Citizens under 25 or over 55 have more in common than they realise. If they join forces at local level, then over time practical community culture can take over from national political ideology as the best way to effect lasting change.
KEEP THE STATE ON THE BACK FOOT. HAVE A PEACEFUL GOAL NOT A VIOLENT CAUSE. AND LEARN HOW TO BE A BLOODY NUISANCE.
Have you ever noticed how old people tell you the past was always better, and the more naive end of young people insist the future is going to be wonderful? They both agree that Now sucks. But in turn, the Young say the past was nasty and brutish (“before we ‘ad the EU, like”) while the Old insist that the future is bound to be a dystopian nightmare.
As a wrinkly, I would of course argue that our education taught us to be far less trusting, while Yoof’s Comprehensive agitprop gave them blind respect for pc drivel and rewritten (or ignored) history. But there is more to it than that, for we do at least agree that the modern social share-out is obscenely wrong. (This probably explains why the media spend so much time trying to set us at each other’s throats)
Buddhists suggest that learning to live in Now and be accepting of it is a key factor in achieving some kind of calm reality. I do very much buy into that; but on the other hand, the Lord Buddha didn’t live in 2020 Cruel Britannia, neurotic America or the European Bunion.
Given that the Young don’t like what they’ve inherited – and the old don’t like what they perceive the middle-aged to have done – then it seems to me there is a natural alliance there when it comes to a mutually-held belief that this is not, for some 65% of the population, an equitable life.
I don’t in any way want to start yet more social division by demographic demonisation: it is merely a fact that those lucky enough to be middle class, middle-aged and trained in something practical don’t have an awful lot to moan about. And while they probably recognise much of the privileged pottiness involved in contemporary government and administration (a) it’s a minor irritant to them – for now – and (b) they’re busy paying mortgages and school fees while keeping their kids fed, clothed and well-behaved. They are unlikely to undertake a March from Sussex to Jarrow demanding gradual change in due course.
The old, by contrast, have seen questions raised about their right to a pension, their right to vote, and their expectations about interest on hard-earned capital. Given that the West is supposed to be largely a capitalist social democracy, one can understand fairly easily why we feel just a little left out at the moment. The Left can’t of course, but then they just see the aged as those they wish would hurry up and die.
The young too have been neglected, although they don’t grasp just how fully. Their education is thinly-veiled propaganda, lowered standards are failing to equip them for later life, teachers care little these days for spotting the potential in every child (for targets have become the be-all and end-all) and a narrow curriculum ensures that kids leave school feeling OK about immigrants and transexuality, but knowing nothing about their personal healthcare, civil rights, history and citizen duties. They do not (for instance) understand the difference between a multicultural society and a multiethnic culture.
On entering the workplace, they grasp fairly quickly that one day soon a robot or some website software will be stealing their job. They realise that the wages are so poor, they can’t afford to leave home, save for a property, or have children. They don’t have any employee benefits, because they were all sacrificed on the altar of neoliberal accountancy long before they were born – and thus, they don’t really know what they’ve lost.
Most of all, they lack any firm understanding of just how useless, constipated, unscientific and commercially clueless the Labour Party has become…yet again, because their education has failed to help them understand socio-economic change: it has failed to spark the thought in them that Britain is dying at the hands of three irrelevant Parties, a neolithic voting system, overcrowding in England, nationalism, ideological division, and the creeping power of a surveillance-obsessed Unelected State operating a revolving-doors system with globalist corporations.
The old feel too tired and frustrated to remain motivated. The young know too little about the broad landscape. Both see the problems as vast, and both have been cheated. An organised alliance between them would be hugely beneficial to both sides.
The totality of alliance required for genuine, qualitative reform is in fact between the committed decent and the expendable…..expendable, that is, in the eyes of the mad 3% and their gruesome coat-tail chasing 7% of collaborators.
But it won’t happen via a political Party under the current closed-shop arrangement, and it won’t happen via national top-down oratory. At a ‘global’ level, the mess seems at first sight impossible to clean up: not so much too big to fail as too dysfunctional (yet powerful) to change.
Only at the local community level – by taking the place of the State on a manageable scale – can it ever possibly succeed in doing its bit for what I last year christened Personal Destiny Control.
Regular, long-term Sloggers will already be aware that I am very much for the scaling down of government to community level. What I am not is a fart-recycling killjoy who wants everyone to go back to slapping clothes onto river-stones, riding bicycles and generally being bored to death. Radio, television, satellite comms and the internet are out of Pandora’s bottle of cheap scent, and they won’t disappear any time soon. There will be backlashes and chic nostalgia – sales of letter paper and ink are up, and Kindle sales are down – but the communitarian life of the future must include stimulation, fulfilling jobs, quality entertainment, team activities, modern services and a sense of belonging….or else the drift into neurosis-inducing cities will continue.
I remain (as I have been for 42 years at both the personal and commercial level) anti-globalist, because it hands power to money, destroys community retailing, exploits 3rd world employees while neglecting infrastructure, and removes all self-sufficiency from sovereign States, individual citizens and the political class. The triumph of Big Process neuters Small Creativity, and results in the bizarre planetary fisco-economic cannibalism we are forced to endure – neoliberal mercantilism dependent on debt, but utterly clueless as to how to snip the vicious circle.
Of late, I have experienced an odd division in my life. On the one hand, friends and acquaintances seem desperate to tell me why doing something is a waste of time compared to doing nothing; and on the other, I’m seeing signs that exploring new avenues is – slowly but surely – expanding the reach of The Slog.
However, this is no bad thing, because it has focused my mind somewhat. In a nutshell, it has convinced me that what those who know me call “tilting at windmills” is what I would call “starting at the wrong end”.
Community self-sufficiency enables the citizen to drain power from both the magnet of metropolitan bubble thinking and from their paymasters, while reducing the individual’s dependence on that élite for welfare. Further, it explodes the myth that nothing can be done. Once you are independent of the State, the fight to control it suddenly becomes a more equal contest.
The desire for independence is a factory-wired human trait. Once Homo sapiens regains the taste for it, there is no way back for the controlling 3%: they become, quite simply, an unnecessary overhead.
This isn’t fluffy fairyland, and it will be far from pleasant. Hitherto unequalled lengths of civil disobedience will be involved. The key thing to avoid will be violence. But I continue to think that violence will not be necessary.
Laws already exist to criminalise those who incite others to withhold tax payments. Equally, the bankers’ dash to convert everyone to plastic payments is complementary to every Treasury’s desire to abolish cash as a form of tax evasion.
But there will always be a moral Law that asks why it is constitutional for governments to display fiscal incontinence – and then demand that innocent citzens pay for it.
In truth, there are thousands of ways to wrest back control from corporatocracy. Spelling them out in a public medium is, however, both asking for trouble and warning the enemy in advance.
That said, the question of how this all starts is still to be examined.
I’ve written a great deal about the concept in these columns over the last three years, and while the idea gets general approval among readers, it never gets beyond, “Oh yes, wouldn’t that be good…..ah well, we can but dream…”. I suspect that most people see the work involved in such a movement as likely to be frustrating, rarely exciting and always thankless. But equally, everything is vague until one gives it a visual image, a name, a badge and all the other elements that go into branding.
Penulitmately, the movement I’m talking about – and I stress again, it would not be a Party standing for election – is going to need the services of a highly skilled PR agency and internet viralisation specialists to give it any chance of getting the soundbites and column inches required to stir the old and excite the young. The very positivity of the idea – as opposed to the antics of Black Lives Matter and the Extinction Rebellion codswallop – would be a unique element; but it would need a lot of work to overcome the idle cynicism of many hacks these days.
And last but most definitely not least, the creation of public acts to attract media coverage (and dismiss the idea of this being a project the local vicar came up with) would be central. Compare and contrast the UK Waspi and French Gilets Jaunes movements in this respect.
Waspi’s problem from Day 1 – apart from a controlling and somewhat dubious leadership clique – was an excess of politesse: the strategy was very much one of “when the public and government see how decent and law-abiding we are, they will be moved to right this wrong”. I wasted many hours and twitter spats desperately trying to persuade the Waspi women of just how misguided this was.
The reality is that the DWP is full of sociopaths, two Chancellors on the trot ignored them, the new Prime Minister has fobbed them off, and the Labour Opposition were not, on the whole, interested. As for the public, well, they all offered a hearty “bonne chance” and not a lot else. The 2020 movement with the same cause then appeared and declared that the Law would see them right. It was naive of them to expect anything from an Establishment Judiciary.
It is absolutely vital that, sooner rather than later, any such movement proves its power in some way or another. Waspi/2020 had a golden opportunity to threaten candidates with defeat in the 2019 election (there are over 6,000 SPA reform victims on average in every English and Welsh constituency) and once again failed to marshal their forces. They were not helped by a Brexit Party which stupidly refused to endorse them; but in the end, poor strategy and muddled leadership has resulted in a decade of activism with not a penny of restitution to show for it.
Frankly, making a damned nuisance of oneself is infinitely more effective than being naice. The emphasis has to be on being a nuisance to government and those who feed the gargoyles: in fact, if the public can benefit from one’s approach rather than suffer, so much the better.
This was an approach the Gilets Jaunes adopted from Day 1. They recognised the broadly based anger with President Macron’s stealth-taxes, and targeted the toll roads here in France by commandeering the pay-gates. This not only removed a vast source of income from the Elysée, it also meant thousands of motorists travelled free. Macron was forced to compromise by reducing the petrol tax, a move that put all the French budgets completely out of wack. He has now been forced into further borrowing in order to plug a deficit miles beyond anything “allowed” by the eurozone’s pinched goblins.
The Yellow vest itself was a stroke of genius: every car in France must by law carry one, and so demonstration of solidarity with the GJ cause was both easy and epidemiological. Fifteen months on, Macron is still having to divert massive police resources (and recruit mercenaries) to break up the regular weekend demos. All this costs money, and weaken his fiscal position further…and now he has widespread strikes with which to contend from the Left.
But the GJs also offer learnings for any movement elsewhere about things to avoid. First up, they have not been entirely successful in keeping ideologues like Antifa from infiltrating some demonstrations (with the usual associated violence lapped up by the Government) and they’ve been naive here and there in being fooled by agents provocateurs hired by Macron and his somewhat odd entourage.
Perhaps more significant, however, has been their inability to get beyond fiscal injustice as a flashpoint. It’s not just the tax rises – the usual élite attempt to make the People pay for their incompetence – it’s also the reduction in infrastructural investment that is causing State Pension “reform” here too, and a public Health service (especially beyond the metrocentres) that is in almighty crisis.
The Gilets Jaunes are fading somewhat of late because they have not been clear enough in branding neoliberal economics and greed as the real problem….alongside the President’s insane desire to ditch communitarianism in favour of faceless federalism – at both the French and European levels.
Macron will be reelected because too much stigma attaches to LePen, and the Left is (surprise surprise) all over the place and up itself. In truth, the Yellow Vests did a lot of things right….but have wound up being a pressure group. And that isn’t enough.
Furthermore, from my viewpoint at least, it isn’t the point. The purpose of the Movement I propose is not so much anti-Government policy as pro-Community culture: it has to be about action on the ground that ends up, eventually, taking over from central government – while weakening it consistently in every possible way. Initial successes in doing so are bound to breed success.
If you want to help in any way with some of the marketing and admin tasks I’ve written about here, do contact me in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am already developing ideas, but help of every kind will be gratefully received.
And in the meantime, enjoy Sunday lunch.