As the level of sheer incompetence and shameless profiteering is revealed on an almost daily basis, this failing excuse for a government is relying more and more heavily on smoke, mirrors, bread and circuses. Sadly, the clowns around the cabinet table forgot the bit about providing mirrors and bread.
This week, we have been promised another circus with the promise of a national “celebration” to mark the start of the First World War and an awful lot of smoke being blown into the hornet`s nest of unemployment figures. Celebrating the outbreak of the most senseless and futile carnage ever to visit the planet might seem a little distasteful and rather disrespectful. Perhaps commemorating the end of the slaughter on Armistice Day 2018 might have been more appropriate but the tactics of war and politics are still formed on the playing fields of Eton and in the wreckage of restaurants in Oxfordshire. After all, Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, also known as “butcher Haig of the Somme”, was a member of the Bullingdon Club.
Haig, through incompetence and utter contempt for working class soldiery, presided over the destruction of a generation in the name of economic advantage. Born in Edinburgh, Haig the Butcher might have considered himself as part of the noble tradition of Scottish warriors such as William the Wallace, Robert the Bruce and, more recently, Alex the Salmond. Cameron`s big idea of celebrating 1914 is a charmless and fairly desperate attempt to deflect attention away from the recently agreed referendum on Scottish independence arranged for 2014 and focus on the UK election due in 2015. Alex the Salmond was equally desperate to have the once and for all ballot held in the autumn of the year that commemorates 700 years since the Battle of Bannockburn which saw Robert the Bruce defeat the English king and restore Scotland as an independent nation once again. Salmond, the pretender king, might be cynical in his choice of timing to coincide with a revival of Scottish nationalism but Dave has taken advice and has decided that the united nation needs another circus. King David wants us to wave our union flags to celebrate the deaths and impairments of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers we were never allowed to meet. King Cameron would be happy to see the back of Scotland and the removal of millions of traditional Labour voters from the UK electoral role. Quick, look at the smoke, not at the mirror. The irony is almost sublime.
Nine years before Bannockburn, William Wallace lost the Battle of Falkirk and after being captured, was hung, drawn and quartered in London under the orders of King Edward Longshanks, the hammer of the Scots. It was not until 1707 that the Union Agreement between Scotland and England was signed which led to the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. You may recall the additional verse, now usually silent, to our National Anthem that was played so often during the recent summer of circuses.
“Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.”
Way back in the first century BC, Roman tribune Gaius Sempronius Gracchus knew how to keep the plebeians happy and under control. Cleverly indentifying that all the common herd cared about was food and mindless entertainment, he offered them bread and circuses. More than two thousand years later, the current crop of unelected tribunes are attempting the same crude political ploy. Tragically, Cameron and his wealthy chums lack the guile or competence of dear old Gaius. Only Andrew Mitchell has the courage and honesty to speak his mind and call us plebs. With a cabinet packed with creatures who are compulsive liars, cheats and fraudsters, we come to the unemployment statistics.
The noble tradition of Hans Christian Andersen and the brothers Grimm is being continued by Gideon Osborne`s creation the Office for National Statistics. Unemployment has fallen by 50,000 scream the headlines. Austerity, buffoonery and profiteering is working scream ministers. Heavy weight “economists” like Stephanie Flanders from the BBC Conservative party press office describe a basket case economy producing lower level of unemployment as a “conundrum” and a “puzzle”. Erm…look at the figures Stephanie. 35,000 more people have decided to become self-employed in the hope of making a living in the tax free black economy championed by the Conservative government. The number of people on unpaid employment schemes has risen by 13,000. Not included in the ONS figures are the number of people with disabilities who, having been judged as “fit for work” by the criminally insane ATOS, have disappeared from the statistics and left to die. There are more than 10,000 people dead since this wretched government decided to punish the vulnerable and reward the rich. Also missing from the figures are the numbers of young people who have had benefits removed or the number of young people forced into slavery under the Workfare schemes to bolster the profits of big companies that donate to the Tory party. Most of the jobs “created” by the private sector are part-time and do not provide a basic living wage. The mirrors and circuses are there to allow the liars in government to sleep soundly at night.
Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, a plebeian who rose to be a Roman tribune, spoke for the plebs against the greed and power of the wealthy. His older brother, Tiberius Gracchus, had similar views but died at the hands of an angry mob armed with rocks and clubs and the patronage of the powerful and wealthy. Gaius himself fled Rome to escape murder and took his own life in an olive grove dedicated, ironically, to the Furies.
David Cameron: perhaps in your busy schedule, you should consider the fates of William Wallace and the Gracchus brothers.