Monday, April 22, 2024
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Nanny state makes babies of us all


WE HAVE a dangerous and saccharine twist in the cocktail of political chaos. The new normal, of permanent crisis and panic, is one sweetened by the siren song of safetyism. The bizarre response to the Horror Cough accustomed everyone to the idea that we could sit at home and get paid to watch Netflix. It said the real world could just be replaced by what was on screen. We could be idle and remote and therefore safe. Nanny will look after us. She has a money printer.

In the second part of his 2014 documentary on Brutalism, Jonathan Meades tries to show how childish we have become. He sits in a tiger onesie stuffing crisps into his face whilst reading a Harry Potter book. 

‘The more we have been consulted as consumers, the more we have elected to be fed drivel,’ he says, pointing out that ‘50 years ago adults did not dress like children. They did not read children’s books. They did not enjoy children’s diet.’ Meades says that people have regressed into ‘irreversible infantilism and helpless dependency’.

Our politics is infantilising. It has a baneful relationship with the presentation of reality as crisis. This perpetual state of alarm allows the state to offer the soothing medicine of handouts, interventions, subsidies – taxes on the adults to pay for the kids.

The regime change in Britain is assisted by the actions of the Bank of England. Since its announcements were timed to humiliate an out-of-country Chancellor, it is difficult to conclude that there was no plot. Regardless of the merits of Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss, the means of their disposal should interest anyone concerned with how power is managed in Britain.

Truss and Kwarteng did not create the massive debt pile they inherited. They did not propose and enact the sanctions which have devastated Europe. It is childish to pretend this crisis is all their fault. Some of their actions did not help, and I personally did not think either of them had a credible plan at all, but their removal is a victory for the nanny managerialists.

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng were simply in the way of people who think they should always be running the country. These people will tell you they are the only safe pairs of hands. They will be calm, rational, clear-eyed. They will do business as usual. We all know what that means.

Rishi Sunak is a Blairite. Keir Starmer is a Blairite. Both men would increase borrowing to subsidise their popularity. Wages would be suppressed with mass immigration. Starmer would probably raise taxes more than Sunak, whose tenure as Chancellor brought them to an all-time high.

Either would be given a far easier ride in the media. Their pro-European, globalist policies represent a view of politics which presents itself as moderate and reasonable whilst carefully excluding any genuine political conviction from the machinery of power. Jeremy Corbyn has been cancelled for being left-wing. If Mrs Thatcher turned up today she would not be given a chance.

Our politics excludes anyone and anything that is not of itself from the machinery of power. Speech is circumscribed as hatred, as enemy propaganda, as conspiracy theories when it is true but embarrassing to the management. This is a way of keeping the children safe from bad words, which might give them bad thoughts about nanny. This could lead to bad dreams in which nanny is done away with altogether. Nanny cannot have that.

Our politics says it is only itself which has the answers to our problems, whilst at the same time being the cause of all of them. The destruction of the family, the debt pile, the replacement of our nations with borderless supermarkets full of moody strangers, the ever-updated rainbow flags, the collapsing economy, the never-ending war.

It is disturbing to note that this frightening mess is precisely the situation which causes people to seek refuge. Reality is upsetting as a result of our great centrist management, who scare you with environmental and nuclear doom when the shock of that manufactured cold wore off. It is for this reason that so many people find in screen-based alternatives a welcome respite. Sadly many seem to prefer to watch horrid documentaries on television simply to console themselves that their own lives are not that bad after all.

Our politics is a product. It is branded and it wants you to keep on buying. It is like a repeat prescription. One bitter pill followed by a spoonful of sugar. Neither is good for you, and the effect of both is to make you forget you were never really sick in the first place. This medicine is delivered through the media, whose deliberate emphasis of crisis waxes and wanes in tandem with Nanny’s purpose. The tendency is always towards greater centralisation, ever more distant and elitist centres of power, an increasing sense of individual helplessness and the false idea that the problems can only be fixed by the people who caused them.

This sinister current is one created to make you and everyone else dependent on the State. It is designed to break the population psychologically into accepting that no realistic alternative to the nanny state management is possible. Nanny is punishing Poland, Hungary and probably Italy next for promoting pro-family policies. If we have strong, healthy families we have no need of nanny.

The broader impulse is again to transfer the allegiances and even love proper from the family to the state. This is a dehumanising politics which works best on a population of demoralised addicts, each alone in their misery and fear. Spit out the pills. The medicine you need is family ties, strong social bonds, the common sense of experience – not the con-trick of consumerism. 

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Frank Wright
Frank Wright
Frank Wright is a writer from the North East of England. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and young family. Follow him on Substack at .

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