Politics OnLine UK
Uploaded: 03 October 2004
The right is winning.
This week Bush and Kerry squared up in the first of their TV debates for the forth coming US Presidential Election, Blair ordained his full third term in office, Iraq is beset with ever greater violence, Aid organizations challenge USAID claims of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region, which from a historical perspective has to be set against every refusal to recognize the genocide that took place in Rwanda. Britain is likely to get a new public service TV station (Why?) and Fox News is way ahead of all other media competition in the US, the Guardian Weekend reports people trafficking into prostitution in Albania, the Sugar industry wants a voice in the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Court of Human Rights declared against invasive, voyeuristic intrusion into the private lives of individuals.
I had an interesting conversation last night with someone who was bitterly angry at all those being allowed into this country who live on state handouts, when he works very, very hard just to get by. He's a tradesman. For those unfamiliar with that dying term in the UK, it means someone who practices a definable trade, as against service industries, money traffickers (stocks and shares and all that), and so on. You know, that despised breed who none of us can do without, like plumbers and electricians, who charge some exorbitant fee to be called out in the middle of the night, and do a job that none of us can or want to do, or would do if our lives depended upon it.
What he failed to realize is that immigrants and asylum seekers are not causing his personal financial troubles. They figure so low in the great Western scheme of things and in his personal struggles to make a living I was hard put to place, or understand, his bitterness in any coherent world view. I do, though, share his dismay and anger at the difficulty of the average Jane and Joe to just make a living these days.
There is no shortage of wealth in the world, it is as safe in the hands of the few as it has ever been. More so in some ways. Once we had feudalism, pure and simple, the owners and the owned. Now we have wealth barons, the divine right of Kings transmogrified into the divine right of wealth, the wealthy and the powerful.
Let's get something very clear, the wealthy and the powerful are the most conservative people on Earth. There are no radicals amongst the wealthy elite. When Bush declared the wealthy elite as his base, he was being utterly literal and in the certain knowledge that no one there was going to rock the boat. What defeats my imagination is why anyone would believe the rhetoric of the US elections? Bush and Kerry both are not on the side of the majority, they can't be, it isn't the majority who put them or keep them in power, it is the minority of the wealthy and powerful. If Bush, Kerry or Blair, come to that, ever actually did something to benefit the electorate in any meaningful, qualitative, quantitive way, they'd be out on their ear. Wealth evolves (devolves) upwards, and the wealthy and powerful who run the world, and their political puppets, are going to make damn sure it stays that way.
What do we think the war in Iraq is about. A war on terror? WMD's? Saddam Hussein? No, no, no. Wrong. It's about wealth and resources. It isn't hard to know that, it is hard to accept it.
More and more, this country, and life, is being defined by the politics of envy, that's what television and the mass media do (Who owns the media? But who consumes the media product?). That's why people buy 'Hello', 'Country Life', the 'Girlie mags', and 'Lad mags' and all the other magazines I don't read. It's why 'Posh Spice' can lead the life of a Prima Donna, based on the Cinderella myth of rags to riches and not very much else, and have such public pulling power. We live in the age of the 'wanna be', and the tragedy and truth is it isn't going to happen. When we wake up to that it'll all be too late, it is not just that we are being sold to the highest bidder, it is that we are buying into it at a foolish, but terrifying, rate.
When I was training as a Community and Youth worker the majority of crime could be described as, 'Legitimate ends through illegitimate means'. If you think about it for a few moments, it still is. I hate crime, I hate thieves, I hate the way our lives are ruled by petty security issues, house and car alarms, locks and bolts. Everyone wants their slice of the pie and those who have the pie are not going to give it up because they are the greatest, legitimized, thieves on Earth.
It is time to forget Cinderella, and time to challenge the myth making machine of wealth, power and democracy and demand a bit more social justice, through not allowing scoundrels to rule our lives and countries. More than that though, right now it is time to put down the envy, the hope of wealth and comfort tomorrow, the idea that more is better, or that power is good. Life is not benign so looking for the comfort zone is a recipe for disaster.
Rwanda - Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo Dallaire and 'We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with out families' - Philip Gourevitch.
© Keith Lindsay-Cameron 2004