Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Big C

Remember the four Cs - Clients, Customers, Consumers and Citizens. In each case the power relationship between providers and providees varies, and of course this changes over time. When I first opened a bank account I was a Client, but now I'm just a Customer, verging on Consumer. To a shop that knows me I'm a Customer but to Tesco I'm a Consumer, my preferences merged with ten million others to determine with what the shelves are stocked. Now only old fashioned solicitors and stockbrokers have Clients. But what of the Big C - my status as a Citizen?

Sadly, it's nowhere to be found in Cameron's article for the Telegraph today. In a lengthy piece he catalogues further extensions of consumer 'rights' to rationed public services; you can choose which health authority refuses to prescribe you a banned cancer drug, choose which school rejects your child. Cameron will work with  consumer organisations, he says, 'to enable them to champion and enforce choice and competition in public services' - Which? Heart Surgeon, perhaps, or Which? Copper ('We rate them on handcuff care, fluency in cautioning and interrogation skills'). It is perhaps wholly appropriate that when the major political parties have morphed from mass membership organisations to consumer brands themselves - Cameron's Coke vs Miliband's Pepsi, with Clegg's Virgin Cola on the outside - that Cameron sees the world as a consumerist construct. Cameron isn't 'tearing down the big State' as he so boldly claims, he's turning it into Tesco. 

Cameron reserves the right of the State, of course, to steal my taxes to pay for his own brand marketing campaigns. He also denies us the right to form our own democratic groupings as Citizens, to raise our own taxes and to determine the design and delivery of our own public services. My right as a Citizen to partake in a decision on EU membership is denied, of course, and my High Street's sales tax is regulated in Brussels, not Lewisham. The Big Central State has nothing to fear from David Cameron, a man who can't tell the difference between freedom and choosing which prison in which to be confined.   

12 comments:

Edward Spalton said...

The key distinction is, of course, that a customer or client has the power to take his trade elsewhere. With public authorities or other monopolies, that isn't an option. Yet still they persist in calling you a customer.

My most infuriating experience to date is with the TV licensing people. Having extracted the money from me, they then sent me a questionnaire asking me to say how satisfied I was with their "service".

The use of the term is a sort of faux right wing Political Correctness - to pretend that you have "choice" and that public services are really just like ordinary businesses. The cult of what could be termed "Managerialism" first infected the Civil Service and Local Authorities with the Heath/Walker "reforms" of the early Seventies which just happened to coincide with entry into the EEC. Now the corruption of Private Finance Initiatives has spread everywhere but the "customers" are government ministers and officials who are rewarded with consultancies and directorships by the firms to which they awarded huge contracts.

DeeDee99 said...

We are to be allowed to make a limited choice about the little things that affect our lives directly (as they see it).

Everything else is to be decided by the elite. As Mandelscum said "the age of Democracy is over." The only way we will get it back is to fight for it - but the sheeple don't even realise it has been stolen yet.

Anonymous said...

Yes, well "C" also stands for another word, which is what Cameron might be, a "C"xxx.

Gristle said...

Very well observed. Great final punchline, puts it in a nutshell.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Always remember that if you're not paying, you are the product, not the customer; the customer is the person who is actually paying. He is the one the supplier will try to satisfy.

I think we can extend this principle by saying that if you're not paying voluntarily, then you're not the customer.

Anonymous said...

Indeed - we haven't really moved on from the last lot have we? I used to have a growing anger against Labour and perhaps I should be furious with the Coalition but what I am finding now just makes me want to give up or drop out. Now dropping out sounds attractive; it used to be a term that made me think of hippies, but these days it has come to mean soemthing else. Dropping out for me means "none of the above" when it comes to voting. It means that I shall stay as a contractor, working from one job to another, self-employed, working my own hours and making my own coices as to if, when, and how much tax I choose to pay. Dropping out means that I will eschew consumerism, downsize the house, live in an apartment fuelled by logs rather than state-taxed fossil fuels and travel to France to stay, for protracted periods, in my apartment in the south. I shall come and I shall go as I please and if they (the government and its dags) want to pay themselves fat-cat pensions, then they can do so without my money.

Fuck 'em! Fuck the lot of 'em!

Coney Island

anon 2 said...

Way back when, they used to say: "He who pays the piper calls the tune."

Trouble is, nowadays nobody knows who or what a piper is; and they never even heard of tunes.

Anonymous said...

Coney Island, way to go sir!

DP111 said...

Whenever I hear people pleading for a referendum on the EU, by way of a petition, it fills me with despair.

The very idea that we have to ask our Great Leader, “Please Sir, please can we have an opportunity to have our say/decide on our present and future”, is in effect transferring far greater powers to them then any powers being transferred to the EU. We are in effect saying, that not only are we serfs, but we acknowledge that fact most humbly. Muslims will say we are dhimmis – that is, we acknowledge our slave status, while we continue to offer our money as tribute.

The ruling class will never give power Power voluntarily. It is only WE the people, who by way of negligence, laziness, and falling for BBC type propaganda, that has relinguished powers that were and ours, as a natural right.

To get them back, we will have to re-take the powers by force. And the ruling elite will do everything in its power to resist, including force.

We have not just become serfs, but the nation we live in, is now a vassal state.

Anonymous said...

The UK is truly screwed. You gave up almost all your human rights to the state between the world wars and you will pay hell to regain them. All I can say is when a man can be imprisoned for defending his live and property, he is in fact no better than a slave. In your anglo saxon past, the right of a free man to go about armed, was foremost. To disarm a free man, was to make him a slave. Good luck regaining your god given rights my brothers.

andy5759 said...

I don't know what this is apropos; prostitutes and lawyers have clients, banks have customers. Ergo, you were never a client of a bank. Sorry - I'll get me coat.

Jeremywhvw said...

Very well observed. Great final punchline, puts it in a nutshell.