Wednesday 24 March 2021

The values that unite us


Those ‘great British values’ which apparently unite all of us who live on this island and distinguish us from the rest of the world have been on display again in recent days.

Yesterday, the PM praised ‘greed’ as a motivating factor before realising that he might have gone a bit too far and desperately asking people to allow him to unsay it. It was a rare moment of honesty from an inveterate liar (the saying of it, that is, not the attempt to unsay it) and an insight into the way the Tory mind works. It isn’t actually true, of course – not everyone, and not even every capitalist, is motivated solely by personal greed; if it were true, then capitalism would have collapsed a long time ago. And in the specific context of the vaccination programme, whilst Johnson may see their role as secondary to that of the pharmaceutical companies developing the vaccines, the role of volunteers and underpaid and dedicated NHS staff has been crucial. If greed were their only motive, there wouldn’t have been much of a programme. It is, though, part of the mindset of people like Johnson that the ‘little people’ don’t really count and contribute little – ‘success’ is measured by the ability of the ‘winners’ to extract great personal wealth from the economy at the expense of the rest of us, who are seen as ‘losers’.

Also yesterday, the Home Secretary made further announcements on the proposed new regime for handling asylum-seekers. Fresh from the news that she was planning to ship them elsewhere (it doesn’t matter where and neither does it matter whether the places to which they are to be shipped are happy to take them or not), she is proposing that even some of those granted asylum will remain liable to deportation indefinitely. This is the same Home Secretary who is behind the plans to outlaw many expressions of dissent.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, we had a Tory MP suggesting that anyone who does not love the hereditary monarch and the union flag should be encouraged to go and live elsewhere, and another Tory MP decided to use a parliamentary examination of the BBC to complain about the lack of union flags in the BBC’s annual report and demand that there should be more next year.

Veneration of greed, contempt for any display of altruism, inhumane treatment of refugees, outlawing dissent, unconditional support for heredity as a means of choosing the head of state, and a demand that a cloth symbol hanging from a pole be the object of love and admiration if we want to stay in the country of our birth – these are the ‘great British values’ on display this week. These are the values which they claim as unifying factors. They really are their own worst enemies.

1 comment:

dafis said...

You said - ‘success’ is measured by the ability of the ‘winners’ to extract great personal wealth from the economy at the expense of the rest of us, who are seen as ‘losers’.

"ability" is not really a prerequisite as the "winners" are the select cliques who are well connected to this ruling rabble, not fit to be called an elite, engaged in sucking out wealth from the public purse in a long term systematic impoverishment of the wider communities.