Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
Recently, the issue was raised regarding the profits that would flow to international corporations by Obama’s proposed trade-deals encouraging the privatizatilon of existing government-run social services, and the break-up of their labor unions. It was unfortunately mentioned only in passing by Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee. But that’s better than nothing.
She is a granddaughter of the famous British historian Arnold Toynbee. Her perspective on this matter seems to be in accord with that of Britain’s major corporations – they strongly favor both TTIP (the Obama-proposed trade-deal with the EU), and also Britain’s being a part of the EU (and of that proposed trade-deal). In Britain, the number of families in the aristocracy, and that serve the aristocracy (the people who control the international corporations, and who serve those families), are few enough in number so that the individuals who can win a public voice such as becoming a columnist in the Guardian, tend to be well-vetted by the aristocracy, not favorable towards democracy.
Toynbee’s latest column criticizes opponents of TTIP and of Britain’s membership in the EU, as being populists (“Europhobes”), people who “shamelessly” oppose the EU and the TTIP. Her article presents the public as the problem – basically as mobs controlled by demagogues – and the aristocracy as the solution. Her attitude toward democracy (the public) is rather similar to Barack Obama’s as expressed privately on 27 March 2009 to the CEOs of Wall Street assembled together in the White House: “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … I want to help. … I’m protecting you,” from those “pitchforks” – people who, to him, were much like Toynbee’s “shameless … Europhobes.” In both versions, the international-corporate financial operators are the real heroes, and the public who oppose what they’re doing are just bigots who need to be controlled.
Toynbee’s recent article, October 12th, about the interplay between pro-EU-integrationist Europeans and pro-mega-corporate Europeans, discusses the public’s resistance to the latest effort by the pro-EU British Parliamentarian Alan Johnson to present his case to the public, both for the EU and for the proposed TTIP:
“The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, is another red line for some on the left. Johnson has just visited Brussels, and is convinced there will not be secret trade courts and nor will other countries, with bigger public sectors [e.g., France, Denmark, Sweden] than ours, allow Europe’s public services to be captured by US companies.”
Johnson is a former Cabinet Member in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government – in fact, a former Health Secretary and a former Education Secretary, and so someone who would know a lot about the assets that are to be privatized if and when, say, Britain’s National Health Service gets stripped down and then sold off to international corporations – and now is trying to make the case that somehow U.S. President Barack Obama would sign his TTIP after its heart and brain (its freezing in place and then gutting of democratically imposed regulations of international corporations) has been ripped out, and only its arms and its legs (the associated legal blather) remain. Toynbee says:
“But alarm is in the air among pro-Europeans of every sort. Long gone are complacent assumptions that the status quo always wins referendums, that fear of the unknown beats novelty or the pay packet always trumps ideals. The wind seems in the sails of the outs, as opinion shifts their way. Try as they might to hide this handicap, today’s launch [of a new conservative movement that’s both anti-TTIP and anti-EU] was a portrait of an establishment arguing for no change. Big business was there, the high street stores, easyJet, the universities and the police. The prospect of Scotland gone or Northern Ireland peace unravelling certainly makes leaving the high-risk choice. What of Russia? Surely self-preservation and economic common sense will see the establishment prevail?”
If her verbiage is so loaded with assumptions, so that there’s no space for documenting any of them (such as her assumptions that TTIP is basically benign, and that the EU wasn’t originated by fascists), that’s because her assumptions are false, and because competency is not a requirement for success in her culture. In Britain, the number of families in the aristocracy, and that serve the aristocracy, are small enough so that the individuals who can win a public voice such as being a columnist in Britain’s major media tend to be well-vetted by the aristocracy, and all that aristocrats demand is for the person to support the aristocracy’s agenda. Polly Toynbee is a granddaughter of the famous British historian Arnold Toynbee. Her perspective in this matter seems to be in accord with that of Britain’s major corporations. That’s enough for her to be able to be published in the Guardian. Every British nationwide newspaper is actually likewise a guardian of the very same national aristocracy – of one of its factions at least, each of which is united with all of the others against the public, and is protecting that aristocracy from the public (by deceiving the public, like such writers do).
So, she deals only in passing with the objections, “secret trade courts and nor will other countries, with bigger public sectors than ours, allow Europe’s public services to be captured by US companies.” How does she know? She doesn’t. Nor does she care to. Those real problems are simply wished away, and so she expresses hope that “fire may burn within parties [such as Alan Johnson] battling to persuade their own sides.”
After all, the public must be ruled. They are so unruly! Tut-tut!!
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.