Let’s get something straight right off the bat: there’s nowt wrong with being rich, at all. Not all rich people are bad, not all bad people are rich. Poor people are capable of just as much evil. Difference is though, bad rich people have influence.
If Gavin down the estate is a fucked up, twisted little shit, worst he can do is nick a few trolleys and start a couple of fights in a Morrisons car park, until he gets arrested and diagnosed with ADHD and slapped with an ASBO that bars him from entering the local shopping centre. If a member of the super rich, either one born into wealth or ascending into it, is a wee devious bastard with a total lack of empathy and a solipsistic streak that borders on the psychotic, he or she has the money and the power to influence elections, to shift the window of political debate, and to alter the course of an entire country based on their own self-centric whims.
I used to be naïve. Well, I used to be more naïve, because I still am and always will be. The day I stop admitting that is the day I become a bigot. Two kinds of people: you’re either learning, or you’ve given up, and the latter is no use to anyone. A few years back, I believed that the left wing mistrust of the super rich was simply envy. I believed that all this ‘Tories are bastards’ shtick was empty rhetoric and spin, because in today’s society, how could anyone be actually ‘bad’?
I reminded myself that we live in a civilised world. Sure, terrible deeds have been exacted by humans on humans for millennia, but we’re beyond that now. We’ve matured. We’re in a golden age of humanity, and while politics may get dirty sometimes, it’s only arguing about the small details, micromanagement of the country, and ideologies don’t differ anywhere that matters.
What a load of shite.
I was watching a documentary about the Crusades earlier this week, about European soldiers marching to war against barbaric, foul, dirty Arabs because they were a threat. Only, they weren’t a threat, they weren’t barbaric, foul and dirty; it was just an exercise in pillaging, empire building, and warmongering. War throughout the centuries, across the planet, never much more than dick measuring and flag waving. Human beings can be inspiring, beautiful and brave, and they can also be bloodthirsty, thick and petty.
If, due to some odd cognitive dissonance, you can’t believe that the people in power could possibly prioritise their own private agendas before your own, know that we have not changed a jot since the Holocaust, since the Dark Ages, since the Crusades, since we gathered in the Colosseum to spend lazy Sunday afternoons watching lions rip weeping foreign slaves to shreds. We may wear suits and use obtuse political language, and our level of education has increased exponentially, but our morals remain just as Neanderthalic as they’ve always been.
You can’t learn empathy and compassion from a book, you learn them from experiencing hardships yourself, you learn it from comparing your own past pains to those of others, and seeking to make damn sure that the pain you’ve suffered in life isn’t also inflicted on those you care about. The elite class of the super rich that rule the United Kingdom have, for the most part, been born and bred to rule, and I’m not just talking about politicians. Big business, mega corporations, racist old megalomaniacs in charge of the world’s fucking press. They don’t care what they are doing to ordinary people because they have never been ordinary people, and they never will be. From cradle to grave they are a different class; a better class.
Don’t be fooled by the posters, the speeches and the suits. This is not a matter of bickering over minor details within a grand, adequately functioning economic plan that just needs a little tweaking now and then. Through the entire span of human history, a select few have been more than happy to feast while others starved. Nothing has changed today. We are no biologically different to our blood-soaked, mud caked ancestors. Evil and ignorance are just as prevalent as they have always been, and if we don’t stand up and vote for a better future, we’ve nothing ahead of us but the long, slow road to staggering inequality, austerity and subservience.
They say Nero played the lyre while Rome burned. Right now, the United Kingdom is doused in kerosene, and the Tories are tuning their instruments.