UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

What a Circus. What a Side Show

If my resident classical scholar were around, no doubt he would tell me which roman emperor started the tradition of diverting the mob by laying on the spectacle of circuses for the masses but the lesson was learned early as Imperial Rome conquered and grew, so the tradition of the games to keep the people happy expanded, with millions of public money spend on ever more blood thirsty demonstrations.

Did one lion against some unarmed prisoners put the crowds on the edge of their seats? Give them a pride and throw in a couple of tigers! When the sight of two gladiators fighting to the death begins to bore, arm a couple of hundred. And let them fight it out! The more guts and gore the better.

Now I never went to Eton. Apart from the small matter of the fees, there was the sex issue (I didn’t have the accoutrements) and my dad’s preference for a proper (catholic with nuns) school. But I have it on good authority that Eton provides a classical education.

Boris Johnston, scholar of that parish, is firmly on record, on TV, on as crediting that institution with his knowledge of the Greek and Roman world. Etonians, both current and old boys know their Cicero, Livy, Plutarch and Taticus. (mind you they have never made an impact on Windsor and District school-boys football league have they?).

Assuming the current cabinet actually learnt something while they were there, other than how to “network”, they surely learned that when the going gets tough, provide a diversion.

Maggie knew that, and David Cameron has an advantage on his mentor, he worked in PR. When the news is going to be overwhelmingly bad, find a distraction. So thirty years after Thatcher began her campaign of mass unemployment and kept it out of the headlines by the side show of the Charles Windsor and Diane Spencer, wedding the Upper Classes have closed ranks again to provide another “Royal Wedding Spectacular.”

And it has worked hasn’t it? Only a week after the first spectacular demonstration of dissent against the deliberate destruction of the Welfare State, the engagement of an “aristocrat” and a shopkeeper’s daughter immediately takes twelve hours of television time to imagine and surmise how a wedding will be organised. Every national newspaper has been cleared of news. And we have nine more months of this to go.

While the NHS is smashed, local government services shattered, the poor robbed and unemployment soars, Britain will speculate about that dress, how the cake will be decorated whether the newly weds will have a title.

I hope we won’t be fooled again.