One of the ways in which the rich and powerful elite in any state preserve their power and wealth is by managing the perceptions of those not in their number in such a way that they blame each other for their comparative lack of power and wealth, rather than blaming those who hold that power and wealth. At it’s simplest, it’s a case of divide and rule. And the more that they can divide, the longer they can rule. It’s a job which is made easier if enough people are sufficiently discontented with their lot.
So they blame the poor for their poverty and the unemployed for their lack of work, and encourage the working population to see the least well off as scroungers and layabouts, the solution to which is to cut their benefits and make it harder for them to feed themselves and their families, so that they become less of a burden on ‘hard-working families’.
Or they blame immigrants for taking their jobs and houses, encouraging those same ‘hard-working’ families to believe that it is due to immigrants that schools and hospitals are overcrowded and underfunded so that they themselves can’t get an adequate education or health service which meets their needs.
Then they blame the EU. If only the taxes of those ‘hard-working families’ weren’t being sent to those horrid Eurocrats, we’d have more than enough money to provide a decent health service and well-equipped schools.
And then they blame the elderly. If only the money of ‘hard-working families’ wasn’t being used to subsidise the pensions and care needs of all those old people, just imagine how much easier it would be for the younger people to get on the housing ladder and enjoy the increasing level of affluence which their parents’ generation enjoyed.
And people are taken in. A compliant media – with its own vested interest in the status quo – peddles the same lines day in and day out, while one group after another is demonised and punished for taking money away from those ‘hard-working families’. And in the meantime, the richest 1% becomes ever richer, accumulating a greater and greater proportion of the national wealth; this is assumed to be ‘normal’ and anyone challenging it is a dangerous enemy.
Such is the power of the ideology which the current political and economic system has created around itself. It’s built on the lies and deceit of the few and, above all, the gullibility and compliance of the many. For how long do we allow it to continue?