27 May 2005
I’ve come to the conclusion that the UK exists in some kind of parallel universe, outside of normal space and time. A medieval bubble of a place, where ‘tradition’ has replace reason, where animals engender more concern than people. A place where mediocrity rules and which appears to be hurtling back into the past at an alarming rate of knots, faster even than Dr Who’s Tardis.
Now conceivably this could just be the rantings of an unhinged lefty, all washed up and with no place left go. After all, with Capital apparently triumphant, and a population up to its ears in debt or locked down under an avalanche of “anti-social behaviour orders” and suffering from a severe “lack of respect”, our (formerly) public spaces overrun, we are told, by the modern-day equivalent of Attila the Hun’s hordes, aka ‘al-Hoodies’ (worse even, if we are to judge by the headlines, than al Qu’eda), or just plain wasted on ample quantities of the only remaining legal, mind-altering substance available, alcohol; political affairs understandably wilt and fade into the distance, reminiscent of a 19th century Turner landscape (no disrespect to Turner, one of my favourites).
In any case, let the ‘political class’ get on with it, ‘I’m alright Jack’ or, if I’m not, best not to dwell on the subject lest it pierce the illusion of order.
And when the illusion is on occasion, shattered, such ripples on the surface of the calm pond that is England, can be safely ignored, they’ll pass in the fullness of time eg, 2 million protesting the slaughter of the innocents.
Meanwhile, ‘outside’ the bubble that is Britain, the calamities accumulate; global warming; oceans emptied of fish and replaced with hormone-laced plastic bags that are putting tits on the boys; IMF-created ‘failed states’; endless wars waged on the poor of the planet. The list grows…
Hey, wait a minute … this is why I’m a lefty! For the reality is, perhaps more now than at any time since the apex of imperialism in the latter half of the 19th century, that the real nature of capitalism, rapacious and utterly destructive in all its forms, is plain for all to see, now there’s no ‘evil empire’ to divert our attention. Hence the need for ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’ or the ‘al-Hoodies’ and let’s not forget the acres of chewing gum to remove that threaten the peace and calm of this country that is (or was) our England.
There is one big difference however, between now and then. Back then we had a politically conscious population that had its own political parties, trade unions, grassroots organisations and so forth. We even used to have our own shops and our own culture! We were involved and we were active. We saw a future that offered the possibility of being better than the present.
Today, by contrast, the future looks worse than the present – or the past – and without any possibility of us having any control over our own destinies. This is the legacy of ‘liberal capitalism’, a population effectively purchased through five centuries of plunder. A population either sedated or criminalised. England, thanks to Tony Blair and his cynical capos have created a place where it is now a crime to be young!
Is this really what centuries of struggle was all about? I think not.
Of course, I’m a ‘throwback’, I’m the one living in the past, pissing into the wind of progress, even as I read on the front page of the Independent that we are plundering the health services of Africa even as that disgusting piece of shit, Tony Blair, talks of ‘assisting Africa’, ‘giving’ with one hand whilst taking back with the other.
So it’s no longer slaves or gold but ‘intellectual capital’ that we unashamedly steal, but it amounts to the same thing, saving us billions in the cost of educating our own doctors and nurses.
The ‘liberals’ of course, occasionally bleat about such injustice, that’s permissible, even as they bleated about the rape of Iraq before knuckling down and supporting ‘our boys’, ‘over there’.
Such occasional and appalling pangs of conscience are applauded, nay encouraged if the illusion of democracy is to be maintained. Learned tomes are writ; ‘aid’ employs millions of us whilst doing nothing to alter the real nature of the relationship between rich and poor (if I see another photo of the ugly face of ‘Sir-Mr Live Aid’ I’ll scream – Argghh!!!).
Ah the injustice of it all, and you wonder why I get so worked up about the ‘peak oil’ posse and all that Malthusian bullshit.
There is however, one possible benefit to be gained from the current parlous state of affairs. It is possible that global warming will lead to a drastic rise in sea levels which will return significant chunks of this formerly green and pleasant land to whence it came, submerged beneath a rejuvenated and restored Atlantic Ocean. Well one lives in hope.
Of course, that’s the long view, I probably won’t be around to see the ‘world centre of finance capital’ disappear beneath the waves of an enlarged English Channel, more’s the pity. But it’s a fate fully deserved and unlike the millions who are slowly (and some not so slowly) being starved to death by the actions of our government, the miserable bunch of pirates who have the audacity to call themselves civilised will have time to relocate to higher ground, if not of the moral kind.
The ‘real’ left will of course, object to my less than objective analysis of the contradictions of capital and call upon me to show ‘more discipline, comrade’ and to chunder on about exposing the real nature of the struggle between capital and labour. But then each to his or her own. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life doing just that and look where it’s got me.
Not that I’m complaining, far from it. I believe that I have been more than vindicated, not that I take any pleasure from seeing imperialism rampant after being held in some kind of check for the past fifty years, until 1990 that is.
But it is true to say, that unlike any period in the previous one hundred years or so, it’s only the sheer incompetence of the pirates that prevents them from doing even more damage than they already have done in the past fifteen years, and not, unfortunately, because of any organised opposition to their global predations.We have relinquished the position of being an opposition to a bunch of fully paid up ‘assets’ of the CIA for our sins.
Now you can accuse me of being cynical, that is your right but I merely point you in the direction of the ‘left’ in the Labour government (all 30 or so of them), who haven’t even got the balls (never mind the ovaries) to oppose the building of a police state on some kind of principle!
Yesterday, the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, attempted to persuade a group of backbench MPs not to oppose the Bill introducing ID cards. MP John McDonnell was one of them.
McDonnell, who belongs to the 30-member ‘Campaign Group’ of Labour MPs had this to say:
You have to convince us that there is a real need
So, assuming they can be convinced that there is a real need, these ‘left-wing’ Labour MPs will support the government’s establishment of a de facto police state. Missing from the interview was any discussion of the real reason for the ID card, namely the creation of a national database on the citizens of this formerly ‘green and pleasant land’. The ID card is, to put it mildly, a complete scam and in reality, a cover for building a vast, computerised record of the entire population.
The estimated £5 billion price tag does not pay for the ID card itself but for the cost of creating the database and judging by the costs of previous, pathetic attempts by New Labour to drag Britain into the 21st century, the cost will most likely double or even treble over the 10 years it will take to construct it (assuming they can get it to work of course).
Even worse, if the introduction of the ID card is successful, the cost of the database will be paid for by us through the £80+ we’ll have to fork out to get one! But no doubt, given as it’ll be the poor of the planet who’ll ultimately pay for it, the sheep will fork over the 80 quid and get back to the footie and trips to the Algarve.
Note: the image that’s at the top of this piece is not me but a young and eager Tony B, before perfecting the rictus grin that we have come to know and love so well (refer to images 2 and 3 for the evolution of the sickly grin).