Monday, July 18, 2011

The Incredible Imploding British Establishment

Somewhere, Wallis and David are having a quiet laugh to themselves at the idea that people could have got so upset about the possibility of the King marrying a divorcee.

The crisis in which the Establishment has been engulfed for the past month is, in my opinion, unprecedented in our recent history. It's not quite 1688 without the anti-Catholicism, but it's coming pretty close. I can't think of anything recent which has matched it for longevity or gravity. Perhaps Profumo did, but I wasn't around for that. We are in uncharted waters here, folks. Every day is giving us something new. Our system is destabilising before our eyes, and it's wonderful to watch.

What we are witnessing here is the death rattle of the very post-1989 idea that we should concentrate upon the needs of the elites. The phone-hacking scandal has shown the British public that those who imagine themselves to be our elites are remarkably incapable elites. It should be unsurprising that Parliament is finally becoming vigourous about getting to the root of this matter - Parliament is scared, for these revelations show that for many years it has done nothing like enough about the muck in its own backyard and it now finds that it has a lot of ground to make up.

We are seeing a shift in the balance of power away from the cosy consensualism whereby Dave/Tony/Peter and Rebekah/Silvio/Nat would be very happy to socialise with each other out of office hours. While nothing improper might ever have happened, it gave an appearance of impropriety which not even the most seasoned and ruthless PR people could dispel. It gave the appearance that there were no boundaries at the top, and over the past month the public has made clear that boundaries are what they want, and lots of them.

We might even be seeing the beginning of the end of 'globalisation', that foggily pernicious, undescribable attempt to knit the world's financial markets together in pursuit of the cheapest of all possible labour. The greatest con trick that the world's bankers ever played on the public was letting us think they were on our side during the Cold War. They never were, they were only interested in us because we were anti-Communist, and their behaviour since the collapse of Communism has provided ample proof of that fact. 'Globalisation' absolutely depends on the relationship between government and business being fluid, and the public doesn't want that anymore. We've been motivated to give a toss by the sheer scale of the apparent badness that's been at work. We've called time on it all, and not a moment too soon.

These are interesting times. May we all come through them in one piece.

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2 Comments:

Blogger PJMULVEY said...

Good post Martin. The interrelationship between the media oligarchies which were allowed by lax and corrupt governments on both sides of the Atlantic to 'program' the public to think and act a certain way to say nothing of diverting their attention with sport, celebrity gossip and misleading stories. Globalization is a fraud and is wiping out the middle classes in all countries and the Murdock's et al. have been the biggest cheerleaders. Patrick

19 July, 2011 05:28  
Blogger Richard T said...

I think you might apply Adam Smith's remarks about the outcome of merchants and their ilk meeting to the cosy sessions between Dave/Tony/Peter and Rebekah/Silvio/Nat.

19 July, 2011 09:56  

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