It’s good to have your theories tested. It makes you either discard or develop them.
That’s what’s happened to me tonight.
Even as it happened over a most unsatisfactory medium.
What unites the United Kingdom any more? Our politicians trash us, the voters, repeatedly. We, the voters, more than ever, hate our politicians exactly for it.
Cruel lies and half-truths pitch citizen against citizen. Collaboration and cooperation become dirty words. Survival and Darwinian economics become our leaders’ touchstones.
They accuse us of the very crimes our protectors – our defenders – accuse them equally of committing. Whilst we are supposed to be defrauding the state, our leaders pass off as legitimised expenses their second homes; their trips to European football; their stately paddocks; their tax avoidance schemes; their ever-so-clever and totally legal kickbacks for payments and sponsorship deals carefully processed and rubber-stamped.
Whilst they accuse us of sitting on our butts with our curtains pulled, they hide behind their walnut-ridden boardrooms and pleb-gated residences of privilege.
Whilst they accuse us of wasting our time on wanting to support the most vulnerable in society, at the awful expense of the interests of a broader civilisation they spend most of their time supporting their conditionally-couched peers and equals.
So why is this happening? Why do they say these things about us? Why would they make us feel like shit if the real purpose of everything they did was to drag the country out of the miserable state that assails us?
I think the answer runs as follows. They – that is to say, our leaders – want us to believe we are precisely as they have chosen to be. They – that is to say, our leaders – want us to believe the only ways of being, seeing and doing which are left us are the ones they aspire to, practise and expound on a daily basis. They – that is to say, our leaders – are attempting to complete a circle which started its journey thirty years ago. They – that is to say, our leaders – are convinced that greed and humankind go together; greed is the only way; greed is good.
And what we forget, when we try desperately to shrug off their attentions, is that in a very great part we are children of the “greed is good” generation.
Just as Nazi Germany wasn’t just Hitler but a cocoon of historically preparatory threads, so the past thirty years have produced a generation of people which acts as one with the “greed is good” mindset. Whether we are teachers, lawyers, doctors, street-cleaners, postmen and women, police officers, MPs, constituents, voters, families of voters, children, adults or pensioners legion, in some way or another we have taken onboard – via an osmotic and imperceptible process of assimilation – that dreadful mantra which states “I will only do something for you if you do something for me”.
The template? Money and all its works. The result? We are only allowed to exist in latterday life if we are willing to accept the pecuniary value that our leaders (and here I mean our businesspeople just as much as our politicos) care to place on each and every one of us. But if we resist being defined in monetary terms, all hell is let loose.
So we go with the flow. Every man – and woman – for themselves. And whilst the good times rolled unquestioned for most, we really didn’t care too much that we were being bent out of shape.
Bent out of shape severely.
Human beings are funny creatures. When we feel good, we think poorly. When we feel bad, we think presciently. And thinking is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. So why do we choose to do it so little?
Why, in fact, do we need to feel bad in order to be able to do precisely what we’re best at?
What is the challenge, then, that faces us now? Well. Just that. Not to go with the flow. Not to allow those historically preparatory threads to snag us, to tie us up, to throttle our better instincts.
Our Coalition government doesn’t just want to win the next election; doesn’t just want to make it impossible for anyone to do anything different if they lose; doesn’t just want to fill the pockets of its sponsors; doesn’t just want to reimpose a previous and savage serfdom of hierarchies.
Above all, beyond all of that, it wants – desperately needs – to prove that the last thirty years are the only ways of being, doing and seeing. It and its members have committed so fully to this conditional life – a life circumscribed so completely by monetary value – that any inkling they could possibly acquire of different ways of living would destroy all that ever-so-clever rubber-stamping and control freakery once and for terrible all.
What we need to recognise – and understand before it’s too late – is that Thatcher, New Labour and Cameronism are part and parcel of the same compact with the devil. Not a supernatural devil. Rather, the devil that is an unquestioned life. When Google claimed for itself the mission of not doing evil, we all understood what it meant. That, then, is the evil I talk about. That is the evil which is currently bending us out of shape.
We need to liberate ourselves from the value the state has become accustomed to placing on us. We need to thread different threads from the last thirty years. We need to reject not only Thatcher and Cameron but also New Labour’s button-pressing.
It’s not enough, by any means, to say: “Public is bad, so let’s use bad private instead.”
We have to believe in better. We need to invent something new. We must be far cleverer than our politicians seem to know.
We have to fight a dreadful fight – but in the full knowledge that the problem doesn’t lie in ourselves at all: instead, it lies in our politicians’ framing of our beings. It lies in being children of the “greed is good” generation. It lies in us needing to escape our fate at their hands. It lies in them not wanting to allow us to change the position of the camera – nor even our position in the frame.
They think they have us by the balls. But the balls they have us by is only a question of money.
Not a small matter when you don’t have it. But just think what’ll happen when they finally push you so very hard that you don’t have any of it.
Their lives, their everything, their stashes of cash, their hold over every one of us … finally, one day, when you have nothing at all, it will mean nothing at all – their power, I mean.
When a man or woman learns how to value another in terms of their being and not in terms of their standing is that very precious moment when a man or woman, and that other creature too, is released of all the threads that snag.
And that’s the battle this Coalition government is consciously fighting to prevent.
The liberation of democratic voters from the slavery we are witnessing – a slavery which a concentrated wealth begets in the not-so-modern world of Western uncivilisation.