One of my question blog posts. I will probably delete or rewrite in the morning. Written tired and on the journey home, quite near some dried sick on the train carpet.
I am confused, it is frequent state of mind. I think we should all spend some time each day confused. If we’re not confused, then we can’t be putting in another effort questioning why things are as they are, whether it’s why caterpillars become butterflies, what was there before the big bang, or why so many politicians manage to be venal and self-serving with such aplomb. Sadly, on tonight’s Monkey Cage recording, we didn’t have enough time to get to the apparent lack of plate tectonics on Venus or the imagined sexual habits of the Triceratops, so I had to be perplexed by more mundane things. I could have pondered on what my 13 year old self would have made of me doing a radio show with Eric Idle, the man responsible for my near asphyxiation after attempting to eat a bowl of ice cream while watching The Rutles in All You Need is Cash, damn, I loved that. I did get him to sign my Rutland Dirty Weekend book, the older I get, the less problem I have saying to people I am working with, “I love your work, will you sign this book I eagerly bought when younger”.
Instead, on this slow route home due to engineering works, I am thinking about utilities.
Why privatisation? “Greed is good” may not be triumphantly tubthumped while austerity rules, possibly forever we are told, but it seems to lie under the camouflage of “good intentions of poverty for the good of us all”.
I do not see how a society that aspires to civilisation, would put the means of staying alive and day to day functioning, into the hands of organisations whose primary aim is profit rather than providing. Water for profit, heating for profit, health for profit, transport for profit, light for profit. Are we without motivation without profit?
“I would give that 97 year old my bus seat, but let’s face it, what’s in it for me”
“to hell with helping that pregnant mum down the stairs with that pram, she knew the risks of step stumbling when she had sex…at least twice”.
Why shouldn’t centrally run, non profit organisations work to supply these things that are part of survival in a modern age? Can humans only strive if there is a cash reward, are we just rats that require a cheese reward to run the maze? Do we say “fuck you” to the aged, hopeless or homeless if the only prize at the end may be a sense of having done something for someone else. I’d love to help, but you have nothing shiny and I can’t take your wishes and hopes to the pawn shop and those framed photographs of your dead husband have no gilt edges.
Can’t we imagine altruism and empathy on a bigger scale?
Why must we presume that private enterprise is the key to success. How many more times to G4S have to balls up a job? Why is East Coast Mainline being re-privatised when after being re-nationalised they were doing pretty well for the treasury?
I think of Slavoj Zizek’s line, “why is it easier to imagine the end of the world than a change in global capitalism?”
If the only thing we work for is a cash prize, then we don’t seem to have made quite such a bold evolutionary move as some would have us believe.
I went seeking the changes in cost for electricty, gas and water (adjusted for inflation) pre and post privatisation, but I haven’t found the figures yet. And what of executive pay, what changes too? I hope to fill those blanks in a day or so and be pleasantly surprised. Why the costs are little more than before and all that extra can clearly be seen to have been used in implementing radical new solutions to the functioning of the operation and delivery of service. Why the executives are barely on a penny more and the ground force have seen their wages rise at the same rate, seeing a beautiful justice in the ways of the economy and the rewards for endeavor. I’ll wait and see.
Why do we put up with “all being in it together” when some clearly aren’t and have no intention of being so as they mouth their policies while polishing their ill-gotten prizes with a barely hidden hand? What do we do? A sense of prickly powerlessness prevails?
We are meant to bow and unctuously smile at the super rich if they pay their tax, as if an opt out from the law is quite acceptable once you are on the top table, like congratulating the owners of sports cars more than the rest for obeying the speed limits near schools. “You don’t seem to understand, imagine how many children they could kill if they chose to, and thus they are even better than the owner of a Prius who just doesn’t have the same killing capability”.
Privatisation has given us choice, the choice of which spiv to rip us off, like counting a broader choice of burglars – “oh Bob is a better choice of burglar has he makes less mess when smashing your window and he can’t always be bothered to carry the really heavy stuff”
So my question is – have the extreme price rises and executives’ benefits created industries unimaginable when run by the state? Was it really so impossible to restructure nationalised industries especially? If the problem is that being run by the state doesn’t work, then are the politicians admitting, “we are the inept”, and so must government be privatised too? Ah, I think it might have happened already, but no one told us.
Two nights of science, comedy and music in aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation and Manchester University Scholarship fund are happening at Hammersmith on 12th and 14th December. vast array of secret guests, I did let slip that Ross Noble will be on 12th, but sworn to secrecy on the rest. Will Hugh Grant be joining us again this year to play the Queen’s Homeopath? Details HERE
Details of other benefit Christmas gigs at The Bloomsbury with full line ups listed HERE