So, a New Year beckons and the old staggers to its end, exhausted and played out, with no surprises left to spring. Now is the time when we look back over the old year, seeing it, at last, in its entirety, all of its twists and turns laid bare. That’s the thing, at their outset all new years look so daunting – twelve months stretching ahead of us, all unknown and uncharted. How will it all unfold, we wonder, what obstacles or delights will they hold in store. Which, doubtless, is why we obsess so much over what happened in the preceding year, spending its last days reviewing its tragedies and triumphs – part of us believes that it can somehow act as a guide to the year to come. But, in truth, nothing can prepare us for the unwritten future. Which is why I won’t be presenting any reviews of the year in this last editorial of 2013. Instead, as the year draws to a close, I’d just like to point out the number of times my rantings have been proven right. That’s right, I’m going to demonstrate how we here at The Sleaze have been consistently ahead of the curve in warning of the true consequences of various real world developments.
So, let’s start with the big one: the government’s obsession with the internet ‘porn filter’. The other day I read an article in the New Statesman where they declared that – shock, horror – the so-called ‘porn filters’ being imposed by major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were nothing of the sort – that they actually blocked all manner of non-porn sites. Not just sexual health or sex education sites which one might expect to get caught up in the net, but also sites with so-called ‘esoteric’ content, (in other words sites dealing with unorthodox religious or lifestyle philosophies), sites with ‘violent content’, even sites with ‘extremist content’, (basically sites expressing political views that someone in authority doesn’t like). Well, no shit Sherlock! How many times over the last twelve months have we warned that these ‘porn filters’ were the thin end of the wedge with regard to internet censorship? Yet the mainstream press is only just catching up with us! Right from the outset I’ve been trying to get people to grasp that these ‘filters’ are nothing of the sort – they are actually ‘blacklists’ of sites judged to be ‘objectionable’ by, well, someone! And that’s the problem – we don’t know who ‘they’ are or, more importantly, who ‘they’ are accountable to, if anyone.
It’s like we’ve been saying all along, this is creeping censorship of one of the few places in the UK you can find any diversity of opinion any more – the web – justified under the false flag of ‘protecting the children’ from the threat of evil internet porn. But just invoking the safety of innocent children and pornography wasn’t, in itself, quite enough to force the ISPs’ hand, so child porn and peadophiles had to be brought into the equation. Every child murderer, according to the press, had been driven to kill after looking at chiild pornography on the web. Child pornography which they had apparently found through a simple Google search. All utter bollocks, of course, but it helps to create a moral panic during which all sorts of repressive measures can be justified. A bit like the ‘War on Terror’, which still gets invoked to justify all manner of breaches of civil liberties, (but more on that later).
What else have I been right about? Oh yes, our extreme right wing government’s attempts to wage class war against the poor and take us back to feudal times. Well, the rise of zero hours contracts – need I say more? Actually, yes. Let’s not forget forcing benefit claimants to work as cheap slave labour for corporations with multi-million pound turnovers, effectively forcing the taxpayer to subsidise firms already making huge profits from us. But it goes beyond demonising the poor, as 2013 progressed, it became increasingly obvious that this government of over-privileged snobs wants to make sure that the poor and disadvantaged know their place: at the bottom. This attitude is most obvious in the government’s education ‘policy’, with the increasingly ludicrous bonkers Education Secretary Michael Gove doing his best to completely destroy the state education system. He has made it clear that state schools should only be teaching the proles the very basics they need to be ‘factory fodder’, their ambitions shouldn’t rise above that. Indeed, Gove’s comments on a US visit, (barely reported by the UK’s fawning right wing press), that increased access to higher education and the higher grades achieved at A-level by UK students in recent times had given them unrealistic expectations for life – in other words, that education was giving the working classes ideas above their stations!
The Tory attitude toward the education of the masses was most clearly revealed in the comments of one of Gove’s outgoing advisors, who fell back on the old genetics argument, claiming that intelligence was genetically determined and that, in effect, there was really no point in even trying to educate the majority of students in anything beyond the basics. But, as ever, this kind of objectionable stuff is allowed to pass virtually unchallenged, the press and public apparently uninterested. Which brings us to the whole Edward Snowden/’Prism’ business. For a long time now I’ve been arguing that the rise of so-called reality television, stuff like Big Brother, was part of a sinister project to indoctrinate the public into blurring the distinction between public and private and accepting mass covert surveillance as being the norm. Judging by the lack of outrage in the UK over the Snowden revelations, the project seems to have worked. Indeed, the response went beyond a mere collective shrug, to outright hostility toward The Guardian for breaking the story, from some sections of both the right wing press and politicians, (on both sides of the House, incredibly).
So, there you have it, just a small sample of the number of things I’ve been right about in 2013 and which the mainstream are only just catching up to. It’s like I’ve always said – nobody ever bloody listens to me, no matter how many times I’m proven right. In future, just remember: you heard it here first! One thing I’d like to predict and see happen is a revolution in 2014. I mean, surely just the stuff I’ve outlined here should be enough to get people out on the streets protesting? But apparently not. Apathy reigns. But not here! Damn it, I won’t be happy until I see Cameron and Osborne’s decapitated heads bouncing down the steps of Parliament and the rest of the bastards swinging from lampposts down Whitehall! You didn’t think you were going to get away without one last rant from me this tear, did you? Let’s see if that outburst gets The Sleaze marked up as ‘objectionable’ by the ‘porn filters’? (So far, we’ve slipped through unscathed). That’s all for now – until next year, keep it sleazy!