In a Saturday Essay Special today, The Slog examines the power of those in charge, the failure of either Law or the media to bring them to book, the patronising superficiality of “politics”, and the divided weakness of Resistance online.
I don’t really know where to go from here. I suppose if one were to get it down to a short topic list, you could say this site is about the culture of power: State, economic, military, fiscal, financial, religious, educational, media and political. So bear with me while I take a brief meander through each form of it. Then you might see why I’m unsure as to what to do next.
As we’ll see, the list obviously isn’t mutually exclusive; but I will use the more colloquial, narrow version of the words to make the point in each case.
State power is in the ascendancy as a result of three primary factors: people are naive and apathetic about it, technology has turned it into a Nazi wet-dream, and the rule of Law is to all intents and purposes broken. That loss of legal power and independence has sadly collided with a crop of self-serving, ignorant and opportunistic legislators who make themselves and their donors immune to the due process of the Law.
Economic power has, in just under forty years, been grasped from labour and given to capital. Technology – if extrapolated forward in a straight line – will wipe out every manual workform by 2040, and 90% of all clerical tasks. Ergo, the power of capital will increase, and the influence/cost of labour will continue to fall. Because genuine gdp growth is impossible in highly mechanised and financialised economies, all of the US, EU and UK authorities have adopted and manipulated selective measures of activity, spending power, exports and company valuation. The rise and rise of the crooked bueaucrat and bought politician has been central to this process.
Military power, far from waning, today eats up more of State budgets than ever. Technology is decisive and expensive, and weapons of war unrecognisable from fifty years ago: they include (depending on who and what you believe) cyber, internet, weather, social violence, and factual fakery on a scale to make Big Brother blush. That changing nature has brought the generals closer to the police, the security services, the ISPs, the banks and the ‘older’ media moguls. Here too, the political class has either connived in (or nodded off during) the relentless process. The current White House COS is a general, the UK Prime Minister is a former Home Secretary, the Chancellor of Germany an ex DDR Jugendfuhrer, and the President of France a former banker.
The unaccountable power of the world’s central banks and other fiscal authorities per se grew as monetary theory achieved near universal acceptance around the turn of the century. Between the lauding of Friedman on the one hand – and the rise of criminal manipulation of markets by the authorities on the other – it is often hard to tell the chicken from the egg. My own view is that Friedman’s naive socio-economic theories were grasped with glee by right wing politicians and their banker donors, and the result has been a marriage made in Hell between consumers who can no longer consume without credit, and financial service fly-boys producing close to nothing in “real” ecnomic terms. Around the world today, bankers are far and away the most illegally protected and undeservedly privileged group in society: derivatives, irrationally packaged and fraudulently sold investment packages, QE and Zirp have all cost taxpayers a phenomenal sum of money….but their inventors suffered little if at all from their own sorcery.
Islamic power has been variously breaking up into sects, slaughtering religious infidels, invading other cultures and mutilating genitals since the latter part of the Fifth century. Just as socialists believe their economic system is the final synthesis of previous mistaken systems, so too Islamics believe the prophet Mohammed sorted out all the bits that Adam, Moses and Jesus got wrong….thus rendering all other religions irrelevant and seditious. So arguing that radical Islam is all down to US foreign policy and oil under the desert represents something of a sticky wicket down which to bowl the yorker.
However, while American hegemonism in general (and the obsession of US voters with fuel for their cars) didn’t start the Isamic fire, it most certainly fanned the flames of contemporary extremism, and made a truly barbaric set of beliefs popular. In turn, members of the Libleft community – who have never studied either the life and works of Mohammed, the older history of Arabaia or the C’ran – have facilitated the spread of Islam into cultures from Moscow to Birmingham via Paris and Rome, by wilfully confusing racism with religious zeal. A war of blatantly US-inspired régime change in Syria has backfired into the EU which – inexplicably – decided to open its doors to resulting criminal elements from both Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa.
Or was it inexplicable? Germany has seen thirty years of strong economic growth on the back of cheap Turkish labour; and the ECB under Mario Draghi has banged on since his appointment about the dire need for cheaper workforce costs. One suspects that EC greed played right into the hands of Isamic expansionism….a bitter irony if ever there was one – not least for the Left.
One of the first demands made by Islamics in a foreign country is always that of complete independence for religious education – ie, theirs. The power of enlightened education empowered the 20th century working classes, opened many eyes to the nonsense of organised religion, and created social mobility across Europe and the US. So unsurprisingly, Islam is having none of that: keep the poor scared and the women illiterate, that’s the way to do it.
But now they are having to deal with a backlash: although almost completely unreported in the UK, their antics in Italy, Paris and Calais have hardened attitudes. Random social assassinations and other atrocities in Britain and France have woken many up to the danger – although not the Left, of course. The recent headmistress dispute in a heavily Islamic English school has, at last, brought an obdurate response from Ofsted: NO. In France, the burqua is frowned upon and all religious symbols are banned from schools.
Nothing better demonstrates the power of education (and how zero investigatory encouragement in schools is leading to undiscerning, herd-dwelling minds) than the debates now taking place on what education should be about. After Labour dumped the best education system in the world during the 1960s, in turn Thatcher starved schools of resources, the Blairites lowered the bar and became slaves to targets. Now the post-Cameron Conservatives are busy selling off the University sector while effecting no change whatsoever of any value to the blindly “egalitarian” Socialist ideas that have delivered unto us Generation Kneejerk.
Until education in the First World cans pc fantasies in favour of a meritocracy of high-bar excellence, then ‘European’ culture will continue on its accelerating decline. And only when éclectic social civics, personal health, debate, rewarding open minds and respect for the views of others become the curricular mainstream will it ever be fit to solve the problems that so clearly lie ahead of us. I’m not holding my breath.
In a 21st century where every medium is manipulative, scattered liberally with black commercial lies and stuffed à la gavrage with Left, Right and State fakery, only those with the sort of holistic, thirst-for-knowledge education I’ve just outlined will stand a chance of becoming anything beyond the slaves of those above them with perverted values, beliefs and ideologies.
The collision of media ownership concentration with a generation barely able to tell race from religion, peaceful religion from female genital mutilation or democracy from liberty, is perhaps the most unfortunate of the lot….and certainly for me, the most depressing.
I will now relate something shocking from my recent experiences. While in Goa, I stumbled across a Visa scam giving lower-class Brits the illegal right to live pretty much fulltime in India. This enabled them (armed with an income based on illegally subletting UK assisted-rental flats – just as in Grenfell Tower – and their welfare benefits) to live high off the land in Goa….or elsewhere.
The crime is made all the more reprehensible because much of the subletting is to immigrants who are either confused or illegal themselves.
The scam depends on corruption within the Indian immigration police, and the privatised sector of the UK’s DWP: the first to issue instant renewals of what should only be two 60-day stay allowances in India; the second to sign off the scammers as having turned up to the DWP and been looking actively for a job.
Think for a minute or two about this, and ask yourself: is a Tory Government going to admit that some of its privatised DWP overseers are corrupt? Would a Labour Government ever accept that some of its core supporters and sympathisers are just as sociopathically nasty as the worst banker or junk bond salesperson?
For a radical commentator, that’s checkmate.
Unless, of course, we have a “free” media set who will investigate – with their far more ample resources than mine – this appalling calumny and bring the guilty to book.
I contacted several good and longstanding Fleet Street journos with that aim in mind. All offered variations on the same basic response: “Nobody does this kind of stuff any more, the budgets aren’t there, the public doesn’t care, and one political interest or another would spike it. It’s a waste of effort”. This was especially true of freelancers, all of whom of course have families to feed: who am I to judge? I’m lucky – I’m through the tape: they aren’t.
This is how accountable liberal democracy dies: not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with a nod, a wink, and the power of munnnnneeeeee.
Which spookily enough, brings me to the last social group involved in this process of boiling the lobster…..the Political Class.
“The first job of every government in a democracy is the defence of the Realm, and the protection of the Citizen from illegal, arbitrary treatment”.
This is what we pay our legislators to retain as their focus. Over the last thirty years, more and more MPs, members of Congress, Deputies and otherwise named “elected officials” have become rather blurred in their vision. Today, despite some notable exceptions on all sides, they are money-seeking unguided missiles, working to variously increase their personal power, represent minority interests, and occasionally give out vomit-inducing signals of their spurious virtue.
In the 18th century we had rotten borough constituencies undermining what limited democracy there was. Today, the most rotten borough of all is Westminster – and it has mined every field of democracy we have created since 1832.
The Left fancies itself free of this disease, because it is busily weeding out all the softer social-democrat elements in its midst. Sadly, it is replacing them with the only illiberal fanatics and second-rate toadies prepared to work with an unreconstructed 1960s IS militant and an avowed card-carrying Stalinist hardman. Those naive enough to think that espousal of causes in favour of the Poor reflects moral and ethical consistency should think a little harder about Diane Abbott, Keith Vaz, Ivan Lewis, and a host of pro-Corbyn Labour backbenchers who continue in private to insist that Islamic child-rape is better covered up “for the sake of the community”. Did Abbott send her kids to private school on that basis?
The interests of Labour’s most influential backer, Momentum, are no less minority and pernicious than the City’s hordes of tax evaders, or the media’s unconvicted phone hackers beyond Newscorp who remain at large.
The Communist ideologue is just as remote from the needs of the People as the nastiest Tory. The Sechuanese who insist that Party Crime must be covered up “for the good of the Cause” are just as corrupt as the senior bankers at Barclays, Lehman, Deutsche and RBS who continue to insist that they knew nothing of wrongdoing.
But perhaps the biggest single – and for me, most unforgiveable crime committed by the political class over the last four decades has been its unremitting assault on the only trusted medium Britain ever had – the BBC.
If people now wonder why one week the Beeb is “a nest of pc Socialists” and the next “the agent for anything Cameron or HSBC want to do, or keep quiet about” (both things said to me by backbenchers over the last eight months) then they need look no further than a potted, objective history of how it has been bullied and then, eventually, politicised.
When Thatcher first refused to allow the IRA’s words on television, it was an obvious attack on the media in general which – I can tell you from first-hand experience – she loathed with vengeance aforethought…..beyond Newscorp. Hold that thought.
During her mercilessly long term in office, Mrs T variously ranted against the BBC for its coverage of the Falklands War, for its explicit reports on Poll Tax riots, and for running Panorama programmes about Third World poverty. But Rupert Murdoch was always welcome in Downing Street.
Once Tony Blair’s media “expert” and
liar spin doctor Alastair Campbell told his boss that he would “never get elected without Murdoch on board” Blair went on a charm offensive that covered Fleet Street, major advertising agencies, the City and then Newscorp as an organisation to present himself as trustworthy Labour lite. Murdoch sensed that after Thatcher, the Tories had lost their way, that “New” Labour would change little of any substance….but listen to everything he said. The plan worked admirably for everyone and everything, except public honesty and ordinary people.
The Iraq War was a crucial turning point. As evidence began to emerge that the WOMD bogeyman was a myth, the Blairites harrassed the Attorney General, the key Civil Servant (to his death) and most of all the BBC for running the story. The departure of Greg Dyke was the end of the beginning of BBC mouthpiece news and banal programming: satire shows were sanitised and crammed with right-on comics whose formulaic progress along the Left’s Party line on everything continues today, while the news itself studiously steered clear of any “investigative” approach. But Rupert Murdoch was always welcome in Downing Street.
Via his rising Culture & Media Shadow Jeremy Hunt, the newly elected Tory leader reopened bridges to Newscorp via Rupert’s son James. The deal was sealed during “media familiarisation” visits Hunt made to New York during 2008-9, and coupled with Boris Johnson’s gushing support as Mayor of London, led to Murdoch’s wholehearted support during the inconclusive 2010 election.
During the Coalition term that followed, Cameron and his close entourage protected Newscorp entirely from the hacking scandal (leading player, Johnson) while colluding with the company in an attempted takeover of BSkyB (leading player, Hunt). But it was a close-run thing, and the Conservatives along with their media and City allies decided that the BBC must be tamed once and for all. So they took one of its key targets for investigation – HSBC – and began muscling its senior execs and advisors into the ruling élite at the Beeb.
The result is a rudderless, tentative and hopelessly split BBC constantly engaged in a civil war between most journalists and satire creatives on the one hand, and senior suits on the other.
Corbynite Labour hates it, UKIP hates it, and Rupert Murdoch loves it. But the vast majority of thinking Britons are irritated by the relentlessly assumptive Libleft bias in the news analysis, and bored by the ID politics-obsessed, badly written and/or lowest common denominator “entertainment” on offer.
For the open-minded defender of free speech, the emasculation of the BBC is the most pitiable and disgraceful act in the less than unblemished history of the British political class. Above any other thing, it epitomises exactly why only radical constitutional and educational reform is going to restore respect for Citizen freedoms.
But sooner or later, it occurs to even the most delusional radical reformer that ants moving rubber-tree plants and rams busting boulder dams exist in pro-JFK Sinatra songs, not in real life. Real life is about grassy knolls under which many things can be buried. All of us on the internet condemning the nature of Western ethics, values and their two-way relationship with government may bask in our wide circle of admirers. But we cannot do it alone.
Solitary one-man-and blogging has had its day.
I am an opponent of mindless marches, petitions and demonstrations. On the whole, they make the participants feel good, but achieve little of any worth: worse still, they nurture the intolerant culture of shouting down, violence to achieve ends, and repetitious slogans from the closed ranks of closed minds.
But I am all for democratic solidarity. The division among those who oppose the forces of Might is Right is the very reason they’re winning. I know it’s a drum I’ve banged several times over the last fifteen years, but I’m banging it again now because I am genuinely scared of how close we are to losing everything that adds up to civilisation.
Here is just a very small shortlist of the dozens of web writers and broadcasters I admire for their honesty, objectivity, bravery and perseverance.
David Malone aka Golem XIV, a man who rightly fears for life on the planet. Brendan O’Neill, one of the few reporters truly capable of calling out censorship in all its forms. And MarkGB, whose recent essay The 21st Century Plague summed up so many things so well from so many different angles.
Right now, I do not think a political Party – that is, one standing for numerically idiotic election at the bottom of a gradient of 1 in 2 that the Establishment thinks ‘a level playing field’ – is the requirement. For me – given the encroachments of clowns like Amber Rudd, Diane Abbott and the anti Net neutrality corps designed to silence the online Opposition – the most pressing need is a recognised centre of objective journalistic excellence.
It should be out there and part of a new mainstream, where it can gradually mature into a respected leader of post-Mogul journalism. Its undisputed features would be:
- No political agenda
- A search – however painstaking – for what happened and why
- A cultural agenda of stringent legal equality; individual fulfilment and responsibility; unfettered free speech; depoliticised holistic, questioning education; and the creation of direct, considered democracy
- A passionate and practical approach to all empirical science discussing the survival of the planet Earth
- An absence of ideological propaganda.
In short, a medium designed to tell it like it is, not sell the plebs a pup
So: “solitary one-man-band blogger” is a description of me…..and millions of others. It is hard but, on the whole, enjoyable and fulfilling work. Fifteen years on, I’m feeling older and – from time to time – too tired.
Thus far, I’ve existed on the edge of “mainstream media”, but it’s time for grown-ups to get real: cooperation with the MSM today is pointless, investigative reporting is almost dead, attention-deficit syndrome reduces willingness to study the real issues around every topic, and every “cause”, Party, old medium and legislature is so agendered, all they want from the commentator is PR.
What the media “do” these days is 30% titillation/celebrity distraction, 70% spun/fake news, and 100% superficial. Once again, George Orwell’s prescience was remarkable:
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
The site is not ‘political’; it is culturally radical. It opines (in no particular order) that neither the American, British, EU, Chinese, Indian or Russian ‘political’ systems are pluralist any more, that voting in the current circumstances is pointless, that democracy is a sham wearing various disguises, and that liberty is being rapidly removed from us by ignorance, greed, technology, apathy…..and above all, money.
With the election of Trump, the Democrats in the US turned briefly to Oprah Winfrey. With the arrival of UK election debates in 2010, Britain fell briefly in love with Nick Clegg. After the defeat of Miliband, UK Labour turned to Jeremy Corbyn. After the gliding offstage and into the penumbra of UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the Party has slumped back to 2% of the vote. After the failure of creeping EU federalism and sellout/past its sellby date socialism, France turned to Macron – a bankers’ confection. Italy is an anarchy, Greece is a vassal, and India a corrupt mess that has turned to the scheming neoliberalism of Modi. Putin runs Russia as a personal fiefdom within which the mafia, the oligarchs, cyber technology and oil reign supreme. And China the great Communist dictatorship props up lunatics like Kim Jong Un, the Vietnamese fascists, and a corrupt stock market out of its depth.
The entire burlesque reached beyond the barrel-bottom earlier this week as follows:
Suitably attired, naturally. I myself am planning to walk backwards in pixie-dust boots to Saturn this coming Tuesday.
Two days ago, I published a piece deconstructing the idiotic Renew Britain Party trying to “do a Macron” in Britain. Nothing today in Government policy anywhere is derived from what the People’s concerns are, what they’d like to achieve, and how that can be applied to a pluralist and creative future. It is ALL created by special interest minority materialism, narcissism, one-issue bombasts and knackered ideology.
I know what the internet should do next. I’ve no idea what I should do next. But enjoy the weekend anyway.