ImspartacusHow we all went from Sovereign gladiator to slave

British MPs are expressing concern over the plans carefully hidden in the last Budget to allow future governments to withdraw funds allegedly owed to HMRC direct from citizens’ bank accounts.

There is also concern being rightly engendered by 38 degrees about the obvious intention of the Coalition to sell our personal financial details to the private sector. Before that, plans within the NHS to sell patient details to the insurance sector were hastily covered up and then denied.

Last year, the citizens of Cyprus were blatantly sold to the slave drivers of the Troika….their crime having been to help Greece pay back that same salivating trio of cannibals.

Over the last eighteen months, some 23 developed nations have been forced by one means or another to confess that they have plans in place to raid citizen funds in order to pay off bank and sovereign debt.

In Athens, sources tell me that the Troika has four times now tabled the issue of raiding private pension funds directly – and simply never telling the proposed recipients.

Most pension pots in the Western world – my own included – have been illegally reduced by blatant market manipulation to change events one would otherwise have expected based on the fundamentals…and to compound the crime, they have used our own money to do it.

In a near-sexual sense of the term, we are – all of us, young or old, European, American, Asian, African or Australasian – being slowly acclimatised to the idea of our wealth being interfered with, raped, assaulted and mutilated.

Time was, the citizen produced and consumed according to his or her own skills, needs and whims. We in the advertising profession (oh, how we were hated by the 1970s Stalinist Left) frequently used amusement, engagement and guile to – nevertheless openly – persuade such consumers that our brand was the best. And if the product behind that brand was no good, then nothing would kill it more quickly than advertising successfully generating trial…followed by rejection.

What a lucky man I was to be part of that innocent game in which the consumer knew what we were at, and this mutual awareness was displayed clearly in advertising not afraid to pastiche itself.

But what a naive twat I was not to see how – once the barbarians broke through the gates – the thin end of permission to sell would become a gun to the head of those being arm-wrestled into purchase.

In just forty years – a mere blink at the brightness of sunlight –  the consumer has plummeted from sovereign to slave. From having been the person calling the shots, the basic unit of Imperial Cistercian currency has become a slave to be prodded, abused, judged, measured up and ultimately sold in the Slave Market. This market laughingly refers to itself as neoliberal, but in reality it is a neoroman orgy of monopolies. Newscorp illegally tapped our phones, the multiple retailers pored over our personal consumption habits, the banks peered through the keyhole at our money arrangements, the media preyed upon human exhibitionism to abase us in “talent” contests, and the ISPs quickly became the feverish dirty-mack voyeurs desperate to know with whom we were partying, the objects of our leisure time, how often we got pissed, and who we were fucking.

All of them spy on us for the purposes of selling and control. All of them view us as slaves, too stupid to slam the door of our private lives behind us. And not an ounce of protection has come from those we elect to ensure our liberty and safety.

There’s an obvious reason for this. Desperate for money they could no longer generate from voter enthusiasm, the political Parties switched from Union dues, charitythons, Village Green fetes and beetle drives to corporate, interest group, pressure group and then eventually do-what-we-say-or-die groups with no semblance of connection to – or interest in – the citizen.

Those who – by non-avoidance and non-evasion of taxes, generally decent behaviour, and at times injudicious expenditure – kept the show on the road are now become the reviled roadies and toadies required to tune up the equipment and pimp for the artists…on pain of expulsion. No longer free agents of consumption, those loudly informed by purveyors of the American Dream fifty years ago that they were Gladiators face the threat of extinction each and every day in the Amphitheatre.

Is that not merely just, you perhaps ask. For is that not what Gladiators are for?

I think not. Very few of us are gladiators. In metaphor rather than pedantry, the gladiatorial Spartacus figure has always been the one who quite rightly demanded more of the dictatorial State than such an unnatural body was willing to give. The Russell Crowe man is more provider than supplicant – infinitely more Alpha than Zeta. He tells the State that he will obey it up to a point, but beyond that point it is merely in his way.

And therein lies the rub for the 21st century Western citizen. He has little or no desire to face death in the Amphitheatre. He feels irked at the idea of being a slave….but will go along with it if the only alternative is to put his neck on the block.

It is a person’s feelings about the neck/block configuration that represent the difference between the rebel and the slave.

It is the willingness to rebel that separates the user from the used.

Where are the gladiators who will order the State to stop abusing the citizen, and teach the citizen answer the State back?

Well, I doubt very much if any of them were watching the Eurovision Song Contest last night. But one of the worst collaborators was. This is what he tweeted at the end of the show:

ScreenHunter_45 May. 11 08.30Sorry to deconstruct this, but it has to be said: the people of Morley voted for this bloke. He is either a moron, or a pol on the make pretending to be as moronic as they are. Both alternatives, I’d say, are equally depressing….but I’m 99% certain it’s the latter.

Ed Balls got into Parliament by jumping the queue and being parachuted in by a Prime Minister suffering from a personality disorder. He is in his seat for two reasons: first, the use of rotten-borough tactics by Gordon Brown on a par with anything the 18th century had to offer; and second, by being sponsored by the savers and loyal supporters of the Cooperative Movement. These latter folks he sold as slaves to a couple of Hedge Funds in order to cover his fat arse, following which the Labour Party quietly moved its account elsewhere. Which is (in theory) a tricky one for Mr Balls, as he is formally a Cooperative Party MP.

But it won’t bother him, because he’s just another slave trader. He denies having anything to do with it now, of course; but I and a dozen other hacks could quickly produce between us twenty people who know that’s bollocks. And they’d testify to that…if they too weren’t slave traders, and scared of losing the steady supply of brown envelopes.

We are, all of us, to blame for this. Because not only did we do nothing to stop it, in millions of cases we threw open our doors and invited Big Brother in. Some of us are more guilty than others – either because we were more lazy than stupid, or because we did nothing to protect the stupid. The result of doing nothing to stop evil never changes: you get evil. Every time.

I wish more people could grow up and realise that doing nothing today only makes things worse next week. Pain avoidance – and fluffy attempts to make a sense of responsibility look like fascism – got us to where we are today. More on this anon.