Thursday, 24 November 2016

A little bit pessimistic!

There is something very unsettling about rich people claiming to have sorted things out "for the people". Last night it seems there was a party at the Rirz in honour of Nigel Farage, a wealthy man who has persuaded rather a lot of ordinary people that he knows what is best for them. The party was given by a lot of other wealthy people, many of whom helped fund the Leave campaign before the EU referendum.

At some point Farage spoke. Well, I suppose he spoke quite often but this time it was official speaking. Farage told the gathering that Britain had a problem. “In America the revolution is total. Not only have the people spoken and won, but the old administration, Obama and all those ghastly people, are out and the Trump people are in,” he said.

(Confident of his audience, I suppose he would refer to Obama and his supporters as "ghastly people". No need for diplomatic language there.)

He went on, “In this country, the people have spoken but the same players have just been shuffled around the chess board and we are still being run by the career professional political class.

I am not sure what is going to happen over the course of the next couple of years but I suspect there’s another big seismic shock in British politics perhaps going to come at the next election.”

I find it interesting that he refers to the results of the American elections as a total revolution. Surely that country is still going to be run by the rich and powerful. Just as in this country things will still be run by the rich and powerful. For there are still very few in government who are not from well to do families.

Much against my will, I find myself almost agreeing with Farage in not knowing what will happen over the next couple of years. Maybe a political shake-up will be good for us all.

And perhaps the real revolution will happen when, on both sides of the Atlantic, the jobs fail to materialise, the pension pots dwindle further and everyone realises that we cannot turn back the clocks.

For there is a strange kind of nostalgia going on. Trump talks about opening up the coal mines and providing jobs for all. Surely mechanisations, and now computerisation, put a stop to that. My own bit of nostalgia take me back to time when, as machines took over more and more jobs, there was talk of people working shorter hours and having more leisure time to spend with their family, to learn new skills, to extend themselves intellectually, if that is what they wanted to do.

Of course, for that to happen, the owners of the newly mechanised factories would have had to make less money themselves in order to pay the reduced-hours workers a living wage. That would imply that employers had the welfare of their workers at heart. And that might have happened with certain Quakers who owned factories in the past but we see little sign of it these days.

No, I fear the cards have all been thrown up in the air and we shall just have to wait and see where they land.

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