2017 or 1917?

What year is #GE2017 being fought in? 2017 or 1917?

Back in 1972 I was so shocked by how the UK establishment flat out lied to maintain power that I decided to study politics in order to understand how the manipulative UK political system actually worked. In 1984, having taught politics for a couple of years in the USA and then been employed to teach computing in the UK (as we are too scared to teach an understanding of politics to the Queens own subjects), I decided to merge my interests and investigate what the overlap was between technology and social change.

By 1989 I concluded that social change, caused by disruptive meta-technologies, occur in 50 year cycles (Kondratieff) through “unanticipated outcomes” and “negative second-order effects” That is change is unpredictable. Change is NOT what experts anticipate (which is always predict to be “same as what we have now, only more *intense*). Social change however is qualitative not quantitative. I thought that by 2021 we would be going through a mega-set of socio-technical changes which would necessarily require us to change the constitution (outlined in Homi & the NeXT One in 1989) in response. As pre-figured by Jonathan Gershuny, on the BBC in 1984, that would reflect a social network architecture based on a “two-way, broadband, interactive, multi-media, optical-fibre network that would allow everyone to be a producer as well as a consumer”; prosumer economics perhaps? Instead, in 1986, PM Margaret Thatcher decided that the economic future would be based on the privatisation of industrial assets, not on building the infrastructure backbone for a participatory democracy based on a digital economy. So she privatised the national telecommunications provider BT (“selling off the family silver“) who began installing copper wires instead.


Well in 2017 our socio-economic assets have long been privatised and many people have moved up the Rich List thanks to the UK becoming “relaxed” about greed, however our digital economy still relies on a panicky phone call to Silicon Valley rather than an universal broadband architecture enabling everyone to work. Even (beautiful) Romania is way ahead of us on broadband…

1917 – This complete inability of the current political establishment, and it’s supplicant elite of media experts and commentators, to understand the changing present-day economic drivers, which have been present since 1971 (foreshadowed by Kondratieff  in 1922) has been exacerbated by our continual re-writing of WW1 since 2014. Where previously WW1 was about donkeys we now celebrate  Great British Lions of 100 years ago. We have had an orgy of self-love about how great our military history has been, whilst we actively destroy our own communities and, under George Osborne, the Welfare State. Health-care free at the point of delivery is far more amazing than History love-fests about Imperial Britain.

Instead of examining how the combination of new technology, neo-liberal economics and freedom of migration have impacted upon meaningful work in the communities in which live, our political establishment has retreated into the self-regarding, well-paid towers of privilege that their Oxford PPE education entitles them too. Arrogantly confident that they will retain their valuable jobs whatever the election results.

1917 or 2017 – So it seems to me that this election is being fought on WW1 principles; trust the lions of England, and not the donkeys of Europe. Every single one of the self-loving boys of the Establishment are voting for more A-level examinations and carb-fuelled school dinners without any thing that smells of them European continent.

So! Do we want to e-enable our past, imperial 1917, where we are all dutiful subjects of the Crown, or do we create anew a socially-just 2017 where we are citizens participating economically in the creation of a new society in which we live actively? Citizen-Generated contexts anyone?

Fred Garnett

2 thoughts on “2017 or 1917?

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  1. National chauvinism in 1917 and 2017, very little changes, including a UK reliance on American finance. The UK establishment continues to express its contempt for the majority through its policies and arrogance towards political opposition and any evidence that might question such policies. I think we are back to 1900,when British politicians were ready to endorse Kitchener’s cocentration camps.


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