Bread and Circuses

By Mike Small

Britain has hierarchy built into it’s DNA. It’s what it’s all about. Ask Andy, or anyone with half a clue.

If today’s FMQs was a flop precisely because it failed to live up to the tribal knock-about politics people pretend to hate, this weeks PMQs was full of the sort of Punch and Judy stuff Westminsters best at. Except no-one laid a glove on anyone. How could they? The banking coup was constructed by New Labour and is continued with the delight of our Cabinet of 23 Millionaires.

This is WWF-style political wrestling. On comes Red Ed cape masking the fact he wrote Gordon Brown’s disastrous manifesto with a side-arm smash to Vince Cable who’s spangly mask hides the fact he talked tough about the bankers and is now doing SFA all about their Bonus Bonanza. Torquil may love Cameron bashing Robertson but he’s a one trick pony when facing the SNP. Anyone remember the Respect agenda?

The Liberal-Tories may huff and bluff but you won’t see a penny off bankers bonuses while the City of London sits. This is truly office without power.

Iain Macwhirter puts it simply (‘The clock is ticking for the hated financial elite‘):

“Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday was once again dominated by bankers behaving badly, following the news that Eric Daniels of Lloyds Banking Group is getting his snout in the trough to the tune of £2m. He’s playing catch up with that other state-owned banker boss, Stephen Hester of RBS, who has awarding himself £2.3 million in bonuses.

Really, how can you ignore this kind of thing? These people are engaged in legal theft – their banks only exist because of public subsidy. If anyone should be getting bonuses, it’s the taxpayers.”

That won’t be happening any time soon. How do they get away with this? How do professional liars like Clegg and Cameron survive electorally? Clegg may have doomed his Liberals for a generation (I’m forced to recall Dubya’s pearls of wisdom every time I think about Liberal voters: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again”) but Cameron retains the fresh-faced wunderkid of Mittel Ingerlund and the Deferential Majority.

How do they do it? Bread and circuses mostly.

As Tom Jennings put it in an memorable sentence: “Mainstream moral fascism, forensically dissecting and punishing failure to thrive, is mirrored in Reality TV’s gratuitous sadism.” Or flogging the (fast reviving) dead horse that is the Battenberg Crew we have this week a veritable slew of propaganda initiatives.

First Hurrah! To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, Edinburgh will host an exhibition of the most “remarkable and resonant” images of Elizabeth II, spanning her entire reign – including some being shown in public for the first time (Haud me back! – Ed). The show, The Queen: Art and Image, will open at the National Galleries in Edinburgh in June.

Second Hurrah! Canongate Kirk has emerged as the likely venue for the wedding of Her Majesty’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, and rugby star Mike Tindall! ‘Tis said: “Zara’s family have strong connections to Scotland. Her mother, Princess Anne, married her second husband, Commander Timothy Laurence, at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral, in 1992. Zara’s brother Peter attended Gordonstoun School in Moray, as did her uncle, Prince Charles.” Hmm not the strongest connections really, are they?

Slightly off-message Ingrid Seward, “seasoned royal watcher” (salt? paprika?) and editor of Majesty magazine, said she would be surprised by the choice. “He’s from Yorkshire and she’s from Gloucestershire.” Er, right.

Third Hurrah. This week was Kate Middletons last week as a commoner eeked most of the gushing sleb press. Endless outlets reported: “Prince William’s fiancée is celebrating her last birthday as a commoner before she officially becomes British royalty. Royal officials said this week that Kate Middleton would be marking her 29th birthday privately, giving no further details (Like what?! – Ed)

Still, the event gave the nation’s media a chance to talk about the princess in waiting. So too did fresh pictures of Middleton attending a wedding – this one of her friends Harry Aubrey-Fletcher and Louise Stourton, held on Saturday in the northern England village of Aldborough.

“The bride-to-be wore black, sporting a velvety topcoat over a black dress and a black pillbox hat. Prince William, who also attended, wore a traditional dark morning suit, and managed to joke with photographers after the ceremony.” And so on (and on).

And all this in the week that the Independent reported: “The Royal Family is to be granted absolute protection from public scrutiny in a controversial legal reform designed to draw a veil of secrecy over the affairs of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William. Sweeping changes to the Freedom of Information Act will reverse advances which had briefly shone a light on the royal finances – including an attempt by the Queen to use a state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace – and which had threatened to force the disclosure of the Prince of Wales’s prolific correspondence with ministers.” Read the full article here.

Harry, Zara Kate and ‘Wills’ are just as much parasites on the public as the bankers vilified for the public excess that is just the norm behind the closed-doors of bloated finance. Hyper capitalism bankrupts us all but at least we can go down with a fixed grin clutching a commemoration mug: ‘Canongate Kirk: I was there 2011′.

Bread and Circuses – or a pan loaf and Neil Lennon anyway.

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Categories: Anti-Capitalism, Common Good

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