OUT OF ESSEX – CHAPTER 32
We have to put an end to the culture of selfishness and corruption that allows greedy Wall Street banks to rip off working people without any consequences
2013 was finishing with strong winds and heavy rain. The radio predicted new deluges and gales over the holiday, as Sarah Dawson was tidying her house on the morning of 21 December.
Dave was working Saturday overtime. Lauren was practicing steps at Ruth’s weekend dance class.
Looking out across the park, Sarah contemplated her afternoon yoga session for the community’s children. Using breathing and visualisation, they would envisage themselves as utterly loved and blessed by the universe.
Radio 4’s message was grimmer. Streets in Bangladesh, Brazil, Sweden, Turkey, Thailand and Ukraine swarming with citizens protesting government policies; UN troops flooding into lawless South Sudan; and Syria’s civil war looking interminable. At home, a Which? survey found that credit was used for over 40% of Britain’s Christmas spend.
“Merry bloody Christmas,” Sarah grumbled to herself. Tissues from last night’s sleeping rota littered the floor, evidence of heavy colds doing the rounds. The Welsh lad, Howard, had kept her awake with coughing fits. Blondy had ducked out of voluntary collecting for a local hospice that day.
Another volunteer, Claire, sat in the café. “What has this world come to,” she groaned, shaking her rainbow hair. On a laptop, she had just read that Trussell Trust food banks had fed over 350,000 British people, all referred by NHS professionals, from April to September 2013. A growing percentage of UK citizens clearly lacked sufficient food. Claire’s breakfast – prepared from a porridge recipe by Southend’s very own Jack Munroe – was still warming her. It cost around 9p per person, or £38 for the whole park. Shivering and sneezing, Blondy had blagged two portions, before retiring to his tent.
In his caravan, coffee brewing, Dan read his tablet, while Mary slept. Her subdued mood was bugging him. Dan’s brief online scan captured no mention of Fukushima, the nuclear plant on Japan’s coastline which had been leaking radioactive water into the Pacific for 33 months. Despite new secrecy laws passed in Tokyo, it had emerged that homeless individuals were engaged in ‘clean-up’ work at the plant, while thyroid cancers in Fukushima prefecture were spiralling, and miscarriages rising. On alternative news sites, Dan read of sea lions dying in droves along California’s coastline. Juvenile herring were bleeding from eyes and gills off Vancouver Island, and Japanese fish were being born with tail and spine defects.
The all-powerful healer Jesus wondered whether Fukushima might be a challenge too far. “Human life is a precarious thing,” he told God. He knew his mum was missing her cohorts, Buddha especially.
“They’re about to commemorate your birthday, son. How do you see the season of goodwill?” God asked. “I don’t enjoy this ‘Feed the World’ song,” Jesus finally replied. Listening in, Maggie kept half an eye on the screens, beneath which single malt crates no longer sat. Chewing cannabis seeds, the Creator was sticking to distilled water.
“The care people invest in seasonal giving is wonderful, but the brevity of ‘Christmas spirit’ puzzles me,” Jesus added. “The world needs feeding daily.”
God remembered British and German troops downing arms to play soccer on Christmas day 1914, between trenches around Ypres, before re-engaging in mutual slaughter.
Jesus asked about God’s experiment. Two more moneyless British communities had started, in Coventry and Bristol, augmenting the Southend, Newcastle and Hastings initiatives. “The momentum to by-pass money is gradually accelerating,” said God, allowing herself a smile. “The media slander will step up accordingly.”
She told Jesus how Dave Dawson was setting up an ethernet to weave the five communities together. And that, as winter set in, and work in the Southend park diminished, residents were helping to restore smashed seafront properties.
God was less happy that the state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland would hand out £500 million in bonuses for 2013. Yet it was also expected to post huge losses, due partly to fines for Libor rate fixing and mis-selling payment protection insurance. Leading executives who had organised or approved this criminal behaviour were receiving bonuses that outstripped what many people earned in a lifetime.
“If these trends continue, we may have to intervene harder,” said God. Reluctantly, Jesus had mugged up on banking, as his mother referred to ‘financial terrorism’ with increasing regularity. “Mum, are you intending to ‘take out’ a couple of senior bankers, or something similar?” asked Jesus. He had watched ‘The Sopranos’ box-set, mesmerised at the relentless criminal behaviour.
“What cannot be stressed enough,” said God, “is that the spivs running the banking industry still consider the bonuses as theirs by right and merit.” She passed the cannabis seeds. “That is the mentality I face. A parasite that believes it is entitled to consume its host.”
Ricky Ravenous-Glutton felt entitled to consume anything that moved. He sat at Roots Hall, watching Southend United play Rochdale. After his eleventh bag of Worcester sauce crisps, he wondered again if his companion’s half time offer might be immoral.
The contact came through the derivatives department of Ricky’s bank in Canary Wharf. Six months in the Marrakesh sunshine, all expenses funded, promised the man, dressed anonymously in the seat to his left. On his return, Ricky’s pay would double, and his mortgage rate descend to 0% for a decade.
The package rested upon Ricky carrying out specific instructions. The front end was sweetened by a brown envelope inside his jacket, containing five thousand pounds. Snorting white powder in the loos, dreaming of a Spurs season ticket and a Porsche 911, Ricky missed Southend’s equaliser.
In nearby Eastwood, Dawn Landais fretted once more about her daughter. Genevieve texted rarely, saying that opportunities to recharge her phone were few and far between. She had come home the previous weekend, thinner and dirtier. Unable to stop talking about the park’s activities, using phrases like “singing the land” and “mutual flourishing”.
While Dawn wheeled out a succession of casseroles, roasts and other hot meals, Genevieve regaled her parents with tales of all the new characters she had met. “Mum, dad, it’s an insurgent community. Decentralised, patient, adaptable and rhizomatic.”
Steve looked up the last word. It referred to the way plants learned and grew, by sending out roots in multiple directions, laterally and horizontally, with no distinct centre. He remembered when Genevieve’s favourite word was “wankers”. Not so long ago. Now she talked of her lack of faith in the state or in capital.
Jesus persisted. Leaning forward, he asked again. “Will the five British communities herald a new world, mum?” God hated forecasting. “Difficult to say,” she eventually replied. “We may have to add an ingredient to the mix, because of the passivity and sense of helplessness engrained in humans.” On average, said God, one human killed themselves every 40 seconds. “Buddha’s views on suicide are harsh,” said Jesus. “He warns of highly testing reincarnations, sometimes within animal bodies.”
God looked chilled, despite her challenges. She grabbed more of the seeds, which were crammed with amino acids. Then tossed Jesus the thought that the economic downturn was starting to resemble the 1930s Great Depression.
Jesus recalled recent remarks by Boris Johnson. Delivering the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture, in London, Johnson declared that inequality was essential to fostering “the spirit of envy”; and would deepen. “The harder you shake the pack the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top,” he suggested.
“Is he mentally disturbed?” asked Jesus. “He’s a clever operator, who has chosen his side,” said God.
She added that a controversial tax bill in Greece demonstrated what all Europeans could anticipate. Higher property taxes and speedy auctions of property, including farmland, if the owners owed money to banks or state.
One eyebrow raised, God said that all EU banks also had a new way to thieve, through a law passed quietly, which allowed them to steal citizens’ money directly from their accounts through so-called ‘bail-ins’. “They can also restrict access to remaining funds while still charging for ‘looking after’ this money,” God sighed.
“By their fruits, shall you know them,” said Jesus.
Ricky sat at home. Watching porn prepared him for numerous tasks. Going to work, meeting his mates, buying from his dealer, shopping, visiting his parents in Leigh, ordering takeaway meals, and sleeping. He rationalised it as tension relief. It felt warranted this Saturday morning, given his nervousness. He sank into sleep again, dreaming of open female orifices as fresh, warm semen worked its way into his dressing gown’s crusted crevices.
When he awoke, he grabbed a shower, and put in a pizza to warm, before selecting an outfit. His companion, who had not volunteered his name, suggested dark clothing.
Ricky suddenly remembered he had hidden the brown envelope in the oven last night. Rushing to extract it, he almost burned his fingers.
“Have you heard of Karen Hudes?” asked God. Jesus had not. “She’s a whistle-blower on the finance world,” God explained. “She insists that a tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations, pivoting around the US Federal Reserve, are controlling the flow of money for virtually every nation, ensuring a near-global enslavement to debt.”
God filled in the background for her son. A Yale Law School graduate, Karen Hudes had worked in the World Bank’s legal department for over 20 years. By the time she was fired in 2007, after exposing multiple levels of corruption, she had risen to Senior Counsel.
The World Bank was purportedly designed to help end world poverty. However, in interviews with alternative media, Hudes underlined an agenda to persuade poor nations to borrow excessively, so that state assets would eventually need to be sold off to private investors, in order to cover sovereign loan repayments. The bank had also been over-charging borrowers, and funnelling money to unscrupulous individuals, including its own executives, she alleged.
Hudes said most World Bank funding never reached the poorest. She spoke of massive cover-ups, going all the way to Congress, and including 188 global finance ministers, some of whom were lining their pockets.
In the New Testament, Jesus was recorded as saying the words “I tell you truth” 78 times. Never was he cited as compromising or deceiving. He liked the look of Hudes. Akash brought up images across the wall that showed a slightly dishevelled, earnest woman, struggling to fit the ever-slicker corporate moulds.
God was fascinated with her. “Remember, this is a Yale-educated attorney who worked on the inside for over two decades,” she reiterated, masticating seeds. “Not some conspiracy theorist sitting in a bedroom.”
Momentarily, Jesus thought of David Icke, seen by some as the most deluded conspiracy theorist of all. God read these thoughts. “Icke was a seer. He was saying two decades ago that the BBC’s Savile was a rapist and paedophile. He also worked out that Satan and yourself were almost interchangeable in some ancient manuscripts. But he remains an outsider. Hudes, by contrast, trod the corporate finance ladder, smelling its stench up close.”
In an interview with ‘Russia Today’, Hudes said she had been unable to spread her message through mainstream financial and news media, because they were owned by a multi-tentacled conglomerate. Asked for names, she cited Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, among others. As with the World Bank, there was no oversight for most of these institutions, which controlled many world governments, she claimed.
Jesus imagined Hudes walking alongside him along the dusty roads into Jerusalem, as the Roman soldiers awaited.
Once darkness had fallen, Ravenous-Glutton began his approach, taking a suburban route from central Southend. A heavy purple duffle bag slung across his right shoulder, Ricky wore a dark baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, topping a navy hoodie and black baggy trousers. Unlike Claire, Ruth, Sarah, Sheena, Sally, Genevieve, Alex, Micky, Mike and Dave, no wind of change blew through Ricky in the Big Wave’s wake. No gratitude bubbled up in his soul for the miraculous escape in Old Leigh.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus captured a flavour of Ravenous-Glutton. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you,” were his words, contained in Matthew 7:6.
Hudes had reported her corruption findings to the World Bank’s audit committee. Receiving no response, she went to the US Treasury. Ignored again, she tried Congress. Senator Richard Luger sent three letters to the World Bank. Dismissed soon afterwards, she decided to go public.
God was impressed by Hudes’ constant reference to the hard data contained in an extensive 2007 survey by the Zurich-based Federal Institute of Technology (FIT), which examined data from 43,000 multinational companies. Published in 2011, the survey discovered the existence of an “economic super-entity” of 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations, including many banks. “Through complex structures, those 147 corporations own 40% of the assets and 60% of annual earnings of all companies traded on global financial markets, according to FIT,” God told Jesus.
She experienced no surprise to find that half of the 20 largest entities cited by the FIT researchers were banks: Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Natixis, BNY Mellon, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, UBS and State Street. The peer-reviewed paper described a “giant bow-tie structure” of control.
Jesus liked that analogy. He liked anything that tried to melt or pull apart the oppressiveness of a world where the bottom third of humanity lived on just over a dollar a day, and where 30,000 died of malnutrition and starvation every 24 hours.
Hudes also alleged a situation of global “state capture”, in which private interests were significantly influencing national decision-making processes through illicit and unobvious channels. She told The New American: “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks.” Hudes claimed that the Federal Reserve “secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorising anybody who managed to figure out they had any kind of a role.”
Sid was watching a collection of Arsenal’s premiership goals on YouTube. He reflected on the recent 6-3 defeat at Manchester City, glowing with positivity that the Gunners had scored three times at a ground where even one away goal was an achievement.
That positivity was an instrumental factor in the healing sessions his students now taught around Southend.
Brain imaging research had proven conclusively that the mind cannot differentiate between something that is actually occurring and something imagined. “What you predominantly focus on or experience has an immeasurable level of influence on your body,” Sid told Sally, who always had questions. “If you are consistent, and detach from old emotions, the mind can programme your cells’ functioning in real time. It can activate and deactivate specific segments of your genetic code,” he explained. “Cast away the illusion that negative emotions are ‘happening’ to us. They are created by us. We can choose to change them at will.”
A key visualisation taught at a local hospice was of a gentle but intense beam of healing energy entering the heart. The instruction was to imagine a warm sensation as the beam infiltrated the heart. Then, as the warmth grew stronger, to picture the healing energy in the form of a thick liquid, like warm honey, slowly seeping into the bloodstream, in all directions, through all limbs, and circling back to the heart.
Stan had told Sid that his own blood levels had balanced out fully, as he learned and taught the visualisation. “I saw the imaginary honey healing each blood cell it touched as it travelled through my body, creating the correct sugar and insulin levels,” he said. Sid replied that every single cell in the universe could evolve into a being of light.
Jesus felt only darkness as God relayed Karen Hudes’ stark description of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), based in Switzerland. The BIS had been set up in the 1920s to collect German reparations for WW1. Its role had morphed into a channel for external investment into Nazi Germany, and then again into a cartel that almost invisibly controlled world money systems. Pulling no punches, Hudes had said the BIS was quite simply “a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations”.
God was reminded of corroborative observations made 47 years earlier by Georgetown University historian Carroll Quigley, one of US President Bill Clinton’s mentors. In 1966, Quigley contended in his book Tragedy and Hope, that financial capitalism aimed to “create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole”.
Quigley had reviewed documents from top global establishments. He specified that “this system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.” The apex of the system would be the BIS, said Quigley, who constantly emphasised that an Anglo-American elite loyal to no country ran much of the world.
Sid had asked his students to remote view their way into deep BIS data, but their attempts had been blocked. He told Sally that special equipment could be installed to prevent remote sensing. “There may be transmitters within the building that operate on the same electro-magnetic frequency that are used by remote viewers when in scan mode.”
Sally and Stan had run into something similar when trying to hack the operations of the London trillionaires.
Driving home from work, Dave Dawson returned to a conversation with Micky Gaze the previous afternoon. Micky admitted that his wife had now left him, to be closer to their money. So he had mucked in harder at the park, bringing a caravan, outside which his two lads enjoyed kicking a football.
The conversation moved to the once-impossible scenario of keeping regular company with Satan and Gandhi. Throw in the Buddha’s availability, over in Leigh, and you had what Dave – a former atheist – called a “dream team of Eternal super-heroes”. But his mouth fell open when he learned that his friend had received text messages from The Place. “Hold your horses Micky. Are you saying you got texts from…..God?”
“Satan would always sign his texts, but there were other messages.”
“A few ‘thank yous’, a couple of requests.”
“Didn’t you ask who you were talking to?”
“I wasn’t bothered mate. When I followed the instructions good things happened, to myself and others. I didn’t want to spoil a good thing.”
“How cool are you? I’m wondering……..Jeez, I don’t know if I can bring myself to ask you.”
“Pluck it up and try me.”
“Can I have the number? Is it still on your phone?” Micky’s loud guffaws rang around the full cafe. “You daft bugger. Why would you want to text God?”
“I’ve got unanswered questions.” Micky raised his thick, dark eyebrows. “Well, it’s a shame, but I’ve got a new phone and sim card, so no past messages.”
Micky saw his friend’s features drop. “Cheer up pal: I didn’t say I’d forgotten the number.”
Maggie was still listening in, as God continued to praise Karen Hudes. The lawyer had told The New American of her confidence that the world’s financial network would eventually be exposed and subjected to the rule of law, while the public would demand full transparency, from an impartial, effective press.
God was animated, hopeful. “Karen has shown just how cleverly a seemingly impenetrable oligarchy can keep the majority of humanity under a spell.” Still chewing seeds, her concentration deepened. “Her most incredible claims concern the City of London and the Vatican. It is almost beyond belief, far beyond the scope of the Akashic files.”
Jesus was all ears. “Could things be any more twisted and covert?”
God kept her voice steady. “Things are more bent than a blind man’s car bumper.”
“Mum, do you remember that line in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians?”
“Remember it? I inspired it,” said God. “He who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Life’s opportunities were finite. “Six noughts”, Micky Gaze had said. Dave pulled his red Citroen Picasso into a space outside his unlit house. Sarah and Lauren were still in the park. His fingers punched out a question. Is anybody there? He keyed in six zeros. Pressed send.
Nothing came back. People walked past Dave’s car. This is Dave Dawson, was his next send. Rain drenched the massive windscreen.
He changed tack: I would be grateful for feedback. How can we improve the experiment at the park?
Back it came in under ten seconds. You decide. By the way, gratitude is good.
OMG, he thought. Residents are struggling with winter and boredom. It’s hard to gauge our progress. A confident answer ensued. Take your uncertainty as an opportunity to evolve and grow. And trust in the divine.
Pleased that God didn’t abbreviate, Dave asked for any other advice?
Autonomous groups of a manageable size will allow humanity to emancipate itself, taking rational control of a rational life. Continue to stand your ground in the truth. And enjoy yourself – it’s later than you think.
Hah! Was God a Specials fan? Dave asked.
I loved the whole reggae/ska/punk thing in the late 70s and early 80s.
Me too. What is the purpose of life?
The fullest expression of yourself, whilst allowing others maximum freedom.
OK, what were my biggest mistakes?
Everyone, at every given moment, makes the best possible choice, using the available information. That’s free will.
God had all the answers.
Can reincarnation happen?
You should have asked Gandhi. That made sense. The little Indian’s reverence for honesty had blazed through after Satan stole the tee-shirts.
Have we ever met?
When you reincarnate enough times, you begin to remember.
Was it offensive to design toilet paper carrying the Queen’s head?
What goes around, comes around. Then another message. No more questions. We will talk again. Everything will be OK.
God became agitated. She brought up the park and its surrounds on four screens. Zoomed in on Kensington Road, where Dave had locked the Picasso and was walking to his door, fixed on his phone. God went in closer; saw Dave hit six zeros again, fumbling for his door key.
Dave put the phone to his ear, wanting to hear God. He felt emboldened. The park was succeeding, but something extra was required. A ‘God ingredient’. The number you have called is not recognised. Please check the number, ordered his phone. He dialled again, turning the key, feeling wind in his ear that faced the park. Then blacking out, as the hammer smashed his skull.
Falling to the floor, where it descended again, with greater force. His soul popped out of his body, looking down as it floated up, catching the dark individual savagely destroying the top of the space suit in which it had once lived. It rose further, over the park, glimpsing the body being dragged into the dark house. Dave felt time and space warp, felt the long bright tunnel envelop whatever he now was, and understood God’s final words.
Satan was still eating humble pie. He loathed his punishment, of sweeping and tidying the converted changing rooms after each day’s shift, to atone for his theft. “Embrace penance,” said Gandhi, whose illiterate mother taught him pantheism in his last life. Take care of your immediate surroundings, and the universe would take care of itself, she had promised.
Tasks complete, Satan walked across the dark park, thinking of how a 100-year old single malt might taste. He saw Alex talking to Sarah in the café. Both were laughing. Lauren was practising cartwheels on the path outside, watched by Sam and Pippa. And Steph.
Instinct kicked in. He accelerated past Lauren, pausing at the park’s west entrance, looking north. A darkly hooded figure turned left, at the T-junction in the distance. Satan sprinted across to Dave’s house. Hurried to the back. Without hesitation, he elbowed through the glass, knowing Sarah and Dave would forgive him. The ground floor was unlit. He paused at the stairs. Light poured from a bedroom. Each stair magnified his dread. At the foot of the bed, crimson shapes painted the floor: a creature with wings, an eye, and a triangle, in which sat Dave’s real flesh and blood heart. A body lay nearby. Chest excavated and head unrecognisable.
“You showed your hand, you depraved bastards,” muttered Satan.
He ran downstairs, across the road, almost knocking over Mike Burper at the entrance. He pleaded that Mike somehow break the news to Sarah, then call the police.
No great riddles were contained in the pyramid, eagle, and all-seeing eye. Each was found on any dollar bill. Satan needed his motorbike.