25 April 2012     

An “Omnishambles” but still lethal

By John Malloy

The “law of unexpected consequences” seems to be manifesting itself in unusual places these days. Take the Leveson inquiry for example. Established by David Cameron to buy himself some breathing space from the heat of his own toxic relationship with the Murdoch empire in general and his former press adviser (ex-News of the World Editor) Andy Coulson in particular, its revelations have so aggrieved his former Wapping buddies that the lack of personal support for him or his Chancellor is dramatic.
     As a consequence, despite the press barons supporting his obnoxious programme, not since Kelvin McKenzie of the Sun was threatening John Major for not being Euro-sceptic enough has a Tory Prime Minister faced such a level of press hostility. In this way, all the old doubts about how shallow and out of touch Cameron and Osborne actually are has appeared on front pages more used to covering how Bob Crowe was about to threaten Western civilisation.
     The latest to voice a critical opinion of Cameron and Osborne, and be allowed to do so on a Tory rag’s front page, is Tory MP Nadine Dorries who described them as “two posh boys who don't know the price of milk.”
     The other reason for the media running with hostility is that while the press are many things they are not stupid. They know that unlike the early Thatcher era, when the mass destruction of whole communities could be presented to middle England as “modernisation” and dressed up in the bogus aspirational nonsense of share issues and “popular capitalism,” such a sales pitch would be impossible now, with the phrase “popular capitalism” not daring to raise its ugly head too often at the moment.
     The papers may still be able to peddle their monarchist fantasies (treating such parasites as apolitical) and never fail to attempt a “them and us” division on race, class, employed v. unemployed, private v, public sector worker etc. but they are less keen to attempt a defence of the ever more indefensible gaps between the rulers and the ruled as manifest in utilities’ profiteering, pension robbery, inflationary assaults on food prices and the grotesque, tax avoided, salaries still gifted within the financial sector.
     These facts cannot be “spun” or presented as justifiable for some greater good when readers know those in charge of delivering Coalition policy are so grossly incompetent that an invented word, “omnishambles,” from a satirical drama has begun to be used to sum up Cabinet performance.
     One of the dangers of a general acceptance of this incompetence, however, is that somehow because of it the Government will, inevitably, falter in its mission. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that they are incompetent is not preventing them from carrying out their extremist programme and doing what they can get away with in areas such as Health and Welfare reform. It is an omnishambles, but a lethal one, and only the fight on every front for the alternative economic and social strategy, not the Government’s own incompetence, will divert or defeat it.

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