Sunday, 27 May 2012

Communist Clegg, Socialist Cable? The right comes out of its closet

Adrian Beecroft is a special sort of Tory donor.  He has access to the Prime Minister and he is one of the self-styled "entrepreneurs" who make the country what it is today.  Amongst his many interests is a company called, which offers usury to the innumerate masses denied credit and a stake in society by the actions of his city cronies over the last decade.

Beecroft's career should be the subject of a Brechtian morality tale, not as a poseur and lobbyist portraying himself as a victim of the Coalition.  Instead he spent time last week mewling to the "Telegraph" that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is a "socialist" for opposing irrational and dictatorial powers for employers.

There is no evidence that allowing capricious, half-witted Tory trolls to hire and fire on the basis of not liking someone's face would do anything for either productivity or profitability, indeed the opposite appears to be true when comparing the UK to more liberal, socially-cohesive states.  Yet why let evidence get in the way of the dribbling inanities that put the rich and avaricious at the pinnacle of the state, ignoring that they have at best got to their position through other people's efforts and at worst through exploitation and evil.  I suspect Beecroft tilts much more towards one end of that spectrum.

Cable's socialism - which is clearly deeply-felt and expressed on frequent occasions - is as nothing compared to the Deputy Prime Minister, who according to the unknown Tim Hands, apparently Headmaster of Magdalen College School, is guilty of "old-school communism" for questioning how best to achieve social mobility.  Hands makes the superficially-libertarian but facile case that public schools are a symptom rather than a cause of the increasing polarisation of British society.

Those of us who had the luck not to be coming of age before the debasement of education by the 1980s-model Tories - the crazed extension of universities and the introduction of neo-conservative target culture within the system - are probably the last generation to have merited from even partial social mobility.  Properly-funded institutions and the avoidance of massive debt overhangs also went alongside relatively good prospects that graduates would be employed and contribute tax revenues to fund the next generations through.

Thatcher, Major and Blair cynically expanded the higher education sector - again with the same innumeracy that characterises the victims of Beecroft's simony - the clear implication of 50% of school-leaves consuming tertiary education is that many will earn below or only just around the average salary in later life - and at the same time allowed private schools to continue with tax breaks while they rowed back from the kind of access that used to be available through their palty numbers of scholarships - the fees for one pupil at the kind of school that Hands represents are well above the gross salary level of the majority of the population.

So when Clegg draws attention to the fact that social mobility and income inequality is growing, and there is even less chance of bright children from lower-income households from being able to afford the debt-ridden lottery of degrees, or achieving the kind of grades required to get them into institutions which are still disproportionately-populated by the children of bankers, usurers and other parasites, he is an "old-school communist".

If Hands were remotely intelligent, as opposed to the kind of snake-oil salesman who most interest groups select as cheer-leaders, this facile abuse would show precisely what kind of social construct he wishes to preserve.

Paradoxically, the abuse heaped by the half-wits of the right may do the Liberal Democrats some good in demonstrating that the views of the Coalition are not aligned.  I'm sure that Osborne and Cameron are cheering on their puppet-masters (the vision of the Hamster as a version of Sooty being manipulated painfully by Beecroft is highly amusing) - but the Liberals have at least some chance of constructing a position centred around individuals, their worth and their status in society.

To suggest that citizens have rights, and that they are of equal status and value within society now seems to count as dangerous radicalism.  More of it, please.

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