Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Why the revolution may not be as far away as you think

Today it was revealed that the chief executives of the FTSE 100 companies trousered over 12% in pay rises in the last year.  We're all clearly in this together only to the extent that our contributions to their affluence are delivering them even more objectionable and otiose lifestyles, while simultaneously "re-engineering" their organisations to reduce their staff numbers and eliminate any rights of those who remain, preferring an attitude of craven fear and the kind of forelock-tugging that went out of fashion about the same time as the "Daily Express" formed its worldview.

At the same time, the powers-that-be are clearly praying that distraction therapy works over the summer.  The Jubilee festivities, funded by the taxpayer rather than the murky wealth of the Windsors, are followed by some sort of Association Football competition taking place within the repressive totalitarian East and then the commercial masturbation-fest that will be the "Olympic" Games.  Meanwhile the Middle East burns, the European economy is on the brink of implosion and the corruption and venality of the Conservative Party are unfolding in a blur of incomprehension and amoral posturing by senior Ministers.

These are hardly propitious times, and the continued mantra of grinding away at the public sector, the poor and the middle classes clearly requires a masterpiece of illusion.  There is something mildly amusing about contemplating David Cameron taking lessons from Paul Daniels, but even professional sleight of hand could not really compensate for the sheer volume of incompetence and incapacity being dressed up as the only approach to restoring Britain's tarnished fortunes.

The purely determinist approach taken by the Tories is that the huddled masses like being in that position.  However, this is both patronising and clearly a dangerous game to be playing.  What we are seeing is the creation of a new class of the permanently excluded, not just what would have been characterised as the "underclass" thirty years ago but a generation raised on inflated student debt, a housing market where they are the victims of rapacious landlords egged on by every administration since the Evil Thatch, and employment both insecure and unrewarding.  Aspirations to stability and the desire to contribute to the good of the world are increasingly luxurious in a situation where transience is the order of the day and survival is at the whim of a plutocrat.

Yet the rich go on getting richer, and more protected from the society that they have created.  They eschew the public realm, as it's far too threatening for them, while their mistakes and financial ineptitude is rewarded by bailouts that transfer wealth from the poor to the rich.  This denial of the conditions being created increasingly resembles Tsarist Russia in its final phases - which makes it all the more ironic given the quantity of oligarch's money and influence coming into Britain.  To make this self-appointed elite better off, everyone else must suffer.

Cameron shows no sign of concern about this, despite the riots last year and the ongoing corruption and diminution of respect for government.  Instead, we have a Panglossian arrogance mixed with incredulity that anyone might challenge their legitimacy.

Once trust is lost, it can never be recovered.  The effects of ignoring the need for action to end the British Depression, and ignoring the creeping catastrophe from the frightened-rabbit approach to global economic mismanagement, alongside a growing disenfranchisement of society are frightening in their potential consequences.  The barricades are not that far away, and by the time the last corporate sponsor pulls away from Coe's Catastrophe the nakedness and disgusting hypocrisy of this government may have very few fig leaves behind which to hide.

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