25 May, 2010
The London Independent (19 May, 2010) carried a positively euphoric front page that compared Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and now deputy prime minister in the Tory/Lib-Dem ‘coalition’, to the man responsible for the 1832 Electoral Reform Act, Lord Grey.
“Clegg makes his bid for a place in history“Nick Clegg, prepares to unveil ‘the biggest shake-up of our democracy since the Great Reform Act of 1832”
The act and those that followed, has kept the ruling political class in power ever since, allowed some working men the vote (if you were a property owner or paid rent of at least £50 per year) was followed by three other ‘reforms’ (women were not to get the franchise until 1918, the final ‘reform’) .
The Independent calls Clegg’s demand for reforms ‘the birth of people power’.
There’s a fascinating pas de deux going on here between the media and the political class that centres on not talking about about the crisis of capital. Instead, the Independent along with the rest of corporate/state media, focuses all of a sudden on ‘peoples’ rights’ what Clegg is calling the “power revolution”.
This after watching and supporting almost two decades of the inexorable construction of what has been called ‘friendly fascism’, though not so friendly if you happen to be on the receiving end what with ‘Control Orders’ and secret trials aka the medieval Star Chamber, one CCTV camera for every fourteen people in the UK (all totally unregulated). Take a walk around London and your likely to be captured on video around three hundred times.
The euphoria, though toned down somewhat, continues on P.2 of the Independent’s ‘Clegg makes his bid for a place in history’, puff piece with a set of nine bullet points all loosely related to peoples’ rights, all of which we used to have until Labour took them away as part of its alleged War on Terror, War on Organized Crime, War on Anti-social behaviour, war on the entire population approach to ‘democracy’.
Thus Clegg’s call may appear radical but in reality puts us back to where used to be rather than advancing ‘democracy’ to where it should be. So we have Cameron’s “Big Society” and Clegg’s “Power Revolution”. It’s no accident that both slogans sound suspiciously like the latest ‘reality shows’ to hit our TV screens, or perhaps the latest computer games for kids, a clear case of celebrity politicking. In any case, Clegg’s call for a rollback of the security state is still no more then a wish-list.
The Independent’s coverage with the emphasis on ‘peoples’ rights’, is fully in line with the publication of the coalition’s ‘power revolution’, everything but the parlous state of economy. But buried away on the back cover, almost as an afterthought is the following:
“The deficit reduction programme takes precedence over any of the other measures in this agreement, and the speed of implementation of any measures that have a cost to the public finances will depend on decisions to be made in the Comprehensive Spending Review.” — ‘The Coalition: our programme for government’
So no matter what the ‘programme’ says, reducing the deficit is the objective, regardless of the economic and social consequences.
But as Europe’s economy goes even further down the drain, the latest utterances from Clegg increasingly mirror the Tory Party’s drive to reduce the ‘deficit’ with Clegg now claiming that it’s got be done because who could have predicted the crisis in Greece and its effect on the economy?
“I don’t think anybody could have predicted – and the Governor of the Bank of England said no one could have predicted – that the situation in Greece would have this knock-on effect, which has created immense anxiety on our European doorstep,” he said. — ‘Lib Dem U-turn on cuts is ‘due to Greece’’, The Independent, 24 May, 2010
Who indeed, not even the governor of the Bank of England? Wow, it’s got to be real bad if the Bank of England says so. So once more, Greece becomes the convenient whipping boy of capital, how convenient. And just in case we still don’t get it, the Independent reminds us that:
“It is not about politics. It is about mathematics” — ‘A savage start? Maybe, but this is just the very beginning’, ‘Analysis’ By Hamish McRae, The Independent, 25 May, 2010
Oh really? If there was ever a misleading statement about the situation, this is it. It’s all about politics. It’s about how much can the public swallow before the ‘mathematics’ chokes us.
The same ‘analysis’ offers us the following nonsensical statement:
“Indeed the boost to confidence from the knowledge that the Government is getting to grips with the problem [of the deficit] should, if anything, increase demand in the economy.”
The writer neglects to inform us of exactly how, cutting government spending will increase demand given that the great bulk of economic growth has come through government spending in the first place. The code word here is confidence, newsspeak for the demands of the financial sector that is not satisfied with two pounds of flesh off the public rump, it wants to cut the body politic to the bone. With a deindustrialized economy, now totally at the mercy of the mercantile class and its ill-gotten gains, government investment is virtually the only source of development in this backward country.
There are two objectives to the government’s ‘austerity measures’: 1) break what’s left of the power of organized labour to resist the ravages of capital and 2) carry through the privatization of public assets in those countries that still have some kind of public ownership left. And to do this it is necessary to create the illusion that unless working people pay the cost of propping up capital, the world as we know it will come to an end.
“The message to indebted economies is stark: ‘Drop dead.’ And they are obediently committing economic suicide (emulating Japan in the 1985 Plaza Accords) to endorse the Washington Consensus – the class war of finance against labor and industry.
“Political, social, fiscal and economic power is being transferred to the EU bureaucracy, its financial controllers in the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF, whose austerity plans and related anti-labor programs direct governments to sell off the public domain, land and subsoil wealth, public enterprises, and to commit future tax revenues to pay creditor nations. This policy already has been imposed on ‘New Europe’ (the post-Soviet economies and Iceland) since autumn 2008. It is now to be imposed on the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain).” — ‘Drop Dead Economics: The Financial Crisis in Greece and the European Union’ By Michael Hudson
The icing on the cake, precipitated by the fraudulent operations of Goldman Sachs et al, is to weaken the Euro as a competitor to the almighty dollar, proving once again that there is no honour amongst thieves.
Meanwhile, the government’s own police ‘union’ offered its own prognosis on a possible future, what the media euphemistically call ‘social unrest’:
“The chairman of the Police Federation, which represents thousands of rank-and-file officers, warned on Wednesday of mass 1970s-style social disorder were Britain to suffer a similar crisis to the one that has hit Greece.
““We could have that sort of distress on the streets again,” he told officers at the federation’s annual conference in Bournemouth.
“His comments were interpreted as an attempt to head off deep cuts to law-enforcement budgets as the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition prepares to make big reductions in public spending to bring down the £163bn budget deficit.”” — ‘UK police body warns of riots and unrest’, FT.com, 19 May, 2010
So, it’s haul up the drawbridge, batten down the hatches and prepare for battle with what’s left of organized labour.