It is worth bearing in mind that a government is not the country, it is not the people, it is not society and, most especially, it is not community or the daily reality of people’s lives.
Good governance is like grease on a bearing, never to be confused with the bearing itself, which actually does the work.
Remember how Margaret Thatcher broke the unions, shut the mines and devastated the communities of those who mined the black gold? What an astonishing achievement, given that no government ever extracted a single lump of coal from the earth to warm the hearth and heart of another human being.
There is no greater tyrant than a government that gets above itself, that believes in the myth of its own privilege and which ceases to serve, to become the master.
When the people become the slaves of government, the game is over and the lives of the people are reduced to drudgery and oppression and this brief, yet amazing, gift of life risks becoming a burden and a curse.
The Tories are a great many things but what they are not is even a half decent or legitimate government. Austerity was always a lie, we were never all in this together, poor people did not crash the economy, we were never the skivers or the scroungers and the only purpose of the Tories is to transfer the wealth of the people into the hands of the rapaciously greedy top 10% of the most wealthy people and corporations.
There is an astonishing thing going on in the world. Workers have always been despised by the privileged, but they have suffered us to exist because they literally knew which side the bread was buttered and who baked the bread. Suddenly, however, now that they’ve killed industry in the UK, they no longer require a massed workforce. If your ideas of humanity are predicated on our usefulness as a work force, then it stands to reason that millions of us are now superfluous to requirements.
If you happen to be a greedy oligarch whose only loyalty is to his wealth, then the genocide of the most frail and vulnerable people and those who have least value, or no value, as workers makes absolute positive sense. The Tories pretend that work is a health outcome, it’s a way of sorting the chaff from the wheat, and you burn (dispose of) the chaff.
What the Tories have either forgotten, or never cared to know or understand, is that people matter, life matters. No matter how humble their lives, no matter how little they may understand politics and what goes on in the, so called, corridors of power, people’s lives matter, because life is why we’re here, life is how we are here, to be, for a brief time, a resident of this good and wholesome Earth.
No one has the right to deny us that, even if they have the power. That’s what human rights are all about, a deep reverence and understanding of what life is about and to ensure it is protected and enabled.
When government abandons the people, the people must abandon the government. If they are not representing us, they are of no earthly use to us. It is as simple as that. All else follows.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s we were being told that technology would replace our labour and we’d get to enjoy a 3 day working week, at least. The technology has happened and exceeded our wildest expectations, but all the benefits have been stolen from under our noses to feed the greed of those who stash their ill gotten gains in tax havens. And what has this government done? It has enabled and rewarded the theft of wealth and the benefits of technology that should rightly belong to all and people are forced into bullshit jobs for bullshit pay and bullshit conditions.
Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world, he has exploited technology and those who work for him and his ‘winnings’, as he calls them, are in excess of $150 billion . Apparently, he’s short of ideas of what to do with so much wealth that even god would blink, “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it,” he said . He should have been a beauty queen, maybe then world hunger might have suggested itself to him, or even paying his workers a living wage, instead his only thought is to spunk his wealth into space .
The fact is that the robbery will never cease as long as we are forced to rely on a top down hierarchy of enforced slavery for the vast majority of workers. The Tory government could not make it any clearer as they force terminally ill people into work and claim work is a health outcome and coerce people into job seeking by sanctioning them and depriving them of the means of survival .
There is inevitably and quite rightly immense anger directed at the Tories and also a desire for vengeance. Many thousands are now dead, people whose only crime was to be disabled or poor or seriously, even terminally, ill. We are certainly right to demand an accounting, but that gives us nothing for the future. We absolutely need a way forwards, a direction that does not include the Tories or their genocidal behaviour towards us.
My job as a writer is to explore the avenues of ideas and I can see a fundamental flaw in my own thinking, I still think in terms of the legitimacy of government but miss the essential role that we, the people, must play in future. It’s clear that a very small number of people have subjugated an entire nation, and the world, that is what we must fight and never allow it to happen again. That means, in any and every way we can imagine and work, that we take back power. That may mean forming co-op banks and businesses, localising, decentralising, bottom up decision making. The world leaders want more globalisation, I believe we must resist that because the terms of their globalisation are all about exploitation, the subjugation of humanity and theft of resources, which the world can no longer sustain. That doesn’t mean not acting globally, just not on their shitty terms. They want to rule, we must work together in cooperation.
Humanity has developed through cooperation, not competition, that’s how we came to live in villages and meet the needs of the community and grow.
Instead of a man like Bezos usurping technology and keeping all the benefits for himself, all the benefits of technology are available to us. People much smarter than Bezos understand and know how to use technology. These rich pigs didn’t invent it, they just exploited it, ordinary intelligent, smart, people create development and progress. It’s available to us, but we have to reach out and take it and no longer trust those who seek to rule us not to abuse us. This is the struggle Tony Benn talked about, the perennial struggle.
His words will ring true whenever and where ever we live, because they are true. “Even relatively benign and temporary authoritarianism that rests upon elected power is being challenged. We are moving rapidly towards a situation where the pressure for the redistribution of political power will have to be faced as a major political issue. In a world where authoritarianism of the left or right is a very real possibility, the question of whether ordinary people can govern themselves by consent is still on trial – as it always has been, and always will be. Beyond parliamentary democracy as we know it, we shall have to find a new popular democracy to replace it.” Tony Benn – Speech to the Welsh Council of Labour (25 May 1968).
That is the opportunity we can grasp, if we so choose. Democracy is by no means dead, but its survival belongs to us, not them. The Tories have betrayed Britain, but the people are not their slaves unless we allow ourselves to be enslaved through coercion and brutality. That’s the Tory way, the DWP way, but it is not our way. Resistance isn’t futile, it’s very, very fertile, in fact, a great well of opportunity.
Keith Ordinary Guy with grateful thanks to Yan Ellis for the conversations that clarified our vision for this piece to emerge from its mental chrysalis. 26 March 2019.