Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 22 Jul 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Management reserves the right to refuse admission

‘Management reserves the right to refuse admission.’ I used to see this sign on or around the kind of clubs and pubs that would turn you away for wearing trainers, but which would welcome in anyone who had spent a lot of money to look cheap. It seems that you could just as easily nail it up over the Government or any other bulwark of the establishment to make it clear that it’s them who controls things and not the poor sods who are thus controlled.

Entry into what you might tenuously call the ‘upper echelons’ of society is on an invite-only basis and wholly dependent on you making the right noises. Mick Jagger was demonised as some kind of sinister, counter-cultural and revolutionary figure with his music and latterly his drug use, but wind the clock on a few years and he’s some baggy-faced old titwizard who quite likes cricket and fronts the kind of band that terribly nice chaps with big teeth and high hair can call ‘the greatest rock and roll band in the world’ without shaking anything other than their wallets.

The list, of course, goes on. Plenty of people who once seemed insurrectionary grow older, fatter and more detached from the realities that once helped shape them. Then they find that there’s a jewelled ladder which has been let down, they scamper up it and their world changes. The letting down of this ladder holds out the pretence that this society is a meritocracy which, of course, it really isn’t. Power and wealth are concentrated in the hands of the same people they have always been concentrated in, for all that money buys you entrance to the corridors of power. Their hands are on the ladder, seemingly forever and always.

Look at the moneyed toad Arron Banks who has successfully turned his wealth into political power and so controls some people’s hearts and minds. Before he’s much older, I’ll lay money on his shiny old arse being comfortably cosseted by the leather of the Lords benches, but the point stands. A Tory once said that Lib Dem huckster David Laws deserved his entry to the ranks of the powerful because he’d spent money to become an MP. This, to me, seems incredible, a tacit admission that only the rich can represent people and, in so doing, weave in their own interests as well.

It is, of course, no more than a recognition of how this country works. A crapulent and diseased way designed to replicate the interests of the powerful, infinitely, while keeping up the appearance that ordinary working people have a say, maybe, but the English are a fearful people and tend to cling on to something that works badly but which is concrete rather than change it for something that might work better in the future but which doesn’t yet exist. We had our revolution with the Civil War, runs the argument, and look how that worked out.

How it worked out is that Cromwell very nearly started seeing himself as king and butchered most of Ireland, so the Civil War isn’t an exemplar of anything much. But you won’t start seeing change in this country until the people who hold power, symbolic and actual, start being afraid of the populace. That means people like the Royal Family and the Tories and all the rest of them start being scared to go out in public, scared to appear without armed bodyguards, for fear that a crowd will gather and they’ll end up being harangued.

I’m not, incidentally, talking about violence. What I am talking about is the threat of open hostility, of their lives not feeling quite as secure as comfortable as they thought they had been previously. When you think that the people are about to pull you out of your ministerial Jaguar and throw you in the Thames, then you might be less likely to pass laws which means more of them will die when you stop their benefits or make sure that they aren’t allowed a spare room.

When I was at university, I had a poster for the film Godfather Part III which is, it has to be said, a bloody awful film. But it contained the memorable line ‘Real power cannot be given – it must be taken’ and that’s absolutely right. Admission is, right now, at the gift of people who are not us even if they once were.  Until the door is kicked off and people are forced to listen, we’ll go on getting the same treatment we’ve always got and slowly being trodden down as we always have.

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