Tag Archives: Oscar Wilde

This wage-induced slavery is not science fiction

Would you want to live in this kind of Britain - where the rich and privileged live it up in huge high-status dirigibles while you and I toil in dirty, pollution-spewing factories? If not, you need to do something about it - now.

Would you want to live in this kind of Britain – where the rich and privileged live it up in huge high-status dirigibles while you and I toil in dirty, pollution-spewing factories? If not, you need to do something about it – now.

A few years ago, an entertaining TV drama presented an image of a Britain very similar to ours – but with a few significant differences.

The rich no longer lived in the cities, but swanned around overhead, flaunting their wealth in giant dirigibles. Working people seemed perfectly happy to put up with a military presence on every street and a curfew in the evening, because their mobile phone technology had developed into ear-‘pods’ that downloaded the latest (and undoubtedly pre-approved) ‘news’ directly into their heads.

It was both amusing and chilling when the day’s ‘joke’ came down the wire and everybody laughed at once. Good little robots.

Of course, the Doctor saved the day – but not before thousands of these characters were turned into Cybermen (let’s face it, they were halfway there already) and many more had been killed.

Good thing it’s just fantasy, isn’t it?


Isn’t this exactly what ‘bookmanwales’ was telling us in his comment on the recent Vox Political article about David Cameron’s intentions?

“Whilst you can make the information available for people to see what is happening they are not interested,” he wrote.

“’Can I afford the latest iPhone?’ ‘Can I get totally p**sed at the weekend?’… and ‘How cool does my new car look?’ are at the forefront of most people’s minds.

“The pursuit of personal pleasure has overtaken simple reason. It matters not that you have to work 8 or 16 hours a day as long as you possess these luxuries.

“It doesn’t matter if you see no family or friends, doesn’t matter if you sleep all day when you are off. You have the things that matter because TV tells you having those things matter.”

It’s only a small step from that to “It doesn’t matter if your employers take more and more for themselves and give you less and less, literally looking down on you from a great height; doesn’t matter that it costs more and more to buy the status symbols you want and they give you less and less purchasing power; you are doing what matters in the best possible way because that is what they tell you”.

So we come to the announcement over the weekend that wages, here in the UK, have declined faster and further than almost anywhere else in Europe – and the fact that nobody batted an eyelid.

Adjusted for inflation, our hourly wages have fallen by a massive 5.5 per cent since mid-2010 – that’s the fourth-worst decline among all of the 27 EU nations, recorded in the country with the sixth-largest economy in the world (some say seventh).

Only Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands had a steeper decline – and their economies stand at 36-40th, 49th and 17th in world rankings.

Meanwhile, according to Michael Meacher MP, chief executives of the FTSE-100 – the top British companies – have increased their own pay to 133 times the diminishing national average.

They’re laughing at you. They think you’re beaten; that you’ve been brainwashed into conditioned helplessness and into believing that your status-symbol phone or car or television actually means something. Meanwhile, they have been taking everything.

And, as long as you carry on playing their game, their way, they’re right.

The rot starts with the government and it is with the government that you must start to change it. Nobody else will do this for you; you must stand up for yourself or your bosses and corrupt officials will walk right over you. Government sets the conditions in which populations either flourish or are repressed. We describe repressive governments as tyrannies, despotisms, dictatorships.

How would you describe the government of the UK?

Take a good, hard look at your own MP. Have they represented your interests? Are you better-off, now, than you were when they were elected in 2010? Don’t try to excuse them by saying times have been hard – that’s clearly nonsense, otherwise those FTSE-100 executives wouldn’t be enjoying such monumental pay hikes. If they are members of the Coalition parties, have they done anything to safeguard your interests against the crippling damage done by government policies? Anything at all? If there are members of the Opposition, have they vowed to redress the balance by restoring the rights and powers that have been stripped away from you – not just in the last three years but the previous 30 as well?


Then get rid of them and put someone in their place who will. It’s not rocket science!

Join the political party of your choice, link up with like-minded people and make a difference. Stop believing you are free, just because a politician tells you so. Freedom can never be taken for granted. People have had to fight for it down the generations and these times are no different.

Or would you rather go back to sleep and play Angry Birds (or whatever is the new fashion) until they come to euthanase you?

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Our hard work has put some people up among the stars; isn’t it time to ask why we are still in the gutter?

(The first Vox Political book, Strong Words and Hard Times, is available now in paperback or as an eBook, including a large ‘footnotes’ section in which you can actually connect to internet links containing supporting evidence – if you’re reading on a device that supports this kind of activity.)

But is it art?

‘Herr Gunter Ground [not his real name], aged 41, mislaid the keys to his house and attempted to crawl in through the catflap. Unfortunately he got stuck halfway, and couldn’t get out again. A passing group of students then spotted him and decided to take advantage of the poor man. So they removed his trousers, painted his buttocks bright blue and stuck a daffodil in his bum, and erected a sign saying, “Germany resurgent, an essay in street art – please give generously.”

‘Passers-by were assured that Herr Ground’s screams were all part of the act and he remained stuck there for two days. He was only freed when an old woman called the police. “I kept shouting for help,” said Herr Ground, “but people kept saying, ‘very good, very clever’ and throwing coins at me.”‘

Hasn’t art become a cynical business? The example above is a bit extreme, but it does show how people are prepared to pay for all sorts of things if they show – not necessarily any kind of aesthetic beauty that is otherwise useless (all art is useless, according to Oscar Wilde) but that the artist is clever.

Look at Damien Hirst’s ‘Cow in Formaldehyde’. Lots of people have asked whether that is really art.

However, I’m not one to miss a bandwagon if I can get on it. Noting that Barry Humphries (otherwise known as Dame Edna Everage) has stolen a huge head start on me with his painting of yellow liquid in a pair of Wellingtons – ‘Pus in Boots’ – I have set about creating some artworks of my own.

I’m very proud of one image – an enormous, panoramic view of the starscape above a darkened British horizon, showing a night sky full of colourful nebulae, shooting stars, and other astronomical phenomena, over the shadowy silhouettes of a circle of vehicles, gathered around a couple in the act of physical affection. I call it ‘Dog Star’.

The idea doesn’t have to be saucy, though. Another one I had was of a warrant officer or petty officer in charge of a ship’s rigging, anchors, cables, and deck crew, directing them during a storm, so that only his nametag was visible. I’d call that one ‘Higgs the Bos’n’.

And just recently I thought of a very postmodern idea, of a British policeman accosting the late actor whose real name was Marion Morrison: ‘Constable’s Hey, Wayne’.

There’s only one thing stopping me from putting these ideas onto canvas – the fear that some credulous ‘art connoisseurs’ might actually buy them!

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