1/17 and 7/84 49


With impeccable timing, today we have official US government statistics saying that the top 1% of the US population have 17% of the take-home earnings. Their share has more than doubled from under 8% in 1979.

This vast gap between rich and poor, and rich and middling, has expanded fast and is now expanding exponentially faster. I have no doubt figures for the UK would show the same trend.

It also made me think nostalgically of the 7/84 Company and the play they made famous: The Cheviot, The Stag and The Black Black Oil. It had a massive effect on my teenage political consciousness when I saw it on the BBC in June 1974. There is absolutely no way the BBC would ever broadcast such a radical piece now, let alone to a prime time BBC 1 audience.


49 thoughts on “1/17 and 7/84

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  • wendy

    “It’s not just the Guardian, which has, progressively moved to the right… ”
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    although there is a movement to the right, the actual movement has been pro neo conservatism which is embraced by all political factions, not just the right. the ideology is with us or against us, there is no grey.
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    now whilst there has been a movement , it was established by blair , encouraged by the media and cameron is the latest unconvincing invention .. there is also a seemingly a threatening deadly menace .. one that wards off those who might want to go against the the current fanatical ideologues in control.
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    just where are those fat cat celebrities ? why is it left to yesteryear fighters of the left and right ?
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    where are the heroes ..

  • mary

    I hope that the new Irish President Michael D Higgins turns out as well as this indicates. Why have we nobody like this in British politics, that is a rounded human being?
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    Other work
    Higgins has campaigned for human rights and written of conflict in many parts of the world, including such areas as Nicaragua, Chile, Cambodia, El Salvador, Iraq and Somalia. In recognition of his work for peace with justice in many parts of the world, he became the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize of the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1992. He was a noted and articulate critic of U.S foreign policy under the Ronald Reagan administration.
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    As well as having a successful political career Higgins has also had a career as a poet, author and broadcaster. He has contributed widely to political and philosophical journals on many subjects including ideology, the sociology of literature, clientism in politics, regionalism and the politics of the media.
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    He wrote and presented a television film on Montserrat, entitled “The Other Emerald Isle” for Channel 4 and his documentary on the life of Noel Browne, for RTÉ, has also been screened. Higgins has had poems published in a number of periodicals, as well as publishing three collections of his poetry, including, The Betrayal (1990), his second book of poems The Season of Fire and his latest book An Arid Season.
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    Higgins’ eclectic mix of interests also extend to sport, he is a regular at the Galway Races each summer and is the president and director of Galway United Football Club, who play in the League of Ireland.
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_D._Higgins

    He is the subject of the song “Michael D. Rocking in the Dáil” by popular Tuam band The Saw Doctors. The song first appeared as a B-side on the 1994 single “Small Bit of Love” and is also on the 2002 compilation Play It Again, Sham!.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “where are the heroes ..” Wendy.
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    … the Shakespearos…? (!)
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    “the White Man, and oh, how I hate him.” Writerman.
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    You mean, just like Roy Harper did, circa 1970?
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    But I do agree that the televised snuff movie rape and murder of Gaddafi was utterly disgusting and reminded me a little of the fate of Najibullah of Afghanistan (and his brother) at the hands of the Taliban in 1995.
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    Mary, thanks, that’s fascinating about the new President of Ireland. Echoes, perhaps, of Gil Gilberto as Minister of Culture of Brazil.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Furthermore, over the past decade, the incanted phrase, ‘Allah-u-Akbar’, ‘God is great’ seems to have become utterly sinister and associated in the imaged space primarily with gruesome acts of rape and murder. All of those sordid execution videos, people being decapitated, sodomised, beaten, gouged, shot. God and snuff porn. Perhaps this association says much about both of those concepts.

  • ValuePlus

    The best we can do at this moment in time is to give full support to OWS movement.
    The OWS should demand to politics. At present the politicians are wholly bought by the rich and powerful by their huge contributions to the election funds. In any “western democracy” it is impossible to win an election without the support of the corporations and bankers and all the rich people who provide the funds and then receive the benefits when their candidates get in power.
    In addition to the news that the top 1% of rich Americans receive 17% of income, in the UK, the top company directors have received 49% raise in their income in the last year. What action have the politicians taken? Of course none. The politicians belong to the corporations and the other “haves” and work to increase their master’s wealth.
    The only way politics can be cleaned is for all contributions to be stopped and election to be funded by the state to create an environment where ordinary people can take part in the elections. There is no hope of any change as long as our rulers remain in the pocket of the rich.

  • anno

    Mrs Thatcher thought that there’s a saturation level for wealth, after which it starts to grow beautiful crystals of employment and economic growth? Sorry to bang on about the old bitch, but I remember her talking about conservation of old buildings and saying that we had first to create wealth.
    How is it that a country like Turkey with a building boom, gets a 30% loss in its currency against our own, while we survive bankruptcy doing nothing except selling loans and importing stuff? The answer is the employment and economic growth has crystallised in the Far East.
    This Tory government promised its nouveau riches a taste of good, old fashioned patronage. Like in the times of Wren when you had to grovel intensely to your patron to get a bit of dosh.
    And you could get a bit of marble put up in St Pauls to commemorate your death. If they don’t get a taste of 18th century patronage soon, there’s going to be serious unrest!

  • anno

    Suhayl
    I totally agree. The Salafi movement has proved itself to be shallow, corrupt, narcissistic and as unholy as they previously accused the Sufis of being. Sometimes people make an idol of themselves. Islam is deep, wise, just, and deeply fulfilling to the human soul. The way is neither that nor this.

  • nuid

    Michael D — along with another of the presidential candidates, David Norris — is also very critical of Israel. Pro-Israel tweeters called Michael D a “Hamas lover” (which is a different thing entirely, of course.)
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    The shenanigans here over the past few months, especially with the entry into the race of Martin McGuinness (who effectively ensured Michael D’s election via an intervention during a live TV debate last Monday night) have been incredible.
    We have a worthy winner, though. That’s what matters. And for anyone interested, Martin McGuinness came third out of seven. (He’s returning now to his job as deputy first minister in the North.)

  • Guest

    “Mrs Thatcher thought that there’s a saturation level for wealth, after which it starts to grow beautiful crystals of employment and economic growth? Sorry to bang on about the old bitch”
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    Indeed, I remember, Thatcher`s said that the wealth would “trickle down”, she never told us that the rich had an anti-gravity machine, very remiss of her!. Sorry to bang on about the lying evil old bitch.

  • Canspeccy

    One reason the 99% earn less relative to the 1% than they did is that a helluva lot of them have lost their job, or have been forced to take pay cuts, because of mass immigration that has swelled the ranks of the 99% and lowered the bargaining power of labour.
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    Offshoring of jobs, and outsourcing of manufacturing and services is the other devastating force that is impoverishing a large part of the population.
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    And as wages and profits are always together the same, as David Ricardo established, the impoverishment of the masses means the enrichment of the owners of capital.
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    So rather than just wanting to kill the rich, it would be more useful to focus political energy on these underlying causes of increasing inequity: mass immigration and, so-called, free trade which enables hundreds of millions of Asians earning about 4% of western wages to compete with Western workers.
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    Globalization does not, in fact, constitute free trade. It amounts to the export of large parts of western national economies, i.e., the exporting of jobs together with the capital and technology which make those jobs possible.
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    This year Britain has a government deficit comparable to that of Greece. It aint broke like Greece because it is able, as Greece is not, to print money — hence inflation. Will Britain’s economy do better in the future? It is not obvious why it should, unless workers are provided with a measure of protection, in one of several ways that I have discussed elsewhere.

  • Vronsky

    “Someone said to me recently that the concentration of propaganda in the British press had become much greater a few years ago. I had assumed it was simply me becoming more politically aware, but I think he must have been right. When did this happen, and why? Is it a Blair thing, along with the destruction of civil liberties?”
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    This is a bothersome question. Are things worse than before, or have we just begun to notice? I don’t incline much to optimism but I think it’s the second, and there’s hope in that. If you’ll pardon a statement of the obvious, there is always in every society an exploitative minority who position themselves as the ruling elite for reasons very distant from the altruistic concerns they publically espouse. We may be living in the first generation when that is a more widely held understanding. Not widely enough, probably, but we’ll see.
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    The BBC/MSM are and always have been a tools of state propaganda, but most of us had no easy access to any other narrative. The propaganda role is not really concealed, it’s visible to anyone who looks – but the BBC (for example) doesn’t care. They have a practical strategy – lies become familiar by repetition, the familiar is comforting, the unfamiliar threatening – ‘confirmation bias’ on an industrial scale.
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    The BEEB’s position is as tragi-comical as Pravda (The Truth) and Isvestia (The News). We’re living the old Russian joke: what’s in pravda isn’t isvestia, and what’s in isvestia isn’t pravda.

  • bert

    I was a wee bit young for 7:84, but I fondly remember the Wildcat production company (which was formed by some members of 7:84).
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    Our school arranged a few theatre trips to some of their (socialist/left leaning) shows.
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  • mary

    At last a senior cleric in the CoE speaks out in support of Canon Fraser.
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    29 October 2011
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    Bishop of Buckingham attacks St Paul’s Cathedral closure
    The cathedral was closed for a week before reopening on Friday
    A bishop has accused St Paul’s Cathedral of a “hysterical over-reaction” to the continuing protest at the site.
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    The Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, said closing the church was a mistake.
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    Clergy reopened the cathedral on Friday, after citing health and safety reasons for its closure because of the Occupy London camp outside.
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    St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London Corporation are now taking legal action to evict the protesters.
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    Two senior figures there have stepped down in protest at the cathedral’s reaction.

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    “At each step of the legal process the chapter will continue to entreat the protesters to agree to a peaceful solution” St Paul’s clergy statement
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    The cathedral has not commented on Bishop Wilson’s claims on his internet blog, where he wrote: “I have no idea why St Paul’s shut up shop last week.
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    “The appearance of a handful of cheap tents 50 yards from the front door would be possible to manage, one would think,” he continued.
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    “Can [the St Paul’s clergy] redeem their initial hysterical over-reaction?
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    “Do they want to draw all voices into a vital public debate, or will they clear the site as soon as possible, probably in the middle of the night?”
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    A statement on the cathedral’s website reads: “The chapter has previously asked the encampment to leave the cathedral precinct in peace.
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    “This has not yet happened and so, following the advice of our lawyers, legal action has regrettably become necessary.
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    “At each step of the legal process the chapter will continue to entreat the protesters to agree to a peaceful solution and, if an injunction is granted, will then be able to discuss with the protesters how to reach this solution.
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    “Theirs is a message that the chapter has both heard and shares and looks forward to engaging with the protesters to identify how the message may continue to be debated at St Paul’s and acted upon.”
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15505588

  • John Goss

    Courtenay, I’ve just read your long comment prior to the others and think there is some good straightforward commonsense there. Like you, and most people on this blog, I am sure there will be a collapse of global economies and we will all suffer. Furthermore I think the politicians you talk about are “fundamentally corrupt”, they are not easy to depose because selection committees are dictated to from head office, so as was said yesterday the head of the snake needs to be removed, metaphorically speaking, and a new breed of politicians should be tested as to their credentials. Let’s face it, they’re overpaid, like footballers, but do not entertain as well, by and large, fall short of our expectations of them. Revolution – I guess so out of necessity. Don’t know what form it will take. No bloodshed I hope.

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