Tag Archives: Capitalism

Orwell’s Faded Lion

orwell

Orwell’s Faded Lion
The Moral Atmosphere of Britain 1945 – 2015
By Anthony James
Imprint Academic £14.95/$29.90

The later consequences of the Bush and Blair invasion of Iraq became clear in June 2014. The extreme group ISIS had conquered and occupied large swathes of Iraq, showing themselves to be considerably more ferocious, murderous and ruthless towards many Iraqis than Saddam Hussein had ever been, as well as a potentially far greater danger to the West. Tony Blair’s own self-justifying comments on this development were puerile and detached from reality. The one thing that Blair could never admit is how much the original American-British invasion had fuelled support for ISIS.

(‘Who Controls The Past Controls The Future’).

Having reviewed a number of books on Tony Blair over the years, I’ve always found myself being inadvertently confined to his way of thinking. To be sure, I’ve always found the tentacles of his varying in depth arguments and interviews inherently far reaching. Not to mention plausible, believable and down-right influential.

No wonder he made for such a superlative politician.

Lest it be said that to certain a degree, the former Prime Minister still knows how to cajole and hold-court; which is just one of the many, many reasons, why I really cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Orwell’s Faded Lion – The Moral Atmosphere of Britain 1945-2015 by Anthony James, is a tough, gritty, honest and at times, bleak overview of Britain’s political morass since the end of the Second World War. Although what accounts for its most readable quality (I couldn’t help but read the entire book in the best part of two sittings), is its clear and concise, rightful apprehension of the truth.

There’s no woolly, flim-flam, thank-you-mam approach to that of it’s political endeavour. Like George Orwell himself, hence the title, these 148 pages pack a super-suave punch, right into the smug and superfluous face of spin and impeccable lies.

For where else in this soulless day and overtly jaded age of social implosion, would you read: ”[..] with adult memories of Britain before 1979, I find it difficult as a parent to convey fully to my daughter […] the depth and scale of the changes in British society, many of which have turned out to be permanent and irreversible […] Britain after Mrs. Thatcher has been radically different and considerably worse and has not shown any sign yet that it can escape from the mould she imposed upon it […]. Her revolution, like all revolutions, was driven by an idea: you run the affairs of a country (it is not appropriate to say ‘society,’ the existence of which she denied) like a business, according to the instincts of businessmen and businesswomen […]. Although Mrs Thatcher lacked any understanding of the Marxism she hated, Karl Marx had given an enduring description of the spirit of her revolution in The Communist Manifesto, almost a century and a half earlier.

[Capitalism] has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. ‘It has resolved personal worth into exchange value… In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”

(‘Who Controls The Past Controls The Future’).

Each of this books five chapters are grounded in such unwavering writing(s) as that above, which, regardless of political persuasion, makes for a thunder-bolt of an awakening call.

One of the most compact and satisfying of reads so far this year (I can’t wait for the sequel).

David Marx

Capitalism and Human Values

capital

Capitalism and Human Values
By Tony Wilkinson
Societas (from Imprint Academic) – £14.99

Now here’s a book simply packed with pertinent and perhaps valuable information; the likes of which one doesn’t stumble upon everyday. That the same cannot be said of David Cameron’s latest economic, kick-to-the-balls of latent/blatant, humbling humiliation, makes Capitalism and Human Values all the more intrinsic reading.

Intrinsic, in a world of sanctioned con-men running riot; atavistic in a horribly benign, British political climate that appears to both reward and sanction public school boys with a c(l)ause. Those contentious rebels, replete with clandestine template, out to fundamentally screw society as if a cheap sterling slut.

According to The Guardian: ”Cameron and other cabinet members have recently suggested that they would be willing to disclose their personal tax filings amid growing scrutiny following the budget, but this would only shed light on annual sources of income rather than accumulated wealth or inheritance.”

Really? Well blow me down with all the travesty of an OAP’s, pitiful melt-down allowance care of Osborne and the greed mongers. Alas, yet another c-o-o-l name for yet another Tory band of thieves methinks: Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your deluded hands together for he who really knows how to fudge the budge. There again, there’s a terrific piece on forgiveness in chapter ten (‘The Five Families’) of this altogether exemplary book, which reads: ”One very important aspect of letting go is forgiveness, both of ourselves and others. Forgiveness can be seen as letting go of anger or hatred generated by the past […]. We have already suggested that anger is seriously harmful because it precludes peace of mind […]. At some point anger or hatred must be overcome if we are to regain satisfied mind. If we cannot find a way to let go of the hurt it will quite simply remain with us. It may help to understand why the wrong was done – what did the perpetrator think they were doing and why, how did they come to think that this action was acceptable and so on.”

And so on – yes indeed; I’m sure much of the country really would like to know how Cameron came to think that (t)his most recent ”action was acceptable and so on.” Especially as earlier on in this most very readable of books, its author Tony Wilkinson writes: ”One particular aspect of reasonableness involved in assessing facts is that we need an honest assessment of what can and what cannot change in the world and our circumstances. Reason and experience suggest that our circumstances are seldom unchangeable. They will likely change whatever we do although we all hope that if we direct our efforts suitably they may change in ways that suit us and which further some of our aims (‘Conditions for a Central Goal’).

Penetrating the dark side of capitalism with all the hard earned gravitas of philosophical chutzpah, Capitalism and Human Values is a brilliantly conceived and well written book, which loiters at the very epicentre of current-day, economic turmoil.

David Marx