The Politics of ...

The Politics of ...

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Matrix is Broken... The Matrix is Broken...

Recently I watched one of my right on and new age friends rage with unrestrained passion about something that he didn't agree with at an event he was involved in. It made me want to use his own words and assure him that 'everything happens for a reason and perhaps he needs to embrace this set back and look for the positives in it', but I couldn't help think that it would be seen as antagonistic rather than anything else - and to be fair there would have been an element of antagonism in there, but only after a fashion.

The thing is it made me realise that even the most non-judgemental of us are exactly the opposite of what we hold as a solid human trait. Prejudices appear all the time and it isn't just the ignorant or the rich who do this. I recently made friends with a man who seemed extremely decent; his job, wife and lifestyle suggested the last thing he is was an ignorant xenophobe with obvious BNP/EDL leanings - even seemingly intelligent people can exhibit levels of fuckwittedness that beggar belief.

I've met wilfully ignorant people in the last few weeks; people who smoke while pregnant; people who work zero hour contracts and have the urine extracted from them by their employers; people who still believe the NHS will be £350billion a second better off now we're out of the EU, because they haven't taken any notice of a newspaper or a news program since the day after the referendum. I've met a school teacher who voted Leave, who told me she did it because she wanted her country back, that the country was getting to the point where there wasn't enough room and it would be nice to have the majority of kids in her class where English was the first language... A teacher... You have to start wondering about whether humanity has just subconsciously developed an absurdist self-destruct gene?

Having a wife who earns a little too much money has meant that my periods of unemployment in recent years has garnered me the absolute minimum I should be entitled to, yet someone I've known best part of my life and hasn't been remotely interested in getting a job - since 1992 - gets so much support, even now - in the wake of IDS and his purges - that it actually made me feel anger towards him (my friend that is, I've felt anger towards IDS since about 1999). After years of contributing to the economy and paying my NI, I was entitled to essentially fuck all. Had I been 'a feckless workshy wanker' I could have got just about everything I needed - like free prescriptions, bus fares or other frivolous things people with money take for granted. The sad thing is I'm not a particularly nice person but I felt slightly ashamed of myself for feeling angry towards my friend's 'life choice'.

It also should be noted that my friend with the unemployment fixation is also damaged goods and probably now falls into the category of 'people never likely to be able to do a real job again, ever'. Whether he arrived at this situation through nurture or nature isn't for debate (I know the answer to this specific question, though), but one thing is clear 50% of the blame, at least, has to be placed at the feet of the governments of the late 1970s and early 1980s, because they didn't do enough to change attitudes, or invest enough in education (because what sense is there investing in our future?) and it only got worse in the 80s and 90s.

After spending over 15 years working with the disenfranchised and becoming a good socialist as a result, I know the difference between the disenfranchised and those who play the system because they don't want to work or contribute - the people who think it is okay to live off of everyone else without contributing anything other than more actual cost to the taxpayer. Yes, you can argue, it isn't their fault they're in whatever predicament they're in - more the fault of successive governments doing little or nothing for the most isolated and alienated in already poor communities, while simultaneously finding something unrelated to blame - but I'm also not that left wing where I won't call a feckless wanker a feckless wanker.

Take the argument that migrant workers put too much strain on our services. The blame for this appeared to be placed firmly at the feet of the EU despite the fact that 62% of our migrants come from outside of the EU and never once, during the EU debate, did any party - Corbyn's included - point out that the strains on hospitals, schools and public services was actually the fault of the government for not investing in expanding it all when the need grew. I mean it doesn't take an idiot to realise that even if they hooked private business into the building of these things, they would all have been patronised, would have employed more people and would have injected money back into the economy. That isn't socialism, that's common sense that could have been exploited however the Tories wanted and still been beneficial to the majority of people.

I have suggested before that I'm beginning to think that politicians are mainly all idiots, or have finally decided that we're all idiots, because all politics seems to be choreographed now; even Corbyn really appears to be quite toothless because no one - apart from the lovely Mairhi Black (who is 21) - seems to asking the pertinent questions or making any salient points. Take the decision to overrule the No Fracking decision by Lancashire Council - whatever way you feel about fracking, when you consider the overall costs compared to, say, putting up an offshore wind farm, you have to wonder if our politicians are also brainless psychopaths too. Am I the only person who questions his (or her) own sanity at comments, actions or interviews given by politicians. I mean, is Priti Patel even real?

I recently spent a few hours talking to the owner of a small private hire company and he told me some astounding facts about taxis. 54% of all taxis booked are by girls/women aged between 14 and 40. But even more incredible is that upwards of 60% of all taxis are booked/hailed by people on benefits. As someone who has, at times, viewed £10 as an important third of my shopping bill, to be in a position where walking or catching a bus doesn't even feature in someone's thinking, despite having nothing makes me begin to wonder if the Tories are right and that some people exploit the system. Or perhaps kids in poor schools need more education as to how to prioritise their money better when they leave education and go straight into a career on welfare. Ironically, we've allowed TV, the media and commercialism/advertising to brainwash the young into thinking that having an iPhone is more important than eating healthily and we've seen, throughout the last few decades, common sense levels in most individuals drop to the point where (almost) statistically more than half of the people here are twats. We've all been persuaded to spend all of the money we haven't got on cheap shit that won't last while simultaneously blaming Johnny Foreigner for stealing someone else's job...

The unswerving power of commercialism has placed many of our citizens in a position where they view essentials as trivial and trivia as essential and urban ghettos and isolated areas of deprivation are as a result of no government ever addressing - in my life time, at least - the problems in any long-term way. Mix commercialism with a bit of prejudice and you create a dependent with the belief of entitlement. That's the fault of governments since the 1960s who didn't acknowledge prevention was better, and cost less, than cure. Governments never really see or understand the problem until it is too late to fix. And then you need to acknowledge that to fix just some of society's ills - the ones who wield power fancy supporting - it would cost far more money than is available and we all know money is an exclusive privilege of the rich.


Over the last few days we've seen the right-leaning media ratchet up the hate and racism against migrants, or in fact anyone not from the UK. I fail to see what the ultimate aim is, unless Murdock, Beaverbrook and the rest actually want the UK to become a xenophobic, isolated island with no trade deals and vilified by the rest of the world.

What good are these 'rags' doing? What possible positive outcomes can we hope to get when facts are ignored in favour of jingoistic hate and bile? With at least 52% of the country's voters prone to believe sensationalist bullshit and lies you have to start wondering if there's a crazy agenda being set out by the media. Because it has to be crazy - Jeremy Corbyn is a fair politician but is treated and talked about like he was a former Nazi death camp guard, while the Tories and their supporters get nastier and the only places these are covered are in blogs, news sites (not affiliated to money) and Twitter - thus having little or no credence to the 52% because it wasn't seen on the BBC or read in the Sun or Daily Mail.

We're in the depths of a self-fulfilling prophecy; I'm not sure what the prophecy is, just that it appears to involve hate and ultimately violence.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Crazy crazy world

Honestly, you couldn't make it up.

If, say 15 years ago, you were told that the UK would elect a Tory government despite more than 50% of the country being pissed off with poverty and misery, and would also vote to come out of the EU based on a mixture of feelings, misplaced patriotism and idiocy and then we might witness the election of a President of the USA who, frankly, is crazier than batshit daiquiris, you'd probably think I was describing a new Armando Iannucci political comedy, because I'd think all of that and I'm a) writing this and b) living it too.

We live in a Post-fact, post-expert, post-logical world where people simply don't give a fuck about facts - especially those who voted for Leave. Experts are just there to scare us. Logic is there to confuse us and Facts are there to be ignored and derided because Feelings and Pride are far more important to the future of everyone.

The problem is we're talking about a majority of people now. You know and I know that it isn't really a true majority, but it's big enough and ugly enough to dictate the country's rhetoric. The sad truth is a large percentage of the 52% voted as a protest to the shit they've been suffering for years without really understanding that the referendum had nothing to do with what has been happening to them and no one made a big enough issue out of the fact that it was the EU that stopped the worst off and most disenfranchised among us from being marginalised even more. If you weighed up the difference between what Westminster and Brussels has given to the people of South Wales you would have thought they would have voted 99% to remain, instead of 61% of them opting for the exit button. What's worse is these people think that our government is going to save them... That's how stupid people are now. 

There are people in Sunderland facing economic oblivion as their largest employer scales back and considers moving elsewhere who actually feel happy and proud that they've helped precipitate their own downfall. I'm amazed Cameron quit; the referendum gave a warped legitimacy to everything him and Gideon were doing; the fact that Treeza May is actually attempting to reverse some of their less humane achievements almost smacks of the same level of crazy.

I loved a short statement made by *Yasmin Ali - "Tonight I went to a Tory Party meeting on Brexit. More specifically, I went to a Tory meeting on what happens after Brexit to bring the nation together again.   So what did I learn? If I distil it down, it is that they have no idea. No idea how to leave the EU. No idea what happens now. All they know is that they are so loved up with their vote that all these tedious questions are nothing but Party pooping nonsense."

Doesn't this just about sum up the feeling of the Brexiteers across the country? The same people who claim quite self-righteously that if they'd lost they wouldn't be making such a big issue about it... Yeah, right and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle...

It isn't just us; there's this Rodrigo Duterte fellow in the Philippines who is basically advocating and promoting a criminal-cleansing spree, allowing his citizens to kill anyone they suspect is a drug dealer or taker or friend of either. The weird thing about Duterte is despite caterwauls of horror and disgust from the rest of the world, he's a bloody popular bloodthirsty tyrant among his own people - the right wing/Libertarian supporting Philippinos think 'Digong' is top banana and his popularity has grown as the graves of the criminals have filled up.

Hungary has been trying to out-Farage Nigel by having a referendum that I'm still not entirely sure about. I could check this but that takes the fun out of it, but apparently they've just had a referendum to reject the EU's migrant policy, which kind of doesn't make any sense because as part of the EU they've already caused ructions by putting a bloody great fence around their country and restricting movement (you know, the thing 52% of our population would get massive erections about if offered the chance). The fact that not enough Hungarians actually voted to make it officially recognisable is, hopefully, a testament to nice Hungarians, because, according to my Romanian neighbour, 'Most peoples from Hungaria are shit.'

I'm sure Hillary Clinton isn't all the things she's being accused of, because if she is then the USA has finally succumbed to Total Dumb by having two unbelievably crooked and dislikable people vying for the job of Chief Button Pusher. I know it's more about how much money you can throw at it than politics, but if the USA wants to be treated with the respect it deserves it should really take a good hard long look at itself. Sometimes the idea of the Yellowstone Caldera Extinction Event seems like a damned fine idea.

Oh and while this isn't strictly politics, you have to wonder what kind of world we're now living in if fear, scaremongering and worst case scenarios are touted as news... At least four tabloids in the last week have picked up on the 'Britain is headed for an apocalyptic winter' news story. This incredible prophecy of doom first appeared in the Daily Express - the paper that essentially talks about three things: the weather, Princess Diana and the evil Labour party. The Express actually just rehashed a story written last October, with a slight edit to suggest they were a hair's width from being totally right about saying 2015 would be the worst winter since the opening sequence of The Empire Strikes Back. The truth was last winter was one of the mildest on record. The Express would have been more accurate had they said 'Pretty bog standard winter with some cold days and some mild days, lots of wind and a cold spring', because this is essentially what six of the last 10 years have been. Of the other four we had two colder than average winters and two warmer than average winters and warm springs (both of these years my apricot tree fruited).

The thing is as the Met Office says on a regular basis - anything over a week and you get into chaos theory and frankly you can only base long range forecasts on trends and computer models, therefore the Met Office has said what I said in the paragraph above - 2016/17: an average winter with colder spells and milder ones. Yet this is the sixth time in seven years the Express has told us we're all going to freeze to death.


What does scaring the shit out of Brexit-voting pensioners achieve? Do governments just say to newspapers that parts of the economy need stimulating so make up some shite that'll get pensioners in Bournemouth bulk buying bog paper from the local Asda, or is that just a crazy conspiracy theory too far?

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (left-ish UK Muslim journalist)