In Britain, the architects of ‘Global Britain’ – the hardline Brexiteers – have envisioned a new future and new direction for the British state post-EU. ‘Empire 2.0’ is a neoliberal project built on a sinister neo-imperialist nostalgia which seeks to restore the former greatness of the United Kingdom. They want to construct an anarcho-capitalist wonderland for the powerful, wealthy, and privileged ruling class – the English Übermensch, veiled by the trappings of classical Britishness; the signs of soft nationalism – the London bus, the red letterbox, and the now ubiquitous Union Jack.
There’s a four day old report on the BBC website that’s refusing to go away. On the 22 February the BBC published a video report covering the cost of recladding a private apartment complex at Glasgow Harbour found to have “similar” cladding to that believed to have accelerated the spread of the fire on Grenfell Tower in June last year. As a result of that tragedy building inspections were carried out on local authority high rises throughout the United Kingdom, finding that of the 173 structures tested in England and Wales 165 were clad with the hazardous material.
It comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the wealthiest and most powerful politicians and business leaders; people in the highest echelons of the British establishment, are entertained at annual – “men only” – fundraisers whereat exclusive agencies supply hostesses who are effectively there – whether the women know it or not – as prostitutes and sex toys. No one is shocked at this news. All Madison Marriage gives us is more hard evidence.
I suppose it is quite apt that all this should remind us of the Tower of Babel. At once we have this afternoon’s ridiculousness and the haunting shadow of Grenfell’s burnt out husk. In many respects they are twin aspects of the same colossal hubris, the glorification and worship of power and the nightmare reality of the consequences of this idolatry.
Britain’s establishment, which’s interests are represented in parliament by the Conservative Party, never loses. It doesn’t matter what the calamity is that falls on the rest of us; we are not all in this together.
All over the UK agitation over this disaster has reached fever pitch, no less because of the horror of it, but because we all intuit that this is about us too. We, the ordinary working people of this country, are worthless to the government and the big businesses behind it.
Given what we know of what the Grenfell Action Group was campaigning for in the years prior to the fire, we have to ask – given where they placed the blame for their predicament – if, given the choice, they too would have considered voting for independence from Westminster.
We pay our taxes in Britain and Northern Ireland to ensure our government – correction: her government – can slash social welfare spending, cut essential services, and cripple the health service, while paying her almost £40m annually.