Tag Archives: Corruption

‘All the Truth in the World Adds up to One Big Lie’

By which criteria do we satisfy ourselves that we have reached the truth?

That a particular account of events is true is something that we too often take for granted, particularly when it is given to us ‘as the truth’ by those in positions of authority, leadership and power.

In an ideal world, of course, the role of police officers, politicians, bankers and journalists should be sufficient to confer a high degree of trust in their actions, automatically and without reservation; it should be sufficient to justify the naïve assumption that their motives are always entirely innocent and without agenda.

But we live in an imperfect society. It is one in which positions of authority are now widely regarded with suspicion and distrust. Our common outrage at the ugly catalogue of corruption and deceit that has been published in the form of apologies over the past couple of years – which includes several back copies from years gone by – has been testimony to that.

Here are just a couple:

 

Hillsborough papers: Cameron apology over ‘double injustice’ –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-19543964

Gordon Brown to apologise for UK’s role in child migrant scandal –
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/feb/24/gordon-brown-apology-child-migrants

David Cameron condemns Bloody Sunday killings and makes apology –
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/15/david-cameron-bloody-sunday-apology

Barclays apologizes for Libor scandal –
http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/27/investing/barclays-libor/index.htm

Rupert Murdoch ‘sorry’ in newspaper adverts –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14170756

 

The list goes on and on. The worrying thing is that we are force-fed whichever version of events best suits the prevailing political agenda, usually created for those individuals who have the means and the money to sustain them, and which the rest of society is normally just expected to take as correct.

And most of the time we do, until something significant that could no longer be contained, or something very small that had been overlooked, finally makes its way to the surface and brings everything to a crashing halt.

We are led to believe that certain groups of individuals are decent, honest and upstanding, whilst others are not; we are led to think that certain historical troubles were caused and perpetuated by one particular religious or ethnic group, and courageously and rightfully managed down by another.

The despicable cover up of truth that we witnessed with the Hillsborough disaster, and the unforgiveable manner in which the people of Liverpool were treated and portrayed in the aftermath, must surely be one of the final nails in the coffin of this country’s utterly corrupt constitution.

This country has happily created its own version of the truth for centuries in order to conceal the sheer extent of the hatred, prejudice and contempt with which the elite minority regards even the rest of its own society.

Bob Dylan once wrote that ‘all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie’.

And I think it is fairly obvious how important that one big lie has been to successive Governments.

It is that without which they would not exist.

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Why Sectarianism Remains An Enduring Problem Today

It is quite interesting to reflect on certain of our current sociocultural problems – I am thinking particularly about sectarianism in Scotland – by comparing the psychologies of those caught up in the midst of it today, with those who lived through its complex historical origins.

Whilst it is very difficult to work your way inside the emotions, attitudes and thought patterns of individuals living through the difficult circumstances surrounding this problem nowadays, it is even more of a challenge with respect to those living in an entirely different historical period.

But it is interesting because it helps to shed some light on why problems like sectarianism, which should have been confined to the lives and circumstances of a different generation, with different belief systems, still endure today.

We could think of sectarianism, perhaps rather simplistically, as being rooted in the complex mix of religious, sociocultural and political circumstances that have prevailed, to greater or lesser extents, at various points in our history over the past few centuries.

Perhaps at the time, sectarianism was something like a strange type of ‘medicine’ that people believed that they had to take, in order to ward off the perceived threats and spooky ills of the day. It helped secure, and ultimately reinforce, their sense of identity, belonging, purpose and spiritual well-being. But it was a ‘medicine’ that looks more like a poison to most of us today, with very obvious, and totally unacceptable, adverse effects.

There is a very clear sense in which sectarianism would have been actively prescribed by certain unscrupulous, corrupt and very powerful, organisations and authorities, as a potent remedy for tackling some of the perceived threats to the preferred establishment of the day. It was a means of protecting and insulating Scottish Presbyterian Protestantism, for example, from the threat of the ‘superstitions’ of Catholicism and the absolute authority of Rome.

The recipe was celebrated and passed down through subsequent generations, without any thought being given to the fact that the psychology that made sense of it as an antidote to a particular religious and sociocultural malady, was firmly rooted in a historical setting that is wholly incommensurate with how the majority of us want our lives to look and feel today.

But here is the sting: whilst the majority of us want our lives to look and feel a certain way today, because the story we are given is that we inhabit a culturally advanced, socially civilised and morally structured space of reasons that makes this possible, the reality behind the story is somewhat different.

The reality is that the institutional corruption and sociocultural prejudices that tainted our past are still absolutely rife today, albeit appearing in a slightly more sophisticated guise, and with much wider ramifications for our everyday lives.

We may have become more sophisticated in our thinking, but our psychologies are integrated into today’s sociocultural conditions, in much the same way that the psychologies of generations before us were integrated into the conditions that prevailed during their time. And we also have the disadvantage of backward integration through being immersed in our respective generational traditions, with the symbols, stories and songs that keep them alive.

But whereas many of us have moved on in our attitudes and belief systems, and acknowledge that sectarianism is something that should belong firmly in the past, the brutal reality behind the story is that most of the same basic sociocultural ingredients still exist today that existed then.

Witness the wilful corruption, institutional prejudices and wholly immoral practices of certain journalists, politicians and bankers, for a start. And they are not alone in this respect. The elitist framework that furnishes and protects the lavish lifestyle of certain social groups is the very same framework that creates the context for many of our ugly sociocultural prejudices.

That is what we need to dismantle if we are serious about eradicating sectarianism for good. But that, unfortunately, is never going to happen, and that is why sectarianism remains an enduring problem today.

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The Despicable Art of the Politician

George Osborne suggested last year that there were only six weeks to save the Euro. You have to wonder what his motives were:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2041201/George-Osbornes-eurozone-crisis-warning-6-weeks-save-euro.html

You have to wonder whether he was trying to make a subtle contribution to the pessimistic outlook attaching itself to the single currency, in order to hurry along a particular political agenda.

Particularly when both Osborne and Cameron recently criticised those who were guilty of open speculation about the Eurozone and its potential break up.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18059355

Politicians, intertwined with their media friends and public relations experts, are highly skilled at engineering situations that serve the ends of some of the world’s most powerful and wealthiest individuals. And that is quite sickening, but real.

It makes you cynical. It makes you question the underlying motives of politicians – the democratically elected puppets who pretend to be there to serve us, whilst their strings are being pulled by others behind the scene.

Thinking about the Eurozone crisis, you begin to wonder whether the countries that would have been damaged most by its break-up – UK, USA, Germany and others – understood that the only permanent solution, and one which would have benefitted their own economies anyway, would have been greater fiscal and political union.

A highly contentious issue for many countries and probably not wanted. But to plant the seed that there were only weeks to save the Euro, and indulge in the open speculation that they subsequently criticised, suggests that, for whatever reason, political union was perhaps the underlying motive.

After all, the ratings agencies, the men in dark suits, who ultimately control the interest rates that countries are required to pay on their debts, are perfectly positioned to nudge the figures up or down to engineer a crisis in the sovereign bond markets.

Given everything we know about politics, power and corruption, how easy would it be to create the perfect storm? How easy would it be to create the conditions which would either lead to global economic disaster – which nobody in their right mind would opt for – or a new political arrangement heralded as solving the crisis, but which actually served the elite particularly well?

Only a few well positioned individuals ever stand to gain from the political manoeuvring that takes place behind the scenes. We watch the pantomime play out in front of us. We get drawn into it. We live it. We cheer when we see the ‘hero’ triumph, and we boo when the ‘villain’ of the piece turns up.

And when things look like they are taking a dip, when our enthusiasm falters, there is always a large event of national importance conjured up to get everyone back on side. It is just like freshening up the cardboard scenery on the stage.

The pantomime is played out by very clever actors, masters in the art of deflection and distraction. We are all trained to clap and boo in unison, it is programmed into us – we are all in this together, after all.

And in politics, the villain of the piece is very rarely the character we are encouraged to boo with theatrical gusto. We are just made to think that way because it suits the underlying plot.

It is the despicable art of the politician, honed through years of working the circuit, playing the game and taking the standing ovation when it all appears to come together in the end.

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