Despite the warnings from many commentators within and without the Labour Party many believe the political landscape is far different than in the 1980’s. Neo-liberalism, the Washington consensus, Laissez Faire, the Chicago school, call it what you want, was taking over western economics and there was a move to ‘modernise’. Since it has become obvious that Neo-liberal economics is little more than a return to early eighteenth century capitalism. Classic examples of this include; zero hours contracts and the academisation of schools and the latter particularly takes us back before the 1870 Education Act.
The media based in England has a major role in manipulating the truth and therefore manipulating the population. An example of this is the way in which large numbers of the English electorate believe the last Labour Government and not the casino banking system caused the international economic problems emanating from 2008. A second and very powerful example is found in the attitude of the Scottish electorate. No doubt you watched some of the TV debates before the recent referendum on independence and like me were struck on how clearly members of the public who took part, of differing ages, were aware of the problems of Neo-liberalism and its resultant poisonous austerity. Similarly you may not have missed the poignant fact that other that the Trinity Mirror group, it would seem that none of the billionaire media magnets from England own and therefore control Scottish newspapers.
Abraham Lincoln is credited as saying; ‘I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises’. The English electorate has not been given the truth by the media which is controlled by the multi rich 1%. Neo-liberalism has failed the 99% and for the most part they don’t realise it. It has weakened trade unions, workers’ rights, jobs, communities, lives, families and accelerated the decimation of the climate. It has created the economic wilderness we now face whilst a very, very small number of people have benefited. Britain took until early this century to pay our Second World war debts, we know this Government’s austerity is more to do with a full blown assault on the public sector. It is becoming clearer that many of the peoples in the world have a legitimate grievance and many authoritative voices believe this is driving the rise of nationalism and religious fundamentalism. Growing inequality is quickly rising to the top of the political and economic agenda and yet the average person in the streets of England is kept largely in the dark.
Some books you might want to check out;
Dark Victory – Walden Bello
The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein
The Price of Inequality – Joseph Stiglitz
Resistance in the Age of Austerity – Owen Worth
Inequality and the 1% – Danny Dorling
Obviously there are others, if nothing else try Naomi Klein’s online video or Danny Dorling’s chapter on childhood (education), a different, challenging view of schooling.