Thursday, February 19, 2009

Liberty

It is gratifying to see Timothy Garton Ash weigh in on the eradication of British liberty by the New Labour government.
Those who would make those over whom they rule less free are tyrants. 'Community harmony', the excuse used to justify the exclusion of Geert Wilders, is just another strain of state authoritarianism; played fortissimo, it yells 'Security!', while 'community harmony' is the pianissimo strain.
Yet while the British state's pianissimo artists will use any and all excuses to stamp the peoples' face into the dust, Garton Ash is really no better than they are. He gets irritated at the loss of civil liberty, while at the same time repeatedly using the phrase 'We in Europe', conflating the British nation with 'Europe' - a true construct to which we must all bow the knee.
Garton Ash is, of course, free to call himself and even think of himself as being a European if he wishes - to paraphrase Joan Cusack in 'Working Girl', 'I jump around in front of the mirror in my underwear, but it doesn't make me Madonna'.
For the rest of us, being a European means that you have to suffer the loss of economic liberty occasioned by displacement from the workforce. What did Garton Ash have to say about the Lindsey oil refinery dispute, the roots of which were in the right of free movement of labour throughout the European Union? Not much, as far as I can see. It is often said that political liberty follows economic liberty - if true, the reverse, that the loss of political liberty is a consequence of the loss of economic liberty, might also be true. The loss of the individual British citizen's economic liberty has been British government's most pernicious collective achievement of the past 30 years.
For example, that labour should seek to organise in its own interests is, according to the principles of classical economics, perfectly rational - yet this right has been systematically eroded to the advantage of employers.
For example, why should the closed shop be illegal for manufacturing workers, when the House of Commons is, with rare exceptions, the biggest closed shop of all; the one operated by political parties? Ban the closed shop completely - so ban political parties.
'Chaos!' 'Ruin!' cry the mavens. Worst of all, 'Populism!' 'Populism!' Rubbish. The party system does not preserve or enhance liberty - it diminishes it. Why should any man have to join what are to all intents and purposes gangs in order to be able to add their talents to public life? A cursory reading of Jeremy Paxman's 'The Political Animal' reveals that half of the talking heads who appear spouting the party line know it's rubbish - the words must stick in their throats.
So why do they do it? Because they know that the party system does not provide better government - but that it does provide access to power.
By being compelled to educate themselves on every local and national issue without the benefit of party political talking points, every candidate would at least be well versed. We would have a political system that would be more clean, and less likely to be subjected to the influence of special interests. They might get what they want - but it would bankrupt them to do it, and there would have to be too many people in on the conspiracy.
Government is not reflective of the people, but of the parties. And what do they have in common with us?
Those who believe that proportional representation is the way forward speak with forked tongues. Proportional representation does not benefit the people - but as we in Scotland have become all too aware, where it operates it does so for the exclusive benefit of political parties.

The parties are not part of the solution - they're part of the problem.
"Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And The Beatles' first LP."
quoth Larkin.
The degradation of the British worker that has occurred over the past 20 years really began to bite at some point between the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the accession of New Labour in 1997. It was during that period that personnel officers began to refer to themselves as 'Human Resources', as if Homo Sapiens Sapiens, aka the child of God, was nothing more than a tool to be used for the performance of an economic function. Aristotle might have approved - but to refer to a human being as a resource is to consign him to slavery.
We now have an economy where what should be earned in basic wages can only be earned by having to jump through hoops like trained seals or performing dogs in order to earn 'bonusses'. If we are to be free from the depradations of the state, we must also be free from the depredations of those who bray that 'jobs are a cost'. They cannot do this while at the same insisting on an Englishman's right to his ancient civil liberties. This intellectual conundrum is one of the most glaring examples of how the British Establishment's mindset remains rooted in the early 19th Century.
The concept of the dignity of labour has been forgotten by those charged with maintaining our cultural traditions. And, like - they expect us to vote for them?
No way. Ban the parties. Ban them all. Ban them now.
The current British confusion over what liberty actually is has been revealed by reaction to the treatment of Geert Wilders.
No right-minded, right thinking British person should give a damn about Geert Wilders or the unedifying dog and pony show he put on at Heathrow Airport. It says much for Wilders' regard for British law that he deliberately attempted to flout it - the weightier jurisprudential arguments regarding freedom of movement are of neither interest nor consequence. Wilders wants to ban the Koran in the Netherlands - he's a book-banner, and apparently a crazed and revolting one, in the grand European style. He's not part of the solution; he's part of the problem.
Geert Wilders - Old Europe. Tim Garton Ash - New Europe. To hell with them both.
"For him (and so far we may agree) there is no freedom without law; but he tends to convert this, and to argue that wherever there is law there is freedom. Thus ‘freedom’, for him, means little more than the right to obey the law”.
This is the only kind of freedom the British state understands - the freedom to do as you're told; a perfect example of bipartisanship.

1 Comments:

Blogger Europe said...

I agree with the criticism of "Human Resources". W. Edwards Deming,the management consultant, also condemned the use. He said people are not resources. A resource is something you use up and throw away the by product. He was also against competition and for cooperation. He said economists have led us down the wrong road promoting competition.

24 February, 2009 05:27  

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