There’s an odd contradiction in Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh’s scathing denunciation of the British political elite. At one point she says “as long as the books get balanced”, clearly implying that economic considerations are the primary concern of the corrupt and incompetent clique which has inexplicably inveigled its way into power. Later, however, she refers to British Nationalism’s isolationist obsession with “taking back control of borders, whatever the human or economic cost”, implying that economic considerations are subsidiary to ideological imperatives.
I do not for one moment suppose this contradiction to be the product of loose-thinking on the part of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh. Rather, it is an inconsistency which derives from and reflects the bedlam chaos at the heart of the British state. Chaos in the sense of disorder. Disorder in the sense of both pandemonium and disease.
British politics is beset by a chaos in which the dogmas of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy and elitist nationalism clash and cooperate and combine and compete in ever more erratic ways. It is a disorder of politics and of basic humanity. A disease which strips the afflicted of all inexpedient empathy.
The hippies got it wrong. As did dystopian cynics – or whatever the opposite of a hippy may be. It is not love that matters. Nor is it hate. It is fear. Fear is the great engine of life. For life is simply the avoidance of fearful death. It is fear which drives all human affairs from the interpersonal to the international. Fear and its antidote – power! We are all afraid of everything all of the time. So we all seek power in order to allay the fear. Thus, all human interactions are transactions in power; a constant and largely unconscious bargaining process in which we seek to optimise our power so as to minimise our fear.
Money gives form to this trade in power. Politics is what we call the bargaining process. An inordinate lust for money and power betokens great fear. An excessive imbalance between power and fear denotes a failure of politics.
The politics of fear breeds fearful politicians. Fearful politicians crave and accumulate extraordinary power. This unnatural accretion of power creates an insupportable social imbalance. On the losing side of that imbalance, fear inevitably increases. Politicians exploit this fear. The politics of fear breeds fearful politicians. A vicious cycle resulting in an inexorable descent into chaos.
Empathy hinders the acquisition of power. The greater the fear, the greater the hunger for power. The greater the hunger for power, the greater the need to suppress empathy. Eventually, empathy is crushed out of existence. What remains is Iain Duncan Smith.
It is not difficult to see how the processes outlined here must lead to chaos. Or how chronic inhibition of empathy can develop into a pathological disconnection from society, humanity and reality. And we’re back to Iain Duncan Smith again.
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh tries to describe the imbecilic haphazardness and mindless cruelty that characterises what the British political elite has become. But the senselessness and insensitivity defy language.
If you find these articles interesting please consider a small donation to help support this site and my other activities on behalf of Scotland’s independence movement.