Individualism and consumerism - Fingers in the Till and Noses in the Trough

We live in an age of celebrity. Our heros are seen as special people towering above the rest of us mere mortals and entitled to the lavish lifestyles we see paraded before us. These are people out for themselves, for what they can get. They are special after all, why shouldn't they have a guitar shaped swimming pool and an all red snooker room with a stuffed camel? Or German themed prison nights with expensive prostitutes, or their own private island or a multi million pound farmhouse for the weekends. Or all their expenses paid for by the taxpayer...

Of course, not everybody is the same and not everybody should be paid the same. Some people are good at making furniture and some people are good at shuffling columns of figures, but the number crunchers still need something to sit on while they add. Why should some people earn thousands of times more than others?

It certainly isn't just a matter of talent. The ruling class clings on to power through the education system, good private schools get their pupils into oxford and cambridge and from there into the lucrative top jobs. Not because they are special, just because they were dealt a better hand. If you want to be say, director General of the BBC, the best way to start is Harrow or Eton. What about footballers though, David Beckham surely has special talents that deserve rewarding? Well, fair enough, but is his reward proportionate? He is also quoted as saying that he would play for free if nobody paid him. This goes for most people with rare talents like this. Musicians make music for the love of it, not for the chance of becoming milionaires. Apart from elton John that is.

The huge gap between those with their noses in the trough and all of those outside of that circle is causing a lot of dis-satisfaction in the UK and I think is ultimately behind the outrage against the MPs expenses claims.

It's clear evidence that the people in power are making the rules up to suit themselves. In this case that is very clear, the MPs make the rules on expenses and they have managed to make it very easy to grab a lot. But the same thing is going on across the board, the rich and powerful don't vote to lose their wealth and power. As has been said numerous times through this affair, 'turkeys don't vote for Christmas'. Not too long ago the UK Labour party was a socialist organisation with a goal of reducing the differences in wealth between rich and poor. It's hard to imagine Labour politicians speaking in those terms today, maybe they have become so much a part of the establishment that they just want to keep their noses in the trough - and the noses of their spouses and children. All very much like 'Animal Farm' really, the leaders need special consideration because of the very tough brain work they do...

But the evidence is that more equal societies are happier than less equal ones. People feel valued rather than value-less.

This does seem to be the mood in Britain today, the general public feels undervalued and powerless to effect change. It's amazing that even though we have caught our rulers with their fingers in the till, they are allowed to hang on to their jobs for another year and then get a golden handshake on their way out. Powerlessness leads to bullying, people with little or no control over their lives look for scapegoats, somebody further down the line that they can dominate in order to have a little bit of self esteem. The boss kicks the manager, the manager kicks the worker, the worker goes home and kicks the cat.

These feelings of powerlessness lead to fascism and the bully boy posturings of the BNP The best way to stop them is to give people control over their own lives. And that means a system devoted to helping the entire population, not just the ruling classes. A true democracy must surely have this fundamentallly wired into its make-up. What is government for? To manage the country for the benefit of everybody. What better way to express that than the idea that governments should strive to make everybody happy?

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