31 March 2006
I remember that as a young man in Manchester a conversation would often come up, usually as the evening drew to a close, which in those days was at 11.00pm, as that was when the pubs chucked out. What would be done under socialism with capitalism's refuse, the middle classes?
One man always pointed out that Stalin had basically had them all shot. At the time this seemed a little drastic to me, but when you consider how in eastern Europe those same creatures were allowed to join the local Communist Party and how many of them went on to become the management in the state enterprises, I can see that he had a point. One of the reasons why capitalism was able to return in that part of the world is that the socialists had not fully dealt with these creatures. Thus they were able to arse lick their way into senior positions - the middle class are any country's greatest sycophants - and once the systems became wobbly they could emerge once again under their true colours. Shit always floats to the surface, I suppose, but at least in Russia capìtalism is not having a free run, thanks to the late Joe Stalin.
My feeling then was that these people were not a problem. High inflation kept their numbers down and strong trades' unions stopped them from getting too lippy. My views have not changed all that much: the first task for an incoming socialist government should be to repeal all the anti working class legislation that went through in the 1980s and let the inflation rate climb. The working class has nothing to fear from inflation, thanks to our unions. The middle class will get squashed, and that is the aim.
In the medium term these creatures can be further corralled with high taxation. Hopefully, as the years go by, their descendents will come to accept the permanence of the situation. If they don't then that's a problem for the police, who will, it is hoped, be keeping a close watch on their activities. To be candid, beyond taxation and inflation, I don't have a long term solution to this problem. If anybody does, please let them send it along.