“When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front row seat.” So said the late George Carlin. You could argue that George’s claim that ringside seats are reserved for those born in ‘the land of the fee and the home of the slave’ is no longer valid (if it ever was), because I consider that you could argue for equal entitlement for other countries, chief among them my own. The United Kingdom must now surely rank alongside the crème de la crème of states which should arguably be fenced off and declared a ‘sanity-free’ zone’. And in terms of mental instability, it is hard to know exactly who is in most need of heavy sedatives and intensive therapy; the people or the government. It really is a close run thing.
I have always had a natural inclination against authority, and I don’t exactly know why. Maybe some of us are just born with a more heightened sense of smell; something which really comes in handy when you are around significant amounts of bullshit regularly. And, in the United Kingdom, not only do plenty of people seem to have a largely non-functioning olfactory system, but they also seem only too willing to dive right into the brown stuff and start playing in it. No questions asked.
Since 2008, the people in the United Kingdom (and, of course, in other countries around the world that still believe the current economic system is both fair and sane) have been going through something called ‘austerity’. Apparently the country owes just too much money, and as a consequence all kinds of services have had to be cut. Need an operation? Find a penknife and a bottle of strong whisky and do it yourself! And part of the general crap spouted by those currently in government in an effort to ensure that people fall into line suitably is that it is ‘immoral to leave our children with a burden of debt that we have incurred’. As bullshit goes, this really would disable any fan it was thrown at. What it really translates as is ‘Look, we are going to cut your services, make your lives worse than those your parents had, and ensure that we work you until you drop dead, but look on the bright side: at least you will be able to feel morally righteous on your deathbed, because your children won’t be paying off your debts.’ Sounds a reasonable trade off, I suppose.The first problem with it, of course, is that it just won’t happen. When I die (whenever that may be) I am pretty damn sure the national debt will still be huge. However, loading unjustified guilt onto the masses always worked for the Church; why not for the State?
This appeal to morality would not sound quite so crass if anybody in the past 320 years (since the founding of the Bank of England in 1694) had ever used it before. But, to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t! The question I’d like answering is why nobody was suggesting in 1962 that more effort be made to reduce the national debt because I was just about to be born and it would be unfair to load me with the debts incurred by my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc etc? I mean, up until I was born (and pretty reasonably for several years afterwards) I had absolutely no say in how much money the State borrowed, or for what. Nobody asked me whether I felt like taking on any of this previously incurred burden of debt prior to being born; I was just landed with it, no questions asked. And I doubt very much whether my parents took any of this into account during their family planning arrangements.
So, to my government (of whatever colour) I say only this. ‘Frankly, you and your predecessors have really f**ked this up nicely. Whilst I appreciate that you would like me to take moral responsibility for your borrowing and feel a heavy burden of guilt that future generations may judge this one for not having sacrificed their entire lives to rectify your financial mistakes, nice try but I’m afraid I have only a middle finger to offer.’