Thursday, 1 July 2010

Your Freedom is not a privilege to be granted or repealed by the state

"Today is the launch of Your Freedom!"

So proclaims Nick Clegg, unfortunately talking about a website rather than a society where people aren't crushed underfoot by authority. But we can get there - and offering your suggestions to a web "dialogue" moderated by HM government is apparently the way to do it.

This is "a new way of making policy," and "a new way of putting you in charge." But, of course, it's not. The new government is keen on the language of public and collective decision making, but at the end of the day this is nothing more than a focus group exercise. They know what they want, and they want to pretend that they have public assent.

After all, it is easier to get away with causing a 1.3 million rise in unemployment, and misery for the poorest - all on the basis of nothing more than ideology - if you can blame the victims.

It is exactly the same mentality as the "Spending Challenge." Clegg joined David cameron in putting his name to a letter asking civil servants to "tell us your ideas about getting more for less" and "find those savings, so we can cut public spending in a way that is fair and responsible."

They are advised to "be innovative, be radical, challenge the way things are done" - as long as they work within the basic framework that "the biggest challenge our country faces is dealing with our huge debts – and that means we have to reduce public spending." Any idea to the contrary, of course, is unthinkable.

As PCS say, "they are no doubt hoping to set workers in one part of the public sector against workers in another, and 'back office' against 'front line'." After all, if the working class are competing with one another, they don't often look up.

So it is with Your Freedom. The suggestions that fit a pre-determined agenda will be picked up and acted upon. Those that don't will be binned.

Clegg is right when he says that "it is the raucous, unscripted debates that always throw up the best ideas." But this particular debate has a tight script. After all, the advantage of the free market propaganda model over totalitarianism is that it allows debate within a set framework - creating the illusion of freedom.

If we really want to reclaim our freedoms from the jackboot of the state, then the way to do that is to organise and fight back. Direct action is the key to our shackles, whilst reform is all about making us forget that they are there.