Imagine a watershed turn of events: a couple of the big unions discovered ballot-rigging, a respected left-leaning pressure group charged with embezzlement, one or two Labour councils found guilty of corruption. Picture the scandals arriving one after the other, and being matched by similar news from abroad. The right would have a field day, making its usual claims about the mendacity and corruption that always infect the left\’s delusions: it would be time, they would say, to finally drive out the last of the Red Menace.
Now, consider the headlines of the last few weeks, and what they say about some of the pillars of the order ushered in during the Thatcher-Reagan years, and left largely untroubled by every government since. The Libor scandal has enmeshed Barclays, and more than a dozen banks are also being investigated, including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and UBS – all suspected of actions that may look like the stuff of financial arcana, but which have had disastrous consequences for millions of homeowners, small businesses and public institutions across the planet. Some financial insiders are talking about nothing less than \”the banking industry\’s tobacco moment\”, referencing the litigation in the late 1990s that cost cigarette manufacturers over $200bn.
Set one is (hypothetical) actual Labour politicians being thieves and knaves.
Set two is (not hypothetical) not politicians at all being thieves and knaves.
Somehow I can\’t quite see the point of comparing the two. We should be comparing either the amount of knavery and thievery which is being done by the politicians of either side or the amount of knavery and thievery that happens among the non-politicians on each others\’ watch, under their respective political policies.
And as to this:
Three or four years ago, I read a brilliant short text by the academic Colin Crouch, then chairman of the department of social and political sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. Published in 2004, it was titled Post-democracy, and was among the most penetrating analyses of the modern condition I have read, not least when it came to the failings of politics.
Its essential point was simple enough: that after the brief postwar interlude of \”maximal democracy\”, the decline of the labour movement and the growth of global corporate power had led to developments that now define too many societies: rising inequality, the demise of redistributive taxation,
Does nobody bother to look at the actual numbers these days? Even by the TUC\’s calculations of the effects of the tax and benefit systems income inequality falls from the market level of 29.something as a multiple of top to bottom incomes to 6.9 times.
What the fuck do you mean there\’s been a demise of redistributive taxation?