Nine Propositions Regarding Capitalist Politics
Friday, 23 February 2024 11:28

Nine Propositions Regarding Capitalist Politics

Published in Poetry

Nine Propositions Regarding Capitalist Politics

by David Betteridge

For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken...
- Mark 4:25

One It is easier to win an election than to run a
government.

Two It is easier to ruin an economy
than to bother to do due diligence

Three It is easier to blame others for our crimes
than to admit any error ourselves.

Four There is no lie too big or too blatant
that a politician should refrain from uttering it.

Five It is better to pile extra burdens on the poor,
even to the point of killing them,
than to countenance losing our riches.

Six There is no disaster that may befall a nation
that does not present a good opportunity for us to make profits.
Where such an opportunity does not exist,
it falls to government to create one.

Seven There must be no end to our freedom to pursue profit,
and no end to the power that safeguards that freedom.
Where voices are raised in opposition,
we must buy them off, or rubbish them, or crush them.

Eight Life is to be seen, and lived,
as an arena for competition, not cooperation.
Blessed are the strong.

Nine Tiger, tiger burning bright
In the jungle of the Right.
What mortal mind or agency
Dares challenge our supremacy?

What Bloody Man Is That?
Friday, 23 February 2024 11:28

What Bloody Man Is That?

Published in Theatre

I received a letter the other day from a friend of many years, that still active volcano of political cartooning, Bob Starrett. As always, his letter was neatly lettered in italicised block capitals, a throw-back to his time in the painting and decorating trade. Sign-writing was one of the craft skills that he had to learn, and even now, in his eighties, Bob does not want to let that skill fall into disuse.

Included in his letter was a cartoon of Boris Johnson (above), in the wake of his being levered from his position as leader of the Conservative Party, while still hanging on as this suffering nation's Prime Minister. Down but not out, yet! Bob's cartoon shows Johnson in his self-appointed role as a Shakespeare scholar, combined with being both hero, in his own eyes, and fool, in ours.

The cartoon prompted me to have a look at a selection of Shakespeare's playscripts, and perhaps readers of Culture Matters might like to do the same, to see if we can find bits of The Bard that might help Johnson's project along, for him to weave into the text of the book he has a mind to write.

I began my search with Shakespeare's Scottish play. At the time of its writing, with King James VI of Scotland having newly assumed the English crown too, the matter of Scotland was seen as troublesome, as it is again now, for good reason. So choosing to write a play set in Scotland's Dark Ages gave Shakespeare the opportunity to be topical, at a diplomatic and historic distance, while also giving him a context for exploring such favourite themes as political ambition, treachery, scheming, extreme behaviour of various kinds, and regime change.

Choosing to extract quotations from The Tragedy of Macbeth gives us a parallel opportunity to be topical, as we live through the latest shenanigans that characterise England's sad slipping back into its own second Dark Ages:

What bloody man is that?
(Act 1 Scene 1)

I am such a fool, should I stay longer
It would be my disgrace and your discomfort…
(Act 4, Scene 2)

I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself,
And falls on th'other. . . .
(Act1 Scene 7)

Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.
(Act 5 Scene 2)

Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill…
(Act 3 Scene 2)

There’s daggers in men’s smiles…
(Act 2 Scene 3)