Revolution

We took a late summer stroll through Salisbury yesterday. I like Salisbury. It has modern flashes amongst an architecturally ancient forest of buildings. I liked the photo below. The building has been there for centuries. It’s hard to comprehend how long that building has been there, the many faces that have looked out of those windows at a world that has seen so many changes and upheavals since the first pair of eyes looked out of them. I looked at the reflected landscape in the panes and felt a little reflective myself. I sense another major upheaval in the offing, another change of the global landscape that the building will surely survived. Whose eyes will be looking out of those windows next, I cannot tell.

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I missed the sense of catastrophe when the economies of the world were on the brink at the end of the last decade. Life in Mexico was simple, and somehow detached. I felt isolated and protected from the worst it had to offer. It was as if I were on the outside, looking in at a world I recognised but was utterly unfamiliar with. It didn’t feel real.

That’s not the case today. I feel very much a part of it this time round. The Greeks are teetering, ready to take us all with them. We could argue about the causes, if you like. I’m a strong believer in a mixed economy. National infrastructures, health services and education should be state run and ‘free’. Business should be in private hands, but regulated.

Some western economies have let capitalism run amok, to its extreme, too close to the laissez-faire model that Britain abandoned a hundred years ago. But only after it had amassed its fortune and left tens of millions dead in its wake. Fancy an argument over which of history’s dastardly regimes topped most people? The British Empire can potentially claim a number greater than the the next two combined.

Capitalism and socialism have both lead to rioting in streets. I suspect things are going to get much worse. The deeper the hole gets, the closer we move to revolution over evolution. The idea of revolution seems unreal, even as I suggest it. And yet. History does repeat, as we know. It’s only visible from hindsight. But the same old drums are being banged. Different tune, same old beat.

The same narrow-minded type of fool pointing fingers of blame at different races, religions and nations. Anything but looking inward. Blaming oneself doesn’t sell. Multiculuralism is the 21st century Jew. Islam in the new ‘n*****’. Neither are relevant to the real problems we face. They’re not even in the top ten. But they are easy targets for a finger of blame.

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I digress. But only slightly. These musing do all actually have an impact on everyday UK life. Increased xenophobia, racism and sectarianism are distracting from the real problems that we face. And by far the biggest is the entrenchment of failed capitalist (as opposed to capitalism, full stop) policies to solve a problem that it created in the first place. There’s a couple of places I’d like to see the UK government start, although I shan’t hold my breath.

It’d be nice to see legislation preventing employers advertising a mass of part-time jobs instead of secure full time jobs. It’s become a epidemic of short sighted cost cutting that is self defeating in the long term. It’d be nice to see companies obliged to share a set and sizeable chunk of their profits amongst their entire workforce, as they do (in theory) in Mexico. It’d be nice to see job agencies forbidden from allowing staff to opt out of the European Working Time Directive. It’d be nice to see the national minimum wage being set in accordance to what it actually costs to live, and not what employers can get away with paying. This would all be a start.

Failing that happening, maybe now is a good time to sell up and buy a plot of land in Hidalgo, Mexico. Just big enough to grow some corn, farm some chickens and lay some solar panels. Build a little house, stick a rocking chair on the porch. Invest all you have left in gold, and hide it under the floorboards of your porch. Sit back in your chair, hold tight to the shiny new shotgun you bought, and watch the show. If the show doesn’t come to pass, you can check out the rest of my Autumn Salisbury photos instead – click here.

7 Comments

  • Gary — As you know, we have differing views on the strengths and weaknesses of the free market, libertarian that I am. But We do share one dream. Running away and joining the circus in Mexico. I am enjoying my stint in the three rings. You ought to return.

  • A solution has been found. And passed to me in an email…although I already had this idea

    To the citizens of the United States of America
    from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

    (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

    Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

    Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

    Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

    To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

    ———————–

    1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be
    expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).

    ————————

    2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’

    ——————-

    3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

    —————–

    4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

    ———————-

    5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

    ———————-

    6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

    ——————–

    7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

    ——————-

    8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

    ——————-

    9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

    ———————

    10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

    ———————

    11. You will cease playing American football There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby (dominated by the New Zealanders). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty
    seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

    ———————

    12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (World dominators)
    first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

    ——————–

    13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

    —————–

    14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

    —————

    15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

    ——————

    God Save the Queen!

  • What’s happened is China is positively remarkable. I doubt either of us would very much want to live under that regime, but nonetheless, what they have achieved in moving so many hundreds of millions of people so far up the economic ladder is astounding. Unique. There have been costs, of course.

    But still, your point is entirely valid. It’s one more example of unrestrained capitalism looking for the quickest buck. It’s not the sole, nor perhaps even the most key issue. But it’s definitely up there.

    US voters might not now want it, but I find it hard to believe the voters were duped into this. They too were looking for the fast buck. Or did everyone truly believe that sending all those US jobs abroad wouldn’t have a price further down the road?

  • The problem is how our trade is set up right now, too much leeway is given to those we trade with: the idea that China can buy and sell on the world market and yet control the price of its money is pretty shortsighted. Capital is free to scamper around the world looking for the cheapest labor and least restrictions, whereas labor is nailed down to the place of its birth-something has to give. We as voters are bone stupid to let it go on.

  • Nice Autumn pictures. Autumn is a good time for reflection. I am still in Mexico. I am still on the outside looking! I see much of what you see. There is much of a parallel between the US and the UK. Historically is seems that there may be a parallel with Germany before the Nazi’s took over. Unemployment was terrible and people there were looking to blame other .. the Jews, the black, and those not like them. I would hate for both the US and UK to continue in that direction!

    • Despite some of the parallels, we haven’t dropped to thta much of a low yet, and one would sincerely hope that we didn’t go to that sort of extreme. It doesn’t seem possible. Has a half century and a bit of relative peace gotten us complacent? I guess time will tell.

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