What is Social Partnership?
A big fat euphemism.
A means by which gouty, be-combovered auld fellas in pinstriped suits can breeze in and out of the Dáil with impunity while a savage Finance Bill is being “debated”, scuttling past a mere handful of (very polite) protesters for evening drinks in Buswell’s. A means by which citizens and voters are completely disenfranchised and alienated by the political system, made feel that their actions mean nothing and their views mean less. To the point that, as a citizen, taking action or having a view is considered a complete waste of time.
“Sure what can we do? Sure aren’t they all the same? Sure wouldn’t we all do the same in that position? Now, let’s stop thinking about this, indulge in some retail therapy, and spend our way outta this mess!!”
There are many things that cause me to seethe, but shamfakery freedomspeak has to be one of the worst. Adam Curtis describes it wonderfully in The Trap (watch it! It’s blemmin great!!), but to sum it up – “be free to indulge all the you’s that you can be, with Lenor fabric softener”. As a freedom agnostic (I believe it might exist, but I don’t know anyone who’s ever experienced it. Chief Gaoler, of course, being that brain there up inside your own head), I take massive issue with this fragile, all-but-unattainable wonder being used to sell me a load of shit I don’t want or need, be it fabric softener, a satellite TV subscription, a stupid-looking car, or a fizzy drink.
It’s most insidious in financial institution advertising land, that grimmest of the grim. Because there is a frisson of….maybe…just maybe….when I’m in my sixties, lightly tanned, a jersey knotted around my shoulders…on my yacht…a bouncy golden retriever chasing a bright red ball… “More money,” they whisper at you from behind the pot plants in the bank, “and more money again, and you’ll be sooo freeeeee…”
He’s a world away from Adam Curtis’s indepth analysis and measured delivery, but Michael Moore is another one for this. Capitalism – A Love Story has a short sequence of “be all the free you’s and me’s that we all want to be free to be – together with Bank X” ads, followed by people being booted out of their homes, victims of the vagaries of a stock market they’d invested in of their own free will. The stock market, that sentient, surprisingly jittery being, presumably took a notion that it didn’t want to finance the dreams of thousands of throwing a bright red ball for a bouncy labrador on a yacht (or, yknow, having a pension to retire on, or still living in the house they’d bought to grow old in. Whatever). It can be a bit moody sometimes, that stock market.
Which brings us back to the gouty auld fellas nipping across the road to Buswell’s. “Sure won’t you have that mortgage for the plasterboard house outside Athlone paid off in thirty years now? Things might be a bit tighter with the pay-cuts and all, but your kids will emigrate as soon as they can so there’ll be less mouths to feed anyway.” Gentlemen, another job done with aplomb!
Addendum: Big ups to Eadaoin for freedomspeak pointers!