UK government sends 40,000 texts to semi-random foreigners (and some Brits): "You are required to leave the UK!"

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  1. fuzzyfungus

    The one entertaining thing about this (it'd be a lot funnier, obviously, if they weren't mostly succeeding in dragging down everyone else as well) is watching the effect of ostensibly 'neoliberal' or 'libertarian' dogma on traditionally authoritarian/xenophobic/reactionary politics. The simultaneously want a 'traditional' (some might argue 'ahistorical nostalgic...') sense of 'country' and 'culture' and 'people'; but they also agree that "you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.(and corporate persons, of course)"

    It's bullying, because its the state casually kicking people at the bottom of the totem pole; but it's also pathetic. "The State" has been so hollowed out by privatization mania and the fetish for the alleged efficiencies of the private sector that it doesn't even have jackbooted state force to do the bullying with. Instead, some well-connected telemarketer has been hired to spam them out of the country. It's a pathetic exercise that neither glorifies the might of the state, nor channels some atavistic reactionary populism. It's just a banal, poorly executed, post-industrial call center operation.

    Watching a party try to balance the conviction of the state's illegitimacy with the conviction that the power of the state must be used to keep society in proper order is like some sort of absurdist black comedy.

    It's a potent, destructive, combination, that shows every sign of gnawing its way like a swarm of carrion maggots through a whole lot of bystanders before it burns out; but it's fundamentally flawed and contradictory in a sense that, say, mere wishful thinking about how much cash you have on hand for social spending isn't. That's just a mistake of degree, this is a confusion of kind: they simultaneously want to have their atomized neoliberal homo-economicus, acting rationally on the market stage; but still come home to a nice cozy 'britishness' founded on a mixture of largely nonmarket culture and nonmarket state exclusion of foreign elements.

    (edit: The rot isn't confined to the Conservatives, consider the example of the Nu-Labor 2012 London Games, and the hilariously gigantic G4S farce: You've lobbied like hell, spent a zillion bucks, all to get a big National Pride Display, and who do you send to deal with your security interests, security being long recognized as one of the core aspects of even a minimalist nation-state? Rentacops. Incompetent, feckless, abusive-at-the-top-and-powerless-at-the-bottom rentacops. Can you imagine the 1936 Munich Games being handled that way? I certainly can't.)

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