Skip to main content

Semi-Skimmed Democracy: Stories from the Whitstable Times

CJ Stone is an author and columnist, with seven books to his credit. He lives in Whitstable and currently writes for the Whitstable Gazette.


1. Semi-skimmed democracy


I am having to re-write the opening of this story after several people informed me that I was giving out false information. In the original version I suggested that in order to create semi-skimmed milk, all you had to do was to add water to full-cream milk, and thus save yourself money. It was a debating point and an analogy as this story isn’t really about milk. It is about democracy.

So let me start by saying that you cannot make semi-skimmed milk by adding water to full-cream milk. Semi-skimmed milk has as much protein and milk sugars as full-cream milk, it just has less saturated fat.

However it doesn’t taste anywhere near as good, at least to this jaded, old-fashioned palate, and in order to get the right colour in a cup of tea, you have to add more semi-skimmed milk, thus increasing the fat content and costing you more money. Plus the milk-producers, having taken off the heavy cream from the milk, now have two products to sell, and yet they still charge the same for semi-skimmed milk as they do for full-cream milk. They have the milk fats, with which they make butter, and the milk, which they still sell to you at the same price.

This is only one of the many puzzles I find myself wrestling with on a daily basis. Here’s another one. Why does brown rice cost more than white rice? Think about it. Brown rice has gone through one less process than white rice. It is that much less refined. So how come they charge us more for it when it takes less work?

The same goes for brown bread and brown flour, though not for brown sugar, which also contains molasses, a saleable by-product in its own right.

And here’s another puzzle. Whenever you hear a discussion about organic farming on the TV or the radio, people almost invariably refer to the alternative as “traditional farming”.

So what is so traditional about the use of high concentrations of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on our land, or the ripping up of hedgerows to make larger and larger fields? They’ll be telling us that genetic engineering is "traditional medicine" next, or that rule by the wealthy few is "traditional democracy".

The world is full of conundrums. Like: why is it that, despite successive changes of government throughout the years, things seem only to get worse? Isn’t there one politician out there with the vision to change things for the better?

Or: why is it that our Council Tax increases above the rate of inflation every year, while the service gets worse?

I don’t know. I just keep asking the questions, but no one seems to have any answers.

How come, despite all these wars meant to make our world more secure, we are, in fact, less secure?

And here’s the weirdest one of all: how come, despite the fact that we live in a democracy, we are powerless to do anything about it? What else does democracy mean if it’s not that we, the people, have the power? Or is it the case that, actually, this so-called democracy is just a front and that some other system is at work?

Check out the word “oligarchy” in your dictionary if you want a proper definition of the political system under which we actually labour.

It’s from the Greek, and it means rule by the few.

In modern terms, “the few” are a political and economic elite who cream off the wealth for themselves.

In other words, what we are being sold is a form of semi-skimmed democracy.

It’s watered down; but, hey, it’s supposed to be good for us isn’t it?

Scroll to Continue

2. Exxon Mobil


At the same time that experts have been warning that the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting and that climate change is now unstoppable, with possibly devastating implications for the future of mankind, Exxon Mobil profits were reported to be up by 41% to $36 billion, a new world record.

That’s $99 million a day, or $4 million an hour, or $68,493 a minute, or $1,142 a second.

This makes the gas and oil giant the 49th biggest economy on Earth, with profits ahead of the gross national product of some 125 countries.

Bigger than Nigeria or Finland or Peru or New Zealand for instance. Bigger than Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Kuwait or Slovenia. Bigger than Ethiopia, Croatia, Guatemala or Ecuador. Bigger than most countries on the planet.

Just to get this into perspective: Nigeria has a population of nearly 140 million. In other words, a company employing 126,000, with a Board of Directors consisting of twelve people, has more income, more power, more economic clout than the entire population of Nigeria. Add to this the fact that the company directly profits from the continued exploitation of oil and gas resources, one of the main causes of global warming, and we begin to see the source of at least some of our problems.

Exxon Mobil trades in the UK as Esso, by the way, just so we know what we’re talking about.

Actually, when I say that the continued exploitation of oil and gas resources is one of the main causes of global warming, there appears to be some debate on the matter. Does global warming exist? The overwhelming majority of climate scientists are firmly convinced that it does exist. All the evidence points to this conclusion.

Exxon Mobil, on the other hand, spent $8 million in one year funding various groups whose main aim was to prove that it doesn’t exist.

In other words, there is no real debate. The consensus is that climate change is upon us, whether we like it or not. Exxon Mobil just spent $8 million muddying the waters a bit.

I wonder why?

Friends of the Earth have estimated that this single company is directly responsible for 5% of global, man-made, climate changing carbon dioxide emissions since the mid-19th century.

It is also one of the companies lobbying to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil exploration.

Meanwhile, the head of an intergovernmental panel on climate change, Dr. Ragendra Pachauri, said recently that the world has about a ten-year window to make very deep cuts in our carbon fuel use, if, as he put it, “humanity is to survive.” Scientists have already documented that the deep oceans are warming, the glaciers are melting, the icecaps are falling apart. We're seeing freak weather and an increase in violent storms. We’re seeing a change in the timing of the seasons.

All of this is from one degree of warming. Predictions are that by the next century warming will be in the region of three to ten degrees.

You’d think that such facts as these would worry even the executives at Exxon Mobil.

And yet, when asked why his company fails to invest in renewable energy resources, the ex-Exxon Mobil CEO, Lee R. Raymond, said:

“We don’t invest to make social statements at the expense of shareholders returns.”

In other words: it’s profits first.

3. Conspiracy theory


Tony Blair, responding to questions about leaked reports that he had had to restrain George Bush from bombarding the al-Jazeera TV station, said, “but honestly, I mean, conspiracy theories...”

Yes, we know what he means.

He means that using the phrase “conspiracy theory” in a disparaging tone suggests that it can be ignored. It is like David Icke saying that the world is ruled by shape-shifting aliens. He means that we should immediately dismiss reports that indicate there might be a conspiracy going on.

Some of you will remember David Icke. He was the man who wore a turquoise track suit and said that he was the Son of God. Except that he never did say that. He said we are all sons and daughters of God, which is an entirely different concept altogether.

Personally I think that David Icke is part of a conspiracy to undermine conspiracy theory.

He’s the perfect patsy. Any time there is a TV programme about conspiracy they reel out David Icke, Britain’s favourite nutter.

The implication is clear. If David Icke supports a notion of a particular conspiracy then it is obviously untrue. He’s a kind of cipher. We all remember him on Wogan. We remember Wogan laughing at him. We remember the whole audience laughing and falling about, him with that dumb, stunned look on his face, not really knowing what was going on.

Icke: "Do you know the best way to remove negativity is to laugh and be joyous? So I'm delighted there is so much laughter in the audience."

Wogan: "No, they're all laughing at you."

Cheers and claps.

Maybe we shouldn’t have laughed. It wasn’t really very funny. He was a man having a very public nervous breakdown, right there, on the TV screen in front of us, in front of several million people, all gawping and screeching like monkeys. I guess most of the laughter was of the uncomfortable variety: there but for the grace of God.

Actually, thinking about that reference to his turquoise suit reminds me of something.

I interviewed him some years back.

We were talking about mind-control. At the time I found this a little hard to swallow, but he insisted that there are behind-the-scenes manipulators, incredibly adept at planting ideas, and that the human mind is highly susceptible to suggestion.

All of a sudden something popped into my head, and I knew that he was right.

I remembered the first time I'd gone to see him. It was with a person I fancied at the time. She mentioned that she was going to see David Icke and I immediately responded: "Is he still mad and does he still wear turquoise?" She said turquoise was the high-vibrational colour of light and love and I answered, "Yes, but it shows a naff dress-sense." I was pleased at the joke as if I'd just said something incisive and new. Later that evening we went to see him and I discovered that he was a great public performer and an entertaining speaker with a definite, urgent message. Not a trace of turquoise.

Every time I've mentioned him to anyone since, the joke is always the same: "Does he still wear turquoise?" followed by a little self-congratulatory laugh, as if they've just scored a point. What none of us realise in making the joke - the same one, over and over - is that it was planted in our minds on Wogan all those years ago, and that it has stayed there ever since. A whole nation. One joke.

4. Follow the money

Photograph by Dave Hendley:

Photograph by Dave Hendley:

Someone once said just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. In the same way, just because David Icke says there's a conspiracy doesn’t mean there is no conspiracy.

There are different levels of conspiracy, of course. There may not be any aliens in control of our planet - who knows? - but it is a fair bet that there are all sorts of reptilian characters up to no good. Sometimes they meet in rooms. This is, by definition, a conspiracy.

If I told you that the American government, through the CIA, has been actively involved in drug running since the end of the second world war, you would probably not believe me. And yet there is very strong evidence that this is, in fact, the case.

Check out The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred McCoy if you don’t believe me. This is not “conspiracy theory” in that conventional sense, meaning that it probably never happened. This is a case of simple, verifiable conspiracy fact.

You may wonder why there are so many drugs on our street: why, after over 70 years or more of the so-called “War on Drugs”, there are more drugs.

And then you look at where some of the wars are taking place. If it’s not the “War on Terror” around the oilfields of the world, then it’s the “War on Drugs” taking place around the drug producing areas. And then, strange to say, no matter how long the war continues, the quantity of drugs just keeps increasing.

Adam Smith, the great eighteenth century economic thinker, referred to the “vile maxim of the masters of mankind: all for ourselves and nothing for other people,” adding that whenever two industrialists meet there is a conspiracy to defraud the public.

Some things never change.

Adam Smith is so beloved of the free-marketeers, by the way, that they even named an institute after him. They just forgot to tell us what he actually said.

Is there a conspiracy? Of course there is a conspiracy. It is the age-old conspiracy of the very rich to stay very rich. The only question is, how far will they go to achieve their aims?

One of the ways is by bribing people in high office. The irony is that we watch it going on before our eyes without even recognising it. As the saying goes: it is hidden in plain view.

Why did Tony Blair go to Los Angeles just before he left office? He went there at the invitation of Rupert Murdoch to meet the world’s wealthy elite.

He was touting for work in the lucrative after-dinner speech market. Tony Blair, already a wealthy man, was setting himself up to become the richest ex-prime minister ever.

Tony Blair is Godfather to Rupert Murdoch's daughter.

There’s a line in the film about the Watergate conspiracy. The undercover informer Deep Throat advises one of the reporters on how to work out who is in on the conspiracy.

“Follow the money,” he says.

That is very good advice.

No wonder Tony Blair doesn't want us to believe in conspiracy theory.


© 2011 Christopher James Stone


Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on November 08, 2011:

Yes that sort of thing. It would make a great novel. But maybe he will turn out to be right in the end, who knows? Meanwhile I think it makes more sense to take the line of least resistance in contemplating conspiracy theory, and Chomsky and McCoy (above) are much more plausible.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on November 08, 2011:

You mean ideas like the Reptilians run the whole show from the Moon which is actually hollow and a spacecraft?

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on November 08, 2011:

I think that experience of being laughed at by a whole nation has embittered him a little. He seems less open and adaptable than he used to be, plus I think some of the reptilian information is just too idiotic to contemplate. That's how he gives conspiracy theory a bad name.

fen lander from Whitstable on November 08, 2011:

Thanks Chris and Steve and Lou Purplefairy for the eggs information and other asides. I don't know what I think about David Icke anymore.... I kind of agree that he seems like a patsy for the anti-conspiracy... I'm sure his intent is good but the people that hang on his every word have bent it all out of proportion and their intents aren't so good. Good article Chris, food for thought.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on November 01, 2011:

To me it is a grossly oversimplified version of reality. Is there some reality in it? Yes, but it is so skewed that it is basically useless as a way of understanding what is going on. As an example: I saw a programme on Bohemian Grove a while back (might have been the Jon Ronson film). There was a guy who pickets outside every year, and he said, words to the effect: "It's like a cocktail lounge. They do business in there." That's exactly right. When you and I sit down in a bar and make plans, is that a "conspiracy"? Technically it is of course. When a bunch of rich people do the same thing it changes the world, but it's not really any more of a conspiracy than when you and I do it. In other words, it's just not as well-thought out and deliberate as the conspiracy theorists say it is, but it exists on another, more unconscious, more deeply pervasive level. That's my view anyway.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on November 01, 2011:

OK Chris, will do! Basically I have said I have seen the results of what Icke and Jones put out and it results in biased hatred for members of 'elite' families. I have witnessed Jones verbally abusing David de Rothschild and recently putting out a video in which he makes fun of Charlie Veitch now Charlie has changed his views on 9:11. Rasa thinks Icke and Jones are heroes but I see them both as men who incite hatred and defame the characters of people they don't even know. She doesn't like me disagreeing with her. I am getting heartily sick of conspiracy theory. It is full of people with inflated egos or sheeple of conspiracy gurus and people in both categories!

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on November 01, 2011:

Send me the link on facebook Steve. I'd be interested in hearing what she has to say. I heard Alex Jones interviewing Noam Chomsky a while back, and he really did come over as a blustering idiot. Chomsky was way too subtle for his fog-horn brain to work out. Icke I think is defensive given his history of being publicly humiliated. It has turned him into a bit of a bully.

Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on November 01, 2011:

Great points about the eggs, Lou! As of some recent decisions I am no longer eating eggs unless they really are free range such as those that come from Finca Alternativa. Chris and Lou, I have just published as a note at Facebook an epic response from Guru Rasa because I told her I no longer support David Icke and Alex Jones. To back up my case Chris Everard, Charlie Veitch and David de Rothschild get mentioned too. Basically I am supporting them but not Icke and Jones and Rasa doesn't agree with my views.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on November 01, 2011:


Knowing Truth from Malaysia on October 31, 2011:

CJ preferable "Knowing Truth" or KT, cheers.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

Thanks. What should I call you? "Knowing" or "Truth"? But you're right about the 1%. Thank God we're all beginning to wake up to this very simple truth.

Knowing Truth from Malaysia on October 31, 2011:

CJ your observation is absolutely right, 1% of people decide the lives of 99% of people! I like the metaphors and the facts, very strong points. Thanks for producing another great hub!

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

Thanks. That's high praise indeed Topnewhottoys, though I'm not sure I deserve it.

Topnewhottoys from Salisbury, Maryland on October 31, 2011:

shades of George Carlin - entertaining read, produced chuckles ans grimmaces

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

20,000 views! I dream of stats like that.

I suspect that part of David Icke's rudeness has to do with the way he was treated by the public in the past. People would follow him down the street laughing and pointing at him. I think it's defensiveness rather than rudeness.

Lou Purplefairy from Southwest UK on October 31, 2011:

Yup, been here a while. Don't write that much these days tho. Should do really, but I find that this site has too many rules. Last time I tried to put a piece up, it said it had been published elsewhere, when it hadn't and I had to pull it. Only reason I still have the account is because the of the few pieces I have written, one had had nearly 20, 000 views and is helping people, plus I like what guys like you and Steve bung on here too. Makes interesting reading.

I agree with you on your theory about Icke, and also believe that what you fight against you become like. Personally, I find the man arrogant and rude, but some of his ideas and his switching on of people is a good thing. For a man who is supposed to a peace activist he sure fires up a lot of people for violence advocating the slaughter of the "elite", which I find ironic when he is calling for peace and equality.

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

, Yes Arthur is my favourite nutter too. And you're right, Icke seems to be gaining some credence these days - though I still think he is part of a conspiracy to undermine conspiracy theory. Didn't know you were on HubPages Lou. I'll have to start following you.

Lou Purplefairy from Southwest UK on October 31, 2011:

I buy eggs from my local market, only because I know the local farm from where they come from and I have been there and seen the chooks running about the place. They don't live in a barn as such , but in a compound with greenery growing in it and lots of small chicken houses, but then they are not a massive producer so they can do it this way. They are about the same price as supermarket eggs, and sometimes a lot cheaper especially if you buy a whole tray. And the flavour is superb with bright orange yolks from natural foraging. I'm lucky to be able to do this. But you are right, the price difference between barn eggs and free range is quite a bit when totalled over a year, and the quality of the hens lives are exactly the same. The barn eggs are wholly more honest.

Judging by Icke's success and support by the public over recent years, people seem more inclined to believe his theory of reptillian shapeshifters ruling the planet than Arthur's claim to be the reincarnation of King Arthur, thus relegating Icke to the number 2 spot, as people give him more and more credence. Arthur has nowhere near the support for his claims that Icke has for his, so in some weird way, Icke is perceived as "more normal".

Anyway, Arthur will always be my favourite nutter, it's a quality I myself have, and feel proud to be lumped in with him :)

Christopher James Stone (author) from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

I always buy barn eggs myself, which at least have the advantage they they are actually what they say they are, ie eggs laid by chickens housed in a barn. So do you think I should amend the statement above to "Britain's 2nd favourite nutter after Arthur"?

Lou Purplefairy from Southwest UK on October 31, 2011:

Here's another public lie. Supermarket free range eggs. Thousands of chickens kept so tightly packed in a barn that they can barely move, with a half a dozen small access holes in the barn walls to an outside area reminiscent of a WW2 POW exercise yard. Chickens, which are notoriously stupid do not leave the barn through the small number of "exit points" continue to lay "free range" eggs on a filthy barn floor, in cramped conditions, which are sold to an unsuspecting public at an exorbitant price, and are really no better than the eggs from the battery caged hens. Millions of unsuspecting consumers eat eggs they believe to have come from birds who live like the liberated chickens from "Chicken Run" on a chicken holiday resort. Here's a clue. If you want free range eggs, go to the "free range farm" where they lay "free range eggs" and buy them direct from the farmer. You'll see how "free range" they are then, and how much cheaper they are that the rip off prices supermarkets sell them at, and you don't have to be subjected to the pictorial lies printed on their packaging. If the lie is big enough and constant it become percieved truth.

And as for David Icke Britain being favourite Nutter? I thought that title went to Arthur...

Fantastic read tho Chris, lets hope more people begin to see the dreadful reality that life has become and get off their arses and do something about it.

Related Articles