By Mike Small
The truth about the Clarkson debate is a society split and splitting down the middle between the Chipping Norton set writ-large: Middle England (and Middle Scotland) and the rest. As Kevin outlined yesterday (Save Leith Waterworld– and follow @splashback on Twitter) the attack on the poor starts by shutting down basic social amenities. But as Luke Cooper points out out last weeks mass strike (with 70% support despite blanket ANTI-strike corporate media propaganda) was a historic moment. After decades of lies, distortion and equivocation, the time for a real response has arrived, suddenly.
Several critical points of ‘crisis’ in the British establishment have led us to this moment. After the exposure of the depth of media corruption in the ongoing trail of destruction that is the Phone-Hacking Scandal, the venal nature of Westminster that was the Expenses Scandal (anyone remember that?), the collapse of belief in the integrity of the British police (from tasers to Operation Weeting to death in custody), the current system of rule lies exposed. It matters less and less each day that the media attack, undermine or ignore this movement because the response can’t be kept invisible anymore. It’s impossible to cloak the social revolution any more.
Now, as Gideon Osbourne and the perfidious Liberals announce the most punitive attack on working people that would make even the Milk Snatcher blush crimson, we round-up some of the responses – online and in the real world, please add your own:
The Burd has it (It’s War, Class War): “I’ve been nursing my wrath to keep it warm this week, while simultaneously trying to get it down to a level of mist that enables a coherent post to be drafted. I had just about managed to shift from scarlet to hot pink and then I read Dr Eoin Clarke’s first class analysis of the personal wealth of the UK Government Cabinet at The Green Benches.
No peeking now, take a guess. How much do you think our top politicians are worth collectively? And this is based on conservative (sic) estimates.£74 million. Seventy four fecking million pounds. Our Dave tops the list at £20 million while Lord Strathclyde – the Scot who leads the Conservatives in the Lords – is worth a cool £10 million. And I’ll bet you a tenner you and I pay more tax in a year on our paltry earnings than some of them.
Knowing this creates a credible context for this Conservative-Liberal Democrat government’s political narrative and belief system. It explains a lot, it really does.
Like how George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, could stand up in the UK Parliament this week and deliver a slap in the face for the poorest families – the ones who work and receive poverty pay for the privilege – in his autumn statement.”
Over at the Forest Cafe, a thriving community-arts hub now left derelict by others incompetence, occupation is underway. Amy Douglas, a 32 year old youth worker from Edinburgh who has been in the building since yesterday said, “While massive cuts are being made to public services and workers bear the brunt of these through much diminished pensions, the banks responsible for the financial crisis continue to profit. Cuts to public services also threaten community spaces and the same banking system is responsible for the detrimental impact this has had on communities across the country4. By squatting and reopening 3 Bristo Place we resist the banks’ continued profiting at the expense of those who are already suffering from the cuts.” More at Indymedia here.
Useless Hippies? Yeah yeah, heard it.
These sort of responses (considered small and meaningless by the MSM) are gathering strength and popular support. That they lack organised leadership is an operating manual not a sign of cluelesness. The answer may be now to really begin to connect the green and the red in a way that hasn’t been effectively managed. Because the struggle of the developing South is the struggle of the poor in the developed North.
As Durban stutters to a continued (WAKE-UP!) realisation that Kyoto’s abject failure represents a collapse of credibility of the green lobby’s efforts to get governments change, something new is required.
Which brings us back to George Osborne, who said in his autumn statement that he was “worried about the combined impact of … green policies … on some of our heavy, energy-intensive industries”. He continued: “We are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills, aluminium smelters and paper manufacturers.” If we carried on “with endless social and environmental goals … businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer”.
This isn’t just grand-scale myopia. This isn’t just massive collision-course dereliction, it’s the voice of vested interest, its the voice of the £74 Million British Cabinet and everything they represent. As Andrew Simms writes here: “Osborne’s only vision seems to be a deficit reduction plan that is doomed to failure, and a further crippling of the public sphere, which was the only thing that stood between the failure of private financial markets and economic disaster. Yet jobs, a vibrant economy, carbon reduction and an economy better insulated from external economic and environmental shocks are there for the grabbing.”
It’s time to connect for real transformative change and talk about what role Scotland plays in that movement. For those of us uninspired by David Torrance’s claim that England is forging ahead on matters of ‘education, health and the economy’ the challenge remains, how to re-imagine Scotland and reinvigorate the opportunity we have in the independence movement to create anew.
Elite rule has failed. Now what?