The New Age of Fallen Heroes and Crumbling Columns

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Are we living in an age of corruption? Or has the internet merely cracked a festering nut?

Despite apparently being a glowing beacon of democracy, every day we read more stories exposing the putrid plutarchy we have evolved into. Massive multinationals paying little or no corporation tax, while sucking up our collective wealth and employing jobseekers at taxpayers’ expense under the illusion of “giving something back”.

MPs lobbying for a pay rise while voting to deny public sector workers and the disabled any raises in income above inflation; MPs with a direct pecuniary interest voting to begin privatising the National Health Service, while their parties are also essentially bribed by multinational healthcare corporations; MPs voting to bring in retroactive legislation, in order not only to make an unlawful policy officially lawful, but to backdate it to prevent any compensation being paid out to plaintiffs.

These are all shameful and shameless breaches of the public interest, but I’m also talking of a wider corruption: the corruption of not just the maligned establishment, but even idols.

Politicians as a whole have long since lost respect and admiration with the wider public, but other pillars of control have fallen far in the last couple of years: the police force and media more than any other institutions. Most reasoned thinkers suspected the truth for some time, but even the formerly ignorant are now privy to the ugly truth of newspapers paying off public servants for privileged information, while manipulating politicians with threats of scandalous headlines. The Hillsborough cover-up, the Ian Tomlinson death verdict, and exposé of the Thatcher government’s undercover operatives in anti-Capitalist groups making some protestors pregnant before fleeing brought more shame on the boys in blue. The Judiciary is mainly sneered at and derided by this same media. The Crown? Between Prince Philip’s bigotry and Andrew’s dodgy lunches, they have long since lost their sheen of deference. The Church? A serving Pope abdicated for the first time in 600 years, amidst an undercurrent of innuendo regarding potential criminal charges. Happily for the former Pope Benedict XVI, he is now actually above the law, safely housed inside Vatican City, where even truth and justice can seemingly be sheltered before God.

Jimmy Savile was so adored by the public that he was conferred with a Knighthood by the establishment, amid very little protest. Yet he has now been revealed and reviled as a despicable abuser of power, dragging another British Institution; the BBC, with him. Incredibly, the greatest social accomplishment of the last century is now also being pilloried: the NHS was apparently implicated in the Savile cases, and is currently being vilified by most of the right-wing press, uncovering every potential scandal and suspicious death for the last twenty years in order to soften the public up for its gradual privatisation.

Some may argue that Savile, while popular, was hardly an idol. But surely the Paralympians were? And yet Oscar Pistorius, one of the great Paralympians from last year, is currently facing a murder charge. Ryan Giggs, formerly a squeaky clean role model pro in the Premier League for over two decades, was revealed to have slept with his brother’s wife, ditched her heartlessly, and then paid a large sum of money to prevent the truth from being published. Lance Armstrong was revered as possibly the greatest cyclist ever to pedal, inspiring millions with his sporting feats and courage in overcoming cancer, only to recently be outed as a prolific drug cheat and arrogant bully.

In a comparatively short time span in our democratic history, we have come to see our institutions as fatally flawed: politicians as corporate lackeys on the take; the police as State enforcers drunk on power and rife for a bribe; the Crown as celebs behaving badly; the tabloid media as sleazy gossip-hounds dealing in blackmail, bribe or slander; the Church as a hotbed of homophobes and paedophiles; and the Vatican as an anointed Mafia. Now even the sportsmen and women we revere are revealed to not just be fallible, which almost made them more appealing, but downright repugnant: cheats, treacherous philanderers or racists. It’s as if everything we were taught as children to revere and respect is being exposed as a lie, yet we are still expected to obey their governance, fork out our money and hurl our adoration blindly.

Perhaps the greatest con the media has pulled is revealing the true corruption, weakness, greed and incompetence of those at the top, and yet still convincing us that if we just turn to the next idol; obey the new laws; vote for the other party, then things will turn out better. Pointing the finger angrily at one figure, whilst also pointing wistfully at a sunny alternative. Our intelligence is being insulted by every avenue of the establishment, and still we take it. The internet has revealed our enemy in its true light. Can it now point us in a new direction not orchestrated by one of our enemy’s faces?

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