Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The “Rigged System”

Launching his campaign with his recently characteristic confected anger today Jeremy Corbyn described British society as a ‘rigged system.” This suggests a shadowy hand with a deliberate intelligence behind it calculatingly manipulating the macro-economy. The chief benefit and attraction of this account is that it is simple and easy to digest. It is politics for those on fluids and semi-solids. You know who the ‘baddies’ are which is tremendously reassuring.

The late poet and Oxford Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill, in contrast to this, more correctly described our society as a “chaotic plutocracy.” “Chaotic” suggests no scheme or intelligence, just a free-for-all where profit, venality and greed rule the roost and displace any higher values. This is more likely to suggest, instead of the presence of, the absence of a deliberate and directing intelligence. This seems much more likely to me although, of course, if it's true, it makes it much harder, from our impregnable positions of goodness, to locate and target the true villains. For sure there were the voracious bankers and traders who wrecked the economy but I don’t think their scheming even considered the effects on society overall. They didn’t think much beyond the lining of their own pockets. And then there is globalisation, which has allowed the trans-nationals to avoid tax on a wholesale scale. But is this an example of “rigging?” It’s more likely that, just as with the unforeseen effects of the Industrial Revolution, because it had never happened before, no one foresaw this happening; and happen is just what it did. It’s a ‘happenstance’ rather than a conspiracy, which is not to say that it doesn’t, now, need to be addressed.

Opting for the simple account and the short cut to a childishly simple explanation testifies to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is either a little cynical and shameless, secretly scornful of his constituency, or an intellectual lightweight; in other words to his, well.....simplicity. Is his account an insult to the intelligence of the electorate? We shall see.

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