I am 65 years old. In the, slightly more than, half a century that I have been politically aware, I cannot recall a time when ‘we’ were not in the midst of an economic crisis; on the verge of and economic crisis; or struggling to recover from an economic crisis. In all circumstances, the measures commended as the solution to the economic crisis; the means of avoiding it; or the way to ‘safeguard the recovery’ varied, not according to the nature of the crisis, but in line with the personal and partisan interests of the person doing the commending.
There’s rarely anything new in politics. There’s just different ways of presenting the same old crap. The faces change… slightly. But the message remains the same. Be afraid!
Be afraid that you will lose whatever you have. Be afraid that you will lose relative to some other individual or group. Be afraid that things will get worse. Be afraid that you will miss out on an opportunity to make things better.
Be afraid to choose. Be afraid to decide. Be afraid to act. Be afraid to do none of these.
Politics, which should be a contest of dreams, hopes and aspirations has become, instead, a battlefield of nightmares. The dreamers, whose visions of a better community, a better society, or a better world, once inspired endeavours to realise that better community, society or world, are now mocked as woolly-minded fantasists or vilified as dangerous radicals.
To speak of such things as hope and aspiration is to be relegated to the fringes, well away from the ‘real’ politics. Politics has become the near-exclusive province of the pedlars of doom. Once we might have been lifted up by ambitious reformers – bright of eye, big of heart and bearing bold messages of promise and potential and possibility. Now, we are daily brought down by the purveyors of despair and their pebble-eyed, abacus-hearted priesthood of economic orthodoxy.
Alistair Darling is an arse. I guess that’s what I was leading up to. But the statement that this or that British politician is an arse is such a commonplace that some preamble seemed to be required. He’s an arse.
During the first referendum campaign, Darling’s role was to present blatant lies and patent nonsense with a desperately dull, desultory, droning delivery that his operators hoped would lend the authority of a dispassionate automaton to the dishonest drivel oozing out of his head. Many of you will recall that his favourite gobbet of untruth as being the maliciously inane fiction that an independent Scotland would have been liable for the full cost of bailing-out the nominally ‘Scottish’ banks. A plainly false claim that was, of course, never challenged.
The British establishment rewards its loyal servants, and Darling has now been moved from storage in a dusty cupboard at British Labour HQ to the rather more salubrious surroundings of the home for discarded political whores within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster. From whence he can be dragged to recite some portentous scripted pish at the press of that button located just below the slot with the sign saying, “Insert thirty pieces of silver here!”.
What words of wisdom is the ‘Arse That Saved The World’ bestowing on us now? What pearl of profound witlessness is he casting before the plebeian swine? Turns out ‘wur doomed’ again! Who would have thought it? If we don’t do what Darling has been instructed to tell us to do, a bad thing will happen that is worse than the bad thing that will happen if we do (or don’t do) the other thing which some other Darling-thing is telling us is the only way to avoid bad things happening that are worse than the bad things that are going to happen regardless of what we do – or don’t do.
Specifically, the cost of your mortgage will rise if you vote to leave the EU.
Are your knees jerking yet?
A question occurs to me when I hear this. It’s a question that often popped into my mind during the first referendum campaign when I heard the latest pernicious propaganda from Project Fear. Does Darling know that he’s talking nonsense? Or does he actually believe this stuff? Is he a liar? Or is he just unbelievably stupid?
Just as it was obvious to any thinking person that independent Scotland would NOT have been burdened with the cost of rescuing criminally incompetent bankers (for reasons I long since wearied of explaining), so it is just as glaringly obvious that mortgage rates are going to rise regardless of anything else that happens. That’s because there is no other way for them to go. The only way really is up.
Is Darling aware of this? Has it occurred to him? Does it matter? Would he read the script supplied for him anyway?
It’s of no consequence whether there is any truth in the script. It doesn’t even have to make sense. The only consideration is that it is a message of fear. For such is the language of a politics that has been left a dessicated, hollowed-out husk, sucked dry of all dreams, hopes and aspirations. A politics that has been stripped of any relevance to people. A politics that is lost to us – unless we seize it back. And soon.