The end of the decade is fast approaching. In under a week the United Kingdom goes to the polls in the most divisive, fucked up election in living memory. Whether the voters know it or not, the stakes on December 12th are enormous.
On one side, the democratic ideal, fact and accountability, public service as a standard that transcends political team games. This might be public service as social democracy provisions, national utilities and wealth redistribution but equally it could be serving the public best by regulating the level playing field for competitive winners-and-losers free market capitalism. Between those poles is politics and that’s fine.
But on the other hand, the dealer’s side, this British election and elections elsewhere is entrusting the future of a free and democratic society to the vicissitudes of an stupefied electorate that’s been degraded by austerity, distracted by Brexit and targeted relentlessly by a media who’s purpose is to amplify the agenda of freewheeling big capital.
Government always exists in tension with sovereign speculative wealth but in the UK, the Conservatives – traditionally party of business and self-interest – has been taken over directly by big capital. This takeover is a game changer. It means one of the main parties likely to be given at least a term of absolute power is no longer looking to govern for the sake of the best possible United Kingdom.
Big capital actors don’t care about what’s in the national interest. Why should they? That’s not the game they’re playing. They’re not concerned with the traditional political arguments about more or less socialism, bigger or smaller budgets for public services versus spending on stimulating business as the engine of economic growth. Big capital is about profit and monopoly. These speculators are global in outlook, because national borders are a ringfence for the unimportant distinctions between mythologies of populations; idiosyncrasies to be exploited, nothing more. It’s your problem, if you’re an advocate for democracy, to deal with the collateral damage of big capital’s hunt for profit running through the domain of public interest. The masses exist to work, pay tax, consume and – when necessary – take the hit when the boom bust economics dip into the red.
Big capital owns most of the European and American media. Big capital interests largely control the message (through media and advertising and consumer services). Big capital is profit-driven. It’s interest in people goes only so far as how best to use their labour, exploit their consumption and train a stable culture of atomized acquiescence to the dictates of the present. Big capital politics is an organ of control, not liberation. It prefers mythology to history, reaction to reflection, worst instincts over best interests.
The Conservatives in the UK, just like the Republicans in the USA, have been taken over by the big capital ideology. Emboldened by the capitulation of the population to austerity and the government to underwriting consequences of bad investment (diverting tax income and future debt into the coffers of the speculators), big capital is pushing to seal the deal.
In a sense the UK election – and the American 2020 vote – are a line in the sand. Will big capital succeed in placing its well-paid employees in government, taking control of the reigns of power to deregulate and deck stack its entrenched power? Or will the public get wise to this?
Have enough regular voters been affected by the degrading of their own lives so they realise the real enemy of their long-term quality of life? Or has the media and the stubborn consumer conservatism of the electorate built up a coda of mass introversion where the public opt for a surrender to populist fantasy?
In short, has the ever-practical, patient big capital cabal trained enough turkeys to not only refuse the hands that feed but instead, far worse, on December 12th 2019 and November 8th 2020, vote in favour of Christmas?