Sunday, 15 August 2010

A Bit Of A Pickle

In a way, you have to admire the Tories. If only Labour Governments would set about the power of the Capitalist State, in the interests of workers, in the way the Tories have done over recent weeks. The reason they don't, of course, is that Labour Governments have always been stuffed full of people committed to a continuation of Capitalism, and who see the Capitalist State as the instrument for being able to achieve that.
Even where members of such Governments have had a different view, they are easily frustrated by the power of that State, and, without a massive, extra-Parliamentary, support for any Left Government, that sought to make such inroads, the result would be similar to that in Chile in 1973.

Of course, the Tories are not setting about the power of the Capitalist State in the interests of workers. The trouble, for them, is that they are not doing it in the interests of Capital either. That leaves them in a bit of a pickle. The actions of the Tories can only be seen - as with those of other similar parties in Europe - as being a form of right-wing populism, which they employed as a means of getting elected, and, having got elected, they are now trapped, having to carry out their programme, in order to keep their electoral base, and party faithful on side. In Britain, that causes further problems, because the other half of the Government, the Liberals, did not fight the election on such policies - on the contrary they were strident in their opposition to them - and their electoral support, and Party base has fractured, and is disintegrating.

But, this poses a problem for the most dominant section of Capital - Big Capital - too. It rules via a thousand invisible golden strings that tie its interests to the ruling strata of the State. A myriad of friendship, social, financial, educational and familial interconnections form a web of interdependence between Big Capital and the State. It is via these methods that its interests are absorbed and represented in the corridors of power. This is normally enough to ensure that its interests are those that determine the policy of the State, and through it the Government.
As Chile demonstrated, and as the threats to launch a military coup, even against the limited measures of Wilson's Government, that State can, if the Governmental power steps too far out of line, go beyond the normal measures of frustration, obfuscation and so on, and simply push the Government to one side, exposing the real nature of State power.

Its unlikely that Big Capital is going to resort to such measures to sweep the Liberal-Tories from Government, in order to overcome the economic damage that the Government is doing, and the danger it poses for Capital. For now, they are using the normal methods of a bureaucracy to frustrate and undermine. Before the election, one of the Tories shining stars was Michael Gove,, who was repeatedly put forward on Newsnight, and other programmes because he always seemed to have his finger on the button, and to be a safe pair of hands. He also led the way in announcing changes when the Government was formed. But, over the last few weeks, we have seen much less of him. He seemed to be less of a safe pair of hands, when he came to Parliament with a dodgy dossier of School building programmes - not just once but, several times shown to be wrong! It could, of course, just be incompetence, but anyone who has worked in the Public Sector, or who has studied how bureaucracies operate, would not be surprised if he'd been set up, because the proposals damaged vested interests.
Cancelling all those construction programmes was not good news, after all, for construction companies, architects, IT companies, and so on, and still less for high paid bureaucrats in the Education Department, who would have needed to oversee them all. In the end, rather than a safe pair of hands he was made to look more like his alter ego.

But, it has to be said that the Tories also seem to know their onions when it comes to dealing with bureaucrats - after all many of them have had to deal with them in Local Councils, and so, having originally asked for proposals based on 25% cuts, they know that the usual response is to put forward suggestions that will be rejected, in the knowledge that a much reduced set of cuts, more to the liking of the bureaucrats, will be agreed, so they responded by also asking for proposals based on 40% cuts, a tactic that was also used in Local Government, by the new Communities Minister, Eric The Pickle.
The State bureaucracy's next response seems to have been to then start leaking details of what these cuts would mean in those areas most sensitive to that Tory rank and file, and electoral core. First, we had Police Chiefs talking about the inevitability of coppers disappearing off the streets, with an increase in crime. Then they told us that a further result would be to make the country susceptible to terrorist attack. Next we had Military Chiefs telling us that the cuts would mean that big reductions in the number of troops, and of ships and planes would have to be made, exacerbated now by the decision, from Treasury Bureaucrats, that the Ministry of Defence Bureaucrats will have to finance the Trident replacement out of their budget! The writers of "Yes Prime Minister", could not have thought up a better script of how to frustrate politicians and set them against each other. Last week, we had the leak of the proposal to snatch Milk from children that quickly had to be cancelled. Almost every day, there is a news item by the Capitalist Media about the dire consequences for the economy, for jobs, for the most vulnerable that will result from the Tories proposals. The only supporter within the State they seem to have is Mervyn King, and even he had difficulty not looking glum as he presented, what most Economists believe to be unbelievably optimistic expectations for the economy.

But, the Government has not relented. Instead they have stepped up their own attacks. This time, Communities Minister, Eric Pickles, has announced the scrapping of the Audit Commission. He may regret it. The State bureaucracy is less concerned when it is Manual workers, or low paid clerical staff, getting axed, they can usually work around that to justify some reorganisation that results in more pay for the higher ups out of it. But, when its the jobs of the higher ups themselves that are being scrapped - not in the ones and twos that they themselves welcome from time to time so they can take early retirement, and pocket huge redundancy and pension pay-outs, but wholesale clearance - then they are likely to respond. And these are very well-paid, very well connected people to upset. As Accountants, and Accountants who deal with high finance, these are the kinds of people who are directly connected by those golden threads to Big Capital. Its not just the effect it has on them, but the psychological effect it has on all of those connected to them.

I would not at all be surprised if, over coming weeks, Mr Pickles was to find himself in some kind of situation similar to that of his colleague Michael Gove.. If I was Pickles I would keep my eyes peeled, or he might find himself being made to look a bit of a Gherkin

1 comment:

Richard Copland said...

I'm sorry but people who find they have to put their point across by using childish pictures can never be taken seriously.This goes for all parties so please if you have a proper and valid point and wish to pass it on then do it right and you will be taken seriously thanks