Monday, 16 February 2009
In 1538 Henry the eighth began the dissolution of the Monasteries. The ruined section of Leiston Abbey pictured above was the result of this purge. How ever every cloud has a silver lining or so they say, and now the place houses an Art Centre and is the UK centre for the development of chamber music.
In 1665 the plague visited upon the people of these lands showed the church to have no direct link with the almighty. Indeed they had no way of showing them selves to be protected by their piety and their prayers for others did nothing to assuage the hungry plague. The clergy dropped like flies as did any one else who came into contact with it. The people soon came to question the authority of the church and it’s pontiffs. Perhaps for the first time the people began to see through the cant and pointless rituals and slowly the church began to lose it’s hold over the flock. This was not the only change that developed out of this terrible time. After the viral carnage and destruction of most of society the practices associated with serfdom began to erode. The few surviving able workers plied their labour with the highest bidders and some managed to obtain their own land for their services. The dreadful plague had liberated the workers who would never be surfs again.
In some towns and villages in England there are still old market crosses that have a depression at the foot of the stone cross. This was filled with vinegar during times of plague as it was believed that vinegar would kill any germs on the coins exchanged at market and so contain the disease. It looks as if the Government might be employing similar nonsense to deal with the current collapse of international monetary systems. In any event there is a sour taste in the mouths of many people in the UK and increasingly, in Europe. As the facts begin to emerge piling one on another, surely there can be no doubt that this system of government and capital is failing badly. It does not work any more.
The reality check is unsurprising. Just as the experts warned there would be no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq others warned of the imminent financial mess we are now experiencing. We are governed by fools and liars and narcissists in denial.
There are a few rather worrying indications that in the face of hard times, sections of society will be easily inclined to discriminate against others who are perceived to be a threat to their economic survival. The borders that restricted the movement of workers within the European community may be removed but I fear we have not heard the last of protectionist demonstrations against foreign labour and the related nastiness that goes with it. We all know where that can lead us.
Recently I heard a home office minister interviewed about alleged British collaboration with US torture as cited in a recent top level UN report. When asked about specifics he answered “The UK government neither condones nor supports torture”. He used the same answer for three separate questions. A chill went down my spine. I thought of the same scenario at the height of nazi control in Germany. The difference would have been that the reporter would have been dragged off after the interview and disappeared. *
On some days are we not just a whisker away from the totalitarian experience? Even so it seems that few crises throughout our history have produced no silver lining in the cloud and although it is not easy to predict the outcome of the Bankers folly nevertheless, people are adapting and changing their lifestyle, spending habits and more in order to cope. I am still waiting for the innovative advice and suggestions from all of you out there. Come on! Tell us what you are doing to adapt and how it is all affecting you and yours. There has been some good stuff in the comments but please – more. The competition is still running.
Post script 17/02/09
A former head of MI5 has accused the government of exploiting the fear of terrorism and trying to bring in laws that restrict civil liberties.
In an interview in a Spanish newspaper, published in the Daily Telegraph, Dame Stella Rimington, 73, also accuses the US of "tortures". Dame Stella became the first female head of MI5 in 1992. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7893890.stm
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2009