Oxzen’s view that the world is full of twats and self-important tossers has been amply reinforced in the past couple of days.
BBC2 last night screened an hour-long documentary about the cringe-makingly awful British contribution to the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics - 8 minutes of tacky, embarrassingly awful rubbish.
I needed to watch it because I’ve been wondering who was responsible for such a pile of complete dross - and now I know. Step forward Martin Green and Stephen Powell - godfathers of garbage, impresarios of shameful bilge that made Britain the laughing-stock of the entire planet.
What made matters worse, of course, was the fact that the Chinese had just mounted what may be regarded as the greatest-ever show on earth, when you consider the opening and closing ceremonies combined.
And in comparison, those 8 minutes of British naffness looked unbelievably horrible, nasty, silly and unworthy. Because this country does have some great artistes and creative geniuses, here and there. So who put these two twats in charge?
And who allowed them to carry through with their insane idea to make a roof-shedding London double-decker bus, a footballer and a bunch of crap choreography the centrepiece of ‘our’ contribution? (See Layer 71 - Goodbye To The Games - August 26th.) Lord Sebastian Coe - that’s who. He listened to the ideas of Green and Powell, looked suitably unimpressed, and nodded his daft little head. Deal done. Idiot.
One of the worst aspects of Gordon Brown is how much he resembles David Blunkett. OK, he’s only 50% blind, but still he has eyes that don’t see, that don’t focus, that clearly aren’t working, that are never animated or sparkle or engage with whoever he’s supposed to be talking to. Two dead eyes that convey nothing at all - no emotion, no warmth, no reaching out or taking in.
Watching him on TV with Obama in the White House was just embarrassing. Two different species of human being. One who’s alert and alive and vibrant, and one who’s a burnt-out wreck.
Brown also has the Blunk’s thick-set dour unattractiveness, the same machine-politician’s dull and deadly delivery, an air of having carefully prepared everything he’s about to say with his clique of readers, researchers, advisers and consultants. He’s therefore a mouthpiece for a set of professional political policy-makers - a group of people that are forever in the thick of it, so to speak - trudging from briefing to briefing, from committee meeting to focus group to Whitehall office.
Brown’s speech to Congress was also embarrassing. A mixture of the leaden and the wooden, with cogs grinding and gears clanking. Why was he doing it? PR of course - selling himself and his dodgy, worn out ideas, whose very structure could be heard creaking and groaning with every dull, clunking sentence. Not so much a big clunking fist - more a set of big, clunking, obsolete ideas.
Obama’s been telling America that it’s the disastrous ideology of Chicago-school free-trade market economics that has brought the world’s economy to total ruin. And here was Brown - having the utter gall and the complete idiocy to lecture Congress on the need to press ahead with open markets and non-protectionist free trade, regardless of the consequences for the downfall of national strategic industries and unemployment.
He expects the Americans to allow their motor industry, for example, to go the same way as ours - either down the plug hole completely, or sold off to smarter foreign operators who will asset-strip and relocate it. And to whose benefit? Does he really still cling to the Friedmanite doctrine that everyone eventually benefits from greater ‘efficiency’ and lower prices, which are supposedly the outcomes of globalisation?
Will he never admit that it’s always the little people that get screwed and then tossed crumbs of comfort after the mega-deals and mergers have gone through, commissions pocketed, lawyers paid off, shareholders paid out, the bosses and their consultants and bankers showered with booty?
He can’t even see how sick we all are of politicians like him acting as the mouthpieces of the fat cats and the bankers, desperately trying to make a busted and broken-down system function as it did before. Not that it ever really worked in the way it was supposed to. As even George Soros has had the honesty to admit - unregulated globalised capitalism itself is the problem, not the solution to anything.
And Brown just doesn’t get it.
I don’t want to be unfair on Brown. I’m sure he has good intentions, and was as brainwashed as Blair and the others into honestly believing that Chicago-school economics was/is the only game in town, and that it was/is pointless and/or counterproductive to try to regulate Big Finance.
My difficulty in feeling any sense of empathy or caring for him is that he patently failed in the empathy and decency stakes when it came to standing up for principle and what is right. Where was his empathy with the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were bound to be war victims and bound to suffer homelessness, injury and death? Where was his empathy with the millions of anti-war protestors?
Whereas Obama could see from the outset that the invasion of Iraq and the notion of a war on terr’r was always going to be a ruinous disaster, and had the courage to say so, Brown ranged from staying silent to actively supporting Bush and Blair.
Whereas Will Hutton and other progressive economists & commentators said consistently that NuLabour must re-regulate the City and the money markets, Brown sat in No. 11 Downing Street and paid them no attention - and showed them no respect.
It’s not as if Brown continued to play ball with Bush and the big boys whilst at the same time warning that things had to change, that the party was over, that tax havens had to be closed down, that the bonus culture was no longer acceptable, that the gravy train was about to hit the buffers, as so many predicted it would.
So now he ought to be big enough to deal with the derision and indeed hatred that’s being rained down on him for doing nothing whatsoever to get a grip on the excesses of the City and the bankers, for allowing tax havens and tax avoidance on a huge scale to continue, for allowing industry to flounder, for allowing the bonus culture and naked greed to run rampant, for encouraging oligarchs to prosper and seek refuge in Britain, for allowing the minimum wage to remain so inadequate, for encouraging more and more privatisations and ‘private finance initiatives’. In a word, he ought to apologise, and just say sorry for his pitiful inadequacy as the man in charge of the economy and finance all these years.
In the Guardian today there’s a piece by one of Blair’s former speechwriters - one Peter Hymen - sorry, Hyman - a callow little twat of the first order if you go by his photograph - whose verdict on the Brown speech was that he “didn’t just give us substance but a little style too”. Substance? Style?!!
Whereas Michael Billington said emphatically that the speech was “low on substance”, and that Brown would do to remember that Mark Anthony’s seemingly triumphant speech was “short-lived and followed by civil commotion, global turmoil, and his own ultimate downfall . . . ”
Someone on Radio 4 yesterday described Lord Peter Mandleson as ‘effectively’ the Deputy Prime Minister. As it happened I’d just been thinking about Harriet Harman, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the attempts by the political establishment to marginalise her and disown her recent statements to the effect that government would ensure that the bankers would not get their fat pensions, regardless of what the current law permits, or insists on.
So let’s think about this. Mandleson, a failed politician and a European Commissioner, a professional bureaucrat, is plucked from Brussels by our Prime Minister and installed as a noble Lord in Parliament, with such duties and status as to make him effectively the Deputy Prime Minister. And we think we live in a democracy?
A man who is regarded by the majority of the population as a scumbag and a toff, a nasty piece of work, and the co-architect of NuLabour, who we therefore hold responsible for the betrayal of the electorate after 1997 and All That, is now someone we should regard as a ‘Lord’, and effectively the Deputy Prime Minister, even though he’d never win any election he now entered.
Not only that, he’s made it his business to press ahead with part-privatisation of the Royal Mail completely against the wishes of the electorate, which is coming round to understanding that nationalised industries, especially where they are also monopolistic and potentially able to benefit from economies of scale, are preferable to privatised businesses which owe no responsibility to the electorate, and operate solely in the interests of shareholders.
It’s clear the man is a megalomaniac and egotist of the first order, with no inclination whatsoever to pay attention to what people actually want, such as radical social change that benefits regular people rather than fat cats. He’s therefore a would-be dictator, with contempt for the masses, and a determination to pursue his own political agendas regardless of the consequences for social justice and democracy.
It’s as though Brown has installed in Parliament as his philosopher’s stone, his business guru and his private mentor, someone with the tendencies of a Hitler, someone who uses every opportunity to use dirty tactics, to smear and ignore opponents, to use disinformation, to do business through cliques and cabals, to empower himself at the expense of everyone else. Which is another very good reason for disliking and reviling Brown, and wanting him to just pack it in and push off.