The first is that Europe is utterly fucked and the vultures are hovering,
The second thing that is true, is that austerity here is over, and the playing out of its demise is going to raise some nasty questions.
Serco have already had a boost from austerity packaged as growth, but we are at a unique point. I hate to say it, and I do disagree with a few points- but Daniel Knowles chose a beautiful quote here which sums up the problem.
"We are as capable as before of affording for everyone a high standard of life … and will soon learn to afford a standard higher still. We were not previously deceived. But to-day we have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand. The result is that our possibilities of wealth may run to waste for a time — perhaps for a long time.’’
Our shit flinging monkey wheel has not caught up yet, and we are seeing the traditional witterings of white elephant projects, while the road is paved for a lib/lab coalition so we can avoid addressing the democratic and social crisis austerity exposed.
If the Euro collapses, and it is not looking great, there will have to be an examination of the failure of austerity by the end of the summer, and solutions will have to be found immediately because it will have to be reversed. Possibly in the midst of financial chaos and devastation and in a way that provides a basis for our long term future. We are at the point Keynes was at then, and where Keith Joseph and Thatcher were in the mid seventies. Political fantasy cannot reverse it and politicians blindly following its patterns won’t either…
The ability to sell austerity as growth will not take us out of this and that is all our political media establishment know how to do at present. The continued attempts to repackage a centre position that died have pushed our democratic and economic crisis to a very serious levels. The multiple crisis we aggravated in the name of austerity are very very serious and arriving on top of crisis resulting from cumulative failures of the ideology at the heart of our banking crisis, as manifested in our public services. These crisis are largely structurally invisible to political debate by design and consensus at the moment. They are the type of crisis that will engulf a nation that is still relatively healthy, by stealth. Did I mention the financial crisis that is happening now? No? Well that’s why I thought I might make a few points today.
We need to start talking realistically…
We have a housing crisis, we have an aged population present tense, our political establishment is fundamentally ignorant about the shape of our economy and the relationships between its component parts,. and we have just kicked several pillars of our public sector to death, while consolidating the dogma that caused the problems in the first place, across all our political parties. The list of crisis we have just deliberately aggravated for no visible purpose but preventing assessment of our real identifiable problems. The cost has been great.
We appear to have done this because you cannot challenge a wisdom that the banks interests are our interests when that is clearly batshit. Monetarism. Done. Kapush.
Legislation has been passed which will destroy several important remaining pillars of our public sector. All the wisdom which has guided our economic and social policy development for three decades has been shown as baloney as the consequences become apparent, and we are a toilet for the big boys in the financial catastrophe we delayed. But underneath it all we are in good working order and the shit has not fully hit the fan. Well not quite…
We might want to make a bit of an assessment of where we are actually at, which might be difficult after eons of policy based evidence making.
Ignorance may have been bliss but its over…
While our deleveraging has followed very set patterns, it is becoming evident that the political parties delivering it may have been oblivious. It may have been tribal elitist ignorance it may be corruption, or it may be a bit of both.
The scraping of barrel bottoms in the treasury, and the continued political media shock at the entirely expected development of events would support that. It may actually be that Stella Creasy did not know that the payday loans market she campaigns against is a natural by-product of the economic approach her party wanted to take, she didn’t know it was literally an austerity created market that works symbiotically with banks. It may be that Ed Miliband did not know that deliberately aggravating a housing crisis, and demonising those worst affected to not make housing benefit savings and benefit Buy to Let, was silly. It is clear that no-one in government had any clue. Our political media-ocracy may not have understood the nuance of austerity, we did. That’s why they had to go to so much effort to keep debate narrow and had to triangulate around some of us.
The struggle for the last two years was not the emergence of an anti-cuts movement. It was those upholding this trying to stop it being threatened with no thought to what comes after, or the effect of their actions. Battering down those whose reality contradicted political position. Those have behaved this way on twitter had no clue voters and readers were watching them even if they didn’t engage with it, and in their willingness to gaslight and troll vulnerable people, they have been very instructive. In the eighties disaffection with the left took years, the net speeds up change.
It has taken our national political media being pushed through a public trial, and dramas that are going to make great tv movies one day, before we are allowed to identify our political press as a source of dysfunction without risking our lives being destroyed. Two years ago it was heresy to challenge the idea that our political press’s attention was our only hope of salvation. This kind of politics now has about 5 minutes left in it
Hysteresis(it has a name) does permanent damage.
This not an abstract concept, towns all across Britain show the scars of this type of politics and economics, it has been the natural by product of our economic and social policy consensus for the last 30 years. It has laid waste to places this country needs. We just deliberately spread the cancer that corroded towns that used to be our industrial heartlands, into the towns that still retain our precious industrial base. For growth. With no evidence to suggest it would have a different effect this time. We decimated small medium sized enterprises, sucked money out of their customers pockets and it is beginning to look like the politicians doing it truly had no understanding of what they were doing. ‘We’ hacked at the only guaranteed engines of future, our education system, our health system, and laid waste to SME, and are effectively deskilling entire sectors of the population. And those demonised to cover it not only knew they were targets but had 30 years of evidence to look at. While the political press put us on trial.
Deskilling entire areas of the country and laying them to waste. Taking away futures that should be this countries future. The effects already showing, and the cuts that did it were invisible to those at the heart of our establishment, while the fear they created is an economic impediment.
We knew what was happening to us, and I should think the levels of disaffection we saw last summer will be small potatoes to this year. We need to start talking about growth. What it is. Where it comes from.
We also need to start talking about the purpose of local and national democracy…
Government have just deliberately increased the deficit households live at, oblivious to the personal household debt bubble in this country, or the fragility of the overvalued housing market that underpins it. We sucked money directly out of the heart of the economy with welfare, to increase the debt that households would take on and I don’t even think the ministers doing it understood that is what they were doing. They are advised by those whose interests they act in.
Our politicians felt no qualms about subjecting British mothers to slut shaming while pushing them out of work and their communities, and rolling back equality, hate speech against disabled people, until recently, was the centre position. A housing benefit bill which should have alerted us to our economic problems years ago, was used to justify demonising those caught in its clutches. This was economically necessary. In 2012. All MAINSTREAM political parties agreed. They agreed across Europe. The horrific extremes of that now evident in Greece. Their media did not find this at all odd.
Half of working families are now going to find themselves claiming a benefit that links them to policies like workfare, should they trip and fall. after it is revealed the depths that politicians will go to once you fall over that line. The computer system for Universal Credit was raising titters at Labour Party Conference last summer, is now causing panic everywhere. Our government apparently believe you can ‘nudge’ the support people need, to a website and haven’t really considered the complexity of a project that has to work outside the heads of the commentariat.
Our political media establiishment have just done some terrible things and aggravated just about every social crisis and economic problem we had. We face a summer of chaos, draped with red, white, and blue trademarked Olympic banners. Our complex intersecting problems are because the ‘wisdom’ underpinning our dominant and political ideological spectrum is nonsense.
What of Local Democracy?
Local politicians attending Town Hall meetings are like Merovingian kings, fighting for local baubles of power, while Serco et al enjoy a revolving door to Downing Street. Parties now view local democracy as a paddling pool for their media savvy guppies, with local politicians existing to take shit for their powerlessness. There has never been accessible discussion about this erosion of local authorities, and we are told Mayoral elections and media friendly local democracy is the way forward. Political parties are in crisis, memberships of all our political parties talk about being superceded by this media-ocracy
Many local authorities exist now as webs of admin, attempting to meet statutory responsibilities they retain, with patchwork resources they have no control over. Resources which are run for profit which they cannot afford to purchase to meet needs. Making the choices of which people go without and taking the shit for those choices, while trying to mop up the gaps in service delivery.
Austerity was packaged as growth,and its political rejection gave an immediate boost to Serco et al, before we move on I’d like to know why. We are in a democratic crisis, and those who benefit from democracies erosion are rarely likely to question it. These are the services most intertwined with our private sector in our real economy. Serco et al have no such connection and we need a discussion about the power that comes with the services they run, because it is power over us and we don’t vote for them.
Why were WE all on trial?
Those targeted this last couple of years were left vulnerable because a blue print for social policy made in the forties decided reality would be invisible to political debate and political debate would forever more consiste of demonising or patronising those living in it. Left and right were happy to continue this because they were groups mutually agreed as irrelevant. You have to go to enormous effort to ignore the evidence to the contrary, but we have a shitflingling monkey bubble around our political culture, and they usually take care of it. They assume other people share their dysfunction. As the monkey wheel got more homogenous, more and more groups fell into the deserving/undeserving group and the shit got more offensive. Everyone has noticed it stinks.
Politicians were particularly happy to have this way of keeping attention away from markers of economic and political failure, a way to open up markets and tinker directly with the economy and guarantee no-one would pay any attention and to keep our political class busy…or those who advised them were. Welfare was a key tool in Austerity politics. Obnoxiously arguing over the respective morality of these ‘groups’ shows no signs of losing novelty for any part of our political spectrum. Becoming a teacher, doctor, or social worker can get you a place in undeserving these days(success being a place on the monkey wheel.)
Watching the lengths our political media establishment had to go to to perpetuate this, when they found their internet paddling pool made it impossible was instructive. Watching politicians campaign against the payday loans market that was the inevitable consequence of their parties approach, and their media poppets demand the right to be seen as fighting for those worst affected, by gaslighting and abusing them, distasteful.
We were on trial because they needed a distraction and we are invisible to our political media establishment, left and right. They assumed they could put us on trial. They forgot themselves and made their future publishing home one that we will all share.
Why did women take the biggest brunt of the cuts?
That blueprint devised in the forties said that state help was about unemployment, and it turned out poverty had a female face and inequality was more complicated than that. Anything outside that employment is ‘undeserving’(politically speaking), the safety net only required for personal failure even if it is failure to earn the second income of a husband after your motherhood kills your earnings potential….
Beveridge didn’t know, but since Beveridge it has been a matter of political convenience,. Governments and their agencies have known that welfare masked gender inequality since his system confirmed it in the forties. They plan around it and make sure rooms where kids might be waiting have toys. Since the late seventies we have had an economic and political consensus that gender inequality be repeatedly exploited. While our public services manage the consequences of this exploitation and are run by political culture committed to undermining them. Gender inequality and the credit boom didn’t mix, and a generation of mothers were already waking up to how far we had to travel for equality, austerity ensured that wake up was a sharp one.
This year mothers found they literally do not exist and our entire political spectrum agreed. Grown women, adult voters, expected to take the brunt of the cuts and welcome to political debate or fight those cuts, if they were there to justify their relationship choices or the birth of their children and cry gratefully to a political media establishment who like it that way. Women get a mention when we are being told who will pick up the slack for the Big Society…or we need to drop bombs on brown people, or when a political guppy needs someone to patronise.
Was anyone else on trial?
Yes. Our political media establishment. We were on trial to distract from that. How many women are there in the political media establishment? Er….
It is this disconnect that has also allowed an entire culture to confuse the difference between a market economy and a real economy, and the failure of 30 years ideological consensus to go unnoticed, It is a disconnect which allows them to exploit inequality however it is manifested, people with disabilities and poor people make easy targets.
Think of the children..
The political blueprint of the forties dictated that inequality identified by Beveridges system, could be used to patronise, Thatcher then used it as a basis for demonisation. The fight since has been between the two and fought in an indifferent and untouched political press. Social services departments biggest foe while dealing with inequality is the tabloid mentality underpinning social policy development and the attention of the press, and the erosion of services this political consensus demands. Over the last few years, not fit for purpose has been a tag often rightly applied to what remains of departments.
Mundane and uninteresting to a political class for whom users of those services are the bread and butter of ideological bartering, or providers of horror stories upon which brief outrage can be whipped. Surestart provided political cover for a while.The insidious and corrosive politics of marketisation has pretty much strangled our public sector under bureaucracy so resources can be sucked out to guess who? A corrosive baseless media managed politics all that is currently holding it up.
The grotesque headlines failures in these services throw up have been used to demand their further corrosion and marketisation for 30 years.That isn’t really going to continue. It can’t. The Rochdale grooming case was the tip of the iceberg and what was done this year to Children’s Services was inhuman. Adult social care, our social care crisis and an ageing population, while the NHS is again in chaos? It doesn’t bear thinking about, and I am glad Toby Young;s face was a motif for the devastation Gove has done to our Education system, can’t think of a better scapegoat.
The power gained through public service delivery has never been discussed, and that power has been handed to private businesses in a closed ‘market’, that would make the US blush.
Conferences for the concerned lefty press, and the roundabout of handwringers, are happy to invite the occasional novelty povs to talk about anything but the problem, while the doors to the conferences carving up the public sector market charge hefty fees.
Easier to punish the poor than take on the voluntary sector, and discussion of social policy failure is tucked safely away in Wednesday’s Guardian society pull out, no interruption to the political narratives required for it to continue. No examination because our political press sell the message that allows it, and do not need to understand what is under it. To question it would be to question their tribe. That’s been quite a problem, I think we should probably examine it.
The areas of social policy this political blindness have infected most deeply, are those which are vital to the most vulnerable people in the country. Kate Belgrave is quite good at going talking to them, while the the media poppets fighting ‘for’ them wish those voices would go away. They were the ones hit hardest this year and it was services already in, or on the verge of crisis, their invisibility and irrelevance to our media-ocracy is why.
While the left and right were becoming posh media tribes..
The Beveridge blue print allowed welfare to become one of the central economic and social tools for Thatcherism. In the past two years, left and right argued about what should be done with the poor, and spat about cartoons of their forefathers, while demand was being sucked in real time out of the economy, and our political class had no clue why. The most vulnerable paid. This was the political debate Beveridge designed.
Welfare has been consistently expanded for three decades for a reason and that reason is not the fecklessness of the poor. If Beatrice Webb got cross at Beveridge because he told her welfare was a tool to keep wages low and he didn’t give a shit about the poor, surely someone else could have picked up on it by now? Real lives are strangled under a bureaucratic cosh, and poverty was deliberately created, while it’s predictable effects became tabloid fodder. Social security became workfare. Now the media manage our relationship with those who represent us it is easy to maintain.
Welfare crisis and real reform due about now?
Half of working families are now going to find themselves claiming a benefit that links them to policies like workfare should they trip and fall, after it has been revealed the depths that politicians will go to once you fall over that line. Most mothers without independent wealth, earning what mothers earn will be subject to control and demonisation.The computer system for Universal Credit was raising titters at Labour Party Conference last summer, the whole ill thought out project is now causing panic across the country as Tax Credit renewals also bring reminders of future changes.
Workfare volunteers sleeping under bridges to man the Royal Jubilee celebrations is beyond parody, but workfare has been expanding for years and it has changed the shape of our labour market. Those parts our political media claiming protest works on the back of opposition to it, the ones who paved the way for it to arrive. Whether we fit deceitful and idle or deserving and worthy, to these people, depends entirely on who is shitting on us. The Spads populating the PR sections of our voluntary and social enterprise sectors, viewing their place shaping policy as a political/media career entry point, blissfully unaware of the scale of the impact of the ludicrous policies they inspire. Our political media now see policy plucked from imagination as the norm.
The shitflinging monkey wheel doesn’t work any more. Its inhabitants may have believe that as long as they project accusations onto us we would jump back to the 19th century where they get to keep their assigned spots. They now face a very rude awakening. The dysfunction is theirs not ours and they have prevented us discussing very serious problems, many of which share a source closer to them than us.
Those targeted by this barbaric nonsense in 2012 democratic Britain were told the only recourse acceptable to our political establishment, was to ‘appeal’ to the the political media culture projecting this dysfunction. Go justify yourself and beg for clemency guaranteed not to arrive, and face hostility created by the culture of political parties, think tanks, and newspapers. Stray too far and find the safety and privacy of your family threatened and undermined. Always expect to be told this dysfunction is shared, regardless of evidence to the contrary, because THIS is political debate.
A sense of entitlement evident in the brats of our political establishment who have treated this crisis as a way of establishing careers in the political media media, and cannot grasp why discussion needed to be a bit wider than that. Politicians have run out of ideas, these monkeys fling shit to feign political debate and David Cameron will never eat a pasty again.
We don’t live in the forties and ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away, whether they are in banking, social work or the DWP. We should have paid attention to those markers of failure, but there is no avoiding the crisis that result. Now those who prevented the country from doing so will have to move aside.
Now that our political press is mainly press releases, churnalism, shit flinging and handwringing, people aren’t really buying into it..there is better information out there. The dysfunction projected with such brutal effect for austerity was almost entirely in their heads and their tools are slipping out of their hands as we slip into crisis.
‘’Retrenchment by indebted and frightened people has caused the weakness of western economies’’, said Martin Wolf yesterday. The political press need to recognise their part in the frightening. And I don’t believe it is a problem isolated to the UK.
Whitehall Brain Boost Time
The facile layer that manage the message politics has placed between government and governed, is a deeply corrupting influence that is on trial, and it has clearly existed largely to prevent us discussing the problems we face. Anyone pointing this out in a hostile culture that largely exists to sustain itself and a fucked status quo, will find themselves at the end of deep hostility which may put their family and privacy at risk.
In light of the view of our Chancellor at this point from within his own party, I would have thought it was now obvious we need to replace that layer with something equivalent to the brain boost Whitehall experienced during wartime. No longer can this debate rest in the hands of an ill informed commentariat and think tanks and self interested politicos, only trained in selling spin on an issue to a floating voter. Not when political debate is stretched thin between vacuous manufactured liberalism and obscenely ignorant social conservatism, and not when the cost is now so great.
We need to assess why austerity did what it actually did domestically, why it was so easily imposed as common sense when it was always clearly nonsense. Why no-one in our political media class had the ability to say so, and why it appears our politicians were largely ignorant of the effect of their own economic policies. Why were our political press fighting discussion of this and not hosting it? Why there is not a single functioning protection from people, should their government decide to turn on them or a means to access democracy? Why and how our political debate so quickly fell into a grotesque projection of the dysfunctional onto the complex nation they serve and have isolated themselves from.
Economic policies appear to have attempted to shock us, so our crisis could be exploited for the benefit of those who caused our current crisis. I think the shock wears off after 34 years of the same schtick, so I thought I would write this down now. Just because it’s over, and they are things I think are probably going to come up and I can.