Why do they put up with it?

The victim gives way to the bully, as usual, but they are both to blame

The Jarrow March The Jarrow March
The latest bit of political speak comes from the Tory party. Timed to coincide with their recent conference we get the 'suspicious striver'.. What are they? Well possibly the answer to the Tory party prayer and let Lord Ashcroft explain in his own words.

“Suspicious Strivers”, who make up 15% of the population, have many of the attitudes that Conservatives might think make them natural supporters. They might even be thought of as the natural successors to the C2 voters that Margaret Thatcher won from Labour in the 1980s. They tend to think people expect too much from government, oppose penalising top earners with very high taxes, and value flexible labour markets. But Suspicious Strivers are so called because they are not sure their efforts will bring the rewards they should. They suspect that hard work counts for less than connections, and are sensitive to signals that striving goes unrewarded, or even counts against them, when they miss out on help which, as they see it, they would get if they worked less hard. They are the least likely of any group to identify with a political party, and have the highest UKIP vote – another symptom of their dissatisfaction with mainstream politics.

Ashcfroft is facing up to what is well known that large numbers of people are put off politics. In fact you may be surprised that only 15% of the population are of the opinion their efforts will go unrewarded consider the typical voter turnout. His idea is with encouragement they will cease to be suspicious and take time away from their striving to vote for the Tory party then all will be well. Do Ashcrofts targets have Selsdon man as distant relatives? For time has moved on and regardless of who identifies the target group the problem now is not with the political parties but the nature of politics. We are, as a nation, older and wiser and Ashcroft might be barking up the wrong tree.

Looking at the wider political stage it's clear that many ordinary people are both very angry and suspicious of politics and politicians. So what happens next? Well if they are angry they could riot or as is usual they stop voting. Usually politicians don't care as it makes little difference to them. Another reason people do not want to get involved with politics is that it is dull. Mind you this also suits the politicians so perhaps this is no accident as this way they have more space to manoeuvre as we tend to forget.

Of the present financial crisis Gordon Brown famously remarked, "it started in America". But when? This crisis has now been with us for so long its origins are not only misunderstood by the former PM but to many people lost in the mists of time. Do you remember when you first heard the term, PIIGS? Originally the list of failing EU countries was Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain. Each has taken a turn at being in the spotlight, Italy has joined in too and France has lost its triple 'A' rating. Even Germany has reason to be scrutinised and all thinking people in the UK know that despite not being part of the eurozone our financial health could be a lot better.

Greece has now formally been in recession for six years and was hovering on the edge for a lot longer. Pure misery for some, but you learn to adapt. It was the same for the heads of state who, led by Merkozy, had meeting after meeting in an attempt to sort things out. However, this has not happened. The adaptation here was to 'park' the problem, cut out the drama and stream of meetings and let the whole thing fade away and hide behind the 'Draghi plan'. And so we enter a new phase.

No longer the heads of state wasting each others time and their fellow citizens money on a futile farce in the Elysée Palace or some other sumptuous venue, now it's the turn of the ordinary people. These are the people at the bottom of the pile so contemptuously 'served' by the palace-goers. For them this crisis will run and run. They cannot print money as in some QE style Ponzi scheme nor bend the law to buy bonds. But at least their time has come in that we now see that a story is published in the MSM.

Here we are told that Ireland could be reduced to the level of a 'feeder nation' and we may assume this is typical of this financial crisis. It's a tradition that money is 'sent home' by lucky and successful immigrants. This still happens with money going to Asia and the Caribbean from the UK what is news is this returns to Ireland. Joining the EU and adopting the euro was supposed to raise Ireland up above this. So to admit this then go on to contemplate the distortion that occurs in both economies when the money flows from one nation to another would have been refreshing.

But sadly the MSM ducked out and the way they handled this story was a fine example of what annoyed Richard North on another subject. If you follow the link you will see he shows four newspapers have the same story about fish stocks. It was the same again about this feeder nation story. Even the Irish press both sides of the border failed to add 'on the spot' detail which you would have thought would have been easy , for them, to get.

Gordon Brown made many mistakes, not least his claim to be ending the cycle of 'boom and bust'. At about the same time as this stupid remark Ireland joined the euro. They did so amid equally inflated claims. Joining first the EU then the euro was to fix all their ills. The way the PIIGS, and friends, have behaved throughout this crisis is interesting, some have protested, others not. Why should that be so? The Irish have struggled for years to lift themselves up and being an emotional people this struggle has shaped their artistic and cultural output. Their traditional theme here has been to blame the British!

Critics, the British ones among them, have said they just wallow in misery. For even today there seems to be very little honesty or analysis as to why it all went wrong. We see that the EU is never blamed, nor do they blame themselves. In fact the largest demonstrations so far have been about bank failure not the austerity package imposed upon them. By contrast the never shy Nicholas Sarkozy lashed out at the Irish when they voted NO to the Lisbon Treaty -

They are bloody fools. They have been stuffing their faces at Europe's expense for years and now they dump us in the shit.

The pressure put upon the Irish for a different result was immense and in late 2009 following another ballot this time Ireland voted YES. We wrote about the attitude of the Irish in this post, Celtic Tiger and in another, Irish expectations. The Irish must have suspected that something would go wrong eventually, then what? Well it has gone wrong and the Irish, like most of the other countries in trouble, are not yet ready to ditch their attachment to the EU. But then they have yet to blame themselves either, so the ordinary people of Ireland, when do they wake up? The largest protest so far has not been anti-EU but about bank failure.

By contrast Greece and Spain have seen huge protests on the streets but then even these countries have an odd almost touching attachment to the EU. While some elements of the Greek downfall are attributed to the Germans the bulk of the protests are aimed at the domestic politicians. This is crazy as all EU domestic parliaments simply do as they are told by Brussels. It's always said that the Italians are happy with the EU as it gives them political stability. You have to wonder at them, so capable and productive at engineering and the arts but, it would seem, sensible domestic politics is beyond their grasp. But then this could be said of so many EU countries, whatever the state of their financial health.

So why do so many people put up with this? Furthermore, why do they join in and take part? In any relationship between a bully and their victim the latter is manipulated by the former to be the victim, but there has to be a willingness on the part of the victim to suffer. The Irish have been pushed as much as the Greeks yet their sense of romance as victims prevails. This must have been assumed by the EU elite who factored this into the way the Irish were treated. So again the question must be asked, why do ordinary people allow themselves to be pushed around by the politicians?

Thus we have, put simply, two types of downtrodden people: the ones who just give way and suffer and the other group who protest first then give way. What links them both is that it really is their own fault. So in the context of the EU troubles the outcome is that the politicians know that they are secure in their positions. They can carry on dishing it out and face little prospect of suffering themselves. Thus the arrogance of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel who, sensing things might not go her way at the next European Budget meeting, threatened to cancel it. And all this it would seem without the courtesy of consulting her 'colleagues'. She knows she can get away with this.

But this sort of arrogance is infectious. At the domestic politics level we see local councils ignore their responsibilities and employ thugs to act as bailiffs. They know they can get away with this as few people will complain. Both Christopher Booker and Richard North have been reporting on this subject for some time but councils are unmoved. But yet again we must ask, why do the public allow this?