All Along The Watchtower

 The Grenfell Tower. Still, the horrors unfold. Naturally, we all want answers but they are slow in coming which means anger boils like tar in a cauldron; a simmering brew of hurt stirred to rage by the impotent feelings of utter frustration. Do we blame Theresa May for this tragedy? Is she the one who is responsible, the one who is accountable for this horror? Before we even begin to seek answers to those questions first let’s ask is she fit for office? Do we want someone as Prime Minister who dithers, changes their mind with each subsequent sound bite? In my view, she is unfit for the role she finds herself in. She flip-flops from one populist viewpoint to another.  As much as I disliked Margaret Thatcher’s policies, the self-same policies that propel the current administration, at least Maggie would have been there the Wednesday the tragedy struck. Even so, the fire was not the result of Theresa May’s ineptitude as PM but categorically the fault of the neoliberal policies she, and Cameron, inherited from dear old Maggie.

It’s a confidence trick, a conceited tick running like ice cream down the chin of the narcissistic elite. Cut costs to gild the frame, the frame they have placed around the lives of the few, and a yoke around the necks of the bovine masses whose lives are reduced to that of drones. Now the muted buzz has gone from a mild rumble to a ceaseless roar. People are not meant to live like this. 

Can there be any doubt that shortcuts were made on the construction of the Grenfell Tower? Latest news reveals that as many as another 600 buildings have the same cladding, the same cladding we were told was fireproof. This news leaves others living in similar accommodation in fear for their lives. Who shall we blame then, the landlord or the construction company for surely it is one or the other who makes the final commercial decision? This love of landlords is not traditional to ‘one nation Toryism.’  It was again Margaret Thatcher who unleashed the notion of having a land-owning elite, which runs contrary to Winston Churchill’s.

“Roads are made, streets are made, services are improved, electric light turns night into day, water is brought from reservoirs a hundred miles off in the mountains and all the while the landlord sits still.  Every one of those improvements is effected by the labour and cost of other people and the taxpayers. To not one of those improvements does the land monopolist, as a land monopolist, contribute, and yet by every one of them the value of his land is enhanced. He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived … the unearned increment on the land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to the service, but to the disservice done.”

This quote, above all others, shows how Mrs T moved the Conservative Party from centre right to far right. It illustrates perfectly the mindset of the old Tory guard with their belief in wealth makers to the horrendous policies of the Iron Lady and her belief in wealth takers. Without this shift to the right and to neoliberalism, we wouldn’t have corporations sneaking the TTP onto the centre stage, for now, the masters of the world are those who sell illusions and sneak illicit agreements under our noses.  

But even if we do lay blame where blame assuredly belongs, are we not allowing our consciences a little too much leeway? After all, we live in what passes as a democracy but how many of us fully understand the implications of democracy? Not just the implications but the demands? Far too few it seems.

It was Cleisthenes, known as the father of democracy, who first conceived the idea. But for ‘the rule of the people’ to fully function we need an electorate fully conversant with current politics. How many people could cite Frederick Hayek or Maynard Keynes? I suspect far too few. For our own sakes, we need to understand what is needed of us to ensure democracy works efficiently and effectively. Did those who voted for Mrs Thatcher know of her neoliberal ideologies? Did they truly appreciate how much she mutated the Conservative Party with her ideas of how we should be governed? 

Another name for the system we now exist under is State Capitalism. It is not dissimilar to State Communism in that both have a ruling elite. With communism, it is usually an authoritarian system but with State Capitalism it if far more subtle than that. Had the electorate read rather than desired regulation, had they been better informed then perhaps they wouldn’t have voted a previously failed system into being. It is the same system that has ruled for nigh on four decades. The weak seek strong leaders whereas the meek seek good administrators. If the electorate fully observed the demands that democracy makes of us, and by that I mean having the benefits of a solid education along with knowledge of current and historic politics, then perhaps we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now.

Theresa May is not personally guilty of having caused the fire at Grenfell Tower but by slavishly following the same old tired, self-centred neoliberal elitist policies, she is nonetheless culpable but then again so are those who follow political parties in the manner of a football fan. Wearing the Blue of the Tories does not mean what it once did. You need to fully grasp the whys and wherefores of its policies before putting your X on the ballot paper. If you don’t then there will be a lot more Grenfell Towers.

Image courtesy of Joeri Mages – tower block in Rotterdam


About russellcjduffy

Russell C.J Duffy is a writer and blogger. Known for his Amatory Absurd stories of life in a fictional Wessex village - 'The Village Tales of Fekenham Swarberry.' He dislikes easy labeling almost as much as he does serious intent. 'There is nothing more spurious than serious intent.' When not sleeping he is writing. His 'The Wilful Walks of Russell CJ Duffy" where he writes about his journey's around the county of his birth proved very popular and can be found on his blog site. As an Essex man, Russell has heard all the jokes but finds nothing funnier than his own pretensions....

5 Responses to “All Along The Watchtower”

  1. Do you remember the song ‘Universal soldier’? Individuals have to take responsibility and question what is being done, whatever the system. No doubt we’ll find out who actually knew the cladding wasn’t fire resistant – or have people really just stopped thinking for themselves?

      1. I think the problem is too few people ever started thinking at all. They all seem to have opinions but haven’t bothered gathering information or discussing politics with others. That after all is what democracy is about. Dialogue, not diatribe, debate not dispute.

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