June 23, 2010
From my perspective, UK politics has gone to pot not because of our shiny new overlords but because the political animal that once was has devolved into a squirming pile of snipes and sneers.
You can’t watch a broadcast from Parliament or read a news report about the current government or the opposition without being subjected to childish finger-pointing and mountains of blame that currently sit higher than the UK’s near-one-Trillon-pound deficit.
It’s not just the politicians either; people take the time to moan religiously about how unfair all of this is and how it wasn’t what they voted for. Really? I would never have guessed.
Let’s level the playing field a little here at the expense of the scare-mongers, those of society who find it hard to think at all, let alone think straight in times like these, all of the citizens tutting and turning off the TV, all of those considering strike action and maybe a bunch of disadvantaged five-year-olds. Because everyone is capable of destroying someone’s life.
We all knew that this was going to happen. Let’s stop pretending that our idealistic vision of a brighter future is lying in tatters at the roadside, smeared in Tory excrement, signed ‘LibDems were ‘ere’.
This is what we voted for; it’s what we vote for every general election: a group of people with ideas radically different (at least on the surface) to those who were in power the last time we made the effort to pay attention and vote, but nevertheless, a group of people who always disappoint when they finally move into number 10.
The real problem with voting is not the apathy of the voters but the fact that once you’ve got one bunch of idle-thinkers in office, you can’t actively change your mind for the next five years.
PR would be great; we’d have more diversity and less ‘same old hat’. Congratulations by the way, to Caroline Lucas on fighting her way in amidst the swathe of aging politics, without the aid of PR. She and the Greens are proof that it can be done and that change can really happen. However what would be even more interesting is a system where we can evict unsuitable politicians.
I can hear a bunch of you screaming at me now: ‘NO! That’ll cause massive political instability!’ Great! Better than the stagnant pile of red-yellow-blue we have swimming around in The Commons at the moment; ‘Nothing will ever get done, society will go to hell.’ Isn’t that happening already? Aren’t we all sitting on our hands?
I’m fully aware that a reform such as that would need a lot of planning and a series of complex regulations to prevent us from chucking out politicians willy-nilly; politicians need a home after all and we are a bunch of fickle-minded people.
Think of it though: crooked MPs could be sacked immediately and a suitable alternative elected immediately – no waiting around for the next elections; in the case of a government delaying or refusing the next generals, we could vote in favour of instant parliamentary dissolve – no more waiting around for one miserable looking git to get his act together to call an election, no more death cries of a terminal cause.
I digress. Politics is in need of revival. Fortunately, there are a lot of new ideas out there – good and not so good – that are beginning to engage the younger generations. Unfortunately, the rise of new ideologies is underpinned with nasal whines, jabs in the ribs, sideward grins and a complete lack of frankness, sincerity, honesty and inspiration.
Young political animals aren’t being breastfed by their true mother: actual, positive change with a fist in the air; instead they’re being weened onto the slop of discontent and irresponsibility, too weak from a lack of genuine political nutrition to do anything more than moan and wag their unhappy fingers at the obvious: nobody is happy.
This observation isn’t representative of all however; I find it amusing how the media often fails to show those who are breaking the barriers or even worse, manipulates them into the ‘I’m just another ranting politician / party supporter’ pigeon-hole.
For me, politics is all talk and no trousers. Nod if you agree with me, there’s no shame in saying you’re disappointed with our current political atmosphere. There is shame however, in sitting there and not doing anything about it.
The first step we can take is to stop moaning and bitching. This is it, this is what we voted for and we’re stuck with it for the next five years on the basis we can make it past the end of the world in 2012 of course.
Stop throwing insults at things you don’t like. I don’t like a lot of decisions made by the new coalition. I don’t agree that education is going to suffer under the 25% squeeze, I don’t agree with education’s current archaic systems and this need to test and evaluate little kids all the time. I don’t agree that we’re sitting with a Cold War relic in our laps; I don’t agree that we’re clearly at war for reasons nobody understands and I don’t like that I’m told we’re in peacetime when we’re not.
I don’t like that little is being done to create a greener economy; considering that this is the only home we have, I think we’re doing it a great disservice in side-lining our responsibility to clean up our act and protect what we have whilst creating viable opportunities for green energy, jobs, transport, architecture, sustainable food and resources, and a home for future generations.
I don’t like that the budget is unfair, that tax reform hasn’t been properly considered, that the greedy are being fed their rewards by a giant cement mixer and are on the path to becoming greedier as our natural resources begin to peak and the water slowly runs out. I don’t like that those who don’t earn all that much are footing more of the bill economically and morally whilst big business cracks the whip and leaves everyone choking on its fumes.
I don’t like that I’ll be considered a drain on the country when my time comes to be reassessed for the welfare reforms. I don’t like that the NHS has failed me in helping me get the treatment and support I want, meaning that the structures I need in place to help me become a genuine member of society aren’t in place.
I don’t like feeling so alone.
We may not be privy to all of the facts, we may not completely understand what’s happening and why, but we can stand on our own two feet, look the coalition the eye and say: fine then, we’ll play it your way.
I’m not giving in to a political system that’s unfair, misguided and past its sell-by; I’m not giving in to the temptation to collapse under the ideological burden of this mess and cry. I’ll protest in my own little way by picking myself up and turning a bad situation to my advantage through political engagement, self-education and spirit.
I am not weak. I will not be walked on.
What I’d like to see more of are people and politicians actively campaigning now for a fairer system. Start now. You have five years to build a positive alternative to everything that’s shockingly unjust about our current political system. You have a lot to go on. Stop saying ‘same old Tories’ and stop being the same old voice of opposition.
Put your local MP in a difficult place. Challenge them. Stand up to your local council and demand transparent operations and change where it is needed. Play the game, but don’t roll over onto the pre-destined bed of tactics created by those that you seek to unsettle.
Become the thing that resistance to change dreads the most: a curious, questioning, fearless, informed, adventurous, radical, hard-working, energetic, independent, outspoken, living, breathing, beautiful, renewed political animal.