In 1985, when I was twentyodd(!) we looked to ‘the year 2000’ with a sense of awe. I was totally convinced that we would be wearing tight fitting foil suits, sporting angular bob haircuts and eating nutrition tablets instead of meals. Cars would obviously fly by then and we would have at least one city on the moon, possibly Mars. We would be able to talk to each other via flip top mobile devices, read and write on electronic tablets and that a particle transporter to dissolve us from a to b would be commonplace.
Each time I see the year ‘2010’ I marvel that we are already ten years past the magical millennium date and only a few of the above had come true. Mobile phones, IPads and Kindles, in fact, digital media in general, has enabled us to live in a globalised world. I used to watch Star Trek and Space 1999 and wonder what the would would be like in the millennium.
The items I listed above are material. I realise now that as I watch the vision of the future that the TV script writers were selling to us was mainly aesthetic, with the characters and dilemmas rooted firmly in the eighties. Even Star Wars with it’s father/son sub plot relied heavily on the John Paul Gaultier style clothing that we all cringed at as we imagined ourselves wearing it. Predictions of the future are rarely about social issues, the way we live.
I woke up this morning with the fear that I would be walking up this time next week to a different world. No one really knows what will happen in the general election. All the political parties are telling us that things will change, using fear and hate to convince us that voting for them would change our future for the better, voting for the other parties will be practically suicidal. Will the only real change next week be aesthetic?
I was watching the globalised TV reports of what has been dubbed ‘Bigotgate’ and saw the most compelling evidence so far that the ‘average voter’ votes according to the appearance of the leader of the party. A young woman stated that ‘You can’t trust Gordon Brown because he smiles like the Joker. Out of Batman.’ Just in case we weren’t sure who the Joker was, she clarified. But, woman of Rochdale, have you read the Labour party manifesto, or are are you voting on the basis of how much the candidate looks like a good/evil character from a fictional story? This week has been about generalisation and not thinking before you speak. Both Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy looked ridiculous at the Bigotgate debacle. Him because he forgot to take his microphone off (he only said what a lot of people were thinking, but on national TV) and her because she revealed her media fueled, conditioned, unable to think and reason for herself, conditioned generalisation and ignorance. On national TV.
Of course, Gillian is entitled to her opinion. But, like anyone who regurgitates hateful opinions with no evidence to hand, here say and gossip from the daily newspapers, she was hugely appealing to those who lack information and really, really, abhorrent to thinking people who see her negative view of everything and her single strand arguments based purely on a subjective viewpoint as a sad indictment for the future. Poor Gillian is a puppet, a classic case of the oppressed person who dutifully keeps their minds occupied with the hateful ‘us and them’ question to which there is no answer because it is based on blame, hate and negativity. Unfortunately it leaked onto our TV screens this week. Gordon Brown’s sentiments of wanting to not associate with ‘a sort of bigoted woman’ resonated with me. I avoid people like Gillian at all costs, those who’s narrative is ‘us and them, doom and gloom.’
So what does the future hold? Will anything change substantially in the future, even if David Cameron or Nick Clegg beat Gordon Brown in the General election. No. The aesthetics of politics will change and we will probably all pay more one way or another, for there is no other way to pay off the national debt (simple maths really, to pay it we have to erm… pay it). Actually I don’t understand why people ask that question. The recession was caused because of investment in sub-prime mortgages in the USA, I seem to recall, and was not the sole fault of Gordon Brown. There has been a worldwide recession,and Gordon Brown seems to have devised a plan to pay back the money we had to borrow from our reserves. Balanced the budget without causing us a massive hike in tax. Like any debt, it will be paid off. So why did Gillian say ‘What are you going to do about the national debt’? It will be paid, Gillian and other voters who just like to repeat questions they see in the tabloids and not listen to the answers.
But people like Gillian will not change. Their complaining will still go on, but the focus will be changed. The ‘average voter’ will still be residing in psuedo-poverty (well Gillian might not as she will have had a big pay-off by the Mail on Sunday until then) bickering about immigrants getting a house first, claiming extra benefits and stealing our jobs (all urban myths with no evidence). The argument that immigrants have driven wages down is ridiculous. Immigrants do not set wages. Industry has preset budgets and managers everywhere are rubbing their hands at the thought of exploiting vulnerable immigrants who are living 12 to a two bedroomed house. In reality, those companies who have slashed wages now have more money, their pre-set budgets still balanced. So where does the difference between the say £10 per hour and £6 per hour per person per hour go? Not to the immigrants, but back into the budget.
No, we won’t be wearing silver suits or eating nutrition tablets. We won’t be able to ‘Beam me up, Scotty’, although I expect Gordon Brown wishes that particular device was invented. In fact, apart from mobile phones, and perhaps satellite TV, things are much the same as the 80’s, with those at the bottom of the pile drinking in the spin like sponges and regurgitating at will, a massive social construction of non-thinkers and pint-pot prophets. Same as it ever was.