The rise of the predator class

Photo of privatised school meal parcel

predator prĕd′ə-tər, -tôr

    1. An organism that lives by preying on other organisms.
    2. any animal or other organism that hunts and kills other organisms (their prey), primarily for food
    3. A person or group that robs, victimizes, or exploits others for gain.

 – from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

Lobster on the menu?

An aberration in a regular environment usually has consequences.

Overfishing of cod in the North Sea has led to an explosion in the number of lobsters simply because cod are one of the major predators of young lobster, which take seven years to reach maturity. Nature’s balance is out of kilter. Man, the ultimate predator, has struck again. There is a parallel in UK politics.

Predators are flooding the system, and people are suffering as a result

The UK’s political environment has long been tilting towards neoliberalism ever since Reagan and Thatcher actively pursued it about 40 years ago.

The aim is to push wealth towards entrepreneurs and risk-takers, helped by minimising state regulatory interference in economic matters.  Privatising state functions and services is a primary tool. Enabling capitalism and “free market forces” is everything.

The downside is that it puts profit before people. Social services are de-prioritised and defunded in favour of channelling state funds to private individuals and corporations.

The imbalance of our political system towards neoliberalism has encouraged the predator class. Every social or health crisis is an opportunity for profit rather than an urgent need for a remedial public service. The system is now out of kilter and predators are proliferating.

They think they can get away with it – because they usually do

This week’s images of ridiculously mean and rip-off food parcels are a very good illustration of how brazen the predator class has become. The suppliers simply thought they could get away with it. If they had foreseen the potential publicity and outcry (and they should have) then no doubt they would have taken greater care with the quality of the product.

The fact that the story emerged on social media also illustrates how complicit the mainstream media is in supporting neoliberalism. Not surprising when you consider who owns the vast majority of our newspapers. People like Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere and the others are obviously members of the wealthy elites. Social issues do not appear on their radar unless they impact profits or power.

Corporate pillaging is an official government policy – that’s the only explanation

Thomas Clark of Another Angry Voice summarised it well in his article:

“These corporate profiteers feel entitled to pillage from public funds as payback for their donations to the Tory party, and for their involvement in Tory propaganda drives.

And this kind of unaccountable corporate profiteering has absolutely infested every single government department, from education to health, from social security to public transport. The profiteers are absolutely gorging themselves on public funds, and all they have to do to retain access to the public money tap is to kick back a tiny percentage of what they’ve pilfered into Tory party coffers, and to individual Tory MPs.”

Foodbanks are now part of the landscape – so is corruption

The raft of public procurement contracts handed out to Conservative party donors, friends and contacts has gone pretty smoothly for all concerned. Occasional reports raise minor outcries but there is no organised or majority protest as happened when The Telegraph revealed the extent of MP expenses fraud, for example.

The New York Times reckons the UK government suffers from “conflict of interest”. One might reasonably assume from that well-researched article it’s polite-speak for “is corrupt”.

It’s fair to say that many of the public think the same. But there is no mechanism to stop it and opposition parties are pursuing a policy of being seen to support the government. Legal moves to investigate some of the contract awards are merely a minor irritation on the skin of the rhinoceros that is plundering the UK.

Predators and prey usually balance out in nature eventually. How to rebalance?

Where it will all end is anybody’s guess. Will the public reach saturation point and protest on the streets like the French did? Not during the pandemic, for sure, so it’s full steam ahead for the winners – until the summer at the earliest.