It’s sometimes tempting not to bother; not to bother writing once more about the sheer bloody evil of government. After all, the truly desperate are always desperate, no matter which shade of government is theoretically in charge. The majority of society, i.e. the middle class, the petit-bourgeois those-who-would-be-elite… all the people who could really make a difference if they could get their noses out the trough for long enough to listen to a little reason, are almost unreachable – so its tempting to think ‘leave ‘em to it; let ‘em stew in the vile broth that is, after all, a direct product of their own greed, or ignorance, or indifference.
But that’s just the frustration talking. Sanity and humanity soon return… because, of those three qualities, greed, ignorance and indifference, it’s ignorance that’s the biggest problem. Most people simply don’t know what the problem is; and given the absolute dominance by our controllers of the information we receive, from the cradle to the grave, that’s hardly surprising. Most people are not naturally disposed to inflicting suffering on others; they have to be trained to do it, slowly, by degrees. Most people are naturally good people, and once given good and humane information, usually make good and humane decisions – and that, in a nutshell, is why our controllers ensure we never have good and humane information.
Which is why most people fail to understand why the cuts being imposed on public sector spending by European governments are so very wrong. Most seem to think that because their governments tell them the cuts are absolutely necessary, that There Is No Alternative and that We Are All In This Together, that it must be the right thing to do. After all, out trusted leaders always act in our best interests, don’t they? That’s why we trust them. And that the majority of us do trust them is obvious – otherwise why do so many keep on turning out at elections?
But it isn’t difficult to show why repairing our ruined economies by cutting public spending is so very wrong.
1. First and Foremost, The Banks Did It.
Although this is arguably the most emotive reason, it is nevertheless true and compelling, and needs to be stated.
The massive public debt which government cuts are supposed to redress was caused by investment bankers acting in league with government regulators (or de-regulators to be a little more accurate). Although quite a number of people have pointed out this glaring fact, as though expecting that some account should be made of it, our trusted leaders continue to look the other way and insist that the people must pay the banksters debt, not the banksters themselves. There Is No Alternative. Although Britain’s chancellor, George Osborne, recently imposed a new levy on banks, that levy is a derisory 0.04% of profits, an amount so trivial that you have to wonder if he did it deliberately to inflame public rage, or if his aristocratic arrogance is so well-refined that he simply doesn’t care – the Osborne equivalent of ‘let them eat cake’, something he can snigger about over pink gins at the club with the rest of his taxes-are-for-little-people mates.
Demanding savage cuts to public services whilst requiring a mere 0.04% compensation from the banksters who plundered the economy in the first place is not just wrong, it’s evil.
2. Cutting Public Spending
Then there is the issue itself. Is the cutting of public spending really necessary, and if so, what is the best way to do it?
a. Anticipating that these cuts were imminent about a year ago, I wrote to the leader of our local council. I explained that I could show her how to make significant savings to her budget without any noticeable loss of service provision to the public. It wouldn’t be difficult. I used to work in the public sector: I know. I wrote not because I really expected her to take me up on my offer, but because you have to go through the hoops: you have to provide an alternative model in order that they can never say later on There Is No Alternative. I also did it for another reason: I believe in public services being delivered by local governments controlled by elected officials. I do not believe in public services being delivered by anonymous, unelected, and very distant corporate boardrooms. Whilst I know very well there is huge waste and inefficiency in the public sector, I also know very well that public services are best delivered by the public sector – not corporations.
Existing public services are mostly staffed by a grossly inflated management bureaucracy and a barely sufficient workforce. Whilst the workers (those who look the public in the eye) are fairly paid for the work they do, managers (who generally avoid the public like the plague) are overpaid many times over for the little value they provide. Once this simple fact is clearly understood a solution is obvious: reduce the cost of management.
I proposed to our council leader that she re-model the management of our council on a sort of co-operative system, where decision-making is done by the workers themselves agreeing changes by majority consensus. The model has been used successfully for centuries (if not millennia) all over the world; there’s nothing new about it, and its effectiveness is beyond dispute.
It took her some time to respond, but when she did, she did so on the phone (not in writing) replying that my model would mean that people would have to work ‘out-of-grade’ which, because it contravened some pay and conditions guide, obviously meant it couldn’t happen. Well obviously.
However, I learn through my sources, that that selfsame council is now embarking upon an exercise where the workers’ pay is to be cut… by re-defining their pay grades. It would seem that when it suits our controllers to do so, workers having their duties and grades changed isn’t quite as difficult to achieve as I was led to believe.
b. It was quite interesting to look at the specific areas of public spending our good chancellor intends to butcher. Anything that provides essential support to struggling people, from social housing to welfare payments to pensions, is for the axe. Government departments that provide absolutely no value to the people, such as overseas ‘aid’ and the good chancellor’s own Cabinet Office, and a multitude of obscure QUANGOs escape with only minor damage, or completely unscathed.
The ‘ring-fencing’ of overseas ‘aid’ is moderately interesting. It creates the impression that no matter what, Britain will honour its commitments to helping poor people overseas. Ahhhh… But if charity begins at home, why should our trusted leaders be far more concerned with ‘ring-fencing’ overseas aid than ‘ring-fencing’ aid for our own poor people? As with most things to do with government, first impressions can often be… a little misleading, shall we say.
‘Aid’ is another one of those words which means exactly the opposite of what our trusted leaders would have us believe. Adhering closely to the Orwellian model, the word ‘aid’, when issuing from the mouths of our trusted leaders, actually means ‘exploitation’. Overseas ‘aid’ takes various forms from the supplying of armaments to military dictatorships to the dumping of excess cereal production by wealthy, and heavily subsidized, western agricultural corporations upon struggling third world economies, to channelling charitable donations that people make in good faith into international banking corporations ‘to manage’. Once that little fact is understood it becomes a bit more obvious as to why overseas ‘aid’ must be ‘ring-fenced’.
c. Qui Bono? Who really benefits from cuts to public spending? In a word, corporations.
Cutting public services to the most vulnerable creates ‘opportunities’ for corporations to fill the vacuum thus created. The taxpayer still pays of course, with various corporations being gifted contracts by government to supply the services for which government itself was recently directly responsible; but there are all sorts of benefits to having those services supplied by some anonymous boardroom, such as:
i. Accountability. As government no longer directly supplies the service it can ignore the quality of it; indeed, it can even pretend to sympathise with outraged recipients of said service and, if necessary and/or expedient to party interests, find a different provider. (However, this can sometimes result in an even more severe financial burden to the taxpayer as corporations employ seriously expensive lawyers to ensure that when this sort of thing happens, very lumpy law suits follow.)
ii. Juice. Elections are paid for by wealthy corporations, which are legally mandated to maximise profits. In other words, they don’t spend a penny unless they expect to get ten pennies back… at least. The only way of ensuring that electioneering juice keeps flowing is to ensure the corporations are getting their pound of flesh in return.
The public, inevitably, are worse off. Not only must they pay new corporate service providers indirectly with their taxes, they must invariably pay the provider an additional amount for whatever service they receive. But that is not the only way the public is stuffed – far from it.
One advantage to public services being supplied by public servants is that whatever the cost of that service in wages and salaries, that money tends to stay in the country by being taxed and spent in local businesses and services – the famous ‘trickle-down effect’. Once a corporation gets involved, however, all that changes. The lowliest workers who must now provide the service a fairly well-paid civil servant once did must do it for much less pay. There will be fewer of those workers working longer hours and in more insecure conditions. In short, there is less money reaching local economies from the pockets of workers, because there are fewer workers being paid less. Meanwhile, at the top of the shitheap, a tiny handful of obscenely well-paid individuals will be doing everything in their power to ensure the corporation’s money is not taxed, and that their personal fortunes might be spent in any part of the world: the ‘trickle-up’ effect.
The sheer bloody evil of the system we call government manifests itself in many ways, but that system has to be understood before any of the evil can be seen. It’s a bit like watching a magician: magicians can make you believe all sorts of amazing things – until you know how the trick works, at which point you wonder how anyone could believe such nonsense. There is absolutely no benefit to the general public from cuts to public services. The only people who benefit are the same tiny handful of people who always benefit: the very rich. Not for the first time in human history, it seems that only the French are awake in Europe.