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The Callous State

Migrants in the MediterraneanOne of the things I deplore most right now is how callous and unsympathetic our political class has become. It really is something to behold.

This is not confined to the Tory Party either, although they are far and away the worst.

Our entire system of politics is infused, at this moment, with a blood lust that I think is probably unsurpassed in our history. The Westminster politicians have never been more aggressive in pursuing wars abroad and brutalising the least well off here at home.

Although relatively new in Britain, this is not a new phenomenon. It has happened throughout recorded history, in countries all across the world. When politicians get desperate they lose their respect for, and fear of, the people and become mercilessly focused on winning at all costs.

At that point, anything goes. The present political class is facing uncertainties like it has never known, and their solution is to lash out in all directions, to appease a phony “consensus” being pushed by a media that has lost its own bearings.

Added to this is the result from the Scottish independence referendum, which some of them have taken to be a vote of confidence in the policies which have brought us to this sorry mess. You don’t have to look too far to see this.

One only has to look at Jim Murphy running for Labour leader in Scotland to realise just how little regard they have for us. No other individual is quite so offensive to the 45%, but that has not stopped many in Labour, and the establishment media, from pushing his candidacy.

Today’s Guardian carried what amounts to a canonization piece on him that was so sycophantic and imbalanced I had to double check to make sure that Murphy himself hadn’t written it. It is an article so biased it even makes a joke out of his expenses fiddling.

Can you imagine anything that treats us with greater contempt?

Sometime during the next month, my friends and I are going to launch our magazine focusing on these issues. We’ve decided to call it Enjoy The Silence?  It is a clear message to our “political leaders” that people are awake, and watching them.

We hope you will support the project, because we believe people across the country are tuning into politics once more.

I think that when some of them do they will be staggered at how negative, cold hearted and right-wing the debate has become.

One of the things that most offends me about Labour right now, aside from its complete inability to remember what it stands for, is that it has essentially abandoned the left flank of politics and rooted itself firmly in the centre right.

With the Tories chasing UKIP into the darkness, Labour’s cowardly decision, born of political expediency and based on a staggering miscalculation about the voters, has dragged the centre of political gravity away from what was once traditional Labour ground and into the territory of its enemies, territory where Labour cannot win unless it goes even further than they will.

As a result of this, the national debate ends up being had around right-wing Tory ideas, where those in receipt of benefits are stigmatized, where those from minority backgrounds are marginalised and where those who hold more progressive views are demonised as being out of date “wreckers” rooted in the past, making everyone from trade unionists to charity workers seem like some kind of “enemy within”, Hell bent on holding the country back.

But “back” from what?

There is no “manifest destiny” here. The two main parties could not have been clearer about what the future holds.

The future is “cuts”, but the language of the Guardianistas is designed to shield us from the reality of what lies behind that clinical term. These “cuts” won’t make life a little less easy … for some they will, quite literally, be the difference between life and death.

The new world to come will be one where the vulnerable will be cut loose, and left to sink or swim. Some will become dependent on charities and the kindness of strangers. Others will not get that lucky. The policies of our political class are going to kill people.

It is as simple, and as brutal, as that, and they know it too.

The state is being steadily stripped back from our lives. For some, those who can live without it, or think they can, that will be no big thing. But sooner or later, all of us find ourselves in need, and for the people in our society who cannot live without some form of assistance there are no words that do justice to just how horrible the future will be.

We keep on hearing how economic reality has changed. Has it? For some certainly, for those at the bottom, it has changed for the worse. For those at the top, the party goes on as never before. The rich have more wealth and power than they ever did.

The deficit has increased under the Tory government, despite the savage changes to social security provisions, but the City of London continues as it always has, inflating the next bubble in an economy built on the artificially high price of housing in the capital. Real time wages are plummeting and people are more in fear of the future than they have been in years.

Labour’s answer is to attack those least well off. Their decision to commit to a cut in youth benefits and to support a welfare cap is an extraordinary surrender to their political rivals and the continuing narrative of despair, and it is one that will take a future government enormous courage to reverse.

At the UK level, that makes it unlikely we will ever see it changed back, and no-one has considered what long-term consequences those severe, and un-necessary, changes might have.

Labour’s failure to stand up for those most in need, coupled with their hunger to appear even tougher than their political opponents, has already had devastating consequences for millions of people all across Britain.

Their decision to abandon the principal of universality in social security provisions will have dire consequences which will echo through our society for years, and weaken the system even further.

Those choices have been made for short term political gain and nothing more. This country is now left with a Tory Party that wants to wage class warfare and a shadowy Labour Party that tries to ape them at every turn.

The No vote in the referendum has wedded up to this, and as more and more people come to realise how callous that system is, so the momentum will swing further our way, and sooner rather than later we will get another chance to take the reins.

This week, an opinion poll has revealed the scale of revulsion against Labour in Scotland, and the election of Murphy as leader, if he wins, will only increase the anger and guarantee their complete meltdown, especially if the left of the party realises, at last, that the game is up.

At the same time, a poll for The Scotsman – no friend to Yes Scotland during the campaign – has revealed that 66% of respondents want a new referendum within ten years, with a majority saying they believe we will get it inside five.

Earlier this month, the coalition government won a no confidence motion in defence of a minister who said disabled people weren’t worth the minimum wage and Ed Miliband, the son of immigrants, endorsed the party’s use of the language of the far-right to demonise those who, like his parents, want to come to this island for a better life.

Labour in Scotland lost an appalling leader and look set to compound a calamitous series of failures by electing a rabid neoconservative as the next one.

None of it comes close to the ghastly decision the government took this week to end our commitment to Mediterranean sea rescues for migrants trying to cross the open seas. A Home Office Minister, James Brokenshire, speaking with the full backing of his boss Teresa May, and the Prime Minister, said that our efforts in this area “should end at the earliest opportunity.”

Seeing votes in the issue, and trying to stay to the right of UKIP, the government announced only a day later that this is exactly what would happen, and so it has. One of the UK’s most profound commitments to humanitarian action has, thus, been ended at the stroke of pen and people have been condemned to die who otherwise might have been saved. For a few lousy UKIP votes.

This is the true measure of the callousness of British politics, and gives you a chilling sense of how far into Hell we might yet go.

It is unconscionable. If we do nothing else with our forthcoming magazine, we’re going to make sure people understand – fully – just what has happened to the “British values” we were told were worth preserving.

(This site, and our coming magazine project, needs your support. We’re going to launch a fund-raising drive shortly, but If you are able to help now you can make a donation using the PayPal button located at either the top or bottom of this piece, based on what device you are using. Finally, if you haven’t already, please Follow us by pressing on the floating icon at the bottom right of your screen. We are working on the first issue of the magazine now, and we’re looking for contributions. If you want to help contact me at james@lbmpublishing.com)

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4 comments to “The Callous State”
  1. reading this article reminded me of Kinnock’s finest hour, his speech at Labour conference when he lambasted Liverpool Council & Derek Hatton for ‘delivering redundancy notices by taxi’. labour have travelled a long way since then, all of it downwards into the darkness.

  2. The electorate need reminded of a few things as we approach May 2015.
    1. Labour, despite a considerable time in power both at Westminster and Holyrood did nothing to help the people of Scotland so we have ATOS, PFI, the bedroom tax, and the continuance of the unfair grid connection charges for electricity generation.
    2. Weapons of mass destruction remain on the Clyde. Even though we don’t want them, don’t need them, and can’t use them as the US have the codes, nevertheless we have to pay for them with our taxes, and we are told that the money spent is actually part of the UK’s investment in Scotland.
    3. The Westminster system is still full of self serving greedy people who are economically illiterate. We can expect no change in how this country is governed while Westminster is in charge. Did the House of Lords get reorganised? Did the first past the post system get changed? Did anything that would change the balance of power away from the establishment change?

    I think the electorate is waking up. The real test is can we mobilise people enough to make a difference when we have existing seats with a 20,000 labour majority in Scotland and the media part of the establishment.

  3. Extremely powerful and thought provoking article on just how far down the wrong road we’re headed.
    The only positive I can come up with is that the gathering awareness of an embracingly strengthening political culture is challenging the outdated concept that nothing can be done.
    On the contrary a political paradigm shift is on the way like a gathering storm and the status quo brigade of Westminster shysters and murderers are starting to squirm,and perhaps for the first time in a long time they are becoming afraid.
    As ye sow,shall ye reap!

  4. Thank you for these articles, they encourage my belief that all is not lost . It is helpful to know that others share the feeling that the government of the UK has become uncaring of the population as a whole and of the poor and disabled in particular.

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