A Helot Society 307


So we are back with a vengeance to notions of the undeserving poor. Electronic cards are to ensure that the poor can only spend their benefits on basic necessities like food and clothing, and not on a lifestyle of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Having lived a rather spectacular life encompassing both ends of the social spectrum, I can state with utter conviction that consumption of illegal pleasure-giving stimulants is far higher among the very wealthy than among the very poor. The notion that only the rich should be allowed to have any enjoyment in life is deeply offensive. It is fine for the Bullingdon Club to get plastered on Krug and cocaine and smash up restaurants. That is all jolly japes and high spirits. For a desperate man to seek solace in four cans of Tennant’s strongest or a bottle of Buckfast is however a dreadful sin and sign of social irresponsibility.

The high streets of our poorest towns are strewn with betting shops, bargain booze outlets, pawnbrokers and payday lenders. For anybody to believe that state compulsion of the patrons is the answer to the problem is the ultimate counsel of despair. Forget giving people a better hope, a greater chance, more socially useful pleasures. Just ban the little solace they have now. We have a government which holds a large section of the population in contempt; which cannot imagine that given a different birth, these people might have been sitting next to them in the Bullingdon Club; in short, which has no notion whatsoever of human dignity.

This latest move against benefits claimants is consistent with the entire development of the modern British economy. High wage economies generate a self-sustaining high domestic demand which keeps the economy growing. Our three main political parties postulate a low wage economy, with a minimum wage below the level which can sustain a family. The low wage economy is defended as a guarantee of strong international competitiveness and thus export performance. In fact Britain’s low wage model is entirely different, and the vast majority of those on low wages have no relation to exports. What Britain has developed is a model where a thin layer at the top are on extremely high remuneration. This of course includes bankers and the financial services industry, but also through the cult of managerialism, CEOs and directors have vastly increased their remuneration. For the multiple between the highest and lowest paid in a company to be 70 – the cleaner on 15,000, the core level majority on 20,000 and the CEO on 3,000,000- is now absolutely routine.

Even the public sector is ruled by this pretence that executive work is harder, more stressful, more uniquely difficult than core work. Well, I have been an Ambassador and a barman, and I can tell you which was hardest work. University vice chancellors are on over 300,000. Local councils regularly have a score of people on over 100,000.

We have no media willing to take on the triumph of greed. The most “left wing” of British newspapers, the Guardian, pays its editor total remuneration of over half a million per year and “star” columnists 300,000, while exploiting interns and junior staff, and squandering 35 million pounds a year of C P Scott’s great endowment in losses – straight into its senior staff’s pockets.

Britain has developed a new kind of low wage economy – one where the bulk of those on low wages work to provide services to those on very, very high remuneration. In a sense it is very old. We have become a helot society. It should be stressed that low wage is a deliberate policy. There is absolutely no reason why those in work could not be paid more. The economy would not crash. In Norway the median wage of the lowest 10 percentile is over 20,000 pounds, while the multiple between the lowest ten percentile and the top ten percentile is less than one third what it is in Britain. The UK’s astonishing and accelerating wealth gap is a result of deliberate ideological policy, founded on a notion that those at the top are possessed of rare and extraordinary abilities – whereas in truth, in the UK more than anywhere, their main achievement was usually to be born into the right family.

The concomitant of that worship of the rich is the belief that money measures worth; that if you have a low income then you are scum. That is the attitude that underlies these benefit smart cards. It is truly disgusting.


307 thoughts on “A Helot Society

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  • Ba'al Zevul

    Ben – I abhor the ‘liberal’ elite who are worried about planet Earth. Their concerns derive more from ‘keeping my pastoral life as it is” than concern for any souls not in their income bracket.

    I didn’t think you did shallow. So some hippy dude knocks on your door to inform you that your garage is on fire – he’s one of the liberal elite (we really must stop using the term ‘liberal’ as it has two opposite meanings)- so you assume he’s worried about the aesthetics of the smoke, crack another beer and settle back in front of a Simpsons rerun?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    But we’re fighting for freedom of speech! – Yes, but in Russia, not here!

    Thanks, YKMN!

  • YouKnowMyName

    More German sourced material, this time a respected Survey on Social (In)justice in all EU28 MS
    114 page ‘equality’ report from Bertelsmann Stiftung, finds that UK hasn’t changed in Social Justice terms over the last decade – considering aspects like
    Poverty prevention,
    Equitable education,
    Labor market access,
    Social cohesion and non-discrimination,
    Health,
    & Intergenerational justice

    and that UK ranks above the EU average (just)
    but of course a bit lower than Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany , Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia, Belgium and France – the leading ‘justice’ countries in order of rank. Most EU nations have dropped down in the index, but surprisingly not the UK. I think that’s an achievement, of sorts, trebles all round?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    YKMN –
    What are the odds that situation will survive the next round of cuts + Teresa May?

  • Abe Rene

    @ Craig “.. their main achievement was usually to be born into the right family.”

    I think that luck plays a crucial role in life, and good fortune depends on a combination of ability and circumstances (which may include the good luck of growing up in a good family, or persevering against tough circumstances).

    I suspect that higher wages are liable to drive employers out of business, and that Norway’s policies are liable to change fast once the oil runs out. Then the poor may have to rely on soup kitchens run by charities.

    @Republic of Scotland “Whats to stop the recipient of the cards selling them..”

    A good point; the cards would have to include adequate ID checks, which is why I’m concerned about the misuse of information.

    @Ben E. Geserit Muad’Dib “slippery slope
    @ Baal Zaevul “And the *next* tranche..”

    A very good point; we need to be watchful about any attempt to extend such a scheme.

  • Richard

    I am sure that this article is largely correct and though I have no experience of the upper (or upper median) incomes myself, in the range of jobs I have done I have found that there is an inverse relationship between how hard I worked and how much I got paid.

    However, to the following

    “. It is fine for the Bullingdon Club to get plastered on Krug and cocaine and smash up restaurants. That is all jolly japes and high spirits. For a desperate man to seek solace in four cans of Tennant’s strongest or a bottle of Buckfast is however a dreadful sin and sign of social irresponsibility.”

    I would respectfully suggest that both are signs of social irresponsibility and it is completely unrealistic to expect the poor to adhere to higher standards than those of the rich. The rich and the connected, if anything, have a responsibility to set an example to the rest of society, both in their behaviour and in the remuneration they accept. All other things being equal, those in responsible positions can do untold damage to the organisations or countries in which they operate. I have seen the following: a factory worker, during a lull for which he was not responsible, went for a ‘quick one’ in the pub while he was still ‘punched in’ and got caught and fired: higher management in the same company caught absent (on the golf course and more than a drop took – their usual situation) by a surprise visit not fired. A fork-lift driver does two or three hundred pounds worth of damage accidentally and gets a third-stage warning; a manager does thousands of pounds worth as a result of a decision he was advised by experienced workers not to take and is able to cover it up.

    The bottom line is that the country is run by the venal, the corrupt and the incompetent. While that situation continues, we have had it.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I suspect that higher wages are liable to drive employers out of business, and that Norway’s policies are liable to change fast once the oil runs out.

    Less likely because Norway, unlike the UK, opened a sovereign investment fund when oil extraction in its waters began. And didn’t spend all the oil income as (or before) it arrived, but saved some against an oil-depleted future. Interestingly, Norway’s tax burden on low-wage earners is significantly higher than ours, which might partially account for higher base wage rates there. Maybe they should shift the weight of taxation up the spectrum to reduce labour costs at the bottom? 🙂

  • Jemand

    Circumventing electronic payment systems is simple and common in Oz. A purchase of permissable goods is made on the card, goods returned for cash, cash used to pay for smokes and booze. Easy peasy, total failure.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    30 Sep, 2014 – 2:38 pm

    “As a further question, can anyone point to statistics showing how many millions fall into various income bands?”
    _____________________________

    “Why don’t you do your own research Habbabkuk and then produce the results and give us your conclusions.”

  • John Goss

    “Why don’t you do your own research Habbabkuk and then produce the results and give us your conclusions.”

    Because he’s still got to finish ‘Big Ears goes to toytown’.

    My latest blog article fits in nicely with the Helot slave class society. It regards US experiments perpetrated on blacks, and other non-whites, and a possible attempt to wipe out black Africans to create a master-race of Yankie-doodle-dandies and steal resources. Yep.

    http://johngossip.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/is-united-states-trying-to-wipe-out.html

  • doug scorgie

    Anon1
    30 Sep, 2014 – 2:32 pm

    “Sorry, Craig, but there are huge numbers of dossers in this country who are perfectly capable of work but are able to shirk because the benefits system allows it…”

    “…while government is content to let British workers rot on benefits so that big business can make more profit from cheap labour.”
    __________________________

    A non-sequitur Anon1

  • Tony_0pmoc

    CanSpeccy wrote “That way, the two nations are converted into two species: a ruling elite and a race of cattle to be used, bred, culled as required.”

    Ben, I thought you were bright. I understand how what CanSpeccy has written conflicts with your John Lennon “Imagine” mind programming…but so does John Lennon’s piano, mansion and film set.

    CanSpeccy is simply writing it the way it is. The evidence is overwhelming. The books were all written before Hitler and WWII…sure we got a 50 year breathing space for reconstruction immediately after (I was very lucky to be born when I was)…but we really are heading to this awful place…very rapidly…and its absolutely nothing to do about racism except between the controllers and the human cattle.

    Tony

  • Anon1

    War Update:

    A huge success for our military today that will surely be ranked alongside the great British military victories of the past by generations of historians to come. It is being reported amidst great fanfare in the media that our 6-strong RAF Tornado strike team has, after days of searching for a target, landed a direct hit on a Toyota Hilux mobile machine gun unit (estimated value: £300).

    Said Walt Golding of the anti-imperialist Stop The War coalition: “This is an appalling war-crime. The imperialist zionist warmongers of the fascist UK regime have killed an estimated 5,000 innocent civilian bystanders in this attack alone. The little broken bodies, the crushed skulls, the wrecked and charred remains of the innocents strewn hopelessly across the desert, it would make any decent, caring and sensitive person like myself want to weep”.

    Meanwhile, sources close to the military have described the operation as an indecisive blow to ISIS’s operational capabilities, with one top-ranking officer claiming “This is what Britain does best. Absolutely fuck all.”

    A spokesman for ISIS declined to comment, claiming to know nothing of the attack.

  • fred

    I would just like to say how refreshing it has been reading this thread. All the personal attacks, insults and back biting usually so prevalent have been so conspicuously absent.

    Until now.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    I see Gordon Brown is calling “for 100,000 Scots to sign a petition urging Westminster to keep promises on devolution.”

    “…. he claimed Conservative plans to devolve income tax were a “trap” which could result in Scottish MPs losing the right to vote on UK income tax. Alex Salmond described the Labour MP’s comments as “astonishing”.”

    Fuck him and Westminster, I shan’t be signing.
    Let Westminster stab Broon in the back, he deserves it.
    Let Westminster renege on its promises to Scotland, they were all an illusion anyway.
    Far more valuable to Scotland is the confirmation to all those young Scots who got engaged in referendum politics that you can’t trust Westminster. Let the NO voters see how they’ve been shafted. It will all hasten the day of the next vote, and then those disillusioned voters will swing the difference

  • YouKnowMyName

    US comment on the Benefits/Slave society released at 06:00 AM Eastern Daily Time UTC-4.00
    America Spends $68 Billion a Year on 17 Major Intelligence Agencies. So Why Do We Keep Getting Caught Off-Guard?

    contains gems such as “much of the future leadership of IS[ISIS/DAASH/DAESH/ISIL..] had spent time together in the US military’s Camp Bucca prison just years earlier

    and the contentious, but seemingly true. “the one thing the … intelligence community has resembled in these years is the US military, which since 9/11 has failed to win a war or accomplish more or less anything it set out to do

    at least here on Craig’s blog – we welcome the intelligence community’s response, otherwise so bashful

    just what do you annually spend $68B on?…. that’s nearly a trillion since 9/11 ….. over to you….

  • Anon1

    Doug Scorgie

    Selective quoting and adding of dots can make anything seem like a non-sequitur, Doug.

    The fact is there are huge numbers of people in this country who are able to work but do not because the government allows them to rot on benefits, while their jobs are being given to low-paid immigrants from the EU and beyond to the advantage of big business.

  • doug scorgie

    DtP
    30 Sep, 2014 – 3:25 pm

    “…society is a contract…”
    ________________________

    There is no such thing as society DtP, Mrs Thatcher said so.

  • Ishmael

    ‘Above all, there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one per cent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever.’

    (1932) In Praise of Idleness – Bertrand Russell

  • OldMark

    ‘The problem in Europe today is that, through liberal policies of globalization and imperialism, workers have been placed in competition with the teeming masses of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America who accept jobs often at no more than pennies per hour. Under those circumstances, European wages have to be low if full employment is to be achieved.’

    Canspeccy- some European countries (Germany and Switzerland in particular) have work forces that are highly competent and produce kit that is clearly superior to that produced by the ‘teeming masses’ of the third world. These countries are therefore able to sustain high wage levels. The German mittelstand is also well supported by the banks, whereas the much smaller equivalent here is predated upon by our banking sector.

    Your protectionist proclivities are rather stronger than mine, but your central point that twenty first century globalized capitalism is contingent upon an unprecedented mobility of capital (particularly in respect of the overclass, and large multinationals, moving funds to tax havens) and labour (workers from low income countries immigrating to high income countries, either legally or illegally) is correct- and both of these agents of destabilisation need to be addressed if we are ever able to contain the growth of the low wage economy. Craig of course, being a good liberal and anti -racist, is silent on the centrality that immigration plays in the low wage economy template. (In the UK this is hardly a new phenomenon- the NHS began importing doctors from the sub continent in the late fifties after the BMA threatened to withdraw doctors from the NHS if they weren’t given better terms; London Transport and the City of Birmingham imported bus conductors from Barbados and elsewhere in the WI at the around the same time as there was a shortage of natives willing to accept the wages on offer for this job).

    Apropos the protection issue, a form of indirect protectionism has sheltered the aerospace industries of the US, the UK and France from German and Japanese competition since 1945, as both countries were initially prohibited from this sector, which was then assumed essentially to be for military use. As a result, aerospace is one of the few areas of UK manufacturing where the low wage template, ubiquitous elsewhere in our economy, doesn’t apply. Also all 3 WW2 victor countries are still world leaders in this field- unsurprisingly, given the impediments applied to Germany and Japan.

  • Tom

    Never mind just benefits claimants: Perhaps if we banned everyone from drinking and betting, and the whole country would be a happier place. These aren’t really pleasures but pointless, usually destructive compulsions that has the added benefit for the government of stopping the sheep asking awkward questions.

  • Dave

    I didn’t know who Craig Murray was until recently, when through social media I saw him speaking for independence, about the north sea border being changed the day before devolution and about the horrible things that went on in Uzbekistan. Some of these things really disturbed me and I wanted to find out more, which among other things led me to this page.

    I have to say Craig, with the knowledge, experience and views he has, has quickly has become one of the voices I will be very quick to listen to. The referendum is over and we lost, which I’m devastated about, but I’ve continued to see what Craig has to say about the goings on of our government and such.

    On this topic…well I’m not sure I agree entirely. I think the growing gap between rich and poor is deplorable, one of my main reasons for wanting a yes. However people who earn their wage should be entitled to spend their money however they see fit (if not on illegal things). I hesitate to talk about “people on benefits” as it’s pigeon holing them all into one category and of course there are no end of different circumstances for people in this category. However the money is given so they can feed their family, have electricity, buy clothing and such. There are those though that misuse their money, spending it on drink, or at the bookies or other things along those lines. And I wouldn’t necessarily criticize them for it, deprived people often have the greatest difficulty in breaking destructive habits.

    With that in mind, I do wonder if this move could be useful, resulting in the benefits being given being used for the kinds of things it’s supposed to be used for as opposed to booze and gambling?

  • fred

    ” Perhaps if we banned everyone from drinking and betting, and the whole country would be a happier place.”

    Prohibition you mean, they tried it, it didn’t work.

  • mark golding

    “..the US is the biggest power in the world – it has the most to say in things. It seems to me to be in a terrible mess at the moment… the glaring fact which you just can’t escape is that there’s just so much money involved. No other country in the world could possibly get into this state, except perhaps Germany, because no other country has ever had this amount of money.

    The government here seems to be so corrupt. I’m sure it can’t be that corrupt in England because over there, we’re working in thousands of pounds, and here they’re dealing in billions of dollars, and that’s what seems to be the point of it all.”

    John Paul Jones
    Led Zeppelin
    Winterland Ballroom San Francisco 1970

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Mr Scorgie

    “Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !
    30 Sep, 2014 – 2:38 pm

    “As a further question, can anyone point to statistics showing how many millions fall into various income bands?”
    _____________________________

    “Why don’t you do your own research Habbabkuk and then produce the results and give us your conclusions.””
    ___________________

    Thanks for that advice but you’re a little behind the curve as usual; Residentofscotland has already pointed to what looks like an excellent source.

    I know you don’t like Ros, Doug, but is that a good reason to behave so churlishly?

  • Anon1

    Ishmael

    Thanks for the video. Russell Brand (lol) in the back of a limo, talking about wealth inequality. Judging by the sumptuous interior lines, I think it’s a Merc.

  • Abe Rene

    @Ba’al Zevul “Less likely because Norway, unlike the UK, opened a sovereign investment fund..”
    A wise policy; it reminds me of what Bahrain did. Bahrain knew that its oil wealth was less than other gulf states, so it made itself into a banking centre and opened an aluminium refining plant, though sadly sectarian conflicts have prevented all citizens having a full share in the country’s riches.

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