Tonight, The Emperor’s New Clothes had its Premier at the Hackney Picture House followed by a live question and answer session with Russell Brand.
The film was shown at selected cinemas nationwide, with a satellite link for the live question and answer session.
Cineworld Aldershot was one of the cinemas nationwide. A pity they could not even be bothered to stick up a poster.
The preamble was screenshots of basic facts, then into the film.
The Emperor’s New Clothes starts with the Lord Mayor of London, and the reading of the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, until a boy in the crowd shouts out he ain’t wearing anything.
This sums up the Lord Mayor of London. Who does he represent?
Then Grays, a very depressing town in Essex. This is not to single out Grays, it is where Russell Brand grew up. It is a metaphor for many similar run down towns, it could have been Aldershot, boarded-up shops, fast food takeaways, pound shops, gambling joints.
The bankers caused the crash. Why are none in prison? Contrast that with the London riots, fast track, prison.
Russell Brand tried to find out.
Remarkably shy lot bankers. Shifty too. They do not wish to talk.
People on benefits, low wages, struggling.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s pay such low wages, these wages have to be subsidised by the tax payer.
If we wish to cut social payments, pay higher wages.
A cleaner, up at five o’clock, travel to work, work from six in the morning until eight at night. Another cleaner, works the night shift in bank, then an early morning shift in a pub.
Outsourced council workers given a 17.5% pay cut. Now expected to take the same pay cut again.
If we supported local businesses, the money we spend, gets recycled in our local economy. If we spend in chain stores, that money gets drained out of the local economy. If we buy from Amazon, no taxes are paid, the money we spend gets sucked out to a tax haven.
Football clubs owned by wealthy owners, operated and controlled from tax havens, the fans ripped off.
It does not have to be.
In Germany, major football clubs are owned and controlled by fans not by dodgy tax dodgers from offshore tax havens.
VAT in 1979 was 8%, now it is 20%.
We are all in it together.
Tax cuts for the rich, tax hikes for the poor.
Apple rakes in $1 billion a week. The Chinese workers who make their devices paid a pittance, fall asleep whilst working, commit suicide. Apple Inc, has to borrow money to pay its dividend, as it profits are off-shored to a tax haven.
Is it fair that some people, rich people, have a special tax status, non-domiciled, to avoid paying tax?
Is it fair that disabled people are to have their Independent Living Fund abolished, that the care support they receive is being cut?
In the 1960s, the rich were paying over 90% tax. According to Harold MacMillan, we had never had it so good.
Thatcher brought in the neo-liberal idea from the Chicago School. Not set in stone, we can change.
Austerity has not cut the deficit. But is has been used as an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of publish services, cuts to welfare payments.
How about a tax on bankers?
The ratio between what the top and bottom earn has grown. It used to be about ten times. Now it is over 300 times.
If we look at wealth, the disparity is even greater.
85 of the richest people in the world, who would fit in two buses, own as much as the poorests half of the world population. And most have not earned it.
Lord Rothermere who owns and controls the Daily Mail through off-shore tax havens, inherited his wealth.
As did the Wal-Mart family. Their workers are paid so low, they have to rely on state handouts.
What did the wife of the late Steve Jobs do to earn her wealth?
Why do we tolerate it? Why do we not act?
Much of The Emperor’s New Clothes will have been familiar to those who have read Revolution or who watch The Trews.
Note: Waterstone’s are selling Revolution at £10 (half price). Even better bargain at Amazon at £4. Buy three, avoid the postage, give extra copies away to your friends.
The Emperor’s New Clothes is a very powerful and well researched documentary.
If it does not make you angry, then it should do.
If sufficient people watched, it would swing the election.
If you want a showing near you, then demand one.
In the question and answer session, Russell Brand started by praising Caroline Lucas and Tom Watson, both former Members of Parliament.
New Era Estate fought their landlords and won. Now they are helping tenants facing eviction on other estates.
There has of late, been a move to get people to vote. Even silly little surveys for people to complete to help them decide how to vote.
To what end?
Done my civic duty, then what? What happens on 8 May? We have to forget Parliament, that is old politics, we have to start acting ourselves, organising our own affairs.
The Emperor’s New Clothes is far more lucid, informative, than any of the political debates in the run up to the General Election.
Oxfam estimate that in a few year’s time, the top 1% will own more than the rest of the world.
We have to as Russell Brand said in his summing up, work together, collaborate, cooperate, share, create social enterprises, open co-ops, open commons, networks.
Russell Brand was voted by readers of Prospect as the fourth most influential thinker in the world, a poll put him second after David Cameron as the most influential political person in UK. The Emperor’s New Clothes illustrates why.