Germans, Greeks, Plato, and Bankrolled Taxidriver

Don’t ask people to vote about something they don’t understand. And don’t ask for any help from a large organisation.

Normal service sort of resumes now. Not that much in today’s world could be described as normal. Not that much about today’s virtual world shows any real signs of service.

In a normal world, people would get worried when senior politicians say something unthinking…for example, “While I think we would be happy to give the Greeks more time, the German people wouldn’t”. I heard this remark from a senior CDU pol on The World Service, a 1970s transistor being the only technology that functions where I am based.

As it was, the statement passed on through the crowded ether, without too many people wondering:

  1. Exactly what model of democracy is it that your have in Germany?
  2. How do you know what they think until you let them vote about it? And
  3. Why on Earth would they make the right decision on such a complex issue?

That last is the killer question for me. The Merkeschäuble has dissembled, hidden and spun reality so much since 2010, aside from a few hacks in Berlin and bankers in Frankfurt, the average German hasn’t a clue about the real cost, consequences, political ramifications or hidden considerations that might come to light were either Greece or German (or both) to leave the euro. Only when politicians want to do the Pontius Pilate thing do they ask the befuddled, uninformed and largely apathetic populace to take a bad decision for them.

Until then, Angela Merkel will keep on leaping from the bathwater just like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Not a nice thought.

Plato said that the basis of liberty was an informed, intelligent electorate. I think he was right on the money, and had he added “plus genuine equality before the law” then I’d be calling myself Platonic these days. The trouble is, I’m too emotionally charged to be platonic, and anyway the tricky part of any free society is getting an oligarchic electorate without ending up with inequality before the law.

Ours being an abnormal world in the West, we have ‘universal’ suffrage (we don’t actually, but park that one for now) and we have an oligarchy of minute size and zero accountability and we have inequality before the law. That is, we have the full set required for mob rule manipulated by psychos – demo(s)cracy – that Plato feared so much. When you get down to it, Greece is not the cradle of democracy: it’s the cradle of common-sense, governance based on making as many people content as you can reasonably expect in an imperfect world.

Anyway, my nose – yes, really, it does – smells that Geli will say “Nein” to Antonis, and then some kind of euro-plebiscite will be called, and the plebs will be told to vote Guilty.

They will be told what to vote via the one region that didn’t exist in Plato’s time: mass, 24/7, global physical and virtual media, most of which are either in the hands of unelected malign oligarchs….or bloggers and closely associated internet philosophers – the Wilderness Voices if you like. There are no prizes for guessing who’s going to win that one. I’ve tried many times to get mutual assoications started in the blogosphere, but the interest just isn’t there. Too many egos, probably.

This abnormal world is also, as it happens, one in which ISPs offering broadband swear faithlessly that they will provide top-speed connectivity by 2011, yet by the Autumn of 2012 still can’t get within sight of that goal. But somebody I’m trying to help at the moment has had full-package Sky for years, so to improve his Broadband it seemed a bit of a no-brainer to go there first.

The website yelled “3 EASY STEPS TO CONTACTING US!” This somewhat contradictory claim (how about one easy step – the phone?) missed out the 15 web pages I’d had to search to get to there, but never mind that: let’s not be picky. My host was then asked endless security questions, and the phone was handed back to me. I listened impatiently as the robot at the other end told me how hard it would be to judge the signal we’d get (postcode no good then?) how difficult it was to get BT Outreach to fix an installation date, and finally how he’d get back to us with more details before the end of the day but nothing could be started for three weeks.

I’ve found this BT (apparent monopoly?) problem elsewhere, but it could be, of course, that Newscorp, Orange and the rest of the rippers-off simply use Outreach as a suitable animal to beat. The issue as always with privatisations handled by civil servants is that there is nowhere for the buck to stop: it just keeps on going round in circles. The same is true of rail travel and the same is true of energy. We have merely swapped one customer-blind setup for another.

Anyway, the day shaped up to be yet another one of Brazilian mania at The Slog. By now, I was amusing myself with alternatives to Bankrupt Taxpayer (Bankrolled Taxi-driver being the best I could manage) and then the image of Glenn Close emerging from beneath the bathwater came to me again. What was I to do about the Trollswarm?

I tried to contact my site supplier WordPress. They’re nice folks on the whole, but the software is skatty, and the service – as with anything on the Web – a joke. OK, it’s free – and seems to be ethical by today’s standards. But if yesterday’s experience is anything to go by, then once again there is no accountability….and above all, no way you will ever get to talk to someone.

‘Contacting’ WordPress means going through three sets of FAQs, not getting any answers, and then being referred to ‘the Forum Community’. All pretty risible really.

But then a Fairy Godfather appeared. Let’s see what happens next.

Still unable to get online with any reliability, I drove elsewhere – a tricky operation for all kinds of reasons too numerous to mention here – where a chum took me to a local small shop run by two young blokes. So helpful in manner, sound of advice, and fair in charging were they, I immediately asked them to order me a new laptop battery, and fix my very ill Netbook. I’ll probably also ask them to look at my host’s broadband problem, because these guys have a simple positioning: rather than you sod about for hours with global suppliers (who prefer declaring dividends to shareholders than looking after their customers) we’ll move in where they’ve moved out.

Don’t dismiss this as a sample-of-one anecdote: the shop is frantically busy 24/7, and they’re already – after a month – looking for new premises and staff to train. The same is true in my Devon Community, in South West France….in fact, wherever you look. Ulitmately, power does not come from a ‘global reach’ that never involves anything worthwhile for the buyer, it comes from loyal customers. This is where UK manufacturers got it wrong in the 1970s: they thought multiple retailers and shareholders were more important than branded reasons to prefer. In the future, the grip of globalists will be loosened by those helping people at the coalface – not saying ‘Help’ in a panel, and then saying “Your enquiry showed 0 results”. Those who ultimately buy, use and judge will always be more important than ‘stakeholders’. It’s one of the many things that neocon corporate accountants never grasp.

Anyway BT and friends, enjoy life in the newly created Eternal Comments Pending File. And if a genuine Slogger spots a piranha that ate his way through the Krypton, make me alert. I need lerts. Only lerts can kill Trolls for ever and ever, Amen.

The Slog goes on.