Reform or Reformation?

There is growing public discontent about the way the world is run. Now where have we heard that before? A commonplace statement has taken on a significance that is little recognised.

The cost of living has always driven mutterings about the unfairness of societies. Today there is an underlying passion that those in power should well note. In the past week I have conducted a very minor survey by engaging with some 40 people.

Proper polls show that the results are mirrored across Europe and America.

In the USA the Pew Research Centre reported last month that: “Americans are broadly sceptical of the fairness of the U.S. economic system. About two-thirds (65%) say the economic system in this country unfairly favours powerful interests, while 32% say the system is generally fair to most Americans”.

It is important to note that the figures they report show Republicans marginally ( 55% to 42%) say that the system is fair while Democrats described as liberal are 88% more likely to say the system is unfair compared to 77% of conservatives.

So why, one might ask, am I blathering on about this? My poll is summed up as 100% of people I engaged with shared the view of one man, an entrepreneurial builder, whose answer should be noted in this contextual overview:

“I don’t read newspapers anymore, can’t stand the biased BBC because all of them are hiding the reality and blowing things out of proportion. Costs are going up, everyone is struggling to make a living while big companies and corporations are making huge profits and avoiding taxes”.

My builder friend went on to rant about government debt and questioned how the government of the UK and other countries are going to recover the money they borrow.

Unscientific my survey may be but it appears to represent reports flooding newspapers and more importantly the media, especially social media. It all seems to be reflecting the early 1500’s in Europe’s late Middle Age.

Then, The Holy Roman Empire ruled the roost until Martin Luther pinned his views on a church door. He was campaigning against indulgences, in simple terms the way the Roman Catholic Church raised money by requiring payment for the remission of sins. One of his principal concerns was the financial plight of the populace.

His ‘Ninety-five Thesis’ was taken to a printer - an industry in the early stages of its development - and quickly spread as never before becoming the beginning of the Reformation and the creation of Protestantism. Social media today, perhaps, represents the printing industry of 1517. And perhaps all it needs is a modern day Martin Luther.

The late Middle Ages, a period marked by the impact of the ‘Black Death’ pandemic, was a time of great change for Europeans who both benefitted and suffered from globalisation - of the world they knew - and great wealth creators whose profit seeking gave rise to banks and finance organisations operating for their own wealth interests.

Sleaze, corruption and pursuit of wealth have again created a contemptuous view of politics in Europe, the U.K., across the Atlantic and the rest of the world at a time of a major pandemic. As my builder friend bluntly put it: “I don’t want anything to do with politics, I voted Labour all my life because my father did and last time I voted Conservative which I never will again. They are all as bad as each other and in the pockets of big business. Next time I won’t vote”.

Such statements are commonplace in society today and probably not to be taken too seriously but in a philosophical sense it is important to note, as I have repeatedly said, that democracy is not in a healthy state. Reform is overdue or be prepared for another Reformation.

-------------Dateline: The Corner Cafe, Deal, Kent 20/11/2021--------------

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Chris White

Chris White

Chris White is a former UK national newspaper journalist and was the founder and editor of a magazine focussed on EU affairs.

Now writing for EUToday, Chris has his own column, 'Chris's Corner'.

Chris is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, a professional association for journalists, the senior such body in the UK and the oldest in the world, having been founded in October 1884

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