Let Them Eat Horse
“Eating prohibitions and obligations thus seem to be theoretically equivalent means of ‘denoting significance’ in a logical system some or all whose elements are edible species” (1)
I watched question time from St Paul’s with an increasing sense of dismay last night. Clearly a white flight or fear of black planet debate is underway in the south in light of data of recent demographic shifts in London’s population. The other notable wearily familiar narrative was on the issue of the women with 11 children who is apparently living in an “eco mansion” built at tax payers expense.
Vince Cable spoke of the hard decisions and tough choices with regard to benefit the government was making. Building affordable homes is clearly a very easy, soft choice as the government has gone down the very difficult road of slashing housing benefit instead. Micheal Heseltine was keen to resolve the notion of any blame on bankers for any of the economic woes by pointing out that the collapse was indeed caused by the urban poor being allowed to buy homes and the middle classes over borrowing money, bankers were simply caught in the middle and the people who we vote in to ensure that our economic system is monitored and regulated were entirely absent from Mr Heseltine’s vision of blame and guilt. But clearly Bankers and politicians were simply caught like startled rabbits unable to act in anyway in the face of the all consuming leaderless horde.
Clearly when the issues first started they were preoccupied with other important tasks like filling in an expense account, heaping blame on political rivals or calling for more red tape cutting and complete deregulation of financial markets in order to create more wealth.
In fairness to Micheal Heseltine he did go on to say that blame should be balanced across the cultural spectrum. His words did unfortunately echo the “we are all in it together” sound bite that no longer springs from the lips of Conservative administrators as it did at the start of their term in office. Micheal like a disproportionately large number of M.P’s is a millionaire and like a significant number of the administrative classes is a beneficiary of recent tax cuts aimed at the most wealthy section of society. I have no issue with Micheal’s personal good financial fortune, but I do feel that members of parliament do not represent the socially and culturally diverse country that we live in. It does give the highly unfortunate impression that in parliament the turkey is able to plan out the Christmas menu in line with its own interests and personal well-being. He unfortunately would later indulge in repeating the skiver/ striver distinction, which is certainly used increasingly across the political spectrum by all parties in one form or another.
Heseltine was of course a member of the administration who took the very difficult decision to sell off council houses letting those on the lowest incomes rent homes from the private sector instead (pushing up demand and rent). But the long term consequences of that one were not thought through as the political classes were more intent on working out what populist moves they could make it stay in office and in the sale of council homes they hit a winner.
We do face some tough calls, rhetoric and pious whistling in the dark are not the solutions yet it is what we would appear to get from the political and administrative classes across the board.
Some of the worst solutions I have heard in regard to Britain’s social issues of late are.
Juries should be composed of only people who have English as a first language or they will not be able to understand the nuances of speech in court.
Health issues amongst the urban poor are the result of the choice not to buy organic produce but to spend income on cigarettes and alcohol. The income of the poor should be administrated and regulated so they cannot engage in making such poor lifestyle choices.
Poor people have flat screen T.V’s! Kelvin Mackenzie former editor of the Sun famously expressed how he felt physical sick when he saw sky satellite receivers on council house homes (working on the assumption that these are ghettos of unemployed people).
The children of poor people should not be allowed to have mobile phones (certainly help to identify them and clearly mark them out).
The poor should be fed the unwanted horse-meat which has been left unsold due to the recent food scare involving horse-meat.
The Scottish trade unionist, philosopher and master of the dark arts of political rhetoric Jimmy Reid once made the observation on Scottish football and it’s problematic relationship with Scottish culture (football has reflected and served as a focal point for some deep cultural differences) , that I think is worth repeating here.
I don’t think that’s enough for a fully satisfying human life. It’s more an indictment of society, that their is this reliance on football to give people a sense of identity. …. Certainly it seems to me a bit of a hallmark of a society that has proven itself inadequate in terms of giving people a sense of belonging and identification.
In terms of what it offers British Identity current widespread rhetoric is not part of a solution but seems to point towards a more fragmented and increasingly unsatisfying existence for all of us, no matter what part of the political divide we may cheer for or whatever part of the every widening social gulf we may belong to. It is not in anyone’s interest to live in a dysfunctional, fragmented poverty stricken thought ghetto built on a severely limited imagination.
Edit. After thinking out loud somewhere else I think this may have been me attempting to work out a form of disclaimer for previous witchcraft post with regard to big men, tradition and consensus. These emotions are not helped by the rhetoric of the political classes but they are the result of wide consensus rather than leadership from the top down. The context they are drawn in is a 21st century one, this is not a repetition of a 16th century witch-hunt. May have shared patterns and a relationship with the way in which identities are drawn and formed but each is dependent on its context.
Anyway back to the 16th century next look at two big political beasts in the small scale pond of Scottish politics, Good king Jamie and one of his most significant and powerful political rivals. Examine briefly the elite political strand to this phenomena of the hunt. One of the linking themes among some significant differences between elite and popular culture is the role of such beliefs in dispute. Also look at how James the Sixth used his anxiety and beliefs to shape a distinct political image of himself as the very model of a modern prince. I think I will run with Knights in White Satin for the title. Although wrapped in sweaty sheets and up all night whistling in the dark my be a more apt title for Jamie in this moment of his life, although he liked to imagine things differently.
(1) Claude Levi Struass, The Savage Mind
Related Poorly Written Notes and Half Thought Ideas From Byssus