Welcome to Life in 361˚. This blog is an 'open journal' - a space where I keep notes on bits & pieces I come across day-to-day - including books and articles I've read that I feel are worth sharing, interesting pictures and photos (I'm a visual learner, you see), random musings - and anything else that happens to catch my eye or ear. It also acts as a kind of 'open experiment' in terms of developing my views and writing skills - and networking with other people of a like-mind.

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04/02/2012

Bonuses and bones

I wrote in my last post about the simmering disillusionment, anger even, over the current state of things (by this I mean economy, politics, media) that seems to have set in amongst the British public - I questioned whether this was the slow build to some kind of revolution.

This could be read as a Socialist view ("capitalism in crisis" and all that), and I would guess that the sense of being deliberately manipulated by the establishment that I have felt this week over the stripping of Fred Goodwin's knighthood might also be read in this way. Because history tells us that before a revolution is due to take place, the under-threat establishment government typically offers concessions - just enough to try calm protests, but not enough to embrace in wholescale change. The undergraduate lectures I attended many years ago in Latin American politics, under a charismatic and (apparently) left-leaning Chilean lecturer who had fled Pinochet, spring to mind here. I always remember listening with fascination to his re-telling of how the Institutional Revolutionary Party in Mexico ruled unchallenged for 70 years by systematically co-opting radicals with government positions and curbing mass dissent through grand gestures. And this appears to be the (small 't') Socialist viewpoint now - they're throwing us a bone, Fred Goodwin's bones to be precise.

However, it's not necessarily a radical left-wing view, as Charles Moore - a conservative writer employed by the conservative Daily Telegraph - demonstrates today with a powerful piece on the threat this hounding of Fred Goodwin poses to our rights within a supposedly modern democracy. He perhaps also inadvertently points to the need for wider, more pervasive, more radical democratic reform - certainly I would argue that this situation is deeply rooted in the fact Britain continues to have a monarchy, and a lack of a single written constitution and bill of rights.

And then there's the (small 't' again) Christian view. Yes Jesus challenged the corruptions of the establishment - the 'domination systems' of the time as Progressive scholar Marcus Borg says - but he also passionately believed in forgiveness and redemption of people. Fred Goodwin has publicly repented for the harm he caused and, despite his material riches, has seen aspects of his personal life fall apart since the banking collapse - he is living with the consequences also.

And so my point is this: the call for change is not about people, it's about the systems and structures - the 'ways of working' currently in place.

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