millionreasons: (men)
David came home yesterday in a furious rage rather piqued that in doing something to a computer in the mayoral office, he had discovered that the Mayor (who is not an elected member of the council but a figurehead functionary, wearing chains and opening children's centres (if there were any new children's centres to open)) has both a secretary and a PA and not one, not two, but three mace-bearers. To be fair, the deputy mace-bearers double up as chauffeurs, but there's only one mayoral car (bought, not through the preferred procurement company, but from one of the Mayor's mates), so only one deputy mace-bearer-cum chauffeur can drive at a time. I suppose the other one stays in the office polishing the reserve mace. Anyway, D was disgusted that this nonsense is going on when his colleagues, front and backline are being let go. But that's the Tories, I pointed out. The rules do not apply to those in the upper echelon as they do to the plebs on the ground. That's their raison d'etre. I feel surprised that anyone is surprised that Cameron et al want to roll back the state - that's what conservatism is. They're called Conservatives because they did not want, do not want, liberal progression or change to the class system. They want "the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society", i.e. the land-owning gentry keep the money and power, a few peons make it though to the middle class, if lucky. This is why there are no right wing utopias in literature. I understand when Mitford or Waugh* regret the passing of the land-owning aristocracy being "naturally" in charge of society because they see the value in people being close to the land ruling it, but they don't mention in their world view what people outside of their social circle would do (other than horny-handed toil). I can't pretend left wing politics aren't also self-seeking (e.g. post-war unions wanting to keep women out of the workplace to protect their (male) members' pay and conditions) but at least the tenets of socialism are of equality, not one rule for the ruling class, different rules for the lower orders. I suppose a right wing utopia is where everyone knows his or her place: a dystopia for most people.

Sometimes, I wonder if I should befriend a Tory to find out what they think and why they think it. I mean a Conservative who has properly thought about things and come to conclusion  about how they want the world to be. Not the Daily Mail racists, or the privileged private-schooled people who don't understand how the other half 90% live or the ones who change their views with the wind (New Labourites now Cameron's kids) but a proper card-carrying Conservative. I did used to know one, back in the 90s. I thought his Damascene moment of moving from the world of investment banking to fundraising for a homeless charity had come after he was half-blinded in a car-crash, and I think he was employed because of his contacts at Deloitte and Touche, but as I remember he didn't really raise much money and was then sacked after he left his wife in Huntingdon, ran off with a stationer from Kingston and went on long term sick, failing to send in notes from his doctor. Perhaps he was just fed up of garden parties 'round at John and Norma's. Anyway, I'm not saying that you have to be a Tory to leave both your wife and a charity in the lurch, but it helps but I didn't feel for him the revulsion I do for most Tories, perhaps because this was 1996/7, just as the New Labour project was coming to fruition and I felt slightly sorry for him. I suspect his utopian vision would be that the financial sector is lightly regulated but philanthropic, giving money to the charitable sector so that the dispossessed are helped by the rich, the rich feel good, and everyone's happy. Ironically, whilst working for this organisation, I came to the conclusion that charity is bunk - rattling tins and irregular contributions from the private sector do not house or settle people nor support them into work or education; at the time, the organisation was funded by local and central government, doing the work that government didn't want to do.

* the Mitfords could trace their lineage back to the Normans, i.e. land-grabbers. Waugh was a middle class Londoner with aristo-envy.
millionreasons: (capaldi)

When Cameron was elected leader of the Conservatives he, and they, hardly seemed a threat. I don't mean to the incumbent government, I mean to the actual people. Labour were in the doldrums even before Brown took over and it didn't seem possible that they'd win another term. Cameron's Tory Wet, Compassionate Conservatism (sic), his hoodie-hugging and his tree logo seemed to want to take the same middle ground that Labour were standing on. He and his W11 buddies appeared to be merely career politicians, hardly possible they'd be the Thatcherites of yore. Obviously they were still risible for being Tories, for being posh, for having punchable faces, but it wasn't until the recession hit and they abandoned the caring facade and started their attacks on the public sector and promoting the "need" for swingeing cuts, that I realised that they were Thatcher and then some - that their intentions to dismantle the state have little to do with the recession, and more to do with their sincere political desire to end the state's role in providing safety nets and aid, it will be just there to collect taxes to spend on - what? Propping up more banks? Their big society concept is of a Victorian society where the poor rely on the random munificence of the rich to survive.

Labour's main failing wasn't the Iraq War, it wasn't detention of terror suspects without trial and asylum seekers in prison-camps, it wasn't allowing extraordinary rendition from British soil, or ID cards, or letting Gordon Brown become PM, or abandoning the 10p tax rate. It was, whilst admittedly upping the income of the poorest (as detailed in this well argued article), allowing the people at the top to stay there. For them to feel entitled to be there. To let them feel that they didn't need governments to impose financial regulations on them, that it was their right, their duty, to make more money and regulate themselves. And that not only caused the recession that the Tories have capitalised on, it has also established in our collective conciousness that it's OK for the filthy rich to become richer and filthier and thus the Tories will have no problem persuading us that it's the people at the bottom who a) are to blame with their pitiful demands for £65.45 a week b) must suffer to right the world to its natural state of dog eat dog, survival of the fittest etc etc.

The Tories flagship borough: the Horror of Hammersmith.

From London by Patrick Keiller:

"Robinson began to consider what the Conservative victory would mean for him. His flat would continue to deteriorate and its rent increase. He would be intimidated by vandalism and petty crime. The bus service would get worse. There would be more traffic and noise pollution and an increased risk of getting run down crossing the road. There would be more drunks pissing in the streets when he looked out of the window and more children taking drugs on the stairs when he came home at night. His job would be at risk and subject to more interference. His income would decrease. He would drink more and less well. He would be ill more often. He would die sooner. For the old or anyone with children, it would be much worse....

The public transport system would degenerate into chaos as it was deregulated and privatised. There would be more road schemes. Hospitals would close. As the social security system was dismantled, there would be increased homelessness and crime."


If the Tories win today, will the last person in Britain turn off the lights in the hospitals, day centres, schools, youth clubs, social work departments, libraries, universities, homeless hostels, care homes, art galleries, nurseries, the BBC....


January 2017

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