The art of politics in liberal democracies seems to be one of the lowest points in the dignity of human relations to which a so-called public servant is able to stoop. Liberal democracies being societies wherein at the least nominally an electorate has influence, for good or ill, to bring to bear on those who govern that same electorate.
To put this relationship between electorate and governors into the terms of the political economy under which the liberal democracies ubiquitously subsist might be to say that the political parties vying with one another for the seat of government are suppliers of government who are in competition for their business and with each another to win power in a free marketplace of customer voters.
There is little surprise then, since this it their relation to one another and the electorate, that since the 1970s in Britain; and before that time in America, that more and more the election campaigns on both side of the Atlantic have been looking like, and in fact replicating, advertising and marketing campaigns of the big branded product Companies. These Campaigns have been getting evermore lowest common denominator basic so as for them to have attempted wining over voter customers by using slogans not much more sophisticated than say one like: ‘A is for Apple -C is for Corp’.
In Britain during the 1970s Margaret Thatcher deliberately and by way of an ideologically-driven energy and focus, took Britain into a trade and cultural relationship which was allied to and which aimed to imitate to a tee the business culture and trading approaches of The United States. Since the 1970s no Prime Minister of any political colour has drawn Britain back from this trajectory; but instead every one of them has endorsed it and hurled Britain headlong further into the US cauldron of burning fires.
Milton Friedman’s Monetarist Economics was thought at the time an appropriate sauce for the US goose and so it became also the economic sauce for the British gander. Reagan and Thatcher were ‘joined at the waist’ ideologically and also policy-wise, including monetary and foreign policy. The landslide Labour Party Leader victor of 1997 Tony Blair was in many respects a son of Thatcher; a son whose supposed left-wing credentials actually took us even closer to the USA and to the USA’s laisses faire, high capitalism. In those days, the 1990s and the 2000s it was bandied about by economists, by scholars and by politicians that Capital had Triumphed; not merely over Soviet Collective Totalitarianism, but that it had ‘beaten the boom-bust cycles’ which had dogged its ascendancies. These ascendancies had ever been ended by great economic slumps throughout Capital’s long chequered history going right back to the late 1700s.
And so it was when the crash of 2008 struck us overnight; so that in one night wealth in huge amounts was lost, vanished away, by way of the miraculous power latent in any sudden and deep loss of trading confidence, everyone, or most of us, were taken aback and caught off guard. We had been schooled by those who were, or ought to have been, ‘in the know’, that our high tide of Capital, its booming affluence had potential to run until Doomsday.
We were wowed by the hype and ebullience, oozing from every word uttered by these high prophets. They themselves were convicted by their own presumption and self-assurance, riding the crest of a wave which hit us as a Tsunami.
The main point being that commercial marketing and sales techniques having been paralleled by, inducted into, and in actuality transforming, politics; have turned politics into a form of capitalist endeavour; and it had sold itself wholly and successfully even to its own political advocates and backers, Via an autobiographical marketing and sales campaign, their own propagandas swayed them so well that very few persons in the Western World had foreseen 2008 crash coming.
One hears today of a post truth society and of post truth politics. This is jargon; a euphemism; for Capital having overtaken and so manipulating almost autocratically the practice of politics, and the politicians and their populaces. I do not mean a conspiracy led, say , by Apple or by Google which acts to puppet glove Western governments; I mean something far worse, which is a loss of our own discretions and of our ability to evaluate and to weigh and consider justly – particularly before we act or else before we put in place policy.
Here above what I believe are examples of some the billboard posters whose blunt and I dare say deliberately misguided messages, enabled the UK to cut its own throat and so vote to leave the European Union. Each billboard poster example is one displaying post-truth propaganda, a study taught its trade by craven and vicious marketing department personnel from every corner of the branded Corporation. See what you think:
The appeal in these posters is to money, to xenophobias; to grasping back power and control from another; and so on; all and each poster appeals to plain human carnal instinct – to fear, avarice, resentment, to tribal insularity, and anger. As for argumentative content (perhaps one does not expect such from a poster, yet the whole Brexit referendum campaigns on both sides of the issue were run as if by slogans and by use of such poster pique) – there was and to this day there remains no substantive argumentative content concerning the EU in or out question available in the public domain here in UK.
(As soon as the LEAVE vote was seen to have prevailed in the referendum, the Leavers jumped in and took the ground away from the Remainers swiftly and quite deliberately. They did this so as to end, curtail, nip in the bud, any hope of real actual debate, they closed down the situation and sealed it up as a done and dusted issue, so that no possibility of any reprieve might be had for those people of Britain who foresaw and who yet foresee the disaster which is here and is ever growing out of the Brexit fiasco)
The approaches and the psychologies of the large commercial marketing departments have been in evidence and were seen being used all the time in every place that the non-debate on Brexit was deployed. The campaigns were seen to be summarily dismissive of the contrary position, and they attempted to evoke gut hatreds and anger etc, to appal people; and at the same time on the other side of the coin they used coaxing and wheedling pledges and promises to persons to win support for their position; and the Leavers’ side made hay with a use of pretty low patriotism bordering racism, and with brazen appeals to close self-interest as this being a life-entitlement.
Thus the electorates in the British Liberal Democracy were handled as if they were kindergarten children; the level of exchange of views being about the same as that of a fairy story or a clap hands song. The British electorate had been prepared for this kind of campaign and did not see its emptiness nor take it to be an insult to their dignities or intelligences. Everything here has been, and continues ever to be, in the all-American style, hijacked by commercialism and by hype. Just as soon as anything arises on the popular horizon, a habit, a sport, or an event, a food or a dietary regime, a band, a pub or club, a beer, anything, whether saleable formerly or not; quickly becomes a going commercial proposition, a means to make money, and its business-people are drawn into the lure where they are taught to believe that how much money their talents or gifts make them is the yardstick measure of their own success and of their talent’s magnitude.
No longer doth manners maketh man; nowadays money maketh man.
In short our peoples have been swayed and coaxed and cajoled and persuaded to like or to dislike according to the wishes and agendas of commercial organisations whose Mission Statements are patently NOT to do everything for their customers and go that extra mile; but to MAKE MONEY regardless on the backs of the peoples whom they cannot but despise as being their dupes and their factory farms for revenues. So many years now has even the most innocuous and slight thing to have come to their sight been land-grabbed by some ‘enterprising capitalist’ – just as the ‘privateer’ heroes of Elizabeth I were plain and simple pirates of the high seas, these same ‘enterprising capitalists’ have found themselves feted and lionised, and awarded this and that prizes, and generally hailed as great public benefactors, and them at the same time being in receipt of grant aid funding from here and from there, often grant aid funding come out of public taxes; and in short the whole shooting match and carnival parade of advertising and hype are lavished gorgeously upon them; so that nothing but nothing is held up to the peoples and to our youth, other than capital and money and business business business, and nothing else might be worthwhile and salutary and of great value and joy to them and to others.
Now I want to go into detail about a particular instance of this post-truth marketing hype style politics which is going on right now as I write. Indeed this evening in the House of Commons in the UK Parliament the vote on the Great EU Withdrawal Bill is being voted on by our Members of Parliament in the small hours.
The pushy guys are mostly those who want a distinct distancing of Britain from the EU henceforth They are those who approved and put forward the campaign of mickey-mouse debate by which they without conscience fooled an electorate into falling in a pit they had dug for them. It was a pit condoned by the electorate themselves. These pushy guys, those who made the power grab, that political bloodless coup, which we saw happen in Britain in 2016, are now lining up to have themselves, now being government ministers of state, more or less in sole personal control of how and when and to what should 20 plus years of EU legislation which is currently integrated into British Law, be adapted and adopted to so as to become non-EU Law and so only wholly true blue British Law.
The argument they run with says that the bulk of EU legislation in British law is so great that summary powers of alteration and amendment of it so as to make it British through and through is necessary for the sake of speed and efficiency and effectiveness. This minor caveat of whether UK Ministers of State should be able to bypass the Houses of Parliament altogether, in their ‘making British’ a shed-load of EU legislation, and so effectually to hold a carte blanche massive power uncontested, and incontestable. This would be power to tinker and scrap, to redraw and revel in their tasks of making British the unwanted EU Laws; this then is a small addenda tacked onto the EU Exit Bill going to a vote in UK Parliament later this evening.
The main course on the Bill being put to the vote is that side of Roast Beef which says that a YES vote tonight will take us out of Europe and the EU altogether. Thus is smuggled in along with this side of roast beef has been a cartload of English mustard and some large server platters; upon which are feasted those powers to be granted ministers of state enabling them to sideline British government and the way it has been handled religiously via Parliament, so that the Bill which seals our exit from the EU is locked into and inextricable from this massive legislative power-grab by the ruling party and its ministers.
This is not accidental nor is it unintended. It is the low and craven away in which politics are being done here. For a decade or more the ‘Britain for the British’ whingers have made their case by citing a ‘faceless EU bureaucracy’ in Brussels as being our effectual masters here in Britain. The British (that is, themselves, the party of the coup of 2016) had complained bitterly of the nation(themselves) having had no self-governance anymore, pouting like a spoilt child and bleating. And lo, as soon as ‘power is to be returned’ to British shores (themselves) the same spoilt brats make a bee line to land grab an absolute control over and above that age old control of the time-honoured British Parliament.
Such a cache of power hungry politicians are happily capable of pressing in their own defence that same argument of ‘hogging the power’ which they claimed to have abhor ed when it was coming out of Brussels. It’s clear that power is the be all and end all for this bunch of vipers. All is self-interest, all is dog eat dog with them. They are barely human.
In the press here has been somehow fed or leaked or maybe just ‘made up’ like fairy tales stories allegedly come from government, from the people of the coup, and perhaps it is so that they did originate from them, stories saying that Britain is to be billed £50 billion by the EU as an ‘exit tariff’. Another billboard poster non-debate. To date I am unclear about this alleged £50 billion and and about what it is to be a charged for, and even whether it is to be charged to Britain or is a fantasy. I do not know where the story came from, nor whether there is any grain of truth in it. The government merely allows things like this £50 billion story to run and run as stories like a viral folk medicine; so to aid its telling wherever they are able to without drawing attention to their vested-interest. In short the government make the most of a pantomime press whose news stories are brought from nearer Disneyland than out of a sense of honour.
The £50 billion is presented in press and the media generally as being ‘a bill’ a sort of ‘fine’ or plain ‘revenge’ a ‘final demand’ but not for services rendered to Britain nor yet to be rendered but as a sheer punishment to Britain for it leaving the EU. As if someone who hates you can knock on your door and demand lawfully money from you by threats as a punishment, It’s crazy.
There may be a figure – payable by Britain to EU employees and payable yet into joint-projects already begun and under way or in action. There will be tyings up of loose ends which Britain will have to bear a share of the cost for their making. That seems only reasonable. It is this, but I only suspect, I have no sound data with which to judge, that the EU is ‘billing’ us for; and the EU has not ‘billed’ us actually, but it has possibly suggested an open ended figure, a guesstimate forward notice of some areas where costs will be required to be fielded jointly by Britain and the EU. This is all that has been intimated by the EU to date I suspect. An unknown and as yet unknowable figure.
Like Trump in America the men and women of government here in UK are circus entertainers. Sadly they do not do government at all – neither well nor ill. They know how to dance and to juggle, but have not any grounding in responsibility and accountability or in applying sound policy or even in dismissing the obsession with self in favour of the honour and duty of doing Public Service. Our government is a bunch of leftovers, who thought they wouldn’t win the Brexit referendum, and who have found themselves landed with a Poison Chalice as their reward for their effrontery. An effrontery of them saying they represented a majority in our Liberal Democracy when they represented and yet represent only themselves, and of course the wild west commercial interests who sidle up to them; and whose tricks and craftiness they have so well and successfully learned and emulated. Unfortunately for us.