It has been quite an interesting week here in Lewes viewing the world from my sick bed as I go through the mildly pleasant recovering process after a bout of wolf-flu. It is cold and sunny out there but I have thrown a few more logs into my wood burner and coffee beans into my coffee grinder and sat back insulated from the hurly burly as I read the newspapers to see how everyone else is getting on.
I can tell you, folks, it looks like a mad mad world out there.
It is all about money.
Here in Britain, it has been the week when the government announced its “spending review,” telling us that we can no longer afford the welfare state and that we will all have to pay the cost of the massive deficit run up to bail out the bankers and other international financiers who nearly sent international capitalism through the floor with their recklessness and, I suspect, incompetence. Whatever the reasons for the country’s debt problems, we are all in for a period of austerity and, whether we like it or not, we are in the soft, inexperienced and beautifully manicured hands of our newly elected coalition government whose policies will dictate how long the financial crisis will last and what sort of society we will be living in over the next decades.
All hope is being attached to the prospect of private enterprise picking up the slack after the government has chopped 500,000 jobs which, in turn will probably lead to another 500,000 jobs going in dependent industries. Well the coalition is a conservative-liberal one, so we shouldn’t be surprised by the emphasis on private enterprise and the role of the individual in saving the nation. It is a vision of society much promoted by our former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, also in bed with wolf-flu, who was lauded yesterday in a speech by one of her most adoring fans, the media mogul Rupert Murdoch who praised her for her vision of Britain as “a society of citizens who are upright, self-sufficient, energetic, adventurous, independent-minded, loyal to friends, and robust against enemies.”
If we exclude the upright and loyalty to friends bits and, after-all those are the least accurate parts of his Thatcherite description of Britain, Mr Murdoch is painting a portrait of young Mr Wayne Rooney, formerly one of England’s most admired footballers.
No one can dispute that Rooney is energetic – well as long as he isn’t too shagged out after his away games with prostitutes during his wife’s pregnancy.
Adventurous too when you look at some of his most glorious moments on the football pitch.
His self-sufficiency has come to the surface this week too as he has ditched loyalty to friends in the interests, or so we are told, of doubling his mighty salary by moving to another football club whilst rubbishing his present one and his curent team-mates.
Independent-minded is a term difficult to attach to anyone of such limited intelligence but he has certainly stuck to his guns over what he thinks life is all about – money, fast cars, sex, football and self-promotion. He knows what he wants and he is going to get it no matter who he upsets.
He has told the legendary current manager of his football club, Alex Ferguson, that the club “lacks ambition” meaning that it is concentrating too much on home grown talent and isn’t sufficiently aggressive in the international cattle market for star players. Wayne certainly knows how to be “robust against enemies.”
So, as we have no choice now but to watch the developments in Mr Rooney’s career as well as the progress of the coalition government’s financial policies, we will have to see how this vision of the future will deliver here in Britain. Sadly, not all the people in our society who will be paying the cost of that national deficit will be quite so able to stand as upright, self-sufficient or energetically as a highly-paid 24 year old athletic genius.
Even if they could, would be want a nation of Wayne Rooneys? If our future is going to be painted in the image of Mr Rooney, Mr Osborne, Mr Murdoch and Mrs Thatcher, then I have suddenly lost my will to survive my wolf-flu.