Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fail again. Fail better.

All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
Samuel Beckett Westward Ho

You've got to hand it to the political right - when opportunity knocks, they're always at home. Far from being embarrassed by assisting his country's descent into an economic a death spiral, Antonis Samaras has gleefully pulled the plug on Greece's public service broadcasting, "sending a signal" by cutting off a signal.

It's not a big thing, compared with  27% unemployment, malnourished schoolchildren collapsing at their desks, neo-Nazis seig heil-ing in the shadow of the Acropolis, epidemics of suicide and murder and the wholesale destruction of public health services, but it's a dramatic signal; the screens going blank, the sort of thing that usually heralds war or a military coup.

It's the sort of thing that makes you wonder whether Naomi Klein's idea of a shock doctrine might actually be a thing after all. First, fail spectacularly, then explain The One True Doctrine that leads to salvation to the reeling populace 'For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.' Wash, rinse, repeat.

Failure and crisis have given you a perfect excuse for pulling the plug (which is you wanted to do all along, the idea of a public good being an ideological abomination). Pulling the plug simultaneously unsettles and demoralises your opponents and 'starts a conversation' among like-minded elites around the world. Britain's neutered public service broadcaster, the BBC, for example, reported the plug-pulling as straight news on its morning radio news show Today and by the afternoon was hosting a debate about whether, in a time of austerity, we can still afford public service broadcasting. 
Expect approving opinion pieces from the Daily Telegraph's pet ideologues any time now. But if you want someone to kick off a more fruitful conversation about what's really going on with the the global mess we're in, you're better off listening to this guy:

Don't have nightmares...