More toxic leaks ooze out from the dark world of the grossly wealthy. The Panama Papers show how Mossack Foneska (MFs!) help the super-wealthy, including many ex heads of state, hide their ill-gotten billions. They protect the money siphoned off from national resources. They squirrel away the proceeds of exploitation so that is not wasted on projects such as health, social care, education, roads, support for the sick and elderly.
It is vile - it’s also a wonder tax havens are not in the news more. Or is it?
One thing is sure, the masses are not howling for the blood of these super parasites at the same pitch they are for immigrants, and other unfortunates.
This morning I listened spellbound to a gentle, brief chat on BBC radio as a rep from MFs discussed the nuances of tax limitation v tax avoidance. It was all very civilised.
Why is it so difficult to direct popular indignation onto those whose greed really affects our lives and the future of the planet? One answer in the UK is the remarkable success of Bigot Baiting.
Bigot Baiting is the constant presence of media items on how the poor and the powerless are responsible for our problems!
I’m not saying folk aren't fed Bigot Bait in other countries. In fact it’s very popular at the moment. However – what I observe, for example in the US, is that as Trump dishes out Bigot Bait by the tonne he gets hordes of new admirers but he turns off as many as he attracts – on the stats I read. There is fierce and funny public debate and comment about him, he is challenged on news programmes. In fact one of his few high profile arse-licks is our own establishment boy – Piers Morgan!
Following on from last week’s blog, I've spent some time reading both press and comments and in a very rough analysis I’d have to conclude this is not happening in Britain. Bigot Bait is swallowed hook line and sinker by a worryingly large number of people. Maybe because it is served in bite sized chunks relentlessly, ceaselessly, unremittingly, often by the main stream media.
Step back a few years when the hapless Gordon Brown had a go at the getting-elected-thing. He had an infamous encounter with what politicians like to call an ‘ordinary voter’. Clumsy with the subtleties of media juggling he said, on mic, that the woman seemed bigoted in her expressed views on immigrants. She seemed like that to me too. But he was forced to apologise and became - unelectable.
Not only did it subsequently become de-rigeuer to accuse people of being bigots – even if they were – it became fashionable to be a big loud stupid bigot. Suddenly the age-old politician’s trick of blaming every social wrong on those at the bottom of the pile – the disabled, single parents, those on benefits and now most especially migrants and EU immigrants – started to seem less grubby. It was like a political lottery win for a lazy media, weak leaders and most of all the bigots themselves.
Recently the Arch Bishop Justin Well-heeled was berating the country for drawing a parallel between those who are anti-immigrant and bigots. Which is great from a church that – while the world is burning – is still struggling with gender equality centuries after its famous murdering, misogynist founder Henry VIII deceased.
The EU is being blamed for our failure to save the steel industry.' Europe won’t allow us to support our steel industry' goes up the cry. Odd.
Fact is that in equivalently developed European nations – Germany – Italy – France, energy is far cheaper than in the UK because they invested in their energy industry and especially in renewables DECADES AGO and that helps the steel industry. Plus, in trying to slaver up to China, it was the UK that blocked steel tariffs within the EU. But the facts don’t get through. Even the steel industry crisis takes on a xenophobic flavour. It’s nasty.
Is the argument ‘we are in this mess because of lack of leadership and planning’ difficult to grasp? Is the self-evident fact that tax avoidance robs the planet of resources, hard to understand?
Listen to any so-called interview on the EU, and immigration is the first port of prattle. Listen to or read the comments pages of the daily rags and in relation to Britain’s failure in the steel industry throngs of voices are screeching 'EU bad'.
If we vote to leave Europe and everything is still shit – what are they going to do then?
Blame the ducks…