Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Non-astrological Rant

Last night we watched a DVD of an old British movie I'm Alright Jack, one of many films from the 1950s produced and directed by the Boulting Brothers.

Back then the British film industry was just beginning to find its metaphorical feet, after World War 2. The Boultings gave us many a satirical look at life. In I'm Alright Jack, a brilliantly funny depiction of both the excesses of trade unionism and the corruptness of the captains of industry, messages in the story are still appropriate today, even more so actually, in the USA.

Corrupt corporations have taken the place of corrupt bosses from the aristocracy and upper classes. Trades unions, though, have been de-fanged by conservative governments, leaving "the people" - ordinary people - without recourse to right the wrongs perpetrated upon them.

I found myself feeling angry when my husband muttered - "That was exactly the problem - trades unions! " I had to put him right in no uncertain fashion.

What other avenue did and do we "the people" have? What power do ordinary people now hold? None except for their votes at election time, and they can be manipulated by the power of money. I found myself envying the folk of the 1950s when ordinary people found their strength in the union movement. They took things too far though, and it led to their downfall at the hands of the dreadful Margaret Thatcher in Britain, and conservative administrations in the USA.

The unions were the only tool "the people" had. Now we don't have any tool at all. This makes me both sad and angry. In the USA, even more than in Britain, "the people" need to reclaim their power in order to de-fang the corporations. But how?

Ian Carmichael, one of the stars of "I'm Alright Jack" died a few days ago. RIP. He was probably the only remaining cast member still with us from a wondrously talented group including Terry Thomas, Peter Sellers, Richard Attenbrough, Margaret Rutherford, Irene Handl and.......ah... Liz Fraser is still alive I think.


Rossa said...

Hi Twilight. Think you'll find Dickie Attenbrough is still with us, now Lord (Baron) Richard!! Which is interesting given the subject matter of the film which I think was meant as a satire on life in the 50s. Does that mean he is a "toff" now? (still looks like Santa Claus to

On a side note I came across this link on another blog I read today (non-astro) which may be the only recourse if we're not careful. Let's hope it doesn't come down to this. More likely your side of the pond as the Right to Bear Arms doesn't exist in the UK so we have even less recourse than do your countrymen/women, now that the unions' fangs have been pulled.

Mind you will all the laws coming out of the EU these days some would say that all the old union ideas are still there in the EU Commission anyway. The recent equality law voted down by the Lords being a perfect example. It will become law eventually because it will end up in the EU Court of Justice.

R J Adams said...

Poor old hubby! ;-)

'Manipulation' is a word you used to describe the hold of the aristocracy over the British working classes. It was true of the union bosses also. It was one of the ways Thatcher was so successful in breaking the unions.

Unions are still big in America, though you'd hardly know it. 'Closed shops' are not illegal here, as they are in the UK. I belong to the mighty Steelworker's Union, even though I only drive a school bus. I have no choice - it's a closed shop.
Of course, that particular union may be mighty in numbers, but you can bet your life the union bosses regularly drink with the big name politicians and corporate CEOs. Any deals are 'thrashed out' to the mutual advantage of both, over brandy and cigars.

I seldom comment on the comments of others, but found myself a little disturbed by Rossa's thoughts on this subject. The colloquially termed 'Battle of Athens' was one of the rare occasions when armed conflict resulted in a positive outcome. The vast majority don't. Had the Tennesseans not been trained soldiers the result could have been different, and much bloodier.
Committing unskilled and untrained civilians to a virtual civil war usually results in the most horrendous atrocities, unnecessary killings, and an aftermath of hatred lasting many generations. I'm very happy the UK has no constitutional 'Right To Bear Arms'. Neither has the United States, its ghost only exists because the meaning behind the words has been conveniently misconstrued for generations and manipulated for political gain.
I can foresee another civil war in America. If it happens it may likely make the first look like an afternoon turkey shoot by comparison. The very thought fills me with dread. In this nation, most who own guns are far too unbalanced and trigger-happy to use them sanely.

Will we ever evolve sufficiently to renounce weapons of violence and solve our differences with reasoned argument, or, must we continue to will ourselves back into the Dark Ages whenever disagreement looms?

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Oh! I though Dickie had died ages ago - thanks for the correction - Interesting!

Hmmmm - I hadn't read of that uprising in 1946 before. I doubt such a thing would happen again in current circumstances in the USA.
The left-wingers who are those who most feel things have gone badly wrong are not the most likely to "take up arms". Democrats (the left wingers - who are actually not very left-wing when you get right down to it) are a soft-centered lot, weak-willed, weak kneed and need to get some lead in their pencils. If they did that in Congress there'd be no need for a revolution of any kind.

Nobdoy here is left-wing enough - that's my take on it....but they still whine about the consequence of their lack of spine. They will not go against the MSM and support with enough fervour the politicians who could assist.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~

Erm - no, I actually said that votes, our only recourse, can be manipulated - by the power of money.

I did say, too, that eventually unions, which could have been so valuable, got too big for their boots, leading to their downfall.
Balance is always so hard to achieve - human nature being what it is! ;-)

Trouble now is that the imbalance has gone in the other direction in the USA, and it'll be well nigh impossible to rectify.

I don't think there's going to be a civil war any time soon. I'd never hope for such a thing - I'd rather hope for the general public to come to their senses and vote out the worst of the corporate owned shills in congress, as opportunity arises. A slow process though, and needing a determined and single-minded population - which we don't seem to have.

Change is gonna come though - one way or another, don't know how, don't know when - but it will.

Wisewebwoman said...

Gee whillikers, the dose of optimism here is rather good for this cynical old bat today!
I still foresee blood, starvation, homelessness and triggerhappy- health-insurance-free Southerns coup-d'etat-ing the WH.
These are very strange times. The Theocorporatocracy is in the open now and runs both USA and Canada, not to mention the unions.
My advice:
Plant potatoes. Like me.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Oh, I doubt it'll get to that stage in our lifetimes, or in Pres. Obama's tenure. The teabag crowd enjoy schoolyard tactics but I reckon that's as far as they'll go. Unless an unusually strong, rebellious rabble-rousing leader emerges they'll be content to stir the pot as they've done for the past year - then try to get rid of Obama in 2012.

The stooooopid thing is that the folks who are trying to do just that are the folks who need the exact opposite - some social programmes, health care for all, cheaper higher education.....etc, and genuine, strong but fair-minded trades unions back again.

These are strange times, indeed, WWW. The more I think about the logic of it all, the stranger it all becomes.

Potato planting? Not in this soil, in this climate, I'm afraid.
Hitching a lift on a slow boat to somewhere might be preferable while waiting for that change. It's gonna come though!