Monday, July 25, 2011

'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive'

[caption id="attachment_7169" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="John Boehner"]John Boehner [/caption]

Michael Cosgrove - What do the national debt crisis in America, the press scandal currently shaking Britain and the sex assault cases against French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn have in common? The answer is to be found in the public's gradual realisation that their governing elites couldn't care less about their problems, selfishly engrossed as they are in their sordid games of power and a misplaced sense of privilege.

Of all the harsh epithets used to describe the current parody of a democratic debate going on in America over the country's debt problems, perhaps the most damning was spat out not by an American, but an Englishman. British Business Secretary Vince Cable recently launched a scathing attack on "rightwing nutters" - or 'nutcases' as Americans would say - in the Republican ranks who are doing their best to lead the country to the brink of default in order to get their way. Their tactics have already had a negative effect on stock markets and gold prices, and Cable quite correctly pointed out that the crisis in America is even more of a threat to the world economy than the Euro crisis.

In Britain the Murdoch press scandal continues to rage at the highest levels of political, police and press - the "3P's" - organizations and the story is still hitting the headlines. That isn't surprising given the depressing picture which has emerged of the shabby and tawdry press practises, police corruption and political wool that has been pulled over the public's head for many years which have kept the extent of their three-sided collusion hidden from the eyes of the population.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Channel in France the accusations of serious sexual assault and attempted rape by two women - one in New York and another in Paris - which have seen the reputation of former IMF head and ex-French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn ripped to shreds are still gripping the country. The French are only now getting confirmation of what was once whispered in elite circles only - that DSK is a known sexual predator who for years has had the reputation in the upper spheres of society of inveterate and aggressively compulsive womanizing. But the press never published what it knew.

Just who do some American politicians - Republicans for the most part - think they are to put the world's economy at risk in this way and thus entail the prospect of putting America in default, putting millions of Americans and many millions more around the world out of a job and creating a world recession? In who's name are they doing this?

Who do Britain's 3Ps think they are by manipulating what the public knows and the means they learn it by using a mutual protection cartel? Where is 'the public interest' to which all three of them are bound by their ethical codes?

And how have French elites been able to get away for so long with muzzling the press and hiding the criminal activity of its members from the public, that which is in itself a violation of the law which obliges the French to denounce crime to the police when they know it has been committed?

Evidence is finally - and thankfully - emerging that the people of America, Britain and France have had more than enough of the conniving and scheming shenanigans of their elites which have nothing to do with their mandates and duties - mandates and duties which were, moreover, conferred upon them by their voters.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 80% of Americans are either “angry” or “dissatisfied” with the way Washington works — the highest percentage in almost two decades. Other editorials and analyses in America are beginning to express their considerable distaste for the current debacle, and this in a country which already has a very low voter turnout rate. This will not help American democracy. Not only that, but Vince Cable and the British public have voiced British disgust very well, the French press is ridiculing the whole system, and it's the same thing all over the world.

In Britain, the recently announced package of a dozen parliamentary inquiries into relations between the press, politics and the police as well as their individual practises are just the beginning of a major cleanup. The public will be scrutinizing these inquiries and woe betide the government or the press if they are perceived as being anything else but comprehensively reported and aggressively aimed at prosecuting those who have committed offenses and changing the relationship between politicians, the press and the police.

Strauss-Kahn's polical career is ruined. The French have shown in poll after poll recently (after giving him early support) that they do not want him to participate in next year's presidential elections and nor do they see a future for him in French politics. At the same time the press is reluctantly beginning to admit its past failings, other sexual assault scandals involving other French politicians are emerging and the public no longer has any doubt about the importance of limiting the scope of privacy laws so as to make an exception for criminal behavior.

The citizens of all three countries have been witnessing the crass selfishness and vanity of their elites in all its ugly grandeur over the last few weeks and it is to be hoped that this time those citizens will call them to account. Sir Walter Scott may have written this article's headline way back in 1808, but his words are still relevant today. The people of these countries have been led by the nose for long enough and if their elites are not prepared to stop deceiving them with their tangled webs of lies, scheming and selfish power-grabbing their voters may just start getting their revenge at the ballot box or, worse, begin to express their displeasure in less democratic ways.