Posts Tagged ‘John Paul Getty’

Dodgy Aristocratic Land Titles and the Origins of Communism

March 17, 2014

140117democracy

David Cameron: The pukka Eton-educated leader of a government of Toffs.

As has already been remarked very frequently, this is a government dominated by aristos, whose policies very much favour the upper classes. David Cameron is a cousin of the Queen, who went to Eton and then Oxford University. When he was 11, he jetted across the Atlantic to go to the birthday party of the son of the American billionaire, John Paul Getty. Nick Clegg is also a true, blue-blooded aristo, while George Osborne is the son of an Anglo-Irish baronet. Under them working conditions have become much worse, the mass of the population much poorer, while the wealthy have become massively richer. I’ve already pointed out that the present government is doing its level best to prove Karl Marx right about the state being an instrument of oppression by the ruling class. It also reminded me of the origins of Communism right back in the late 18th century with one of the officials charged with tracing aristocratic entitlement to land.

I was talking to a friend of mine a little while ago about some of the historical discoveries made in the family archives of some of the aristocracy. One of the historians at Uni had been delighted when one of the local aristocratic families had allowed him access to their private records going back centuries. He had remarked that this was a rare privilege, and it was extremely difficult to be allowed access by the aristocracy to their private archives. They are frequently afraid that if they open it up to one researcher, they’ll have to open it to others, with the consequence nuisance and inconvenience. So consequently, they can’t be bother and generally, with some notable exceptions, do their best to discourage such inquiries.

My friend took a rather different view. He felt the real reason was that many of the titles the aristocracy holds on its lands are very dubious. They therefore want to discourage investigation into their archives in case people actually discover that it’s all spurious, and that they have no good claim to their massive properties at all.

Gracchus Babeuf pic

Gracchus Babeuf: Became Revolutionary through looking too much into aristocratic land claims.

This remark actually bears out one of the statements of the French Revolutionary Communist, Gracchus Babeuf, about how he ended up becoming a revolutionary. Babeuf was the leader of a group of Communists, who attempted to overthrow the Revolutionary government through a Conspiracy of Equals. They believed in absolute equality. As humans were equal, so everyone should have an equal right to property, which should thus be held in common. He had come to this extreme view partly as a result of the increasing control of the economy by the Revolutionary regime, and the actions the Jacobins took against aristocrats and others they considered to be counter-revolutionaries, hoarding grain and other food supplies. Babeuf had started his career not as a revolutionary, but as a feudaliste. This was a clerk specialising in tracing aristocratic land claims through the records. This had a radicalising effect on Babeuf. He said at his trial that it amongst the dusty bits of paper in the archives that he found that the aristocracy had in fact absolutely no good title to their lands whatsoever.

Which certainly bears out what my friend said about the English aristocracy not wishing people to inquire too much into the legitimacy of their own land claims. Perhaps if people look a bit too hard, they’re afraid that not only will they lose their lands, but the hoi polloi will once again start wearing droopy red caps, sing the Marseillaise, and the tumbrils will start rumbling along Belgravia, Kensington, and Knightsbridge bringing fresh victims to the guillotines outside Parliament.

And perhaps that’s the real fear at the heart of this government of aristos. Perhaps Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and IDS are afraid that if people look just a bit too closely, they’ll find that they have no good claim to their privileged position either. To them proles are getting a bit to uppity. Best to keep them in their place, with the aristocracy firmly enthroned above.

Advertisements

Cameron’s Class Background, Prejudices and Osborne’s ‘Workers’ Budget’

March 10, 2014

131001cameronspeech

This morning the lead story in the i was that Cameron had been told by the Tories that he had to stop the gap between North and South widening any further. Further to this story, Osborne had been preparing a ‘Worker’s Budget’ for next week. Quite how far Cameron is from anyone, who could remotely be described as working class is explained in detail in Owen Jones’ Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class (London: Verso 2012).

Cameron’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all stockbrokers. His primary school was Heatherdown Preparatory School in Berkshire, whose old schoolboys include Princes Andrew and Edward. When he was eleven he flew across the Atlantic with a group of his school chums to go to the birthday party of Peter Getty, the grandson of the oil billionaire, John Paul Getty. He was, of course, like all good snobs, educated at Eton. Before he went to university, he worked as a researcher for the Tory MP Tim Rathbone, who was his godfather. A few months after this, his father arranged for him to work in Hong Kong for a multinational. Apart from his Oxford and the Bullingdon Club, he managed to get a job at Conservative Central Office following a telephone call from Buck House. When that came to an end a few years later, his girlfriend’s mother, Annabel Astor, suggested to the chairman of Carlton Television, Michael Green, that he should hire him. Which he duly did. So elevated and far from the world of us plebs is Cameron, that he described his wife’s education as ‘highly unconventional’ because she went to a day school.

Other Tory colleagues have stated that he’s an unrepentant social elitist. One of his old schoolmates is supposed to have said ‘I think there’s something very unconservative about believing that because of who you are, you are the right person to run the country. It’s the natural establishment which believes in power for power’s sake, the return of people who think they have a right to rule.’

Another Old Etonian described Cameron as ‘a strange product of my generation … He seems to represent a continuation of, or perhaps regression to, noblesse oblige Toryism. Do we really want to be ruled by Arthurian knights again?’

And naturally, Cameron has surrounded himself with ministers from the same elevated social class. 23 out of 29 of his first cabinet ministers were millionaires. 59 per cent of them went to a private school, and only 3 per cent actually went to a comprehensive.

Even Boris Johnson’s sister, who edited the Lady, is fed up of the very narrow class basis of his cabinet. She told Jones before the 2010 General Election about probably composition of his administration: ‘the prospect is Old Etonians bankrolled by stockbrokers … It’s back to the days of Macmillan and Eden.’

So this a government of toffs, led by an extremely rich toff, even by toff standards, who believes he has an automatic right to rule, simply because he is a toff. And his fellow toff, Gideon, sorry, George Osborne, will next week, according to the I, launch a ‘worker’s budget’. The whole idea is a joke. Unfortunately, as the 38,000 people or so, who may have died under Cameron’s welfare reforms, it’s a killer. And that ain’t no laughing matter.