth: that of the real purpose of Brexit. </p> <p>In his book Heroic Failure, an excoriating analysis of the causes of Brexit, Fintan O’Toole identifies another book called The Sovereign Individual by William Rees-Mogg, the father of Jacob,<em> </em>as being particularly illuminating. In it, says O’Toole, Rees-Mogg senior espouses “an avowedly apocalyptic mess of Ayn Rand-ish prognostications, addressed quite explicitly to the super-rich”. Rees-Mogg senior wanted the ultra-rich to operate outside political boundaries, free “from all the constraints of nationality, citizenship and, of course, taxation”. This will starve nation states of tax revenue, leading to first their collapse and then to that of mass democracy itself. </p> <p>When I worked in Angola in the 1990s, at the time fragmented by civil war, this sort of thing was referred to as the <em>Somalisation</em> of a country. There, as in Somalia before it, the breakdown in the state had contributed to the impoverishment of ordinary people while those privileged with power or wealth were able to evade or profit from the engulfing catastrophes. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">For Rees-Mogg and Farage the benefits that Brexit can deliver the ultra-rich is worth every lie they tell.</p> <p>Brexit, even in its hardest form, does not yet threaten to reach that depth. Nevertheless the immediate consequences of Brexit will still be consonant with Rees-Mogg senior’s dystopian ideal. For most people Brexit will mean increased economic hardship. The British manufacturing sector will be at risk of collapse under the weight of Brexit customs bureaucracy and friction-filled trade. Pressure on public finances will grow and increasing racism will take deeper root. Vital financial and human resources for public services, such as the NHS, will become more scarce and austerity will continue.</p> <p>As all this happens, the ultra-rich will still profit. Brexit will protect those ultra-rich domiciled in the UK from the EU Tax Avoidance Directive, which comes into force in early 2019, and the goodies – for them – will keep on rolling. Rees-Mogg junior is a chip of the old “sovereign-individual” block, for all his claims of patriotism and recapturing the Agincourt-spirit. Hypocrisy is also a type of lying. Rees-Mogg has already <a href="">established investment funds in Dublin</a> to allow his business interests to continue to benefit from EU rules and regulations. Nigel Farage’s lies about the results of the 2016 referendum, claiming his side had lost even when he knew otherwise, <a href="">allowed speculators to profit further from the collapse of Sterling</a>. Disaster speculators can reasonably hope for new profits in 2019 if the UK crashes out of the EU. Or, as Brexiteer liars like to call it, “a managed transfer to WTO terms.”</p> <p>The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, has recently started using the idea of <a href="">“lying” like a Brexiteer</a> in some of his domestic political arguments. This will bother Rees-Mogg and Farage very little. For them the benefits that Brexit can deliver the ultra-rich is worth every lie they tell, and any price the proles have to pay. </p> <p>But, as lying and the evasion of personal responsibility is also cowardice, you won’t see any of that on the side of a bus. </p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/anthony-barnett/brexit-can-be-good-crisis">Brexit can be a good crisis</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/andrea-pisauro-rosemary-bechler/people-s-vote-without-people-s-debate-won-t-bring">A People’s Vote without a People’s Debate won’t bring about Another Europe</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/symon-hill/if-government-puts-soldiers-on-streets-in-hard-brexit-we-must-refuse-to-obey-them">If the government puts soldiers on the streets in a hard Brexit, we must refuse to obey them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/uk/gabriella-alberti-roxana-barbulescu/deserving-settlement-in-post-brexit-britain-challenges-posed-">‘Deserving’ settlement in post-Brexit Britain: challenges posed by the settled status scheme</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/brexitinc/adam-ramsay/fresh-concerns-raised-over-dup-s-secret-brexit-donation">Fresh concerns raised over DUP’s secret Brexit donation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/uk/volker-patent/conceptual-paradox-of-trusting-in-brexit">The conceptual paradox of trusting in Brexit</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/brexitinc/peter-geoghegan-jenna-corderoy/revealed-arron-banks-brexit-campaign-had-more-meetings-w">Revealed: Arron Banks Brexit campaign&#039;s &#039;secret&#039; meetings with Cambridge Analytica</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openjustice/tom-shelton/will-post-brexit-britain-see-breaking-apart-of-even-more-families">Will post-Brexit Britain see the breaking apart of even more families?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> uk Aidan McQuade Mon, 07 Jan 2019 08:00:00 +0000 Aidan McQuade 121183 at Moral courage, leadership, and Brexit <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Since when is blindly following “the will of the people”, wherever it may lead, the definition of leadership?</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Charles McQuillan/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.</p> <p>We are all alive today because once in 1962 someone said, ‘I’m not doing that, it’s a stupid idea’, or words to that effect.</p> <p>The speaker would have been former US president Jack Kennedy, refusing the advice of the clear majority of the ExComm – the ‘executive committee’ of high government officials and generals that he had assembled to advise him on how to respond to <a href="">the discovery of inter-continental ballistic missiles in Cuba</a>. The hawks on ExComm, who were in the clear majority, wanted Kennedy to order an immediate invasion of Cuba, something we now know would have precipitated global nuclear war. But Kennedy, <a href="">who had direct experience of the chaos of battle</a>, was unconvinced, and instead, in the face of their opposition, led a process that de-escalated the crisis. </p> <p>Moral courage is like that. It’s the uncommon capacity to take personal responsibility for hard, sometimes terrifying, decisions, through the consideration of personal beliefs and values in interaction with the historical, organisational, or social challenges with which we are confronted. It is wholly distinct from authoritarian leadership in that it is open to dialogue with other perspectives. Consequently it can sometimes be manifest in statements as simple as: ‘I was wrong’. It sometimes can be manifest in more complex or challenging statements such as ‘I believe you are wrong’, or ‘I think this is stupid’.</p> <p>What it is not, and has never been, is a subordinating of personal beliefs and values to the “will of the people”. Any not-for-profit organisation chief executive who, for example, offers unaffordable pay rises because they are popular, and in doing so puts the organisation in jeopardy, would rightly be cast out of that role. Because it is not mere compliance to the popular will that makes a leader. Such an approach would make meaningful dialogue as impossible as any autocracy. This in turn would make deviations from ill-considered or immoral paths, for all practical purposes, inconceivable. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Moral courage is not, and has never been, a subordinating of personal beliefs and values to the “will of the people”.</p> <p>Real leadership is never an individual endeavour. It is about judgement of competing arguments and evidence to come to decisions that ensure both the short-term survival and the long-term success of an organisation, a society, a country, or a community of nations. It is sometimes about being unpopular, but it is never about ignoring the opinions of others. Neither is it about saying, “<a href="">There go the people. I must follow them because I am their leader!</a>”</p> <p>The risks of authoritarianism are well demonstrated by the murderous dictatorships of the twentieth century. But the perils of blind obedience to the popular will should not be neglected. These were starkly demonstrated in the Terror of the French Revolution, which coincided with and was the product of the most democratic phases of that revolution. Hence the ideal of ‘liberal democracy’ emerged. This sought to balance constitutional process, rule of law, and protections of the human rights of the individual against the shifting opinions and prejudices of majorities and the whims of arrogant government. </p> <p>There is little value in autocratic leaders who take only their own counsel, ignoring the knowledge and experiences of others. But likewise there is no added value in any leader who espouses blind obedience to the “will of the people”. They can be seamlessly replaced by any other random member of the mob. And yet, since 23 June 2016 this slavish devotion to an increasingly imaginary “will of the people” seems to be taking rapid hold in British politics in contravention to its previous traditions of liberal democracy. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The Terror of the French Revolution coincided with and was the product of the most democratic phases of that revolution.</p> <p>This has been most glaringly manifested by the appointment to high office of Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, Steve Baker and David Davis. These men could never be accused of applying intellectual rigour or moral courage to their leadership responsibilities. Their only function in government was to demonstrate some unity of purpose with that mystical “will of the people”. All but Liam Fox, probably the most craven and certainly the dimmest of the bunch, bailed from government when they realised that the UK’s negotiations with the EU would soon unequivocally prove them charlatans. Their fantastical promises of Brexit were about to be laid bare as the lies and cant that they always were.</p> <p>And yet the Brexit bandwagon rumbles on. The stark refusal of Jeremy Corbyn to give a straight answer to a simple question, repeatedly put to him, <a href="">“Do you honestly believe that Britain is better off outside of the EU?”</a> was a stunning abdication of both the responsibilities of leadership and of moral courage. It was instead an example of authoritarianism, using a decaying mandate as an excuse to pursue a narrow ideological agenda irrespective of alternative arguments and mounting evidence regarding just how damaging such a course will be. </p> <p>It is no excuse to say that in this Corbyn is merely <a href="">aping the utter failure of Theresa May to be honest with the British people on this issue</a>. From the economic devastation of Brexit May hopes to claim her dream of a permanently hostile environment to ‘foreigners’. Labour’s core constituency will get nothing but the utopian promise of “<a href="">socialism in one country</a>” one day … if they are ever elected to office. But so profoundly do Corbyn and his acolytes cling to that dream that they are prepared to forgo their primary responsibility of opposition to ensure that the ashes from which they believe it must grow, phoenix-like, are provided by the bonfire of workers’ rights and environmental protections that the Tories will seek to build following Brexit.</p> <p>Judged by their current performances, were either of these travesties of leadership – Corbyn and May – to be confronted with Churchill’s challenge in 1940 they would not have promised “blood, sweat, tears and toil”. They would instead have offered <a href="">jam</a>, <a href="">BLTs</a>, and unicorns, and <a href="">sought some path to appeasement for fear of upsetting domestic xenophobes and neo-fascists</a>. </p> <p>Brexit was a startlingly stupid idea on 22 June 2016. It remains a startlingly stupid idea even though a bare majority of referendum participants endorsed it the following day. No leader worth their salt does a single one of their followers any favours by refusing to acknowledge this increasingly obvious fact. And no human being who lacks the moral courage to say this, <a href="">as the food and medicine stockpiles grow</a>, should ever have the arrogance to put themselves forward as a leader.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/brexitinc/james-cusick-jenna-corderoy-peter-geoghegan/ex-brexit-minister-steve-baker-remained-in-">Ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker remained in charge of secretive Tory ultra faction </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/uk/john-weeks/brexit-disaster-narrative-whose-interest-does-it-serve">Brexit disaster narrative: whose interest does it serve? </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/anthony-barnett/why-brexit-won-t-work-eu-is-about-regulation-not-sovereignty">Why Brexit won’t work: the EU is about regulation not sovereignty </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/elisa-mosler-vidal/brexodus-uk-may-leave-eu-but-eu-may-already-be-leaving-uk">Brexodus: The UK may leave the EU, but the EU may already be leaving the UK</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/karen-latricia-hough/brexit-not-welcome-sign-for-forced-migrants">Brexit: a &#039;not welcome&#039; sign for forced migrants</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> UK Brexit Aidan McQuade Fri, 31 Aug 2018 10:10:05 +0000 Aidan McQuade 119495 at The anti-slavery charter and the global campaign to end slavery <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Slavery is about power and its unequal distribution. Anti-Slavery International has released a new charter that recognises that truth and lays out what's needed to start shifting that balance.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;"><a href="">torbakhopper/Flickr</a>. <a href="">CC (by)</a></p> <p>Anti-Slavery International exists to end slavery, so the&nbsp;<a href="">Anti-Slavery Charter</a> we publish today touches on the essence of everything we do.</p> <p>Slavery is a political issue: in a very fundamental way it is about power, or, more precisely, the exclusion from power of groups of people so that they can be enslaved.</p> <p>It is sometimes a result of the cataclysm of armed conflicts as we see in the tragic histories of Sudan, Syria and Nigeria. But slavery also exists because of the way we have chosen to establish national and international laws, policies and customs relating to development, employment, trade and business. It is in the opportunities provided by these systems that slavery flourishes.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Slavery also exists because of the way we have chosen to establish national and international laws, policies and customs relating to development, employment, trade and business.</p> <p>For example, we see this when we consider the experiences of women exploited as domestic workers in the UK as a result of visas that are effectively tied to unscrupulous employers. In other words UK visa regulations directly facilitate enslavement.</p> <p>We also see this in states such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, where the exploitation enabled by tied visas is compounded by restrictions on forming democratic trade unions that could fight for decent work for the tens of thousands of South Asians in construction and domestic work there.</p> <p>Of course those states that enact measures that allow the enslavement of others would likely deny vehemently that the consequences are slavery. Slavery flourishes particularly well when it is not called slavery. For example, when it is conducted under the guise of marriage. This is a form of slavery that overwhelmingly affects girls and young women, and because it affects girls and women this is a form of slavery that is poorly acknowledged as such.</p> <p>But the toleration of forced child marriage represents such a fundamental denial of the rights of millions of girls that it provides a fertile ground for the evolution of yet more egregious abuses such as the misogynistic depredations of Boko Haram and Islamic State. Ending forced child marriage is critical to advancing and promoting the rights of women and girls, and hence in ending slavery.</p> <h2>Empower the vulnerable</h2> <p>Of course, the corollary of the insight that slavery is about power and exclusion from power is that those approaches that are most likely to successfully reduce slavery are ones that empower those most vulnerable to it.</p> <p>Education is fundamental. One of the reasons we see so much child labour, for example, in the agricultural sector of the global south is that there are not enough schools, and where there are schools the quality of the education they provide is poor.</p> <p>Hence there must be a paradigm shift in the provision of education in particular to slavery vulnerable communities, such as the Dalits and Adavasi of South Asia. Girls’ rights must become central to education policy and practice in a way that they have never been, both in the provision of infrastructure – including separate, safe, sanitation facilities for girls – and in the curriculum. Human rights education must be foundational to break down the prejudices which contribute to the exploitation and violence that women and girls face every day. Girls and boys should be provided with vocational and entrepreneurial education so that it provides greater opportunities for economic empowerment once they leave formal schooling.</p> <p>Given the political nature of slavery a major part of the work of Anti-Slavery International is about challenging governments to change the ways they govern, businesses to change the ways they operate, and development and humanitarian policy makers and practitioners to recognise slavery as the fundamental issue of poverty that it is.</p> <p>Too frequently efforts against slavery are narrowly focused, for example, simply on passing legislation, or on its criminal justice aspects. But the causes of slavery are broader than these, and without proper understanding of this, anti-slavery efforts can be woefully inadequate.</p> <p>Hence Anti-Slavery has drafted a new charter, based on our decades of research and work against slavery, forced and child labour. The charter highlights some of the most fundamental measures that must be enacted in order to end the sorts of slavery abuses described above.</p> <p>The charter is broadly focused to respond to the wide range of processes that render people vulnerable to slavery across the world today. Consequently we believe it provides a blueprint for effective and comprehensive anti-slavery action.</p> <p>We invite other NGOs, trades unions, businesses, governments and international organisations to endorse this charter as a first step in a renewed effort to end slavery. And we challenge all those who claim to be concerned with the enslavement of so many millions across the world to match their words with urgent action.</p> <p>Together, we can end slavery once and for all.</p> <p><strong>What the Anti-Slavery Charter calls for:</strong></p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p>• Rule of law shall be assured</p> <p>• Discrimination shall be prohibited</p> </div> <p><strong>States:</strong></p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p>• National legislation shall criminalise all forms of slavery</p> <p>• … shall protect individuals from slavery</p> <p>• … and shall advance access to decent work</p> <p>• Will protect vulnerable workers</p> <p>• Freedom of Association shall be guaranteed</p> <p>• Immigration law and policy which maintains or increases an individuals’ vulnerability to exploitation and slavery shall be prohibited</p> <p>• The rights of children shall be upheld</p> <p>• Forced marriage shall be prohibited</p> </div> <p><strong>Humanitarian and Development Actors:</strong></p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p>• will recognise slavery as a fundamental issue of poverty</p> </div> <p><strong>Business responsibilities:</strong></p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p>• Full transparency of national and international business supply chains shall be established and enforced</p> <p>• Recruitment agencies and practices shall be appropriately regulated</p> </div> <p><strong>International:</strong></p> <div style="margin-left:25px;text-indent:-8px;"> <p>• Goods tainted by slavery, forced and child labour shall be forbidden</p> </div> <p><strong>Read the full&nbsp;<a href="">Anti-Slavery Charter</a>. If you would like to&nbsp;add your name to the Charter please contact Anti-Slavery director Aidan McQuade at&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</strong></p> <blockquote> <p>This article was <a href="">originally published</a> on 6 July 2017 at</p> </blockquote> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/joel-quirk/rhetoric-and-reality-of-%E2%80%98ending-slavery-in-our-lifetime%E2%80%99">The rhetoric and reality of ‘ending slavery in our lifetime’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sally-engle-merry/how-big-is-trafficking-problem-mysteries-of-quantification">How big is the trafficking problem? The mysteries of quantification</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/julia-o-connell-davidson-sam-okyere/walk-free-measuring-global-slavery-or-masking-glob">Walk Free: measuring global slavery, or masking global hypocrisy?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/manfred-liebel/trust-in-our-own-strength-impressions-of-african-movement-of-working-ch">Trust in our own strength: the African Movement of Working Children and Youth in Senegal</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/andrew-crane/brexit-as-driver-of-modern-slavery">Brexit as a driver of modern slavery?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/jeffrey-vogt/efforts-to-clean-up-global-supply-chains-so-far-come-up-short">Efforts to clean up global supply chains so far come up short</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Aidan McQuade Thu, 13 Jul 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Aidan McQuade 112200 at Aidan McQuade <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Aidan McQuade </div> </div> </div> <p><span>Dr Aidan McQuade was CEO of Anti-Slavery International from 2006 to 2017, and prior to that worked extensively in development and humanitarian response for 13 years, including 5 years leading humanitarian operations in response to the civil war in Angola. He is a experienced researcher on business and human rights, with a PhD on the subject of ethics in professional practice. He is also an acknowledged expert on slavery and forced labour, with an honorary OBE for his work on elimination of modern slavery. His work has included extensive and sustained engagement with international businesses on establishing anti-slavery policies and practices in their supply chains, ground breaking work that has exposed the caste and gender aspects of modern slavery, and innovative work, particularly in Myanmar and Bangladesh on slavery as a development and humanitarian issue.&nbsp;</span></p> Aidan McQuade Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:44:43 +0000 Aidan McQuade 112202 at