2021: More troubles likely

Most people expect that the economy of 2021 will be an improvement from 2020. I don’t think so. Perhaps COVID-19 will be somewhat better, but other aspects of the economy will likely be worse.

Back in November 2020, I showed a chart illustrating the path that energy consumption seems to be on. The sharp downturn in energy consumption has occurred partly because the cost of oil, gas and coal production tends to rise, since the portion that is least expensive to extract and ship tends to be removed first.

At the same time, prices that energy producers are able to charge their customers don’t rise enough to compensate for their higher costs. Ultimate customers are ordinary wage earners, and their wages are not escalating as rapidly as fossil fuel production and delivery costs. It is the low selling price of fossil fuels, relative to the rising cost of production, that causes a collapse in the production of fossil fuels. This is the crisis we are now facing.

Figure 1. Estimate by Gail Tverberg of World Energy Consumption from 1820 to 2050. Amounts for earliest years based on estimates in Vaclav Smil’s book Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospectsand BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy for the years 1965 to 2019. Energy consumption for 2020 is estimated to be 5% below that for 2019. Energy for years after 2020 is assumed to fall by 6.6% per year, so that the amount reaches a level similar to renewables only by 2050. Amounts shown include more use of local energy products (wood and animal dung) than BP includes.

With lower energy consumption, many things tend to go wrong at once: The rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Protests and uprisings become more common. The poorer citizens and those already in poor health become more vulnerable to communicable diseases. Governments feel a need to control their populations, partly to keep down protests and partly to prevent the further spread of disease.

If we look at the situation shown on Figure 1 on a per capita basis, the graph doesn’t look quite as steep, because lower energy consumption tends to bring down population. This reduction in population can come from many different causes, including illnesses, fewer babies born, less access to medical care, inadequate clean water and starvation.

Figure 2. Amounts shown in Figure 1, divided by population estimates by Angus Maddison for earliest years and by 2019 United Nations population estimates for years to 2020. Future population estimated to be falling half as quickly as energy supply is falling in Figure 1. World population drops to 2.8 billion by 2050.

What Is Ahead for 2021?

In many ways, it is good that we really don’t know what is ahead for 2021. All aspects of GDP production require energy consumption. A huge drop in energy consumption is likely to mean disruption in the world economy of varying types for many years to come. If the situation is likely to be bad, many of us don’t really want to know how bad.

We know that many civilizations have had the same problem that the world does today. It usually goes by the name “Collapse” or “Overshoot and Collapse.” The problem is that the population becomes too large for the resource base. At the same time, available resources may degrade (soils erode or lose fertility, mines deplete, fossil fuels become harder to extract). Eventually, the economy becomes so weakened that any minor disturbance – attack from an outside army, or shift in weather patterns, or communicable disease that raises the death rate a bit – threatens to bring down the whole system. I see our current economic problem as much more of an energy problem than a COVID-19 problem.

We know that when earlier civilizations collapsed, the downfall tended not to happen all at once. Based on an analysis by Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov in their book, Secular Cycles, economies tended to first hit a period of stagflation, for perhaps 40 or 50 years. In a way, today’s economy has been in a period of stagflation since the 1970s, when it became apparent that oil was becoming more difficult to extract. To hide the problem, increasing debt was issued at ever-lower interest rates.

According to Turchin and Nefedov, the stagflation stage eventually moves into a steeper “crisis” period, marked by overturned governments, debt defaults, and falling population. In the examples analyzed by Turchin and Nefedov, this crisis portion of the cycle took 20 to 50 years. It seems to me that the world economy reached the beginning of the crisis period in 2020 when lockdowns in response to the novel coronavirus pushed the weakened world economy down further.

The examples examined by Turchin and Nefedov occurred in the time period before fossil fuels were widely used. It may very well be that the current collapse takes place more rapidly than those in the past, because of dependency on international supply lines and an international banking system. The world economy is also very dependent on electricity–something that may not last. Thus, there seems to be a chance that the crisis phase may last a shorter length of time than 20 to 50 years. It likely won’t last only a year or two, however. The economy can be expected to fall apart, but somewhat slowly. The big questions are, “How slowly?” “Can some parts continue for years, while others disappear quickly?”

Some Kinds of Things to Expect in 2021 (and beyond)

[1] More overturned governments and attempts at overturned governments.

With increasing wage disparity, there tend to be more and more unhappy workers at the bottom end of the wage distribution. At the same time, there are likely to be people who are unhappy with the need for high taxes to try to fix the problems of the people at the bottom end of the wage distribution. Either of these groups can attempt to overturn their government if the government’s handling of current problems is not to the group’s liking.

[2] More debt defaults.

During the stagflation period that the world economy has been through, more and more debt has been added at ever-lower interest rates. Much of this huge amount of debt relates to property that is no longer of much use (airplanes without passengers; office buildings that are no longer needed because people now work at home; restaurants without enough patrons; factories without enough orders). Governments will try to avoid defaults as long as possible, but eventually, the unreasonableness of this situation will prevail. The impact of defaults can be expected to affect many parts of the economy, including banks, insurance companies and pension plans.

[3] Extraordinarily slow progress in defeating COVID-19.

There seems to be a significant chance that COVID-19 is lab-made. In fact, the many variations of COVID-19 may also be lab made. Researchers around the world have been studying “Gain of Function” in viruses for more than 20 years, allowing the researchers to “tweak” viruses in whatever way they desire. There seem to be several variations on the original virus now. A suicidal/homicidal researcher could decide to “take out” as many other people as possible, by creating yet another variation on COVID-19.

To make matters worse, immunity to coronaviruses in general doesn’t seem to be very long lasting. An October 2020 article says, 35-year study hints that coronavirus immunity doesn’t last long. Analyzing other corona viruses, it concluded that immunity tends to disappear quite quickly, leading to an annual cycle of illnesses such as colds. There seems to be a substantial chance that COVID-19 will return on an annual basis. If vaccines generate a similar immunity pattern, we will be facing an issue of needing new vaccines, every year, as we do with flu.

[4] Cutbacks on education of many kinds.

Many people getting advanced degrees find that the time and expense did not lead to an adequate financial reward afterwards. At the same time, universities find that there are not many grants to support faculty, outside of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) fields. With this combination of problems, universities with limited budgets make the financial decision to reduce or eliminate programs with reduced student interest and no outside funding.

At the same time, if local school districts find themselves short of funds, they may choose to use distance learning, simply to save money. This type of cutback could affect grade school children, especially in poor areas.

[5] Increasing loss of the top layers of governments.

It takes money/energy to support extra layers of government. The UK is now completely out of the European Union. We can expect to see more changes of this type. The UK may dissolve into smaller regions. Other parts of the EU may leave. This problem could affect many countries around the world, such as China or countries of the Middle East.

[6] Less globalization; more competition among countries.

Every country is struggling with the problem of not enough jobs that pay well. This is really an energy-related problem. Instead of co-operating, countries will tend to increasingly compete, in the hope that their country can somehow get a larger share of the higher-paying jobs. Tariffs will continue to be popular.

[7] More empty shelves in stores.

In 2020, we discovered that supply lines can break, making it impossible to purchase products a person expects. In fact, new governmental rules can have the same impact, for example, if a country bans travel to its country. We should expect more of this in 2021, and in the years ahead.

[8] More electrical outages, especially in locations where reliance on intermittent wind and solar for electricity is high.

In most places in the world, oil products were available before electricity. On the way down, we should expect to see the reverse of this pattern: Electricity will disappear first because it is hardest to maintain a constant supply. Oil will be available, at least as long as is electricity.

There is a popular belief that we will “run out of oil,” and that renewable electricity can be a solution. I do not think that intermittent electricity can be a solution for anything. It works poorly. At most, it acts as a temporary extender to fossil fuel-provided electricity.

[9] Possible hyperinflation, as countries issue more and more debt and no longer trust each other.

I often say that I expect oil and energy prices to stay low, but this doesn’t really hold if many countries around the world issue more and more government debt as a way to try to keep businesses from failing, debt from defaulting, and stock market prices inflated. There is a danger that all prices will inflate, and that sellers of products will no longer accept the hyperinflated currency that countries around the world are trying to provide.

My concern is that international trade will break down to a significant extent as hyperinflation of all currencies becomes a problem. The higher prices of oil and other energy products won’t really lead to any more production because prices of all goods and services will be inflating at the same time; fossil fuel producers will not get any special benefit from these higher prices.

If a significant loss of trade occurs, there will be even more empty shelves because there is very little any one country can make on its own. Without adequate goods, population loss may be very high.

[10] New ways of countries trying to fight with each other.

When there are not enough resources to go around, historically, wars have been fought. I expect wars will continue to be fought, but the approaches will “look different” than in the past. They may involve tariffs on imported goods. They may involve the use of laboratory-made viruses. They may involve attacking the internet of another country, or its electrical distribution system. There may be no officially declared war. Strange things may simply take place that no one understands, without realizing that the country is being attacked.

Conclusion

We seem to be headed for very bumpy waters in the years ahead, including 2021. Our real problem is an energy problem that we do not have a solution for.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,045 Responses to 2021: More troubles likely

  1. Fred says:

    Interesting article on US electricity new generation forecast & retiring capacity. New is mostly renewables and the bulk of that is solar. Note that 4.5 GW of utility scale battery storage is going in.

    https://wolfstreet.com/2021/01/12/electricity-generating-capacity-additions-retirements-2021-change-u-s-power-mix/

    In Australia the no of national market regulator interventions needed to stabilise the grid has shot up in the last 3 years.

    However they are putting initiatives in place to reduce demand when needed. E.g. as a residential customer you can sign up to get a bonus for cutting your usage in designated peak periods. In NSW they also ask the Tomago aluminium smelter to turn down, as it consumes 10% of total state usage.

    As rural customers we’re at the end of v.long transmission tails, so when the grid starts to fail, we’ll probably be among the first to be sacrificed. Just keeping the lines clear of trees is a huge job.

    The question is when to splurge on our own off-grid battery system . . .

    • The real problem is having enough heat in winter. In fact, having enough electricity in winter for cooking and other uses can be a problem as well. You likely need to upsize you solar panels as well as add batteries.

  2. JoJo says:

    Biden impeachment to be filed first day, It might succeed. Gets Kamala in a little faster than they wanted but what the heck.

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/huAEdg8fNuOV/

    • This is a video called, “REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: ‘ON JAN 21 I WILL BE FILLING ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT ON JOE BIDEN'”

      I had to rescue the video from my spam folder.

  3. Jan Steinman says:

    “CoViD from a lab” doesn’t seem to fit Occam’s Razor.

    Our increasing numbers put us in increasingly close contact with wild animals we almost never contacted before. That seems to be the more likely source.

    • Rick O. Shay says:

      All Occam’s Razor is suggesting is the simplest answer is usually the correct one, which doesn’t answer the question of whether it came from a lab or jumped from another species to people. There is a snipet in the virus from HIV, it is a combination of two different bat viruses, it mutates to its advantage and has spread around the world.

      I’ll take it came from a lab.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        > I’ll take it came from a lab.

        I know people who have religious like beliefs are unresponsive to logic. However, those who still have the ability to think might consider the logic of what you are saying.

        We have seen the virus mutate into more contagious versions. If it was designed in a lab, why didn’t they make the more contagious version in the first place?

        • They didn’t know exactly what they were getting. Researchers have working on modifying viruses for over 20 years. What Wuhan got as a SARS-2 virus was pretty contagious to begin with, compared to the earlier SARS-1. If I remember correctly, there have been allegations that SARS-1 was lab made.

          With respect to the current SARS-2 virus, there seemed to be a natural mutation that made it much more contagious in Europe, shortly after it left China. This is a big reason why the number of cases has been so high outside of China, compared to inside of China, in my opinion.

          Clearly, more contagious natural mutations will tend to be selected, as long as not many of the hosts are actually killed.

          My impression is that the new versions in the last few weeks/months reflect more changes in the virus than might be expected by natural mutations over a short period. I would think that they might be lab “improvements.”

        • Lidia17 says:

          If the “more contagious” strain doesn’t make people any more ill, who cares?

          One strain is muscling out others in the mix; it doesn’t mean people are getting sicker, or that more people are getting sick. Just because crabgrass outcompetes regular grass in your lawn doesn’t mean you are going to die of crabgrass.


          Whether covid was designed to be a bioweapon and whether it actually happens to work as such are two completely different stories to be investigated.

          More important, the virus doesn’t need to be very deadly to have been the excuse for bringing society to its knees in just a few weeks. It’s basically as deadly as seasonal flu (see Ioannides). This is what Fauci himself predicted!!

          It doesn’t matter whether it ACTUALLY kills a billion people, as long as people THINK it’s going to kill a billion people.

          It’s really a genius plan, when you think about it…

    • Xabier says:

      I hope your little farm is doing well, Jan.

      Occam’s Razor is a very useful tool, but is not to be regarded as authoritative, least of all in something as murky as this whole affair.

      The origins of the virus are not really of much relevance any more, now we are so far into the ‘pandemic’ response cycle and locked into it as far as one can see, whatever economic damage it does.

      The use which is being made of it by governments – and other interested parties – is far more pressing a matter for observation and analysis.

      Another point, perhaps, is that the ‘Evil mankind has gone to far and and a re-set is imperative ‘, while being perfectly defensible intellectually (we have gone too far!) is now part of the official narrative – this alone should sound the alarm.

    • It really doesn’t matter whether this particular virus was made in a lab. The issue is that many governments have been experimenting in this area for over 20 years. One purpose for these studies was to provide a better way of doing immunizations for diseases such as AIDS. A corona virus which would easily affect humans could be used as a carrier to bring the vaccine into humans. These studies seemed to involve piecing together parts of different viruses.

      There have been several instances of lab-made viruses accidentally escaping, including from a lab in Wuhan. Countries involved in this effort include at least the US, Canada, France, Australia, and China. You may not have seen this chronology I posted recently in the comments.

      1999 Dr. Ralph Baric University of North Carolina – Conducts Corona Virus studies

      March 2003 Hong Kong reports a deadly new virus outbreak

      2003 – The U.S. CDC (Center for Disease Control) guided by Dr. Baric and Dr. Anthony Fauchi realized that a disease [that could be easily manipulated] had the potential for good and bad, but if controlled ……could be very valuable.

      The CDC set out to patent it. Making sure they had total proprietary ownership.
      Patents were applied for:

      – Corona Virus – (US 7220852 – 2004)
      – Methods of Detection (US 7776521 Aug 2010) and
      – Methods of Production (US 7279327 October 2007)

      With the patents, the CDC had the Means, Motive, and potential Monetary Gain to turn the virus from a pathogen to a profit.

      2007 However, the CDC and NIH (National Institute of Health) researchers began to realize they had a big problem:

      If the virus was “natural”, it could not be patented.
      And if “manufactured” it was A BIOLOGICAL WEAPON!
      Either way…The Virus and everything related with it was highly illegal.
      So the CDC filed a Petition with the Patent office to keep the patents Confidential and Private.

      2012 -2013 Suddenly, all Federal Grant funds for Covid virus research were suspended. However, some lab work still continued.

      2014 – 2019 NIH sub-contracted Covid research with the Wuhan Virology Labs (China)
      with $3.37 million for further research (NIH Project #1 RO 1A 1110064-01 – Peter Daszak)

      2019 Corona virus escapes from Wuhan Labs into an unsuspecting world-wide public.

  4. Jan Steinman says:

    35-year study hints that coronavirus immunity doesn’t last long.

    There are also other opinions.

    • Jarle says:

      “35-year study hints that coronavirus immunity doesn’t last long.”

      Who cares, these viruses are only dangerous if your already on deaths doorstep.

      • Rodster says:

        Correct and one of life’s little nuggets is that eventually death finds everyone. You are more likely to die from something else than Covid.

        • Xabier says:

          More likely to die of the ‘anti-Covid’ measures, in fact……

          Project Fear is working though: yesterday. people in town were jumping all over the road to avoid me either on my bike or foot – I had no mask on.

          They were trying to obey the new recommendation to keep at least 3 metres away.Young people, at zero risk more or less!

          Unclean, unclean! (Rings bell).

          I just had to cough to really panic them. Wicked, I know.

          Mass brainwashing really works.

          • Jarle says:

            “I just had to cough to really panic them. Wicked, I know.”

            I have done the unmasked cough as well, wicked and I love it!

          • ElbowWilham says:

            I do a lot of trail running in the foothills right outside my city. Yesterday was bright and sunny with a slight breeze, about 45 degrees F. People on the trail would put their mask up and jump off the trail as I ran by them, like that will protect them for the 1 second it takes me to pass by. I’m just spewing virus particles as I run, heh!

            I don’t get it. If they are that afraid how do they leave their house?

  5. Rick O. Shay says:

    https://www.usdebtclock.org/

    Current US Debt: 27.8 Trillion
    Debt when Trump took office: 19.5T
    Difference: 8.3T
    That’s over 2 Trillion further in debt each year he was in office, thanks in great part to the biggest tax cut in the history of the planet (for the super wealthy) & Covid relief from hunkering down to avoid contamination. Not sure the increasing debt per year will be any better with Biden, as he is suggesting a massive plan that will cost T’s.

    Also, the CEO of Moderna said today that Covid-19 was here forever, meaning no way to get rid of it completely. Even their vaccine only protects for they guess between 3 months and 1 year, so that means eternally vaccinating people and concocting new vaccines to fight the virus as it mutates.

    Also, last year was 1.25C above pre-industrial temps, which is only .25C above the limit set by the Paris Accord.

    We’re in a heap of trouble folks.

  6. Bei Dawei says:

    “Alex” is funny (and relevant) today:

    https://www.alexcartoon.com/index.cfm?cartoon_num=7820

  7. Fast Eddy says:

    Woooooahhhhhh ……. and then there was … Martial Law!!!

    This is actually beyond any martial law declaration I am aware of … this is mass incarceration. An entire country is now under house arrest. And they are so dumb that most of them will be happy with this because they want to Stay Safe!

    Not their fault – they probably don’t know about this https://www.aier.org/article/lockdowns-do-not-control-the-coronavirus-the-evidence/

    Lebanon begins 11-day, 24-hour curfew

    An 11-day nationwide shutdown and round-the-clock curfew begins today in Lebanon, where residents must now request special permission to allowed to leave the house and even supermarkets are closed.

    According to an Associated Press wire report, police were manning checkpoints around the country, checking drivers’ permits. The curfew is the strictest since the start of the pandemic.

    Even supermarkets were told to close their doors and open for delivery only.

    There you have it folks. Martial Law 1.0 ‘The Dry Run’

    Wanna bet there is more to come?

    Let me guess, since the shops are closed The Government will promise that food gets delivered to people.

    Slowly ratchet up the fear and the severity of the lockdowns and prep the sheeple for the slaughter… or better termed .. Operation Holodomor (that was also a planned starvation too — the pesky Ukrainians wouldn’t play ball with the master so they were denied food).

    Ya the food will get delivered in Lebanon. But you are getting a look at the future – your future.

    The end game involves all of us being locked down 24/7… food will initially be delivered… but then one day… it won’t come. It will be promised tomorrow — always tomorrow. And if you dare to break curfew well… your neighbour will snitch on you and you’ll be heavily fined, or jailed… or if you resist, shot dead.

    Stay Tuned for further episodes of The Stupid Humans Go Extinct. Good riddance!!!

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/wdFjkwDno1o/hqdefault.jpg

  8. theedrich says:

    “Strange things may simply take place that no one understands, without realizing that the country is being attacked.” — Actually, the United States has been waging undeclared and “false flag” wars against many nations and sub-nations for a long, long time. It also maintains a great many “mini-bases” inside the military bases of other, especially 3rd-World nations who leaders we bribe. The reason is to be able to deny that we have any true bases outside of our own nation. Never mind that our government has long been spying on its own citizens (see Snowden on this), effectively establishing an Orwellian control over them, with the complicity of the social media and mainstream TV propaganda outlets. It is also fatuous to believe that the D.C. government is not devising countless biological warfare agents for use “in defense of democracy.” The inflationary nightmares promised by the incoming administration will only hasten the general collapse. It will be difficult to know whether we are being attacked by one or more outside nations, or by our own.

  9. Mirror on the wall says:

    A new poll is out in Scotland and it seems that Gail is correct that the UK is likely to devolve to its parts.

    An eighteenth poll in a row finds majority support for Scottish independence. The latest SavantaComRes poll puts support for independence at 57%. Other recent polls have found similar levels of support of up to 58%. Such a high figure is no longer an ‘outlier’ in polls but the new norm.

    The poll also finds that a majority of Scots want an independence referendum before the end of the next Holyrood administration – within the next five years. Voters are set to return an SNP majority in May on a platform of an independence referendum within that timescale. Clearly it will not be possible for TP to deny Scots their say on the future of their own country.

    > SavantaComRes independence poll: Support for Yes and SNP sky-high

    SUPPORT for Scottish independence remains at record-breaking levels, a new poll has confirmed.

    SavantaComRes research for the Scotsman puts backing for Yes at 57% once don’t knows are removed. That’s compared to 43% of Scots who said they would vote No if a referendum was held tomorrow.

    Even when undecideds are included, 51% of respondents said they would vote Yes, compared to 38% No.

    It is the 18th consecutive poll to show majority support for independence.

    The survey also shows the SNP are on track for a landslide victory in May’s election.

    Some 40% of those asked want a second independence referendum within two years, with the majority (52%) believing it should happen before the 2026 Holyrood election.

    READ MORE: John Curtice says Nigel Farage’s Reform UK WILL split Unionist vote

    Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the pandemic is credited with driving up support for independence and the SNP.

    The latest Holyrood constituency voting intention shows more than half of likely voters will choose the SNP (53%) in May, with 19% opting for the Tories and 18% for Labour.

    https://www.thenational.scot/news/19010505.savantacomres-independence-poll-support-yes-snp-soaring/

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      Reuters has picked up on the scale of this poll.

      SNP is set for its largest ever majority at Holyrood with 71 of 129 seats (55%).

      > Scottish nationalists set for record majority, boosting independence push

      LONDON (Reuters) – Scottish nationalists are on course to win a record majority in elections for Scotland’s devolved parliament that would start a new push for independence, an opinion poll published on Thursday showed.

      Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and head of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, will claim a mandate for another independence referendum if her party performs strongly in the elections scheduled for May 6.

      The SNP is expected to win 71 of 129 seats in the Scottish parliament, eight seats more than it won in the last election in 2016, according to the poll carried out by Savanta ComRes and published in The Scotsman newspaper.

      The only other time the SNP has won a majority was in 2011 when it won 69 seats under former leader Alex Salmond.

      If Scotland voted for independence it would mean the United Kingdom would lose about a third of its landmass and almost a tenth of its population – just as the world’s sixth-biggest economy is grappling with the impact of Brexit.

      The Savanta ComRes poll found 57% of people would vote for Scottish independence in a new referendum, close to a record high.

      The poll was based on responses from 1,016 people in Scotland between Jan. 8 and 13.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/britain-scotland-poll/scottish-nationalists-set-for-record-majority-boosting-independence-push-idUSL8N2JP224

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      It seems that LP is committing to a complete decentralisation of UK into a regional federation. Keir Starmer last month announced the “boldest devolution project in a generation”.

      Wales LP and LP representatives from the English regions have today taken the initiative with a new report on the matter.

      Scotland and NI will soon be leaving UK, so this federal project will concern the English regions and Wales at most. Support for Welsh independence has already risen to a third, so it may ultimately concern only a decentralised federation of the English regions.

      Constitutional reform is key: Labour needs an agenda for a radical federal UK

      …. First Minister and Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford will today give an introduction to a report published by an independent group of Labour members and civic activists proposing a new agenda, a ‘radical federalism’. At the heart of the report lies a frustration with the narrowness of the current choices and options for reform and the absence of a clear Labour strategy for reform.

      Decentralisation of power is at the core of the paper, together with the empowerment of people and communities over the decision-making processes that affect our lives. This isn’t a new philosophy. Aneurin Bevan, architect of our NHS, wrote many decades ago that the purpose of securing power was to give it away. Devolution has contributed to this process in Wales and Scotland but has now reached the limits of its useful purpose.

      Merely creating parliaments in Scotland, Wales and England as mirror image versions of Westminster will not in the future deliver the scale of empowerment we all want to see without the continuance of strategic decentralisation and an expansive role for local government. The paper calls for governance across the UK to be transformed in the way that we govern ourselves, how we sustain and protect the environment and how we safeguard and extend fairness, justice and equality throughout the nations, regions and communities of the UK. This decentralisation would be aimed at delivering power, wealth and opportunity back into the hands of people and communities. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham recently summed up the growing resentment in the regions of England: “What we need,” he said, “is more devolution so that more places like Greater Manchester can be masters of their own destiny”.

      The structure of the UK would be based on a voluntary union of nations with subsidiarity at the core, so that a reformed federal UK would only carry out those strategic tasks that could not be best performed at a more local level. A fair share of resources and prosperity across the UK with a needs-based financial settlement and a UK-wide framework would guarantee minimum and common standards in health, social welfare, human rights, education and housing. The Lords would go, to be replaced by a modern and effective chamber of the nations and regions, and there would be an end to the patronage and privilege that has been increasingly abused over the past decade. Inherent in any reform would be European-style improvements to industrial democracy and the establishment of ethical employment standards….

      https://labourlist.org/2021/01/constitutional-reform-is-key-labour-needs-an-agenda-for-a-radical-federal-uk/

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        The Plaid has dismissed today’s LP federal study, which is clearly intended to maintain LP influence.

        LP knows that it is less likely to govern in England without Scottish and Wales voters. LP is basically finished in Scotland with just 1 Westminster MP out of 59 but it still fancies its chances in Wales where it holds 22 of 40.

        LP would find it more difficult to form a Westminster government without Wales but it remains strong in English regions like the Midlands and North, so it makes sense for LP to try to hold Wales within a federal UK and in any case to decentralise those English regions. LP may even wish that it could rebuild in Scotland if independence were avoided through federalism but that really is fantasy. It is all partisan strategy on the part of LP.

        > Federalism means ‘right-wing economics and illegal wars’ says Plaid Cymru leader

        Adam Price MS took aim at a report co-authored by Labour Senedd member Mick Antoniw and said his ideas were “not radical.”

        The idea has been dismissed by Mr Price who believes that the case for independence is “rich and robust”.

        He said: “Federalism is not radical. It means right-wing economics and illegal wars we never voted for. The case for independence is not ‘sparse and ill-thought out’ but rich and robust. Support is growing every day. It’s time to get on board or get out of the way.”

        Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Public Service Transformation, Delyth Jewell MS said: “These are yesterday’s ideas from yesterday’s party. Labour had thirteen years in power in Westminster to deliver radical devolution for Wales and failed.

        “They again promised a “radical extension of devolution” in 2017, as did Keir Starmer during his leadership campaign only to now deny Scotland’s right to hold a new referendum on independence.

        “A broken record won’t save a broken union. Time and again they have voted in the UK Parliament against more powers for the Senedd.

        “The Labour Party is quickly being overtaken by events and the desires of the people of Wales – including half of their membership – to see our nation have full control over deciding its own future.

        “More and more people want independence for Wales but if they want it, they have to vote for it in the Senedd elections.

        “The common goals of social justice, a greener future and a nation free from Westminster rule means that there is a home in Plaid Cymru for everyone who believes in the most radical and meaningful devolution of all – an independent Wales.”

      • Tim Groves says:

        So, they are still busy trying to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic. That should help keep the plebs occupied while energy contraction at 6% per annum takes its relentless toll on their quality of life.

        What if Boris tells the Scots that they can have their independence with the proviso that the Prince of Wales is crowned as the new King of Scotland while seated on the recently returned Stone of Scone. Perhaps that would make them reconsider.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Tim, I really like that idea. Perhaps with the Prince of Wales in Scotland we can forget him and his four foreign grandparents, and put an Englishman on England’s throne, for the first time since 1485.

    • ElbowWilham says:

      Why is there so much discussion about Scotland on this blog?

Leave a Reply