Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sting in the Tail: Pecking Order (1992)

The Sting in the Tail Column from the December 1992 issue of the Socialist Standard

Pecking Order
The scene is the African veldt: hungry vultures circle over a carcass but they are robbed of their meal by some other predators.

Nature in the raw? No, this is capitalism in the raw because those predators were not wild animals; they were humans. The Guardian (29 October) explains:
. . . the eco-sensitive in Johannesburg have been leaving carcasses on the veldt in a bid to save the vultures from famine. They have put an electric fence round one of these "vulture restaurants" in Bophuthatswana to stop the starving people in the homeland getting at the food.
There is a way to end such human degradation and it doesn't involve Bob Geldof, Telethons, or sending a fiver to Oxfam.

Silly Billy
Comedian Billy Connolly has consigned "socialism to the scrapheap. He told Melvyn Bragg on The South Bank Show (ITV 4 October) that "Socialism is wrong. It must be if all those people in Eastern Europe have rejected it".

Obviously Connolly has been under the impression that what existed in the state-capitalist dictatorships was socialism! No doubt he got this idea from the "communists" he knew in his days as a folk-singer.

One of Connolly's past concert tours was entitled "Rebel Without A Clue": we couldn't have put it better ourselves.

Sensible Sinead
It is not often that you get pop singers talking much sense about politics so it is a real pleasure to record what Sinead O'Connor had to say about money.
My biggest aim is to persuade the world to get rid of money, the root of all evil. If everyone agreed to do it at the same time, it could happen. Won't most people be better off pursuing happiness rather than material assets.
The Sun (23 October)
The more current that idea becomes the easier it is for socialists to spread the ideas of socialism. The only logical alternative to capitalism's money madness is socialism where all production will be solely for need.

ToldYa So!
How John Major must sigh for the heady days when he replaced that nasty old Mrs. Thatcher at number 10.

Remember how his popularity had the stricken Tories soaring in the opinion polls? Everyone, we were told, liked this smiling, unassuming, decent chap.

Alas two years on and his name is mud. From singing his praises the press cannot rubbish him enough (the Sun even calls him a turnip) and he is rated the most unpopular Prime Minister ever.

But this column saw it coming! In January 1991 at the height of Major's love-in with the voters Scorpion pointed out that all leaders of governments must make decisions about the running of capitalism, decisions which will inevitably alienate many voters and
This is why every Prime Minister (Tory and Labour) and the voters have, for a while, a honeymoon followed by a cooling off and eventual divorce. This is what happened to Mrs Thatcher and sooner or later John Major's turn will come.
Marks & Spencer
Work hard - your firm will prosper and you will prosper. That is the accepted wisdom that we are constantly being fed by the media. Well, what do you make of this item?
Marks & Spencer, the Rolls-Royce of Britain's high street stores, is purring through the recession with profits up almost 20 per cent. The St Michael label returned profits of £257 million on higher sales of £2.24 billion with the winning combination of selling expensive food and not quite so expensive clothes.
The losers in the battle against recession were 300 staff made redundant at M & S headquarters last year.
The Times (29 October)
Left Wing Stunts
"Major and Lamont must go" is the Socialist Workers Party's latest stunt. Their declared aim is to "kick the Tories out" but the sacking of Major and Lamont will not achieve this as they would merely be replaced by other Tory luminaries. In any case, mid-term leadership changes ALWAYS restore Tory fortunes - witness the last one.

The SWP's real aim is to get a Labour government in. Their argument is that of course Labour will fail; many workers will see this and turn to the SWP.

Both of these aims are hopelessly doomed. A change of leader would, as history shows, leave the Tories more firmly in the saddle while Labour's inevitable failure would, as history also shows, simply pave the way for yet another Tory government.

Our recent readers survey revealed that some readers think we devote too much space to leftwing parties: sorry, but the above surely demonstrates the genuine need to expose their hare-brained and misleading antics.

Hypocrisy
As Robin Cook, and other Labour Party frontbenchers, try to expose the government's sale of arms to Iraq during a so-called ban. It is worthwhile recalling Labour's position when they formed the government.
While the government attaches the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament, we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable commercial market.
Denis Healey in the House of Commons (25 January 1966)

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