‘Strong Man’ populists, authoritarian and conservative – fascists, really – are all the rage these days. Credit where it’s due, mind – latterly these types have very much got with the times, and will now, in the twenty-first century, quite happily entertain the figure of the ‘Strong Woman’. Progress, eh? Or, at least they will here in the UK (it’s not woke, it’s sexy!) This social advance for the female of the species, that sees tub-thumping in kitten heels, yet requires that magic ingredient it has always required: enemies.
Enemies are not to be destroyed, because enemies are the ultimate resource, the populist’s wet-dream at Christmas with a cherry on top. Where would power-hungry blow-hards be without a bad guy to target? Enemies are to be cultivated, for an enemy at the gates will always provide fertile ground for breeding fear in the population, and those fears may then be exploited. I mean, if there aren’t any enemies people might start demanding their leaders actually improve things!
We have seen this with Netanyahu and Hamas. We have also seen it, however, although to a much less immediate degree, with Trump and his wall, and with our UK regime and the boats. Here in the UK, for instance, the processing of migrants was effectively ended as a result of ideologically inspired cost-cutting. The ideological imperative that the public sector be done on the cheap ran up against the expensive skill-set of the staff doing the processing. Paying for the necessary skill-set would render the privatisation of these services unprofitable. This was a difficulty for the party donors and old school chums waiting for their turn on the gravy train.
The priority for the UK regime’s ideologues is private personal enrichment, not effective services. We have seen this priority imposed on every aspect of our public life. Profits have indeed been made – eye-watering profits upon occasion – and the fact that medics died waiting for serviceable PPE, with our schools falling down as we swim in excrement and our life expectancy shortens, is quite beside the point. What is important here is that Michelle Mone has her yacht.
It was somewhat serendipitous how the collapse of the immigration system dovetailed nicely into a need to find some object of distraction. After a decade of Conservative rule every aspect of the nation’s public life was being discovered to have been quite unaccountably reduced to a rubble of failure, corruption, inefficiency and general unfitness for purpose. It was being said quite openly that we should blame the economically illiterate ideological frenzy often referred to as ‘austerity’. The friends of the UK regime in the press weren’t quite managing to pooh-pooh such assertions as effectively once they had. It was, therefore, most convenient that the people arriving by boat could not be processed, but could be banked in holding centres, such as the Stradey Park Hotel (a ploy that didn’t just close a hotel, but butchered a local economy, which, obviously, stoked resentments, but the Welsh tend to not vote Conservative, so, who cares?). There, denied human dignity, the migrants could be presented as a threat, rather than be sorted out into genuine asylum seekers who would be integrated into society, and the inevitable chancers who could have been returned (or, well, they could have been returned, had the UK regime not also exited the Dublin agreement. File under “another stupid Brexit consequence”).
The resort to such absurd machinations as the Rwanda deportation deal, which is just the latest in a long line of escapades not actually intended to be any kind of efficient response to a crisis, was the result. It didn’t really address the problem, it merely provided a superficially satisfying narrative, easily grasped by those of limited intelligence and attention span. This audience of determined but comfy ignorami could be persuaded to concentrate on the matter of organised departures, possibly with a bit of battling with lefty woke lawyers along the way (always a crowd pleaser, that one) rather than worry about the exorbitant expense coupled with ultimate inefficacy of so small a number of people being taken by Rwanda. They might even not notice that the small number sent were largely cancelled out by the immigrants of its own which Rwanda would then send the UK in exchange. Oh, and Rwanda isn’t a safe country according to the UN, but no one cares about that anyway.
Such japes and shenanigans are not about addressing the issues or fixing real problems, for, after all, where would theses tub-thumpers be if they actually fixed things? They might then find themselves compelled to do something constructive to advance their nation, emulate the grand schemes of yesteryear such as establishing the NHS, putting men on the moon, or at least sorting out the housing crisis. However, apart from the absence of any interest in such pursuits, these people are just not possessed of the skill-set needed to build constructively.
With the Israeli situation all these dynamics play to something far darker. I’m not saying that Netanyahu actually orchestrated the atrocity, simply that he cultivated a space in which monsters might prosper, because he needed a bit of monstrosity. It got out of hand, but he is now addressing his most pressing concern, which is the creation of a new generation of psychotic death-merchants, people who know they are born to live in sub-human conditions, denied all dignity, with only an extremist creed to assure them that they’re not actually scum.
Netanyahu has to do this because he’s just been compelled to slaughter the last batch of hot-housed psychotic death-merchants. The last lot got overly uppity whilst he was busy scrabbling himself back into power, and the man couldn’t be expected, at the same time as was jockeying, to be keeping an eye on the security of the nation that had recently decided to oust him.
Fortunately, Gaza is full of children, so those who survive as they watch their families be slain will be sure to oblige him.
Netanyahu won’t have to wait long for his monstrous replacements.