Monday, 3 September 2012

A dignified part

A cool thing about America is how looking at stuff there gives an insight into how shit is/will be here in an if only I could see myself how others do style. Not everything of course, but some good ‘uns, my personal favourite being the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). 

The MIC is so popular with the US left it figures in “pop” songs.  Calling it out highlights the actual relationship between private military contractors and the state and how the former lobbies for increased defence spending, using the profits this generates to grease the revolving door between the two that sees officials responsible for spending taxpayer monies subsequently taking up well paid jobs with contract winners on a regular basis.

So the MIC draws attention to the vested interests and general bentness of government spending. Obviously nothing like that happens here what with our civil service having a deep and profound public service ethos give or take the PFI/PPP private sector bods who advise government on err PFI/PPP, the Ministry of Defence bods who get jobs with BAE etc., etc.,  ....

Actually, this reality prompts questions about why we tend to delude ourselves about such obvious bentness  given how much raw vested/self-interest figures in our lives as well. Am guessing it's because we remain suckers for the “dignified part” of the constitution Walter Bagehot went on about and kid ourselves its all fair play and a good innings ya de ya di bollocks. Like click here for a wonderfully naive example of some middle class English bod placing as much faith in the power of "independent" truth as an attorney played by Julia Roberts would in a Hollywood shitfest.

That aside the interesting thing right now is how little liberal American critiques of the American polity and the American right appear to be resonating here despite the reality. Starting with the polity, it’s the whole Washington is in its Wall Street paymasters’ pockets due to the reliance of politicians on political donations thang. Here? Ach, its totally and completely different, like “Under Cameron, forexample, the proportion of Conservative Party funding derived from the Cityrose by 25% in five years to make up 50.8% of the Party’s total – 27% of thiscame from hedge funds and private equity”. Oh. Oh dear.

But, hey that’s just cash for "dignified" knighthoods isn’t it, like it’s not as if financiers are backing up the influence and access their money gives them with policy ideas by promoting and supporting think tanks and policy proposals? Like its no as if 6 board members of the Tory Centre for Policy Studies think tank are bigwig fund managers, investment bankers or private equity bods. Oh, they are? And the only significant industry grouping on its board is finance with no other industry or sector having any meaningful representation whatsoever? Really? Oh.

But, hey at least the tendency of the US media to go easy on Republican/Right-wing lies isn’t replicated here, like when Paul Ryan lied about how fast he’d completed a marathon (!?!??)  it wasn’t as if our own Matthew Parris said “it's hard to imagine that Ryan's "misspeak" was a calculated lie ... that is exactly the kind of thing you know journalists are going to check. I don't think he was lying. He may genuinely have forgotten." Oh, except he did. And what exactly is a “misspeak”, is it “economical with the actualit√©” for the twitter generation? But, hey implies the mainstream media here is as easy on the US right as its US equivalent. Nah, no chance. 

Here, lets look at the BBC coverage ofPaul Ryan’s conference speech where he told a run of absolute, blatant whoppers to the extant that some US bods are now talking about “post-truth” politics wherein, contra Matthew Parris, politicians tell humungous porky pies the media doesn’t bother to check. 

Thankfully the Beeb in its lovely and objective way called him out every time by referring to Ryan’s speech/whopper list as having contained some “alleged inaccuracies” (?), “errors”(?) and that for some he was “slack with his facts” (WTF?) and was open to the charge of “misleading his audience”. Oh. No, not really, rather he told a run of utter whoppers, like UTTER whoppers with them and the marathon time thang indicating he’s got a pathological aversion to anything not in keeping with his worldview/public image.

Oh dear. This example actually suggests that when a US politician on the right lies thru his pants in public, his recent personal association with efforts to get utterly revolting notions of rape built into US law gets forgotten by our licence payer funded journalists because they're too busy twisting themselves in semantic knots trying to tone down his tendency to tell utter whoppers. Oh dear 2x.

Again the short-term question this prompts is why. Longer term, given Labour has already half-inched loads of Obama rhetoric, it’s whether in an era when the financiers that fucked the UK economy still have an obviously disproportionate influence over the UK polity in ways that reek of hotdogs, we’re also heading towards a post-truth politics. That or whether we’re already there.

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