mardi 2 juin 2009


The MP expense hoohah has claimed another high profile 'victim'. Jacqui Smith has all but resigned over 'immoral' financial claims. Other despised Labour figures are under the same pressure, pleasingly that odious boil-squirt Gef 'Buff' Hoon.
The hatred towards the government is obvious, omniscient and palpable. For example, British visitors to our obscure little village are seething with indignation, the MSM is full of it and the comment section of the Guardian (ok, not a scientific barometer of public opinion) are universally and viruently anti-Labour. The New Labour phase of Late-Capitalism is giving way to a harsher looking 'postcapitalist capitalism'. The Bank bail-out, is the real scandal, of course. But it is being all but air-brushed out of current political discourse, whilst the Telegraph drip by cynical drip feed the rest of the MSM with further tit-bits and fodder for middle England's rage.
Us here at REL are not evidently, going to come to the defence of MP's a la Joan Smith in the Guardian recently, who argued indignantly that her husband and a lot of her friends are MP's and because of all this invective, hey, you know what, they want to give it all up. How high minded and sorrowful they must look - tempered by the consolation that they'll get 30000 quid pay off next year to tide them over - in the face of all this public outrage. Smith actually concludes that it's not the scandal that is causing the defaith in democracy, but the sanctamonious reaction of the public that's doing all the damage. FTW.
Few here at REL even want to adhere to the argument, put forward by some on the left, that even if this current sty of MP's are gobshites, we should defend the institutional aspects of our current system against toff attack, nor even that we should use this situation to advance reforms like PR. (Things have gone a bit too far for that sop now haven't they?).
What this storm in an HP bottle shows is that the establishment and the ruling classes can create PR and media diversions to obscure past deeds and prepare the ground for the next step. This propaganda campaign is no small matter. Somebody leaked all the details to the Telegraph. Howcome there's been no prosecution? The Wretchograph is effectively given a 'Sword of Dameclese' for each grasping MP and has the Governments bollocks in it hands. For how can a regime govern when the political life of its ministers are in this amount of doubt? This little affair has sent the government reeling whilst the bigger crime, the free money for the upper class establishment, has all but effectively dematerialized, and passed by even as a success (I saved the world!) - given what the IMF said of it (see below).
The disproportionate response can only signal that this whole affair has a wider purpose. We cannot be expected to believe that all this accusation has any moral or principled stand behind it. The owners of all the MSM nozzles are tax evading criminal whores. They just don't do ethics. The scandal is just the dirt and ashes thrown over the crime scene we lived through from October to February.
So, in the last three weeks or so, the 'bail-out' has slipped from the headlines to the by-lines in the Business section to the footnotes. When did you last hear the term 'bail-out' 'billion', 'trillion'? Before this current crisis, that's for sure. The government is to blame for this 'caught with the knob in the jam' farce (in so far as it acts independently of course) but the expenses fluff hides a greater responsibility.

The rest is speculation it is speculated.

The wider purpose of the expenses row, essentially quite boring and prosaic, is to discredit, in the eyes of 'significant voters' not only the government, but the entire facade of liberal democracy and the 'consensus'. The lesser purpose is to ideologically flood the political terrain with the debate about cleanling up British politics, PR constitutional change, holidays...and other all too late ideas in order to somehow 'reform' the British system. But it didn't need dodgy accounts about swimming pools, cleaners and porn films to tell some of us that the British system was rotten. It's been rotten as long at least we've been political consciousness. The big wheeze here is that, in the run up to the GE a nice eleven months or so away - plently of time to change people's voting intentions and guarantee a large swing - a new political narrative is to be thrashed out.
The Conservatives, clearly, are going to come out of this mess looking better than the Labour Party. The polls show it and so too will the European results, already written off long ago by Downing Street. Part of the reason for the Tory's long political exile was their association with sleaze, in fact their total immersion in the slimey stuff. Labour was elected, in part, on the 'Breath of Fresh Air', 'Change' 'Things will get better' 'Honest Tony' ticket (when in fact it would have taken some extraordinary mismanagement to have actually lost in 97). This ideological appearance allowed many of these floating voters to rationalise voting Labour despite their instinctual mistrust of any redistribution politics, unions and 'the left'. But all that has now slipped into the unreality of the past. For the reality of their voting Blair was their assurance that, economically, they would continue to benefit from the system. Blair was on their side and extremely relaxed about being filthy rich. It was reassuring stuff. And everyone else was doing it the floaters must have thought. So they played an important role in bequeathing a huge three term sustaining 200 seat majority. Now, the wider economic crisis cannot be allowed to impinge on political debate any longer. In bare knuckle terms, (the fist is clearly visible under the Tory's bony gloved hand), one cannot ask sensitive middle class types to vote for you by saying "We'll make the oiks pay for it all don't worry just vote for us!" It would be more honest, but more vulgar and so risky. Thus this scandal is a heaven sent opportunity (or a plot...) for the Tories to appear the Rent-o-Kill of British politics and come and clean things up. But once the vampire is allowed in, the real cleaning up will get a lot uglier.
The MSM has used this opportunity and served its masters by deflecting attention from the shifted ground beneath our feet. The bankers have had a fright, but they have been given public money to maintain the status quo and are now pretty much in the clear. But someone has to pay. The only way the capitalist system can maintain profit is to squeeze labour costs. That means the likes of us. Our money and stuff. This means the masses making 'sacrificies' and 'tightening belts' and 'putting up with it' and, who knows, even calling on patriotism to muddle us through. Could a Brown government do the 'necessary' measures? If you were a cigar smoking piggy fat cat, you'd be forgiven for having your doubts. At some point, patience within the party and government might snap, a discredited government limping on for another half-term would lose legitimacy and just one more serious economic shock (as the IMF states) and the whole thing might, just might deteriorate.
Brown has proved to be the dunce all expected and a new leader would just look desperate. Winning the floaters over doesn't take much. Again, the opposition are pushing at an open door. but it needs cover, a story a bait that comes before the switch. Brute fact will scare the horses. (Rather than try to blow peoples' coats off, like the wind in the bet with the sun, the media will turn up the heat and make people take their own coats off. Not that the Tories are representatives of the Enlightenment, it's just an allegory). The MSM will continue to feed us the idea that the government and all it has done (the little it has done for us, though) has also been corrupt and that the country needs 'modernizing' (again). Tha, we think here at REL, is the idea.
Ideas do not affect history as such. But the 200 000 swing voters (maybe they are mythical - all the better) were outside and at the end of history in those postmodern Tony Blair days. Their leader was illusory, their Millenium was illusory, their WMD's were illusory, their wealth was illusory and though naturally born conservative political consciousnesses, they were happy enough to see of the miserable corrupt shower of Major's men and even learnt to love Tony. (The rest of us can either grin and bear it and vote Labour anyway, or abstain). It'll take about a year to convince these, now worried, w/hinge voters to return to their natural constituency and put a cross by the blue flame next year. This sliver of political motivation, was a significant factor in determining the voting behaviour of that section of middle England that maitained Labour in power. Now, with the economic argument quietly buried, a more flamboyant rationale for voting for the stupid party is needed. This fake crisis does the trick.
The rest of us, unfloating useless voters can point all we like at the elephant in the room, but its the flea circus that everyone else is interested in. They know the elephant's there, of course, but they are sure that it's not them who's going to have to deal with it. Postcapitalist capitalism will be brutish, next year and the next, when it rampages over us poor list types.

But who knows, things might turn unexpected.