A friend and I recently agreed that Naomi Klein’s latest book No is not Enough appeals less to Brits than North Americans.
We have other things going on like Corbyn and Brexit.
I like how the American media are so upfront. They openly discuss their administration’s white nationalism and deregulatory stance on health insurance, tax, guns, & net neutrality.
Here in the UK our deregulation is not so much spoon-fed as subliminal.
Just like with shadow banking, we know it’s naughty, we know it’s happening, but we act as though everything’s above board.
Too much Red Tape, Mate
The Brexit vote of June 2016 was sold as the perfect opportunity to take back control of our borders, recover sovereignty and cut Red Tape.
Click the image below for the original Sun article.
But exactly which regulations we’ll be cutting remains to be seen.
After all we’ll still need to retain the right to trade with Europe.
We’ll also need to keep our rights at work, protect our food, and look after the environment.
Countries will only trade with us if they trust our regulatory standards.
How will that happen if we become a totally unregulated space?
As Tax Justice Campaigner Richard Murphy puts it:
“We need rules. Try playing football without any rules. It doesn’t work.”
The lack of clarity from our journalists and politicians may be part of the problem.
Academics like Daniela Gabor, Prem Sikka, David Graeber, Vickie Cooper, David Whyte, Steve Tombs, and commentators like Frances Coppola, Ann Pettifor, Nicholas Wilson, and Ian Fraser are all reliable.
But few out and out hacks are prepared to rock the boat by asking difficult questions.
Even fewer politicians make meaningful commitments, give straight answers, or admit mistakes.
We don’t need no Education
In the midst of all this emerged Nigel Farage.
While the left and right were playing musical chairs in the centre, a gaping chasm opened up everywhere else.
All anyone had to do to occupy the space was point out the contradictions in the system.
Engineering of Consent
So in a strange social experiment the British public briefly entered an age of demagoguery. One that can’t be undone.
Where Thatcher, Blair and even Cameron got their voters mildly excited, unelected Mr Farage got the nation to say “No” to the Establishment and replace it with — the Establishment!
The only problem with all this was that nobody ever thought that the Brexiteers could win. The Brexiteers themselves had no idea what they’d do once they won their coup.
As Hannah Arendt said of the British Empire:
It has often been said that the British acquired their empire in a fit of absent-mindedness, as consequence of automatic trends, yielding to what seemed possible and what was tempting, rather than as a result of deliberate policy. If this is true, then the road to hell may just as well be paved with no intentions as with the proverbial good ones.
In the following clip Nigel Farage strategically attacks ‘diversity’ before claiming that English is no longer spoken in many parts of the UK.
He’s our very own Donald Trump. The influence he’s projected over global politics is staggering.
By relentlessly attacking every MP in sight whilst having never been more than an MEP in Brussels, Farage has become the ultimate spectactor.
Like Lear’s Fool and Donald Trump, Farage has been able to speak populist truth to power without following any of the rules by which normal politicians are bound.
But just like Trump, he’s a vicious corporatist.
Earlier this year after asking if Trump’s an anarchist, I asked anthropologist David Graeber to distinguish between corporatists like Farage and fascists like Marine Le Pen.
It was Auntie wot won it
Before the referendum I asked the BBC how frequently Farage had appeared on Newsnight, Question Time, and The Today Programme — they refused.
I assume someone like Rupert Murdoch was supporting him.
In the wake of the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry James Harding moved to manage BBC News after having edited Murdoch’s Times for six years.
Maybe he was leaned on by Murdoch to include Farage on the BBC’s radio and televised debates.
Despite being a fully paid up member of the Metropolitan Elite and presumably a Remainer, Harding knows which way his bread’s buttered.
Amusing ourselves to death
Though humouring his old boss would have been logical, what started out as a joke led to a constitutional crisis.
By attacking the EU and political correctness in the way that he has, Farage has managed to overturn forty years of food, employment, financial and environmental standards.
Farage is currently employed by Rupert Murdoch in the US and by LBC talk radio in the UK.
Neo-liberal economics was underpinned by a belief in the idea of infinite growth. But the rapid growth of the ‘left behinds’ who under Thatcher had been written off as the acceptable rate of unemployment led to a growing divide.
They had no way out of a life of austerity.
At the same time came the rise of the Metropolitan Elite with their skinny lattés and Polish plumbers
Plenty of newspapers also told their readers to vote for Brexit.
They weren’t all convinced by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove.
The Sun, the Mail, the Express, the Sunday Times, and the Telegraph are all still fervent Brexiteers.
But according to those Brexiteers who aren’t in the Cabinet, the Government are making a hash of Brexit.
The potential benefits of a Brexit deal are fast disappearing as the Government commits to paying more and more money to the EU.
- Who is going to stand up for UK regulation?
- How will a balance be struck between protecting UK business, UK citizens and non-citizens?