Antipode

That's a clever title. I meant by it the point diametrically opposite invented reality, but in looking for a source, also stumbled across what is either one of the most elegant or the maddest page on wikipedia I have yet encountered. It may be more worthwhile to you to visit that than to continue reading.

OK, so there you are running a public trust. Your predecessors abandon mad corporate schemes to re-brand it, and just concentrate on running it as a business, and it makes a profit; but then you decide to wreck it, which advances the government's privatisation agenda. Award yourself £10,000,000 compensation.

Or, have a train company. The old service was terrible. Sandwiches awful, don't you know, comedians used to joke about them. Fiddle the on-line booking system. Ramp up charges and treat dependent customers like cattle, and introduce byzantine systems of pricing. This is Britain. No one will complain, and the government will subsidise you.

Utilities? Built up by public subsidy, you say? Have a free loan from every hard-pressed family in the country disguised as an uprated bill. For the environment, don't you know.

Schools? Student Loans? Education? In large part a national joke, with those who do struggle and work at odds with the reality created by the centre. Don't worry, though, you can escape that if you bankrupt yourself.

And, ah, a bloated government that has ducked every real opportunity to change anything and a media-political class which won't, resolutely won't, think. No school vouchers. No rethink on global warming. No rethink on social work. No social ownership of natural monopolies. No real system of national insurance worth the name. No agreement kept, no debt honoured except those to bankers.

Yes, that'll do. Sell off sixteen billion pounds worth of public assets to pay for your bloated spending. After all, this is England. Who'd complain about another train privatisation, the sell-off of personal debt to companies that have to make a profit, or the creation of another vast private monopoly?

Oh, and shut up. This is England. Don't be French.

Comments

Martin said…
Martin,

I think you're being far too charitable to the media-political class. They all know the score, yet, in true atomised laissez-faire style, consider the maintenance of their own positions (or the covering of their own asses) to be more important than the self-sacrifice that would be involved in telling truth to power.

The expenses scandal is just another example of a disproportionate amount of funds that could have been productively deployed elsewhere being used as executive compensation instead; and the ersatz outrage of the British media becomes laughable when one considers how actively it has worked to usurp Parliament as the forum in which policy is made.
Martin Meenagh said…
We're back to the eighteenth century, Martin. To what extent do you think this is just the post-protestant bourgeois and sundry cosmopolitan flotsam resorting to type?

As for the media, well, the one good thing the global warming lie did--which reporting on the depression has reinforced--is to confirm to me what liars they are. Not to others, but to themselves. The self-serving unwillingness to just think could make one weep. When did being stupid become a criterion of being educated?

And don't say when they gave me five degrees, two diplomas, and a gce....