I had almost brought myself to the point of formally announcing the closure of this blog.
I cannot explain to you why the trend of recent political society in the West depresses me to the point of introversion and withdrawal. Almost everyone else manages to get on with it. It is an accepted, even commonplace fact of political discourse that inequality is rampant, that the gap between rich and poor in our economy has been widening and the trend accelerates, that social mobility has been turned backwards and we have a government dominated not just by wealth and status but by inherited wealth and status. The state itself has become, ever more blatantly, a mechanism for funneling money from ordinary people and giving it to the very rich, be it in bank bailouts, quantitative easing doled again to the banks, private finance initiative payments (liabilities totalling over £200 billion in taxpayer paid interest in the NHS alone) or “market driven” takeover of public services, or a hundred more ways.
My own professional struggle, which focused on trying to block use of intelligence gained by torture, seems only an attempt to divert a tiny ripple within a tsunami of contempt for morality in public life. The practice of torture exploitation has not ended; the Gibson inquiry into official complicity with torture has been unceremoniously halted as the guilty and directly responsible polish the green leather benches of the House of Lords with their expensively suited rumps, or inhabit their offices as Permanent Under Secretaries, or command large offices in BP. The SAS, CIA and Saudis play at overmastering the Russians in a new proxy war in Syria that, yet again, thanks to foreign military interference promises to be a still greater evil than the regime that preceded it. The media propaganda is yet more cynically distorted to a simplistic portrayal of “our” good guys and the evil bad guys, when in truth, as nearly always, the leaderships in resource wars on all sides are bad and the interests of the people are far from their hearts.
Democracy in the UK has become almost meaningless. A monopoly of effective news flow by a deeply corrupt corporate media has crystallised the major party structures as the only real choices in the consciousness of the vast majority of voters. Those major parties have been so bought up by those same corporate interests that there is no genuine choice of policy on offer. If you were against the handing of untold billions of your money to the bankers, or the interminable and pointless Afghan War, you were one of a very large percentage of the population but had no mainstream party which respected, let alone represented, your view.
New horror after new horror representative of this dreadful state of affairs arises every day. The latest casualties in drone strikes, which kill 20 innocents for every alleged terrorist they succeed in executing without process of law. Three young British soldiers dead today for no purpose whatsoever. The first NHS Trust goes under because of PFI debt. This week the Bank of England is expected to print another £50 billion in quantitative easing and hand it straight to the banks to be eventually paid out in salaries and bonuses.
The extraordinary way in which the middlemen who facilitate financial transactions in trade, suddenly through distorted legal frameworks became the chief individual beneficiaries of activity in the physical economy, is revealed every week in more and more detail of horrific corruption. But nothing whatever is done to stop them, let alone punish the guilty. They own the entire political establishment.
Occasional shafts of humour penetrate the stygian murk. Chloe Smith is revealed as completely inadequate by Jeremy Paxman. We could have told him that – at the Norwich North byelection the Conservative Party were desperate never to allow her to face questioning, and on this blog I offered a cash reward to anybody who spotted her with less than five minders. It was never claimed.
What really made me laugh was the report in the Guardian that she was given her ministerial position in the Treasury by David Cameron in the mistaken belief that, as she had worked for Deloitte, she must know something about finance. Why this is really funny is that the only job she ever had at Deloitte was not, as variously reported in the mainstream media, in PR or human resources, but in fact to be seconded to the Conservative Party. Chloe never had any job except as Conservative Party staff. She was then taken on by Deloitte and instantly seconded back to the Conservative Party; her working for Deloitte at all was a fiction. Whether this was to evade political donation rules or just to burnish her CV as a parliamentary candidate, I have no idea.
That the experience Cameron thought qualified her as a Treasury minister was actually a secondment to the Tory Party by one of those lobbying major corporate financial interests – and Deloitte was the Royal Bank of Scotland’s auditors – is so rich it moves beyond satire. I can scarcely believe it myself. In fact it gave rise to such paroxysms of bitter laughter that I found the strength to blog again. Thank you Chloe and Dave for that, anyway.