The Times They Are A-Changing
Well,they're about to. I'd adapt Toynbee (Arnold, not Polly, and originally about civilisations, not limited companies);
Corporations, I believe, come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges. They break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet'The media-political class is finding its world alternately freezing with the home economy and burning with the one abroad, and I suppose the cracks are showing. For the record, I used to enjoy the Sun and the News of the World whilst knowing the feeling was wrong, but that's neither a new nor an alien thing for a Catholic. The sociopathic side of me also has a certain healthy respect for that old Monster Murdoch--a sort of Joe Kennedy style predator whom most of his detractors deserved to be eaten by. You have to admire the Tiger, especially when it's about to get shot and is still defiant. It needs to fall in battle, so long as it's ultimately stuffed or splayed on the floor.
Can one live in hope? I'll enjoy seeing the Times, and News International, buried even more. Every pompous, self-and-elite serving, warmongering-and-appeasing, establishment-swerving echo of that paper needs to be trapped in the concrete leg of the bridge over Time, if only to keep it's multiple trolls warm in the rain.
Most of all, though, I'm stunned at Billy Bragg coming up with what Tom Lehrer would have called a tune you can hum--the first of this Depression's folk songs?
We're dealing with three or four things at once, and it might make sense to reflect on Gramsci's highly adaptable observation from The Prison Notebooks that 'the old is old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.'
The media-political class, and the public, are directly ignoring the energy crisis, the global unwinding, and the incipient stagflation--but with the money and control of the agenda gone, what's left is the lynching of the shills for the economic world that is passing by those who are suffering. The self-styled Masters won't be able to cope.
We're also dealing with the forty-year loss of the counsel and institutional memory that seasoned backbenchers with a personal hinterland, representative political parties, proper historians and academics in Oxbridge and the media, and the better parts of the Lords and the Bar used to provide. The husk of the culture hollowed out and not defended since the sixties is a real force multiplier for the mob when the oil runs out.
Finally, the educators--from the out-of-a-textbook social science bullshitters at university, to the teachers who failed to equip people with the sense and independence to resist (because business and the left carved the curriculum up between them)--are directly culpable here.
If only where we were going socially and economically were not bound to be so painful. Drowning men clutch at straws, those in debt at ever more stacked gambles and lotteries. Perhaps, like those around Augustine at the Fall of Rome, I'm just grabbing at attempts to make sense of such a surreal, lunatic exposure of the Satanic principle at the heart of the neoliberal world.
Still, isn't Milliband E doing well? His initial streak of shameless ruthlessness with a wounded foe, even if it was his brother, seems to be precisely what the Opposition needs. The times, they are a-changing.