Trickle-down economics used to be known by another name, in a time before the ‘mad men’ of laissez-faire capitalism branded it the must have accessory of a first world country. It used to be known as ‘Horse and Sparrow’ economics. The reasoning being that if you fed a horse enough oats then eventually, by sheer weight of averages, its dung would contain enough undigested oats for a passing sparrow to feed on.
It’s a shame this analogy has been lost to the greater public lexicon for it so aptly describes the state of the world and the growing rise against it. The mega-rich taking a huge, steaming turd on society in general, leaving us proles to sift through it to find enough sustenance to live on.
How long did they think this would last? How long before these disempowered fecal sifters took stock of their lot, stood and dusted themselves off and said “enough”?
How long were they to dangle a shiny penny in front of our faces and beguile us with faustian promises? If you keep your head down and don’t ask questions then we’ll let you believe that one day you can be like us. We’ll allow you to dream that you’ll be given a seat at the table and all it will cost is your dignity. And as we trade it all away we’ll tell you it’s for your own good, you could never be trusted with it in the first place. Give it all to us, we’ll take care of it, we’re smarter than you, it’s safer in our hands.
How long did they think this was going to fly?
And so the navel gazing of the fourth estate in the wake of the British election is baffling. The predicted Tory tsunami never appeared, the great lurch into fascism faltered and the pundits wonder why. They see the success of Jeremy Corbyn and they frown and poke at the tea leaves in their cup and wonder how their precognition failed them. Why did Labour do so well? Why was Corbyn so successful? Why is it that a message of hope and equality, of a better world for all - not just certain lobby groups - why did this captivate the public so?
And there’s the rub. The concept of equality, of fairness, of the belief in the basic decency and dignity of humanity, is so foreign to them that they can’t even comprehend it. The very notion that there is enough to go around for everyone and that everyone equally deserves a certain quality of life is such anathema to them that they literally cannot process the thought of it. Because it is so antithetical to the narrative that they are trying to present to keep everyone in line. The so-called ‘just world’ fallacy where the rich are rich because of some divine right and the poor are poor because of gross personal failings and everyone gets what they deserve.
We as a society are, slowly but with great momentum, starting to see through this lie. This is not a just world. We are not apportioned lots in life, arrayed like chess pieces and bound by some arcane rules. It’s an old aphorism that at the end of the game the king and pawn go back in the same box, but somewhere along the lines we remembered that the king and the pawn also come OUT of the same box too.
For all of this narrative what has the far right delivered us? Has the privatisation of a public service ever benefited the public? Does deregulation result in a better service for the consumer or does it benefit the provider? Have the liberties we’ve abandoned in the name of security kept us any safer?
Have we as a people had our fill of oats? Or are we starting to see it for what it is - a pile of horse shit?