Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Facing down the apocalypse

If you're up for some philosophy and fighting talk, read this excellent piece on our current political and economic condition. 

Ask your MPs: was your education free? Find out what your MP’s degree was in. If they are a Lib-Dem, ask them how they can sleep at night. Ask them whether they want to be re-elected next time. Tell them everyone regards them as a traitor and a hypocrite – unless they do the right thing, unless they vote the right way. If your MP is Conservative, ask them whether they want to be re-elected. Ask them: is this vandalism ‘conservative’? Is it ‘big society’? If they are Labour, ask them whether they want to be re-elected. They can reverse this.
Also tell them this: the theoretical and ideological underpinning of right-wing economic theory and ideology since Thatcher has been based on the classical economics of Adam Smith. Which is great. This is because, in The Wealth of Nations, Smith argues that education falls into the category of a non-economic institution that must nevertheless be funded by the state, because the economy can’t fund the right sort of education (namely, putatively ‘useless’ education); and without an artistic and cultural education society and the economy will fall into a vicious circle of decline and be unable even to provide a workforce, let alone ‘lead the way’ in a ‘global knowledge economy’.
But if they don’t care about other people and other places, then tell them this: if you kill a city or a town’s university, you rip millions upon millions of pounds out of that place’s local economy. You devastate its infrastructure. So it’s not just others who are hurt. You may lose your ‘Marksies’ Food Hall, your Jamie’s Kitchen, your theatre, your art galleries and your ‘cheaper car insurance’.
Tomorrow is meant to be a national day of action - sit-ins, teach-ins, school walkouts: if nobody turns up to my class, I won't be too sad.  

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