Monday, 3 October 2011


In common with other writers on marketing I’ve been trumpeting the fact the consumer is in charge for a long time now. We’ve learned to complain. We’ve earned the right to be promiscuous in our buying habits. We can fight and win. Isn’t the mis-selling of PPI by the banks and their humiliating climb down strong enough evidence of the transfer of power from them to us?

But whilst part of me is high fiving all my spot-on instincts the other half is wondering just why I keep encountering sheer naked fear. Intelligent friends cautioning me to be very careful in what I say. A sense of living in not a police state but something worse, a polite state that will be circumspect about saying what it thinks (believing that it would not make any difference anyway.) And have you noticed the virtual absence of decent satire? What ever happened to Spitting Image? And even Private Eye seems a pretty safe, old fashioned thing now.

I was watching Newsnight the other night where even Jeremy Paxman seems to have been neutered into a kindly guy who growls a bit but will curl up if you tickle his tummy. A day or so back a well-suppered Peter Osborn from the Daily Telegraph had called a Eurocrat idiot who was being interviewed  “that idiot from Brussels” and this created a media storm – why? This episode dealt mildly with what Greece was really like now.

Antonis Papagiannidis Editor of Economics Monthly said
“It’s the little things that matter not the macro stuff…”

What we saw then was a lot of leafy suburban despair in Athens.  Little things; they looked down and spoke flatly. People like us who’d given up. Who believed the game was over and their children had no future. People afraid that they would and could do nothing. People who had nothing to add. Frighteningly, people whose eyes had died.

Antonis is right. But we are capable of changing little things by saying what we think. We shan’t  emerge from this Euro-shakedown unbruised, happier or richer. But we can come out of it losing a lot more than money.

Meanwhile in New York the “Occupy Wall Street” movement took to streets three weeks ago, not well reported this, and this Saturday night 700 were arrested on Brooklyn Bridge.

That “no” vote is getting louder.

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