Sunday, 10 May 2009

Open The Books On Bourgeois Democracy

If anyone doubted that Bourgeois Democracy was a bankrupt, corrupt system by which the Capitalist Class disguise their Dictatorship the revelations in The Torygraph about MP’s expenses should have removed those doubts. For the ruling Capitalist class, MP’s and Ministers perform the same function as the non-executive Directors on Company Boards. They are there for show, to try to present a picture that decisions are made in the interests of a wider constituency than just the tiny number of Capitalists who have real control over the means of production and power in society. And just like those non-executive Directors the bosses are happy to keep them sweet with high levels of remuneration and expense accounts. But, by the same token that relationship allows the bosses to control and admonish its paid servants whenever it chooses. See also: Boardroom Bourgeois Democracy . Bourgeois democracy encourages the mass of the people to abstain from active political involvement themselves, and to leave it to a small number of professional politicians. Of course, if you do that then you should not be surprised if, having put the fox in charge of the hen house, you find your chickens are disappearing.

To be fair, given that political system, coming up with a fair system isn’t as easy as it seems. This morning on Adam Boulton, he suggested, as have other commentators that MP’s just be given a bigger salary, and cut out the expenses. But, that wouldn’t be fair either, because not all MP’s have the same necessary expenses. Take one of the examples cited – that of a Defence Minister who claimed for Poppy Wreaths. Far be it from me to want to defend any of these politicians, but you can see from this example the difficulty. Say as that Minister you as part of your job are expected to attend say 20 events requiring wreath laying. I have no idea what the cost of such wreaths might be, but say £50. Then just in that alone you are talking about £1,000 – an expense that other MP’s wouldn’t have to pay.

The best solution would be to have such expenses covered by the Department, not the Minister. Similarly, in respect of housing, as I suggested in my blog Solving The MP’s Housing Expenses Problem , they could just be provided with a Council house on some run down London estate.

But, simply shunting off the problem to the Department is no solution either, because if we get round to finding what the top Civil Servants get in expenses, along with all the Judges, the Top Brass in the Armed Forces etc., we will undoubtedly find that what the MP’s have been claiming is chicken feed. Just look at the current story about £350 million being paid out by the NHS for Management Consultancy fees, RCN Criticises Consultancy Fees .

In fact, this is not at all out of the ordinary. It is typical of the way in which the State Capitalist bureaucracy functions. An in depth analysis would probably show that many of these Consultants are former NHS or Department of Health bureaucrats themselves. That is certainly common in Local Government, where the Chief Officers, frequently take early retirement, once they have reached the level of maximum pension, only to turn up for work again a few weeks later, this time in the form of a “Consultant”, being paid even more money for fewer hours worked!

If the Torygraph have raised a moral panic over the issue of MP’s expenses they have done a great service by opening a Pandora’s box on the whole gamut of abuses that constitute the functioning of bourgeois democracy as a whole. Finding out what MP’s are claiming is only the start. We need to demand the same kind of opening of the books of the whole system of bourgeois democracy that is now being demanded of MP’s. We should have all of the expenses and other payments to the top Civil Servants, the judges, the Police Chiefs, the Military and all those other Governmental and Quasi-Governmental bodies set out in full detail, for all to see, and checked over by committees of inquiry under the control of Trade Unions. We should see all the payments and claims made by the Royal Family and their hangers-on. Similarly, the head Vicar has come out and criticised MP’s for greed, which is a bit rich from an institution, which for the last 2,000 years has leached off the poor by various means, and whose spokespeople today are wholly dependent upon the income derived from the huge wealth so obtained during that period, and on the current generosity of strangers, as well as a continuing support from the State! Let’s open the books of the various Churches and see how much wealth they have stored up on Earth, and what the expenses claims of ITS top bureaucrats are getting too.

But, more than that workers should be able to see how much of the profit of the companies they work for, are being drained in similar expenses by their top bosses, and the various Board members of those companies too. And bourgeois democracy, is about more than just the people who are elected to Parliaments and Councils, its about the whole structure of the society we live in, including those who provide the information on which the politicians are judged. Its all well and good journalists shaming MP’s, but we should also have full disclosure of THEIR salaries and expenses too. Certainly, we should know how much these rags are being paid by the bosses in one form or another to run stories, and how much they are paying out to obtain stories.

The Torygraph may have started something it didn’t anticipate. But, workers anger should necessitate a thorough investigation into the functioning and corruption of the bourgeois state as a whole.

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