Sajid Javid: “Leave Our Helicopters Alone!”

 

Chancellor Sajid Javid let his personal hysteresis get the better of him earlier this week, during a series of TV and radio interviews.

 

Most eye-catchingly, he claimed on Sky News that homelessness had peaked in 2008 under Labour and had since come down by half. Of course, as some (though only some) in our broken Fourth Estate pointed out, homelessness, which had steadily declined from 2004, was at around 41,000 in 2010; today, it is estimated to be around 84,700.(1)

 

Earlier in the day, on Radio 4, he gave a particularly desperate performance, claiming a Labour government would be the worst thing to have ever happened to this country. This was evidenced, in part, by his claim that the last Labour government had caused the 2008 Great Recession (a claim most, even within his own party, have given up on). The Irony of all this, of course, is that Mr Javid himself, while at Deutsche Bank, used to sell collateralised debt obligation (CDOs). For those of you who don’t know what a CDO is, I have attached a very useful clip explaining them below. Needless to say, they go a fair bit further in explaining the cause of the global economic crash than “Labour did it”. Enjoy:

 

The Broken Fourth Estate

 

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock hurried over to Leeds to get a grip on the scandal caused by photos of a 4 year old boy receiving medical treatment on the floor of Leeds General’s A&E.

 

Unsurprisingly, he was not met with open arms. Accosted by several angry locals and Labour activists, at one point, one of Hancock’s aids walks into the a Labour activist from behind. The established press exploded with news of Labour activists turning violent and assaulting the gentleman.

 

We know the media is bias. It is not difficult to quantify* nor difficult to understand – there is no conspiracy theory, merely the very Anglican fact that, when access to the media is the exclusive reserve of the upper middle classes, the media generally has an upper middle class bias. What continues to astound me, however, is how increasingly debased the profession has become. Perhaps it is a symptom of social media, whose clickbait profits have helped kill investigative journalism and spawn “client journalism” (Peter Oborne’s term for ‘journalism as decoration of power, or court reporting’. In other words, vanity pieces in exchange for privileged access, as exemplified by Laura Kuenssberg). Perhaps the unmeritocratic social order has reduced the qualitative stock of our journalists or, maybe, it is our own partisanship which has rendered balanced reporting an unwanted anachronism and perpetuated sensationalist commentators blind to their own hyperreality (Baudrillard’s term for “reality” as presented by a media largely reporting on other media reports).

 

Either way, all we know is the media revealed their hand with how desperately quickly they pointed the finger and the silly wanker walked into the bloke’s hand.

 

Judge for yourself:

 

http://Labour Activist Wrongly Accused Punching Tory Adviser

Boris, every step of the way

 

He’s angry and he should be.

 

What Mr Pie encapsulates here is not just the nature of the Conservative Party but, importantly, the firm support they have received from our broken Fourth Estate. Every step of the way, the established media has held the Conservatives’ hands and kept them firmly within an Overton window of their common interest.

 

This is not a conspiracy, there is no grand design. The Fourth Estate mirrors our society as a whole. Our education system, unpaid internships, social prejudices and, in this industry like many others, our unapologetic nepotism all but ensure the journalists, producers, editors and owners of our established media are wholly drawn from the same schools, demographics and interests as the Conservatives.

 

Enjoy the rant but don’t forget to do something about it!:

 

Jonathan Pie, ‘A Decade of the Tories’

Not with a bang but with a whimper

 

First they came for the student’s vote and I said nothing, for I was not a student and students didn’t agree with me anyway.

 

‘Early election date was to limit student vote, admits Boris Johnson aide’, Jonathon Read

 

The Basic Law of the Federal German Republic reserves the “Right of Resistance” for all citizens against anyone seeking to abolish the constitutional order, in which their democracy, republic, basic rights, and “inviolable” human dignity is enshrined.

 

In the UK, machiavellian ploys to disenfranchise citizens are seen as part of the political game.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire?

 

Theresa May is a tough act to follow. During her periods as Home Secretary and PM, she either failed to do anything or, worse yet, succeeded in doing something.

 

Be it aggressively promoting a “hostile environment” which has seen legitimate asylum seekers sent back to their fates (such as a shocking and still growing number of LGBTQ people sent back to homelands where they will face all manner of persecution) as well as British citizens of the Windrush generation denied their citizenship, sacked from jobs, denied access to the NHS and, to a still unaccounted extent, deported. Then there’s the total failure to achieve anything with regards to Brexit – other than rubbing acid into the national wounds opened by the referendum. Of course, there’s always the stagnating economy, which continues to fall further behind America and a hardly impressive European growth rate, or the disaster of Universal credit and, oh wait, pretty much everything else! The Environment, individual privacy protections, corruption, tax evasion, competition laws, investment, PFI disasters, the dissemination of fake news, housing crisis, savings crisis, wage crisis – you name it, there is not a single major issue affecting people of Britain today which has been made better or even curbed in its deterioration during May’s time in office.

 

And so, it is no small thing when I say, “Fuck me, I’d rather her than them!”

 

Welcome to the future and the end of days:

 

Owen Jones – Boris Johnson and the Tories’ embrace of Trumpism

hack /hæk/: a journalist

 

Journalists have been getting an awfully bad rap recently. The proliferation of “alternative facts” seems to have undermined their authority (indeed, their very purpose) and various world leaders, representing nations traditionally supportive of the Fourth Estate, have recently been appointed who deem them as nothing more than a biased, elitist mouthpiece who speak like defenders of democracy, but act as unelected legislators.

 

So, never one to fly in the face of public opinion, I thought I’d chip in to mankind’s apparent preference for authoritarianism. This particular thumb biting is in response to a flurry of articles by my favourite brown-noses, the Financial Times. In this recent spew, they have been temperately covering the, almost benign, little “shift” to the Right in the world’s fifth most populace country. [‘shift to the right’ – FT; ‘faith in Bolsonaro’s free-market conversion’ – FT; and many more…]

 
While The Telegraph is for middle-class morons too prudish for the Sun (when I taught English as a foreign language, The Telegraph was the go to newspaper as it contains the simplest english), FT occupies a terrible middle ground. Some of its writers are excellent (Sandbu), some of its brains intimidating (Tim Harford), much of its news valuable, but there can be little doubt that they do represent what populists accuse them of being and, with them, I find the fawning fetishisation of power and the status quo particularly unxious.

 
Like the girl with no friends, joining in the chauvanistic “banter” of arseholes, in the hope they’ll let her join the gang and not bully her as well, you can always trust FT to print whatever line of argument will appeal to that familiar, self-serving worldview that says, “They may be harsh but classical economics and laissez-faire markets are practical, sensible, and we are practical, sensible people. It may be tough but there’s an unsubstantiated MBA logic that’s long served us well. It’s common-sense.”

 

As I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I’d like and am keen to get this out, I thought I’d save myself some time by lifting the following elucidation of ‘common sense’ straight from Ania Loomba’s life-changing read, Colonialism/Postcolonialism:

 

“Gramsci makes a crucial distinction between ‘philosophy’ and ‘common sense’ — two floors or levels on which ideology operates. The former is a specialised elaboration of a specific position. ‘Common sense’, on the other hand, is the practical, everyday, popular consciousness of human beings. Most of us think about ‘common sense’ as that which is obviously true, common to everybody, or normative. Gramsci analyses how such ‘common sense’ is formed. It is actually a highly contradictory body of beliefs that combines ‘elements from the Stone Age and principles of a more advanced science, prejudices from all past phases of history at the local level and intuitions of a future philosophy which will be that of the human race united the world over’. Common sense is thus an amalgam of ideas ‘on which the practical consciousness of the masses of the people is actually formed’ (Hall 1996b: 431)…. Hegemony is achieved not only by direct manipulation or indoctrination, but by playing upon the common sense of people”

 

Before we get back to FT, I have another passing thought regarding the rationalizing, normalizing tendency known as ‘common-sense’. Orwell wrote, “There will be no revolution in England while there are aspidistras in the windows” and who could deny him?

 

Today, Britain stands “a little offshore island, poor and cold”. It’s people are the most powerless, wretched and denigrated in the Western World bar (by some margin) its offspring over the Atlantic. While the Swedes have their Independence, the Danes their Happiness, the Germans their Success and the French their Republic, the Brits have their hierarchy and an empty promise of Greatness. Be you proudly working class, proudly middle-class or proudly upper-class, you will be proudly British despite it all – likely, because of it all – and because class, “subjects”, “betters”, negative freedom, “ambition” are all part of British common-sense, the sick man of Europe will remain the sick man of Europe (before leaving Europe), and there will be no revolution in Britain.

 

Now, back to the flinching cowards..

 
Painting Jair Bolsonaro’s election as anything other than an utter disaster for everything we as a species have managed and hold dear, is not much of an exaggeration. He threatens an environment already on the brink of irreparable damage [12 years to apocalypse]; despises indigenous peoples, blacks, women, and gays; has zero understanding or appreciation of democracy; and has already proven himself a deft hand at misinformation and manipulation via social media. The terrifying thing is, with Brazil’s moral benchmarks, he could really make some headway on these fronts. Ethnic cleansing of Brazil’s black favelas is almost certainly on the cards as he sends stormtroopers in with a license to do whatever the fuck they want (if that sounds like an exaggeration and not calm and measured ‘common-sense’, I encourage you to read… anything about Brazil). Women can say goodbye to the recent promises of abortion access (though, I have to concede, most Brazilian women seem more than happy with this – I wonder how they’ll feel about narrowing the definition of rape?). The world as a whole can bid adieu to our diverse brothers and sisters in the Amazon – and perhaps the Amazon itself. Legal procedures and representation, voting eligibility and access, sedition and political opposition…. we’ll see.

 
But never mind all that! I’m simply being a naive dreamer; cliché of Generation Snowflake that I am. I’m just thinking about the wet, softy human rights issues. We’d all like to think about them but, first, we must consider the economy and – “Haven’t you heard!?” – #Bolsomito has employed a Chicago-trained investment banker as his Finance Minister; Phew!

 
Because countries the world over are known for growing into prosperous economies when they have financiers in the Treasury, right? Human capital is raised through well financed education and healthcare which taps into the potential of the entire population, infrastructure is improved, R&D and patient capital are invested in, healthy reserves are built up in the Treasury and pension funds. That happens, right? Right?…

 
After all, look at the standards of living and human attainment levels coming out of the world’s Social Darwinist, low tax, low welfare, oligarchies; like the US – the world’s worst people – or the many African nations the US remade in their image; paragons of Freedom the lot of them.

 
Of course, here again, I’ve let my snowflake concerns for the bottom 99% get in the way of the adult considerations of the common-sense FT. I should be thinking of the hard facts of stock markets and government budget balances, which always benefit from Chicago-trained financiers running the Treasury. Look at what a sterling jobs Greenspan and Paulson did in the US. After all, bar every other example in history, Chile proves that a psychopathic Fascist, leading a cabal of feudalistic oligarchs, sat atop of shockingly violent and repressive pigmentocracy, is always a win for long run, economic prosperity.

 
“Now”, says the FT journalist, “With this common sense well established and us all in agreement that the Far Right’s benefits far out-weight their negatives, let us proceed with cutting the taxes of the cool guys across the bridge from our offices and removing any supports which may create opportunity and challenges to their children’s privileged birth-rights.

 
See, cool guys? I’m sensible. I’m one of you. Please let me join the gang.”