John Heathcote

Seán MacMathúna

Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis


Corruption, Consumption and the Arts of Delusion

John Heathcote



Corruption, Consumption and the arts of delusion - article

I'm A Fake, Vote for me - Summary of article about UK's entrenched elite class by George Walden


Global study - commentary

UN report

George Walden's full article in The Guardian

Funny Money - 3 KeySound mp3
































Guardian Article - Richard Gott on slavery








Is it naive to ask the question why a few people in the world are now living beyond the wildest dreams of the Roman Emperors, and the rest of us are trapped in a cycle of work, sleep and death; why the conspicuous consumption of highly-priced trash is the highest aspiration of millions, even as we become aware that our planet is being laid waste to produce so much that we don't need ?


Britain, the US and Switzerland should rank among the world's most corrupt countries, according to a paper delivered to an economics conference on September 2-3rd, 2006.

' . . .through a process of stealth, the global economy had been reconfigured to match the interests of a class of super-rich who held their wealth in offshore tax havens such as Jersey, Monaco, Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.

"They live more or less where they choose, and their main preoccupation lies with staying rich" . . .

"Detached from the concept and practice of citizenship, they have managed to relieve themselves, to a remarkable extent, of the obligation to contribute to the national treasury."

"I would place the United Kingdom high on the list of most corrupt countries," said John Christensen, formerly an adviser to the Jersey government and now director of the Tax Justice Network , speaking at the Economic Geography Research Group conference.

A global study - from the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations - is the first to chart wealth distribution in every country as opposed to just income. The report found the richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total of global assets. Half the world's adult population, however, owned barely 1% of global wealth.

"These levels of inequality are grotesque," said Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam. "It is impossible to justify such vast wealth when 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. The good news is that redistribution would only have to be relatively small. Such are the vast assets of the rich that giving up a small part of their wealth could transform the lives of millions."


It was either Marx or Freud who described people in a capitalist society - which is all of us now - becoming fetishists, addicted to the worship of consumer goods, which would govern the way that we see ourselves, and the way that others determine our status, our personal value, our position in the pecking order.

In the same way, the people of the northern hemisphere look at their cousins in the South, and assume that their lack of the baubles and bling of the 21st century means that they are a backward people who need to be brought up to date with the modern world.

We are fed a news-diet of corrupt African dictators and fundamentalist warlords, without asking the questions - Where do they hide their money? or From whom do they buy their guns ?

It is a simple equation - these people are armed by the same people who later bank their money - and later often seize it back as 'the proceeds of crime'. The international monetary system has become the invisible godlaw of our universe, determining life and death, survival or extinction.

What will future generations make of the fact that our generations were responsible for the disappearance of the oldest communities on the planet, indigineous peoples who were the guardians of our planet, preserving histories and wisdom from the emergence of man into consciousness. That we can weigh up the survival of the Kalahari bushmen against a pot of diamonds, and choose the sparkle of cut-carbon over the lifeline of the world's oldest society.

Britain's part in this War of Modernisation has been greater than most countries. The British Empire sacked and pillaged the world's oldest societies with the promise that the people could throw off their archaic and ancient systems of politics, religion, culture and self-sufficiency and become 'clients' of our Western benevolent industrialisation.

In return, the ruling class of Britain abandoned the British working class who had made them their fortunes, leaving a population of individuals; no land, no culture and no hope of transforming their situation. These 'entrepreneurs' then set up their work-camps in those parts of the world appointing and arming some local Quisling who would be bribed into betraying his people for a share of the loot.

The land would be ripped up, sacred sites desecrated to remove the minerals, communities taken off their farms and forced to work in the local plantation, the earth stripped bare and poisoned by monocultures and toxic waste.

Earlier this week it was reported that Tony Blair expressed "deep sorrow" for the role of the British State in the "shameful" slavery trade. There are not many people in the modern world who think that slavery, the ownership of one person by another, has any moral justification. But there is something distinctly tokenistic about this, an ignorance of how the past is always with us; and how the modern world and its sytem, which Blair finds so appealing as one of its few victors, is still rooted in the monetary valuation of peoples and societies.

He will not touch the grand estates of the aristocracy, built on sweat, sugar and blood; the toil of tens of thousands of men and women whose great-grand children still live with the curse of inherited poverty and cultural dislocation. This is not surprising, since his Government has done nothing to redress the hierarchy of privelige in British society.

The same families who forced people from the land under the Enclosures Acts and drove them into the satanic mills and workhouses of the Industrial 'Revolution'; sending kids into coalmines, women transported for stealing bread for their children, men hung for demanding basic human rights; they still occupy the vast estates of their forbears and wield the invisible power of wealth and status through a self-perpetuating system of deception.

Why are the British so aquiescent in their own degradation ?

The traditions of British socialism and communalism have been dismantled, as much by Blair's New Labour as by Thatcher and her neo-con regime of the 80's.

The traditions of liberty, which led to the end of Britain's direct involvement in the slave-trade have been eroded to the point that we now no longer feel able to protect our freedoms from a State that has no moral responsibility to the people, merely to its own survival. Our liberties have not been taken away to protect others, or even for our own protection; but merely for the protection of the rich, the privileged, our rulers.

We have been filled up with fantasy fear figures; the dirty bombers, the narco-terrorist, the crack addict, the sex offender, swan-eating Albanians, the crazy knifeman; the hooded figures on the corner caught by CCTV as they jemmy the door on your 4x4. What we are scared of is within ourselves, the unpredictable in an unstable world; symptoms of a sick society.

In the UK, 10% of society are parasites, feeding off the labour and deprivation of the other 90%. They are excluding themselves from social service or participation, or any meaningful contribution to the welfare or infrastructure of a society that's made them so wealthy; and by living in the 'Green Zones' not frequented by the 'common people', they remain within their bubble of ignorance as much as the poor sods trapped in the sink estates and lifeless, culturally dead suburbs of Workcamp Britain.

They dominate not only the Government, Civil Service and business boardrooms, as they have done for at least 250 years; but now their children - useless, pampered and out of touch with any of the struggles of everyday life - expect that they will inherit the planet.

Some just follow their parents into the world of power and profit, like the Murdochs and Freuds. Other children of the arseholes who polluted this planet and stripped it for profit are now the ones at the forefront of the 'carbon-trading' industry, for instance; making more money from their fathers' iniquities.

Others, wishing to appear more righteous than the previous generation of elevated lowlife, live in the green belt and countryside communities (from which the children of the poor are now excluded by property price-outs and ASBOs) eating their homegrown food, employing their migrant cleaners and sending their kids off to schools that foster the illusions of elitism and class superiority.These pampered peacocks think their superficial salon-styled fashion and strangulated voices justify them a place in every medium, where that they will feed us back parodies and ironic commentary on the everyday life of the 'lower orders'. These smug, lazy self-satisfied idiots laugh at the 'lifestyle choices' of the poor majority, and glibly explain how they are saving us from ourselves.

Once regarded as a choice for the brighter, mouthy lower-middle and working class oiks who at least had tasted some 'real' life, or genuine shared experience; showbusiness or journalism were regarded as 'professions' for 'ordinary' people, depending on whether you enjoyed being watched, or preferred watching others . . .

Now the 'gossip' pages of the newspapers are filled with the offspring of corpulent businessmen, tacky aristocrats and those 'celebrities' whose mere inanity or collaboration with the status quo has allowed them to crawl up the greasy pole - whichever ones they were offered.

Not only is the media now filled with these people but the 'product' itself has become increasingly meaningless.

On television now, we are saturated with 'good' food programmes for people who can afford to feed their kids on more than trans-fat food and expanded starch; property programmes for people who can not only afford a house in the most overpriced property market in the world, but can afford to 'invest' in property' to rent, here and abroad.

Junk programmes encouraging the lower orders to aspire to the taste, income and opportunity of those self-satisfied, soft trustkids and their patronising friends, while most people in Britain are struggling to stand atop an ever-increasing, wobbly mountain of debt that's supported on the shakiest of foundations - continued employment . . .

The rest is 'reality TV' (the greatest minomer ever) which generally revolves around picking the dimmest examples of Britain's industrial peasantry and subjecting them to the hilarity of the rest of the population.

This is the way we crawl into the 21st century, with less liberty than our forefathers; and fast-forgetting the lessons of communal struggle in our rush to accumulate a mountain of alloy and plastic, the magician's decoys; and to build bigger fences to keep ourselves apart; planned isolation, a people only connected through wires, nodes and tramline lives, strings of fear and seperation . . .


In a recent article by the one time Old Tory Minister George Walden, 'I'm a fake, vote for me', (published in the Guardian Friday September 22, 2006), he tore into the neo-democratic institutions in the UK and a 'meritocracy' made up of the privileged and their offspring.

"sincerity itself is bullshit".

  • Britain is governed by an oligarchy of professional egalitarians, many of them from privileged backgrounds, whose power and wealth increasingly depend on the more or less cynical exploitation of populism in politics, the media and the arts.
  • Reality has, in fact, turned out to be a caricature. For the first time in our history, both major political parties are now led by what are inverted elites: well-born, privately educated men who vie with one another in affecting populist attitudes.
  • Populism in Britain is systemic, involving a tacit complicity between left and right.
  • But a situation in which talent finds no way forward while an elite of populist mediocrities holds power in field after field will, in the long term, prove damaging to the country.
  • Recently, the London School of Economics produced an international study showing that Britain is not only the least meritocratic country in the western world, but that in the past 30 years we have actually gone backwards.
  • Another study, this time by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, has confirmed that . . .in no other country is there such a gulf in achievement between state and private schools.
  • The facts . . . in a recent study by the Sutton Trust, showing that more than half of the most senior journalists in the land came from independent schools, which account for 7% of the country's pupils.
  • The new elites have reason to welcome what has happened. Whatever its consequences for the country, for them, mass immigration is an unqualified boon. It is not just the low wages and household help that benefit well-to-do people such as themselves. Here are millions of new clients for their condescension, in the true meaning of the term: lowering yourself to the level of people you see as inferior, the better to ingratiate yourself with them. The purpose is to sell them your populist politics or dud culture, while burnishing your humanitarian image.
  • We must look forward to the time when able and independent-minded immigrants at all levels of society react against the patronage of the new elites who, morally, culturally and intellectually, are so frequently beneath them.
  • What matters for the new elites is not loyalty, principle or the crumbs of decency, but personal success
  • One of the more predictable habits of the new elites is to dismiss all criticism of the country in which they and their children flourish as doom-mongering or unpatriotic. Such a riposte is of little consequence: elites have always sought to jolly the populace along, dissuading them from untoward reflection and analysis, and have always played the patriotic card. For some time I thought I discerned a diminishing tendency, even among politicians, to take the populist whip and that it was only a matter of time before the posturings of our new elites were laughed to scorn.
  • There must be a limit to the amount of patronising a free people can take from its leaders, assuming it wants to be truly free

George Walden, Friday September 22, 2006
The Guardian

Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis