Twilight Zone News



‘Discombobulated’ – that’s how you could have described me last week. ‘Confused’ and ‘perplexed’ would have worked too. Why? Because at some point in the last few weeks a subtle shift took place and I was transferred to a bizarre parallel universe. If you’re reading this, it will all seem very familiar to you, but where I come from, the things in last week’s news would be just plain impossible.

In my world, America is all about capitalist privatisation and the free market, while China is all about totalitarian neo-socialist, top-down control of the economy. In yours, America nationalises banks and China’s financial institutions are under threat because of reckless freemarketeering. An interview on the BBC last week apparently revealed that Chinese leaders had been considering creating a massive centre for western-style capitalist banking, bowing to years of advice from capitalist nations, only to watch those nations part-nationalise their own banking sector, essentially moving towards what China had all along. It’s like I’m in the Twilight Zone. Sing it with me: nee nee nee-nee, nee nee nee-nee.



In the dimension I call home, it’s the Labour Party who criticise the Tories for not favouring enough government intervention in the financial system, not the other way around. Yet last week, your news saw that nice man David Cameron breaking the ranks of ‘we’re not going to stoop to petty party politics at a time of financial crisis’ posing to blame the entire global economic freak-out on Gordon Brown and the Labour Party. A crisis that is generally accepted to have come about because of a lack of regulation is being blamed on a (in theory, to an extent at least) socialist government, by proponents of free markets and minimal government interference. I mean, it’s a nice planet you’ve got here, but it’s a little weird.

In my world, US Presidential candidate, John McCain is a generally honourable guy (if a follower of ultimately destructive economic and political philosophies) who was the victim of disgustingly unethical ‘negative polling’ in the past (at the hands of his opponent in the 2000 Primaries for leadership of the Republican Party, George Bush).

the Sex Pistols

Happier times: the Sex Pistols (pic: mychemicaltoilet)

Those ‘polls’ took the form of calls to swing voters that embedded lies or distortions, playing on racist pre

judice, in supposed polling questions, in an attempt to smear McCain’s name. They worked and McCain lost the candidacy but retained moral high-ground. In your dimension, last week saw the McCain campaign resort to similar negative automated cold-calling that attempted to convince swing voters that Barack Obama worked closely with terrorists. A world where any potential successor is as bad as George Dubya Bush? Impossible.

Perhaps hardest of all for denizens of this permutation of reality to understand: where I come from, Johnny Rotten is an anti-establishment punk. I know. Hard to believe. In your world, he sells Country Life butter. In mine, he was the lead singer of a band called The Sex Pistols and promoted anarchy and subversive undermining of the power of our society’s elites. Yet last week, on your planet,I saw him grinning down from billboards, literally promoting lip-smacking dependence on the corporate udder. I want to go home.

I mean, I must be going crazy, right? But hang on! What’s this? Jacqui Smith revealed her plans last week to give police the Big Brother (in the Orwellian totalitarian state rather than the moronic TV programme sense) power to monitor all our internet use, emails, phone-calls and text messages without a warrant, thereby destroying any semblance of privacy or freedom of thought?

Phew! That was a close one. Apparently, I’m home.


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