Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mr. and Mrs. Brown

OR, The Elephant in the Room or The Blind Men and the Elephant

After watching
Wajda's Danton a few decades ago, read an awful lot about the French Revolution. Developed a party game based on J.M. Thompson's Leaders of the French Revolution, selecting modern-day big-nobs in political world equivalent to the main characters. Recently, came a re-reading of Gubb's Lenin (a little bit of boning-up required for a script idea on Trotsky) and a web-based reading of the main players in the 1917 Revolution. Choosing modern-day analogues from both historical sets can be an instructive exercise.

Watching various TV programmes on Gordon Brown's Premiership, and part of a documentary on CH4 on how the Chinese government rides rough-shod over its own people in its quest for economic growth, my normal healthy cynicism rose to the fore once again. History, in this view, simply repeats itself right down to the same ever repeated appearance of amixtures of ideologues and chancers. Politicians have an overweening desire to get power which they say they need in order to help us, but their constant meddling rarely makes life better for us, as 10 years of Labour has proved.

In a flash came the image of Brown with the same mad revolutionary zeal as Lenin, who from the beginning corrupted the whole idea of transforming society by insisting to do so would require brutal methods. Saving the revolution - at the expense of millions of people who had no choice but to join in or accept what they were powerless to counter - became the overriding objective. Under Lenin's control the ideals of socialism were still-born. Convinced if they were not extremely brutal and super-organised (which in effect meant the development of the paranoid, arbitrary police state par excellence used as model by generations of other leaders from Honecker to Saddam to strings of Asian and African leaders) the forces of reaction would recover.

Brown is having his narrative written for him by the image makers since il n'a pas le truc of doing it for himself: the core notions are Honest and Authentic: "With a father like that he is man we can trust in a way we realised we could not Blair" { once he had lied willfully over Iraq to make sure we continue sharing American military nuclear technology. If we upset the U.S. too much they can withhold the delivery systems, or at least hint they could. Check the web for the details of our relationship with America over our nuclear deterrent.}

The other issue with Blair which made him go down in the polls to as little as 30 odd % was going down the same old colonial road (some old FO hand giving him a briefing on Iraq's history probably did it.....Churchill...Larence....Gertrude al ) of ensuring we got the contracts Britain 'deserved' in the New Iraq (see defunct Baghdadskies for my views). Oil a given. We are frightened the Russians with their gas will have us by the short and curlies, so ensuring the best cruse in the region for the next decade or two means lying about going to war is o.k., not. Why the hell don't we pay Ghaddaffi to fill the Libyan desert with solar panels?


China today, with its corrupt and venal dictatorial elite running the country mostly for its own interests is only to be expected if one set of people pass to the reins of power to another over 70-odd years without let or hinderance. Taking into account the realities of human nature, this echoes much of post-revolutionary Russian political history. The miraculous economic progress in China within the dual model would have the Russian nomenclatura of the time of forced industrialisation marvelling. How possible,they would be puzzling, to create economic growth without forced labour (allowing for the fact that the Laogai still exist in China albeit in modified form) it down the peoples' throats at the point of a gun and the threat of imprisonment or death? Indeed, if you think of it the low-wage economy that even the Gordon Brown's of the world endorse are in reality a kind of slave labour even if they get to go home at night to moan about one more day working in that call centre and keeping the thoughts of suicide at bay by impromptu three-dayers in European capitals.


Brown is a socialist ideologue but one of the more modern type (Compare and contrast Socialist vs. Social Democrat) who talks the talk about various trendy ideas from across the Atlantic (Clinton is hovering around right now) but has for the last 10 years been the Maximum Leader taxer and spender in a way that even he recognises - within reach of the top job - is not the right image: he now is talking about the sort of society where people have a say, which might be called a truly socialist politics.

Though elected he has been the dictator of our destiny through financial decisions he makes without much reference to the people: a world in a bubble where he can, could, make wrong decisions and have years for the effects to show. Pretty comfortable. The ordinary guy, despite Brown's new promises to devolve power and decision making as prime Minister, such as ideas about how to spend money on health and education, will have little say nonetheless. It is impossible to be in charge and let other decide in a thoroughly democratic manner. Things would never get done.

There would be a way of devolving the freedom he hints at. That would be for the state to make it possible for individuals to have as much say in the economic process as the few movers and shakers in the wealth crating process. At its simplest this would be to make it possible for a man to have some real say in the market, rather than pretending he does. The mechanism would be to make it possible for a man to be able to live at a very low level without working in order for him to have some input into wage levels. As long as wages are determined top-down by a mechanism which forces men and women to go to work for wages which they are lower than they would chose to work for, they are not free. if they are not free economically whether to chose to work or not they will never be politically free.

Brown as Chancellor is one man making myriad decisions which effect our lives. As PM he wants it to be a more shared process, which shows he is covering his tracks pre-premiership, cleverly, by promising the consultation with his people which he did not bother with as Chancellor.

So who is he like? Lenin for sure. A Vladimir Illich de notre jour. And who of the leaders of the revolution? Robespierre? Sea-green incorruptible maybe, but he's still got a plan for us (a dream which cannot be realised as history has proved since it requires us, the people, to accept his vision of a socialist future within a fully-functioning system which amounts to no more that unfettered free-enterprise plus more and more add-on, unconnected social/socialist strictures of the medicine-will-do-you-good variety which the British people temperamentally do not like and historically have rarely accepted.

We mostly do not like Europe in much the same way as we do not like the Nanny State because it is a wishy-washy, airy-fairy socialist dream - albeit it of a Christian Socialist variety - not based on what humans really want or are capable of achieving: a system which we feel generally profound antipathy towards because it is top-down. What we hate is ever greater and more grandiose systems for extracting money from us to use for ever more pointless, often useless, social projects. Most, of whatever political persuasion, accept business needs to be more competitive. Everyone benefits from a healthy economy. But we are still not using the Euro! Brown, the one who held back with his 4 rules, is now to be in total charge. Is he suddenly going to forget the rules for entry into the European Exchange Mechanism because he is Maximum Leader and because it will give him the ultimate cache to be at the forefront of Europe by now allowing us to use Euros to buy our veg at the corner shop as well as as we do straight from the hole-in-the-wall in Spain?


Imagine the scene in a few months: the dour Scot Brown (Why doesn't he tried to be elected in his own parliament not the English one?), rugged, manly, no-nonsense, hyper-intelligent, going for his first audience with 'Mrs. Brown'. She takes to him quickly. She probably already rather likes him from what she has seen. She becomes enthralled like Queen Victoria became with the first Brown. She likes to talk to him in which she probably didn't with Blair who she almost certainly saw through as a careerist without any real principles (The Principle of Shifting principles?) except those of the benefits of power for an individual willing to do and say anything to get it.

Brown has said he is not interested in the appurtenances of power. Let's see what he likes by his actions. Let us not have him telling us ahead of time He will not be seduced by supreme power: no man alive has not been and Brown, for all his qualities, is no superman. Even he will almost certainly to be seen, like leaders before except the odd few rare greats, to suffer from
Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome.

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