7 April 2006
I’m tempted to say that the British have, with Tony Blair’s corporatist, security state, gotten no better than they deserve. After all, though deeply in debt, by and large they live in a kind of comfort zone albeit one that insulates them from the realities of a world gone totally insane.
Yet, a (pathetically) tiny number of us have realised that one step at a time, a fascist state (by a new name) is being erected around us and it would seem that short of an uprising (an extremely unlikely event) the final bricks of the cell that imprisons us are being firmly mortared into place.
After all, for the great majority of us, politics is something that produces nothing but snorts of derision or a fatalistic acceptance of the inevitability of being ‘protected from ourselves’ by a government and a state that is in a terminal state of denial.
It is a fact that Blair’s ‘New Labour’ has pulled off a coup d’etat right under our very noses and done it all in the name of ‘democracy’ or the right to vote every five years, a largely pointless exercise as it has brought us to exactly where we are now, with a government that does exactly as it pleases, in the ‘name of my vote’ albeit an actual minority of the electorate.
Thus the entire process of ‘parliamentary democracy’ is a complete sham, all done with smoke and mirrors.
I draw your attention to the bill currently going through its second reading without a word of protest apart from a handful of academics, which if/when passed, as the learned jurists of Cambridge University put it, effectively abolishes Parliamentary democracy (such as it is).
Perhaps it’s worth presenting for your edification [sic], the core of the eminent jurists’ concerns re the innocuous sounding ‘Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill’ (February 2005):
[Which] has been presented as a simple measure “streamlining” the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, by which, to help industry, the Government can reduce red tape by amending the Acts of Parliament that wove it. But it goes much further: if passed, the Government could rewrite almost any Act and, in some cases, enact new laws that at present only Parliament can make.
The Bill subjects this drastic power to limits, but these are few and weak. If enacted as it stands, we believe the Bill would make it possible for the Government, by delegated legislation, to do (inter alia) the following:
create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred, punishable with two years’ imprisonment;
curtail or abolish jury trial;
permit the Home Secretary to place citizens under house arrest;
allow the Prime Minister to sack judges;
rewrite the law on nationality and immigration;
“reform” Magna Carta (or what remains of it).
It would, in short, create a major shift of power within the state, which in other countries would require an amendment to the constitution; and one in which the winner would be the executive, and the loser Parliament. – See www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,59-2042165,00.html for the full text of the letter
Yet of course, the UK is a deeply conservative country, one that has barely completed a capitalist revolution let alone anything beyond. We are still ruled by a handful of nameless individuals who pull the strings of a cabal of narrow-minded and essentially reactionary individuals who, judging by the evidence to hand, would sell their own grandmothers for a pittance.
This Act would appear to be the final nail in the coffin of what passes for democracy for when added to the raft of other repressive measures that this ‘Labour’ government has passed, effectively seals our fate. Yet perhaps it’s no better than we deserve? We have after all, benefited from the wealth of empire, albeit an empire that rather than residing in the far-flung network of colonial administration, is now ruled by a handful of investment corporations, banks and insurance companies, that between them control the key industries that make imperialism possible; oil, weapons, media and a global trading and financial system that steals the wealth that makes it all possible, and finances the debt trap that has many of us in its vice-like grip.
But those of you interested in how we got to be where we are now, what we are witnessing is nothing more than the culmination of a process more than one hundred years in the making, namely the creation of a complex illusion, one that has all the appearance of USS Enterprise’s ‘Holodeck’, complete in all the details that make up a ‘reality’ invented in the offices of innumerable government ministries and constructed by the PR industry and an army of expert propagandists who deliver the final product directly into our living rooms.
Without an effective voice, alienated from one another, we retreat into our private nightmares. Yet it is a fact that underneath the façade of comfort there lurks a deep dissatisfaction with things as they are. Perhaps it’s because we know, deep in our hearts that our days are numbered if we continue to buy into the Big Lie?
A comment piece in one of the Guardian’s ‘blogs’ under the title ‘Blair’s inner circle and its ferocious grab for power’ contains the following:
From forcing through ID cards to the erosion of parliamentary scrutiny, a determined clique is hijacking our democracy
Piece by piece, month by month, Tony Blair’s administration is removing the safeguards that protect all of us from the whims of a government and the intrusions of a powerful state. It is engaged in a ferocious power-grab. Yet this story has not seized the imagination of the media or the public. In our failure to respond, the government must be reading a tacit acceptance that it can do what it chooses, because we either don’t notice or don’t care. www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1747771,00.html [my emph. WB]
The problem however is not that a ‘determined clique’ is ‘hijacking our democracy’ but that we’ve never had a real democracy in the first place. All that is happening now is what might be called the ‘end game’, a final tying of the knot.
As to ‘seizing the imagination’ of the media, I’m sorry to disabuse the writer of her illusions concerning the media but they are intrinsic to the process, they, after all, are amongst the chief benefactors of Blair’s ‘grab for power’.
And it’s going to take more than a few letters to the Guardian or a bunch of old farts at Cambridge Uni to bring about the changes we have to make if we are to save ourselves from ourselves.
And herein lies the central dilemma of our times for having renounced our belief in any kind of alternative to capitalism, we are left with nothing but our individual rantings and whinges and an ever-increasing retreat into a fictitious past or an equally fictitious present.
Thus it would seem that at least for a start, we have to free ourselves before even attempting free each other or will an ‘Earth in Revolt’ do it for us?