Sunday, March 18, 2007

10 Years On, and Burke still holds true

As TMP has previously observed, the changes of the past ten years covering just about every walk of life have been more significant than in the previous 50, yet only coincidentally occupy the same period as the Labour Government.

TV has gone from being a mass medium monopoly to being the medium of the masses, thanks to uTube and cheap video technology. Tesco has gone from being a run of the mill grocery shop to being the very Borg of retail, assimilating every marketplace, customer and location that its hive ships come across in a systematic annihilation of the opposition.

The telephone is inescapable just about anywhere on the planet's surface, yet it is almost impossible to reach a human voice in "real time".

The term "nonentity" has been redefined to mean "celebrity", and the BBC has decided that discretion in favour of saving its own plump budgets from emasculation by politicians is the better part of brave objectivity. Instead, the national mood is now set by the media empire of an Australian- presently resident in the US, but taxable in Bermuda.

Just about every Orwellian big brother prediction to be found in 1984 has come to pass. Video surveillance is everywhere; databases containing everything from the most intimate financial and genetic information of entirely innocent people to their microscopically detailed purchasing habits, are everywhere; and all questioning of the accountability of government and its assorted instruments of the state is conveniently ignored and excused by constant and frequently spurious allusions to WMD, Bin Laden and his bogeymen. (However, do not lose sight of the fact that Osama's oppos took out a couple of office blocks, while Blair and Bush have taken out a couple of countries).

Throughout history, politicians have never been able to resist the temptation to collect and store information on just about anything and anyone "because they can" and "just in case". They have usually been eagerly attended by "security services" that have egged them on "in the national interest". Moreover, politicians can nearly always contrive some sort of "greater good" argument to salve any vestiges of conscience, and justify the next click of the ratchet of progressively eroded personal freedoms. And there is always one them ready to accusingly question detractors with the implication "so then - what have you got to hide?"

The incursions and impositions of the past ten years are all entirely thanks to the availability of cheap computing and storage, but is there a way to stuff the genie back in the bottle? Not as long as the bottle is controlled by politicians who believe the people are unfit to be given the opportunity to get their hands on the stopper and participate in government, other than when they are systematically conned every four of five years by teams of professional liars and their carefully (and expensively) constructed packs of lies.

Edmund Burke said all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing; so it's a pretty bleak outlook as long as the Majority remains precariously silent.

Despot Relief misses the point again

As usual, a jolly evening of red noses, angst and robustly rude humour that was brim full of good intentions to replace the role of the welfare state in this country, and UN agencies in others.

Rather than trying to find ways of shaming the UK government into addressing the stark issues it uncovered, it invited Tony Blair to prove what a consummate actor and performer he was in a jolly "am I bovvered?" sketch, and sent Ant and Dec to sniff the sewers of Nairobi.

Perhaps it would have been rather more interesting and poignant had there been an option to pledge cash to a fund that was going to hire the very finest hit man money could buy to take out Robert Mugabe, and then generally concentrate on restoring sound government to those nations where a fleet of presidential mercs takes precedence over medicine and feeding the population.

Then when some of the lower profile but equally repugnant despots who have sat idly by and allowed Mugabe to get away with his reign of terror see the video of Bob swinging in the breeze ("go hang", the man said, remember?) maybe they too might wonder if their good times were about to be abruptly terminated - and either clear off to Switzerland to keep their money company, or mend their ways.

Even the stony hearted TMP might then have been forced to lift the phone and pledge £100.

For as long as Africa remains a basket case, the best chance its oppressed inhabitants have is to escape to the UK to claim asylum, and try and avoid being knifed in Newham.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Climate change: a new religion, complete with carbon-neutral burnings at the stake

Well, TMP did try and warn you that any sign of consensus around climate change was going to be ruthlessly exploited by politicians as another means to terrorise the voters into accepting ever more alarming impositions, curtailment of freedoms and, of course, taxes. Lots and lots of lovely taxes so that politicians can invest your money more wisely than you can, as they always do.

The possibility that perhaps the climate change might be due to solar patterns has been aired a couple of times recently, although not with too much of a fanfare. One eminent professor of meteorology has dared to point out that the climate has changed quite dramatically throughout history, well before cars were invented.

But the religious zeal continues to conceal the real reason for the politicians' panic - the growing control of fossil energy by nuclear Arabs and unpredictable Russians. Both of which of course embarrassingly exposes the stupidity and mismanagement of government priorities and international relations over the past 20 years, when so much more could have been done to avoid this situation arising. Instead, the politicians' only escape route to reduce dependency on these scarily dodgy sources is to generate a religious fervour bordering on hysteria, and based on almost no scientific perspective whatever.

To all those who continue to fall for the beguiling but probably phony nonsense about the environment, we say...