From 1967, Gregory Sams was pioneering natural foods in the UK, in partnership with his brother Craig. He opened Seed macrobiotic restaurant in Paddington at the age of 19, Ceres grain store in the Portobello Road soon after, then Harmony Foods (now Whole Earth Foods) in 1970, as well as being closely involved with Harmony magazine and Seed, the Journal of Organic Living. He conceived, created and launched the original VegeBurger in 1982, adding a new word to the language as he opened up the market for vegetarian foods.
In 1990 Greg moved out of food and into fractals, founding Strange Attractions - the world's only shop ever dedicated to chaos theory. Trading as chaOs worKs, he went on to produce and license fractal images worldwide on everything from posters to book covers to fashion fabrics. His interest in chaos theory, however, was not just for the sexy psychedelic images, but for the social lessons inherent in our discovery of self-organizing systems throughout the natural world.
This led him to write and publish, in 1998, his first book, Uncommon Sense - the State is Out of Date. It was well received and, enjoying his role as an author, Gregory spent the first seven years of the new millennium writing Sun of gOd, Discover the Self-Organizing Consiousness that Underlies Everthing in which, as he puts it, the biggest elephant-in-the-room that you could ever imagine is unveiled. During 2013 he upgraded his first book, republished in 2014 and retitled The State Is Out of Date – We Can Do It Better. More words, audio, and video of/from/with Gregory can be found online.
Smithsonian article reminds me of this clip from the chapter on light in my book Sun of gOd, published 2009:
“…Take plants, for example. We now understand that plants breathe in air and expel it through a process known as transpiration, even though they have no lungs, as we know them. They absorb water and nutrients from the soil, taken up through their roots, and this is pumped through veins to all parts of the organism. They do this without a stomach or a heart, as we know them. Many gardeners swear by the ability of plants to respond to their spoken encouragement and to music, even though they have no ears, as we know them. Might plants also be able to perceive aspects of their surroundings, even though they do not possess eyes, as we know them?
The means to receive information about the local environment, through an eye-like organ, is a facility that is common to virtually all animal life forms, with few exceptions. Plants are far more tuned into the light than are we animals, relying on light-sensitive specialised cells to absorb the life-energy of photons, thus powering the photosynthesis that gives them form. Perhaps plants possess a means to read some of the information these photons are carrying, and we simply do not possess the means to recognise this faculty.”
I was delighted to see the article below in the Smithsonian Magazine reporting on new scientific findings that demonstrate the ability of plants in the experiment to hear. They are catching up, the scientific community, and starting to recognize that human beings are not the only intelligence on the planet.
A new study suggests plants can ‘hear’ the humming of nearby pollinators and increase their sugar content in response.
It’s a common assumption that auditory information is reserved for living things with ears and that creatures without cochlea—namely plants—don’t tune into a bee buzzing or the wind whistling. But a new study suggests the plants are listening, and some flowers even sweeten up their nectar when they sense a pollinator approaching
Sound is ubiquitous; plenty of species have harnessed the power of sound to their evolutionary advantage in some way or another—a wolf howls and rabbits run; a deer hears a thunder strike in the distance and seeks shelter, and birds sing to attract their mates. Plants have withstood the test of time, so logically so, they must react to such a crucial sensory tool as well, right? This question…tocontinue reading click Flowers sweeten when they hear bees
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I applaud the media’s outrage over the Saudi state’s murderous approach to dissent. But where is the outrage over Facebook’s killing of multiple dissenters, because their views differed from the accepted mainstream? Included were leftwing, rightwing and wingfree pages and accounts, including some concerned with apparently unacceptable subjects, like civil liberty.
Facebook always keeps an eye out for spurious accounts and those that exist only to spam us or direct users off of Facebook onto click-bait sites. One would expect nothing less. Convincing reasons for this mass extinction in Facebook’s blog post speak of spam and “inauthentic activity” and click bait. Unfortunately, these reasons cannot explain why accounts like Police the Police and CopBlock came down, or those highlighting government excess and corruption. The excellent libertarian Free Thought Project came down, as well as the very Right Wing News, Anti-Media and countless others.
“Countless” because Facebook released no list of the sites deleted, so that we might see how well they fitted the sanctimonious blog post. Nor did they give warning. Surely eliminating fraudulent or dangerous (how to make bombs) pages should be done as they are discovered, rather than waiting until hundreds have been identified and then taking the lot down with a one-size-fits-all blog post in explanation. Under the umbrella of general housekeeping, Facebook have begun to delete dissent – sweeping it away. Many of Facebook’s victims have also had their Twitter accounts closed. This is a major and coordinated assault upon the freedom to exchange and debate ideas on the edge of mainstream. It is devastating to see something with the people power of Facebook getting into bed with the coercive state. Devastating and disturbing.
Facebook is guided in these activities by the Digital Forensics Lab, which is an arm of the Atlantic Council think tank — a neoconservative group funded by Gulf monarchies, defence giants like Raytheon, megabanks like HSBC, foreign state actors, and the US government — to weed out pages and accounts that challenge the status quo. Key architect of the assault is Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher, who was former White House National Security Council Director of Cybersecurity Policy. See Free Thought Project.
Many of these accounts were developed through years of dedicated hard work that built hundreds of thousands, or millions of followers. The urge to get an important message or awareness across to as many as possible created the followers . It is grossly unjust to delete the fruit of such passionate work without warning or explanation. What will now happen to all the comment and information and connections that were made in good faith over years?
Without a list we cannot tell how many of the deleted pages and accounts were fraudulent, making weird shit up to attract clickbait, or pedalling outright lies. Perhaps most of the 800 were, and good riddance to such rubbish. I can accept that social media giants draw lines and police the content of their platforms. But many of the deletions were not clickbait oriented, fraudulent schemes or of “inauthentic activity.” They were taken down in this mass execution for no apparent reason beyond their questioning of the status quo.
Look for these pages and all you get from Facebook is “Sorry, this content isn’t available at the moment – The link you followed may have expired, or the Page may only be visible to an audience that you aren’t in.” “May have expired” in this case translates to ‘killed by us’ as the sole explanation. It is usual custom, when executing or otherwise punishing entities to give a specific reason for doing so, not some generalized explanation that sounds reasonable, but does not apply to many of the cases. Deleting what might be the sum total of somebody’s work is a major action, however allowable it may be in the Terms and Conditions. Reasons must be given and a means to appeal open. Kafka would understand.
With this drawing of lines around a state-determined status quo, we are approaching a situation where in a modern equivalent to the Kennedy assassination those questioning the Oswald lone assassin explanation would have their social media shut down. Are Facebook assuming the role of official government censors? One reason the mainstream was not so upset at this is because they are the status quo, regurgitating government news releases as a matter of course. The alternative media is competition they look down upon, like London black cabs versus Uber drivers. End of.
Back to Saudi Arabia. I am still pleased to see the outrage over their murder of journalist Khashoggi. Yes, it’s because he’s an American resident and writes for the Washington Post and yes, why was there no real outcry over the busload of children blown up with US munitions, or the starvation facing millions of children and adults in Yemen, caused by a Saudis coalition including the US, UK and France? After getting away with that, and the beheading of minor dissenters at home, it’s no wonder they thought the disappearance of one dissident journalist would quickly blow over. If Jamal Khashoggi had not broadcast his murder from an Apple Watch, it may have done so. I wonder if he took pleasure in knowing that his last dreadful moments were making history. Watching this one with interest.
Another so-called chemical gas attack is due any time now. Same old story. The Syrian army is winning decisively by conventional means and the jihadists are up against the wall. Their only hope is to bring in Western forces with another fake gas attack, knowing they are all too eager to engage.
The last one happened this April 7th in Douma, with a short video shot on location. Six days later the US, UK and France hurled 100+ missiles at Syrian targets in punishment. One day after that, the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors arrived in Douma to examine the scene of the crime.
Remember all that? It received headline news coverage, complete with video of scud missiles launching from ships and inspectors arriving in Damascus. What came of their report?
Twelve weeks later theOPCW issued its report, to a whisper of publicity, reporting that no evidence was found of a chemical weapons attack. Traces of chlorine were found at two locations. It’s a household chemical. They found no evidence on the ground, or residues in people, of chemical weapons use, saying only that “the persons affected in the reported incidents may, in some instances, have been exposed to some type of non-persistent, irritating substance.”
The OPCW report is somewhat less than conclusive. Note the vagueness of “may in some instances,” which indicates a possibility not based on evidence, and limited to a few. In other words, some of “the persons” may have been exposed to a temporary irritant before the event, which was filmed on the spot by the White Helmets. Or they may have just been acting. The mention of “persons affected in the reported incidents” does not identify them as victims and suggests that some may have been exposed to something temporary. So the others, most of them, were not exposed to even anything. What are they telling us, in this round-about manner? There is no mention or confirmation of any dead or damaged victims of the so-called attack, despite themedia horror story we were fed, based on unverified photos and reports from the jihadists who, it appears, stage-managed the entire event.
At that time, with the real Syrian army ascendant, gassing civilians near a hospital would have been a pointless military move, putting aside the madness of waving such a red flag at Uncle Sam. Whatever the propaganda tells us of Assad, there is never any suggestion that he or his generals are that stupid.
The Syrian Army now needs to end this war, and cannot leave an important province in the hands of armed and murderous foreign fighters of ISIS, Al Nusra and Al Qaeda. The weakened terrorist forces have only two options – to surrender or play the chemical weapons card again. This time they could create real casualties, from the ranks of captive young women and children taken during ISIS’s murderous assault on the Yazidi population. They are without scruples or morals.
On August 22nd, Trump’s National Security advisor, John Bolton, appears to have given the cue to the jihadist insurgents for another false flag event by once againpublically pronouncing that “…if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time.” American ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, expressed similar sentiments. They are laying the foundations for another fake attack. America, and perhaps Britain and France, will be poised to send more missiles to an undeserving recipient and do whatever they can to prolong conflict in the Middle East and maintain healthy profits for their arms industries.
The US military establishment would hate to lose some of its new best enemies, at a time when they are terrified that Trump might make peace with Russia. Without enemies, how could the military and intelligence communities defend their ever-increasing budgets? As I haveput it before, the voracious military establishments of America and Britain are threatened not by any enemy, but by the absence of one. Without an enemy to fear who needs to support the expensive and destructive military and intelligence communities that act like a state within a state?
Of course, I hope another gas attack is never staged, and that events move swiftly to an end of the conflict in Syria without further fighting or civilian death. I hope that the Yazidi captives are freed and able to rejoin and rebuild their communities. Most of all I look forward to the day when peace has comfortably settled into the whole of Syria, from where my father’s parents emigrated to America over a century ago. I have been twice to the village where my father’s aunt’s descendants lived, as did that aged aunt when I visited Mishtaya, a village in the hills outside Homs mercifully unscathed by the war.
May there be an end to pointless conflict. Peace is not an unnatural condition for mankind. It was the norm for millennia before rulers imposed themselves upon developed and largely peaceful civilisations around the world.
Will there be another fake chemical attack soon, staged by the forces of ISIS or Al Qaeda still controlling Syrian territory in Idlib province? There have been at least three so far, the last one in Douma, outside Damascus last April. The OPCW inspectors who visited that site finally released their report (see below), which found neither evidence nor victims of any chemical attack. 100+ missiles were lobbed into Syria by the US, UK and France, as punishment, a day before they even arrived.
Whenever the jihadists are up against the wall, with the Syrian Army winning by conventional means, they fake a chemical weapons attack in the hope of giving Western powers an excuse to intervene. And they are all too willing for any excuse to play with their deadly toys.
The Syrian Army now needs to end this war, and cannot leave an important province in the hands of armed and murderous foreign fighters. The weakened terrorist forces have only two options – to surrender or play the chemical weapon card. This time they could create real casualties, from the ranks of captive young women and children taken during ISIS’s murderous assault on the Yazidi population of Iraq (older women and men were killed).
Here is the tell-tale timeline for that last so-called chemical gas attack, the one that launched a thousand missiles:
April 7 – alleged gas event in Douma, last outpost of insurgents around Damascus. Our media’s information on this was unverified, coming from anti-government sources. The jihadist White Helmets made a short film, widely broadcast.
April 13 – America and its allies launch 100+ missile attack upon Syria as punishment, also making millions for the US arms industry.
April 14 OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) inspectors arrive at Douma to examine the scene. Their report was expected in “the usual” 3-4 weeks.
July 6 (12 weeks later) the OPCW issues its report, to a whisper of publicity, reporting that no evidence was found of a chemical weapons attack. Traces of chlorine were found at two locations. It’s a household chemical. They found no evidence on the ground, or residues in people, of chemical weapons, saying only that “the persons affected in the reported incidents may, in some instances, have been exposed to some type of non-persistent, irritating substance.”
The OPCW report is somewhat less than conclusive. Note the vagueness of “may in some instances,” which indicates a possibility not based on evidence, and limited to a few. In other words, some of “the persons” may have been exposed to a temporary irritant before the event, which was filmed on the spot by the White Helmets. Or they may have just been acting. The mention of “persons affected in the reported incidents” does not identify them as victims and suggests that only some of them may have been exposed to a temporary irritant. So the others, most of them, were not exposed to even anything temporary. What are they telling us, in this round-about manner? There is no mention or confirmation of any dead or damaged victims of the so-called attack, despite the media horror story we were fed, based on unverified information from the jihadists who, it would appear, stage-managed the entire event they filmed.
At that time, with the real Syrian army ascendant, gassing civilians near a hospital would have been a pointless military move, whether or not it was waving a red flag at Uncle Sam. Whatever the propaganda tells us of Assad, there is never any suggestion that he or his generals are that stupid.
On August 22nd, Trump’s National Security advisor, John Bolton, appears to have given the cue to the jihadist insurgents for another false flag event by once again publically pronouncing that “…if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time.” Suggestions keep appearing in the media that Assad will use chemical weapons in the battle for Idlib. They are laying the foundation for a fake attack. America, and perhaps Britain and France, will again be poised to send more missiles to an undeserving recipient and do whatever they can to prolong conflict in the Middle East and maintain healthy profits for their arms industries.
What surprises me is how they get away with it, and why so many of the mainstream media appear to believe the lies they are fed. If not then how do they sleep at night? ISIS and their associates are a truly unpleasant murderous bunch. If you did not look at the link to their Yazidi genocide then take a look now. They are not deserving of continued tacit support and sympathy from our governments and media. It is past time for the conflict to end, though the enclave of armed fundamentalists in Idlib will continue to fight in any way they can, including the staging of terrorist attacks abroad. It’s what they do.
The US military establishment would hate to lose two of its favourite enemies, ISIS and Al Qaeda, and are terrified that Trump might make peace with Russia. Without enemies, how could the military and intelligence communities defend their ever-increasing budgets? As I have put it before, the voracious military establishments of America and Britain are threatened not by any enemy, but by the absence of one. Without an enemy to fear there is no perceived need to support the expensive, and destructive, military and intelligence communities that act like a state within a state.
Of course, I hope another gas attack is never staged, and that events move swiftly to an end of the conflict in Syria without further fighting or civilian death. I hope that the Yazidi captives are freed and able to rejoin and rebuild their communities. Most of all I look forward to the day when peace has comfortably settled into to the whole of Syria, from where my father’s parents emigrated to America over a century ago. I have been twice to the village where my father’s aunt’s descendants lived, as did that aged aunt when I visited Mishtaya, a village in the hills outside Homs mercifully unscathed by the war.
May there be an end to pointless conflict. Peace is not an unnatural condition for mankind. It was the norm for millennia before rulers imposed themselves upon developed and largely peaceful civilisation.
It was thirty years ago today that I sold my baby, the VegeBurger, on 8/8/88. Though just six years from launch date, the word “vegeburger” had by then begun to enter the language, a few million would-be vegetarians had leapt out of the closet, the grocery trade recognized vegetarians as a definable market, and restaurants needed something more than cheese salad as an alternative on the menu. Several supermarket telephonists directed me to the meat buyer, when I wanted to sell VegeBurger.
The name? I made a list with about eight names on it, including, earthburger, plantburger, vegeburger, sesame burger, greenburger. It was not obvious, but after carrying it around for a week I went for, you guessed it! You cannot trade mark a descriptive product name (lamb burger or potato cake) and “VegeBurger” did not seem descriptive at the time. Vege (however the sound is spelled) had never been used to abbreviate vegetarian or vegetable. People into the 1980’s ate meat and 2 veg as a staple meal, not meat and vege. But it became increasingly difficult to protect the trademark and I’ll never forget the mid 80’s Glastonbury Festival when I made four of the ethical caterers change their menu listing from vegeburger to something else that did not read or sound the same. I remember getting kind of harsh with one of them who resisted. This is just not what you go to Glastonbury to do.
The fifteen years prior to VegeBurger had seen my brother Craig and I introducing natural and organic foods to the diet. In 1967, aged 18, I was dishing out bowls of brown rice and vegetables to hungry hippies in front of London’s first head shop, just off the Portobello Road. Restaurant, retail shop and magazine followed in the next two years. Fifteen years later I was running Harmony/Whole Earth foods, in an airplane hanger sized warehouse complete with a trade cash & carry, a stone flour mill, dedicated peanut butter grinding, sugar-free jam making plant, and various other packing and processing operations, staffed by a team of 45 shifting hundreds of tons weekly. It could be a head-banger at times!
VegeBurger was a whole new experience, run from my spare bedroom with one part-time helper and all the work being done by outside contractors. They call it a virtual company today. Everything was run on one big interlinked spreadsheet (the original VisiCalc). I had a great time responding to fan mail that often accompanied requests for our VegeBurger mix recipe leaflet. There was the 16-yr old girl in Oban who went veggie six months earlier and had eaten nothing but pizzas since. And the mother of two who was going crazy coping after her two children and then her husband went vegetarian. After discovering VegeBurger she finally gave up and joined them.
Nobody had ever collected the numbers on vegetarians in Britain, so I commissioned Gallup to survey the public on their attitudes to meat eating. The results were news, and for a change it was news that actually was new. I put press releases out full of graphs and facts and figures, with clever covers that got them read. Each year the numbers grew and the highest numbers were for women aged 16-24. Each year VegeBurger got mentioned in the press reporting the news and more people went into their shops to buy them. The only paid advertising done was on pirate radio, with this cool rap commercial created by Danny Antrobus. (click here and go to page bottom for VegeBurger Rap)
The original VegeBurger came as a mix that cost 49p and made four 2oz burgers. Even in 1982 that was inexpensive which is how is should be since all the ingredients are lower down the food chain than meat. The ingredients were sesame seeds, wheat gluten, oats, and soya protein with dried vegetables and seasonings, all natural, all vegetable. It could be made with or without an egg.
The frozen VegeBurger came out under license within two years, made under license by Maynards Bakery in Taunton. A few other VB based products such as lasagna and shepherd’s pie accompanied it. For this, we put £5000 into production of a TV commercial, which was cheap as chips in those pre tech days. My whizz-kiddo friend Bonnie Molnar took it on. We had to remove a reference to “cow-burger” which was thought offensive, and remove the phrase “think about it” since the advertising Standards did not allow ads to be “thought provoking.” The advert was a huge success, and had Iceland’s phones ringing off the hook by customers wanting to know if they stocked it.
After five years it reached the point where I was no longer running this from my spare bedroom on an Apple IIe. I had those fixed overheads again, including three expensive staff in a serviced office, and was tiring of the food industry – spending so much time with suits that I was in danger of becoming one myself. Then there is the “Peter Principle,” which was telling me it was time to move on. Look it up if you’re interested.
Long discussions with Guinness came to an end when their far-sighted ceo, Ernest Saunders, had to resign over letting the company buy its own shares (not allowed). He had been putting together a stable of natural products companies. Next in line was Haldane Foods the subsidiary of a subsidiary or a giant American corporations that few have heard of, called ADM. All solid meat eaters, they sold some disgusting mixes of TVP, hydrogenated fat, MSG, and other stuff in brown bags, labeled ‘Burga-mix’ and ‘Sos-mix.” VegeBurger had the market, they had the money, and they ended up buying it in a deal that would have held me in for ten years.
Other stories ensued. One includes a photo of Gorbachev holding a VegeBurger at ADM’s stall at a food expo in Moscow, where a fight broke out between people wanting free samples after tasting. They had me help launch a new product called quinoa. Another story is of my court case against them and a trip to Chicago (great architecture) to settle the matter.
Eighteen years later the Haldane Group was bought by American company Hain Celestial, who simply killed off VegeBurger and most of the other brands they had bought. No idea why.
Sad story, their loss, but VegeBurger’s work is done. It would be cool to run that Gallup survey again today and compare the results to those that made startling news in the 1980’s.
When I was a young man smoking was permissible everywhere. My 8thgrade teacher lived on cigarettes and black coffee, chain-smoking in a class of 13-14 yr olds (Mary Hogue, excellent educator). Nobody thought it unusual. During my 1967 stay in Stoke Mandeville’s spinal unit, the ward was filled with smoke and the League of Hospital Friends wheeled their trollies through the hospital, selling cigarettes, sweets, and tabloid newspapers (in league with the devil, more like). Taxis, buses, airplanes and cinemas all had ashtrays built into the seats.
Millennials might scratch their heads and look back in astonishment, finding it hard to believe that such practices were ever commonplace and culturally acceptable. And there will be many things that their children will be looking back upon with equal astonishment.
One thing, for sure, will be the appalling phenomenon that mars many a summer afternoon in the garden for me, as I enjoy Sun overhead, blackbird song and the rustle of wind in the trees. It is the sound of an ice cream van traveling around the neighbourhood with a playful tune, pausing in every road as the pushers inside pedal dangerous and addictive drugs to our innocent children.
Sugar consumption is probably responsible for more death and disease (of humans) than any other item in the food chain, processed meat included. It saturates our food chain and it is addictive, as any who have sought to give it up well know. Government knows it is toxic but their hands are tied. According to the New Statesman. “They are paralysed by the economic dominance of what British colonialists called ‘white gold.’ The sugar industry, like financial services, is too big to fail.”
As if their dangerous edibles were not enough, ice cream vans fill children’s lungs with toxins too, as engines run constantly to power its freezers. The“black carbon” in their exhausts is a soot-like substance that “is particularly dangerous for babies and stunts the growth of children’s lungs as well as causing cancer and dementia,” according to the Daily Mail. Levels can be 40 times the WHO safe limit.
So we think it quaint to have have vans pollute our neighbourhood on a hot afternoon, selling toxic and addictive treats to children? If opportunities are to be equal then let us have expensive cars with tinted windows touring the neighbourhood blaring rap music and selling cocaine and crack to our teenage kids. Complete the circle.
Have I been on a rant? As the culture changes, maybe remnants of the mafia-like gangs who control ice cream territories will sample some magic mushrooms and see the light. Perhaps they will become entrepreneurs selling healthy treats and nut ice creams to children, or be replaced by people who do, with solar panels instead of chugging diesel.
I am being both silly and serious here since if that is what we want it can and could be provided. Better yet, make them at home. We are moving towards a tipping point at which humanity’s concern for the health of our beautiful host planet will change our interactions with it. Don’t be sold into the myth that raping the planet must be done for us to sustain ourselves. It is an expensive and short-term folly, dictated by the state’s need for expansion ad infinitum, a perfect oxymoron. Future generations, assuming such exist, will find it difficult to understand how we could have engaged in many of the practices that today we take for granted as normal behaviour.
I will be in conversation with former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard next Sat, 30th June talking of life without the state, perhaps touching on VegeBurger, living stars and what comes up. It’s a day out in the park at the Queen’s Park Book Festival, with loads of other authors and interesting people speaking, panelling and tickling minds throughout the day. Some are charged and some free including ours, event number 3, on at 12 noon in the Queens Park Community Tent, billed as
A literary brunch with veggie burger king, fractal artist and New Age entrepreneur Greg Sams (founder of Whole Earth foods, creator of the veggie burger, alternative thinker, published writer, entrepreneur), in conversation with local journalist and former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard.
Another good interview that is well-illustrated with pics from my own archives and selections by the Nutmeg people. Quite a bit of my life story stuff, with an opening blast at the concept of Limited Liability that allows those who own companies to shirk responsibility for broken commitments and damages inflicted by actions from which they profited. That’s a relatively new ‘invention’ that I have for some time regarded as a curse upon our culture. When I did VegeBurger it was as sole proprietor with unlimited liability for my actions. It does focus the mind and keep one responsible.
While readying words to accompany this Nugget in a Nutshell on taxation I turned up the clearest most concise piece I have yet to read on the subject, by Dominic Frisby, who seamlessly combines his career in financial journalism with that of stand-up comic. Taxation – in a minute
Did you know that the UK tax code is ten times longer than the complete works of William Shakespeare? I sum it up in a minute on the video, as what it has always been – a funnel shifting wealth from the many to the few.
Why we need to simplify our tax code – Dominic Frisby
Back in August I took a show to the Edinburgh Festival all about tax. Not perhaps the most fertile subject for comedy – HMRC’s cock-ups aside – but I’d concluded that the dearth of media about such an important subject needed to be put right.
Tax is and has always been power. Whether kings, emperors or governments, if they lose their tax revenue, they lose their power. The aim behind every conquest in history has been to take control of the tax base. The purpose of every revolution is pretty much the same. Every war has been funded by some kind of tax, either before or after the event.
Tax permeates everything that we do. It’s as much a part of our lives as eating, drinking or sleeping. Can you name me an activity – apart from breathing – that doesn’t involve taxation in some way?
I know what you are thinking. All you’re doing by that is creating future taxpayers.
The way that a society is taxed speaks volumes about that society. In the UK taxes are taken at source, by stealth, by force and without choice. So, there’s a relationship between taxation and freedom, as well.
Raising the popular consciousness on food was the primary driving force in my life from the age of 19, when a quirk of fate led me through a series of companies that were the first to offer organically grown natural food products to the British public. My focus was always to accentuate the positive – the greater flavour, satisfaction and vitality of a plant-based diet based on unrefined traditional staples, with seasonal vegetable foods. It was cheaper too. More detail about that activity is on my website.
It was clear, even in 1967/8, that our governments were implicit in the introduction of the factory farm and chemically supported agriculture. In the 1970’s the veil was lifted from my eyes when I learned about the fundamental nature of the state, understanding why they make a mess of things that we could do much better. Yeah, I wrote a book about that one.
So it is most heartening to see aspects of both those interests combined in this illuminating article from the well-respected American Institute for Economic Research.
Every health nut will tell you the reason why the US food market is such a mess. It’s fast food and corporate farming. We need to get back to local food and organics, they say. And no processed foods ever.
Let’s look more closely, based on an experience I had just today.
The waiter in this airport bar walked by carrying huge plates of food, piled high with fries and burgers on puffy golden buns…