Monday, 1 June 2015

Power, Corruption And Lies

Sepp Blatter. The very words are still making me laugh, almost as much as the commentators and social media wonks who lost their marbles over the idea that he could be voted back in to position. Anyone with a working knowledge of power structures knew very well that boat had sailed long ago.

On Radio 4 this morning in discussion of the new government suggestions for free childcare for under 3s I hear a woman tell the reporter she is 'lucky' as both her and her husband work full time. No one asked the child whether it felt lucky to be in wraparound care but no doubt had they a parade of 'experts' would have appeared to confirm that, yes, children in structured play environments from an early age (particularly from 'deprived' backgrounds) do make greater headway in early stage learning than their counterparts. Presumably the first stage to attaining that luck of their parents to be in full time work with their partner years hence allowing them to also put their child in wraparound care. No one would have asked whether parents not seeing their child for five days a week, 50 weeks a year was beneficial to either party nor whether emotional intelligence was being measured alongside cognitive ability.

I do understand what the woman meant.  She is reflecting a version of normal that FIFA delegates were reflecting when reinstalling Blatter. Orthodoxy is a powerful tool. Tony Blair lies about invading Iraq, we all know he's lying, we know the dossier is rubbish yet we march and fail and acquiesce and shoot barbs from the corner of a virtual room. We fail to enact real change because we shrug and say, 'what can we do?' In the case of Blatter we are left with the idea that the power of those titans of ethical responsibility, MacDonalds, Mastercard and Coca-Cola should do our work for us. We are bought into the idea that working is good, leisure is earned through work, children are best left to semi-independence from a young age. We are modifying the idea of upper class living into a beige, 21st century version that, paradoxically, makes us less free than our great grandparents who had to fight for votes and unions and healthcare and freedom from the tyranny of an establishment explicitly designed to contain them. To add to the irony the free market is placing our children into a context that would be perfectly at home in the state knows best dictatorship of an orthdox Communist entity, albeit with the party politics leached out.

For nannies read state assisted childcare. For cooks read Marks & Spencer ready meal. For staff read minimum wage cleaner, for butler or ladies maid read personal shopper, for real social provision read Children In Need and Comic Relief. It is a Soylent Green version of freedom, a tyranny of meaningless choices masking a reality of no choice at all. A trade of the real aspirations of the post war generations of 1919 and 1946 for an 'on demand' fascimile of that which they aspired to achieve. We are so in thrall to the pantomime that is created for our entertainment that in a few weeks, Blatter will be replaced by a new Punch or Judy, the social networks will once again go into meltdown and nothing will happen.

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