Every minute of the day, someone somewhere is suffering avoidably, and that’s inexpressibly bad. Civilisation abounds with preventable human misery, and I think people should think about that regularly, ritualistically, in an act of quasi-religious observance.
Look at the last few hundred years of human history and you see colossal, gut-wrenching waste. Every day, a veritable mountain of human potential gets wasted – bulldozed, dynamited, smashed off the face of the earth. Living, thinking, feeling human beings with the potential to achieve great things and enrich the lives of those around them are wrenched out of the only existence they’ll ever have, often for the most pathetically preventable reasons.
Billions more live, but are stifled – by incredible poverty and the exhausting, life-limiting struggle just to stay afloat, or through being written off as worthless by the societies they live in and denied the encouragement and investment that would let them live secure, comfortable, fulfilling lives.
Wiping out suffering should be the highest, most urgently pursued goal of advanced societies. We should plough capital and resources into righting avoidable wrongs wherever we find them. And until the war on preventable misery has been won, we should sit and think about the lives that are needlessly squashed and wasted and painfully curtailed every day. Continue reading
Since Mrs Thatcher, British politics has been horrifyingly right-wing. Big business, the financial sector, the corporate media and the Westminster political establishment have colluded to present an extreme neoliberal vision of what society should be like as somehow being ‘centrist’, ‘moderate’, ‘sensible’ – the country’s unquestionable default setting. ‘Fiscal responsibility’ and being ‘a credible alternative’ now mean governing in the interests of the corporate-financial elite, and the wealthiest people in Britain. Politics is now a one-way pipeline – to ‘modernise’ is to give even more ground to the overpaid, overpowered and sociopathically self-interested.
Austerity and the all-consuming fixation with ‘the deficit’ and ‘balancing budgets’ is just an ideological smokescreen, masking the most radical upwards redistribution of wealth in modern history. Between 1997 and 2012, the wealth of the richest thousand people in Britain quadrupled from £99bn to £414bn. In the years since, it’s risen to £547bn. During the same period, wages and living standards for the vast majority have fallen – ignoring inflation, the average worker’s wage is now lower than it was in 1979, a fifth lower for the very poorest. Continue reading
Labour rightist ray of sunshine Luke Akehurst has been criticising Jeremy Corbyn for being a rebellious MP. He’s also been criticising Jeremy Corbyn for everything up to and including having the sheer temerity to exist, but this newest line of attack is especially revealing about the way he and the other Anyone But Corbyn zealots see the world.
Akehurst and others have been heavily implying that Corbyn’s record of defying the Labour leadership in parliament makes him unsuitable to be Labour leader. Asked whether, as a self-described party loyalist, he’d back whoever won the election, Akehurst said he would – bear that in mind if Jeremy does win – but that “Corbyn displayed no loyalty at all to Kinnock, Smith, Blair, Brown and Ed Miliband”.
Meanwhile, waves of spleen-rupturingly funny Labour right-wingers have been tweeting variations on the theme: “lololololol what’s he going to do if he wins, rebel against his own party line?!!???!!!??! Lolololololoololoolololollool”. Continue reading