The Butter-faced Buccaneer

David Cameron in Pirate CostumeHuzzah! David Cameron is apparently pushing for more business and entrepreneurship to be taught in British schools, well at least if you believe the Daily Mirror‘s take on his speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet this week. It wasn’t universally well-received, it must be said.

In his speech, he called for he called for a culture “that values that typically British, entrepreneurial, buccaneering spirit”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure that the word “Buccaneer” means what David thinks it means. According to the OED, a buccaneer is:

  1. Someone who “dries and smokes flesh on a boucan after the manner of the Indians”. Hmmmm, not sure it’s that one…
  2. (From the habits which these subsequently assumed:) ‘A name given to piratical rovers who formerly infested the Spanish coasts in America’ (Falconer Dict. Marine 1789)

  3. By extension: A sea-rover who makes hostile incursions upon the coast, a ‘filibuster’.

Yes, I think we’re probably getting somewhere now. He wants people to have a “buccaneering spirit”.  What, like amassing wealth by stealing the things others have worked for, then stashing it somewhere inaccessible and possibly even demanding more of it with menaces, threats and coercion?

So, just like the City of London then.

That’s OK kids, Dave wants you to be an investment banker. It worked for his chums.

Let’s put this into some kind of context. Making kids at school more aware of the commercial world is not, of itself objectionable. But enthusing about the values of capitalism when it is fast becoming clearly evident to more people that this is not a sustainable course of action is not a sensible plan: it’s irresponsible.  To expedite this process we have to consume more and more of the planet’s limited pool of natural resources, and there’s not an infinite amount of it left.

It was also quite interesting to hear him talk about the continued “need” for austerity, even as he got to his feet in possibly the most opulent circumstances imaginable. Much of his discussion focuses on what the little people will have to do once the smaller state he enthuses over pulls the rug away. A speech of this nature, in the context it was made shows, not only a frightening lack of self-awareness for a PR-droid (though not a terribly good one, it has to be said), but possibly the real reason for the austerity we have seen.  It’s all about a smaller state.  Every single utterance is about backing the state out of its esponsibility for providing protection for its most vulnerable citizens, and essential strategic services for the nation, while (as the NSA/GCHQ axis shows) wanting more exert power to control them.  Power without responsibility. this, ultimately, is the circle that cannot, and should not, be squared.

Far from providing solutions for our society in the aftermath of 2008, it seems that our chum the Butter-faced Buccaneer is intent on entrenching and extending the very vicissitudes and iniquities that helped to cause the mess in the first place. He, his party and his coalition partners underlings have learned precisely nothing.

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