by John Ward
There is something unhealthy and despairing about trying to change real human culture in virtual media. All of us who oppose the attempt of process and power-money to crush individual creativity need to move on and utilise more subtle means of resistance. The Slog is no exception.
I try to keep OpEds to a minimum in these columns, because they can too easily turn into an academic plea for radicalism which (one knows) will attract widespread approval, but not much else. Further, most people visiting blogs online are incurably newscentric and – perhaps understandably – expect an information source to purvey up-to-the-minute developments. However, I’m a one man band whose contacts are retiring, dying or going doolally at a rate of knots, so there’s not much point in my competing in such an arena any more.
We are now at one of those places of change where those in charge attempt to solve an insoluble problem by changing places. They are variously called crossroads, watersheds, cliff-edges, new paradigms, tectonic stress points and many another term designed to suggest that the world is moving from one epoque to another. There is much hot air designed to inflate yet another political balloon, and new groupings appear, such as ChangeUK and The Brexit Party.
ChangeUK is such a transparently cynical act of power opportunism, not even the British liberal can take it seriously. Indeed – reverting briefly to newshound if I may – I can tell you that at least two members of the CUK team are already making discreet enquiries among Leftlib allies about the possibility of face-saving exits from Chukka’s CUKup.
The Brexit Party is a one-issue, one-man operation formed to address a disgraceful attempt by arrogant legislators and bureaucrats to subvert British sovereignty on both a political and military level. I admire what Nigel Farage has achieved, but to be frank, he is not the Messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy. I know this irritates some Farragoistas out there, but The Slog is designed to offer people factors and realities that might aid their decision-making: it is not a propaganda sheet. I leave that sort of onanism to the leftrightleftright MSM.
There is, I freely admit, a problem with The Slog at the moment, and it is easy to define, but a tricky problem to solve. That’s to say, it’s getting repetitive: and trust me, this bores me far more than any single reader.
The crisis in the West – and to some extent, across the planet – is not political: it is cultural and constitutional. Although it stems from an absence of political spine and ethics, it will not be solved by changing faces or places among the Political Class. That political sphere regards The People today as little more than a nuisance….and the same thing applies to the Alt States to whom they long ago sold out.
On the other side of the section break below, I offer some personal examples from the last fortnight. I do so only to bring the issue to life at the sharp end: what I’m about to relate is a shared life experience for all older, middle-market people of intelligence, not a sample of one. As such, it is of course far less irksome than the life being borne (and it is no better than that) by people on lower incomes, or youths entering the “job” market. Such are usually far away from the metropolitan red carpets upon which journos, celebs, bankers, bureaucrats, globalists, hitech geeks, lawyers and accountants walk with a light air of grinning unconcern.
In any given day, the time I have available to write, play guitar, garden, cut grass, cook, exercise and read is severely curtailed by the non-stop chore of dealing with forms, websites, tax demands, poor product design, household chores, online updates, apps, attempted fraud, poor postal services, rising maintenance costs, incompetence, market rigging, financial scams and keyboard-tappers from Whitehall to Paris.
The lifestyle I deserve at the age of 71 (and yes, I know it’s better than most – but I did work my nuts off over four decades to get it) is variously interrupted, screwed up, diverted, postponed and damaged beyond repair by those people it seems we cannot do without.
I came to France five years ago, and informed the HMRC that I would not be returning. After six phone/email exchanges and a nasty letter to the Director, I finally got an apology. They still send me a tax demand every year.
Despite being given the signed Anglo-French tax agreement in 2014, they still continue to take tax off my income, for which I am then hit again by the Trésor Public. Next year, tax form submission here is about to go completely online. I’ll be fined if I don’t use it, but to do so requires my Blue Form, and the Trésor have, over three years, failed to send it to me.
In two weeks time, I have to pay €3,000 in tax, on the nail, no credit allowed. It’ll be six months and more emails, forms etc before the HMRC reimburses me. My land tax here has doubled to €1,500 over the last two years (merci beaucoup, M. Le Président). Last Sunday I went to vote in the euro elections, and was told I don’t exist. My existence, you see, is clear to the tax inspector. Just not to those allegedly in charge of ‘no taxation without representation’.
So much for bureaucracy. On to the banks, with a bit of hitech thrown in for added frustration.
I went online to my French bank account yesterday, and tapped in the usual codes with great care. I did the same thing three times, and then the account was blocked. I rang the bank, and tried again this morning. This time it let me through, but there’s been a software “improvement”. Whereas I used to simply click on the account to see the transaction details, now I have to download a little symbol. When I try to open it, I’m told I need an App. When I try to download the app, up pops Micosoft to say I need a microsoft account to get the app. I would rather chew anthrax-radiated glass than open a Microsoft account. Checkmate.
The bank is confused, but working on it. They have (they admit) had a few problems with the improved system. I have a meeting next Tuesday with them to discuss my way out of the cul de sac. Such is the upshot of progress.
When I began investing heavily in gold during January this year, both my British and American banks did everything in their power to stop me. It was March before I was able (via a borderless exchange card outside the system) to make the investments.
In order to “save” that very same banking system in 2010, the authorities (or as I tend to think of them these days, the authoritarians) introduced Zirp (no return on your investments for eight years) and QE. The first cost me £37,400 in lost interest, assuming a normal rate at circa 4%; the second crucified my pension fund by 40%, as I’d taken out bear notes. All those on the inside track have been making money on the markets ever since, despite the fact that – in a ‘straight’ investment space – such growth was entirely fraudulent.
Without shrewd investment in gold between 2010 and 2013, I would’ve been up the boulevard of excrement. But that meant me, effectively, becoming a day-trader for two years…..thanks to incompetent “advice”. Now I am back in gold again. The manner in which the price of gold is being capped each and every day (largely by the US fed banks) is so obvious it would be a source of hilarity. As it is, one cannot help but feel a sense of abuse by the bent rather than amusement.
The US and the UK spent between them over $2trillion in 2009 – our money, every penny of it – buying up idiotic packages of worthless paper swimming about like plastic beakers in the world’s oceans. To this day, no audit exists of where that money went. But ten years on, my net worth has gone down 30% and my pension income by 50%.
“Thank God inflation has been near zero,” I hear you cry. That brings us on to goverment statistics on inflation, unemployment, economic growth and fiscal tax levels. I don’t have space for the compleat victim’s guide to calumny re this one, but I do heartily recommend you go to one of the best written, informed and compiled sites on the Web, Shadow Stats, produced under the auspices of the indefatigable John Williams.
SS is devoid of conspiracy speculation, and provides nothing but hard facts on how all of us have been misled since around 1980 about what our money’s worth, how much growth there really is in the global economy, how many of our fellow citizens are jobless or on severely limited hours, and what the total level of taxation really is.
Which is, I guess, a smooth segue into mercantile globalist monopolism. This insists that everything ‘durable’ big business sells us must cost more and die quickly, otherwise repurchase will slow down, and the bourses that quote the “value” of these behemoths will get upset about falling profits. The accountants bring in robots, move jobs offshore to Asia and cut further corners on the manufacturing quality; when that’s no longer enough, they fire more people and demand longer hours. You see, our ability to consume has fallen by 30% since 1988.
For the likes of you and I on medium incomes, it means longer hours spent underneath motor mowers or atop spiral staircases, doing the best make do and mend job we can on execrable design and manufacture that used Artificial Intelligence. Meanwhile, some 80 million living examples of real intelligence are raising all our taxes further by needing to call upon welfare systems. And to get elected next time on low-tax bribes, the political class will cut the benefits they give to those people….and even deny their civil right to a State Pension into which they have paid for 45 years.
All of which brings me full circle. For while the political class has sold out to all the aforementioned elements contributing to daily frustration for the citizen, that treachery is now so universal, the problem is no longer political.
Let’s just catch out breath here, and try to grasp the all-encompassing nature of this unjust insanity. The media we pay to read use technology to censor our information. The taxes we pay to have policing give officers better hardware with which to repress dissent. The national wealth we created from our labours bails out the banking system which long cheated us, and provides an excuse for bankers to cut our income further while paying themselves larger and larger bonuses. The bureaucrats who retire on index-linked but unfunded pensions (paid for by our taxes) decide they know better than we, and methodically undermine our consitutionally stated democratic desire to be free from other bureaucrats in Brussels. The hitech industry making fortunes on the stock markets (while feeding every idiot’s desire to take selfies) develops software programs of ever greater complexity and inconvenience, enables the bourses to screw every small investor with algorithms, works hand in glove with surveillance agencies to monitor so-called ‘social’ media, and develops smart cards that will – one day very soon – mean every citizen in every country can be pinpointed 24/7 because that plastic has no cash alternative. It is a wet-dream for every Stasi, KGB, MI6, CIA and NSA on every continent.
That is the nature of our life in the global dairy.
We are cows paying to be milked: habitually obedient beasts clubbed over the head on those rare occasions when we dare to ask why. And the most jet-black part of this accurate analogy is that eight out of ten cows just carry on giving milk, running out of grass, and suffering occasional headaches.
Animal Rights activists find such ideas abhorrent. But even they just carry on falling for the same confidence trick.
And therein lies the core of the problem: for all ideologues believe it is political in nature. Marx himself said, “Everything is political”. The Leftlib tendency from Corbyn to Cable has no desire at all to change the way government works. Religious fundamentalists have always looked to political power as their best patron: as it was with the Spanish Inquisition, so it is now with European Islam. And the clear majority of Western neoliberal politicians no longer even think about questioning the wisdom of an economic approach that is patently obviously eating itself.
Government by contrick and taxation allows every belief-system priesthood to bathe in milk. For 400 years after the diminution of Catholicism’s grip on the European State, legislators steadily executed troublesome priests, beheaded monarchs and moved in concentric circles towards something approaching the greatest fulfilment of the greatest number of citizens.
But new isms emerged to divide us: Communism, Fascism, Feminism, Islamism, Monetarism – and lately, bloc-head Federalism.
All of them express themselves in one form or another as political. But they are not. They are totalitarian. And it is a mistake to see the totalitarian mentality as in any way civic, let alone political.
This is the conundrum that every thoughtful citizen has to address today: the vast majority of voters still think that our right to stick a cross on a piece of paper stands a good chance of improving the lot of the Many, not the Few. All the evidence we have to hand across the US, South America, the EU, Africa and Russia suggests that they inhabit clouds along with many other cuckoos.
Political muscle today is not flexed in the legislatures. It resides in the financial districts, media conglomerates, bourse-quoted boardrooms, hitech R&D departments, oil-rich oligarchies, bureaucratic corridors, military establishments, State security professionals, shadowy lobbyists, image management consultancies, various educational conformity networks and a dozen or so obscenely rich individuals.
Recent history so obviously illustrates this, the denials of it during that history by political smear artists now seem laughable: Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Dianne Abbott and Theresa May have, in the British experience alone, all demonised foreign nations, internet news sources, public broadcasters and Whitehall rebels in a bid to show we have status quo rather than ethical meltdown.
They cannot, however, put everything back in Pandora’s expansive box. David Cameron was disappeared, Donald Trump is the prisoner of a populist success detested by US business interests, Emmanuel Macron is a pathetic creature of monied manipulation, and Theresa May was a glaring Alt State plant from Day 1.
I like to think of myself as a thoughtful citizen. But I face the same conundrum as the readers who visit this site have with their immediate friends and family: it is tilting at windmills a lot of the time. The Slog has a niche influence in one country and a few other (largely anglophone) places. Establishment search engines ensure that it remains in a niche. In many ways, that’s fine by me: were it to get much bigger, the butterfly would be broken on the wheel. I have no desire at all to be a dead butterfly.
I’ve felt for some time that, as a medium for considered philosophy, the internet offers only diminishing returns: it thrives on the kneejerk reaction. The Slog doesn’t; so while I fully intend to keep it in existence, I propose from here on to look at other ways of skinning fat cats.
Fiction is one, sitcoms another, song yet another, and visually transmitted satire another still. We all need to stay fresh and move on. The key thing is not to forget those who are being left behind.