This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
Tom Lehrer once remarked that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Nothing could be so deserving of savage or humorous ridicule ever again.
As US Secretary of State, Kissinger had overseen the murder of millions of people in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos who opposed US imperialism. He plotted to drown Salvador Allende’s elected socialist regime in Chilean blood.
But now, step forward ex-prime minister Tony Blair.
In an article in the New York Times, he bemoans the low public esteem in which parliaments and politicians are held in the West. He claims that such sentiment is caused by the failure of democracy to deliver change quickly enough. So people vent their frustration by attacking politicians for not listening and drawing excessive expenses.
Blair argues that it’s “effective decision-making through strong leadership that is the missing element.” Whereas the corporate world embraces change, in the public sector it is blocked by public servants (“the bureaucracy”), trade unions and the professions.
He wants to see more private involvement in the public sector and more politicians with a business background receiving fat-cat salaries.
It doesn’t occur to him that privatisation and highly paid politicians in the pockets of big business might be part of the problem rather than the solution.
And nowhere does he mention another cause of people’s contempt for their political leaders: his own decision to ride roughshod over public opinion and join US president George W Bush in an illegal, murderous and catastrophic war in Iraq.
The parliamentary expenses scandal confirmed how much our elected representatives are out of touch, living in a bubble in which their second homes, fine furniture and everything from doughnuts to duck-houses are paid for by hard-pressed taxpayers. Only a handful of greedy and dishonest culprits were put on a diet of compulsory porridge, when dozens more should have joined them in prison or carrying out community service.
And today, as millions of citizens have their incomes squeezed while fares and energy bills soar, MPs are to receive an 11 per cent pay rise.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, some voters are turning to supposedly ‘anti-Establishment’ parties such as Ukip, influenced by anti-foreigner propaganda in Britain’s gutter press.
But how long before they see through the farrago that is “man of the people” and Ukip leader Nigel Farage? He and his secretary-spouse are struggling to subsist on a combined European parliamentary salary of just £109,000 a year, barely more than four times the median full-time wage in Britain.
“I don’t know anybody in politics as poor as we are,” he told a Channel Four documentary programme this week. No wonder he hopes the voters of Thanet North will lift him out of the European Parliament and poverty and into the House of Commons at the general election next May.
There he would be free to join scores of other MPs in one of the biggest scandals of all. This is to take millions of pounds from bankers, venture capitalists, arms dealers, healthcare vultures and foreign dictators in donations, consultancy fees, directors’ salaries and other payments.
MPs plead that this gives them valuable experience of the “outside world,” although their experience never extends to pushing hospital trollies, slaving on an assembly line or emptying the bins.
In some countries, dozens of these parliamentarians would be locked up for corruption. However, in Big Business Britain plc it’s all perfectly legal — and Tony Blair wonders why so many people despise our grasping, dishonest politicians.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.