Right wing government is brilliant at two things. One – making us fight over one idea to stop us thinking about another. Two – making the correct answer look so stupid people stop believing it.
Data Privacy is a good example. The Govt track and trace app raises concerns over data collection and use. We argue a lot about it. Some campaign against the use of our data, some say it’s just progress or it’s necessary.
The question splits people into groups, with various motives and reasons, but essentially for or against. They can then can argue forever – because there is no truth underneath any of it.
Both pro and con are correct. If we’re stranded, GPS data can help rescue services find us. GPS also tells Google everywhere you’ve been so they can market to you. Giving your data to Alexa means it can help with shopping and finding the best holidays. It also means you can be bombarded with targeted election propaganda to manipulate you into voting against your own interests.
No truth is there, but the arguments rage on. While we are arguing no strong enough group is ever formed so the government gets to do what it wants with no effective opposition.
The argument is not ‘privacy’ vs ‘no privacy’, because there are just as many good arguments on both sides. One can never finish arguing. The discussion should not be about whether we have privacy controls or not, or how they should work. The discussion should be about how we create a society of compassionate people who would never be motivated to misuse data.
An even more stark example is gun control. A gun can protect you, a gun can kill you. The discussion should never have been about whether guns should be legal, or the right to bear arms, or firearm licenses and so on. The discussion should be about how we create a society where people would never feel motivated to harm others, with or without guns.
Fix gun control with a argument and you fix gun control – until the next argument. Fix gun control with compassion and you reduce fraud (because that’s just another form of harm), and kidnap, and drugs, and poverty – essentially by fixing one problem you help fix every problem.
In both cases, Right Wing solution number two comes into play. Asking for a compassionate society is laughed at because ‘there’s always been war,’ or ‘people are just born selfish,’ or 100 other reasons about our inherent awfulness.
Despite the incredible amount of evidence we have that this is complete bollocks. Covid strikes. People round the world start donating masks, creating groups who shop for the vulnerable, the NHS steps up big-time, pensioners nearly kill themselves to raise money… millions donate… everywhere we see the blatant evidence for our inherent kindness – and yet we ignore it.
It’s not just Covid – we have Samaritans, Shelter, MIND, Amnesty International, XR, Greenpeace – agents fighting for compassionate change every day. The Big Issue magazine wasn’t created because we all hate the homeless, but to provide a mechanism for the will to help that was there already. World Wars have seen people risk their lives to shelter Jews, to help their neighbours, to fight against those who would harm others.
Left to our own hearts we are good people.
Yet ask to make that kindness more permanent and you will be called a naive dreamer, childish, stupid.
Why would the government do something so stupid? Because compassion reduces need – and without need capitalism dies. You can sell to the needy and the hurt, you can frighten them and thus control them. But the healed, the happy and the well will not take more than they need, or buy for the sheer sake of ‘retail therapy’. If you want to control a population but have nothing to offer them… hurt them, then tell them you’ll make the pain stop.
The UK is a train heading for the worst derailment in history, and all the while we citizens argue about what’s on the menu in the buffet car, or how uncomfortable the seats are in third class. Few are dealing with the fact that we’re about to crash and die.
For this reason a potential Covid second wave has little to do with ending lockdown or not.
The workforce work – they operate the machines, process the admin, build the product, heal the sick, tend the bar, manage the shop, answer the helpline… in every way they are what makes the country function, and they are the people who make the money. Therefore they should own the proceeds of that endeavour. The governments job is only to help co-ordinate this effort across disparate towns, cities, counties and countries. Their job is to finance and support the infrastructure that enables us to work while being healthy and safe.
Instead they have become a government that finances the wealthy at the expense of that infrastructure. The government no longer works for us – we work for the government. It was never meant to be this way and it will soon lead to a deprivation unlike any this country has seen in generations.
That is why we cannot end lockdown.
They have taken our vote away by committing electoral fraud. Taken our representation away by selecting a cabinet by nepotism and favour. Taken our health by selling and starving the NHS. Taken our security by devastating workers and tenants rights, removing rent controls, enabling the proliferation of zero-hour contracts and eviscerating social care.
Worse than any of this, they are trying to take away our kindness, our decency and compassion. They want to convince us that we are all greedy, self-serving and cruel; that we need the government to protect us from each other and our mean ways. That’s why good things like shopping groups for the vulnerable don’t make the newspapers. That’s why the media is not about ‘news’, but only about bad news – to keep us believing that we are being protected – by the very people causing us the most harm.
Refusing to work is almost the only power we have left.
The fact that the government is willing to risk the health of our children, and their workforce parents, despite having the worst death toll in Europe and being nowhere near ‘controlling the virus’ – tells you how badly they need us to work.
It also tells you how urgent it is that we refuse, before the sheer weight of their momentum makes them unstoppable.
Don’t let the media tell you that we are ‘born evil’, or how greedy we all are. Don’t let the government erase the beautiful things so many of us have done for each other. Don’t let big business bully us back to work only to scrape by on poverty wages while our CEOs grow fat in their mansions.
Forget anger, forget revenge pr justice, forget all the mean measures we grow used to.
With all the love in all our hearts, driven by kindness, united by care and fuelled by compassion let us do nothing… stay at home, control the government, save lives.