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United Kingdom

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Ghost Dog

(16,881 posts)
Fri Jul 6, 2012, 05:55 PM Jul 2012

Britain gets the bankers, press and politicians it deserves (Marina Hyde) [View all]


O Britain! O Albion! Why must misfortune dog you at every turn? There really is no more unfathomable question of the age, with the possible exception of wondering why John Travolta attracts so many lawsuits from disgruntled masseurs. The most recent years have visited all manner of calamities upon the populace of this septic isle, from the banks, to the politicians' expenses, to the phone hacking, to the banks (and possibly the politicians) again. Trailing in the wake of these disasters come the postmortems, the inquiries judicial and parliamentary, and the anger that never fails to spill over into mindless apathy.

Yet there is a nagging sense that the official reports never really get to the absolute bottom of things, perhaps afraid of what they may find down there. Even in your most lunatic fantasies, can you imagine any sort of inquiry into one of our recent shaftings concluding something along the following lines? "What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster 'Made in Britain'. Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of British culture: the worship of money by successive governments; our essential beatenness; our devotion to just bleeding tolerating it."

I suspect you can't. No, without wishing to pre-empt the conclusions of questers from Lord Justice Leveson to the Treasury committee to the people sighing "why are our overlords such arses?" into their pints, I can't see it happening. But something equivalent has occurred in Japan this week, where an eye-poppingly unsparing report into the Fukushima nuclear disaster has apportioned a significant share of blame to the Japanese national character itself. "What must be admitted – very painfully – is that this was a disaster 'Made in Japan'," runs the devastating verdict of expert Japanese investigators...

... For all the systemic malfunctions of our institutions in the past few years, alas, the prevalent assumption seems to be that the structure of British society couldn't possibly be refashioned. And it certainly can't be unless reproach of those in authority, which we have down to a fine-ish art, is realistically widened to reproach of those who continue to put them there. Which is to say, most of us, one way or another. Britain appears many years off the collective realisation that at some level, it allows these things to keep happening to it via its apathetic failure to revolt sufficiently when they do...

/... http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/06/britain-bankers-press-politicians-deserve

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