Sunday, 11 May 2014

Roosevelt was right; it seems that what we have to fear is fear itself

Despite Cameron and Osborne's best attempts to convince us that we are in recovery, and that we are all getting better off and heading back to the sunny uplands of endless growth, its clear that the crisis hasn't been worked through yet and we still have major problems. Lets consider unemployment; the figures are falling and have been for some time but its obvious that they are being massaged. 'Jobseekers' are being sanctioned for the feeblest of reasons, and no reason at all - like failing to attend a meeting you weren't invited to. There has also been a massive rise in the numbers of 'self employed' people and there are now 1.4 million people on zero hours contracts. Self employment is a convenient way of getting people off the books but it is also a sign that the economy is failing to provide proper jobs for people. So, despite a fall in unemployment to 2.24 million its clear that the real figure is way higher and if you consider underemployment, which has been estimated to be as high as 6 million people, you can see an economy that is failing.

Of course its not just unemployment that concerns people, there are also severe problems with falling living standards, poor housing, growing personal debt and shrinking pensions. This is the result of 30 years of neoliberalism, or Thatcherism as it is better known in the UK. The bright shiny future we were all promised in the 1980s just turned out to be a bonanza for casino capitalism and the super rich. And the super rich are really just a kleptocracy who have made massive gains by asset stripping the public sector and stealing our pensions, making the rest of us poorer in the process. 

Those who caused the great crash of 2008 have escaped without any sanction, banks have been bailed out, and lots of ordinary people have suddenly found themselves much worse off. Children have found they have less prospects than their parents. Not surprisingly governments and politicians have become unpopular and there is real anger about these changes. So who to blame? Well anyone it seems apart from 'ourselves' - in the sense that 'we' voted repeatedly for people who screwed 'us' because 'we' are politically naive - and the people, the capitalist corporations and their tame politicians, who are really to blame for the mess we are in. 

And there we have it. Lots of angry people, fearful for the future, feeling they have been left behind in a time of austerity, and wanting change. And how do you control those people and deflect them from the real culprits and the real solutions to their problems? You play on the their fears and you offer them simplistic solutions which feed their prejudices. You divide them to rule them, and you use the well worn but effective tactic of scapegoating. "Blame the immigrants, they are taking your jobs. Blame the unemployed, they are benefit scroungers soaking up your hard earned taxes". 
Franklin D. Roosevelt; well aware of the dangers of fear
Which brings us to UKIP which is the vehicle that people are using to vent their anger in the UK because they have been screwed. UKIP, the anti-establishment blokish party of common sense. Except that UKIP is neither anti-establishment nor does it speak any sense. What it does do very effectively is feed on people's fear and and discontent and its clear that if we ever had a UKIP government the very people who voted for it would be screwed even harder by the capitalist class. All of which shows us that Roosevelt was right, what we have to fear is fear itself because it is fear which can be exploited by political demagogues like Nigel Farage for their own ends and fear which blinds people to the truth and makes them act against their own best interests. Make people insecure and it is much easier to control them.

So what is the answer? Hope has to be the antidote to fear and we have to expose the real establishment nature of UKIP, and its policies, such as privatisation of the NHS. We have to promote positive alternatives which will result in the restoration of security for all the people through Social Security and a publicly run public sector. The only political Party which offers this hope is the Green Party. So vote Green in 2014.

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