Thursday, 12 June 2014

Seeing Through The Illusion of Choice

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”


Isn't this Britain now? An oligarchy centred on acceptance of a full-blown market system where all decisions, in all aspects of life public and private, are ultimately commodified, priced and sold. The health service, even now the jewel in the crown of the nation, is subject to not just creeping but full-on tendering out of its services to Virgin Clinics and other profit-seeking privateers; public buildings are in hoc to construction firms for tens of billions for decades to come; Serco, Capita, Balfour Beatty and other mega-corporations run our benefits system, our education authorities, our passport offices. A food company executive scripted the Government's policy on public health, a brazen act of corporate power imposed on the Body Politic.


Everything is up for sale, often to the same companies that fund our political parties - even Labour Party conferences have been sponsored by supermarket chains.


What then is left? US linguist and activist Noam Chomsky characterised such a world thus:


Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless. In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.”


Today, the Murdochs' News International company's mass circulation rag, The Sun, is seeking to boost its circulation by having a special World Cup "This Is England" copy delivered by the privatised Royal Mail to every house in the country - some postal staff are reportedly threatening strike action. This paper, after all, is the one that demonised the victims of Hillsborough, that publishes wildly inaccurate stories about migrants, scapegoats benefits claimants and even gleefully over-reported on an internet countdown-to-legal-sex-with-Charlotte-Church clock as the child singer approached her 16th birthday - one of many lurid stories it has published with no regard to the impact on the people covered.   


In so many, many ways, The Sun epitomises the neoliberal system described by Chomsky, reinforcing the status quo, trivialising society into a succession of scandals, celebrities and celebrity scandals. Its owners, who also control the equally sensationalist and right-wing Fox News in the USA, have grown rich on its sales and, needless to say, the last thing they want to challenge is the way the world works.


But - look who wants you to buy this large piece of toilet paper? I wonder why.


You know what to do. Membership applications can be found here:

CAUTION: This man (below) is just as neoliberal as the rest of them. Former stockbroker, he is keen to increase your taxes and cut them for millionaires, cut regulations on the banks and roll back support for mums and dads in the workplace. He also voted against action to stop female genital mutilation. Neoliberal Nigel is not the friend of ordinary people. He is just the Authorised Opposition by Appointment to the Establishment.


A Reminder for SCOTTISH READERS - It's on 18th September...

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