The Politics of ...

The Politics of ...

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Get Over It You Lost

Nigel Farage said two days before the UK shot itself in the foot that if the vote was close, but remain won, it would, and I'm paraphrasing here, make him much worse. There would be grounds to push for a second referendum because he was confident between him and the right wing press he could con the people of Britain into voting to be turkeys at Christmas.

Two days after the referendum, he dismissed a second referendum as 'not needed' as the people had spoken. Well, of the people who did vote it was a little over half of them, but this is democracy, etc. The strange thing is if things had gone wrong for Leave it wouldn't have been the end of it, but because it did go well all leave supporters are simply telling the rest of us to 'shut up and get on with life, bloody sore losers...' It's like the leave side all subscribe to the Borg ethos of 'resistance is futile', while the remain side would like to retain their free will and freedom of expression. Not that the leavers haven't been allowed to show their own freedom of expression; in fact it has been the leave side's 'freedom of speech' that has been more worrying than the fact we could all have starved to death by 2020.

The thing is, the leave side don't seem to be able to understand that one of democracy's key points is challenging results, ideals and beliefs. If it wasn't democratic we would have one vote and the outcome would be the result forever - end of. No more votes, you voted this time and whatever happens you have no way out. If you offered the British people a one-off election and told them whoever is voted into government will be there for the next 1000+ years, apart from certain people, most would view this as akin to North Korea and be firmly against it (or I would hope so). Some people might even campaign against it, using social media, public marches and meetings and the people who think the one vote forever is stupid, vile and discriminatory will support this show of ... dissent. Do you see what I did there?

So despite the fact that the leavers want us remainers to stop whining and get on with life, history suggests that we won't, so the leave side needs to get over the fact that we'll be looking over their shoulders, doing what Farage and his cronies did for 44 years, pointing out to you how fucking awful it is now we aren't in the club with all the fringe benefits.


Most leave voters are (and I know this is a generalisation but from personal experiences I can see no further than) massive ignorant wankers, who have either believed lies, have invented their own lies to justify their ridiculous position or are too fucking stupid to have had their own opinion and got swept up by a tide of jingoism that is going to spectacularly backfire covering us all in a shit of the 52%'s making.

What I find slightly worrying is that polls suggest that Britain has hardened and if you held the vote today more than 60% would vote leave. Equally, I look at the polls for a second Scottish independence referendum in England and they tell us that Nicola Sturgeon is even more stupid than the people who voted Brexit because hardly any Scots want it. Go further north and their polls suggest it won't even be a close run thing, especially if UK PLC fucks Scotland over. Our London-centric press and media has been lying to us, forever, why should we believe them when they say Scotland is running scared of the SNP when it's clear it isn't or that the British people are all getting their groove on at the prospect of the UK going maverick and negotiating dream-like trade deals with all the countries we've royally pissed off.

But they need us more than we need them, said all the delusional idiots who ever lived. I'd like some of our delusional leave voters to tell me three things the UK has that Europe cannot possibly do without, while suggesting that what we need from Europe can be summed up in three small words - a trade deal. The other day while attempting to engage with a seemingly intelligent leave voter, I asked him/her 'what if it all goes badly?' to which he dismissed my fears as believing in Project Fear; so I put myself in his shoes and said deep down I want Brexit to work because I don't want to starve and live in squalor for the rest of my life. I then asked him to put himself in my fearful shoes; he disappeared. This isn't a one-off, leave voters can shout all manner of facile and empty things from the rooftops; they have no grounds for proof but their own misguided optimism; ask them to contemplate something they honestly don't think will happen and they disappear faster than a UKIP MP.

There is nothing wrong with being scared shitless about the future and leave voters shouting GET OVER IT are a bit like twats who tell depressed people to 'pull themselves together' or 'sort themselves out'. The problem is most leave voters are stupid and would have rolled their eyes and gone TL:DR by the end of the first paragraph of this blog. Leave voters don't want to hear the things that might go wrong and are like bizarre ostriches with their heads in sand and if it all goes wrong they'll be quick to blame everyone else but themselves. My wife has serious problems getting her head around the concept of leave voters blaming remainers for the downfall of the UK for not being optimistic enough; for being pessimistic so therefore driving us down. Many people believe that us remain voters will become the 'new immigrants' having the blame thrown at us and reinforced by right wing papers who could write any old shit now and have it believed by 75+% of their readers.

Leave voters also do not want to have to deal with the reality that it won't be quite as brilliant as they think. Even leave supporting analysts are saying we're going to have two to five years of pretty torrid and hard times and yet we have imbeciles spouting 'It'll be worth it in the long run', like they think everyone will live disease free for 1000 years now we've got our liberty back.

These miscreants also think that if there are casualties then it is a price worth paying... What?

I wonder how these people will feel if they're the first people to be butt-fucked by Brexit? Probably grin and say it's worth it for getting control back and becoming an independent country again... People believed this bullshit (because no money goes to education anymore, we just train kids to be automatons); I mean really believed that we weren't a sovereign nation any longer. People believed that the EU set all of our laws, conveniently forgetting that we have a parliament that does this, or did these bastions of stupidity really think we just had 600+ MPs who met most days of the week to shout at each other for the television cameras and have a beer afterwards?

One of my favourite things in the last year has been to ask cockwombles what EU laws they are glad to see the back of. I have, honestly, yet to have one, genuine, law given to me, because the people who spout this ill-informed shite haven't got a clue. Seriously, it's a bit like me shouting out that 'Hip Hop gives you cancer' I can't prove it, but if I said it enough on enough forums then people will begin to copy the mantra and before you know it Jay Zed will have a health label on him and have to wear dark grey jumpsuits when he comes to the UK to play with Christopher Martin of the Coldplay...

The revenge of the baby-boomers is almost complete; pissed off for being the generation with the most disposable income and benefits, they have construed to royally sodomise the youth of this country for what appears to be no other reason than to 'watch them suffer like how we didn't'. Perhaps the over 55s believe that their parents were happier having fuck all and eating dust so they're ensuring their children have to suffer these things; maybe, if we're lucky, the NHS can start developing strains of TB, rickets and dysentery to ensure that today's medicine has no effect on them, to give the young a real feel of what life in 1950 middle England was really like.

But we lost and I need to get over it.

Isn't telling someone who truly feels as though their lives have been ripped apart from lies, deceit and the obvious ambitions of politicians over the lives of real people to 'get over it' a bit like telling a rape victim that that's what their hole is for, so get over it?

You've been mortally wounded? Well, it's not my problem, get over it.
You've been burgled? According to your lefty friends, all property is theft, so get over it.
Your parents have been treated like cattle by the £350million less well-off NHS? Bloody well get over it.
You've lost your benefits? You're obviously foreign or have got yourself in this position all by yourself, get over it.
You've got no legs? Pfft, get the fuck over it, crip...

That's what Leavers say every time they say 'get over it'. They say it because that is about as deep and meaningful as their thinking allows them. If Remain had won, I expect there would have been a few glory-twats but the gloating would have been more 'informed' and less 'from the mouths of arseholes'. I expect that we would have grown tired of Nigel gesticulating with pint and fag in hand at the injustice of allowing 18-40 year olds the vote, or his thousands of dead fascist friends who would have voted Leave had they still been alive but their corpses were unfairly prevented from casting decisive votes. But we, being more intelligent and assured people, would have switched over and watched something more interesting instead.

The thing is, I can't get over it. I'll maybe start to get over it if some of the leavers had the common decency to tell me what contingency plans there are for it going wrong, or how they think they would feel if instead of getting better, everything gets much worse?

Let's put it this way, if, in five years, nothing has changed for the average person or the country has actually got to be a better place, I will be the first person to stand up and say I called it wrong; the leave brigade, for all their unbound wild optimism, were right and this has been the best thing we have ever done as a country. Huzzah for Nigel, Boris and Michael Gove - the Pob-headed cretin.

However, if the world is moving on and we're struggling to even buy a tin of beans and people are dying in the streets because we have no NHS, then I'd like leavers to say, if nothing else, "Whoops, I fucked up." It won't make it better, but as least it won't just be me thinking you're a cunt.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Past Caring

The wife and I were discussing 'social bubbles' the other day. I was surprised that she was taking an interest in one of my pet subjects but I soon realised that we were reading off the same hymn sheet, except she made a very salient point which was essentially the more 'social' you are the more likely you're going to become 'blind' to more and more of the real/outside world.

Actually 'blind' is the wrong word; intolerant is the real word but 'harsh' might be an even description. I've mentioned before that I'm growing more and more of the opinion that what we see on the news, hear on the radio and read in newspapers don't reflect what is going on every day on and around our streets. We are all told how the people feel about things and yet see polar opposite 'loonies' on social media. We get the press telling us how it is and because they set the agenda it can sometimes be frighteningly accurate; but try spending time within a 'socially classless environment' and transpose that against things like opinion polls and (if you could give a shit) you'd see that opinion polls are probably designed to sway your opinion rather than show you a fair representation of what people actually think. And what people actually think would require much soap in the mouth...

I realised about 6 weeks ago that I didn't have to try and instigate discussions with my fellow dog walkers about politics because eventually they would start it and however crude a stick to measure things by I'm more inclined to think my dozen or so dog walking chums represent pretty much a huge cross section of 'society'.

There is everything from a trendy 40-something teacher to a retired painter and decorator to a midwife to a 'retired' nurse who has just gone back to work at 68, to a prison chef to a retired plumber to a woman none of us have any idea about to a disabled 20-something - it is a cross section of opinions and needs and only one of them has admitted to voting remain and that was, quietly, to me because I've made no secret of it. I do get the feeling that this is perhaps an underlying black mark against me in the eyes of some of them; like they're getting into practice to start blaming me when they can't blame the EU or all those foreigners for the shit we're hurtling towards.

The point is this group of people have all, at some point in recent weeks, started a conversation about how shit everything is. From inflation to local council injustice, people are beginning to complain to each other again.

There are three people I know who are all in their 80s and one of them, a fascinating woman (called Pat) who could walk for Britain, said to me she can't remember a time since she's been alive where everyone was so unhappy and downtrodden despite having pretty much everything they need, if they so choose. She said to me (and I howled with agreeing laughter), "Someone on the wireless said it was like the country wants to return to the 1950s, I've done the 1950s and trust me, it was shit."

I was quite surprised that Comic Relief raised so much money for charity because I've been out and about far more in the last few weeks than I have in recent years and I saw nothing that remotely looked like fundraising or charity stunts (in fact the only bit of fundraising I've seen was related to CAFOD and was the day after Comic Relief, which was probably bad timing). The wife said she didn't see anything and nothing was done in her office for the first time she can remember and on my dog walk on Friday I saw many people and the only person talking about Comic Relief was complaining because they had to ferry their kids about for some fundraising thing which more than half of the girls involved had already pulled out of.

One of the more ... conservative of the dog walkers was complaining about inflation the other day and part of me was itching to point out that the inflation might have happened anyhow but it was more likely to be linked to the impending Brexit than any other factors, even if some people try to justify the not-so slow erosion of our economy on puerile excuses like 'Sterling was overpriced and needed reassessing,' or 'Inflation means people will be better off in the long run' - which I have seen and heard an actual politician say. Apparently inflation drives wages up, which seems to be the latest insane 'logic' except it does drive wages up, but only at about a fifth of the rate of inflation - look at history, there are zero examples of it being anything other than this.

This is neither here nor there, the thing is if my circle of dog walking friends is reflective of the country as a whole then nobody is happy. Take 10 of us: 3 retired but 1 back in part time work; 5 in work, two of which part time; 2 unemployed - the youngest and me - isn't that pretty much a reflection of the country (except there aren't any foreigners, but that might be a dog/cultural thing)? The 22-year-old has still got some exuberance but you can see the frustration that she's never going to have the things she wants beginning to encroach on her eyes; she's still amazingly elastic and bouncy but you see the sad realisation that despite being a good person the country probably isn't going to reward her or even help her become something better and despite not being a parent, it still sickens me that Tories especially should show such scant regard for education when it is probably the most important thing in the world now - kids need to be taught, the truth, as much as possible to prepare them to be more than just blank automatons, because we are heading that way.

This brings us round to the incident in London last week; it has, to my amazement, been a topic of conversation for the people standing in the sunny corners of the old cow field and everyone of them, apart from the social media-attached 22 year old couldn't give a shit. They were not interested in it; turned the TV over and watched rubbish they would never watch to avoid facing more bad news. They don't care if it was done by a Muslim, a Pole, a psycho Millwall fan, Santa Claus or some celebrity from TOWIE - they DON'T CARE. Turn it off. Leave us alone. Life is shit we don't want to see it on the screens all the time.

No one cares, really. They might put on a different face at work or home, but in the classless environment of the cow field they speak their minds. When they say they're fed up with it, they mean all the incessant fearmongering and bad news; they're not fed up with the event but they want the event to be at the head of the news before moving quickly onto the cuddly kitten story or the football results. The impression I'm getting more and more of is People are Cared Out. The more people start to care less the tighter they become embroiled in their own even tighter circles of social media friends. I've met people in their 20s who honestly believe that because they emoticon on social media about social things they're contributing to its improvement. Really.

Our governments don't see education as being in their long term interests; jeez, the last thing any self-serving politician wants is a population that thinks for itself. What am I on for even thinking such a thing?

I'm sure the majority of the charity that comes in now comes from people who can't afford it or companies and corporations who want the association. The Tories probably look at charity and wonder if the only way to balance the books after Brexit is to end all public services and hope that charities fill the void then that is where we are headed. I once said there were things the private sector simply couldn't be allowed to do or wouldn't because there's no money to be made from it, but I'm no longer sure that our current government couldn't sell the air you are breathing back to you, especially if they think they can squeeze just a little bit more from you.

But 'we' voted them in, 'we' are allowing them to steer us into the future and 'we' will almost definitely vote them in again in 2020 because the people that really run the country want that and the more people grow to hate politicians the fewer people will vote making government's 'mandates' as solid as a house made of blancmange. Democracy is probably dead now, anyhow.

This is where we are. It's a bit shit whatever way you look at it.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

How Did we Get Here?

When Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, failed to condemn daily newspapers for castigating high court judges applying the law that the aforementioned daily newspapers fought such a hard Leave campaign for, it suggests, yet again, that we have politicians who either don't know the rules and laws of politics or are wilfully ignoring them for political purpose. This alone suggests that the UK is no longer being run by politicians, diplomats and multi-tasking bureaucrats, but by largely incompetent, selfish, self-serving individuals and this means that the two most powerful English speaking countries in the world are run by idiots who shout bullshit louder than the common sense and have glamoured ignorant people, not interested or disillusioned with politics.

How else would you explain the slightly surreal state of the world at the moment?

Honestly, the ill-informed really need to start paying attention and not be distracted by issues for which they get emotionally charged about. It isn't the Romanians/Poles fault you a) haven't got a job b) can't get a hospital appointment c) face an uncertain future, or d) are a feckless racist wanker (whose time is running out because once you get your own way you need to deal with it or be found out). It is the fault of successive governments making money from the freedom of movement across the EU. The introduction of a minimum wage and workplace pensions pretty much put paid to unscrupulous employers giving jobs to Europeans because £4 an hour is still four times what they'd get in Budapest or Wroclaw. But why allow facts to get in the way of being xenophobic?

Look, being pissed off that Treeza May wasn't elected is as helpful as hoping that Trump gets impeached/assassinated/goes mad - what do you get if that happens? The same asylum, just different lunatics.

Maybe it's time to ban people who want to go into politics from going into politics; in the long run it will be in the majority's interest. Passionate politics fans tend to be either Right or Left and at the moment we probably need a few decades of Firmly In The Middle and our experience, albeit brief and unpleasant, of that didn't work out well for anyone.

So, with Labour being steered towards another meltdown as Brexit activation date approaches (to take the focus away from the government) and then two years of inflation-fuelled anxiety, fear and probable increased recriminations as some things, not all, go utterly Pete Tong, and the Lib Dems thinking that becoming the Third Party again will have any lasting impact highly delusional, we've got to hope the Tory's own deep-set fissures can either make the coming hurt less painful or offer us a painless way out.

Maybe we'll get cyanide pills or no death duties and a state paid funeral if you save governments money by killing yourself?

When we reach a point in the UK's history when a party responsible for more heartache and pain than Thatcher's 1980s version is 17 points ahead in the polls because their opposition, all of their opposition, are more of a laughing stock than they are... Isn't it time someone with some authority looked at the entire thing and came up with a better and fairer way of having MPs, a parliament and government that is in place to serve the people as an entirety rather than as a select few?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Inflate NOW!

So... the price of food is going up and not just because Spain has had a harsh winter. (There be irony in that statement beyond the pale) Food inflation is expected to reach 3% next month, compared to the 1.6% of this month and the -0.8% of the previous month. Your food is now going to go up in price.

Rewind to the autumn of 1971. My mum is working in a greengrocer's, in a shopping precinct, in Daventry and the price of spuds has just gone up from essentially 2d a pound (at Christmas 1970) to 3p a pound in the September of 71. The reasons for this huge rise in price was two-fold: a poor summer and autumn meant much of the crop was lost and the hangover of decimalisation; although decimalisation did seem to be a perfect opportunity of rising the price of some things by 100% without anyone really noticing. For some strange reason, despite only being 9 and not really showing any great affinity to maths or economics, something my mum said, over dinner one night, has stuck with me for 45 years. Mum was only 38 then and hearing her talk about 'old women' seemed strange to someone who thought all adults were 'old'.

She said something along the lines of this: "Two old women were in the shop today complaining about the price of potatoes. One of them said the price would go down soon, especially if we had a decent summer next year. I said to them, surely they were old enough to realise that prices never really go down." I suppose it was my first example of my rarely cynical mother being highly cynical and that is why it stayed with me, that and the fact that she was dead right - prices never really go down. You could argue that up until February food prices had been steadily declining over the space of the last year or so and, in real terms, have dropped remarkably since 1971. You only have to watch that fabulous Further Back in Time for Dinner and see how much more better off we are now, with our courgetti and our smoothies than we were with a bruised and warty apple or a gnarly spud covered in cow shit.

To say that all of the costs around food production have dropped, either through technology or cheap labour is almost a crass example of proving that food prices have come down, but it is a fact. The cost of your dinner isn't just what you paid for at the shop; it's the fuel used to prepare or store it, it's the energy used to propel it across the world or country; the packaging, the labour, the taxes... I know, you don't want to know or understand this, but it is a FACT. Unless you grow your own food, on your own land, using as little outside influences as possible, you might be able to grow a pound of potatoes for about 3p - in real terms.

I read something last week that both infuriated me and caused me bemusement, disbelief and amusement in equal measure. An alleged Remain voter saying that now inflation was 1.6% it was cheaper to buy food than it was because the underlying pay increases are 2%, so we're all better off. What was worse was when EVERY CONCEIVABLE point was made to prove to her that her statement was ignorant, insulting and plain wrong was met with an obstinacy I've rarely seen before; this person made the 'I voted Leave because of bent bananas' woman seem like a brain surgeon.

The argument is not going to be repeated here, not in full anyhow, but after everyone pointed out everything from inflation being monthly and wage rises being annual, to most people don't get wage rises (only the rich get them and they're usually massive ones which make the poor seem like they get one after averages come in) and haven't - in real terms - for seven years, so any increase is going to cost them, whether it is 0.001% or 50%, the person arguing her side concluded that [leaving the EU] really is a good thing in the long run because it will force people to shop at cheaper shops, thus forcing supermarkets to drop their prices while simultaneously ensuring their British staff get paid a fair amount of money... This person actually exists - she inhabits a discussion on inflation on The Guardian site and rides a rainbow-shitting unicorn through the golden streets of Moss Side... It's people like this that make fair-minded socialists like me understand why Neo-Nazism has become so popular...

The feeling seems to be that leaving the EU is now definitely going to increase food prices until our ministers can negotiate a deal with the EU and other countries to be able to import all of food for either exactly the same rates or less than we're currently paying as part of one of the largest economic blocs in the world - which is a statement almost as bizarre as the one in the paragraph above. The harsh reality is that supermarkets operate on a profit and loss basis, except without the loss bit. In general food prices are driven down by giving the producer of said food less money for it - outside of special offers, etc. You hear horror stories of major supermarkets holding fruit and vegetable growers to ransom and this is the model you can expect, this is why agriculture likes foreign workers, because they'll do it well for little fuss and seasonally. When people claim that leaving the EU will force employers to pay more for British staff, what actual reality are these people living in and has the rainbow-shitting unicorn done a whoopsie in your mouth?

Imagine this scenario. Employer A: I can employ 100 EU migrant workers (possibly for less than minimum wage), they want the job, will work hard and I make maximum profit, in a short window of time, from the supermarket.

Employer B: I can't employ 100 unemployed Brits, so the DWP has forced them to work for me. They don't want the job and do not do it satisfactorily for the National minimum wage and I am in danger of it not being harvested before it starts to rot in the fields and the supermarkets are demanding product, for less money, than I have to give them.

I mean we all know that once we start deporting all the people who clean the shit up in our already governmentally-ransacked NHS, it'll be down to us feckless Brits to find someone who will actually willingly do that kind of work. And how many people rely on immigrants to wipe their demented parents' arses, or bring them food in a care home, or treat them with a damned sight more respect than some questionably dodgy Brit who resents waiting on some old twat? Imagine a workforce that doesn't want to do it picking your strawberries or wiping your poor old mum's private parts?

Of course, there are the imbeciles who will argue that it's what we did in the 50s or 60s, but I have to point out to them that a lot of water has gone under the bridge since those halcyon days and I don't want my cheese rationed in 2017 or eat bread made partly with saw dust or have an outside toilet. Do I need to give you a very long list of what wasn't better than today in the 1950s or will you think I'm lying because I wasn't there? Maybe I'm doing it to deliberately screw up the post-Brexit economy; because all of those Brexiteers will need someone to blame when a loaf of bread is £2.50 because of wheat prices and once you get used to paying £2.50 for it, what's the point in bringing the price down? I mean, prices rarely really come down.

Watching our government, the trending signs from the economy and the fact that Conservatives like Ken Clarke and Michael bleedin' Hesseltine defending poor people with more vigour than you could imagine was possible surely must make you realise that the precipice is hurtling towards us, our guides are blind and retarded and we have a dead duck as an umbrella.

But, it's a price worth paying, isn't it? Having all this sovereignty and control back? The fact that Brexiteers are now rebelling against the sovereignty and control they originally asked for - presumably because they disagree with it - suggests a lot of misery and death has to happen before these pillocks of society realise what they have done.