Saturday, 30 May 2015
Football is essentially a mindless pastime with adults playing a children's game for vast amounts of money watched by other adults with nothing better to do. Because of this, in our upside-down topsy-turvy world, it has grown into an industry worth billions. Players, most of whom find it difficult to articulate a meaningful sentence, are paid more than brain surgeons to bounce a ball from one end of a football pitch to the other. Fans will pay huge amounts of their income to watch this inane spectacle and will travel the world insulting local populations as they go while often remaining utterly ignorant of the local culture. With this amount of boneheaded, knuckle-dragging ignorance amongst football fans it is hardly surprising that corruption is a way of life to those organising it all. After sixteen years in charge with absolutely zero progress being made in stamping out graft, bribery and corruption, Sepp Blatter has yet again been re-elected as the president of FIFA. A bunch of crooks have put back in charge the man who has allowed their criminality to go unchecked. Not really so surprising given the level of corruption and racketeering in the rest of the world's business community from international banking to local market stalls selling fashion "knock-offs". Andy Burnham, in his campaign to win the leadership of the Labour party, has described businessmen as "heroes". This would be true if said businessmen were the entrepreneurs of yesteryear, men risking their own capital in pursuit of a dream of excellence. Unfortunately business today seems to consist all too often of slick confidence tricks, double-dealing and misdirection at the expense of a public too busy watching football to realise what's going on around them. The so-called "beautiful game" is neither beautiful nor a game, it is an ugly multi-billion pound business and a poster child for the corruption inherent in the neoliberal economic system.
Saturday, 16 May 2015
George Osborne will reveal his smash and grab raid on the poorest members of our society on July 8th. Only 37% of Britain's voted for this, though another 14% voted for UKIP who are probably even worse. Essentially then 51% of the British electorate have revealed themselves to be as selfish and stupid as the Tories wished them to be. It would be easy to say that the right-wing press that infests Britain stampeded a gullible and ill-educated electorate into voting the wrong way. The problem with this analysis is that the shameful press we have in Britain wouldn't exist if it wasn't supported by enough people to make it highly profitable. It could be argued that it was all Ed Miliband's fault for being "too left-wing." This too is utter nonsense since, if the British electorate were not so selfish, they would have given him a fair hearing and refused to be swayed by a bunch of rich people pleading for permission to make themselves even richer at some one else's expense. Some have suggested that what swayed the electorate was fear. Fear of what? The main bone of contention seems to have been the economy and a non-existent recovery suddenly evaporating over night. The fact that the Tories were simply offering tax cuts for themselves and austerity for the rest of us hardly made a dent in their vacuous arguments. If the electorate did vote out of fear then, on July 8th, they will know what fear really is. This budget will be designed purely to restore and extend the privileges of a tiny wealthy minority with a few crumbs for the middle classes to grease the wheels and an assault on the poor, the sick, the disabled and under-privileged unprecedented in modern times. The Tories plan to put the final nail in the coffin of the post-war consensus that our fathers and grandfathers spilt blood to establish. We should be ashamed of ourselves but I fear that far too many of us are gloating instead. You asked for this so enjoy, but don't bleat while the NHS is stolen from under you, your children become the first generation to be poorer than the last and you suddenly find yourself landed with huge bills as private companies charge outrageous premiums for services that used to cost very little.
Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Ed Miliband is a decent human being who put forward a simple message - we deserve better than eternal austerity and should be entitled to a fair shake of the stick. David Cameron's message could not be more different - we deserve nothing better than eternal austerity because it was the British welfare state that crashed the world economy and anyone who can't afford a £1 million mansion cannot be anything other than a scrounger on benefits. One was the politics of hope, the other the politics of despair. The problem for Ed Miliband was that he struggled to get his message across. This is hardly surprising given the rabidly right-wing press in Britain, but there is a deeper underlying problem that Labour just could not overcome - an ill-educated and largely unintelligent electorate that is simply unable to grasp even simple facts. They have little understanding of economic history and cannot fathom the deep mystery of how a hugely destructive world war with its massive government spending could drag the world out of recession. By 1945 it was obvious to even the dimmest voter that Keynesian economics with its deficit spending actually works. By 1979, when Margaret Thatcher managed to wipe the collective memory, this had been forgotten and was replaced with simplistic economic theories that were apparently easy to understand even though they were utter mumbo-jumbo. Throughout the long dark years of the 1980's and 90's Labour spent a great deal of fruitless energy trying to re-educate the British electorate to no avail. They learned the truth contained in the old maxim; "Never try and teach a pig how to sing. You waste your time and you annoy the pig." Ed Miliband's mistake was the most basic of all - he tried to teach the pig how to sing. He had to try I suppose but, to be honest, the British electorate (or at least 37% of them) now have the government they deserve. The rest of us too now have the government we deserve. We had to chance to change the voting system for one that was fairer but allowed Rupert Murdoch and other right-wing snake-oil salesmen to talk us out of it. The News in Shorts has a message for all those who voted Tory - "Oink, oink." - its about the only thing you understand.
Saturday, 9 May 2015
David Cameron has won the general election with a majority of 12. The man who gave us an economic recovery indistinguishable from the recession, who has hounded the weak, the disadvantaged and the disabled, the man who has rewarded the undeserving rich with yet more riches, the man who has all but destroyed the NHS, the man who imposed the bedroom tax and encouraged yet further growth in the number of slum landlords, the man who told us that he would put an end to uncontrolled immigration and then failed to do so, has won the election and seen off all his political rivals. How? Primarily this seemingly bizarre result was the work of a right-wing press that mounted an effective propaganda campaign against the electorates own best interests at the behest of an insane old man who hates Britain - Rupert Murdoch. Second, David Cameron did a creditable impression of the invisible man and dodged all efforts to force him into an open debate so that we could see the vacuous nature and utter barrenness of his political beliefs. The campaign that the Tories mounted was the most negative in modern electoral history, relived only at the last minute with a series of "sweeteners" and promises that Cameron has absolutely no intention of honouring. How else could he possibly sell the idea of unending austerity - a long dark tunnel of despair for the majority with a light at its end promising only greater riches for an already pampered minority? The real villain, of course, is the British "first past the post" system which has allowed 37% of the voting population to impose a Tory government on the the majority of 63% who didn't vote for them at all. Whatever the reason for this disaster one thing is clear, Britain will now abandon all pretence that it is a civilized nation while the Tories mount an unremitting and vicious attack on the poor, sick and weak on behalf of the rich, greedy and selfish.