A Greek tragedy is unfolding. The people who voted for Brexit and the Tories at the last election are going to be the worst affected.
Rightly disillusioned and feeling left out of life, they were duped into the way they voted both for Brexit and the last election by massive digital and media misinformation and propaganda campaigns(The Death of theGods by Carl Miller).They believe that somehow their lives will be improved. In fact the reality of the direction of travel of the UK is towards a state which will neglect the poor and disadvantaged to allow massive increases in wealth for the shrinking minority of the super wealthy junta that is increasingly controlling the world economy. See the Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
They stand to lose workers rights, unemployment benefits and the NHS. They will find that holidays in Spain or anywhere will become prohibitively expensive. In short, their lives will be less worth living than they were before any mention of Brexit.
People are still puzzled by the reasons for Brexit. It is money. Look for those who can make money from it and you will find the instigators. It was not a sudden whim but a long held desire. The EU was and is becoming more and more regulated and bureaucratic so big finance of the Anglo American kind were always wanting out, not just to get Britain away but also hopefully to reduce the influence of the EU worldwide. It’s convenient to call them disaster capitalists(The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein). The pandemic has also been to their benefit, at least in the short term, with untendered contracts falling like confetti into their laps.
Authoritarian regimes are characterised by the ruling Junta flouting the law and national rules.Generally they are racist, xenophobic and isolationist. The regime will deliberately facilitate the siphoning off of rich government contracts to their associates and the transfer of public services to private companies. Tax loopholes accommodate the spiriting away of taxes and profits to offshore accounts. All this is made easier by a subservient media, often owned by members of the junta. Misinformation, lies and propaganda are used in very sophisticated ways to to raise public support from often already disillusioned and neglected sectors of the society. These people are hoodwinked into believing that the junta, who are only interested in exploiting them, are on their side and will right all their perceived wrongs.
Democracy is often taken for granted by the ordinary voting population. So-called democratic leaders encourage this belief with propaganda and misinformation. Covid has allowed us to get a glimpse of what democracy really is in the UK.
There are numerous examples of undemocratic acts by government but the UK PM’s easing of lockdown in a speech to the nation on a Sunday a week ago without any consultation with other key players is just one instance. The Covid 19 emergency laws which allow ministers to award contracts without a proper tender process has opened the doors to their old pals. More generally the way in which the UK has tax loopholes to allow tax havens to flourish is clearly deliberate and not remotely in the voters best interests. Napoleon was right when he said “Perfidious Albion”. The current majority government can clearly do what it likes until the next general election in almost five years time. By that time we could have left the EU without a deal, signed a disadvantageous treaty with the USA and reduced food standards and workers rights, all opposed by parties which actual the majority of voters did support in the ballot box.
The veneer of democracy has been torn asunder. However misinformation and downright lies mean that the majority of the populace are totally unaware of most of this.
Some countries have fared better than others in their efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
It seems to me that the tools available to stop the virus are much the same as were there in the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the principal one being isolation. In the present crisis we do have a more precise tool in track and trace but having found a person with the virus the one solution available is isolation. A most casual reading of the history of the 1918 pandemic highlights the fact that the US cities that used isolation most effectively had the least casualties. This would also appear to be the case in the current pandemic. This raises the question as to why some countries chose to ignore the historical evidence. There is a saying that those who chose to ignore history will make the same mistakes. Case proven.
Part of the misinformation campaign by all the UK governments is the mantra of scientific advice. Science does not have the data to come to any meaningful conclusions. There can be guesses, models, theories but no meaningful peer reviewed conclusions. Careful interpretation of the known facts by almost anyone is probably as accurate as anything put forward by a scientist. That is a sweeping statement but possibly one with some grain of truth. However the narrative is useful in that it shifts the blame away from those who have signally failed to act to protect the populace, surely a prime duty of government.
There is also a popular piece of misinformation about now is not the time for harsh questions, everyone is doing their best. There are mistakes and mistakes. Some mistakes are easily forgiven. Killing somebody by mistake is not I believe an excuse for homicide. What is more, after this is all over an independent enquiry can be launched to kick the can down the road for any number of years.
Finally a quote from Dad’s Army is an appropriate summation “We’re doomed, Captain Manwaring, doomed”
Having made no posts to this blog for some time, I now feel that this crisis calls for some thoughts and reflections to be put to paper or a blog. This will not be primarily to influence anybody but more for my private consumption, a diary rather than a blog. It is now 8 weeks since I went into voluntary isolation. Yes a week before the official lockdown. It seemed sensible not to wait but to make up my own mind as to how best to protect an 80 year old adult with a heart problem. And since then I have not left the immediate environment of the house with only one neighbour and otherwise surrounded by fields.
What we are witnessing is a terrifying and deadly shambles. The shambles is at all levels. There is the shambles of planning at the top level but also at the operational level. For instance elderly people with no symptoms are being tested but transferred from hospital to care homes before the result is known. How illogical? However there is also a great deal of sharp practice; as an example, it seems that government contracts are being awarded with no tendering process to the benefit of old pals. What is equally disturbing is the propaganda. There are straight forward lies; there is misinformation and there is the constant drip of bias. The BBC and many of the national newspapers are complicit in this.The insides of of Italian and Spanish Covid wards have been shown in main news channels and in explicit detail, highlighting the deaths. There has been almost no similar coverage of UK hospitals.
One particularly sinister incident was the headlines in a number of newspapers heralding “freedom” Monday. This has been hastily pushed back ahead of the PM’s announcement on Sunday. It must have come originally from the government, or it would not have been in so many papers. There have been hints that there are some Torres pushing the PM to significantly ease lockdown. Was this a covert attempt to force his hand? Perhaps the original plan was to maintain the status quo. Now there will have to be at least some easing. The VE Day celebrations do seem to have been in the same vein, orchestrated to encourage the breakdown of the public acceptance of the restrictions.
I am mostly against conspiracy theories as the underlying theme, more cockup than planning. However in the current situation there are surely elements of both. And in today’s society, conspiracy must equate to the ruling junta, sometimes politely called elite, making money out of the situation. There is of course sheer incompetence. This pandemic has shone an awful light on the poor quality of our elected government but also of many of the higher ranking officials who clearly are not anywhere near up to the job. The gargantuan planning mistakes as well as the awful carrying out of most tasks to do with the crisis spotlight these failures. The resulting attempts at coverup have been largely no more competent.
I am not sure why I feel this way but I do have a feeling that the June 8th election may well see Theresa May lose her overall Westminster majority. At the same time I think the SNP will lose several seats in Scotland.
This will make an already chaotic situation even worse as it will put Brexit negotiations and the second Scottish independence vote into areas of even more uncertainty.
Some commentators seem to think that the NHS can survive as a national asset. If the Tories get back at GE17 then the NHS will become a privatised milchcow for the USA Health industry. It’s already nearly there.
I don’t believe that the austerity policy is anything more than a convenient cloak for the real aims of reducing the role of the state to an absolute minimum to allow private profit to flourish and to turn the UK into a super tax haven. The ordinary Tory voter and Tory MP has been duped by the claims of balancing the books etc., into supporting this goal which only really benefits the uber rich and the power hungry such as Media barons like Murdoch.