Thought for the day: Life is nature's way of delaying death.

Facebook: making sure you never lose touch with people you don't like.

Internal admin is not "industry".

Flying on a wing and a prayer may sometimes be necessary. Taking off on the same is another matter entirely.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Tories 2012: 2nd Movement

The only solutions being espoused just now are short-term and almost invariably revolve around satisfying the self-declared imperatives of one group of people, usually the same group of people; those with their names on the wealth. This is just as it should be for social Darwinists, but no comfort for those about to be evolved into penury. 

All the evidence, in the last days of the U.K. at any rate, suggests that our leaders' views of what constitutes recovery and economic well-being are markedly at odds with those of the bulk of the population. A Tory government is testament to the quality not of their politics, but of their own free market propaganda as many who voted for it clearly have no logical reason for doing so if all scores are totted up. This has largely been achieved by the same Public Sector Bad/Private Sector Good mantra beloved of Thatcher and creating, all too successfully, a phoney battle that, quite coincidently, splits opposition down the middle and pits worker against worker.
Looking at the Coalition government itself, this hardly seems a startling revelation. For a Tory government, which this undoubtedly is, this is no accident. (The Lib Dems have no credibility left and by all accounts no constituency worthy of the name, so airbrushing them out of the picture is entirely permissable; they had one shot and blew it. They are now irrelevant and have nothing to contribute other than lobby fodder.)  They see this as essential to restoring the natural order of things. Their economic models - such as they are - are the same ones promoted by their cousins in the American Neo-liberal Right; essentially pre-Keynesian, brutalist and in contravention of every modernising politcal impetus of the last 100 years.

The lot of the people is simply no longer presumed to be an overarching concern and all policy ultimately reflects this, be it their tax policies, their refusal to attend to this country's chronic housing problem and the economic mayhem the scramble for property wealth propagates or the crowing and quite disproportionate, reflex antagonism they actively encourage towards people on benefits. Everything is subserviant and subsiduary to the well-being of the markets and this means the well-being of those who control these supposedly free markets and see no essential contradiction in declaring absolute right to do just that. Free to whom? 

For the Tories, slashing public expenditure was always item one on the agenda. As a political movement - rather than simply an exclusive trade association seeking a good ride for its members - they view public expenditure as a self-defining burden. It will always be too high. They cannot accept that our attempt to crawl out of barbarism has only been thinkable through massive state  spending, often at times when we could, on the face of things, least afford it. From China to the Pitcairn Islands, state spending has been fundamental in every sense, to every end. A politics that says otherwise simply hasn't been paying attention.

In another unacknowledged irony, Cameron and company claim to be taking a lead from their friends across the pond, which is doubly, possibly trebly strange. Wall St crashed because NeoCon economics crashed. Obama recognises this, and getting the message home to the rednecks in the Republican right was not difficult; despite their protestations, Americans are define themselves by very recent history in a way that geriatric countries like Britain don't; few Americans will question the beneficence of F.D.R. and his New Deal, a proto-Keynesian statist assault without precedent and, arguably, without comparison since. Without this, America would not have been capable of joining the war even if she had felt inclined to. Even if we had somehow managed to win without them, we'd have had to look elsewhere for a Marshall plan to rebuild Europe.

As I write, the American economy is making a few faint noises that suggest a stablising at least. This has come about through the actions of government in spite of the markets, not because of them. This is precisely why the Right are doing surprisingly badly at a time when they should theoretically be flourishing; they know that it's the economy, stoopid, and that by being bound up in the financial game too tightly they are always going to be compromised politically. It would seem that the people of capitalism's promised land are far less impressed by the exhortaions of the markets than David Cameron and George Osbourne.

America's salvation lies, perhaps almost perversely to British minds, in their lack of history. The automatic right to influence of the moneyed classes is not assumed in America and Wall Street, even at its venal worst, does not presuppose support from any political grouping; the individualism their constitution upholds does not, in theory, allow such tribalism.

More follows