Friday, 13 December 2013

Us and Them (With one very bad word right at the end, its entirely warranted but be warned.)

Listening to 'Call kaye' this morning - about 40 seconds of it - which is all I can really tolerate. Its bad enough in and of itself, but not being a morning person anyway, its not a great way to start the day

There is a little known 1985 film called Cat's Eye which starred a young Drew Barrymore (after her ET appearance but before her substance abuse problems began in earnest.) In it, a wee troll-like character, climbs up on to children's beds, sits on their chest and steals the very breath from their body.

This is how I think of BBC Scotland on a week day morning - GMS then 'Call Kaye'. Unsuspecting citizens vulnerably dozing in that warm, fuzzy area between full sleep and wakefulness. Instead of a wicked little goblin stealing your breath - something else far more malicious is spooning poison into your ear.

Which blethering brings us to the point, one of the subjects of the phone-in was to let unionist supporters and poorly disguised Labour activists free reign on national radio for an hour and forty minutes. But in between the normal programming - the subject up for discussion was whether our elected representatives at Westminster were a true reflection of society in terms of class.

Apparently, according to a report the Financial Times the number of working class people sitting in Westminster has fallen from 16% in Thatcher's day to 4% these days. Meanwhile the British Social Attitudes Survey tells us 61% of punters regard themselves as working class.

The thing is, class is only part of the problem. I don't believe it would be right to exclude a person from a career on grounds of class - whether they are a blue-nosed toff in a penguin suit or a blue-nosed pensioner in January.

The problem is money.

How many of us can honestly say they know what its like to be poor? In the past I've thought I was poor - insofar as - I had no money, but, I always had someone or something to fall back on. We're talking about people who have absolutely nothing and no access to anything. They are wholly - often through no fault of their own - reliant on the state, a state ran by what has become a financial elite who have no concept of the meaning of being poor.

Knowing or not knowing what its like to have money will affect your outlook, but in either case probably won't mean you'd be a crap public servant - as long as you are able to empathise.

Iain Duncan Smith currently puts in place massive changes to the UK's welfare system, yet he has no concept of what its like to be a recipient of welfare payments. He married the daughter of the 5th Baron of Cottesloe and lives in a £1 million house given to him by his father in law. IDS is clearly not 'of' the people who's lives he's having such a deleterious effect on.

Is that his fault? Probably controversially - no.*

What's at fault is a system of government that allows someone like him to attain a position of such sway and effect, where he can enact the disgusting & immoral policies he's currently inflicting on welfare claimants. If you wanted an opinion on living with poverty and deprivation, IDS is one of the last people you'd ask - so why is he in charge of the department who's job it is to ameliorate & limit the very same thing?

Another case in point is the House of Lords, this is sold to us as an upper house which holds elder states-people, politicians and business professionals. They are supposed to oversee the activities of the 'Commons' parliament to limit or augment (as is required) the wilder imaginings of that house.


Its a vehicle for repaying political favours and rewarding sycophancy & patronage.

If it isn't, tell me how this man:

...managed to get himself ennobled? Jeremy 'who?' Purvis was a Libdem MSP for about 15 minutes and never had a job outside politics - yet - there he sits, earning £300 a day (plus expenses) as Baron Purvis of Tweed. I struggle to imagine what he brings to the table in terms of experience that would benefit those of us living in the real world.

It may be that Purvis and those like him are a sop, he had no money and didn't marry the daughter of a Baron - it may be that Purvis is Westminster's excuse for egalitarian government, (although in terms of earnings he's doing not to badly now right enough.)

If you want to get ahead in Westminster politics, you either need to have money or have such a strong interest in it, you'll sell your morals and/or marry for it.

He's smiling because he's in line for a payout of some £17 million - proceeds from the sale of his own company called 'hotcourse'. Jeremy Hunt will be the richest - by far - cabinet member, at least he earned it himself. (although being head boy at Charterhouse School and contemporaries with Boris Johnson and David Cameron at Oxford probably helped.)
The current system at Westminster favours candidates who have money or connections or both. A person struggling to hold down an average job (never mind the minimum wage) and perhaps juggle a family is never going to have the time or resources to 'run for parliament' - which after voting is one of the things we're told to do if we want to change things.

The alternative being offered to us living in Scotland is Holyrood. Its a young parliament not yet affected by patronage or vested interest, I dare say that will come. But its taken Westminster most of 300 years to get to where it is now, by the time Holyrood gets there, we'll have enjoyed a new, moderately un-cynical and non-self serving form of government for the remainder of our lives and be long dead.

Vote yes for a fairer form of government for the next four generations or so, at which point humans will be living in space stations because Earth's atmosphere will have become too thin to support human life. Only the 'Many Angled Ones' - multi-dimensional beings who in our reality manifest themselves as politicians and talent show judges -  will be able to survive.

Which was probably their plan all along.

* IDS is still a cunt, let there be no doubt about that.


  1. I often think that the problem is the hijacking of the political parties,in particular Labour/Liberals and to a lesser extent the SNP, where the selection process favours those from a certain background and from a certain school. Candidates go forward to stand for selection but the shortlist is chosen by the various HQs of whatever party in the main. I suppose for the Scottish Parliament you get a slightly lesser standard, as we saw in Dunfermline, but again that suits the three main parties to have lesser politicians in the Scottish Parliament. What are the chances of a postie or street cleaner, even if interested, being selected. We are often told that more head teachers, doctors and lawyers should stand but they are nor representative of the people either. The simple fact is that politics has become an upper middle class profession for those hanging on the coat tails of the wealthy and the wealthy too thick to do anything else and have a sense of entitlement. The cause of this is in the main us, we have taken little interest in what they do, where they come from, how they get there etc. We have lost the power of demonstartion, unlike say the French, and we put up with the shit they throw at us on a daily basis. Do you think the French would just accept the attacks on the poor as are happening here, I very much doubt it, they would bring France to it's knees or elect a so called socialist even if it doesn't work out. There is no easy solution to the problem if people continue to disengage and not vote or feel beaten down to the point of apathy as many are. I wish I had the answers but I don't, for the political parties it would have to be the membership taking control but they won't as the top have too much power, how many political parties around the world would allow the top to ignore votes at conference and laugh them off. No, our system is broken, badly broken, it may come to ahead if attacks on the poorest continue but we are somewhere away from that as of yet. Maybe it won't take a massive amount to push people too far but we will have to wait a little longer. Of course a huge part of the problem is also the lack of alternative media and reporting in this country, we are pretty much fed, verbatum, what the establishment want us to see becuase the journalists in the main went to the same schools and have similar backgrounds to those in power which all lends it'self to the poorest becoming the hidden undercore of society and that is ok with the people who are at the top.


  2. The House of Lords is the kind of organization that, if you got rid of it, in 10 years no one would believe that you have ever had it, at least not after the end of the second war.

    There is nothing about it that makes sense.

    In the bad old days we had Etonian and Oxbridge governments of posh boys. But at least in these days they had a sense of noblesse oblige.

    None of that in today's old Etonian/Oxbridge set, mainly because they are money grubbing spivs. Second hand car salesmen with pots of money and absolutely no breeding.

    Not that I hold with all this breeding bit, but as I say, at last in the past these privileged folk had it drummed into them that you looked after your inferiors, if for no other reason that they were required to empty chamber pots and chop firewood.

    The present government has an agenda. Thatcherism taken to its glorious end.

    And they were handed the opportunity to achieve it on a plate by the last government spending all the money and leaving the country broke. And the fact that they don't actively oppose much of the Tory legislation is also helpful.

    There is no need for all this thrift, but ideologically it s what the Tories want. Under the guise of "necessity" they are tearing our "Welfare state" apart, demonising the needy in what seems to me almost Hitlarian style. You don't mind money being taken for the undeserving.

    Never mind that there aren't enough jobs for the undereducated. No factory jobs with what lads still call "men's work" despite the feminists' rage; jobs where you start at 8 o'clock, get your hands dirty and finish at 4.30 knackered.

    Never mind that companies are allowed to employ people for wages that don't cover the cost of rent and council tax, never mind food, clothes, heating, lighting, transport and a little entertainment.

    Never mind that there is no housing available unless you can afford to take on a massive mortgage.

    The old fashioned elite would have had these people working and properly housed. The Spiv Tories simply don't care how they live, or even IF they live.

    You're right, they were born in big houses with riches we can't imagine. They went to posh schools with other rich people. They have never been hungry, cold, or homeless.

    They can no more imagine that feeling that I can imagine having a house with 40 acres, 10 bedrooms and indoor and outdoor staff to go with it.

    But they should be warned.

    You can get away with a certain level of underclass. You can even persuade, as the Nazis did, the majority of the population that some people are just plain wicked and should be got rid of, so that you can treat them they way that they are doing.

    But you have to be very careful that your underclass doesn't get too big.

    Too many people with no stake in society is a dangerous notion.

    The riots in England two years ago started with one mistake by the police...

    ... and ended up with Cameron having to come back from Tuscany, no less!

  3. Bruce.

    You're quite right of course - cronyism is the problem, no idea how you address that because it seems to be a facet of tribalism.

    I was going include in the blog but didn't want to go on, some info about organisation like Common Purpose and Columba 1400. These are set ups that on the surface (at least with Columba 1400 who I'll give the benefit of the doubt for now) do good work, its about networking and confidence building. But as with CP it ends up being about getting your cronies into the plum jobs.

    As Tris points out, soom there will be a tipping point where the have-nots see what it is they haven't got, they'll see that while they have a flat screen telly and a playbox, they also have crippling payday loan debt and that they've mortgaged their future on the kind of shiny trinkets those further up the greasy pole manage to procure with out building up the massive debt.

    Its ironic then that those further up the greasy pole are there partially because they might have shares in payday loan companies.

    You couldn't make it up really (as they like to say.)

    No idea what the answer is, a radical idea already tabled is a jury service based system of government. Limited time in office via a lottery backed up by a professional civil service.

    No doubt we'd find a way to fuck that up too. Currently Government is a big business, in the UK its here to stay for now. Look at how much Alistair Darling makes from wittering shite at conventions...

    Only his time in government allows him that income.

  4. I agree with the article itself, but I must take issue with the gratuitous insult in the footnote. There is no need to denigrate any useful part of the human anatomy, let alone one vital to the continuation of the human race, by comparing it to IDS.


  5. Noted Scaraben.

    The best I can promise is that in future when describing IDS, I'll alternate between the male and female sexual organs.

    Unless anyone has any other more amusing or descriptive nouns or adjectives.



Thanks for comment as always and I apologise if you have to jump through any hoops to do so. Its just that, I'm still being spammed by organisations who are certain I can't get it up or when it is up its not big enough or that I don't have anyone to get it up for.

Who knew blogging could be so bad for ones self-confidence?