Wednesday, 22 May 2019

An offer she can't refuse

I'm not easily drawn to conspiracy theories, but sometimes you do wonder whether a hidden set of very powerful political, religious or criminal conspirators (or a collusion of all three) have hatched a cunning plot to create chaos, with the cynical aim of making a lot of money from it. For however high-minded powerful people may seem, I am absolutely sure that all of them constantly have temptations and inducements to misbehave thrust in their way, and that many do get seduced to the Dark Side, if I might call it that.

There are very good reasons why sayings like 'power corrupts' and 'money is the root of all evil' have had such a long currency. I would go so far as to say that anybody who achieves a position of power is going to get approached by people of neuter conscience intent on persuading them to relax a rule, or turn a blind eye, or say a good word in the right ear, in return for a reward. The persuasion might be dressed up as an appeal to patriotism, duty, honour, known personal beliefs, or a wish to secure a place in history, and there need not be a frank bribe as such. I am sure that, whatever reward is offered, it is always clear that career destruction or family danger goes with the promise of reputation-enhancement, enrichment, great fame or lasting legacy. And I dare say plenty of men and women are vain enough to think they can handle the risk of being found out. Partly because their positions will surely become unassailable: they can quash any investigations.

Does this scenario seem familiar? I look at President Trump and wonder. Russia is known for its historic tendency to hatch conspiracies, and there might indeed be something in the notion that the Kremlin engineered Mr Trump into the Presidency so that he could throw spanners into the works. It doesn't take much to upset the interconnected world economy, and Mr Trump seems to be following a programme that, step by step, makes life difficult not only for non-US companies, but companies at home, which suggests that it is a two-edged plan concocted by people who would like to see the USA shoot otself in the foot. But the plan might equally well have been hatched by those parts of US Big Business who have a hold on Mr Trump, and want their industries protected for a few decades more, regardless of who goes under (all of us, of course, if global warming makes sea levels rise a lot).

I look also at the more local posiiton in Britain, and wonder at the way votes go in Parliament. What's going on? It's possible to say that entrenched interests and career preservation have stretched out the sorry course of the Brexit Saga, and in the process diverted Parliamentary time away from other matters that urgently need attention - with the bad consequences of unremedied unfairnesses, economic stagnation, and growing social unrest. Perhaps this general paralysis simply means the wrong people are in government. But what if, behind it all, Mrs May is doggedly following someone else's plan to damage the country? I don't believe that myself: I think Mrs May is a clever but stubborn politician who just wants her Premiership to finish on a high note - and not go down in history as a Home Secretary who achieved little, and a Prime Minister who achieved nothing at all. Sadly, she probably won't get her wish. If I am not greatly mistaken, she is about to be made an offer she can't refuse.

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