Friday, 1 July 2016

Britain's Predatory Politicians — Can The Kingdom Survive?

Brexit: Britain surrounded by sharks: cartoon by Wendy Cockcroft
Brexit is a farce: Article 50 has yet to be invoked. Outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron won't do it and has said he will leave it to his successor to get the job done. His party has imploded, by which I mean that Labour has as well — many of the MPs are Blairites, i.e. slightly less nasty Thatcherites. Butter the popcorn, people, this is going to be fun.

Great Britain, as a nation, was created by Acts of Union in 1707 during the reign of Queen Anne. This was one of her key policies and her greatest achievement. It created the largest free trade zone in Europe. The road to union was a rocky one; the arguments are best summed up as, "Who is going to be running this?" When the Stuart kings were running the show, the English were having none of it because they were afraid the Scots would walk all over them. When the Hanoverians took over, the English and Scots had a balance of power that made union less contentious, so they signed a series of agreements to create the union. The people had no say in the matter; the whole thing ran through Parliament and the queen signed it off. In 1800 my native Ireland was annexed in another Act of Union. Irish independence notwithstanding, Britain's official name is "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" because Ulster (Northern Ireland) remains part of the Union. Now all of that history is being undone by the predatory politicians running the country. Why?

The role of austerity

One of the biggest factors in the drive towards Scottish (and probably Welsh, then Cornish) independence is the fact that the country's wealth is being drained down to London. People are sick of being told to tighten their belts, to work harder to make ends meet so they don't even have a life outside of work, and to move if their rent is too high.

The will of the people

To dismiss the role of austerity in creating the mass discontent driving Brexit and the potential breakup of the nation is to pretend that the trollish Brexit McBrexitface brigade are behind our split from Europe. But the Boaty McBoatface trope was all about testing the boundaries — would the will of the people be respected? As is usual with paternalist authoritarians, the department gave its research vessel a sensible name shook its head, smiled, and named the itty bitty submarine Boaty McBoatface instead. "That's your lot, be grateful you even got that."

The (de)human(ising) factor

One of the biggest problems I've got with the ideologically hidebound is that they reduce the people to "wage earners V entrepreneurs" or "the masses" or "the elites." Once they have dehumanised them they generalise about them, often in ways that have little or no bearing on what is actually happening in the real world. I used to think that this was merely misguided of them, in which case a gentle nudge in the right direction would help them back onto the path of common sense. I was wrong. This is a feature, not a bug. If you can reduce a group of people to a [party political buzzword of your choice], you can dismiss and ignore them. Why take them seriously, they're only [group]. Or you can make a boogeyman or scapegoat of them, whatever works.

Ideology uber alles

Free market ideology has a cult-like following with adherents doing all but marching around in robes and hoods chanting "for the greater good." This is what underpins austerity; the government want to break up the welfare state, upon which we all depend in different ways whether we realise this or not, and get private enterprise to take over those roles, as if that were possible. The only possible result could be a half-baked service that doesn't fully meet the needs of the people using it. This is institutionalised greed and I challenge it wherever I see it.

The media matters

Most people I know parrot off right wing lies and confirmation bias along the lines of "people are poor because they're lazy." The media has done little to tell the true story because most of the papers are owned by oligarchs who feel no obligation to this country or the people who live here. And their idea of Britain does not include the British people. They don't matter to the oligarchs, and if they got their way we wouldn't matter to each other either. Those people who are in thrall to the media find ways to mentally wriggle themselves out of the "masses" of Great Unwashed upon whom opprobrium must fall perforce. The rest of them resent being mischaracterised. These are the people who voted Brexit and these are the people who will vote to break up the Union. No amount of propaganda is going to stop this though it might slow it down. Only the end of austerity can save this country.

Our leaders have abandoned us

As I said in my last post, this generation could not have created the Welfare State if it didn't exist because it wouldn't have occurred to them to do so. The people who did create it come from a generation where service was its own reward and the people we call celebrities today would have been dismissed as shallow attention-seekers. People tried not to be too much of a burden, they had little in the way of a sense of entitlement; that was reserved for the "toffee-nosed twits" who used to get lambasted in popular culture. But these days a sense of entitlement is seen as a sign of ambition.

The Tories are eyeing up the leadership

Media speculation has been rife for some time with regard to who is likely to run for the toughest job in the world. The job description requires two faces, a forked tongue, and the ability to get along with the major factions in the party with a view to getting them to work together. If there is any one of them that I've got any respect for it's David Davis. I'd love to see him in the job. As it is, internet ignoramus Theresa "Snooper" May, Energy minister Andrea Leadsom and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox - who campaigned to leave the EU - and Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, who backed Remain have already thrown their hats into the ring. Boris "I want to be Trump's caddy" Johnson has been forced to reconsider his position by Justice Minister Michael Gove, who is also campaigning for the top job. Whether they're in Leave or Remain they have one thing in common: they are all self-serving backstabbers determined to sell us out to the corporations via TTIP. A quick search will verify this.

Labour: the people V the party

What do you get if you vote for a party on principle, not for the individual candidate on his or her merits? Peace at any price usually means you roll over and show your tummy for the kind of thing that makes your skin crawl just to keep the status quo, which tends to shift towards whatever is most popular among the ruling members. Neoliberalism has long been hailed as the salvation of the Labour party because it took them to a landslide victory in the Nineties. However, years of "free market" economics in a market that isn't actually free has resulted in the austerity that has crippled our economy today. The advent of a group of people I call the Hipster Socalists run amok on social media trying to bully people into agreeing with them. Reliant on boogeyman politics, their my-way-or-the-highway approach puts people off; nobody likes being talked at. Result: their paternalistic authoritarianism and the party's neoliberalism is putting people off of voting Labour. In conversations with these people I have learned they're much more interested in imposing their ideology on us than in meeting our needs. For them, we have one job: vote for them so they can implement their policies, then go away till they want us to vote for them again. They're still reeling from Brexit, unwilling to accept that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't all Rupert Murdoch's fault: they need to actually pay attention to the noisy blobs who make words wiv their cake 'oles instead of lecturing or trying to manipulate them. Angela Eagle is the only MP to have announced she wants to stand for leadership but the job is not open yet.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Scotland wants to remain in Europe, and is willing to break up the Union with Britain to stay in the Union with Europe.

In Northern Ireland, the Unionists want out of the EU while the Republicans want to Remain. The Remain faction are currently holding talks with the EU in a bid to try to salvage something from the Brexit debacle. This appears to be giving the Orange and Green people something else to fight about. This is NOT going to be pretty.

The Welsh also want out of Britain but to keep on being part of the EU. Much of their current funding comes from Europe. See what I was saying about austerity?

In Cornwall, they're aiming for devolution with the eventual goal of independence. They wanted out of Europe but want to keep the funding now that they've discovered that the Brexit faction lied to them about the prosperity that would result from leaving the EU. Again, austerity is the driver.

We need lions, not donkeys

Austerity is literally dividing the country and few, if any of the MPs that infest the House of Parliament today are in the least bit interested in getting rid of it. Why solve people's problems when you can hold solutions hostage to make them do what you want instead? Our politicians ought to be ashamed of themselves, but they've got their snouts too deep in the trough to care about us or this country. The only ones who seem to care about anything are more interested in implementing their ideology whether it works in practice or not for the sake of holding power.

For Britain's sake they must wake up, take responsibility. and do the job we elected them to do. Now. And get rid of austerity before it does even more damage to our society as well as to our economy.

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