Sunday Religion

 

I heard a woman speak and offer searching questions on

The radio today:

Why is it we exist; why are we here?

My spirit leapt; at last! A voice is primal-seeking

For substance-meaning, life-intentionality.

Ah, me,

 

This veritable she

Was perorating gravely on her business goals.

Thus it was Sunday listening; post-truth, and being broached

In gauche post-modern style, its unaccomplished mush

And so I thought to write you down this due consideration

————————————————————–

Once would there be, and prompt and early, across the nation

A mighty chime to sound out nine, signing the Station

With solemn mind announces time to broadcast likely

Faith-elevated Doctors of considerable sorts,

Them shedding light in general

 

In those unheard of days, the audience house-trained, taught;

There was the Third, then there was Light, but with the Home

These trinity stopped work and rested on the Sabbath day.

A cornered market – no, in fact, there was no market

 

The time of Radio 1 and such had not yet come. The jolly pops

From dawn till dawn interminate did not prevail

An only lonely ghostly distant eerie young-like thing purturbed

At nights the waves with white noise, driftings in and out

 

Where gormless Horace Batchelor would his ruse, his rules purvey

Which guaranteed the gormless listener wins ‘the football pools’;

Another dated phantomesque phenomenon.

Hucks will remember Luxembourg, with squirming warm affection

 

Ah, simple days, the days when things were seemly sure

Less calculated, more ramshackle, done with much more feeling

The light bulbs dazzled had no shades, uneven ceilings

Slanted; we called it home

 

Soon was to come – a few years down the line, and yet

Some time before the BBC moves, and reneges to pop

A band of seaward privateers’ rave music; floating shops,

Airwaves with hoardings

 

These gondoliers at sea (in following money) interposed

Anchored offshore in creaking scrapyard dhous regaling loudly

Daily to local audiences, peppered ads in pandemonium

Of jaunty raunchy music; throngs adored them, heartwards moored them

 

To first choice to be tuned-to, to hear new emergent singles.

Profuse a BBC bruised haemorrhaged listeners; siren-lures

Having the nation swept from its stalwart standard stuff

And soon by mainforce called, a rapid radio rethink urged

 

Note the nice art, a canny sort pushed primal force for change

Blithely had gamed things so to go unnamed, indeed had feigned

Had made this phrase: ‘youth-culture, its permissive revolution’;

To overshadow business breaking bad on Redifusion

 

In fiftysix or seven ITV first breathed, phoned home,

A television channel off the leash, no statesman’s watchdog

Its scheme brought in commercial funds, a copious subsistence

From trifling fancies dressed up nice; mass advertisements

 

Hot driving seat in living rooms from Bath to Berwick

An instant life change broached from Roche to Lerwick

Its upstart god sprung fully-armed from out the head of commerce

Nor else to be rehoused

 

Alas, beforehand hegemony made Beeb a sole provider

Customer satisfaction not invented, thus allowed their call,

The scatter of the schedules, broadcast platters of the day,

And people sat and watched or listened, whiled tediums away

 

Thus Sundays stood yet honoured not in breach but

The observance; and manners, kind polite consideration

Were sweet survivors, the empiric strength of British passions

In great measure respect the essential cue to do religion

 

Observe commerce was actual nurse and agent blaring boombox

Of overwhelming hectic musics, TV hogmanays

Danced every day from dawn to dusk in civic roundelay

With candied added value:

 

Broad brags of trade marks cauterise brand listeners’ brains

‘Take anything you want’ said fair concupiscent refrains

Regular as like taxes, death, their come-ons kept on coming

Filing the ears with reared desires: Get ideal homes NOW: Stunning!

 

And fancy goods, new plastics, Addis, entroviaform,

A world was being opened, prised, by manufactured toys

Jingles in peoples’ hearts were playing on their serial sighs

Releasing passions’ fires, desires; their inmost lurid demons

 

The thing took off, in avalanche took over common reasons

Ballooned a topsy-turvey land inperative pretension

And expectation, air-castles of dissociation throned

Lusts’ musts above one’s income

 

These then the borders reivers, buccaneers of creeded hearts

When seeded billion pollens, wrung de gustibus contortions

Astute extortions brash supplanted widespread graced decorum

Allowing kowtow

 

And crazy chaos, craven customer solicitations

Eliciting by effect ‘anything goes’; and so a rose

By any other name called freedom, stole by traction

In, and brought in faction, leading license by the nose.

 

The shops, the pops, the over-shoulder hanging locks

Stores, supermarkets, cash and carrys overflows of boose

Open all day, all you can eat, the bottomless coffee cup;

Excess’s palatial wisdom missed its mark, gave us the slip

 

Instead was bred overplus great furror for ‘one’s inspiration’

And reverend ‘creativity’ the ‘arts and stuff’; the fashion

A renaissance heralded, foreclosed, indulged, poetics

The world, alack, expressed themselves, purloined their fifteen minutes

 

The planet heard, was vitalised, began monetise our visits

First Spain and The Ballaerics, Greece; ..ah, no, not Aquitaine

Too near, expensive, Aquitaine, set on a merry plane

To Spain we bundled money down its main proverbial drain

 

Yearly our peregrinations made fast-forward hyper-gains

(Do note my use of idiom; selling fervent latest names

Of cool consumerism; branding-led entcements’ party games

Deck out the passage)

 

The forward destinations exponentially now ranged

And Florida becomes passē, Antarctic’s silent waste

Or Andean Cordillera give rough remote terrains

In our visions high momentous hove such epic paradigms

 

Backdrops on which to paint our ‘there’s no limits’ frenzied faze

There are two a penny cruises, let’s process in two by two

Along with psychic holidays from (being my contention)

Comensurate engagement with a ravaged state of things

 

Our grand New Zealand visit, ah, of course, Lord of the Rings,

And Mechico, Tequilla, drug cartels meet murderers

Safe gated mansions, herded in, with shopping malls hereto

We tour the goldfish bowl!

 

Our living packaged, plasticised, and fibre enervate

Clinically sanitised of course, aesthetically authentic

Swimming in a la carte we glide from furthest shore to shore

Expecting and perplexing, ever self-assured

 

Soul-lowly hungry Olivers thrust begging bowls out candid

Niggardly tourist passers-by go rogue in togs top-branded

Suffer few coppers flung among, their greasy palms to blandish;

Fairweather Pharisees

 

Meantime on British shores perpetual marketplaces bulge

Malls pouring through rude customers, cram brimming overstocks,

Ultra-production’s super-saturated sponge in groundswell

Proliferates abounding

 

A risen surge, such malls had prised an open chink with fists

Which riven, and given early to ITV; pop radio;

Wore flaws, applause a nation roared, so coursed a holy cause:

Commercialism

 

Its ecumenical secular soaring ubiquity

Gave global wayside shrines, set up with icons brave

And running mad disciples pilgrimaging clustered brawls

Regaling spoiled resources

 

Surreal: in serial, social, mayhem earth’s resources hauled

Into the trash pond grandly in a throwaway mad mode

Aeons of decades dump waste refuse into lifeblood seas

The wealth of earth attainted unashamedly

 

Anon along with mirth a ton of cursive dispossession

Alike been squandered, laundered, on our sunny jamboree

Has hit the deck, or rafters, like last chance saloon bartenders;

Our Sunday suits got crumpled

 

Like those machines which gobble up our splendid fumefree cars

Issue their metal boxes, crushed, a mess, like our lame days

Comfort confines us likewise, then next straight we goes our ways

Into a wooden casket

 

Sundays were freed, unfettered, but their term dreadfully dull

Suddenly all distraction ceased, fell great industrial rest

Everything closed except for Church, from Aldershot to Hull

Time’s nomads stranded

 

Argives becalmed on shores awaiting embarkation winds

Feeling delay right heavy, waiting weighing spirits down

Nonetheless drear ennui its patent wholesome scourge effected

And rebel sorts considered

 

Clash of the Titans pitches held no teleported sway

Cash of the Raybans hovered still some six decades away

Nor a collateral clatter broke alarmingly each day

We turn our calendars

 

Enstamped another senior mode was franked by gratitude

A harbour-bar prospective shimmered elsewhere, lit horizons

Death strewed a light, and Sunday silence plumbed it sounding

Impromptu on it

 

Unwelcome day then Sunday, empathised as death companion

Locus The Church itself bore faithfully among its grounds

Sunday then, messenger, brought bad news conscious foremost –

So shoot it down

 

Foster palava, drown with sentient onboard raid incursions

Throw out Messiah with His Sea of Gallilee

Go expurgate life, then instate insatiate yens elsewhere;

This chair?

 

Footware? Or drive-by shooting holiday? Have an affair?

All the regalia paraphernalia whose hallmark flogs obsession

Possessions and acquisitions told in Legion manifest

Contestants for this turf are manifestly extreme unction

 

Knockabout, throwitout, no tomorrow Saturnalias

Daily shillelaghs, accordions, ukeleles, ceilids

Noise for the boys, twirled parasoles for girls;

Meanwhile real-life sore wars bankroll a planet

 

Incident days come in and bearing brandished urgent colour

Manic swing flashing lights, slip-tags bright messages on fastenings

Chucking delights at acolytes excited like hyped children;

Kind winning voices

 

Selling, extolling, excelled in cultivation, going maundering

On strolls inconsequential; absence strewed amongst the lilac fields

Soft-scented fined imaginings wind a pungent garland;

Comatose, and you feel a million dollars

 

Everyone’s up for everything in this vaunted pastoral

Golddiggers, action-figures, up for millionnaires

Impudence streaming, passes round the sweatmeat cream eclairs

Groomed for impugning

 

The actuality of solid matter-of-fact:

Oh, what a tawdry world we live in – what we make of it

Make stinking-fish of religion, and then attribute its doors

With wars, destructions, drop it in the junk room

 

Pass it away, inter it. Dance, devour life’s action, serve it!

Putting away oneself, one’s best election promise

Out of a wassail bowl pour off full stoup of tribulation

Raise up your knees

 

Let’s all go round and round in hula-hula stupor schmooze

Hopelessly thinking nothing, nothing thinking stands to lose

Carving up glories of the earth, a theme park run amuck

There’s naught religion gives us matters like the monster truck

 

Our ends are all economic, money matters satistify

Easing this nightmare whisper, a carpet lifting on the stair

As wanton winds make an entry, send up loathsome chilly air

Caught on the chest, come contrary, appalling Bacchic cheer

 

A session of concession gives respite, prorogues the day

Semesters thence forthcoming find despite another way

Scattered with thorns laid acrid bare, embraced and laced with tears

Harbinger confirmation, evidence to all your fears

 

Passing on rotten batons, futures going to unfulfilling

Hear resonate in backwoods ungent anastasia trilling

Is it a demon, does it bode contrition, something billing?

Acute Salvation

 

Takes up your arm, salutes you, illywhacker; able willing

To take a side, and know the side you take’s the winning

Because provides a gift of love forever; forever-forgiving; thrilling!

The Lord, The Lord, is lowly.

We Shall be Known Hereafter

We shall be known hereafter, dreadful breakers, mayhem makers,

Overreaches, overtakers

In the groove of stalking planet earth, like skulking leather predators

Hoving around, moved to compound, its goodly sphere; abandon’s devastators

Nothing revered, no, nothing, nothing holy

 

Everything lowly, commonplace, trips trifling en passant

Whisks in that famous fifteen minutes glibly mildly away

As everyone’s gift-wrapped peep, attention-span

 

An age in which the niggards think themselves The Man

In their private hearts, whose glittering parts are contraband

Ending in the can

 

Takers of too, too, much, exploiting several, all the futures

Of heritage, and this the now; a ransacked trade resource

Ruled open-season

 

Beyond good reason

We do not even feed our have-nots gracefully. Some go

Without, but others, they get gouts, and blow out elephantine.

Scoop up stout

 

Bland stoups of goodies ever filling waste-bin hoppers

With oddities, sprayed shocking pink potatoes, pull in spent out shoppers;

As clods of clay in Africay go gnawing husk; remainders

 

Our rotten fruits demonstratively shall declare our works

We cannot, dare not open-up ourselves, summon compassion

That way bare weakness lies, brings down on us derision

 

Believes our vision: prisoners of our own defaults; and pinioned

By told opinion, sold, given over, to the venal self

To the shops, the sex, the holidays, those weirdo neoprenes

 

As like to our strewed litter do we dissipate our days

Clogging the oceans, landscapes, on the beaches centre-stage

Unsightly rolls; death-warrants sealing our touch curse

 

Work prophesies, betoken nudges, jog contingency

Into profusion here and now; the rest’s content illusion

Ecology can cope, we like to soap, the systems stand robust;

Imbued

 

Confusions in our brains effect us not see it

Blown inwardly, scope fails upon what staggers there

Our constant holiday thingy spins-out desert-island enclosures

Refuses to avail us

 

Assailed by tropes, hysteria, clung to common iron idols

Pining in our delights, our slight identities depend

On pay-for-later raptors, brokers ineffectually sure-

Shot smoothers-over, sink us into shifting sands

 

Ours are the Emperor’s New Clothes, cataleptic Never Lands;

Feed troves of catastrophic fineries and pokey trinkets;

Cursed and nursed, cajoled, conflated

 

Badlands are plagued by harbingers of famines, forced pretensions

All expectations turn round straight to consternation; dagger

Our pomp whenever chequered weathers wester, interposing,

And can’t deliver

 

We have no sense; no tense or tenor, scope or common context

Our days are centrifuged along a winners-take-all vortex

Self-made, are wreckers, wrecked by thinking haughty creeds

 

Our palisades no longer stand, lie garbaged on the ground

Onetime on these was hung our stout assurance, aegis old

Now rudely we make shelter makeshift, huddled in a fold:

Behold society!

 

Cliquing together, thronging destitutes en mass

Uncritical, unconstrained, we place disaster at the door,

Raise warzones of our own, admit them supplement hard nature,

Bearing with their continuance, ponder no comeuppance

 

Wrecks we’ve wreaked on ourselves, the savagers of Gaia

Too derelict and cowardly gladly shunning homely fact

Cover ups cowl us cowering; misbehaviour under cloaks

Denies it all

 

Unwilling of a remedy, couched comfortably in languish

Pained at the pitch of heaving seas fobbed offloads of our trash

Oceans of plastics, magnitudes of wastrel wandering gulag:

Inheritance

 

All ours, to those who come, engenders death

Backlogs from generations, those who skulk in disregard

Abrupt a curse of nemesis cascades in avalanche

Of maelstrom legacy

 

Lost to ourselves; ourselves have lost the noble highway,

Lo, we did think to handle, angle, wrangle, for ourselves

Instate a twopenny takeover despoiling nature’s groves

We two-bit hustlers

 

Backs to the future, faces to marketplaces,

Solidly going-alone on autocratic power thrones

Stones become gold return again slowly to lowly stones

Wash-up fordone washed-up on sterile shores

 

Thinking to think containment over nature seized

By purse we capture worlds that we secure allures delights

Yet something is greater here than ransomed infrastructures:

It is our humble Lord

 

On earth is he heritor, provident cosmic stakeholder

Investor invested, dressed in bleeding tender charis

Whom by us never should have been rebuked, nor crossed, forsaken

Wonderful Counsellor, pastor-protector, dear directing hand

“By their fruits; so shall ye know them”: OR: Our Designs are Whom we Are

I wrote recently a few verses on automobiles and their shapes and about how these shapes reflect an outlook assumed to be conducive to selling cars by their manufacturers; and which shapes do seem to have become successful economically for these makers.

The shape in particular which so many manufacturers have gone for is a general one which tends to their portray cars as being as if ‘predatory animals’ engaged in hunt and so brightly alert and ready to pounce. This of course is a figure of speech of mine, and it describes a general impression taken from the tendency of the latest cars to be in profile sloping downwards towards the front and their window lines and their other lines also sloping to meet this dipping profile; as if it were that extrapolated these lines would meet about 20 or 30 foot in front of the car.

Such a design, I tried to say, I believe tells us about whom we might be, and how we see ourselves; and in this case concerning car design, it tells us that as drivers we want to be seen at least to be assertive, thrusting, fast, and ‘a cool player’ on the road. And this is an important factor in what sells cars, because it is what appeals to many drivers at the present time.

I now want to extend these theses about cars to our use of design on consumables, products and services, in general; and to show, I hope, how design (and other conventions, dresses, packaging) in its details reflects our presuppositions and our prepossessions as consumers, and so is affecting our day to day interplay with others in society.

I have come to believe that almost all of the design and ‘get-up’ we make and meet with in daily life is indicative; indicative of our mental states and so more broadly, I see design as showing us whom we think we are; individually, as societies and as sentient human populations.

The best approach to explaining myself to you and at the same time beginning to argue my case is I believe to offer you one by one a number of specific and telling examples; ones which would be hard for you to disagree with concerning what I suggest are their subliminal statements, and maybe also their attractions to us.

First up: Superhero Movies.

 

Superhero movies clearly are highly stylised and so have been intensely subjected to ‘angled presentation’ from a deign perspective. Their technical elements include:

  • Much use if CGI
  • Much use of fast action
  • Short shot scenes
  • Close ups
  • Mock-ups of apocalyptic destruction
  • Busy ‘dynamic’ mood music background
  • A super-suit and other ‘hero’ paraphernalia
  • A dominant public role/presence in society
  • Much mayhem and continuous action

 

Superhero movies have only surfaced as a trend in the past 20 or 30 years. What is now achievable technically in visual and other effects has been one leading driver of their emergence. But why not the ballet, the opera, etc; which has almost equal potential to benefit likewise from use of technical movie effects?

The answer is obvious; ballet and opera are very much so minority delights and the numbers of their followers are insufficient to fund a use of expensive state of the art equipment skills and personnel to put them onscreen as fully fledged fantasies.

From this observation we can infer that Superhero movies are and have to be popular entertainments; in order for them to be profitable investments for their backers.

Thus these types of movie, them having to be popular, to some extent then they are required to appeal to popular tastes and also at the same time in some degree they also are helping set popular trends. They thus are feeding trends into society as well as subsisting for their enjoyment upon trends already prevalent there. No-one would disagree with this I think.

It is of note that Superhero movies are almost all based on comic book stories and ideas; comic books which once were, in the UK at least, 50 years ago when I was young, almost an exclusive preserve of child or maybe teenaged readers. The important thing is that once these ideas and superheroes appealed almost only to minors who of a course possessed only immature outlooks and behaviours.

A question then arises: why has their audience moved over the years and so broadly into a population which is adult and by the law is considered mature responsible and fully-developed?

Now some great works of art have in the past been buried in the mists of their times;  the works of Vivaldi for instance were ‘rediscovered’ in the 20th century more or less solely at first by Ezra Pound, poet and companion in versifying to the great T S Eliot.

So is this late entry into the popular lists for Superhero movies a belated general public recognition of the quality of those once kid’s-only comic stories?  And this question carries in along with it another related question: Can stuff which was extremely widely read by millions of juniors, and at first intended more or less as only ‘junk’ consumption; rise to a level in a space of 50 years so as to be on a par in artistic value to say The Four Seasons or The Gloria?  Is public perception of their enjoyment and value sufficient for them to be set beside Vivaldi’s works; or is there something missing from this suppositional situation?

You might be beginning to see how this question of design, as it is presently done and enjoyed by us today, bears upon and opens up like a can of worms a host of knotty conundrums to be considered upon?

Had we to say that yes, there remains something yet lacking to fill up the space between the eminence of the works of Vivaldi and the meteoric rise to broad enjoyment of Superhero movies; then we should be in danger, given the former status of these heroes as being as children’s literature, of heading in a direction which suggests a possibility that our peoples in society, and so society itself, has moved towards a rather more callow and immature state of being over the years?

That package of bulleted technical characteristics I marshalled into a list above here is a package which is likely to appeal very much to children; lots of spills and melodrama, action, push-and-shove, colour, lights, busyness and noise; not far off a straight out cartoon show such as the old Hanna Barbra stuff used to be.

(Since the 1970s in UK – and elsewhere, for they come from elsewhere also – cartoons have been considered to be for adult consumption also. Family Guy, The Simpsons, Max Headroom, Spitting Image are just a few.  These too seem to have ‘grown up’ or else their audiences have ‘rejuvenated’?)

This acceptance into the adult fold of Superhero movies and of cartoons has been accompanied by an addition of ‘adult content’ to them. These additions in the main have been of a cynical and amoral kind, brusque and strongly-assured in opposition to and in criticism of what might be termed (a little on the soft side) as being traditional Christian values. These are values which once had been widespread, and paid lip service to out of fears of ostracism, even by that minority who would have had them abolished.  Although today’s world in UK sees these values daily being openly disregarded, rubbished, attempted quashed, and labelled dead, and redundant.

This is happening in– as they would have it – the highbrow press and media, as much as it is in the popular news and views, Christian values are non gratia passé items.

So, nowadays we watch movies and cartoons which once were considered children’s viewing; only with an element added of somewhat tainted and cynical content, specially for we adults to consume.

These cartoons and movies remain very much ‘dressed-up’ in the same manner as they had been ‘dressed up’ formerly for kids – see my list of bullets above.

What then might the adoption by adults of this set of design features mean culturally and socially for us as a people?

Does it mean for instance that we have seen clearly that there is no high or low in art or in behaviour, or in the presentation of elements and so of their design; that all art and all behaviour is AOK unless the law intervenes, or has potential to intervene? As said John Lennon, are we then to say: ‘Whatever gets you through the night”?  Are we now thus liberated from our former restrictions and so have we come to feel and to see that hectic exuberance and erratic behaviour is cathartic and so is able to ease the tensions of the day for us when we watch them on screen?  With nothing in us having been lost or altered?

And that other stuff, such as Vivaldi, let it be good, our crash bang Superhero movies are just as good. John Lennon again ‘Nothing is real; there’s nothing to get up about’?

These examples of Superhero movies and of adult cartoons are just two in common circulation amongst those tens of thousands of patterns for design which are popular, and made popular by us, in the present day. Some more areas are:

 

  • PC games
  • Fantasy Warrior fiction books
  • Car design
  • Architectural design
  • Advertising of products/services
  • Exotic Holidays/Cruises
  • Technologic Equipment
  • Clothing
  • Partying Peripherals
  • Gambling/Casinos
  • Medicines/Salves etc
  • Treatments
  • Tanning
  • Tattooing
  • Massage
  • Exercise Gyms
  • Sports Equipment
  • Sport in General
  • News and views
  • Paper Magazines
  • TV Shows

 

All of these things, which together comprise, for most of us, most of our lives, are similarly ‘levelled’ so as to have acquired an acceptance which say 50 years beforehand they did not generally possess in people’s minds.  This acceptance is not a gain of ‘respectability’ nor of a ‘rise in aesthetic or moral value’ of any kind; and indeed all such values as respectability and ethos etc have become very much so no-go areas for us, and are gone.

Instead have come into favour such things as ‘renowned notoriety’ and ‘assured pushy aggressiveness’; and being self-engaged (having “attitude”); and in general being careless of incident (stuff happens), all things now being ‘par for the course’  so that ‘anything goes’, and so on etc. This all together might umbrella-ed under one word: ‘cool’.

I think maybe our prosperity and our relative political freedoms have possibly made us revert so as to have become once again infantile somewhat, and so we have become retrograde in our development as a people.  So much so that once carefully cautious radio stations which would have been prudent about the limits of what might be used in public (swearing, obscenities, grossness, and so on) now let pass some of the most distasteful remarks and options as  being in accord with their standard practices. And allowed in any part of the broadcasting day also

And are we not hypocrites when we stop the ears of our children and scold them for their language and words and behaviours, yet we glibly feel no compunction about ourselves allowing into our consciousness thoughts expressed publicly by others which are appalling and make one feel besmirched even from just having heard them said?

Our design criteria manifestly demonstrate our parlous state. There are the ‘pagan’ architectural lusts for display of personal or else corporate or civic power and for stamping that power into a landscape – the shard, the gherkin and other blemishes.

There is a trend for wearing clothes which are ripped and shabby as being the height of fashion; a trend which shows to me that we have become a people who has forgotten how it was to have to dress in such a fashion because the wealth was not there to back-up one’s folly.  Likewise casinos and gambling are a glitzy and enticingly advertised confidence trick; supported avidly by government for the tax return income it provides the government. These things are simply a tax on the poor; the very persons most adversely influenced by all this ‘return to immaturity’ we have embraced.

The national hysteria, one which has been created by and since orchestrated by commerce and government so as to become for us an adoration of all things sport and sportspersons; this is likewise a wheeze by which vast sums of ordinary people’s money is siphoned off into pockets with too much money in them already.  It is nothing more than a vast diversion from what is far more real urgent and rewarding – which is called life.

Clubs, merchandise, regalia, outfits, followings, collections, publications, clothing, everything sports-centred in garish and scattergun offers and marketing; and all done with a huge ungenerous tongue in cheek by The Big Players in commerce who are using us, abusing us, and laughing up their sleeves at us; thus they rub salt into the wounds.

I sometimes think we ordinary people are merely used as fodder, for our purchasing power and our productivity at work; marshalled by Boards and Chairpersons so as to be mis-educated into being their bankrollers as consumers; and that we are given by them no more or better thought. I feel that they are an insult to us and that we just do not, will not, see that this is so.

Our so-called prosperity – we have lost by it so much by it; so much.

News as Spoon-fed Scrapings

By their fruits; so shall ye know them

You reap what you sow

Your sins will find you out

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh

  1. Class-based News  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-42924351

A Tale of Two Stories

There are two threads to this story. The first thread was the ‘news story’ I heard broadcast on BBC Radio 4 News at 13.00hrs today 3rd February 2018; the second thread is this story as it is written here in BBBC News website (URL above) accessed at 19.00hrs on the same day.

The two threads refer to the same item of news but differ markedly in their details. This second thread of 1900hrs has been toned-down; maybe sanitised a little? after protest perhaps? as there rightly ought to have been given the slant and contents of the initial thread of the story, as this was broadcast to a nation on the one o’clock news on BBC Radio 4 today.

The initial thread claimed only a single break-in and a single theft and haul of items occurred.  The second thread amplifies this single break-in to a ‘series of break-ins’, and this series occurring over the period between 22 and 24 January; that is, over a course of several days.

Note that on neither the initial nor on the second thread was there any content explaining the delay of up to 12 days before knowledge of these break-ins reached BBC News.  Nothing has been said in either version concerning when the thefts were first discovered; nor about why the delay in reporting the loss to the BBC News; nor was there any statement concerning what security measures were in place so as to deter or to prevent thefts of this kind.

To my mind it is likely, since, as we shall show, the first thread differs so widely from the second thread, that the revision has to have come from someone at the Canterbury Trust storerooms who is senior and who was not happy with the one o’clock bulletin – the initial thread. And if this is so I can see why the person was unhappy.

However whether this second thread represents a more accurate description than the first of this affair of the theft, I believe remains an open question.

Along with a single break-in as stated in the original thread, the thieves were described as being seeking ‘old metal’ like ‘pipes and scrap’; i.e. plain commonplace metal thieves. The first thread went on saying: the thieves came ‘by chance’ upon the stores of ancient artefacts, and were not actually seeking them out. The thieves were then ‘likely not to know the true value of their haul of artefacts, and so were likely to ‘offload them for pennies. Listeners were asked to ‘beware’ and to ‘look out for the loot being put on sale at boot sales, etc’ and ‘for a few pennies’,‘ a fraction of their true money worth’.

The words I have put in speech marks in the sentences above represent the gist of what was reported on BBC News at 1 o’clock on Radio 4, and may be not the actual words; although certainly their exact tenor.

A spokesman also is said to have said at 1 o’clock that the theft was a ‘national disaster’.

All of the above reportage has been retracted in the description of the theft given in the second thread, which is to be found on BBC News website (URL given above) and in its stead a story quiet unlike it has been posted there.

Not just several break-ins, but the value of the goods stolen, the archaeological artefacts, are now stated to be negligible in money worth; but yet inestimable in worth to the nation and its heritage.

The thieves are now breaking-in especially to steal the artefacts; not for lead piping etc etc.  The theft of artefacts appears to have been far more expansive and widely pillaged than the initial thread would have had the theft. Many more boxes and stores were ransacked than in the initial version.

The ‘national disaster’ citation has been erased. No mention of boot sales nor of requests that the public look out for the artefacts at such places. The money value the thieves might get for their loot is retained as being ‘a few pennies’ but this ‘few pennies’ seems now to be said to be the general and true estimate of their commercial worth, as the second thread has it.

The initial thread seemed to be saying that the artefacts stolen were very valuable commercially but that they would ‘lay heavily on the hands ‘of the thieves who might find difficulty offloading them and so might sell them for a mite of what they are actually worth.

Two very different accounts then: having in common their offering of absolutely no criticism of the Canterbury archive managers and their apparent lack of security; nor any explanation of the near two-week delay in the BBC reporting the theft(s). These remain mysteries tackled by neither account. A hiatus or two then; what one might call selective reporting or else selective information released by the Canterbury trust – or both.

It’s worth analysing a little these two threads and their differences and their similarities.

As I have suggested – the second version attempts it seems to ‘cover-over’ the first version’ and if so the first version I presume was disagreeable to the furnisher of the second version.

Certainly the change in the status of the thieves – from commonplace metal thieves stumbling upon something much classier, into high-level art plunderers aiming at high-end plunder; this change represents a noticeable feature of social class bias.

The blundering metal thieves who have, it seems, so little education and so few appropriate connections that they were likely to dispose of their high-end loot at car boot sales and so on; ignorami striking lucky as it were – this is all clearly a set of assumptions driven by social class differences, coming in all probability from a person of prejudice at a higher social class than the supposed dumb metal thieves.

The dumb common metal thieves would not know the inestimable true money value of the loot; and so would offload it cheaply, goes the initial narrative.

Likewise the initial narrative saying that the theft was a ‘national disaster’ is clearly a consideration made by a person whose perspectives on life are rather askew; maybe from a person rather obsessed by petite bourgeois values and so being what common people call a little ‘hoity-toity’.

The second version avoids mentioning the ‘national disaster’ angle and contextualises the theft to it being a severe blow to the national heritage, which is somewhat more measured and accurate.

The thieves have been absolved of their ignorance in the second version, and no social class assumptions on the thieves are made in it. In the second version the intention of the thieves to steal heritage artefacts, the thieves’ prolonged access to the finds store and their freedom to rummage massively throughout large areas of storage of artefacts, all this is discovered to us.

In the second narrative the monetary value of the artefacts stolen is low and so as a motive they become unable to have incentivised the thieves to steal them.  Unless of course the second statement like much else in this second version, seems to have been issued as a corrective to the first version; and I fear, in the case of the money value of the artefacts being very low according to this second version, this claim in fact represents a falsehood. A falsehood probably told so as to encourage the thieves to dump their loot as it being not worth the hassle. Or else, or maybe also, told so as to tone down the great magnitude of the robbery in terms of hard money lost.

For think; the thieves intended to steal this artefact loot; they were present three days doing so; the second version states this as fact. And so why should such care be taken and time spent at risk of being spotted, deliberately to steal artefacts whose money value is pennies?  No, I believe the artefacts are extremely valuable in money terms; possibly, even probably, stolen to order – stolen with a buyer or buyers, or at least a specialised marketplace, in the thieves’ minds beforehand.

So from version 1 to version 2 we have gone from stupid blundering working class chancers taking this heritage loot on the off chance it might fetch something; and into a prolonged deliberate robbery of masses of specialised artefact loot by thieves possibly having a marketplace in mind beforehand in which to realise the high monetary value of the goods.

Whichever way one looks at this affair; and whichever version a reader prefers, it remains that a great dereliction of care and stewardship has been allowed to go unnoted in the media. The Canterbury trust has not stored its finds sufficiently safely and securely. It has been slow to report the theft.  It has allowed thieves on its premises for three days running undiscovered.

All the talk and accusations have been upon the thieves; none has been on the dereliction of the Trust at Canterbury. If it has not been dereliction; then the Trust should explain how it has not been a dereliction to the public, of whom ultimately these finds and artefacts are the property.  No-one else pays for the digs that found them and the care, work on, and custody of the finds – part of the National Heritage.

But honestly, thinking on things, it is not a loss but only a change of ownership.  Just as when I myself die my lovely library will be broken up and dispersed into others hands, just in the same way as many items in it have been in other hands before they were in mine; so too our National Heritage inevitably, given that human life prevails, will end up in other hands. Either in the form of generations of British yet unborn or else like the Elgin Marbles and the Sutton Hoo treasure, our heritage eventually will be passed on to another custodian, maybe, probably, broken up and dispersed.

What goes around comes around.  Perhaps these same stolen artefacts might surface into other public custody in other nations or in ours at some time in the future; and when the thieves have died and the guys they sell them to also have died, maybe there will be some auctions at which later generations at the Canterbury Trust are present and who buy some back, not noticing nor even aware of the fact that once long ago they were in the collections of their forebears at Canterbury?  Who really owns what? As Shakespeare tells us:

“He who dies pays all debts”

Politics: The New Olympic Sport

It is a blanket stitch-up action game

In which jumping without a parachute

Is the prominent future

 

No-one is expected to survive the land.

 

It is a guessing-game of telling tales and masking truth

A Call my Bluff involving desperate consequentials

Is all about destroying mended fences

 

Setting the people free, whether the people needed

 

It’s a guarantee and a jamboree for sinking ships

Displayed on a graph sequentially as national income

The dippy scoff at the dips diagrammatically reshaping

 

Tired pauper action trips to buffered trading zones

 

Here is a coin the currency in this trading game

It is of no value, it offers substantively no gain

It has no name

 

And no-one in charge presumes to lend it any weight

 

The name of the game in play: legerdemain inflation

Being subtitled: parade of bland stagnation

Prices are rising chasing unsurprising borrowing

 

On a dead-end street called ‘queer’

 

There’s rigmarole, and there’s much grey-suited mock confession

And bags of comforting unwarranted delusion

There’s certainly no solution

 

Being diligently, elegantly, sought for

 

There’s a host of squandered aces, vegetable talk

Being made the most of by the best designer libel folk

That’s all there is

 

All’s fudge

 

No-one has grip to clasp, no proper competence to grasp

A plan; no aptitude, dysfunction, semi-lassitude,

Resolves not one fragile slice of pumpernickel sandwich

 

A complete and hand-made handbag-fisted brass disaster

Gone over the top warfare with only sticking plaster

The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods: Powering the Global Money Engine 7

Taking Control – Infringing Personal Space/Responsibility/Scope of Action

A broad topic; and a slight diversion from furthering our main themes about scams and their disservices Nonetheless, a very worthy topic; one which deserves a volume on its own; one which everyone has had some experiences with; let’s give an everyday example.

Contracts and Agreements

In a world so global, so anarchic in a chaotic sense; with so many players out there; and so many of them feared to be lowballers; these factors mean that agreements are in more demand than ever, even by small and maybe relatively insignificant transactors and their transactions.

In general, more and more, people are feeling safer behind an agreement; a sort of wedge or barrier is set up by a formal and signed document like this; distancing the relationship; setting it more-so in stone and thereby giving a perception that parties are able more easily to hold one another to account.

Of course, as ever, the law and recourse to law is for the rich folks, and we smaller fry settle just for a quarrel; the rich folks are the class of persons who resort to civil law actions, and they do so as much as a stonewalling and delaying tactic; semi temporarily, semi-permanently.

Charles Dickens, in his novel called Bleak House, writes about the British Court of Chancery as it was in his times in mid Victorian days.  He satirises the lengthiness of the progress of civil cases there by citing a fictional case he names Jarndyce versus Jarndyce, a family squabble over a deceased person’s legacy, as to who should inherit it. The case is dragged on for generations of Jarndyces; and the inheritance money is consumed almost wholly by legal fees. No-one has won but the lawyers of Chancery.

Dickens satirises public administration of justice and of licensing etc by him creating The Circumlocution Office; a place where words go round and round redundantly and perpetually to no avail for anyone but the employees paid to produce them.

This tardiness of ‘swift’ justice taking donkey’s years to settle any big civil cases – it is taken full advantage of in our times by corporations who go to war with one another – so that these disputes in law become a status quo in themselves; and thereby they enforce a stalemate, usually one agreeable to both parties; and costing a fortune but yet often far cheaper for these corporations than any of them facing, say, losing a Brand name or a domain;  or having to recall billions of items of product or else settling for a smaller reach and lesser grasp on the marketplace.

For the small person and for the big monolithic business alike, the comfort of legal words being in force, either in a courtroom or else via a signed agreement, is found to be in the struggle to gain control of things; so as to be more assured of being able to direct the future to the ends parties desire.

Everyone who risks money or commodities or resources for the sake of making profits always craves more certainty; and this craving pressures them ever more into becoming ever more control freaks.  Some are not bad people; they just don’t like nerves that trusting to gentlefolk’s agreements jangle; those word of mouth ‘arrangements’ which turn perilous when civilities break down between clients and their customers.  So we all go for more control – and so we go for agreements – which at least on paper – seem to offer just that.

The moving finger writes

And having writ moves on

And nought you do can yet retrieve but half a line

When it’s in black and white; problem solved.

Some of the people who use agreements are not so good people. They may be go-getters; riders roughshod over, grasping money aggregators; they all might have reasons for their predations perfectly justifiable in their own estimations; but their striving for control brings about strife and unbalanced inequities into play in their contractual agreements – they want more than control – they want dominion.

The chief victim is usually the small guy who is set in agreement with the big guy; the big guy having the services to offer which the small guy cannot do without for running her business.

In this category you find in your own daily lives:

  • Mobile Phone Network Operators
  • Internet Service Providers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Banks
  • Online Payment Transaction Services
  • Gas, Electricity, and Water Companies
  • Local Authorities
  • Software (OS) companies

 

These are just a few examples off the top of my head.

None if any of us know what are the exact terms we have signed our souls away to in our agreeing terms and conditions with these monsters. We have a vague inkling, an instinct, which tells us that the odds in these agreements are stacked against us.  The documents of these agreements are very often interminably long in length and tend to worry out the very last detail in an obsessive compulsive way. We just hit the checkbox and install.

Naively maybe we leave the regulation of such lengthy and complex contracts to Federal or to National Government; and so we look to the public administration to keep these gobbling giants in check. Thus we tend to blame governments when a giant corporation ‘gets away scot free’ with a lawful but unethical scam in its terms and conditions, over a course of many years and unimpeded.  We could not be bothered to protect ourselves and then Big Brother has let us down and so we ignore the guilty party and thrash about ineffectually upon Big Brother – who sits back and in due course passes a regulation outlawing the once-lawful scam.  This is how things tend to work.

There is inherent in the motto ‘business for business’ sake’ a certain predatory urge; normally an urge to obtain something pretty childish, such as having for oneself ‘the biggest piece of pie’, or else being ‘number one in the queue’; or else scaling an Everest of financial ascent ‘because it’s there’.

It’s a free-for-all to be top of the tree, top dog, king or queen of the castle. And that means in our society the assembling of others and the marshalling of them so that they work hard for you and get you where you want to be. So at bottom this kind of ‘success’ is about control and dominion over others; qualities which are the chief characteristics of what we call power.

Like Pavlov’s dogs, those who would be reigning monarchs of the world learn soon and by rote that the way to their dream is paved by those employees and other subjects whom they are able to coerce or persuade, force or chivvy, to spend all their efforts in getting them there.  Almost immediately the first lesson such ambitious persons learn is that to win they have to dominate others.

Hence the aggressive stance of many large corporations, towards their own employees and especially towards their big shot rivals; and because the small person has no big guns of her own, particularly towards the small people by whose custom their marketplaces are measured and acknowledged.

Everyone has noticed how when you want to complain or to drop the services of a large company, that there seems to be so many obstacles placed in the way to your finding the right area or the appropriate information to be able to do it.  Everybody has seen how the guy you are talking to about leaving is trying to sell you a ‘better deal’ rather than to lose your custom.  And those @noreply.com emails one gets from these big companies, which inform you of your bills or of changes to your package, as it were unilaterally, and without any quick easy access to recourse to be had for yourself – these are very annoying.

The way that anything you might use unexpectedly and which is not in your particular package, is jumped upon instantly by these megalith’s billing departments and cashed in upon, as if an expensive coin had been found by them lying around on the roadside, and which they have quickly picked up and pocketed.

Dialling an 07845 number? Aha! That’s a premium code – slap 50 cents a minute on that call!

Access that TV Channel or stream that movie – aha! That’s not on the freebie lists – $10 for that – put it on her bill!

It seems sometimes to be a game involving evasions and a keeping of an ever-vigilant dog-eye out for bear-traps and snake pits ready to ensnare you. Just like the guys on eBay who never give a full image view of what they have on offer; or do their very best to show it as much bigger or better than it really is: ‘caveat emptor’ says the law – ‘let the buyer beware’.

So everything becomes, is becoming a silly commercialised Game of Thrones, where treacheries are rewarded and arise as being par for the course – provided, that is, that the victims or their friends don’t catch up with you and act the part of vigilantes.

Our valours in these days are not measured by our bravery, our openness or our uprightness a persons, companies; it is awarded to those whose daily practice is a sly cleverness and an underhanded con-trickery, belonging to the smart guy who knows a bit too much.  Net result, too many of us are trying to outdo too many others of us.

The paradigm for ‘success’ in these terms then, is in fact compiled of an array of traits which people once deprecated as being ‘bad form’ or else sometimes as being ‘dastardly’.  The terms sound quaint because they are presently considered outmoded; and just the same are their significations as reprimands for bad behaviour outmoded; yet these are the same behaviours which were once labelled dastardly or bad form which are right now ‘cool’ and ‘ace’.

And so agreements are tending more and more to be worded in disingenuous ways so as deliberately to ‘stitch up’ any unsuspecting victims who out of a careless remiss decide to sign it.  I have spent some considerable time reading through such agreements, in order to proof them or to explain or to comment on them to people.

The levels of chicanery and of sheer malicious trickery which many of the writers of these agreements get up to would shake any young idealistic person’s foundations to behold.  I am experienced in and so inured somewhat to this nastiness, but nonetheless my reading through these documents is often an exercise in angry indignation which rages at how unfeelingly coercive and oppressive can be many so persons who see that they have a distinct advantage over another weaker person in a business relationship.

I pray that these people may live to find out and to mourn their own murky natures. Them being appalled, that they may recant and repent and attempt reparations for their having lusted with single-eyed focus on self and with their double-tongued approach having attempted a fly-trapping of others. Amen.

Why The News?

 

What has it got to do with us?

The ‘shutting down’ of America; …go bust!

As far as any Enlishman might mourn

The Turkish and the Kurds arming for conflict

Might they withhold did we serve them an edict?

And what are we to do with such rare knowledge?

If it be knowledge worthy of the pillage?

So that we have a handle on a world’s happenings?

So that we intervene in Catalonia?

Or damp the forest fires of California?

Personally

So let us tut-tut-tut – that beast, Myanmar!

So we feel vindicated?

And not exasperated

At levels of distress, great avalanche of war and suffering

Exposed to us without being safe from buffering

No, all we do is sorb, consume, we masticate

The hovering gloom

It’s another overproduced consumerist commodity

A bother, wasted effort in the newsrooms

A catalogue of woes promoted for a doleful quality

What handle might we have, as say, control?

A handle opens, gives access, or closes,

Yet we are surely seated in Read Only mode

No editing permissions, wholly indisposed,

No clout, no shout, nor say,

In what goes on in other lands, afar and now, today

And so a lickerish burn of fire replaces

Concern, a certain prurient itch, a frisson

A hint inquisitive, a trace amount salacious,

So that perhaps we might hold forth, as seer loquacious

Be spaciously expansive spouting out accounts

Some hours in depth; a show in which we show

Intricacy, involvement, being in the know

And do a bow, show off; remark and learn, O, hero

How high your mauve faur impresses others

Oppressive stamp your ready grip on things

You who abet, and hold no useful purpose

Events run slippery as water through our hands

Changing from day to day acordingly as fans

New strands are chasing, whither for to cast

Construe the issues.

Remotes choose us our views, form our forecasts

Some game; some blast.

Grandly, we joust to have to have control, our hands on zero,

Yet often not a player even in our own back yards

A Putin might as well be heard as hear of Nero

So far as anything we do or say pertains, imparts,

Or bears upon the facts:

A sort of guessing game for curious people

To think so much of, think it consequence

Not least to keep abreast attests self-estimation

Projecting luche importance onto foreign tales

Told out of school by tutors about truant pupils

Form-masters of high lessons make patrol, confuse

Truth faith with pledged support to closed world views

As rulers recommend them

News servers would suppose their places to be masters

Themselves wearing plain clothes, drab robes that hang

As dreary fare like governmental figures’ deathly hues

Of staid insufferable greying mock-authority

As wearing gloves to hide ones hands, their human frailties

That twitch working the slot machines, react, respond

Professing homiletic drools of compentence

Manhandling manufactures of mind-maddening news

They handle it like a fence

Receives a lot of holy stolen goods too hot to handle

The whole shebang and rigmarole not worth a candle

A parliament of fools, chancers disguised, all fervour-crazed

Who like to look the part

Whom by their facile art

Another damn fine mess they’ve got us into.

“The Best Deal Possible”

I want the best deal possible

My government is working for the best deal possible

We shall not be contented till we get the best deal possible

We maintain negotiations for the best deal possible

 

The hand I have been dealt I hide behind my back

And lay it card by card using dark mirrors

No-one not even ‘they’ are certain who ends winners

In my going away, and yet not turning ‘them’ my back

 

Revisions and reversions, signal, follow on

Into a swamp where by your leave we wallow

We want the guest deal; I guess the rest we’ll swallow

We want the best – or else want a vest to borrow.

 

What should a deal superlative be looking like?

A bolthole to dishonest rights for moonlighters

As if it were a silly story and it had not happened?

Who was it smashed the looms that had preserved the pattern?

 

A best deal carries any deal we divvies ever get

An adverse deal likewise supplies a safe and best revet

The deal we get indeed will be the deal we get

Not a jot better

 

And nothing might be postured postulated any surer

So following the logic to the bitter final perjure

This deal behind my back I blithely play out using mirrors

I put no foot wrong nor shall leave the beaten swanny rivers

 

Of vacuous assertion which I farm out to the field

The same blunt instrument and self-inflicted wield

Has cooked my nation for a plate of stinking cabbage

By an adolescent judgement call –what great things might this presage!

 

I say the deal we get will be the very best

And having no deal other, my assertion to attest

The deal we get comes seeming neither more nor less

No better deal than were the deal a mercenary mess

 

Now that we have the art of passing-over saying nothing

In what we say, we shout across the board

Our call a drawl unanimous, filled-up with fluffy stuffing

What might our upper limit be to win a world!

 

Throw off our chains, end Brussels’ clowning capers

The straight banana? – up the EU’s a***

Our sovereign rights restored; our legislators?

Yeah! Go! Our legislators! They’re a proper blast!

 

We now being free to steal away the world,

Waft aery nothings, puff out wind, articulate by throat

Stand taken upon our word once more, once more big guns

And players in the marketplace of salient note

 

Haggling, we sing for supper; rags, routines, twopenny flutes

Measures and entertainments, slightly stooping cap–in-hand

Ranging our empty services, and parleying vapid plans

The wonder of this counterfactual age:

 

A pack of sorry couch potatoes seated on our hams

The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods: Powering the Global Money Engine 6

Family Insurances

When one contracts for say Internet Services, or say, to a mobile phone network for services, one contracts to pay one’s bill month on month – and by direct debit usually.  This is to say that these services are provided before the fact of their payment by oneself; and conversely one pays for these services after the fact of having consumed them.

One also pays for one month’s service provision each month.

With Family Insurances there is a strange convention goes on, which acts to extract a great deal of money from policy holders – and I think disingenuously so.

Your car insurance and your home insurance, your life insurance if you have any; all their premiums are paid monthly, like as with mobile phone network providers and with Internet service providers.  But yet with these insurances one pays for the services provided before the fact of one consuming them; and conversely one consumes these insurance services after the fact of having paid for them.

This consumption of Insurance services then is done differently to that of mobile phone or Internet services consumption in this respect.

In addition, the policy one contracts to for mobile phone services or for Internet services may well be for a year or perhaps longer depending on your provider; whereas the policy one contracts to for Insurance services is generally always a year long.  Little difference here then between mobile phone and between Internet services as against Insurance services.

Yet for Insurance services, any buyer of a year’s cover or protection is assumed by the policy providers to be buying up-front a whole year’s cover in one block, and in-advance.  A buyer who elects to pay monthly instalments for his/her insurance then, is thus assumed by the Insurer company to have taken out a loan for one year which the buyer is paying off month on month as a debt bearing interest to a third party loan provider; one who has been provided almost always by the Insurance company.

The question arises: why is this the case with insurance but not with mobile phones or with Internet and Gas and Electricity providers?  (My own water bills follow the insurance model and I draw a loan paid back over a twelvemonth with interest for the water I consume. My household rates bill (council tax) follows the mobile phone etc type monthly payment model).

Without doubt something like a scam is going on here. The fact of the matter is that a person is really paying in advance for insurance cover before the time s/he requires that cover; but is yet by way of some kind of legal chicanery put into a position of being, in law, a debtor for those services being provided to her or to him, and likewise as being a payer of interest on that same debt!!

This debt then is a sheer legal construction, nothing more nor less. It arises because the insurance companies unanimously to a man lay out their contracts with their customers in such a way that they can command payment for 12 months in a lump sum before the fact of applying cover, and at the same time they are (very handily for themselves) able to arrange for a loan company to provide loans to its customers, so as for customers to be able to manage this 12 month bill as a monthly debit.

Most usually a customer is offered only one specific loan to take up, with specific terms, and this offer is usually sent in-with the quotation from the Insurance Company for its next year’s policy premium.  I myself have never seen, and I do not know whether or not the law allows this to be the case, any Insurance provider offer more than one loan company for a customer to choose from which to borrow from.

Likewise I have never seen, and I do not know whether it is lawful or not, an Insurance company state up front that a customer has a right to borrow on his/her own terms from anyone s/he likes provided that the repayments to any such loan are maintained for the 12 months term of the policy. Even the option to pay the full 12 month up front is usually set to the back of the bigger picture presented by Insurance company policy renewal documents sent out to their customers

In Britain as far back as I can remember, and from when I first became insured in my own right, things have always been done this way.  And I fear no one is going to change their spots in the Insurance game – Conveniently so for them.

But what have we got here?  Why has it been allowed to continue? Well, a bit of history.

Margaret Thatcher purged the nation of  its ‘Closed Shops’ and of its other ’Restrictive Practices’ of labour in Britain, in the course of an Industrial Relations pogrom she led almost 40 years ago now.  Systematically, ideologically, by brute force and with malice aforethought she crushed labour combinations, and the nation has never seen a recovery of Trades Union political power of any significance since.

Margaret Thatcher’s pogrom purge of Trade Unions has been held in the legislation her parliaments passed in the 1980s, and the restraints in these laws are in great part as intact still today as they were in their first placement on the Statute book.  Her pogrom was in fact, as it was intended to be by her, a deliberate means for allowing an opening of the floodgates of Hell to allow a Pandemonium of ‘free enterprise’ and for a host of fallen devils to enjoy deregulated capital by which to go forth and to possess the land.  And indeed they have done so; and in spades.

The value and validity of Trades Unions as combinations of workers; as them being, in moderate allowance, laudable means to prevent and to keep in check excesses of the bosses of capital, who now, post-Thatcher, having been unchained from the rock of restraint where ate out their foie gras livers daily the union members of yesteryear; none of these bosses or governments accept, believe in, or would allow these valuable qualities of labour combination to be acknowledged in any political credo since Thatcher’s day.

She set the mould for British politics in her time and that mould in respect of ‘workers (lack of) power’ still holds. No-one who has achieved Office as a government in UK since has even sauntered nearby a mention of workers’ rights in these respects.

No parties; neither to the left or to the right, not pro the people nor pro the rich; have even sniffed the possibility of raising again the ghost of combined labour in Britain – And all to our great loss.

So it is that we have yet in practice, along with a thousand, thousand other similar commercial abuses and right now, this Insurance company scam I am writing about here.  It is an excess, and an abuse of power and it is so because there are no proper opposition groups able, and with sufficient political clout, to challenge the Insurers’ practices. The Insurers’ practices are outmoded; we now have electronic technology for use in collecting monies instantly across the globe anywhere; no sweat.  But this olde worlde hangover, call it traditional and you’d be on the side of the insurers, continues hanging over us simply because no one, no groups, want to challenge it.

The reason no-one challenges it is because everyone who is someone approves of it; everyone who might change it for the better for most ordinary folk is happy with it as a moribund instrument being a lucrative private tax on consumers. As are so, so many of these abusive practices about which I am writing in this series.

I do not know, but I should guess, that the companies providing the loans and so collecting the (handsome and considerable) interest payments on this Insurance caper, these companies are in some way attached to, or associated with, the insurer companies themselves.  It would not surprise me one bit, should they be discovered to be so. I suspect it is even likely.

Thus there is a loans industry built up around insurance provision here in Britain; and it is absorbing a large amount of effectually ‘dead money’; dead in that this loan industry provides nothing in goods and service towards the greater good. It is wholly a drain on the greater good. It is not effectual or useful in any way other than as a money income revenue generator to no public purpose; but only and solely to private and invidious gain. In short it’s useless except to line someone’s pocket as being an added and unnecessary level of charge.

I am pretty sure that had there been a will amongst anyone with power to effect political outcomes to be just and fair in this respect for Insurance cover; or else that had Thatcher failed, not lived, or even been a nice person, then it is likely someone or some group would by now have tackled and ended this scam; so that such a scam would no longer be prevalent nor even yet condoned to a point of approval by those who most benefit from its iniquity.  But this is the state of play right now.

In general many, many, if not all, of these outrageous practices which I am attempting to illustrate and to show them to you for what they are, here in these articles of mine; that whole 100 plus of those amongst them which I gathered up from among their thousands; and of which I have documented so far only 6; all might easily be shown to be excesses and abuses being allowed to happen, excesses and abuses accepted and acceptable to the legislators for capital as lawful; and yet all being wholly detrimental and unjust, because the nations of USA and UK went through the 1980s with Regan and Thatcher holding hands in a marriage made in hell; which pair erroneously, and with great hubris, together and in part knowingly, set the groundworks in place in their time for an ideology for means of production which has messed up (the whole world) so badly since and continues to mess up right now. And it will surely get worse.

We are suffering a ‘locked-in syndrome’. We have come so far in the same path since the 1980s and Thatcher and Regan that to go forward to disaster seems to us to be less painful than for us to retreat and regroup seeking after another and a better fashion. Thus we actively lock ourselves in.

In addition our systems, our infrastructures, our means of exchange and our procedures for provision of goods and services to our peoples, even our minds very often, especially if under 40 years old, cannot think or else provide in any other way, no other way is known; so that all this baggage we are carrying is our own selves’ imposition of ‘locked-in syndrome’ upon ourselves, are impositions forced upon us by ourselves, and particularly forced upon us by our forefathers and mothers.

Until a balance is restored so that the means of production is again held in reasonable check by a general public acknowledgment of the primacy of value of those consumers who are being provided for by way of any means of production; until proper conduct and decent behaviour again play a salutary and saving role in everyday life and business; we as a nation, as a culture, as a western hemisphere; as a world; will be caught up in unnecessary sufferings; sufferings far more than we should have or than we might have had.

‘As ye sow; so shall ye reap’

Even the poor things in so many war torn and/or famine blighted places Africa and in Asia right now; these peoples, were our home abuses put right, would also I am certain find some relief and release from their own sorrows and pains far more so, and far more easily, than they are finding in their lives being provided today.

The Disservice Economy and its Bad Goods: Powering the Global Money Engine 5

Spare Parts and Consumer Choice

How many of you people reading this are holding in their lofts or in their under stair cupboards, garden sheds, outdoor lockers; several crates-worth of accessories, fitments, plugs, sockets, adaptors, connectors, cards, chips, cables, and so on; all of which fit for the most part a single piece of hardware only; and none of which you feel you can part with ‘just in case’?  Just in case that particular piece of hardware to which just a particular one of your assorted junk fits, suddenly requires, as IT and its devices so often do suddenly require, a new fitting or soforth etc, etc?

Hence each of us holds stores of what is for 99.9% of the time sheer junk; and we hold it for the sake of that 0.1% of the time items amongst this junk might suddenly leap to life and become useful.

The reason why there is this massive waste and overproduction and overconsumption, this throwing away of scarce resources and why there is this general running through earth’s treasures like a Californian wildfire; is simple – we as a race are happy to put up with it. Manufacturers, in electricals, IT, and such, are generally well-known global brand names, and they desire to diversify all these peripherals so as to a) tie in their customers, those consumers who have bought such a Branded device item, so that these consumers are thus constrained, compelled to buy the same Branded peripherals for that device item, and which often arise as being necessary purchases during such an item of goods’ lifetime; and b) this specialisation and diversification, being all to no greater-good utilitarian purpose, does allow Brands to ramp up prices for their peripherals, since only a single particular Brand makes them and since only that particular Branded item fits your same Branded device.

You might shout out, if you are a boss at such a Brand’s company; that indeed there are manufacturers, and sometimes, maybe often, manufacturers who are infringing the Intellectual Property Rights of the big Brands: maybe in China, maybe down the road in backstreet Harlem or Queens, and then you may go on to say that there are alternatives provided by the copiers and imitator factories, illicit or otherwise.  As a boss at a big Brand you might decry this copying; yet will you not let have the crumbs even the dogs who scavenge those which fall to the ground from your table.  And were you not to charge so very outrageous prices for bits and pieces you make and sell to fit your products; then perhaps you might be able to compete, and more fairly with such ‘scavengers’?

In the main it is overwhelmingly advantageous to any Branded manufacturer for it to particularise and to design, and then to register as a protected design, each its own particular peripherals, unfit for anyone else’s stuff.  In the main it is utterly disadvantageous to the consumer customer for her or him to sustain the price costs and quantities of pecuniary attrition which these kinds of Brand owner policies and strategies give rise to. It is a seller’s marketplace; and the buyer consumers are taken for a ride and exploited.

God forbid that say Sony should sell something which fits, say, Apple! The world would self-destruct and Doomsday would be here!  No, the attitude is belligerence; Sony towards Apple and Apple towards Sony; and never the twain shall accord. And this is because each Brand says to the others and to itself in the marketplace ‘I…I…I…I.., no-one but I  – I want the BIGGEST piece of cake! ALL the cake!

The iniquity goes deeper. One is more often than not compelled even for two or more discrete product items, coming from the same Brand, say for two or three adaptors, which connect to different devices, to buy them separately because buying one adaptor only to use intermittently on all three devices of the Brand that you possess is not possible. This is not possible because each discrete device type even though all devices being from the same Brand will often require its own specialised adaptor:  regardless; and even when the amperes watts polarities are identical. This is vicious. Yet we put up with it

We put up with it because we are powerless in these matters. We have in common accord thrown our lots in irrevocably with IT and electronics, telecoms and smart devices, and we cannot now function without having these devices functioning.  We have no idea how they work; we could never hope ourselves to build or to replicate from scratch – I am not talking about bolt on of parts – any of their intricate and high-spec technologies – these Branded companies have us in the palms of their hands.

Now about Brands and Designs – how these allow, facilitate, are sine qua nons for such profligate deliberate diversity of manufacture and design for parts and fittings.

There is a phrase circulates in those circles of person who extol Intellectual Property Rights as being the drivers of the engine of the 21st century global economy; and this phrase says that Branding and Patents and Design rights all ‘add value’ to a product.

This saying is an outright, probably deliberately so, misnomer; a deception at that. It is used to hide the truth of the matter of our global Branded and IT protected companies and manufacturers traders etc, etc.

The patter issuing from governments and from those interested parties such as Intellectual Property offices in the various nations, and from that interested class of Legal Agencies and their clienteles who patronise these entities, these being the Brands; all of these sets of interests proclaim loudly that without Intellectual Property Rights we as a people as a whole would be far less prosperous than we are. Perhaps they should be saying ‘far less preposterous than we are’?

Yet this lauded concept of ‘added value’, is one which boils down merely to the Rights’ owners action of having bought a right to a piece of commercially-viable Intellectual Property and them using it in trade so that automatically and very often such an owner of a Right is able to hike the price s/he is able to charge for the very same item of goods which would cost far less had it no Brand nor Design right attached to protect it and its use.

When you buy or own an Intellectual Property right, unless you give permission, and normally also charge a fee to those you permit, you can keep to yourself alone the right to make, advertise, sell and trade in those material items of goods or those services which are protected by your owned rights.  Hence Intellectual Property Rights create Monopolies; which are created by use of the Statute Law of a nation.  And monopoly traders are enabled to ask premium prices for their goods simply because no-one else makes them so consumers can’t get them from any other source but from the monopoly holder source,  For in the case of owning an Intellectual Property Right, no-one else is allowed in law to make them without your say so. Here then is your source of ‘added value’.  It is not added value at all – it is a simple price-hike which all buyers have to pay.

Value however is a concept which has to be related to another evaluative concept. Just as time is not interesting on its own when a person says s/he took ten minutes to do a task, without the person saying what the task was and laying out for you the surrounding helps and deterrents to completing the task –such a laying out we might call time and motion studies – then time now becomes a useful to any discerning mind as being a part of a measure of efficiency.

Value then has to be related to speed, or to effort, or to cost, or to grade of difficulty, or to natural scarcity, before it can become a useful, valuable concept.  Context is all. Thus one can assess say, value for money etc, etc. Value, then, stood alone, is only one leg of a two or more legged monster. It means nothing as such. Added value is newspeak for simple opportunist price hikes.

A buyer gets no added value of use or performance from any item s/he has bought when under an impression it is an ‘added value’ item of goods.  Rub off the Brand name, say, and you can often get the same, or sometimes better, in the marketplace and for much less in many instances. It is only with the assistance of Intellectual Property rights that Brand design patent owners are able to pursue diversified and devious particularisation of parts and accessories. Using such rights Brand owners and their companies are able to force consumer ‘buy-in’ to the spares and accessories of their ranges of devices etc. Only by these companies Branding their items and then slapping a Design Right on each particularised accessory or part, can they enforce ‘buy-in’.  Enforcing ‘buy-in’ like this means necessarily for them to be making novel designs for each of their the parts/accessories in order for them to become eligible for a Design Right being able to be granted to them.

And so  I hope you are making a note of all this futile and wasted activity; gangs of designers in multitudes of cloneed design depts across the global world of enterprise; all to be paid for – by whom? – by you of course as your ‘added value’.  All the work and all the people involved in the professional representation in law of would-be rights’ holders; plus all the gangs of staff at government offices who respond to these  professionals and to their Branded company clients; all this to be paid for – by whom? – by you of course – as your ‘added value’.

Talk about a treadmill going nowhere and doing nothing of use!

Just a little bit of co-operation between the various entities involved in this stitch up, would mean instead of dog eat dog to the death because of competition and bloody antagonism, that so many of us might be released from perhaps half our working hours so as to enjoy a better style of life – and – despite what the pundits – all of whom are in league with or are in the business world and so serve its desires and interests – despite what they say, we as a people would nonetheless survive and at no especial cost or detriment to our lives and our livings.

Imagine a mains plug which fits any wall socket. Imagine an adaptor which fits any device which requires the same wattage/amperes polarisations etc.  But this is too simple; too much is at stake; not for you and me the consumers, but for those barren barons of industry who to a man and woman are demon-possessed to make as much money as they can, to grow empires as big as they can; to make as big a splash in the world as they can – pooh!

I went online to buy a nut to fit my son’s bicycle wheel spindle – I searched say an hour – imagine that? an hour for a nut of a kind which probably many of bicycles would require – and I could find nothing under UK£8 (US$12).  In throwing an empty can of beans into the waste bin I am throwing away perhaps daily as much metal as goes into such a nut.  Old abandoned bicycles at corporation tips abound in them.  The world has gone crazy.  They are steel, not particularly special steel, not titanium or platinum. Just the shape I wanted though.

I tried in a local chain store to by a gel case for a smart phone. I had a Sony phone and the chain store stocked only iPhone and Samsung phone cases. I went to a branch of another chain store. It sold one single model of Sony case – a piece of plastic of an amount a person is able to pick up in seconds from the grass verges of all and any of our British roads anywhere in the nation, and which has been thrown away from car traffic as waster pop bottles or food wrappings etc. The single Sony case was listed at the branch at UK£19.99. Or else 3 for the price of 2. Who wants 3 or even 2? Who can afford even one?  It’s not special plastic, just made to a convenient shape I wanted, and costing the manufacturer how much? – pennies if that.

This is your ‘added value’ economy, which drives up prices continuously in ways which are non-commensurate with value for money.

Our nation is a joke – if it were not tragic what is happening to us.  Light bulbs and light fittings have ‘diversified’ in the past 20 years. Once one bought either large bayonet bulbs or else threaded bulbs. Now one is able to see a whole shop wall filled with an array, all different, of bulb kinds which connect to a socket each in a way individual to itself.

Faucet taps similar – Door furniture likewise. Wherever the trick is able to be played, ever more so it is being played; so that whatever one buys, from a single bolt and washer, to a new car, generally one buys along with the purchase, a long and tiresome leash, which acts to attach you by compulsion to the manufacturer or to the brand for years to come

Here we have the global consumer economy’s much vaunted consumer choice in its more proper guise. Once you have made your big choice of what Brand, what range, what model, your device; thereafter for all the lifetime of that chosen article that you have bought you are able to have any accessory or fitment or bolt on to it you like, but as it were, in any colour so long as it’s black.  Consumer choice is very often no choice; is very often a fleecing of your pocket, of one buying a fancy deal and paying for it through the nose ever after.

These trends will continue until either consumers insist on in-common standards for all fitments etc for which in-common standards are easily feasible; or else until there begins a catastrophic meltdown, a natural result of the fragmentation of society which in no small part is being helped along to its fruition by the injurious ethos of antagonistic, corporate divide and rule, with its default devil take the hindmost approach to life. Such an ethos is being spread like an infection by these business methodologies at work across the world. It is a non-material industrial pollution and it is contaminating too many minds.

As a last shot I ask you to ask yourself how much of your income per month goes out the door solely because of this intentionally designed fragmentation of standards perpetrated by corporate business, not merely in the areas of fitments and parts for devices, but which is a malaise which is also to be seen growing ever more so out of the current triumphant ascendancy of business life as the paramount concern for society.  This same business life is acting to propagate and promulgate a sour and nasty happy-go-lucky me-first and you-nowhere outlook and model of general public (and private) behaviour

This business life nexus has moved and spread out from diversifications of parts and fittings, out from getting, exploiting Intellectual Property rights, out from forcing the consumer into that corner in which he is best prone to extortions; the nexus is moved out also to occupy advertising pitches and angles (more on this in later essays); out into product design (see my discussion in verse on the psychology of automobile design, and see also my remarks on power-totem architecture) and into recommended behaviours touted for our admirations, by way of role models, movies, and their stars, and by sports adventurers; in fact all the roll-out of bread and circuses by which this elite and parasitic capitalist class sucks ‘value’ (read ‘money’) out of us by managing our appetites for buying their particular junks