Sunday 19 July 2020

Obligation and Class Consciousness

Helen Pidds's ridiculous article about working class Tory voters deserved all the brickbats it attracted. If you hold an artisanal pizzeria owner to be working class, then you're operating with a notion of class that is neither use nor ornament. As the piece has been commented on and mocked, we're not going on another journey around the nature of class in the 21st century - here are a couple of items if this is your bag. Instead, I want to concentrate on a throwaway comment from one of the interviewees.

Retired nurse Keith Park is the archetypal retiree I've written about so many times. Owns property? Check. Psychopathic indifference to the Covid dead? Check. Racist? Check. If my bits and pieces on the conservatising effects of age could manufacture people, out would pop Mr Park, proud bungalow owner. Okay, he's representative of millions who think alike and have the same "real concerns" about immigration, and could be anyone vox popped by the likes of John Harris or the BBC's indoor market safaris. These former Labour voters all suit because we've heard their refrain enough. To quote the Pidds piece, "He felt able to vote Tory only after burying his dad – “He’d kill me!”."

How many times did you hear similar on the doorstep and after? "Oooh, my dad would be rolling in his grave if he knew. My mum would have disowned me." Etcetera, et-bloody-cetera. It's like a layer of people were rebelling against the memory of their own parents. And they knew by voting Tory they were doing wrong. Okay, but is it important?

Yes. When Thatcher was elected in 1979, her programme aimed at recasting Britain's class relations by taking on and defeating the labour movement. Which is exactly what the Tories did. But one leg of her assault on working class solidarity was by disrupting it and creating the conditions for generating new Tory voters. Most obviously, introducing Right to Buy and turning millions of council tenants into home owners was very much part of this. This subjected swathes of working class people to the discipline exacted by mortgage holding. I.e. Meet the payments or face repossession, hence curbing impulses to workplace militancy and individuating responsibility for keeping a roof over your head. The other string to the Thatcherite bow was the privatisation programme. Selling lucrative public sector monopolies to the friends of the Tory party was the game, but marketing them as experiments in popular capitalism was the genius political move. Offering reserved but limited shares to the public was an effort at popularising share ownership, with the hope of effectively turning millions of people into petty capitalists with an eye on their modest portfolio. Share price movement yes, labour movement no. This was reinforced by implementing new conditionalities to benefits, particularly the dole, and a growing emphasis on linking education to vocational training. Taken together, these measures laid down a culturally dominant way of being: entrepreneurial, self-reliant, individuated, indifferent, indebted.

This project was, however, time limited. Eventually, you run out of the carrots. There's only so much state property to privatise and public housing stock to sell cheap, and if you carry on - as John Major, Tony Blair, and Dave did - the sell offs become increasingly meagre, dysfunctional, and absurd. The stick however, the conditions that can be attached to social security, the quantities of personal debt that can be taken on, the (neoliberal) expectations the state has when it addresses its citizens, the limit here is the extent to which a population finds them bearable. We now live in the end times for Thatcherism. Hers and subsequent governments' refusal to replenish the social housing stock, the evisceration of the job market with its plethora of part-time and insecure jobs, and flat living standards means there is a blockage in the system. Those who acquired property and shares in the 1980s and after still have them, but their children and especially their grand children cannot repeat their feat.

For those with the property, as they move into retirement the transformation of consciousness 1980s Tory strategists were banking on is now paying interest. As incomes become limited and fixed, house values for most and petty portfolios for some assume greater importance as a means of securing them against economic and political uncertainty. An ontological anxiety is their lot and anyone promising a more secure future by lashing out against stand-ins and scapegoats for their sense of unease is politically appealing. Boris Johnson and Theresa May offered this in 2019 and 2017, and Brexit promised the same in 2016. This collapse in class consciousness on the part of millions of working class people who've entered into retirement over this last decade was a long time in the works. It was assiduously deconstructed, deracinated and deposited in the receptacle of history.

The one brake on this process preventing the collapse from happening earlier was not their links to the present, i.e. the lives of their offspring, but the living relations to the past. Their parents were their conscience, a reminder not only of where they came from but their exposure to a set of values that hadn't changed: a collective and small p political culture of working class consciousness with a fidelity to local community, the union, and, crucially, the Labourist reflex. As this generation dies they fade into memory and the obligation to vote the right way dies with them. Indeed, some might have felt a frisson of transgression when they ticked the box next to the Tory candidate back in December, but ultimately what mattered more to them was feeding the fears and delusions and cruelty inculcated in them over the past 40 years.


David Timoney said...

"My dad would've killed me" is less convincing as an expression of conscience than "My son/daughter would kill me". It's the absence of the latter that is surely more significant, pointing as it does to narcissism rather than rebellion.

david walsh said...

Mr Twentyman, the artisanal pizza maker, I again in the press today. He now features in the Sunday Times as a victim of "cancel culture" after getting a shellacking on his Facebook page.

See the ST (behind paywall, alas)

Anonymous said...

Politics has always been a question of people voting in their self-interest - too often you cry "cheat", "it's not fair" etc. The Labour movement was founded precisely on recognition of self-interest.

You paint the council house sales in an entirely negative way (and as if council house residents who did not pay their rent would not be evicted) but of course, its genius was precisely that it recognised what traditional Labourites would have but the ideological left won't - to be working class is to be aspirational. Most people don't want to work in factories (or call centres) and nor do they want their children to do so - the Labour movement was always about aspiration not stagnation.

The challenge for Labour is to get the majority to recognise their aspirations are achievable through equality of provision (education, the NHS) and the upper-echelons are holding them back.

This is why focusing on the poor, benefits etc does not resonate with the majority of Labour voters, even if they are poor or on benefits.

Those parents you talk about were Labour from the previous generation that recognised that - the truth is the Labour movement has not kept pace with their children.

David said...

I agree with Anonymous

Blissex said...

«Retired nurse Keith Park is the archetypal retiree [...] f my bits and pieces on the conservatising effects of age could manufacture people, out would pop Mr Park, proud bungalow owner.»

My usual complaint about this is that age per se makes many people become more conservative in a psychological (which usually means "values" rather than "interests") sense, but this only somewhat implies Conservative (or New Labour or LibDem) in a political ("interests" rather than "values") sense. There are many oldies especially in the north who lost pretty much everything during the harrowing times of thatcherism, never accrued a good pension, never could afford to buy a property in a booming area, never found a decently paid, steady job, and have remained "proletarian" (if lucky to find employment) into old age.

The critical aspects here are "proud bungalow owner" and "retiree", which means rentier, those are class rather than age aspects. Young people with property and income from investments are in much the same political position too.

Because the big political problem has been that Labourist social-democracy has turned a lot of working class people into affluent "screw everybody else" business and property rentiers, that is tories (whether voting Conservative, LibDem or New Labour).
Clearly hoping that all "proletarians" stay poor so they continue to vote Labour would be ridiculous, and hoping to replace "proletarians" with "identitarians" is a cynical move the right, so the challenge is to persuade wannabe rentiers that a good living does not necessarily involve screwing everybody else, thatcherite style, and decent wages, steady jobs, good public services are safer and more valuable than "screw everybody else" speculative capital gains.

«This project was, however, time limited. Eventually, you run out of the carrots.»

Unfortunately running out of carrots does not mean that it is time-limited: it simply means that it is quantity-limited. If by the time the carrots have run out a substantial minority of "screw everybody else" Conservative voters has been created, and that can be turned into a governing majority, that could last for hundreds of years. That can happen because the "proletarian" vote is discouraged (abstentions), is split (SDP vs. Labour), has no representation (New Labour), or because some can persuaded on "values" rather than "interests" (identity politics).

Blissex said...

«The Labour movement was founded precisely on recognition of self-interest.»

There is a really big difference between pure "self-interest" and "not being exploited or oppressed". The goal of the workers movement is not to to pursue self interest (and "screw everybody else") but to get one's fair wage as a worker, and social insurance to protect from misfortune. Actually-existing "socialist" countries (and some corporatist trade unions here) did practice some "screw everybody else" politics, for example by exploiting farm workers to the benefit of factory workers, but that is not a good model.

The goal of the Labour movement is not the self-interest of their voters at the expense of the upper or middle or even lower classes, but to stop exploitation and make the economy grow for everybody, to be what Gramsci called a "general class".

«You paint the council house sales in an entirely negative way [...] it recognised what traditional Labourites would have but the ideological left won't - to be working class is to be aspirational.»

Working class people/"proletarians" do not necessarily to aspire to no-work, no-tax, "screw everybody else" property gains and other rentierism, which is what "aspirational" in practice means in the UK. Some members of the working class of course do aspire to that, they are not against "screw everybody else" exploitation, they just resent being exploited themselves, and aspire to be exploiters and rentiers. That is a big cultural and political issue, but when Peter Mandelson wrote "we are all thatcherites now" he was not quite right.

«Most people don't want to work in factories (or call centres) and nor do they want their children to do so - the Labour movement was always about aspiration not stagnation.»

Then they are delusional, and most "proletarians" that I know are not delusional, if anything they try a bit too hard after centuries of oppression to never think above their station.

It is delusional as most people do have to work in factories and call centres and shops and do deliveries and wait tables, not everybody can be a marketing director or a queen's counsel or a university professor, most people have to do ordinary jobs. A Labour movement cannot promise to make everybody's children into trust funders or even just white collars. But it is the aim of Conservatives and New Labour to delude the gullible that all their children can be real estate agents or City traders, and only immigrants or third-worlders will need to do the lowly jobs, working in factories and call-centres on poverty level wages, because "meritocracy" will ensure that all the upper-middle-class jobs are in England and will go to the precious offspring of Conservative or New Labour english voters.

R Hattersley wrote very well in 2001 already about a completely different aim, to make even those working in all those necessary lowly jobs have decent wages and pensions, secure and flexible careers, safe and less stressing working conditions, good public services:

Tony Blair discovered a big idea. His destiny is to create a meritocracy. Unfortunately meritocracy is not the form of society which social democrats want to see. [...] Now that the Labour Party - at least according to its leader - bases its whole programme on an alien ideology, I, and thousands of like-minded party members, have to decide if our loyalty is to a name or to an idea. [...] A Labour government should not be talking about escape routes from poverty and deprivation. By their nature they are only available to a highly-motivated minority.
The Labour Party was created to change society in such a way that there is no poverty and deprivation from which to escape.

Blissex said...

«The challenge for Labour is to get the majority to recognise their aspirations are achievable through equality of provision (education, the NHS) and the upper-echelons are holding them back.»

That is pure mandelsonian/whig delusional propaganda, that of Blair's "education, education, education": that in a meritocracy. if everybody's children get a chartered accountancy degree, then everybody's children will be upper-middle class chartered accountants, and nobody would have to work in a factory or a call centre or sweep streets or care for oldies.
But not only that is delusional, not everybody wants to be a chartered accountant, many people would be content with a job to get by, as long as it was a good "trade union" job, with a reasonable standard of living; the "standard" definition of "aspiration" is:

«The fixation on aspiration, famously defined by former Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander in a 2008 pamphlet as "second home ownership, two cars in the driveway, a nice garden, two foreign holidays a year, and leisure systems in the home such as sound, cinema, and gym equipment" was less an extrapolation of a social fact, and more the breathless hyping of consumerist individualism.»

That's indeed a consumerist list of "nice wants" for upper-middle class marketing directors or chartered accountants, but many people would prefer less "stuff" and more time to spend with family or their avocations or other mixes, and some actually like factory or call centre jobs, as long as they were non-exploitative and non-oppressive.

The "sell" of the Labour wing of Labour is not the delusion that everybody's children can get into the upper-middle class, or even just that the competition for the minority of upper-middle class positions can be made fair by Blair, but that nobody's children will have to suffer deprivation and poverty, and that even if you are not particularly motivated or gifted or lucky or are just content with being or have to be a factory or call centre workers that will mean a decent lifestyle and good work, instead of a constant struggle to make to the end of the month and oppression and exploitation at work.

Plus that economic growth won't be suppressed if that makes the proles uppity, but will be lightly managed to increase the size of everybody's slice of the pie.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to "libraries gave us power", eh Blissex?

Your romanticising of manual labour suggests to me you've never experienced it. Factory (and call centre) work is shit. And as for mining...

People went into these jobs because they didn't have any other options.

Naturally, someone has to do them (increasingly overseas) but there is no contradiction between decent pay and conditions and calling a spade a spade.

Desiring to improve your condition does not equate to "screw everybody else" - or have you dreamed of screwing everyone else your whole life, has Phil? Is everyone who owns their own home a "rentier"? Excuse me, is this East Germany 1982?

Your assumptions about what is best for the working class and the "proletarians you know" is a good example of what is wrong. The logic behind your reasoning is that the working class should stay precisely where they are because an elite of Blissexes knows what's good for them. What bollocks - you're just trying to replace one oppressor with another, you Bourgeois revolutionary, you. Didn't Marx have something to say about that?

Dialectician1 said...

Many thanks Phil. I read again Helen Pidd's ridiculous Graun article and then listened to the hilarious podcast 'Reel Politik' . Both made me laugh so much I've sent the links out to others who will also enjoy them. It is essential to re-read Pidd's piece; it's just the essence of the direction the Graun is travelling these days. As Beavis and Butt-Head (sorry, don't know their real names) say in their childishly irreverental podcast, she has become the pound shop John Harris. So, our intrepid Graun reporter ventures outside of the M25 and visits a northern 'red wall' constituency to discover why they voted in a Tory for the first time in a century. She talks to three people: one is a 16 year old girl (who hasn't got the vote); the second is a retired nurse who expouses racist views, which go unchallenged by Pidd; the third is a restaurant owner (already known by Pidd), who thinks Corbyn (or 'Magic Granddad' as Beavis and Butt-Head call him) would have been a calamitous leader in the Covid era.

I won't spoil the podcast for those who want to listen to it (see the link in the first para of Phil's piece) but the two daft lads who present it do a great job, by both critiquing lazy journos from the Guardian and just by being very funny. The bad language makes it even funnier! But they also raise some interesting questions about class and try to figure out why Pidd would think a pizza restaurant owner who employs seven staff would be a feasible representative of the working class let down by Corbyn. Why not talk to his staff? As they say, Corbyn will probably continue to be blamed for any calamity for the next thirty years.

Dipper said...

The OP seems to take a hit at a non-existent target. Artisan Pizza owner doesn't claim to be proletarian, but he is a voter in the constituency. And the notion that an article about what voters think in a constituency is 'ridiculous' because it does just that and doesn't filter through a particular flavour of Marxist-lennist critical race theory does indicate, possibly, why Labour continues to be a party of serial losers.

And I'm not sure why you feel you can say retiree Keith Park is racist. Do you (blogger and commentators) believe in unlimited immigration with full and complete access to state benefits from day 1, or are you also racist?

Sam said...

It doesn't really sound like you can contradict what Blissex and Phil are saying so much as you just don't like the sound of it. A society that tells itself everyone can get a better job if only the work hard and self educate is lying to itself. Its a fantasy. All those socially necessary jobs we've been hearing about... Are necessary. You can't have society level up out of them unless web introduce a permanent import of an underclass or invent some magical automative tech. So Blissex is right, you need all of those jobs to be providing a decent living with free time, security, and flexibility.
I would add that we want a work to be more shared in general. Those shit jobs should be divvied up into smaller jobs so no one has to spend 40hrs doing something soul cruising. Shared burdens and all that.

Obviously this is very radical and not within the sights of the actually existing labourist movement, but the point is the change the world, is it not ?

Socialism In One Bedroom said...

It makes me laugh how anon attacks Blissex and then he himself proclaims what the working class is and isn’t!

To be working class is not to be aspirational (this is simply describing the state of a brainwashed mind – whatever the class). Those who want to live like the King will become like the King, i.e. a piece of shit. We do see this in British attitudes to others. All foreign policy is about retaining supremacy.

I would argue that leftism, very early on, fell into the trap of aspiration, i.e. wanting to be like the King, rather than looking at the King with disgust. For example, given modern farming methods everyone can stuff their faces with chicken, beef, you name. Just as the King did. Is it any wonder that people then take on the character of the King? The left should be disgusted by the King, not envious of him.

Mining and factory work might be shit but so is pumping out Finance reports or flipping burgers at McDonalds! For a socialist the working week should involve both physical and mental work. Everyone should be made to clear up shit, that shouldn’t be a job but a duty!

Thatcher’s economics sprang from Friedman, which in my day was called Absolutist. It basically boiled down to the idea that all manufacturing should be outsourced to cheap enterprise zones or sweatshops as other like to call them.

The real high value stuff, like 5g should at no costs be included in this. If China can provide a better product and cheaper the only answer, ban it! The modern day Corn Laws, except no one will bat an eyelid, given how embedded business and state are in modern capitalism.

It wasn’t so much beating the labour movement but changing its character in such a way that it didn’t have any issues to fight over and was barely what could be called a working class.

A retired Nurse is not proletarian from the point of view of extracting surplus value and in my view from a general perspective anyone earning above national average wage in the UK is probably producing no surplus value whatsoever. And even those that are, if they are producing crap that no one really needs then they may be creating a surplus but they are a cost to the working class!

For example, business owners love Tourism because it brings them wealth and power but for the working class it simply turns them into servile and docile automons and these people could be doing something far more useful than serving bloated Brits.

The working class (if we have to call them that) in the West are living way beyond their means. The average Brit uses 11.2kw while the world average is 1.8kw. If every person on Earth lived like the average Brit then we would need four planet Earths.

When people say we are surrounded by poverty in the global South, in actual fact it would be more accurate to say we are living in opulence and are surrounded by people living much closer to a sustainable existence than we are. Their problem is that they live to serve this opulence.

Therefore you cannot view class at the national level, it is too abstract. Socialism must be internationalist and to paraphrase Samir Amin, if you want to know where the British working class are, it’s China! Now he meant that as a joke but it seems closer to the truth than this article!

Of course, this configuration could change. Britain’s place in the world market may change (which would be a good thing) but as things stand we can say that the politics of the UK perfectly matches its class composition. Engels always said elections are a good barometer of our strength, well I would agree that, up to a point!

The above is why the only true socialist in the West is anti imperialist. Any other stripe is just fraud.

Blissex said...

A premise: I often make a distinction between "work", the content of one's activity, and "job", the conditions of employment. So my point was that while a social-democrat realizes that most "proletarians" have to do some (or much) "shit work", and that can be minimized but not eliminated, a social-democrat does not think that anybody "deserves" shit jobs, and having a good job can take a lot of the sting out of doing "shit work".

«All those socially necessary jobs we've been hearing about... Are necessary. You can't have society level up out of them unless web introduce a permanent import of an underclass or invent some magical automative tech.»

To add to this, being a chartered accountant or a marketing director can and often does involve doing shit work too, as stressful and soul crushing as call-centre or factory work, especially if done in a nasty, oppressive environment, but because it is an "elite" job it is at least a lot better paid. The goal of social-democrats is to free both marketing directors and line workers from nasty, oppressive work conditions, and to make sure that there is a good minimal floor for wages, Ts&Cs, social insurance for everybody.

«I would add that we want a work to be more shared in general. [...] Obviously this is very radical and not within the sights of the actually existing labourist movement, but the point is the change the world, is it not ?»

That is too pessimistic, that has indeed been done, and in the context of a fairly capitalist society:
«Sweden has long been admired for its blend of prosperity and social cohesion. Its model combines high taxes, generous welfare, collective bargaining, high educational standards and a reasonably free-market economy. The result is high living standards: the lowest wages, for example in hotels or restaurants, are far higher than minimum wages elsewhere in Europe says Marten Blix, a Swedish economist. Relative to other countries that have comparable data, Swedish men in manufacturing earn the highest minimum wage.»
«For decades Sweden consciously tried to get rid of low-skilled service jobs, says Karin Svanborg-Sjovall, of Timbro, a free-market think-tank. “We are fanatics about equality here,” she says.

Note that those that have not been eliminated are still well paid. The overall result is that a marketing director gets to cut the grass of his garden herself, as as she paints her own rooms, or hires a van and does her own removal with the help of her friends and family, so indeed “[shit] work to be more shared in general" has been achieved. But also care workers in old people's homes, which is still manual work, are skilled people in sufficient numbers to provide quality care, and have good jobs, instead of doing shit work as part of a shit job.

Of course even if social-democratic/capitalist heaven there are issues, and of course with unskilled immigrants or offshoring to foreign countries:

«These jobs now need to come back to help newcomers.»
«A few local schemes have attempted to step in where the government has failed. In Landskrona, a town of 40,000 people near the southern tip of Sweden, a laundry was opened in May in order to employ low-skilled workers; previously, the washing would be shipped over to Copenhagen. Around two-thirds of those employed there are foreign-born or refugees.»

In the UK all those from "pushed behind" areas or from under-developed EU and third-world countries are in that category, pushed into shit work and shit jobs to serve the mass-oligarchy of a minority upper-middle class affluent tory voting property and business rentiers and their precious offspring entitled via "independent schools" and "top universities" to their choice of elite roles.

Blissex said...

As to Mandelson Tendency elitists talking about "aspiration", I have treasured some quotes from the time when they were attacking *Gordon Brown* as a "dangerous commie" hating "the aspiration middle classes":

«Although Mr Brown talks a lot about aspiration, he means it in the sense that people at the bottom of the pile should be able to get to the middle, rather than that those in the middle should aspire to get a little bit further towards the top. His preoccupations with child poverty, Africa and banning plastic bags are all very worthy - but they leave the conservatory-building classes thinking: what about us?
The Government's obsession with stopping the middle classes "rigging" the school admissions system - rather than actually improving the results - exacerbates the sense that Mr Brown is frowning at parents who want to do the best for their children.
His talk of "opportunity for all" somehow conveys a vague sense of disapproval of ballet lessons and Carluccio's and Charlie and Lola. The Budget, with its tax rises for wine drinkers and 4x4 drivers, confirmed the feeling of these hard-working families that they were under attack.»
«With the cost of housing, energy, childcare and food going through the roof, people who are relatively well paid can no longer afford to live the way they did even a year ago. As the middle classes book holidays in Torquay rather than Tuscany, drink tap water instead of San Pellegrino and put the conservatory they had been planning to build on hold, they start to question the amount they have to pay to the Government.
«He is focusing on what he recently called the “squeezed middle” because he knows that the aspirational voters who supported Tony Blair have turned away from him. But the phrase he has chosen is telling: Gordon is interested in the middle classes only if he thinks they are “squeezed” — and therefore joining the ranks of the poor who have concerned him most for all his life. These voters want to feel loved when they are comfortable too. And as they see their taxes rise, as they battle with a schools system that puts equality above excellence [...] If Labour returns to “class war” against David Cameron, as some are suggesting, that impression will be further reinforced. A No 10 aide admits that Mr Brown does not have the natural empathy with the middle classes that Mr Blair did. “The moment Tony sent his son to the Oratory those voters thought — ‘he gets it’,” he says. “Gordon wouldn’t understand that. He knows that he has to reassure Middle England but he’s not part of it.”
A minister once told me that Mr Brown doesn’t understand the “conservatory-building classes” [...] When Blair spoke of the many, not the few he meant the middle classes; when Mr Brown used the same phrase he was referring to the poor.

There are already the LibDems for the "socially progressive" thatcherite middle and upper classes, and the Conservatives for the "socially regressive" ultra-thatcherite working, middle and upper classes.

Should Labour leave the non-thatcherites in this country without representation? Was "There Is No Alternative" a claim or an imperative?

Blissex said...

«The challenge for Labour is to get the majority to recognise their aspirations are achievable through equality of provision (education, the NHS) and the upper-echelons are holding them back. This is why focusing on the poor, benefits etc does not resonate with the majority of Labour voters, even if they are poor or on benefits.»

That is basically the "we are all thatcherites now" claim of Peter Mandelson, and quite close to what a "Red Tory" Conservative MP wrote fairly recently:

The conceit is that most (instead of just some) working class people are "screw everybody else" thatcherites, and one can fool them into giving their vote with the promise to all of them that thatcherism will make just their own children "winners" and join the upper-middle class, and "losers" will do all the "shit work" in their stead (because if someone knows that "shit work" cannot be eliminated but only minimized that's the working class),

George Carty said...

Socialism in One Bedroom: "The working class (if we have to call them that) in the West are living way beyond their means. The average Brit uses 11.2kW while the world average is 1.8kW. If every person on Earth lived like the average Brit then we would need four planet Earths."

The problem isn't the amount of energy we're using, but where we're getting it from (mostly fossil fuels which contribute to climate change).

We should get most of our energy from nuclear power as France does, but unfortunately way too many left-wingers and environmentalists also opposed nuclear, either because they romanticises third-world lifestyles or because they were on the take from fossil fuel interests (whether they be the Kremlin or the NUM).

Socialism In One Bedroom said...

No, the problem is the amount of energy we are using!

Physicists have been working on this exact problem.

They have calculated just to bring everyone across the globe to an average of 5 would be impossible given the current technological state. So get your facts straight Carty, you are talking crap.

And of course the fact you would need 4 planet Earths to sustain the average lifestyle of the average Brit has nothing to do with energy. In fact increasing energy output would actually make this problem worse.

So keep trying to defend the indefensible Carty, that is your job after all!

Socialism In One Bedroom said...

Incidentally Brian Cox talked about this issue here and talks to a scientist involved in the analysis (its from 2009 and things have moved on a little but all the points remain as valid today as they did back then, except it has got even worse)

Watch from 22 minutes in for this specific issue:

Karl Greenall said...

A few years ago, the Guardian Education section ran a whole page on the subject of music education in state schools. The main substance of the article was an interview about the school experience of a British concert cellist of international reputation, but who was educated at St. Paul's School, in the City of London - George Osborne's old school. Who could trust such a newspaper as that?
The Guardian works very hard at trying to lose the support of progressive readers. It appears to be winning.