Today we celebrate the annual reiteration of a fact that anyone with an ounce of common-sense has known their whole life and thinks that it is so obvious and commonly understood that it doesn’t even need acknowledging, never mind having a government report commissioned in order to document it.
National Stating the Bleeding Obvious Day 2013 was all about how poor people die younger, but National Stating the Bleeding Obvious Day 2014 is all about how UK society is élitist.
According to gov.uk “The Social Mobility and Child Poverty (SMCP) Commission monitors the progress of government and others in improving social mobility and reducing child poverty in the United Kingdom. SMCP Commission is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Education.”
Widely reported today is that this body has just published a report about the state of inequality in the UK.
The Guardian quoted a bit: “Where institutions rely on too narrow a range of people from too narrow a range of backgrounds with too narrow a range of experiences, they risk behaving in ways and focusing on issues that are of salience only to a minority but not the majority in society.”
No fucking shit, Sherlock!
The whole world knows this to be true but somehow we need to pay a group of fucking politicians to tell us. I guess it’s an example of hiding in plain view.
From The Huffington Post “The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission… said it was deeply concerned about the dramatically elitist society which it said its report had uncovered.”
Uncovered? It’s not even slightly covered.
Huff Post again: “those reaching the highest positions were not always doing so through merit.” Well, bless my soul! I thought that paragon of insight, Boris Johnson had told us that the bigger cornflakes would naturally rise to the top? Surely it can’t be true that mummy and daddy can buy you success?
However, here in the UK we have a double-whammy of élitism. It’s not just the toffs and the proles, but those in London and those of us outside. A few years ago, when I was ordering something from a mail order company, the North American voice on the other end of the phone asked if Rotherham was in Greater London. But it’s not just foreigners who think that there is nothing of worth outside the M25.
There was a time when government was a career pursued by statesmen, but these days the most successful are not necessarily the biggest cornflakes, but the most ambitious and amoral bigots with some inherited cash. There are exceptions of course, but many MPs choose politics as a convenient job that does not even require basic competence, and one that has a generous range of publicly paid-for perks providing expensive breakfasts, second homes and subsidised alcoholism.
Although he was particularly referring to the Scottish referendum on independence, Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow put it well in his blog post about the “the sleaze, dishonesty, and self-serving London-centric politics of Westminster”, but it’s not only the Scots that think that way.
Unfortunately I can’t remember the name, but one Tory politician advised unemployed people in the north of Britain to solve their problems by moving to London.
From the SMCP report: “Our examination of who gets the top jobs in Britain today found elitism so stark that it could be called ‘social engineering’”.
I hope Alan Milburn is simply being professionally courteous, because in a country that has much of its wealth in the hands of an aristocracy, and still supports the burden of a Royal Family of all things, we cannot really be described as anything but élitist.
Anyway, let’s take a look at that government front bench. It’s no secret that they are not my favourite people, but it might be worth considering their suitability for their jobs when you consider that David Cameron and George Osborne also went to private boarding schools before St. Paul’s (Osborne), Eton (Cameron) and Oxford. These are schools where they are separated from their parents from 7 years old until secondary school. In the UK it’s a bit like being “in care” but without the care bit.
British boarding schools are notorious for brutalising their pupils and attenuating the emotional development that everyone else takes for granted, producing the kind of conditioned sociopaths that that consider themselves an élite. This is the same élite that still doesn’t understand that the British Empire was not a good thing. And these are the very same people making decisions about our livelihoods. If they weren’t from wealthy families we would consider them deprived.
But they’re toffs. Cameron is related to the Queen and Osborne is a direct descendent of Henry III of England. Incompetent, deceitful and greedy, but well-connected. You couldn’t get more élitist if you tried. Clegg is just the fag.
And to put a lid on it, yesterday was National Burger Day, which I should have been marking more auspiciously, but the only organisations celebrating it were London-based commercial organisations. This sort of celestial alignment is proof of the existence of God. Not necessarily a loving God, but definitely one with a wicked sense of humour, and I am His vessel.
Anyway, as a kind of double-header blog post to mark the damp squib that was
National London Burger Day and to mark National Stating the Bleeding Obvious Day 2014, I’m calling this excellent burger I recently had at the Wig and Pen in Sheffield, (that’s in South Yorkshire, for those of you inside London) simply “This is a burger and fries at a pub that’s not in London”.