THE SATURDAY ESSAY: Why simplistic politicians and over-complicating professionals have a common enemy: us

Promise, protect, divide and rule: the fascist axis hands out nonsense like a well-greased palm

It is one of the many inconsistencies and contradictions of our species that we desperately want everything complex to be simple, and everything simple to be complex.

If I may, I’d like to offer two personal examples.
I suffer (very rarely these days I’m pleased to report) bouts of depression. The overwhelming majority of humanity would love to categorise the condition as ‘born bonkers’, and move on to other more interesting topics such as the future of rap music. But I’ve grown to realise over seven decades that most depressive conditions – in fact, the majority of all mental illness – is a devil’s brew of genetic inheritance, early home environment, and random life experiences.
Conversely, in the media today almost every transmitting pundit would have you believe that finance ministers, bankers, multinational CEOs, currency dealers and market analysts have an extremely complicated task before them each morning – viz, making sense of the global econo-fiscal and financial situation. However – albeit over four decades rather than seven – it has become risibly obvious that economics has been rendered complex by the addition of globalism, fiscal meddling, and financial incompetence. Take those three elements out, and economics is nothing more than a craft by which we earn more than we pay.
One can keep such examples coming ad nauseam: ‘Yes we Can’ was quite clearly the solution of an egotistical muppet to the history and complexity behind how to steer the USA in a better direction after Dubya had finished playing golf, using Iraq as the ball. On the other hand, the alleged moral maze of UK Women’s State pensions justice is in reality nothing more than posing the question, “Is a deal a deal or not?”
Climate change is a four-dimensional puzzle, not Rubik’s cube. The HS2 yes-or-no debate is straightforward: no.

Why is this truism clear to objective thinkers but not to those claiming to have their hands on the tiller? The answer, it seems to me, is a case of promises and protection.

Countries and economies are, ultimately, in the hands of two types of people – politicians and professionals. Politicians can only get elected by promising to do things that are, quite often, impossible. And the professions can only protect their status, control and wealth by complicating everything, and then declaring themselves to be highly skilled in unravelling the complexity.
In one obvious example, the politician says he will cut the cost of defence. The senior military, the civil service and the diplomatic corps then wade in to explain why this will by difficult not to say impossible.
Another politician says he will raise more tax from corporate business and banking. Both those professions say that will reduce margins, cause unemployment, mean less money lent for economic expansion, and – nudge nudge – force them to move the HQ elsewhere, or – Heaven forbid – stop giving donations to the Conservative Party.

The bigger the promise, the greater the threat to privilege…and thus, the more ludicrous the claims of the professionals. A radical pol of the Left decides that tabloid gargoyles yelling into people’s letter-boxes, hacking their phones and bribing cops is a bad idea. Every newspaper, website and commercial TV journalist then writes long columns about threats to liberty, the fragility of a free press, the public interest, and fighting corporate crime. Or alternatively, they get some dirt on the Minister and then threaten him.

Finally an enquiry is set up to show just how complicated all the considerations are, and things carry on as before.
It may seem that, in this never-ending battle between promise and protection, the politician always winds up with the grubby end of the stick. In fact, it’s much worse than that.
Once good legislators find they can’t get anything useful done in politics, they quickly pack their bags and do something more fulfilling. The drunks, lazy buggers, and whores stay exactly where they are and take the money. A new generation of people calling themselves ‘professional’ politicians move in, and the nomenclature alone is enough to tell you who they’re really working for…especially the lawyers.
So the things getting done change from being ethically, socially, educationally or citizen orientated to being those things the commercial professions want done. And of course, to dissuade any future reformer from abolishing these often dysfunctional and corrupt laws, the beneficiaries go to work once more describing how incredibly complicated and probably disastrous the changes would be.

The outstanding – and in the end, I’m sure it will prove the most cataclysmic – case of this process is the failure of the US Congress to make any headway at all in the reform of the banking system in general, and Wall Street in particular. Every last Bill and clause put together by those keen not to spend another $27 trillion bailing out depraved investment bankers has been resisted, watered down and then in real terms defeated and/or shelved.

Today at the outset of 2016, the situation in terms of both transparency, debt and overall leveraging is worse than it was in 2007-8.
All the tell-tale signs are there: nobody knows what percentage of derivative bets are netted because it would be “far too complicated and long-winded a process” to find out. Yet the derivative mechanic was, in its infancy, a brilliant idea whereby farmers were given cheap money to invest and local banks operated as banks should do – positively to good ideas from entrepreurs. It is greed and interbank trading that has turned it into a monster nobody dare try and tame.
In turn, the assumptions that lie behind the major Wall Street firms’ leveraging policies are risibly easy to deconstruct. But the minute anyone ‘in authority’ (an increasingly false term) wants these reined in, dire warnings of ‘slowing down a fragile recovery’ and ‘betrayal of client confidences’ are brought forward….from a sector that has done zip to push that recovery, and bets both for and against its clents’ interests on a daily basis.
Increasingly, sector by sector, what we see now is the political class not just wimping out of resistance to this, but getting actively involved in the process of arguing the complicator’s case.
Thus the politically controlled UK Ministry of Justice and its alleged master (but really mistress) the cps have now issued a disgracefully vague statement saying that they will not be proceeding with any further phone-hacking investigations into the media, because “the issues are complex, the trails cold, and the evidence voluminously conflicting”. That is complete bollocks: the evidence of two former employees and one rock star could put a former editor behind bars tomorrow were anyone to bother putting the case together. It is nothing short of fraternisation at best and perversion of Justice at worst.
Equally, Andy Coulson got off a perjury charge with the active collaboration of a judge who insisted that the law of perjury is complex, he understood it better than the jury….and so the case would be dismissed without even asking the jury to have a go. The law of perjury couldn’t be more simple: the telling of lies under oath. This former Murdoch and Cameron henchman had previously served just 10 weeks in an open prison for the offence of ordering the hacking of thousands of private phones over many years.
But when on the offensive, observe how the corporate-political axis simplifies everything: the charging of artists, disc jockeys, and other celebrities with the dustbin term ‘paedophilia’ when very few people truly understand the legal, mental and pubertal mélange of factors required to judge the competence of the abused or the guilt of the accused.
George Osborne began his Chancellorship with what every sane technician on Earth knew was an impossible task: to wipe out Britain’s budget deficit within five years, to begin rebalancing the economy away from financial services, and to start repaying the National Debt. But he insisted it would be no more than painful. This last promise is the only one he has lived up to: the economy is more services biased and the Debt hugely bigger than it was when he started….and the deficit is no more than half removed.

He also insisted he would get tough with the banks. I’m sure we can all remember the media bombardment that followed; this would be risky, the banks were already fragile and the recovery barely under way, and it was nowhere near as easy as it looked at first sight. The end of Osborne getting tough with the banks came, eventually, when Bob Diamond at Barclays rang David Cameron to suggest that he f**k right off.

:-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-(

In more civilised times, the moral of this piece would be straightforward in terms of almost universably applicable advice: distrust by default all politicians who say it will be easy, and all professionals who say it will be difficult, tortuous, risky and complicated.

But three factors militate against that, and hand an overwhelming advantage to the would-be fascists – and I mean fascists in the classic sense of Benito Mussolini’s definition, not the knockabout stuff of which student debates are made:

1. We are watching the rapid and overt takeover of the politico-governmental process by the legal, marketing, media, manufacturing, banking, retail and surveillance professions. Increasingly therefore, the two sides in this merger have become one…and their messages fully coordinated. (Fracking represents the best example out there)

2. The gradual dumbing down and depoliticisation of the electorate has led – via a combination of cynicism, desperation and distraction – to apathy, a sense of hopelessness, and the election to power of a crypto-fascist Government enjoying the support of just one quarter of those entitled to vote. This is exacerbated by the sheer number of injustices fighting for attention from a media pack, most of whom have no interest at all in publicising their plight. (It is to me highly significant that the recent success of WASPI in being the exception to this rule is based on its members having undergone education and work experience long before the dumbness and robotic pc came to dominate our culture)

3. Crucially – and I apologise to regulars who’ve read this from me a hundred times already – the Opposition is tribally divided between the SNP, Burnham Labour, Corbyn Labour, UKIP, and the increasingly sub-atomic Liberal Democrats. Even UKIP with its one MP is internally riven by squabbles. This process seems to me on the increase rather than the wane….and it is handing victory to the technocratic professionals on a plate.

But one thing this ragbag of resistance has in common: a well judged and powerful distrust of the controlling nature of Whiteminster, and a desire to devolve power more fully. I make no secret of my own communitarian creativity agenda here: but agenda or no, this issue is the biggest one our species faces, and is I think one thing that could bust the centralist monopoly. (Obviously, Burnham Labour wouldn’t even contemplate this idea – it is, after all, part of the problem)

In extra-Parliamentary terms – for this is the route via which all pre-1945 social reform came to be on the Statute Book – I can only reiterate previous Slogposts going back six years: the wannabe fascist axis is only made possible by the passage of money back and forth between the simplifying/complicating scam. The first task must be to cut off this mutual flow – starting with political donations in any shape or form, and then regulating all lobbying far more strictly.

Only then will the time be ripe for pushing in favour of electoral and Party Whip reform until the Westminster club is finally disbanded.
But that too is going to require concerted action outside Parliament from a more united Resistance. The piecemeal way in which the Vote Leave campaign sort of got its ranks in order offers a salutary example of being too slow off the mark…..and this is a particularly apposite example, because the issue of EU membership really is one where, yet again, in the face of all the legal, incompetence, corruption, economic and controlling evidence, the fascists are still in the stronger electoral position.

And Vote Stay are the fascists here, because almost the entire Whiteminster Establishment, globalist banking and multinational manufacturing camp are firmly for Stay.
Surprise, surprise….the dominant strain of the Vote Stay campaign is risk, complexity, cost, legal impossibility etc etc etc.

Yes – it is divide and rule but No, it isn’t a conspiracy. It is merely the method by which those across the piece who insist on More for Me go about their business of killing off competitors and detractors.

Closely connected at The Slog: Four ideologies and a funeral

33 thoughts on “THE SATURDAY ESSAY: Why simplistic politicians and over-complicating professionals have a common enemy: us

  1. Excellent read – thank you.
    Certainly not too long.

    @carroccio
    Which side of the bed did you fall out of this morning?
    WAD

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  2. Carroccio, the clue was in the title, ‘Essay’; personally I prefer your third sentence to be left unsaid or reserved for comment in rags such as the Sun! You will find their articles far shorter and less complicated…..

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  3. Every word true I’m afraid. I noted Amber Rudd in the DT stating that there were ‘unknown consequences’ if we leave the EU, and how energy bills will rise, how does she know this, if the consequences are unknown?
    The first part of the essay reminds me of my sister in law in South Africa talking to the surgeon after her father died in hospital, she asked for an explanation and, he said, “It’s very complicated”, “Try me” she said, “I have a Doctorate”, at which point he said he had another patient to see and left….

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  4. Come on Chaps – own up … who’s nicked the jam from carroccio’s doughnut this morning?

    Plainly one of JW’s thoughtful essays; it only lays before us the enormity, scope and unbridled savagery of the Foe. My personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the juggernaut is well under way and there seems to be no stopping it. As I get older I abhor violence more and more, but I fear that it may, eventually, be the only recourse for the common man to claw back that which has been stolen from him. Like the Hydra, the Foe is a many-headed monster and for each grasping f***wit who is disposed of another two will take his place as surely as night follows day, so it will be no easy task.

    All we can do is live our own lives as blamelessly as we can and do what is right when the occasion demands. Notwithstanding my comments about physical contretemps above, the likes of Blair the warmonger, Broon the Ruiner, Mandelbum of the cloven hooves, Cameron the Insincere, the Coke-sniffer et al would do well to steer clear of this disgruntled old curmudgeon as he lives out his peaceful retirement …

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  5. Once upon a time parliament debate long hours with no time limit & policy was broken down,so part of legislation could be thrown out,now very short time limits & multiple policies are passed on one vote,all in the name of efficiency & never have things gone so wrong,like the WASPI the efficiency is inefficient which means more efficiency is needed to get rid of inefficiency,until your so bogged down with efficiency its more efficient to be inefficient .
    Hope that’s neither to tedious or long for you Carroccio 1958

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  6. Excellent piece again John. Your Saturday Essays are becoming my favourite read on your Blog… Which is saying a great deal as almost all of your pieces are pretty exceptional. Thanks again.

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  7. Known cure!
    We seem to exist in a closed loop but how to break the cycle.
    Stop political donations. What . That would decimate the honours list.

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  8. Another excellent piece JW. Keep on making these points – eventually people will listen,

    @Caratacus, excellent language ‘enormity, scope and unbridled savagery’ – which is exactly what we face. An emotionless grey-suited wall of depravity wrapped in linguistic artifice – epitomised by Mr Cameron.

    I must congratulate JW for his efforts, the amount I have learned from his essays and the thoughtful contributions that follow has been instrumental in becoming able to cognitively disconnect from the hubbub of spin and obfuscation that blights our lives.

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  9. Google ‘legal name fraud’ and maybe just maybe there is a non violent answer to the hell John’s commentary describes.

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  10. Excellent article JW.

    I am increasingly of the view that depression is the rational response of the intelligence to the current state of the world. Perhaps to function in a mad world it helps to be delusional. I have no doubt that chemical imbalances are responsible for the more severe forms of depression, but the ubiquitous nature of anti-depressives in North America is a symptom of a deep malaise amongst ordinary people, not an epidemic of mental illness. I was staggered to find out how many of my colleagues were dosing themselves with prescription drugs to function in the work world.

    @Caratacus

    Beautifully put. Reflects my sentiments entirely.

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  11. @John D

    Thanks for the link. The Slog and the comments BTL constantly remind me of my ignorance. Too many ideas for my brain assimilate sometimes.

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  12. Quite so….
    But really, there are only two things little o’l me can actually do….
    Pay as little tax as possible thereby starve the many headed monster that is long overdue for slaying..
    and don’t vote for the monkeys.
    You’ve heard it all before i know, but what else is there..??
    A bit of fresh never hurt anyone either..

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  13. You really need to read Jon Kabat-Zinn and Prof. Mark William’s book if you want to understand depression, also Maria Peer is making big inroads too, there are some new ideas around, Mindfulness/meditation is one that is attracting a lot of attention at present. The old idea that you’re too old to learn has now been dispelled and neurogenesis will occur in older people, it just takes a bit of perseverance so, the mind can be altered to think differently, CBT was one of the first to recognise this, now we have moved on considerably, I think we will see big changes in the way we view and treat depression in the future well, that’s if big pharma don’t put a stop to it, after all, they are the big losers in this because drug therapy is not involved.

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  14. We ponder it all but no peaceful action will change it one little bit. After that we can rage all we want, raging will get us nowhere, protesting gets us nowhere neither and any expression utterly worthless. Best to buy popcorn and soda, enjoy the fighting, laugh at some of the moronic behaviour because nothing offered by either side benefits me.

    Sad that … but hey bright side …

    Only my own choices matter now on how long I wish to keep playing the game and how to end it actually means anything to me. It has to be self centred because the majority of sheep behave in a self centred way.

    Now Mr / Mrs sheep if reading the above you have still not figured it out, this article and many others JW writes do not appertain to you or me, it is what becomes of your bloody children and bloody that may be in the end BECAUSE THAT IS THE PATH THAT IS BEING TRODDEN AND YOUR CHILDREN WILL FEEL ITS EFFECTS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE.

    The unavoidable consequences you are handing your children.

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  15. carroccio1958, bit like being given a double size ice cream free & complaining “But it’s too Big!” Shame on you. But you’re not alone. Hieronimusb has got his free-be & dropped it on purpose. I, like others, intend to enjoy & share it.

    Lampitt, you need some words of inspiration from a wonderful Guru. “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” He wasn’t Hindu, but he still made a relatively big impression, in his own very small way.

    In my “Child like way”, I’ve noticed lots of the big people saying how complicated life is. Which I find odd, because when I look around, every other wild sentient animal seems simply to just get on with it. I’m beginning to suspect there is a glitch in our wiring & “Life is simple & thinking people make it complicated”?

    But in that case “We could never find a solution, we would be the problem”.

    Great read JW.

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  16. You are more than correctly likely Panopticon. I wish it to be known that I was somewhat younger then & it was just “High Spirited Larking about”. I will be learning lessons from this, going forward, To Wales, over Cardigan bay, & hope to arrive before summer. Ta.

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  17. @ Billy Gruff – excellent point about animals. In my early formative years I had the great good fortune to work with wild animals from around the world and the lessons I took from their stoic fortitude, their 100% commitment to every task they undertake, their sense of fun and devotion to their young have stood me in very good stead over the decades. The fact that they can still joyfully surprise me after all these years exposure to human scheiß verhalten is, I like to think, evidence of my essential childishness :-)

    One of my favourite lines is by D.H. Lawrence: “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself”.

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  18. P.S. Thank you for the kind words ImpPsy + Canexpat above. I would like to claim sole rights but I must confess that the muse only descended after a restorative or two before lunch ;-)

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  19. John – the depression can be overcome with diet and exercise. Yes , mostly exercise in fact. Not something that you wanted to know I’m sure. Sitting in front of the fire raising the glass is not the sort of exercise that my doctor advises. Having the playmate do reverse cowboy on the gallop is very suitable, but playmates are hard to find when one is in the 7th decade of life. The little blue pill is useful, as a strong wanger is the tool of the trade for the woman looking for repeat satisfaction.
    A male friend of mine registered with https://www.workaway.info/ and the results were astonishing. He advertised for a live in housekeeper, offering free board and lodgings in return for light daytime duties x 5 days a week, and was showered with applications from very some attractive women. In fact he is too busy with his love life to continue our longstanding friendship, so this might be a way to get that smile back on your face son..
    Good luck, and tell us all how it progresses. We want to know that you are sowing your wild oats again.

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  20. Have faith you little ones …. Camerdung is going to ‘blitz poverty’ – he’s going to knock all our houses down and send us on parenting classes whilst we wait for them to be rebuilt – then everything will be fine ……………

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  21. carroccio, perhaps you’d feel more at home sticking to Twitter perhaps?

    Not too long at all John, and depressingly correct on this (very) wet Sunday morning. But on the upside, at least the water-table around our neck of the woods here in France is being replenished!

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  22. @Hoppity Skip: Kind of. In my opinion it starts with food not exercise. Take us. Since daughter went doing “We 3 Kings” round our Bavarian town she was donated so much sweet crap she is always ill. Yesterday we coffee-caked at a relative. Continual poor nutrition. Now why are they always low in energy?

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  23. I eat tons of fresh fruit and veg normally. Christmas is awful on the stomach. Start each day with an egg and drink tons of fresh water through a Sodastream glass bottle. I can’t believe I wolf down so much fruit nowadays. Friday I admit I went back to my old ways as “Binge Crosby” and woke up feeling crap – first alcoholic drink in months. Now my body heals fast and I’m back on the Qi Gong and fresh food again.

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  24. Excellent (though depressing) essay John. Our so called parliamentary democracy is broken and no longer works for the benefit of ordinary folk, if it ever did (well maybe sometime in the 1940s/1950s). I am afraid that I am with Mark Deacon on this. No peaceful action will change any of this. It will take a major breakdown before enough of the population can be awakened from all their shiny distractions and toys to take up arms and form a realistic resistance. This in itself is profoundly depressing as I am afraid there will be blood.

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