What Choice Do We Have?
This is probably not what most people at this time of year are thinking about but I look to the future and wonder, with a level of anticipatory anxiety and a feeling of dread, about which party would I vote for at the next election. It seems to me on a surface level, hell on any level really, that each of the main parties are just not up to the job, for different reasons of course but there isn’t really a strong party one ‘wants’ to follow, one is excited about, or one feels should be in power and lead the country to prosperity and the re-establishment of the Welfare State and National Health Service. Nope not a single one makes me want to wheel myself to the ballot box and put that cross in a box. I fear the age of the great politicians (love them or loath them) may be at an end, the likes of Churchill, Thatcher and yes even Blair to name but a few. As I mentioned I am not saying I like these but they did stand out for their ability to move the entire country and shape it in the image they wanted it to adopt. Again, I pass no judgement whether the image was positive or negative, just that they could do it. Then came Gordon Brown which heralded the start of apathy amongst voters old and young alike, an apathy that lead to a coalition after scandal of MP’s expenses, money for raising questions and the implication for peerages.
So this brings me to the main contenders in a fight no one wishes to watch or engage with, the recession has not just brought financial hardship to our lands but a near total apathy relating to politics and politicians, who according to various surveys have still not regained the trust of the public. None of them have an outstanding leader that makes me want to sit up and listen, so I am in a type of agnostic and rather sceptical political mood about them all. So who should be first? Well since I mentioned the recession let’s start with the party that walked us into the one that seems to be abating, our Trade Union confused Labour Party.
The following views are my own, I don’t represent anyone other than me and I am happy if people disagree but that’s the mission of blogs and bloggers, to put a point of view across to stir debate, something the politicians are failing to do. Now for the Labour Party, my first observation is that they so have the wrong brother as leader, although Ed is a nice guy and I have nothing against him he just isn’t a leader that one wants to get behind. His actions recently over the Trade Unions is basically putting a gun to his own head and wiping out millions of pounds worth of funding. Ed was indecisive when he should have clearly worked with the unions to sort out the messes of late, leading them to reach the right compromise for their members and the member of the Labour Party, but he just did not have the character, charisma or wherewithal to do this. So instead he caused a rift with Unite and lost out on millions. I also have issue with Mr Balls who was one of the very people that walked us into a world recession being the Shadow Chancellor, not really the best choice. Finally, I just don’t know what they are trying to represent policy wise, this being their biggest failing, they have not got the message across about their pledges and they are running out of time. Finally I am just not sure the public are ready to trust them with our economy and they have done nothing since they lost power to rectify this and this will be their biggest failing at the next election.
Who’s next, let’s try UKIP, or as I like to call them the One Policy Side Show. I have to give it to them that they really have been a pain in the rear to the Conservatives, making the Conservatives change policy in order to neutralise this side show. But when all the sound bites and gimmicks are put to one side they only have one main policy which is dangerously close to the far right. That’s the problem with deep seated recession and deconstructing of trust in our country’s leadership, the extremists start to gain ground and people start to look to blame others for their woes. This process went to an extreme in the 1930’s and resulted in WW2, already we see the rise in the far right across Europe and the blaming of minorities. We really don’t want to go down this path and UKIP are the start, not that they advocate violence or racism in any way, but it pushes our society one step further to a place we really never want to visit again. So I have to say it is a resounding no to a one policy party, so who is next on the list?
Well I suppose I should discuss the other right of centre party, our blessed Conservatives (I’ll get to the Lib Dems shortly). I have been utterly amazed at how they have tackled the recession, taking on the huge debt that the Labour Party had left in their wake. Were cuts to budgets needed, well yes they were especially as the cold war is over and Afghanistan coming to an end, and I also agree that there were people cheating on the benefits system that needed outing – so far so good – NOT AT ALL. Although I agree with these elements the reality is that our debt has not decreased even with years of austerity, although I admit there are signs of an economic recovery, but the people on the streets and in their houses are not feeling a recovery yet. The Conservatives have:
- Allowed the Energy Giants to run riot and increase their prices to a ridiculous level, profit before morality;
- Overseen the creation of a society where people go hungry and need food banks and elderly people freeze to death;
- Allowed the rich to benefit and the poor to get even more poor;
- Demonised the disabled and unleashed a French company to victimise those that actually do need our compassion, our support;
- Made it seem that anyone claiming benefits must be a ‘scrounger’ or a parasite on the state;
- Plunged the NHS and the our Education systems into chaos with major change after major change;
- Done more U turns than all the other parties in history put together;
- Promoted the interest of the big corporations above the needs of the people without any acknowledgement of the damage they have done;
In summary there are only about 1% of the population that have benefited from their term in office, whilst everyone else has felt the cold wind of cuts biting hard at their standard of living. The list of wrongs the Conservatives have done would run to hundreds of pages if they were to be listed, but their worst sin is to damage the welfare state, unique to this country, and put it on its knees. This runs hand in hand with the cost of living, nurses going for 3 years without a pay rise as just one example, whilst they accept an 11% rise for MPs – I am disgusted and ashamed in equal measures. But what scares me most is that with no strong opposition it is possible they may yet get in again, what damage will they cause if they get a second term, which has the strength to pose a real opposition for the middle ground, the everyday Joe Blogs to get behind?
Is this where you are expecting me to extoll the virtues of the good old middle of every ground, the Liberal Democrats, the partners in crime, but more the silent partner, of the grand coalition with the Conservatives. However, let’s face it they didn’t keep their promises on a number of issues and have even kept silent on a new nuclear deterrent to replace Trident, costing billions! They have stood by, castrated with the whiff of power that means they accomplish nothing other than to be tarnished with the same ATOS stained brush as the Tories. I actually thought that they would act as a regulator for the Welfare State hating Tories, but they have been inept, went back on promises such as tuition fees causing near riots I seem to remember. Then that ridiculous apology of Clegg, gosh what have they been up to whilst drunk on meaningless power, oh yes I remember, to support the Conservatives on issues that they said they opposed before the election. It was a real let down and to me was a singular moment that took the passion out of politics for me that the Liberal Democrats, of all parties, could so easily betray their principles, convictions and pledged policies. This is how a lot of people feel that I know that this was the point where politics became completely devoid of honesty, trust and morality.
The only glimmer of light in this political gloom and moroseness that I can see is, and bear with me on this, is the Green Party. Now most will think this ridiculous but they actually have far more policies than those just based on the environment, although this is a strength, they also believe in:
A supportive Welfare State
Taking down the bedroom tax
Promoting the Social Model of Disability and make our towns and cities truly accessible. Remember that the brand new extension to the tube in London, costing millions, has some stations that are not accessible to wheelchair users!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A taxation system that is fair and equal to all
Nationalising the power and water industries to protect the vulnerable, pledge to eliminate poverty and people dying of cold in the UK
Removing the nuclear deterrent that is not needed anyway, saving billions
Investing in the NHS, Social Care, alternative energy sources and controlling the outrageous profits of the big companies, and would not be the fat-cats puppets in power
Read their manifesto (http://greenparty.org.uk/policies.html) and you would see they have a comprehensive and realistic range of policies that actually make sense. I believe they could take the centre ground that they are all claiming ownership of and make a positive difference to this landscape so scarred by recession and coalition, a coalition that has been like a glacier crushing and scoring away all sense of hope that the cost of living will fall (this is one article from one day from my Local are of the North East of England: http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/news/hartlepool-lifeline-for-desperate-sees-huge-increase-in-calls-as-recession-bites-1-6334516). The Green Party claim they will achieve all that they promise and to date have not been seen to U turn or lie. The leaders of the Green Party, Leader Natalie Bennett and their Deputy Leader Caroline Lucas, have the convictions to follow up their rhetoric with actual action, as we have seen over the Fracking issue. Only the Conservatives would say this is a source of clean energy when we are pumping chemicals into the land under high pressure to release gas, chemicals that will find their way into the water table.
So I say take a leap of faith and for a change vote for your Green candidate. I am aware they will not get enough MP’s or MEP’s to form a majority but over time they will grow and they can be a real alternative, but we must start now. We cannot allow these corporate puppets, liars and aimless, morally bankrupt ‘norm’ to retain power and have yet more misery amongst the working class, the vulnerable we should be protecting and supporting and not victimising. The Green Party is the option we have not tried and it is time to do so. Read what they have to say and see what I have seen, it is time to change blue, red, and/or yellow to Green and reap the rewards for doing so.
Voting apathy, a moroseness of political interest that in itself allows ‘them’ to do as they wish and unless we find real leaders, people of real conviction, then I fear for the next decade and can foresee the Blues going full on to bring in private health insurance which will be mandatory for the employers to arrange and contribute too, as they have done with the pensions. This will make some billions of pounds, but not the working class, who will see a deficit on their salary to pay for Health Insurance. The NHS will be left for those of us that could never afford it or find such cover, but it will be run down as the private companies see growth that makes every day seem like Christmas for them. Do something positive for 2014, join the Green Party, vote for the Green Party and make a positive difference.
Hope you had a very happy Christmas and have a really good New Year.
Yours most sincerely
Smiling Cat Ventures (www.smilingcatventures.org)
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