Thursday, 16 June 2016

Let Them Have iPads

In 1789, the French Revolution began. It was an event that grew out of a number of conditions among them autocratic rule, spreading ideas about the place of Man in the cosmos, and immense food shortages. It's believed that Marie Antoinette when faced by an angry mob of Parisians, dismissed their needs with an airy 'let them eat cake'.

I believe the same is happening today, only with the internet (hello), fancy gadgets, and celebrity scandals. Dovetailing the sentiment with Marx's 'religion is the opiate of the people, suggests that in today's world the distractions have won and that no matter how much goes wrong, people's fury and indignation is channelled towards things that are actually pretty ephemeral, and which don't actually threaten the status quo. Recent events in the UK suggest that facts can't be allowed to get in the way of what people think they see in front of their faces, and that ultimately they are easily distracted.

It makes me wonder if the Revolution could come again, anywhere in the West, but particularly in Britain. The British authorities have always boxed clever, much of our immigration strategy appears to be based on a divide and rule ideal, with ethnic minority communities competing for funding. Sometimes, as happened in Birmingham not so long ago that can lead to fights and rioting between different communities. Perhaps it's no surprise then that there's such a focus on blaming other people for the country's woes, be that in the form of immigrants, the last government, the EU, or the King of the Gnomes (okay I made that last part up, but if there were a King of the Gnomes, you know they'd be blaming him for whatever they could). This has allowed governments to get away with a load of stuff that they perhaps wouldn't have if the rest of us had been paying attention and not been distracted by the shiny things (consider the 'good day to bury bad news' comment that someone in Tony Blair's government came out with on 9/11 and then apply it to pretty much anything - someone I know from Facebook has said he wonders what's being done behind the scenes while the Great British Public gets in a flap over the EU, and I can see his point). Add in the collusion of the press, which quite happily throws muck at everyone it can while doing nothing to upset the apple cart and the invisible hands of globalisation and automation, which are surely the biggest dangers to the future of work in the UK, far more so than immigration but which nobody is really talking about, and the pattern starts to become clear. International capital, with the collusion of governments who believe that the market is king and that politicians meddling in its workings is a Bad Thing (tm), has pretty much sewn the nation, nay the world, up like a kipper.

I don't want to make it sound like I'm calling for revolution, I don't believe they're ever successful. I would like people to think, though, and ask if they're happy and what the constants are in the equations that lead to. I doubt that when all is said and done, they'll arrive at the poor and weak washing up on our shores.