THE SATURDAY ESSAY: there is no known cure for Britain’s divided nature yet

But while we’re waiting, we can improve the hygiene in Casualty

Me22616If any politicians emerge in the next few months to tell us they can “heal the divisions in Britain’s culture”, don’t believe them. One – Stephen Crabb – is already pushing that line, but we established here yesterday that he’s a tapioca pudding, so that’s him out of the running. The task for any Waspis who choose to accept it is to ensure his humiliation….and hope that somebody wins the leadership who’ll fire him immediately. The one thing above all that Brexit brought into sharp focus was that Britain is now, irreversibly in the medium term, four nations.

8% at one end are neoliberal fanatics out to create a corporate State.

12% at the other end are socialist diehards whose mantra is, “the answer’s socialism, now what’s the question?”

30% in the middle are the desperate poor rendered apolitically cynical by the neolithic ideologies of the other two.

50% are what I call The Habitually Near-Sighted. Some are young and too lazy to vote, some are smug Tories in the South East, some are muddled SNP leave/joiners, a few are Old Labour getting older, and quite a lot are UKIP.

I call them near-sighted because either they never read about what the EU gets up to, or they never travel to the Northern end of Britain, or they’re  over 75, or they think Nigel Farage walks on water. All those afflictions are strongly suggestive of tertiary myopia.

This last group has been – to coin a phrase – tabloidised. They see an MP murdered by an alleged far Right extremist, and are put off voting Brexit. They read some crap by Con Coughlin in the Telegraph, and become convinced that the EU is the only thing stopping Putin from heading straight for Dover. They listen as David Cameron says their pensions are at risk, and come down firmly on the side of Remain. They see a letter signed by fifty economists (none of whom saw 2008 coming) and conclude that the safe bet is to stay as we are.

I’m always struck by their tendency to describe themselves as “too busy” for news analysis, while marvelling  their encyclopaedic knowledge about Game of Thrones. They begin a discussion on the Greek crisis with the words, “Course, you’ve got to see it from the Germans’ viewpoint – they want their money back”. Asked about Jihadists, they describe them as nutters who must be wiped out….having four years earlier been talking darn the pub about the Arab Spring ‘dividend’. Many of them thought Tony Blair was wonderful in 1997, and David Cameron had all the right ideas in 2010. They describe Boris Johnson as “a bloke just like us”, and Nigel Farage as “the only man on our side”.

The only sub-group within this half of the electorate that has been enthused by an idea and made things happen in the last five years is UKIP. They are also the only new force in the last fifty years that has taken support from both major Parties with any degree of consistency. They certainly aren’t (in my experience) the ‘fascistscumracistbigot’ stereotypes trotted out by the Left’s venom-spitters; but having established that they want to ‘take back control’ of the country, they’ve little or nothing to say beyond that. They seem more fixated with the past than the future.

I don’t see anything wrong with that per se – let’s face it, almost anything would be better than where we are – but the Party needs to take on cerebral heavyweights (and get a new leader) if it wants to move beyond where it is now.  Without more solid, inclusive ideas about the future, UKIP’s core support will (literally) be dead within fifteen years.

The problem, however, is that the two sets of ideological major Party zealots have the biggest mouths, the most seats in Parliament, the most money, and the best access to mass media.


As a result of this, they can peddle the ‘no alternative’, ‘smash capitalism’, ‘Little Englander’, ‘multicultural’, ‘global world’ or ‘institutional racism’ simplistics of propaganda non-stop; and if the giant middle of England is tabloidised with little mind of its own, they will be seen to represent ‘real Britain’.

Both sets of Beeeleeeevers long ago left any empirical analysis of reality far behind, and the vast majority of them are self-assuredly ignorant about behavioural science, the shadow banking system, neuroanatomy, social anthropology, breakthroughs in physics, discoveries within cerebral science, 3-D printing and above all, anything beyond their immediate experience.

There is no way (until they’ve died and gone to wherever they expect to go) these troublesome priests can heal the divisions created by redundant ideology, because they’re the ideologists whose survival in power depends on keeping the war going.

Indeed, over the years since 2010 the signs have been very much those of a neoliberal oligarchy determined to neuter the Law, the police, the electoral rules and the liberties of the British citizen. Legal aid has gone, the BBC has been penetrated, Newscorp continues to be above the law, the powerful escape prosecution, and those who speak out fall foul of Theresa May’s Orwellian nonsense about ‘non-violent extremists’.

Or put another way, Camerlot was determined to equate everything they peddled as Truth.

I wish I could suggest the Left is any different, but I can’t. If anything, Labour’s tabloidisation of events is even worse: Jo Cox is dead, Nigel Farage caused her death; the EU has stopped European Wars, therefore it is to be preserved at any price; Migrants are all deserving cases, there should be no entry limits; the Queen is a privileged old leech; taking our Sovereignty back will isolate us in the world; and if you want to leave the EU, you’re a nasty old bigot who we cannot help but feel antagonistic towards.

If you can see even the remotest chance of any mind-meld between those two Groupthinks, then you’re a better man that I, Mr Spock.


I wish I had a solution to it, but I don’t….beyond time – which is, history shows us, the only thing likely to heal wounds: and even time is far from infallible.

You’ve seen and read my personal long-term view so many times now, there’s no point in repeating it here. In fact, at the age of 68 I am bound to observe that blogging on any topic is a classic case of diminishing returns. So all one can do is move on to a focus upon any and all strategies and tactics aimed at making a ghastly situation a little better. These I would summarise as:

  1. Keeping Gove out of Number Ten: that way lies Murdoch, and yet more zealotry
  2. Scoring a goal against at least one plank of Tory policy while the Party is all over the place. I think the Waspi women have more potential than most to achieve this, but as long as they’re led by people from Abilgail’s party, it just isn’t going to happen
  3. Coming down hard on any Establishment attempt to drag its feet on Article 50
  4. Specifically within 3, supporting Andrea Leadsom as a leadership candidate
  5. Supporting Jeremy Corbyn against Fat Labour’s pernicious coup.

These may seem random scattergun priorities, but they  aren’t: my urgency remains the same – to defeat a divisive, ideology-blinded Establishment by any and all means possible.

Enjoy your Saturday, pray for the Welsh soccer team, and don’t miss Germany v Italy tonight: it should be a cracker.


 

Recently at The Slog: 50 years of political failure skewered in one Referendum

41 thoughts on “THE SATURDAY ESSAY: there is no known cure for Britain’s divided nature yet

  1. Mr Ward

    I agree that you won’t reconcile the Neo-Liberals and the Hard Left. Except by saying: ‘let’s all get together to keep the plebs in their place!’ An appeal to greedy self-centred power-grabbing in other words. There’s no philosophical unity possible, just an appeal to power strings.

    The thing is, ‘the third way’ doesn’t have to be through ‘triangulation’. It can just be: ‘reject the war between the holders of capitalism and downtrodden workers: re-frame society with sufficient responsibilities on the holders of capital that wars won’t happen’.

    Oh, it wouldn’t be easy, because you have a world full of people who are still very very selfish when you strip away all the posturing. That proposed new way requires far more practical actions driven by community, not individualism. It requires leaders able to engage with that selfishness and face it down, much as effective parents don’t stand for childish tantrums from their offspring. It requires pretty strong standards of what is expected of anyone who comes to these shores as an immigrant, a guest worker, call them what you will. And it requires pretty strong standards about what is required from Foreign Direct Investors, as they are called. Rather a lot of them may find a ‘no thank you’ based on current standards…..

    It requires banks/credit facilities to actually invest in the productive economy and it requires an understanding that those in the bottom 30% spend the majority of their income in the economy to make ends meet, so stimulating the economy is as much about improving the lot of the bottom 35% as it is in enriching the top 1% (who mostly don’t spend that extra wealth and often invest it abroad).

    It requires correlation of who pays for what decisions, like: who pays when a business lays off workers? Why? Should there be limitations on company’s freedoms of action if they are laying off workers (like no increases in pay for executives, no increased dividends etc)? Equally, should the codes of conducts of Trades Unions be linked to the success of the employers who employ their members, rather than narrow matters of ‘increasing workers’ pay’?

    If you want workers’ representatives on the Boards of companies, they have to understand how successful companies work: they can’t be demagogues vandalising companies to promote political dogma. Equally, you might say that anyone who wants to be a Board member (as opposed to the founding entrepreneur) has to have worked at the bottom of the company for a minimum period to know what life is like down there. It doesn’t have to be forever, but 3- 4 years on the minimum wage would be a great education for ‘our great business leaders’, wouldn’t it?? Just imagine Philip Green having to shop in PoundLand. Just imagine the anti-hero of RBS, Fred Goodwin, going to Wonga for a payday loan??

    If you want responsible finance, then you need banks run by entrepreneurs who have gone bankrupt but then succeeded later; by people who have been unemployed for 3 years but subsequently did well; by engineers who founded their own businesses; by traders who understand trading businesses. Yes, you need some accountants, but real businesses don’t grow through cold accountants sitting in offices. They grow through passionate people taking risks, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Bankers need to be people who’ve been there, are on the side of entrepreneurs, but hold them to a standard. It’s no longer acceptable for bankers to maximise profits by destroying UK SMEs. It really isn’t…..

    There needs to be discussion about whether the ‘profit motive’ is the most appropriate basis for the legal forms of business. Solvency is imperative, however ‘maximising’ profits may come with societal downsides. Working out what ‘optimising’ profits is about is where discussions should focus. It’s not simple. What’s optimal in one sector may not be in another. Profits of one business can affect supply chains, which spreads to the wider economy.

    At the end of the day, the key question is this: ‘without believing we can guarantee getting there, within certain tolerances, what sort of spread of wealth do we think makes up the optimal society, balancing aspiration and success with the risks of failure; allows a spread of life approaches without pauperising the vast majority of them; builds economic resilience and long-term prospects and creates conditions encouraging people to build their careers and lives here without seeking to bleed britain dry then run off to sunnier climes?’

    I would suggest rather strongly that no-one who holds such views will ever get the chance to put them into action if they see billionaires and media moguls as their bankrollers.

    They need funding by the many, mostly in donations of £1000 or less.

    The biggest question of all, however, is this: ‘if the rest of the world is not like that yet, and we are the ‘first mover’, how can we ensure that our ideals do not lead to our country going bankrupt as we are fleeced by less ethical sharks, seeing an opportunity to pounce at a moment of weakness?’

    Requires one hell of a lot of thought and one hell of a strong salesforce, doesn’t it??

    Liked by 5 people

  2. “the BBC has been penetrated,…..”
    When did this hapoen liebling and who cleaned the blood from the bedlinen?

    (And BTW I do not agree with your Point 5)

    Like

  3. JW, like you I find myself to be devoid of any insight that has much value after the next news headline. So, your recommendations are very sensible; this is a long war. Fight in the skirmishes that look relevant now whilst keeping any eye on the evolving bigger picture. On the subject of Wales in Euro2016; Sloggers should obtain a copy of Lenin Of The Rovers (BBC Comedy starring Alexei Sayle, 8 episodes, released about 1988). ‘It’s the turn of the little nation, Mr Lenin’

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ” encouraging people to build their careers and lives here without seeking to bleed britain dry then run off to sunnier climes?’”

    Wot– like you John ?

    Like

  5. Gove must be a dead duck now… they never elect the one who wields the knife. and Fat Labour has had its day… although i would call them blue labour.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. rtj1211 like John there is much to be admired in what you have written! paying a fair price for imports may seem mad(certainly to neoliberals) but first it allows countries to build their own institutions and it also reduces and then stops the need for people to migrate to where money is concentrated,(but it does have to be managed carefully since the power (of money)would be used to bankrupt us just like it has been used since it was first used against communist Russia)it works just has well internally we could start by closing the gap within!

    Like

  7. I have been following Canadian blogger JC Collins since he started Philosophy of Metrics. His analysis of the macroeconomic (global) pieces in the jigsaw and how they may come together and how they are changing to suit the intent of the elites towards the globalisation intended to become the NWO are always thought provoking if nothing less. A lot of people are put off by his esoteric stuff but his fundamentals are mostly sound and have quite often proven to be prophetic when announced. In plain sight is true, but only if you’re looking for it.

    His articles about SDRs, inclusion of the Remininbi into the basket of currencies (announced by the IMF and scheduled for this October, once it has been fully internationalised), the end of the dollar as reserve currency in a world moving towards a multi polar set up, and the global currency ‘announced’ on the cover of The Economist in 1978, to be introduced in 2018, illustrates the very long timescales involved. We all know that the EU has developed through slow incremental processes, so why not look at how that helps on a global level too.

    His piece on Zerohedge outlines the parallels between today and what circumstances really brought about the French Revolution in the 18th century. Particularly the outside influences. As they say “history doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme”. This has been centuries in the making and may well come to fruition whatever we do or don’t do.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-01/invisible-hand-disogranized-masses

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” The country awaits! One problem they are all devoid of the right stuff. If ever a moment presented itself, it was last week. I weep silent tears and look on,at this situation in wonder.

    Like

  9. Ain’t it funny. Here we have dumb, stupid, ignorant spivs daring to vote for a change against the elite criminals with their wars and insitutionised fraud.

    Ain’t it funny that The Somme is being remembered at this time. Those stupid ignorant spivs dared to rally against ww1, but in the end they died for the elites.

    Aint t it funny that WW1 ended because of them German ignorant sailors who rebelled, pointing their ships guns at fellow sailors ships. Them stupid ignorant sailors got their act together, the Keiser resigned and ww1 ended.

    Like

  10. If we realise who and what we are it all flips, the fear the politicians use to coerce us to what they want because it is the only alternative. We the people are parliament, therefore we are all sovereign as is parliament, we cannot bind a future for we know not what that future may be but there is nothing as people we cannot undo = everything.

    Parliament lies, we need not honor or abide any treaty, the flip side of the coin so would Farage please stand before Junkers and whilst tearing up the Lisbon Treaty shout “I am sovereign like all British citizens who can stand for the UK parliament are”. Then watch him foam at the mouth and Merkel pass out and all those in our parliament quake in fear of the realisation.

    The truth unveiled I do believe, can’t see all ths fuss in the european communities act, article 50 or QMV for we through parliament can ignore and tear all these up. Oh that supreme court 2009 thingy, can rip that out too if you want its a bit too American is it not?

    The EU with such a concept of control has no answer to this except by buying our elites who use fear to exercise this control and the UK tapioca politicians are just the stuff you really should not want to touch. Really Merkel you should leg it at best trade agreements and even they can be shredded was all you could hope for because everything is sovereign.

    Have a nice day all the sun just does not stop shining now.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Am I right in assuming that poor Jo Cox’s funeral was a private family affair, never to be reported on? Her widower seems to be suffering from a touch of the Osbornes, having disappeared since June 23rd.

    The Huffington Post claims that Mr Cox tweeted what would have been Jo’s message of hope after the referendum result was known on 24th June, but a look at his feed shows this last message from him was at 10:22pm on the 23rd June.

    Her body was released to the family on the 24th, and no more has been heard. Given the outpouring of public grief over the late Mrs Cox, you’d think they would confirm that she has had a fitting send-off.

    Like

  12. John. RE: Ghost Soldiers.
    You may or may not have noticed, that here in th UK a number of very young men ( garbed in 1914/18 military uniforms ) been, appearing in various notable locations around the UK.
    I found most upsetting when some pundit said it would enable a line under that disaster!
    There is nothing the Elites would like more! than history such as that to vanish down there memory hole and be smothered by the next lot of football hysteria.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. John John really mate you need to get over to Blighty and have a pint or two at a local pub in Brighton,,, grays or perhaps Great Wakering. tis not all that bad your basic a political college educated Brit has a bit more of a Handle o things than the know nothings that get quoted in the press. That’s why the Brexit won . What it is, is, none of these folks are in politics, don’t have a clue how the thing really works see?? They need to be doing it themselves but they have left it for all the nutters see??
    Tell ya what!! do an article about how to join your UKip Tory or ( god help me) Labour local organization and spread a bit of sanity amongst the drudges who do the footwork. the Ukips the best bet but without ordinary people in politics, n one of them have got a chance of fixing anything, JJB

    Like

  14. The EU wants an Empire and has launched their bid to expand to the south and eastwards into Asia, the Balkans, Turkey, Middle East, Africa and beyond. From Zerohedge:

    “The latest EU foreign policy document, titled “A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy“, calls for an extension of the Union’s influence in regions as far as Central Asia and Central Africa.

    It also outlines “gradual synchronisation and mutual adaptation” between different member states’ individual defence strategies.

    The executive summary of the document reads:

    It is in the interests of our citizens to invest in the resilience of states and societies to the east stretching into Central Asia, and to the south down to Central Africa. Under the current EU enlargement policy, a credible accession process grounded in strict and fair conditionality is vital to enhance the resilience of countries in the Western Balkans and of Turkey. Under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), many people wish to build closer relations with the Union: our enduring power of attraction can spur transformation in these countries.

    The documents speaks of transforming the current EU system and commits to the deliverance of a global governing body….”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-01/eu-wants-empire-brussels-plans-expand-middle-east-africa

    So even if we do break free from the EU, whichever way we turn we will still come up against the EU whether directly or when dealing with countries the EU seeks to influence.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Magnum at 2:53 pm , well there is a vacant position now, providing our spineless wonders insist on no freedom of movement under any circumstances, I’m sure that Turkey is more than welcome to our place. There might be a few vacancies before that happens.

    Like

  16. @Angela.

    Yes, it’s most curious.

    Are they waiting for her to become the standard bearer of another referendum,, or was the whole thing just some sick figment of the imagination ?

    Like

  17. You’d think that after 6-10 months of plotting the coup that they could have pulled off a better coup?

    Does anyone in the party really want a group that couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. It’s a political version of the Keystone cops.

    It’s the gift that keep on giving. Hope the party makes sure MP deselection becomes a reality.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. @ Rob @11.22 – Thanks for that link. It seems some are as concerned about the article being pulled from the DT as much as for its content, listing her string of failures whilst in office. It is indeed strange she has remained in office for so long when, as the author, Jonathan Foreman, describes:- “In the run-up to the 2015 election, one of the handicaps David Cameron had to finesse was the fact that net migration to the UK was three times as high as he had promised it would be. Remarkably, none of the opprobrium this failure provoked brought forth the name of Theresa May, the cabinet minister actually entrusted with bringing migration down.” and that ” British governments still rely on guesswork to estimate how many people enter and leave the country”. The article goes on to list all the ways her policies, or lack of them, have failed and should be required reading for anyone considering backing her for PM.

    So whereas we know Labour deliberately encouraged immigration “to rub our noses in diversity” (or that was the excuse given), the Tories, despite election assurances they would clamp down on this major area of concern to the public, have significantly increased it through what we’re now led to believe was just sheer incompetence for the past 6 long years, making her one of the longest serving Home Secretaries? Why did Cameron tolerate this for so long? Something very fishy here….

    Liked by 2 people

  19. To the usual envious who question my right to a place in the sun:

    1. I worked 12 hr days for 37 years to get it
    2. I live in France because it is safer and cheaper than living in the UK
    3. It isn’t fun for the first two years aged 66 getting to grips with a new culture, legal system and medical model
    4. I voted Leave, which will one day cost me free health cover, and has already cost me four friends
    5. During my time as a UK citizen I paid over £1.4m in income tax and £210K in cgt
    6. As I am still a UK citizen, I have the same right to vote as anyone else

    A place in the sun is not all starry eyed bollocks.

    Grump grump & sick of self-pitying plonkers x

    Liked by 2 people

  20. John i’ll see your grumpiness and raise them by a pile of grumpiness!

    To those who dream of “A Place in the sun” I can tell you everything you say is correct and then some.

    Here are mine.

    I lived in Saudi without a decent pint of bitter and mentally unstable nurses and secretaries. I live in Germany because it is a beautiful place near the skiing, and my wife is German. Getting one’s head round the German language is a tough as French, I’m also late here.

    Peter Mayle should be punished. Also that Jasmine Harman – er well not really, she is tasty.

    The worst part of it is the intellectual loneliness. European mentalities and Anglo mentalities just don’t meld at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. The hardest part of democracy is accepting the will of the majority, when you didn’t vote the way they did.
    Because of UK’s foolish and rather crude, unsubtle electoral system. (first past the post) they get these kind of results
    ie 52% of those who voted , 70% or thereabouts, have decided for 100% of people.
    Naturally many people are disgruntled, even the lazy or indifferent ones who didn’t vote or couldn’t be bothered voting.

    Hardest thing to handle?
    “Events, dear boy. Events!” – Harold Macmillan.

    Keep on blogging John, if you’ve lost a few friends it may be “friendly fire!”
    Gerard

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I must go and rest my weary self. I’ve done F*CK all today as per usual. Goodnight you self pitying British plonkers. Kisses..!!!

    Like

  23. “We must regain more control of the numbers of people who come here from Europe, and reduce the numbers that come from outside Europe too. We need immigration to be sustainable and I think net migration in the tens of thousands is sustainable, but it is going to take time.” – today from the Home Secretary, who’s had 6 years to reduce the numbers which have mysteriously just gone up and up……. Who on earth does she think she’s kidding?! Did the EU force her to reduce our coastal patrol boats to just 3 boats to cover the entire British coastline, (compared to Italy’s 600) and with no supervision of private airfields? Seeing that today’s DT poll now shows 70% of readers favour her over the other contestants, presumably the same 70% who were strongly against immigration before the Referendum, it suggests mass lobotomies have taken place in the interim.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Two were just twats I never liked much anyway, but two were folks I really thought were above propaganda and able to tell shit from putty. It was a shock to be made persona non grata by them.

    Like

  25. Alexei
    100% common sense as always. But it’s what I mean by a tabloidised electorate….straight out of 1984: last week we hated Eurasia, but now they are our friends and we hate Leavers but love and adore Maypoles because they are tough.
    I can’t give the source, but I can tell you she is the nastiest piece of work on the Right.

    Like

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