Marie-Antoinette is widely attributed with coining the phrase “let them eat cake”, supposedly said when hearing of peasants not having bread to eat.
It is seen as something that showed how out of touch the ruling classes were from the people, culminating in the first French Revolution.
The whole of Europe at the time was going through a ‘reformation’ where centuries of Monarchical rule was being replaced by democratic governments. Fast forward 200 years or so and you have the Conservative peer Lord Young of Graffham saying that people have “had never had it so good”, despite the current economic recession.
There has been universal shock and horror at Lord Young’s comments leading to his eventual resignation. Lord Young has been described as being “out of touch” with the public, a bit like the Kings and Queens of Europe that were replaced with the modern day Capitalism. Nothing much as seemingly changed, the rich elite still live in their ivory towers and preach down at the people to be happy with what they have been given.
Although his own Party leader David Cameron and the leader of the opposition have rounded on Lord Young this should be seen as nothing but political points scoring. Lord Young just said out loud what many Capitalists carry in their hearts. No one should be fooled into thinking that the Capitalist system is there to look after their needs.
If you walk through any major City centre you will see the homeless selling the Big Issue, people representing Shelter and Help the Aged drumming up support and donations. This is combined with celebrities spending hours on TV supporting causes to raise money such as Help the Children which ironically was being held on the very day of Lord Young’s “gaffe”.
The money these charities collect say less about the generosity of the British public and more about the failings of the state. One has to ask how, in one of the richest countries in the World, did charities to help the homeless, elderly and children become accepted norms?
Islam’s attitude towards governance is in stark contrast to this, Islam sees ruling as the highest responsibility to the point the rulers of the past would spend their nights worrying about their citizens.
There is a famous example of Abu Bakr (ra), the first Caliph (political leader) of the Muslims. At the time there was an elderly blind woman living in Medina with no one to help her. Umar (ra), who would later become the second Caliph, would go to her house in the middle of the night with the intention of helping her with whatever she needed. However every night he would see someone else had already provided for the old woman, so one day he hid to see who this person was. He eventually saw that the Caliph Abu Bakr (ra) was the person that was attending to the needs of the woman.
This is something unimaginable of any president or prime minister in any Capitalist society in the world.