The Conservative establishment, ---typified by esoteric organizations like "the Order of Bath", "Order of the Garter, Thistle, St Michael & St George etc,.", "Pilgrims Society" and "Monday Club", peopled by various old World Nobles, countless Lords and Dames, industrialists. tycoons and numerous "old money" multi-millionaires, constantly operating exoterically through the influence, their private dealings, personal fortunes, and financial calculations exert on the Conservative Party (particularly it's back bench, and newly emerging Libertarian/Nationalist Right Wing outfit; UKIP)---- has been successful in conserving the gains from anti-working class, neoliberal reforms enacted by Margaret Thatcher and her successors in the Conservative Party, even channelling their victims ---in true 'pastoral' fashion--- towards the Conservative establishment's favoured ideological response to various 'economic' problems.
As in business, image and reputation is everything, PR is paramount, focusing the masses attention on manufactured problems which the Right Wing dominated media outlets constantly portray; "Immigration"; "erosion of Sovereignty"; "control of Borders";"benefit cheats", "Law and Order" etc,. and away from consciousness of the deleterious effects the Monetarist policies of the last few decades is essential if their reactionary agenda is to go unnoticed.
The Free-Market reforms of the dark years during Thatcherism, particularly wage suppression, and subsequent privatization of public utilities, saw the formerly nationally owned industry giants; Jaguar, British Telecom, Cable & Wireless and British Aerospace, Britoil, British Steel, British Petroleum, Rolls Royce, British Airways, British Gas, water and electricity, being auctioned to private, often foreign investors, the dismantling of the Coal industry, privatization of the railways and de-regulation of the financial services industry, enabling property prices and speculative investments to increase wildly, benefited exclusively the managerial moneyed classes, coporations and wealthy private individuals, who then became the owners of these formerly publicly maintained services & industries, raised prices and dropped wages in order to increase private profit margins, at the expense of the British general public.
Yet since that period and the various confrontations this wholesale betrayal of the working class provoked, the Poll Tax Riots (1989-91), Battle of Orgreave (1984) and Battle of the Beanfield (1985) (being some of the more prominent amongst many others), the majority of Briton's have been extremely compliant, willingly conformist and suspiciously docile to the continuing advance of Capital, towards a position of absolute dominance over organized Labour. The inevitable inequalities formed by this arrangement provoking little more than the occasional protest centered on piecemeal economic demands.
Was the defeat of organized Labour, their subjugation below a managerial class to the tools their own hands had built, the expulsion of new age travellers from their ancestral spiritual heartlands, and the violent repression of the masses of poor people lashing out against the Poll Tax under one of the most unequal, class divided societies the world has ever known, enough to convince the people of Britain that actually Big Brother and his financial backers do know best?
Was it Thatcher's police state reforms and premeditated attacks on worker's rights, or the strategically deployed display of military ruthlessness with which they were enacted, that convinced us of the need to 'defang' the Unions as a political force?
As unpopular as it may be my theory is that Thatcher was right, which is to say she knew very well the concept of trickle down economics would serve to seduce the dispossessed masses, blinding them to their increasing dependence on the market, even if it was through factitious contrivances based on the booming industry of market research, the data yielded there serving the creators of fashions, fads, trends and numerous constantly emerging commodities enabling you to obtain consumer satisfaction.
If the economic forecasters predicted a problem it would be in the interests of this plutocratic over-class to oil the gears of wealth -through commodity- production.
The development of consumer commodity markets, fed by the increased availability of industrial resources and off-shore labour markets, required by the owning classes for their 'cost efficient' production, facilitated the huge leaps made in technology over the last few decades, and widescale availability of consumer electronics (to the level whereby most homes in the developed world have more than one television), this has coincided with the development of the production methods of the various entertainments and media fetishes derived from them (fed by psychological, neurological advances, derived from market research, etc,.), and enabled the Church of the Market to 'freely' distribute it's propagandistic imperatives to consume, to fashion the acceptable channels for expression of desire, putting into it's priesthoods hands a tool for propaganda that make those constructed by the Fascist propagandists of Nazi Germany seem insignificant.
In fetishistic terms privatization, or to use the famous slogan: "trickle down economics", has created an [illusion of] abundance, and availability of everything for all [with an adequate credit rating], which makes it very easy to convince oneself when looking, that we've never had it quite so good, that we've never been better off and that the Lord of the church of the Market really does provide to His faithful servants.
This illusionary, temporary but constantly enlivened sense of satisfaction, endlessly reinvigorated through the production and consumption of it's symbolic forms, is facilitated in no small measure by the over-availability of 'consumer credit', the small plastic cards in your wallet are tools which enable you to service any particular impulse or desire, conceived, manufactured, marketed then implanted in your head by the multi-billion dollar advertising industry. Credit entitles you to enjoy the products and objects of success, regardless of your socio-economic status, even if it is just a transient joy amidst the more prevalent, arduous moments undertaken to attain it.
Capitalizing on the requirement for the objects of success to be widely available to those not using credit, the market for imitation brands being mass produced and sold to mass market, at a fraction of the price of exclusive brands, creates a class system of representation. One's station is still determined by one's ability to pay for the status symbols required to make a show of it, or not as the case may be, but these lesser brands in various fields whether furniture, clothing, automobiles or perfumes superficially appear the same as those hand crafted, limited edition or customized luxury items available to the moneyed classes, so their owner can play at pretending to have attained that level of individual 'success'.
The proliferation of the consumerist ideal where 'one is what one owns rather than what one does', through the constantly disseminated advertising propaganda, which, while affirming the righteousness of consumerism determines the values our consumption reflects, renders us all susceptible to the shop displays of designer brands which we're exposed to on a daily basis in our towns, which having long since been infiltrated by numerous multinationals, are a cacophony of constantly competing private interests vying for our attention, their sole intention to appeal, to stand out and entice us into a financial transaction in their establishment.
The optimum mode of transmitting the most desirable cultural fascinations, are those spectacular representations of human beings known as celebrities, these apparently sentient lifeforms, despite being no different, infact often more banal, monotonous and uninteresting than the most insignificant Human life, are elevated above the general mass of people as an idealized object for them to identify with and imitate, the sublime object of a particular consumerist tendency, or lifestyle.
Much has changed in the forty years since the libertarian reforms of the economy under Thatcher began, the influence of money has re-assumed it's dominance over British life. The sparkling abundance of distractions, fantasy and illusions presented by increasingly empty emissaries of banality, command their own moments of fervent exaltation. They herald tidings of the newest forms of enslavement, a cult of blind adherence to economic logic and the presumed objective value of objects of devotion.
Against the backdrop of a rigorous and prolonged government attack on our collective heritage, culture and self respect, the waning of the ability of the working class to convince themselves they have a voice, through Unions and the Labour party, renders them easy targets for the seductive conveyor belt of consumerism, and more insidious 'opiums' conceived by the dominant ideology, in order to undermine the last vestiges of resistance to the ongoing privatization of the Education system, NHS and destabilization of Democratic societies...