The Torygraph article I linked on FB and Twitter yesterday is churning around in my mind so much that I dreamed about it. Not so much the obvious bits about the MPs stealing from us, or about the looters. But the bit about people like Richard Branson and Philip Green using this country’s security and infrastructure (transport etc) to make their millions, then taking the head office to a tax haven so they don’t have to contribute to the society that enabled them to be rich. The bit about why aren’t we angry with them, for that? Why do we still treat them as if they’re people to be looked up to? Why aren’t we telling them how shitty their actions are?
And today, in the Grauniad, this. The bold is my own, and it is the sentence which I think perfectly captures the heart of the problem.
Fear and greed are our ruling passions. That’s true of the kids smashing shop windows to steal trainers. It’s also true of the MPs fiddling their expenses, the police officers taking backhanders, the journalists breaking into phones. Why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t any of us? The example has been set by our new masters, the one per cent for whom and by whom we’re governed. The ability of powerful actors in the financial markets to socialise risk while privatising profit appears, to the financial peasantry, indistinguishable from organised crime. No reason for the rest of us to stand on ceremony.
The bankers and the politicians, some police, journalists, the big businessmen just take stuff from other people and fuck off with it. There are loopholes written in that allow them to. They maintain those loopholes.
So why shouldn’t we just take stuff? Why shouldn’t we? Why are the people with the least required to uphold moral standards that the people with the most are rewarded and celebrated for disregarding?