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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

201. Change the Rules.

That is what Law is, Rules for adults.

If the world were a school, at the moment it’s as if the spoilt school bully and a few chosen pals are telling everyone else what to do while beating up the little kids. The rest of the school is just handing over their lunch money. The bullies keep their positions by telling us there are monsters under the bed and our problems are caused by the kids who wear glasses or came from another school or have asthma…

Ever wondered why so many of the rules seem crazy? Ever wondered why so many of the laws favour the rich and powerful? Yes. The answer really is as obvious as you think it is. Rich powerful people make rules that benefit rich powerful people. And we all sort of know that now. 

Between 1945 and 1979 in Britain things briefly shifted to benefit ordinary people. However, altering the rules again to re-balance society is now presented as ridiculously problematic.

During the Blair premiership a favourite phrase dominated the new ‘sound-bite’ politics – “difficult decisions”. Difficult decisions became a euphemism for getting essential things wrong (like the Iraq war) Also it became an excuse for not trying to do the right thing. So – not going to war seems to be a huge difficulty. Getting very rich people to pay taxes is, we are told, very difficult. Poor people will be prosecuted for over-claiming benefits, but the very rich are invited in for meetings to discuss how much of their owed tax they would like to pay – IF they are caught. Protecting the environment is always presented as ludicrously difficult and complex.

And why is the populous apparently paralysed? The 'F' word - Fear. That tired but effective tool. Fear, fear and more fear. Currently everyone seems to be scared of everyone else. We are even scared, apparently, of women’s swimming costumes.

Recently there have been public calls for two UK tycoons to lose their knighthoods. For those outside the UK let me explain. A knighthood is a social bauble the equivalent of giving a 5-year-old a badge. Depending on your point of view it is either a reward for hard work or a prize for toadying. People obsessed with position and hierarchy love this stuff. It is mediaeval patronage, feudal favouritism in the 21st century. Yet, in the face of the gross abuse of position and privilege, all our elected MPs can think of is to call for cruel greedy men like Sir Philip Green (see blog 185.) to be stripped of his title – take his bauble away.

It’s darkly funny and disgusting.

Following the letter of the law neither Sir Green or Sir Branson have done anything wrong. What is pivotal is that the people who made the laws by which we all live have more in common with Green and Branson than they do to the ordinary Jo or Joanna in the street. That’s why a huge gap has grown between what is obviously morally right or wrong and what you can get away with if you have expensive accountants and lawyers.

In the 1980s Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was able to radically alter the rules to further benefit the rich. It was as if Marie Antoinette, instead of saying ‘let them eat cake’ ordered the poor to give up their rotten food and sell their firewood so she could have new earrings every day. For over 3 decades no one has been able – or had the political will - to alter that situation.

In the face of huge opposition (even from some Tories) Thatcher implemented the infamous Council Tax which has led to decades of unfair financial pressure on ordinary families. She privatised the railways, energy, water and telecommunications so that billions of pounds of income that could have benefited everyone in the form of investment in infrastructure, have gone to private shareholders. With the help of the police and the BBC Thatcher mercilessly crushed the miners, devastating entire communities for generations. (By the way – if you have a twisted sense of humour you might be interested in the BBC is running a programme, today, asking Brits ‘how has terrorism affected your holiday?' I'm not joking…)

The point is, if it was possible for one administration to so radically alter the rules to benefit those who already had plenty why are we buying the lie that it is so very difficult, almost impossible to CHANGE THE RULES to get some flow back in the other direction.

Let’s change the rules so the morally filthy, filthy rich can’t ruin the lives of ordinary people for personal gain. Let's change the rules so that the public purse is not funding billionaires. They can call themselves all the silly names they like.

Change the rules or change the rulers.

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Thanks for reading. 
N.B. my novels, children’s books and comedy autobiography (Maybe I’m not a Pigeon) are also available as e-books.
If you are interested in the environment Casey and the Surfmen written and read by me is available directly from Bandcamp -

https://amandabaker.bandcamp.com

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