People power no longer lies in the ballot box but in the bank. Thanks to mad credit – you don’t even need actual money to have pocket power these days…
Real representational democracy depends on what choices are being offered and who is offering them. In the UK, our current choice is between a PM with an insane, contradictory position on Brexit and an opposition ‘leader’ with an incoherent position on Brexit and no coherent position on anything else.
Democracy is also about democratic expression and respect for democratic institutions. So, for example, the clear democratic will of the people was ignored wholesale and democratic institutions were side-lined when Blair took the UK into Iraq with Bush. (see two posts ago)
But – horrific as it was – the latest headline school slaughter in Parkland US by yet another right-white with high powered weaponry, shows us something amazing. And I’m not even talking about the incredible, mature response of the young people. It’s the power of the purse. The weight of the wallet. The pressure of the pound or the dynamite of the dollar to really shift things.
In the US, the NRA has held numerous governments to ransom at the cost of countless wasted lives. And it’s not just guns. Big money is one reason our kids are eating shit like never before. The commercial food industry has a spend power that outweighs any health campaign by $billions. For decades the tobacco industry was the same, though here in the UK – finally - a calculation was done which proved that the cost the public purse via the NHS was just too great and we got some sensible legislation on smoking at least in public places. However, even within the short life of this blog I’ve written about the way David Cameron’s previous administration, yes – the ‘leader’ who gave us Brexit, barred and blocked and prevaricated on tackling tobacco advertising. (See blog 47 Smoking causes Government Insanity).
The UK has been a grab-what-you-can fest for the elite since 1979. Thatcher sold off Britain’s family silver (and we’re all paying). Blair sold out democracy and world peace (and the world is still paying in the hardest currency). Clegg sold out the young who put their trust in him (they will always be paying). Cameron squandered Britain’s future for a Tory 6th form game of dare (and they’re still playing). May and her flaccid grey dull cabinet of clowns are simply allowing the tattered remnants of Britain’s reputation to run, ever more quickly, through their fingers. For your elucidation I have tried to illustrate this in new cartoon see ‘something’s gotta give’ @ https://plus.google.com/collection/E8toME
But in the US, big companies have taken minor action – finally realising that the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want their kids gunned down in school. Airlines and car rental companies started by pulling NRA perks. Hunting shops and even Walmart have unilaterally introduced the kinds of minimal safeguards that government would not.
It’s not altruism. Companies with profit margins see better than those who should be paying attention that the tide has turned. Parents will no longer put up with school carnage or those who allow it. Corporations sensed the mood change and do not want to be on the wrong side. Commerce seems therefore, far more attuned to their consumers than politicians have been. Rest assured politicians will follow.
I’ve written many times about this kind of power. In the face of – for example – the BBC’s blatant disregard for the fact that it is no longer 1950 – I suggested that anyone who is not a privileged white male and/or living in London is mad to still pay their licence fee.
I’ve written about the dehumanising money-grabbing practices of many high street outlets from supermarkets to banks (e.g. blog 218 Lidl – 0 Barrack Obama - 1). Before its too late and ALL of them have banished human employees – is it too difficult to find your way to patronise the ones that still treat us like humans i.e. those that have staff?
Ditto services. If you are unlucky enough to have to use a law firm or other money orientated institution look for one that employs people who were state educated, working class – black - female. WHY? Because fairly quickly you’ll see more and more of those firms suddenly opting to give ordinary kids a chance. Some shops may decide to keep actual human employees like people you know. Elitist organisations may suddenly find a sense of fairness. If it affects their profit margins, do not underestimate how ready they would be to throw their own under that bus and give those who’ve never had a chance – a chance.
The UK chancellor is again claiming that the UK economy isn’t doing too badly – (ref; blog 261 - Beware the Disconnect – where I examine how this could be technically true but also a very big lie). But if ever there was evidence that those in power simply care about money (and power) it’s all around us. Even their measures of success have little to do with real human lives.
We have the Power but it’s not in the ballot box - it’s in the bank.
and check out some of my novels, children's books, future dsytpian sci fi for Easter.