Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 17/12/06

Government By Weasel

Perhaps I'm feeling a little low. If so, it could be the consequence of having spent most of the last week in bed with the 'flu which I thought I'd been vaccinated against the previous week. This meant drifting in and out of a state of delirium in which images recurred time and time again without any possibility of explaining (even to myself) what they were; augmented by the same two pieces of music going round and round and round inside my head.

Still, I'm feeling much better now, thank you: at least, I am physically. Psychically, however, I have seldom been more depressed at what I see around me. I have never known our political landscape in a worse state than it is today.

This is quite a sweeping claim, I know. I remember the darkness of the 1980s and early 90s, when it seemed that the Thatcher-being had done some sort of deal with Mephistopheles to ensure that she and her wild-eyed, froth-mouthed City stormtroopers would stay in power forever. (Actually, the deal was with Murdoch, which should at least ensure that when the evil old hag finally goes to fill the chair that her chum Pinochet is now warming up for her down there, she should get an extra semi-eternity for herself). I remember the wanton and deliberate destruction of our industries and the communities they supported, all done in the name of efficiency and with the flashing-eyed zeal of the True Believer. I remember the selling off of our property to huge corporations, who then shut them down, or sold them off to outside interests, or simply slashed the workforce and invited the ministers who had flogged them off to the pirates on board that same ship themselves once they had left office.

I had hoped never to see worse than that. But I'm seeing it now.

We now have a government which (on the basis of a small minority of the electorate's support) has already made us an object of ridicule and hatred around the world for its slavish, fawning and me-too-istic adherence to the policies of the most vicious cabal of thugs ever to hold office in the US. At home, it has continued the policies of Thatcherism regarding the interference of privateers in the running and shaping of our most basic public services, even to the extent of letting the education of millions of our children fall ready prey to any handy passing millionaire or corporation, even (or perhaps, especially) if they wish to promote loopy, fact-free daydreams like 'Intelligent Design' as if it had any possible scientific validity.

This is a government which thunders mightily when it speaks of the desirability of greater social cohesion, and yet follows that up with a system of bribes to encourage the creation of even more 'faith-based' (i.e. sectarian) schools. And then goes on to blame the Muslims for not integrating.

It is a government, too, which yaps on in tedious formation rhetoric about how the so-called War On Terror is a war to defend our freedoms, and then sets out systematically to dismantle those self-same qualities. Bill after Parliamentary Bill has been passed since 1997 which gives greater and greater power to the State and the Police to watch us, listen to us, fingerprint us, DNA-sample us, iris-scan us, have free view of our medical records, our bank accounts and even the records of what we may have bought on-line. All this ultimately to be combined in one gargantuan national database, a one-stop shop for the State snoop, the spook, the nanny and the commissar to track our deeds, our words, and perhaps ultimately even our thoughts. A database which, even when obviously and hideously wrong, will still be deemed to be correct. A government which goes on endlessly about freedom, and then passes a gigantic Bill with the sole and unvarnished aim of stopping one man from protesting outside Parliament against that same Government's own complicity in massive crimes against humanity.

And now, a government which shrieks and howls about 'the rule of law' while being up to its neck in financial and political sleaze, deliberately, calculatingly and without any attempt to hide what it is doing, intervening to stop a supposedly-independent public body (the Serious Fraud Office) from continuing its investigations into the corrupt conduct of a major corporation which receives millions in public handouts every year to produce instruments of mass murder, and ministers and officials of that shining beacon of democracy, freedom and justice, the tribal dictators of the Saud family. And seeking to justify a clear and blatant political interference in our judicial system by claiming it to be 'in the broader national interest'.

Sorry, this has gone far enough. This government must go. Every member of it must go, because even the lowliest of its backbench supporters is irremediably tainted by association with it. It would no longer be enough (if it ever had been) simply to change the leader. All are guilty, by their passivity.

And the media are guilty, too. In spades. Not only have they been dazzled by the glamour of New Labour, not only have they treated the government of a medium-to-high-ranking international power as if it were either a tacky soap opera or some witless celebrity reality show, they have allowed themselves (the better to cosy up to The Power) to become damn all more than a stenography service for that very government. This was always true of some organs (and how appropriate that word is, when you consider some of its meanings): The Guardian, for example, or its sister paper The Observer, a tireless cheerleader for War. But even in the supposedly-neutral broadcasting arena, the BBC (post-Hutton) has been a model of studied cowardice. So much have the media become 'embedded' with the clearly-untrammelled power of this regime that, for example, when a group of MPs began a campaign calling for the impeachment of Blair for his lies to Parliament about the then-forthcoming war on the people of Iraq, the media almost totally ignored it, and the campaign has only limped on ever since.

They, too, must be called to account. If they cannot be independent, if they cannot be anything other than poodles accepting scraps handed to them by their masters, then they are of no use to any of the rest of us, and should find something to do which is more morally elevating - rounding up stray dogs for vivisectionists, for instance.

We, too, are in a mess. We have spent the last decade dazzled by the beams of holy light shining out from the sphincter of The Good Shepherd Of Downing Street, and have gambolled happily to the precipice below which lies nothing but full-strength authoritarianism combined with sprayed-on piety and the usual side-order of bread and circuses.

And all the time we sit, content to fatten our our bodies, flabbify our minds and enfeeble our wits, until we are that most precious commodity to the State and the Corporation alike: the docile consumer, permanently in hock to our friendly neighbourhood bank (or, at least, its call-centre in Bangalore).

So get off your arses! Whatever it is that makes you angry about the world we live in, get out there now!




Refuse to be silent!

While you still just about can campaign.

While it is still not quite a suspicious act in itself to organise.

While it is still just about legal to protest (in most places).

While you still can refuse to be silent.

Can you hear the clock ticking....?