Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

“A vote for the Communist party is a vote never to have the privilege of voting again”. This is a quote that I’d heard many times growing up in Corby, only because someone close to us had declared that they had joined the Communist party. There is no doubt that the single party state is slowly disappearing with just a few outposts espousing the Communist ideal. In my humble opinion even China can no longer be considered Communist purely because of its recognission that to survive in a global economy they need to think and act as a financial democracy. However, this is where confusion blurs the picture. It’s as if the new Communist ethos is that its OK to trade with those of a democratic bent, so long as they don’t try to convert us to their hideous democratic ways. Talk about having your cake and eating it too. I began to wonder where you and I, here in the UK, fit into the great scheme of things as we take pride in our western democratic values. One word popped into my head which would never be used purely because of its repressive undertones. Feudal. This word takes me right back to my history lessons at school when we’d sit at a desk drawing pictures of castles full of lords and landowners, whose rights to govern were so often dictated by corrupt and, in turn, very wealthy religious orders, and, just down the hill, living with the sheep and cows in round thatched huts, one would find the surfs: a condition of bondage or modified slavery. Why would any right thinking educated individual ever have a wish to return to such medieval practice? From the time I was born in 1955 I have lived in a society that almost prides itself, even revolves, around the word ‘class’. We used to have third class passengers on trains. Now, the majority of us travel by train in ‘standard’, yet, amazingly, empty rows of first class carriages still exist. This was a move to make the less wealthy ‘feel’ a little better about their financial standing in society, and at the same time, by removing third class, the rail companies could totally eliminate heavily subsidised carriages by passing the cost on to the ‘feel-good’ standards. Problems began to occur when the ‘surfs’ were allowed to be educated and it was then that the grim realisation of their existence, when compared to those who lived off the toil of their labours, became clear. Even after many centuries have gone under the bridge our world, in global terms, remains one dependant on economic and military coalitions, much in the same way that Queen Elizabeth 1st might conduct negations with other European nations to protect British (English) interests. In the cold light of day, things really haven’t changed. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that here in the 21st century there are still amazing differences between the have’s-and-have-not’s regardless of political ethos and cosy ‘class’ systems.

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