Darren McGarvey’s Class War, Episode 1, Identity Crisis, BBC Scotland, BBC iPlayer, presented by Darren McGarvey.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000s7hd/darren-mcgarveys-class-wars-series-1-1-identity-crisis

Darren McGarvey from Pollock admits he’s lucky, incredibly lucky. And he’s right to do so. He’s on a roll after Poverty Safari. The go-to man when the BBC, or any other media organisation, wants to signal that they’re doing the right thing. Giving the working class a voice. The equivalent of a black woman in the moron moron’s cabinet of his 45th American Presidency debacle. The alternative view. The Fool in Shakespearian plays, such as King Lear, who is allowed to speak truth to power. Invisible, but a place holder. Greta Thunberg addressing delegates at the United Nations, patted on the head, before they get back down to adult business of maintaining the status quo. Class War?

Not in my lifetime. Capitulation would be a better word. All the post-war gains since the second world war taken away. Marxism, is like liberalism or capitalism, difficult to summarise, but Marx argued that the point wasn’t to philosophise or interpret the world, ‘but to change it’.

The crudest formulations of class are clichéd.  If I working class man throw dice and keep throwing double sixes. Then the dice are taken to be loaded. The system flawed. He’s regarded as a crook. But if an upper class man throws six after six after six. Dice aren’t taken to be loaded. The capitalist system not flawed. When actors such as Darren pop-up they are pointed at as the exception to the rule-rule. They show how fair the system can be.  The end of history. The end of theory. The triumph of capitalism.

But clichés are also reservoirs of meaning. Darren flings out a few ideas and asks various characters—one of whom looks out of his face—what their thinking is on particular topics. ‘Buckfast’, for example, brought a satisfying chortle. Lower class, of course. But hey, it used to be a tonic wine, for middle-class folk.

I like the parody of class that features in The Frost Report: John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00hhrwl

The first thing to be noted is height. The upper class with better diet and access to proteins lived longer. Literally, walk taller. Those that own the land, own the people on the land. Windfall profits of billons for our monarch who also owns large tranches of our offshore sea, where windfarms will be situated. If you need to work for money, you’re in the wrong game. Money for the richest one-percent makes money by investing capital. After reaching a certain mass it’s a no-lose gain. It’s in all of Belzac’s books. And try a bit of Jane Austen. I’m a fan of Emile Zola, although he has a tendency to assume the working class get more sex and are sexually active earlier. Maybe they are. I must have missed that bit.

  Darren gets pulled up about his posture. Watch any programme about long-lost families. You’ll find those that went abroad, including those transported to Australia, are taller, more muscular. Fish and cheap cuts of meat for the less well off at home. Starvation is back in fashion in Old Blighty. Food banks as a solution to hunger. In Shakespeare’s day people that got to around thirty-eight were the equivalent of our old age pensioners. Thirty-nine was ancient. Gladstonian liberals allowed for a pension for those aged over 65 in 1909. Less than a fraction of one-percent of the population was expected to live that long to collect it. We know now that is no longer the case and pension age has risen to over sixty-eight. But for the first time since records began the average age of British citizens has stopped increasing annually. It’s a class thing. A working class thing. Our babies die first and in greater numbers than their middle-class or upper class cohorts. A negative impact that carries on throughout life.  Like those infected with Covid-19 we’re dying off quicker and pulling down the average age of our general population.  

The second thing to be noted is dress. Darren plays that dressing up game too.  All of our characters wear hats. The upper class character wears a bowler. A marker of rank. Bowler hats were a useful tool in preventing directors, such as Stevens of Steven’s shipyard, knocking his head. His father would have worn a top hat. Workers in the yards didn’t wear hats. Their heads were thicker. They wore overalls.  

Winston Churchill wore a top hat to his public school. Accent speaks of breading. Churchill was regarded as a bit of a thicko. But he had the right kind of accent, Received Pronunciation. He famously barked at an opposition Labour MP to take his hands out of his pockets. And as a reflex action to the upper-class demands the MP complied.  Here a butler is brought in to give Darren the once over when he’s dressed as a toff. The butler demands he take his hands out of his pockets and pull his socks up. Ho-hum, bit of playing to the camera.

Then we have the big reveal. The butler reveals he’s one of us. He’s working class. But he worked harder than everybody else at learning to be a butler. He got up to bed earlier. Went to bed later. He’s using Thatcheristic language reiterated by George Osborne in his debate about ‘strivers versus shirkers’. The universality of a Dickensian appeal to an imagined past that never existed. One hand destroying the welfare state, and the other clapping NHS workers, before crashing the economy into Brexitland and calling it a triumph.

Darren does cricket. I’m working-class enough to hate it. Just a little reminder here, wasn’t that the Malcolm Rifkind that was caught selling access to our British Parliament for ready cash? Cash for questions?  Like the whisky priest in Father Ted I can’t help jumping out my chair and shouting ‘Tory Scum’, and for good reason. In a propaganda war they set out to destroy us, and largely succeeded.

Darren touches on it with the seeming contradiction of the ever-shrinking working class.   Two-thirds of the population at the end of the nineteen century to around a third today. A mix and matching of definitions of what is meant by the working class relating to income. Weberian definitions as opposed to Marxist definitions where those that need to sell their labour are authentic working class. The proletariat. Academics toyed with these ideas in the sixties, the embourgeoisement thesis. Luton car workers because they were so well-off were the new middle class. Yet, when interviewed they claimed still to be working class despite having enough money to be considered bourgeoisie. Ronnie Corbett instead of wearing a bunnet would wear a flat cap and vote Tory. Corbett’s working class character, ‘I know my place’. You hear that kinda crap all the time, rich folk have money and they must know how to manage it. The answer is simple. By claiming working class origins, the middle (or indeed, upper) class gain greater kudos for achieving what they have achieved. They’ve rolled more sixes in life because of their skill. Look how far I’ve come, narrative.

Funny, until you consider 170 million Americans voted for the moron’s moron, and ‘red wall’ constituencies in deindustrialised areas such as Yorkshire voted for the equivalent here and for Boris Johnson and Brexit. Racist, dog-whistle politics, triumph. Eugenics is back with a bang, but dressed up in the clothes of morality.

In short, follow the money and the stories of machismo. Boris Johnson shouting through a microphone about returning £165 million a week to the NHS, while pedalling the same old bullshit as the moron’s moron, the other side of the Atlantic, about making America great again.

Marxism follows the evidence. Going against the grain. Prejudices are so engrained they need to step back and look at them.

Gramsci’s view of popular culture. Class is ideology in action. Pattern recognition of narrative the stories we’ve been told again and again until they have substance. Truth is relative.

 Cul-de-sac of boring, often impenetrable theory to develop ideas of what is meant be class. Premises, methodology, perception.  Examining the ideas behind our assumptions. We better be quick talking about class before we all become middle class tomorrow.  

Darren examines the idea of marrying outside our class. It happens less often. Money becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands Remember 7:84, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil?   The history of Scotland in Brechtian theatre. How our sovereign wealth went to pay for Unemployment Benefit in Thatcher’s Britain in the mid-80s. Eighty-four percent of the land owned by seven percent of the population. We’d expect that figure to be a lot higher, now. And with green energy relying on having access to land, we can also expect those that hold the people to ransom, the capitalist and rentier class to become even richer. Thomas Piketty Capital in the Twenty-First Century documents this process. To be working class is to be powerless and treated as expendable scum. I’m not sure I learned anything here. But it’s a reminder of how far we’ve fallen. More of a hotchpot rant than a review. But this class stuff gets in my wick.

Climategate: Science of a Scandal, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, producer and director Steve O’Hagan.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000b8p2/climategate-science-of-a-scandal

Our ancestors believed that the sky was round and the earth was square, the sun and all the planets circled the earth. All these things were self-evident.

When emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of Cambridge were hacked in 2009 the theory that global warming was a hoax gained credence and the sky really was round and the earth square. Everything was up for grabs, including the truth.

  1. Since 1880 our planet has warmed to around 0.85 degrees
  2. 100 percent certainty doesn’t exist in science, but we can say this with between 95 percent to 99.99999999999 certainty that half the global warming is due to human activity, in particular our reliance on fossil fuels
  3. To stay below 2 degree and runaway global warming we have a ceiling of one trillion tonnes of carbon which we can afford to burn.
  4. But we’ve already burnt more than half that figure and are accelerating towards runaway global warming.

Scientists in The Climate Research Unit don’t use terms like runway global warming. They use more prosaic terms such as ‘dangerous levels’ of climate change. In other words we are facing an existential threat in the same category as nuclear annihilation and nuclear winter.

The Third World War has begun but before it heats up, the propaganda campaign takes place. Climategate was the epicentre of the propaganda war.

One of the most striking features of the programme was science isn’t about certainty but uncertainty. Validation comes from not one body but many. When CRU released the data they used to a team of global-warming sceptics, physicists from the University of California, Berkley—with a $150 000 grant from Charles Koch, one of the richest men in America, friend of the moron’s moron in the Whitehouse and prominent climate-change denier— who used a different methodology, but came up with the same figures as the CRU that should be the end point of the earth is square believers. But we know that didn’t happen.

This is an interesting case study in why that didn’t happen and trolls rule the world. David Attenborough, Seven World, One Planet, can tell us that a football-pitch sized piece of the Amazon forest disappears every seven seconds and this can be seen from space. Similarly, Jonathon Watts,  report Battle for The Amazon can make the analogy, ‘rainforests function as the heart of the world…sucking carbon dioxide out of the air’ converting it by photosynthesis ‘pushing 20 billion tonnes of water vapour into the atmosphere each day’ as part of the earth’s cooling system.

But for square earthers if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. When we waken up in the morning take milk from the fridge and eat Cornflakes today is much like yesterday. The bomb hasn’t landed.

We’ve been here before. Thomas Malthus, for example, Essay on Population  (1798) argued that unless we showed ‘moral restraint’ population levels would increase at a greater level than we could feed ourselves. He factored in the horseman of the apocalypse, War, Famine and Epidemics, but even allowing for these levelling factors his argument, like that of David Attenborough, on land and sea, mass species extinction and a holocaust, remained self-evident.

Malthus hadn’t factored in Planet B, the increasing efficiency of food production and the rise of global capitalism. As a general rule those that own the land own the people on the land. Natives of the Amazonian forest, for example, are vulnerable because clearing the land of forest increases its value by 50-to-100-fold and they have no land deeds to say they own the land. Land-grabbers, logging, mining and farming combine in a toxic mix that leaves little room for sentiment.

Marxism like Malthusianism has been overtaken by events. Liberalism and Capitalism have established hegemonic influence as the only game in town.

Marx argued, ‘It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness’.

In other words, the interests of the dominant class (the 1% to our 99%), land grabbers, logging, mining, industry, and farming conglomerates are reflected back to us in ideology.

Marx’s architectural metaphor makes this clear. The legal system, our ideology and politics is the ‘superstructure’ that rests on the ‘base’ of the economic structure and socioeconomic relations.

In crude terms, Marx describes morality, religion and philosophy, as ‘phantoms formed in the minds of men’.

When, for example, during the Highland clearances crofters were replaced by the more valuable monocrop of sheep, crofters had to sell their labour and learn to say ‘baa’ to survive. For their children this was a natural state, inseparable from their historical condition.

Marxism’s endpoint was when this false consciousness was shaken off. Climategate, the rise of the moron’s moron in the Whitehouse and Boris Johnston as the people’s czars show this is unlikely to happen soon.

Hannah Arendt, who fled Nazi Germany, argued ‘Things only become irreversible, when people start to think so’.

The dominant class, our 1%, since Climategate have opened up new fronts in the propaganda war. The nothing can be done argument has gained traction. Our eco-system rests on an economic system in which there are clear winners and losers. The Malthusian monopoly ‘on virtue’ has been co-opted by those that benefit most.

An archaic term, ‘running dogs of capitalism’ set loose to defend their rights and virtue. Marxism posited another scenario in which ‘contradictions of capitalism’ would be exposed and the workers would gain control of their workplace and the surplus value extracted from their labour.

Climategate shows there’s no Planet B and we burn through existing resources quicker than we can replace them leading to the increasing likelihood of extreme weather conditions and sea level rise. Bots and trolls rule the world. The contradictions of capitalism might just bring them down. But Malthus might just have got his timing wrong. Far more likely is tens of millions of refugees on the move. Wars and famine.  An Amazonian frog doesn’t jump out of a pot if the water is slowly heated.

 https://odonnellgrunting.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/climate-change-the-facts-bbc-1-bbc-iplayer-presented-by-sir-david-attenborough-produced-and-directed-by-serena-davies/