Britain is becoming a GoFundMe nation..

This is the headline for a very good Guardian article by Nesrine Malik, which is well worth a read.

To start towards the end she states:

It is a common feature of corrupt regimes – when the people resign themselves to the fact that they are on their own, they develop all sorts of coping mechanisms. In my birth country of Sudan, most neighbourhoods fashioned such an efficient system for collecting and disposing of waste that when the government eventually started a trial waste-disposal scheme there was no rubbish to collect.

Doesn’t that seem like the UK? We have a corrupt, uncaring government that effectively thinks we are all on our own and their MPs say that unfed children should not be ‘nationalised.’

She has already mentioned that in the UK:

Over the past year, there has been an extraordinary level of civic activity – lobbying, organising petitions, applying regular pressure in the media and now humiliating the ruling party. And by reaching into its own pockets to feed hungry children, the British public has now become an informal branch of the state.

I should just mention that the public IS the state, informal or not – without public support it is not really a state at all.

She continues:

It would be reasonable to suppose the expansion of our role into funders of services that should be provided by the government is an embarrassment for the Conservative party….

…the government’s refusal to extend the paltry sums needed to extend the free schools meals programme is not a matter of money but of precedent. If the Tories can establish that the role of government is not in fact to feed children, and the public can do a fine job of it instead, then they kill two birds with one stone. Problems either go away or diminish through the efforts of private individuals, as does the expectation on them to address those problems.

Slowly, a parallel infrastructure has been developing over a decade of austerity, where we are poised to scramble and fulfil the urgent needs of hungry, homeless and sick people…

This, I suggest goes to the heart of what government is for.

Historically the functioning nation state had, as a minimum, to offer defence and justice. But in 2020 we have to recognise that it has to offer currency creation as a core competence as well. Without it the nation state does not properly function. I feel like an inflationphobe when I mention as basic examples: Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

But we are fast becoming a similar state in the UK. The UK vision is supposedly the Big Society (not mentioned since Cameron’s demise) which seems to mean that it is anyone except the government who are supposed to look after people.

And yet that is actually what we elect politicians like Cameron and Johnson for. If they do not look after ‘us’, their electorate, then what is the point of elections, politics or government?

There is, I fear, precisely none.

We are simply electing people who seem narcissistically, to want to enrich themselves – and that is certainly to the exclusion of the rest of us. And whilst there was this striking comment that banks are where politicians go to retire, that is now old hat. Our politicians are increasingly going direct and often now just raiding the government bank for their supporters to start with – and then in due course themselves.

Our politics is already broken. With the increase of ‘GoFundMe’ the UK state is beginning to have less relevance and when those in charge of it do not believe in it, it will begin – as I believe, increasingly that it already has – to fail.

Unless we realise that ‘GoFundMe’ applies to our government rather than the illusory ‘Big Society’ our actual society will, I fear, be forever declining.

Which is probably just what the insouciant rich are more than happy with…


  1. John Higson -

    This post and the article both have a good point, well made, but I would draw attention to this, a ‘Guardian Pick’ from the comments:

    ‘I am amazed that Nesrine has only just cottoned on to this. The BBC’s annual Children in Need appeal started in 1980, and since then the public has been asked to fund activities which should have been resourced via national taxation. It is no surprise that Children in Need grew to prominence during the Thatcher Era’

    Please try to overlook the reference to ‘national taxation’.

    Also, I note, from Wikipedia, that the BBC first broadcast a charity appeal in 1927 and that CIN did not stop from 1997 to 2010 and so, though clearer worsening at an
    increasing rate under the Tories since 2010, the role of charity has long been a substitute for what should be government responsibilities.

    Clement Attlee said: “Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim.”

    A long-standing situation fostered by people in favour of low taxes and put up with by people with no money and no choice.

    1. Peter May -

      Good points. Thank you.

  2. Schofield -

    What can be expected of a people not much interested in history except trivia. Certainly not interested in how money creation evolved in their country and the lessons to be learnt from it!

  3. Graham -

    Meanwhile the rich are saying it’s a Go FU Nation as they book private jets to avoid the inconvenience of an England lockdown and pollute their way to the Canaries or somewhere more amenable (and warmer) than a cold locked-down November in England.

    I wonder if CP Snow were to write now about the 2 Cultures he might consider the more important and insidiously damaging distinction to be that between the inordinately wealthy and the rest of us and hence the GoFundMe Nation on the one hand and the GoFlyMe on the other.

    1. Peter May -

      🙂 Quite…

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