Keys to the crash

Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way.” ~ Jean Anouilh

I’m no big fan of the Labour Party. I’d like to be but it’s falling so far short of its potential that its only use to me, at the moment, is in the urgent necessity of applying the brakes, even if only slightly, to the cruel incompetence of the Coalition. The disconnect between Ed’s often quite astute anti-neoliberal rhetoric and his actual policy proposals is infuriating and distressing. He’s failing so miserably to produce a whole narrative that I know exists and so bent on proposing Tory-lite policies like they’re going out of fashion – which, of course they should be – that there are days when I despair for us all.

But Labour did not “crash the car”. Not on its own. Both it and the Conservatives have been sharing the driving for more than three decades. In fact, just about every government in the ‘developed’ world was on the same road at the same time. There was an almighty pile up. That was to be expected, really. Visibility was very bad, the music was lung-poppingly loud, the road was wet, the tyres were worn and everyone was driving with all the recklessness of coked-up, hormone-charged teenagers, with complete disregard for both the Highway Code and all pedestrians. After the crash, no police or vehicle recovery companies came to properly investigate what had happened or to clear away the wreckage but lots of private ambulances showed up and, well, thank goodness for insurance because it included no claims protection as well as automatic vehicle replacement.

Unfortunately Labour seems content and obliged to be the foil that cops for the points on its licence. It’s such a pity because now they’re being told that not only would it be madness to give them the keys back but that they should never be allowed behind the wheel again and that anyway, their Tory co-drivers (with added Liberal Democrat) have decided to outsource for chauffeurs. That way, Tories say, they can be as merry-hell high or as mean-drunk as they like and carry on carrying on blaming anyone and everyone but themselves.

It would be great if Labour said sorry for their party’s mistakes and its complicity in global meltdown and admitted why the last decades have been to the enormous long-term detriment of 99. whatever % of the world but that, curiously, for a party with a supposed reputation for fiscal competence, the Tories, having constructed a narrative of outright scorn for Labour, have yet consciously and happily, adopted and built upon many of the stupid things Labour did on top of those things for which they, too, and the whole neoliberal world are responsible and are still busy doing to a far worse effect.

Labour may not be the sharpest tool in the box and I’m not trying to defend its members but anyone who believes that the Conservative Party (or, by default, the Lib Dems) has any better a clue about finance and the economic health of this country – or is it four countries or three and a bit, now – is deluded, frankly. None of them really knows what the heck they’re talking about. And neither does the Media.

It’s not as if there’s no evidence, either, as a simple online search of, say, “did Labour really crash the economy?” or “how do Tories feel about banking regulation?” or “who’s the most fiscally responsible: Labour or Conservatives?” or perhaps “why did mainstream not see the financial crisis coming?” would amply demonstrate.

Labour is its own worst enemy; it doesn’t have a clue how do itself a favour. The Conservatives, on the other hand…

Lies – 24/7

Monday’s lie is bare of face
Tuesday’s lie sets out its case
Wednesday’s lie is scare all fools
Thursday’s lie invents the tools
Friday’s lie is for profit with menace
Saturday’s lie enjoys playing tennis
But the lie that is born on the Seventh Day
Doth bless all the rest with contempt anyway.

Down Tools

How dare you denigrate the right to strike!
We’ll withdraw our labour if we think it’s justified.
You can harp and carp about the turnout
Threshold just as much as you all like but
Don’t expect respect for it since, by your
Score, you’ve less mandate to govern than did
Any other cretin that has gone before.

Don’t question our decision with your
Pompous arse derision. Rather, ask yourselves
Just why and how it is so many workers find
Themselves in this position. Oh, do not presume
To lecture us about our worth! And as for spouting
Out your tripe-filled doubts as to our own integrity:
Check yours, you crony bully boys because your
Dirty little ploys are quite the very grit of it.

So, bring your noise, you harridans – We’ll raise you
Clarions with banners, whistles, drums enough to
Make the hills to smoke, until the Justice in our
Kingdom comes and you and all your neoliberal
Chums are choking on your double-thinking,
Double-speaking, worthless poxy plums.

For, we are not the ones who let the country
Fall so ill. And we are not the ones who filled
And fill the World with poison, still. And none
Of us deserves your trumped-up austerity pill.
This world is ours as well and if disruption is
The road we have to take to keep a purchase
On our rights to live a decent life: you betcha
That we damned well will.

But you were a great time, NHS

For the love of an institution
Cameron ablutes
Grooms by insincere oblations

Prowling with his airbrush

Claims his muse
With effusive art
His heart
All sweeping proclamations
Of flattering attention

No mention
The fleeting passion of gratuitous gain
And one-way satisfaction stains
But you were a great time, NHS
He’s recommended you as game
To all his lusty friends who queue
In quest to love you just the same

Which is scarier?

Which is scarier?
The constant flair
for incompetence
or the daring contempt
and wilful, cold neglect?
Is it the hair-raising
ineptitude or uptight
laissez-faire of greed
and glaring disrespect?

Whichever –
Do we either care or
neither never spare
forgiveness nor forget?

Dear Lib Dems

Dear Lib Dems,

I know you’re heavily distracted right now but you and your leader seem confused about what has gone wrong.

You got excited.
You thought, like most of the people back in 2010, that this was an economic emergency and that you had a public service duty to negotiate a coalition in the ‘National Interest’. Perhaps it is that you were naive; perhaps it was the long, oh so long awaited chance to be in power that made you blind during those early, heady days.

You have acted, ultimately, as the front men, the shills, the appeasers and apologists for your senior partners. You’ve voted with them time after time, irrespective of whether it was in the citizens’ interests or even ethical and sensible. You have contributed to the increasingly desperate vulnerability of every single group bar the ‘I’m alright, Jacks’. [And don’t you dare think to yourself: “but we’ve lifted (blah number) over of the tax threshold” or that 24/7 childcare and free school meals or whatever your particular defence is today, are wondrous salves and believe yourselves righteous.] You have upheld and then perpetuated a crony status quo. You’ve relentlessly tinkered with and demolished so much, so callously and with real ignorance. You’ve continued to subsidise profiteers with taxpayer money rather than facilitate a liveable income for the majority of the workforce. You built misery instead of houses. Courted the establishment rather than served the Commons. Turned Social Security into a capricious game of fare-well-if-we-say-you-can roulette. You’ve done nothing meaningful to address the real problems of increasing serfdom, asset stripping, the corporate tax fiasco, accountability of once public but now private service/utility provision. In fact, you align yourself with a senior partner who has the intention to do the opposite. You’ve avoided everything the sane and ‘common’ person on the street would have you fix and chosen, instead, to support and vote through the kinds of cruel, divisive, patriarchal false economies that so typify Tory mentality.

A year or so into your partnership, here on the ground, those who did not previously understand economics and finance were travelling a steep learning curve. We came to realise that, although this was indeed an emergency, you were being utterly disingenuous and wilfully obfuscating about a varied and complex set of causes and, therefore, about any appropriate solutions.

You thought that because you kept on message that we would not deviate either. You assumed we were all swallowing the mainstream stenographic tripe. We weren’t. We were educating ourselves elsewhere.

A truer picture began to emerge: Labour hadn’t just ‘created the mess’ – not on its own. It had taken time. Thatcher’s Tories arguably started it; Blair’s Labour ran with it and now, with your willing assistance, Cameron’s Tories were and still are, running amok. We learned that Labour’s general culpability was really no more than any other Western government’s. We learned that none of you actually understands how to, let alone cares about constructing and facilitating an economy that works for the citizens.

So, while you were busy feeling chuffed, we were learning new words and concepts and getting our heads around a new acronym every day. We were learning about limitless leverage, derivatives, LIBOR and other price fixing, bubbles, Ponzis, High Frequency Trading, Credit Default Swaps, paper gold, depraved banksters and traders, Investor State Dispute Settlements, vested interests, politics as a wealth-creating career and investment vehicle, fiat currency Wars.. It was and continues to be an astoundingly long list.

We learned that what private collateral there is is so insufficient as to be emasculated and that you are so ignorant and irresponsible that you will sell any public asset you can think of – be it in physical existence such as Royal Mail or packaged as a financial service such as student loan books. We discovered that The City was a hub for everything from the pretty shady to the downright fraudulent. And, under your ‘helpful’ governance, still is.

We learned that ‘neoliberalism’ was shorthand for ‘capitalism, right-wing, corporate’. We saw that Neoliberals love power and money much more than people. We realised neoliberalism is what’s undermining people and the planet and that it is the obstacle to our sustained well-being. The well-being of billions. We looked around; made the connections. It made us imagine a slope towards fascism as a very possible 21st Century consequence.

We began to understand the whole obscenity. You didn’t. Or you just chose to ignore it. It has to be one or the other because we, out here, we’ve managed to at least grasp the rudiments in spite of the concerted attempts of powerful mainstream politicos to hinder our understanding.

Back in 2010, when you sat down to negotiate, you (must have) realised how unpalatable the reality of a junior partnership in a Tory coalition would be if you were to maintain your reputation – which, as you’ll remember, was not bad at all. You could have shown integrity and told the Conservatives to form a minority government and that you’d support them where you could. You should have. But, even if I give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you were truly earnest and noble in your intent, once ‘in’ you would have had even better opportunities to learn at least the same things as were we down here. One would think you’d have had an epiphany by the end of that first year. And what did you do? You carried on as though the Tory narrative was almost faultless. For four years.

Every time you were called out on it you patronised us as though we were too stupid to know what was good for us. And, not content with that, you now justify your behaviour on the back of ‘recovery’. You seem to think you are, or soon will be, vindicated. Here, on the ground, those of us who have been busy trying to live under your ‘helpful’ governance; those of us doing all that learning: we know this is a recovery for those who need it least; a recovery built on bubbles, corruption, cronyism and the serfdom of the masses. The real shit has not even hit the global fan and there you are, trying to sweep our own dirt under a shifting carpet. It’s a fiat recovery, based on fiat ideology, carried out by fiat authority.

Liberal Democrat doesn’t really shout ‘integrity’ now, does it? ‘National Interest’? Yeah, if ‘national’ means ‘Westminster’ and ‘interest’ means ‘self’.

And now you think you’ve done so badly in the EP Elections because of your debate with Farage. Ok, that really wasn’t very impressive… your better arguments were not just lost amongst the crude populism of Farage but you demonstrated that you really do not understand that those people who take issue with the Union, do so for rather different and more sophisticated reasons than the xenophobic, corporate, anti-intellectual platform that is UKip. You were the only party with the integrity – AND platform – to defend the concept of Europe and you wrecked it by wasting time repeating rhetorical catchphrases and endorsing a retarded sycophancy for the technocratic status quo. You seem to think that anyone who sees Europe as having or being a problem, views it through the Tory/UKip lens. You really have to stop listening to hysterical mouthpieces. And we don’t all want to leave Europe just because we don’t agree with you, either. It’s the technocracy, the receding democracy, the neoliberal bullying, the corporatisation, the commodification of our lives that we hate, not the Social Chapter, nor ‘red tape’ that acts for Common Interest, nor our fellow Europeans. You need to understand that for a great many of us, the problems we see in Europe are the same problems we have with our own, successive UK governments; the same problem we see in nigh-on every country on the planet, in fact.

Seriously – that TV Farage-Clegg trip: that was just a recent straw out of a bale’s worth. But why would you see the connection between these points when you can’t seem to even see them individually? Some of your party are even tabloid-riven enough to suppose that getting rid of your leader is the solution. Nick Clegg might be the authorised face of your toxicity but, my gods, if you think we don’t know all your higher profile names or your collective voting record, you probably should all just give up – right now.

It’s a global economy supported by a neoliberal attitude and our country is in trouble because our own politicians, economists, and media are of the same means by which much of this infernal crash came about. You have failed because you cannot appreciate either the details or the whole picture and you have failed to recognise that the electorate increasingly does.

There is much satisfied vitriol in the country at your fall from grace. On the surface it’s deliciously tempting and quite understandable. You brought this circus to town. But it’s also a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for your once rational, honourable party and a serious blow to an already dwindling faith in our democracy.


Pity us all, Lib Dems, perhaps the most…

Pity us all, Lib Dems, perhaps the most, as we glance right on past them in hope their survival does not stand a ghost as they chance to enhance their positioning stance like those Old Time Revivalists.

Listing to lusting like magnetised sawdust the yellow-swelled fellows, so thrusting for power, adapt self-awareness to use in self-service, preserving Establishment’s carnage-filled tower. And thus is the uncanny Danny well-managed by Ivory Nanny and Davey, (the hazy Ed) government shill, by his wafer-thin reason, caves in to the pleasing of Energy’s poisonous pill. Poor Laws, to applause, gets his flaws in a muddle while Browne – who did not and is Toryfied rock through and through – was removed of his crown in the favour of Baker, transported to trouble and please-do befuddle as Kramer-no-shame, drives the train to appeasement and Lamb has been easing the privatised health drain. Poor Swinson limps on just as Sarah unTeathers and light-as-a-Featherstone fails to attack both the slack in developed thought and the sad lack of the women in her party’s recycled camp.

But then, what is expected when Ming, once respected, is singing damp nurs’ry rhymes most of the time and ‘ole Charlie is missing and Paddy’s gone wishing while Cable – remember when he was thought able.. and Hughes, the old zealot, stopped thumping the table and mellowed to meaningless waffle and Clegg – the spare beggar – is whittled to clueless that reckons he still can win more than he loses but may well be toppled by Tim-with-a-Grin… The contemptible turncoats are now busy betting their *innocent faces* that we are quite dim and that we’ll be forgetting their utter betrayal so, glibly, they eagerly puff out their greasy sails.

Bent upon seizing a place, they go chasing both tails thinking they set the pace now but miss how the murky uncertainty in all the dirty is being well-noted: while they are off spinning and flirting with ghouls, they have proved to the country that we, the electorate, might have the vote but our wishes would count least of all.