THE SATURDAY ESSAY: Why simplistic politicians and over-complicating professionals have a common enemy: us

Promise, protect, divide and rule: the fascist axis hands out nonsense like a well-greased palm

It is one of the many inconsistencies and contradictions of our species that we desperately want everything complex to be simple, and everything simple to be complex.

If I may, I’d like to offer two personal examples.
I suffer (very rarely these days I’m pleased to report) bouts of depression. The overwhelming majority of humanity would love to categorise the condition as ‘born bonkers’, and move on to other more interesting topics such as the future of rap music. But I’ve grown to realise over seven decades that most depressive conditions – in fact, the majority of all mental illness – is a devil’s brew of genetic inheritance, early home environment, and random life experiences.
Conversely, in the media today almost every transmitting pundit would have you believe that finance ministers, bankers, multinational CEOs, currency dealers and market analysts have an extremely complicated task before them each morning – viz, making sense of the global econo-fiscal and financial situation. However – albeit over four decades rather than seven – it has become risibly obvious that economics has been rendered complex by the addition of globalism, fiscal meddling, and financial incompetence. Take those three elements out, and economics is nothing more than a craft by which we earn more than we pay.
One can keep such examples coming ad nauseam: ‘Yes we Can’ was quite clearly the solution of an egotistical muppet to the history and complexity behind how to steer the USA in a better direction after Dubya had finished playing golf, using Iraq as the ball. On the other hand, the alleged moral maze of UK Women’s State pensions justice is in reality nothing more than posing the question, “Is a deal a deal or not?”
Climate change is a four-dimensional puzzle, not Rubik’s cube. The HS2 yes-or-no debate is straightforward: no.

Why is this truism clear to objective thinkers but not to those claiming to have their hands on the tiller? The answer, it seems to me, is a case of promises and protection.

Countries and economies are, ultimately, in the hands of two types of people – politicians and professionals. Politicians can only get elected by promising to do things that are, quite often, impossible. And the professions can only protect their status, control and wealth by complicating everything, and then declaring themselves to be highly skilled in unravelling the complexity.
In one obvious example, the politician says he will cut the cost of defence. The senior military, the civil service and the diplomatic corps then wade in to explain why this will by difficult not to say impossible.
Another politician says he will raise more tax from corporate business and banking. Both those professions say that will reduce margins, cause unemployment, mean less money lent for economic expansion, and – nudge nudge – force them to move the HQ elsewhere, or – Heaven forbid – stop giving donations to the Conservative Party.

The bigger the promise, the greater the threat to privilege…and thus, the more ludicrous the claims of the professionals. A radical pol of the Left decides that tabloid gargoyles yelling into people’s letter-boxes, hacking their phones and bribing cops is a bad idea. Every newspaper, website and commercial TV journalist then writes long columns about threats to liberty, the fragility of a free press, the public interest, and fighting corporate crime. Or alternatively, they get some dirt on the Minister and then threaten him.

Finally an enquiry is set up to show just how complicated all the considerations are, and things carry on as before.
It may seem that, in this never-ending battle between promise and protection, the politician always winds up with the grubby end of the stick. In fact, it’s much worse than that.
Once good legislators find they can’t get anything useful done in politics, they quickly pack their bags and do something more fulfilling. The drunks, lazy buggers, and whores stay exactly where they are and take the money. A new generation of people calling themselves ‘professional’ politicians move in, and the nomenclature alone is enough to tell you who they’re really working for…especially the lawyers.
So the things getting done change from being ethically, socially, educationally or citizen orientated to being those things the commercial professions want done. And of course, to dissuade any future reformer from abolishing these often dysfunctional and corrupt laws, the beneficiaries go to work once more describing how incredibly complicated and probably disastrous the changes would be.

The outstanding – and in the end, I’m sure it will prove the most cataclysmic – case of this process is the failure of the US Congress to make any headway at all in the reform of the banking system in general, and Wall Street in particular. Every last Bill and clause put together by those keen not to spend another $27 trillion bailing out depraved investment bankers has been resisted, watered down and then in real terms defeated and/or shelved.

Today at the outset of 2016, the situation in terms of both transparency, debt and overall leveraging is worse than it was in 2007-8.
All the tell-tale signs are there: nobody knows what percentage of derivative bets are netted because it would be “far too complicated and long-winded a process” to find out. Yet the derivative mechanic was, in its infancy, a brilliant idea whereby farmers were given cheap money to invest and local banks operated as banks should do – positively to good ideas from entrepreurs. It is greed and interbank trading that has turned it into a monster nobody dare try and tame.
In turn, the assumptions that lie behind the major Wall Street firms’ leveraging policies are risibly easy to deconstruct. But the minute anyone ‘in authority’ (an increasingly false term) wants these reined in, dire warnings of ‘slowing down a fragile recovery’ and ‘betrayal of client confidences’ are brought forward….from a sector that has done zip to push that recovery, and bets both for and against its clents’ interests on a daily basis.
Increasingly, sector by sector, what we see now is the political class not just wimping out of resistance to this, but getting actively involved in the process of arguing the complicator’s case.
Thus the politically controlled UK Ministry of Justice and its alleged master (but really mistress) the cps have now issued a disgracefully vague statement saying that they will not be proceeding with any further phone-hacking investigations into the media, because “the issues are complex, the trails cold, and the evidence voluminously conflicting”. That is complete bollocks: the evidence of two former employees and one rock star could put a former editor behind bars tomorrow were anyone to bother putting the case together. It is nothing short of fraternisation at best and perversion of Justice at worst.
Equally, Andy Coulson got off a perjury charge with the active collaboration of a judge who insisted that the law of perjury is complex, he understood it better than the jury….and so the case would be dismissed without even asking the jury to have a go. The law of perjury couldn’t be more simple: the telling of lies under oath. This former Murdoch and Cameron henchman had previously served just 10 weeks in an open prison for the offence of ordering the hacking of thousands of private phones over many years.
But when on the offensive, observe how the corporate-political axis simplifies everything: the charging of artists, disc jockeys, and other celebrities with the dustbin term ‘paedophilia’ when very few people truly understand the legal, mental and pubertal mélange of factors required to judge the competence of the abused or the guilt of the accused.
George Osborne began his Chancellorship with what every sane technician on Earth knew was an impossible task: to wipe out Britain’s budget deficit within five years, to begin rebalancing the economy away from financial services, and to start repaying the National Debt. But he insisted it would be no more than painful. This last promise is the only one he has lived up to: the economy is more services biased and the Debt hugely bigger than it was when he started….and the deficit is no more than half removed.

He also insisted he would get tough with the banks. I’m sure we can all remember the media bombardment that followed; this would be risky, the banks were already fragile and the recovery barely under way, and it was nowhere near as easy as it looked at first sight. The end of Osborne getting tough with the banks came, eventually, when Bob Diamond at Barclays rang David Cameron to suggest that he f**k right off.

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In more civilised times, the moral of this piece would be straightforward in terms of almost universably applicable advice: distrust by default all politicians who say it will be easy, and all professionals who say it will be difficult, tortuous, risky and complicated.

But three factors militate against that, and hand an overwhelming advantage to the would-be fascists – and I mean fascists in the classic sense of Benito Mussolini’s definition, not the knockabout stuff of which student debates are made:

1. We are watching the rapid and overt takeover of the politico-governmental process by the legal, marketing, media, manufacturing, banking, retail and surveillance professions. Increasingly therefore, the two sides in this merger have become one…and their messages fully coordinated. (Fracking represents the best example out there)

2. The gradual dumbing down and depoliticisation of the electorate has led – via a combination of cynicism, desperation and distraction – to apathy, a sense of hopelessness, and the election to power of a crypto-fascist Government enjoying the support of just one quarter of those entitled to vote. This is exacerbated by the sheer number of injustices fighting for attention from a media pack, most of whom have no interest at all in publicising their plight. (It is to me highly significant that the recent success of WASPI in being the exception to this rule is based on its members having undergone education and work experience long before the dumbness and robotic pc came to dominate our culture)

3. Crucially – and I apologise to regulars who’ve read this from me a hundred times already – the Opposition is tribally divided between the SNP, Burnham Labour, Corbyn Labour, UKIP, and the increasingly sub-atomic Liberal Democrats. Even UKIP with its one MP is internally riven by squabbles. This process seems to me on the increase rather than the wane….and it is handing victory to the technocratic professionals on a plate.

But one thing this ragbag of resistance has in common: a well judged and powerful distrust of the controlling nature of Whiteminster, and a desire to devolve power more fully. I make no secret of my own communitarian creativity agenda here: but agenda or no, this issue is the biggest one our species faces, and is I think one thing that could bust the centralist monopoly. (Obviously, Burnham Labour wouldn’t even contemplate this idea – it is, after all, part of the problem)

In extra-Parliamentary terms – for this is the route via which all pre-1945 social reform came to be on the Statute Book – I can only reiterate previous Slogposts going back six years: the wannabe fascist axis is only made possible by the passage of money back and forth between the simplifying/complicating scam. The first task must be to cut off this mutual flow – starting with political donations in any shape or form, and then regulating all lobbying far more strictly.

Only then will the time be ripe for pushing in favour of electoral and Party Whip reform until the Westminster club is finally disbanded.
But that too is going to require concerted action outside Parliament from a more united Resistance. The piecemeal way in which the Vote Leave campaign sort of got its ranks in order offers a salutary example of being too slow off the mark…..and this is a particularly apposite example, because the issue of EU membership really is one where, yet again, in the face of all the legal, incompetence, corruption, economic and controlling evidence, the fascists are still in the stronger electoral position.

And Vote Stay are the fascists here, because almost the entire Whiteminster Establishment, globalist banking and multinational manufacturing camp are firmly for Stay.
Surprise, surprise….the dominant strain of the Vote Stay campaign is risk, complexity, cost, legal impossibility etc etc etc.

Yes – it is divide and rule but No, it isn’t a conspiracy. It is merely the method by which those across the piece who insist on More for Me go about their business of killing off competitors and detractors.

Closely connected at The Slog: Four ideologies and a funeral