A late Smoky-Drinky tonight.
One guy irritated everyone at first by persistently asking if we knew how many had been killed in the war in Libya. Nobody could answer. Well, Gadfly is certainly inflating civilian casualties caused by the UN while pretending he's not causing any. I fully believe our side are similarly 'adjusting' casualty figures. That's wartime propaganda and it means we can't know for sure how many lives this has cost so far, nor who took them. As with past wars, the true cost in lives will not be known until a long time afterwards.
But that wasn't his point. His point was in his next question. 'How much does each missile cost?' That was easy.
It was a little disturbing to realise that while the news doesn't tell us much about the lives lost, it takes great delight in telling us the price of every damn bullet and the value of all that hardware.
For politicians of all shades, life has always meant nothing in their pursuit of money. The newspapers used to take a different view because their readers, the general public, were more concerned about life than money. Not any more.
Look in any list of comments in any newspaper and it won't take long to find comments such as 'the cost to the NHS' or 'the money could have been used for [insert pet project]'. To hell with human life, all anyone - anyone- cares about now is money. There was a story about the Gloucester cheese-rolling game that's been cancelled again, and under that there was a comment to the effect of 'Should be banned anyway - costs the NHS money'. Oh, it's gone way beyond smokers, drinkers and fat people now.
People are not concerned with how many Libyans a Tomahawk kills. They are concerned with how much it cost to blow that thing up. That is how people think now. The newspapers merely reflect this.
A house is no longer a home. It's a pile of money that must get bigger no matter what. A car is not a box to travel in. It's a valuable thing that must not even be scratched. I used to paint mine with Hammerite when the rust grew out of control and once shrugged off the apologies of someone who backed into me with 'That's what bumpers are for'. In those days, they were chromed steel, not plastic, and dents could be ignored. I had also bought the car in question for £75 and kept it patched together for years. Ah, the days of stripping down a carburettor and replacing a head gasket...
Now, it's all about the monetary value of everything.
Every car I ever owned ended up sold for scrap, spares, or for a few quid. I never spent a lot on the next one, they wear out and they rust. Scratches? Out with the tin of paint and the brush, just to stop it rusting. I bought this house for £120K, I have around 50K left on the mortgage so if house prices halved and it's worth only 60K now, I can still sell and clear the mortgage. Investment? No, it's a big box that keeps the rain off. That's all it means to me.
I have never understood the money mindset. That's probably why I spent myself homeless in my younger days. From that I learned to stay out of debt but accumulating money has always seemed pointless. I haven't done a stroke of work since January because I've earned enough for this tax year and don't need any more. Work will fire up again in April. I have no loans, my only debt is my mortgage. I have a buffer of savings in case of hard times but I'll never accumulate enough to be called 'rich'. That, I suppose, is why I hadn't noticed the skewed news myself - the cost of missiles just goes over my head. It's brushed aside like adverts.
What I had been looking for is the cost in terms of life, and that's hard to find. There is much jubilation over the death of one of Gadfly's sons. Now, it's pretty clear that he was a particularly nasty chip off the old block and there won't be much wailing at his funeral, but consider - there is no concern at all over a human death and serious reflection over what the missiles cost. Am I the only one who thinks this is the wrong way round?
Money is all anyone cares about now. And yet money is the root of their enslavement. Borrow money and pay back more money even though the only source of money is the bank you borrowed it from. It's a trap, and it's a trap people don't just fall into. It's a trap they embrace with earnest desire. Money. Have to have more. 'Car' is not enough, it must be Bugatti. 'House' must be kept painted magnolia and clear of clutter for the buyers to view, for the entire twenty years you have it while waiting for the price to increase. Someone's sick? My taxes are paying for that, so let them die. War? Have you any idea how much those bombs cost? Make them count.
I don't understand the house people at all. Surely if house prices go up and you get more for your house, you'll just have to pay more for the next one? If a house cost a penny, I'd only get a penny for mine but I could buy the one next door with that penny, so nothing's changed, surely?
As for human life, well, nobody cares. The cheese-rolling is not a spectacle, it's a risk of injury that might cost the NHS money. Libyans being massacred? Yes, but it'll make the oil cheaper. Look at the uproar when garages failed to reduce petrol by one penny per litre. One penny. For a fifty-litre tank, that's a difference of fifty pence per fill. What does a fill cost now? Fifty quid? Sixty? Does fifty pence really make that much difference?
Meanwhile the winter payments to pensioners to help with heating costs have just reduced by £50-£100 each winter. This is life or death money, not 'shall I take a detour past the chip shop or not' money. Only Subrosa seems to have noticed.
We are told that the planet can be saved from global warming by handing over money. How? How does handing over money affect global temperatures? How does giving money to other countries keep them cool? Are they making parasols out of it? And yet when there's a winter that has brass monkeys wearing nut-nets all over the northern hemisphere, there's no money to help out with the costs of the massively increased heating bills.
Money should be a trading commodity that enhances the old barter system by introducing a universal bartering mechanism. That's all it should be. It should be a tool used by people, not a god to control them. Somewhere along the line it took over and now the survival of money is more important than the survival of the human race.
The money matters. The people don't.