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Posts Tagged ‘#politics’

Another Not So Wordless Wednesday

November 22, 2017 16 comments

I’m sorry, but I can’t resist sharing this cartoon from today’s Times, and I apologise in advance for the rant which follows:

©️ Times Newspapers

As I’ve said before, I have no pretensions towards being a political blogger or commentator, but I do think of myself as a vaguely intelligent and very concerned citizen. I have always believed the outcome of last year’s referendum was a disaster for my country, and events continue to confirm that belief. The immediate aftermath was an outburst of racist and xenophobic behaviour which had hitherto been latent but was in some way legitimised by the vote, in the eyes of its perpetrators. Since then, the country’s financial base has weakened, every day we seem to hear of another company or financial institution making plans to move away from the UK when we leave the EU. We are being led, lemming-like, towards the cliffs by a bunch of jingoistic, narrow-minded clowns who follow the dogma that they have created, to the exclusion of any sense of reality. And a cynic like me has a hard time believing that any of them is doing this for the good of the country, when it appears that their own self-interest and career ambitions are more likely motivators.

It is abundantly clear that those who led the Leave campaign were as amazed as the rest of us at the result, and that their ‘plans’ were simply a set of vacuous phrases like ‘taking back control,’ which have been shown to be a totally inadequate basis for any serious negotiation over the terms of our departure from the EU. They really are utterly clueless and the cartoon is, unfortunately, an accurate depiction of the state of the UK government. Oh, and they lied to us too, but I’m not going down that path today.

What saddens me even more is that this whole process has somehow become the catalyst and template for similar votes in other countries. The biggest and most obvious example is the US, where it seems that Numpty Trumpty stole his campaign from Vote Leave’s model of phrases and slogans to appeal to the basest parts of human nature, coupled with the repetition of outright lies with no shame whatsoever. Similar far right gains have happened in other countries, notably France and Germany, but thankfully so far the only campaign to result in the involvement of the far right in government has been in Austria.

I’ll probably get some negative comments for this piece: after all, any disagreement with the ‘will of the people’ is apparently ‘unpatriotic.’ And where else have you heard that argument used? Come on, people, this isn’t Zimbabwe or North Korea! Or the US. We live in a messed up world. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but this little cartoon symbolises so much more than that. We need to laugh at our politicians: it is the only balm we have to apply to the wounds they are inflicting on us.

 

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Bomb the Bastards?

October 2, 2017 29 comments

On the day when the US Secretary of State says that attempts are being made to hold talks with North Korea, Numpty Trumpty tells him – via Twitter, of course – not to waste his breath trying to negotiate peace for the world’s sake. Presumably Tillerson will be the latest through the revolving door if he doesn’t do what he’s told. This could be his replacement

I despair. How can this idiot be the leader of the country that likes to think of itself as the major power in the free world? How can someone so manifestly unsuited to be a political leader blag his way into such a powerful position? What kind of electoral system allows someone who received 3 million fewer votes than his opponent to ‘win’ an election and impose his stupidity not only on his own country but on the rest of the world? Does he not realise that two lunatics leading their countries into a fight with nuclear weapons could result in the world being destroyed? Does he even care?

Am I being overly melodramatic? Maybe, but if the US President’s only approach to international diplomacy is to go to war, WW3 could be closer than we think. I hope that diplomacy can re-establish some sense of balance, but as Numpty has surrounded himself with a mixture of pugilistic cretins and sycophantic cowards, that may be a forlorn hope. He may not believe in climate change, but I’d appreciate it if he would give the world the opportunity to find out if he is right. Mutually assured destruction isn’t an attractive long term proposition, is it?

Sorry for the rant, but I needed to vent my fear and anger at what that idiot is doing! A couple of recent cartoons sum up for me what these two supposed leaders are up to: 

© Toronto Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully common sense will prevail, both in Washington and Pyongyang, but reading today’s news is a depressing prospect. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a political blogger, as you can no doubt tell, but I’m a citizen of the world who is really worried about what is happening around us. Of course I know that political leaders often say things they either don’t mean, or which will never become reality, and I very much hope that this is what is happening here. I would hope and expect that, behind the public sabre rattling, diplomatic attempts are being made to defuse a potentially ruinous situation. Should I be holding my breath for a diplomatic solution? If not, well, it’s been a pleasure knowing you.

Building A Wall?

April 22, 2017 25 comments

With apologies to Pink Floyd:

“We don’t need no new election,

We don’t need no thought control;

No deeper schism in our country,

Leader, leave us plebs alone!”

I really don’t think of myself as a particularly political person, far less a political blogger, but for the second time this month I feel I just have to vent my thoughts on what is going on. A few days ago, our Prime Minister, Theresa May, called a snap general election. This was despite her saying publicly on five occasions that she would not go for an election any sooner than 2020, as required by law. May became Prime Minister after the debacle of our referendum last summer, and was anointed by her party without an election, as the other candidates engaged in collective self-destruction. She faced pressure at the time to hold a general election, to ratify her credentials to lead the country, but withstood this. Since then, she has ditched her tepid support for the Remain camp and is leading a party which is moving relentlessly further to the right, and somehow seems to have redefined a narrow majority in the referendum into a mandate for what is known as a ‘hard Brexit.’ In other words, her aim is to break as many ties as possible with the European Union, seemingly on the basis of dogma rather than any practical or economic common sense. After all, why just have a simple car crash when you could drive the car at great speed off the highest cliff?

I’ve written recently, in The Ongoing Nightmare, about my concerns for the UK’s post-Brexit future, and won’t repeat myself here. Let’s just say that I don’t believe that the ‘information’ on which voters based their decision was anywhere near sufficiently detailed for a hard Brexit definition to be interpreted as what people voted for. Indeed, there has been some reporting of disquiet, along the lines of ‘that’s not what I voted for,’ but this has been fairly muted, largely because the media in this country – particularly the press – is of a right wing persuasion. I use the term ‘right wing,’ but I could actually have used words like insular, jingoistic, xenophobic or fascist. All apply, as evidenced by the Daily Mail’s front page headline:

I wonder if they realised that the original use of that phrase was by Lenin, in the context of opposition to the Russian Revolution. There is a certain irony in there, as that approach in 1917 led to widespread state control. I hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, albeit at the other end of the political spectrum. For non-British readers, that paper is the worst exponent of fascist ‘reporting’ – after all, it did declare support for Hitler during the 1930s, so it is keeping up its own tradition.

So why has the PM decided to go for an election now? Wouldn’t it have been fairer, if she was seeking some kind of ratification of her approach to Brexit, to have done this before Article 50 was enacted? Yes, of course it would, but although that is what she implied in her announcement of the election, I’m sceptical. Politicians tell lies, it’s how they seem to fulfil their role, and I think that was another. The real reason for the election now is a combination of opportunism and expediency. For expediency, there are growing signs that if she had waited until 2020 we could be suffering the economic fallout from a poor result from the negotiations to leave the EU, and her small parliamentary majority would be at risk from that. As for opportunism – the main opposition party is in a state of electoral disarray, and I suspect May believes she could win a landslide on the strength of this. The Labour Party has saddled itself with a leader who enjoys only minority support amongst his own parliamentary colleagues, and although he welcomed the chance to put his policies to the vote this cartoon from The Times rather sums that up:

© Times Newspapers

Corbyn has already ruled out a second referendum, and by doing so he appears to me to have given up the opportunity to offer a significant difference, and a home for disgruntled voters from the referendum. In the unlikely event of a Labour win, Brexit would still happen, and he might not be able to achieve a better deal than May could. The Conservatives will also expect to pick up votes from UKIP, who will be likely to lose much of their protest vote value. Our system means that you can get a landslide with around 42% of the vote if you do well in the right constituencies and they are polling better than that at present. Whilst there is still a lot of opposition to Brexit I think that is unlikely to translate into Parliamentary seats – I just don’t see how it could. I’d love to be proved wrong though, and there are already suggestions about tactical voting to achieve this. As I live in a constituency that had a 54% Conservative vote at the 2015 election, with UKIP in second place, I think it unlikely that would work here but there are better targets, so I can but hope.

Assuming that the Government does achieve a significant increase in its majority – a landslide is usually taken to mean an overall majority greater than 100, and this seems possible – what kind of country will we be? Parallels have been drawn between our referendum and the US election. One of Trump’s promises was, in effect, to become a much more insular country, becoming more self-sufficient and threatening tariffs on overseas goods. May has been cosying up to that abomination of a human being, and it is to be hoped that she isn’t thinking along the same lines. We will lose current access to EU markets and will have to rely on World Trade Organisation rules, as a small nation with a pressing need to negotiate trade deals with countries who would have no particular incentive to change their current arrangements and trade with us. This isn’t a strong position, despite the optimistic guff spouted by the three government ministers in charge of the process, and today’s news that the US will prioritise trade deals with the EU over the UK confirms our weakness. Trump is also infamous for his promise to build a wall to keep out the ‘bad hombres’ he believes are intent on rape and pillage. We have a natural boundary – the ocean – so being insular is, by definition, much easier for us. I hope that isn’t the plan, as we aren’t big enough as a country to survive, even without the likely loss of contributions from multinational companies who will probably scale back their commitments to Britain when the tariffs kick in. I just hope this election isn’t, all in all, just another brick in our own wall, as we would lose out – we would be isolating ourselves, not insulating.

In her speech announcing the election May said ‘our country is coming together.’ If she really believes that, then she must be living in La La Land! The 48% who voted against Brexit don’t feel that, and I’m pretty sure that many of the 52% who did are having second thoughts about the effect of their vote and the path the country is now following. In two years we will be outside the EU, in what I believe will be a significantly worse state than while we have been a member, and that is not a recipe for creating a united country – and there is the Scottish independence question to consider too. Joni Mitchell put it best: ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’

A further concern is that the electorate will suffer some kind of fatigue – this will, after all, be our third major election in successive years. This view was put well by ‘Brenda from Bristol’ when told by a BBC reporter that another election was coming:

I’m not sure that this should be a reason not to vote, but I can understand her frustration. Historically, low election turnouts have worked in favour of the Conservatives so I’m hoping the electorate aren’t all like Brenda, sweet though she may be. Perhaps Theresa May factored that into her decision as well? She showed herself to be a canny political opportunist in the way she became party leader last year, so I wouldn’t rule that out.

As you can tell, I’m not feeling optimistic about this country’s future. I’d love to be proved wrong, but somehow I doubt it. Try googling ‘Teresa May,’ i.e. without the ‘h.’ I know which one I’d prefer was screwing the country!

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