Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Dinna, dinna, dinna, dinna, dinna, dinna, dinna, dinna ......

Fuck Guy Fawkes, the Occupy London protest is actually more like batman; it gives you a good feeling knowing he/they’re out there fighting the good fight, just don’t think too hard about it or you’ll realise it’s a bunch of mentalists wearing their pants over their trousers.

I mean seriously, I had a nosey at the protests the other day and the first thing I came across was a cardboard sign claiming 9’11 was a conspiracy. Similarly, a vaguely interesting episode of the Radio 4 programme the Report (broadcast Nov 17th) described how attempts to get the Occupy London lot to support a Tobin/Robin Hood tax had failed because (a) every demand they make requires consensus and (b) as some of the protestors oppose the very existence of banks, a tax on financial transactions was irrelevant.

But, that kind of naïve/stupid/ideological purity at all costs regardless of it achieving nothing of any substance whatsoever/adolescent fucktardness isn’t the point. The actual point is to ignore pretty much anything the protestors say and focus instead on the broader cultural wave they’re riding.

To give just one example here is what a post in the Financial Times FT Alphaville blog said in advance of the Pre-Budget thingy - “The misery can be eased, and the populace comforted, if only Mr Osborne could find a way of making the fattest cats pay more. He underestimates the depth of feeling against this thin layer of full-fat atop the skimmed milk the rest of us are on at his peril. Pay rises to FTSE100 directors, bonuses for bankers at loss-making rescued banks, and rewards to departing failed executives (in both public and private sectors) all fuel the resentment. Austerity is bearable if everyone is paying. If some are seen to escape, then the likely result is something much worse than a few tents outside St Pauls.”

Just chew on that for a second – this is the Financial Times being used to warn the chancellor that he needs to do something about fat cats because of a widespread revulsion about how things are playing out. The Financial Times!

Tomorrow’s one day public sector strike similarly epitomises this broader cultural wave. So sure, sure, you can slag off public sector workers for not living in the “real” world as you make arrangements for getting your kids looked after. You could even compare and contrast “gold plated” public sector pensions with the private sector, ignoring in the process how that simply reflects the weakness of private sector trade unionism. But, again that, as with slagging off the Occupy lot as get a haircut, get a job, have a bath mentals, is to miss the point.

Rather, as at least one teacher has put it straightforwardly to me “why should I have to pay for the mess the bankers made?” It’s a fair question, one that simply isn’t getting asked with any meaning by any mainstream politicians of any significance and certainly doesn’t figure in any of their policies. It also taps into what I think (for which read hope going by the pathetic turnouts in the numerous strike votes) is a broader dissatisfaction with the way shit is wherein the legitimacy of established arrangements – we vote for a socio-economic-political elite to get more and more of everything it wants in exchange for us getting a decent pension, a job, a new telly and a future for our kids – is currently being got tae fuck in a fuck me and you, but never them kind of way.

P.S. No this isn't a plea to view things via some puerile end capitalism now vs give the job/wealth creators everything they want cos we’ll all benefit in the long run dichotomy, not least because in the long run we are all dead.

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