Welcome to the blog. All the opinion on this blog is my own or as attributed. Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The cause of the disconnect between politics and voters?

One thing that the referendum has highlighted is a reported feeling of a disconnect between our politicians and voters.

I have read many times that one of the reasons that people have given for voting in the referendum (either way to be fair) is to give the establishment 'a bit of a kicking'.

People feel that no matter how they vote they are not going to get what they actually want.

I think the  obvious cause to this is the electoral system that we use. It is first past the post which is causing this disconnect.

When was the last time that any government won an election with more than 35% - 40% of the vote - possibly a lot less. The Conservatives are currently governing the country when around 65% of people didn't vote for them - is it any wonder the majority of people feel disconnected?

The problem with the system is that we have a government which represents the biggest minority and doesn't reflect the majority view point on the majority of issues.

Political parties are encouraged to come up with policies designed to upset as few people as possible in an attempt to be the least worst option - that seems to be the the way to ultimate power.

We need proportional representation to sort this out as then you could truly vote for what you wanted instead of voting to prevent what you don't want.

If we had proportional representation then getting 20% of the vote might put a party in the strong position that convincing one fifth of the electorate surely deserves. Currently it gets you zero influence.

In the meantime the big parties tell lies, or are deliberately misleading, in order to lose as few votes as possible instead of setting out what they truly believe in order to gain votes.

Of course, this might mean that our governments might be forced to work together more - but is that a problem really?

An Announcement

Several weeks ago, before the referendum, I contacted MK and let the party know that I no longer wished to have an active campaigning or administrative role with MK.

I have shared my views and opinions, concerning the referendum result, on social media and I am being responded to as if I am still a spokesperson for MK. In fairness to MK and to myself I think it is best that I make it absolutely clear that this is not the case - I do not represent MK in any way.

I reached my decision to step back from active involvement with MK because I don't believe that it is focussed enough on being a political party and winning elections.

When I moved to Cornwall, eight years ago, I had no interest in politics. It was only through living here, and trying to embrace what is here rather than change it, that I became interested in politics.

I remain passionate about the strength of the case for Cornwall to have a devolved government of its own and that has always been my main motivation in becoming involved in politics. But I think that this can only be achieved by persuading enough people to actually vote for this in an election and MK simply doesn't focus on winning elections.

I don't wish to be critical of MK. I remain a life member. I know that MK has achieved many great and good things for Kernow. I know that MK councillors are individually well respected because they work untiringly for their communities. This can be seen in the outstandingly high number of votes that sitting MK Cornwall Councillors receive to be re-elected. The problem is that I think these champions for Cornish communities are being elected despite them being members of MK rather than because of it.

There are too few members who are able, or prepared, to do the hard and long term work that is necessary to win elections. There are too many who expect their ideas to be actioned by someone else rather than committing to the hard work themselves. Ideas are easy - it is putting them into action that is difficult.

I will never join a Westminster establishment party - their leading members are motivated first and foremost by their career opportunities. They use serious social issues as political footballs in a game to enrich their career. I don't want to be a career politician - I just want to see an assembly for Cornwall in my lifetime.

I will never be an independent politician as independent politicians will never be able to achieve strategic change on a wide scale which is what is needed in Cornwall. Independents are good at representing their constituents in a microcosmic type of way but they could never drive a change in wider macro-society without grouping together - then they are no longer truly independents (what is the meaningful difference between an 'independent group' and a political party?)

To my friends and colleagues within MK - I hope we can remain friends. I wish you the utmost success for your goals and ambitions and I pay respect to your hard work and passion.

Corbyn - A Dead Duck

What is the point of Jeremy Corbyn?

With Jeremy Corbyn as leader the Labour Party is dead in the water.

The party is at war with itself. Its career oriented MPs know that they're likely to lose their seats in droves come the next election and the new 'members' aren't likely to ever do anything constructive or anything that smacks of hard work for the party on the campaign trail.

And Corbyn himself is a just a big let down. He stood for election full of ideals and principles and we have watched them slide one by one as he morphs from rebel to establishment figure.

I don't know what Labour can do - or if it really matters in the end. In order to get elected in the current climate the Labour party would have to follow the Tories to the right.

What is the point in that? What colour do you want your right wing government blue or red?

Corbyn will never be able to get Labour back to truly progressive policies - so what is the point?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

My thoughts on the referendum result and the future

I wanted to take time to summarise my thoughts on the referendum result and the future for the UK after the momentous decision to leave the EU.

This is my personal blog and these are my personal opinions. I'm not at all an important person and I'm not claiming to hold any monopoly on common sense, decency or intellectual capability. 

If you don't agree with my thoughts then that's fine I accept that - please accept that I have a right to my opinion - however unimportant it is in the grand scale of things - to anyone else but me.

This is the status that I put on Facebook when the result was finally declared:

I am utterly appalled and dismayed at the result today. I am ashamed and embarrassed to be 'British'.
As the economy crashes, and the politics of hate have become acceptable, it looks like the United Kingdom (once Great Britain) will truly become Little England. We will lose all international credibility and the process of decline in our global status will accelerate.
I have two hopes. First that if you voted to leave you will accept responsibility for what you have done in the future and not try to pass on the blame.
My second hope is that I am totally wrong and Brexiteers are right. Never have I hoped to be wrong so much.
Cornwall needs its own assembly - but, given the result in Cornwall, does it deserve it?

That was an initial reaction to what most people agree was a shock result. Do I stand by it now? Yes just about every word. 

I admit that as I wrote  'As the economy crashes' - while it was accurate at the time that I wrote it - it was (perhaps understandably?) hyperbola given that I knew and understood that the capitalists and speculators were out in force trying to make a quick buck and that it would bounce back almost as quickly and to almost the previous level. Indeed I had discussed exactly this scenario with my son as the poll was being conducted - though I admit the scale of the dip and recovery was beyond what I expected.

But let me explain some of the other parts.

I am still ashamed and embarrassed to be British - the politics of hate have become acceptable. 

This is not because of the result of the vote - we had a referendum and I accept that a majority of people wanted to do something that I disagreed with. That is absolutely fine by me. As Leave campaigners now keep pointing out we live in a democracy so have to accept that result. 

(Though as an aside I find it incredulous that there are so many people lecturing me on democracy and the triumph of the will of the people being heard. Incredulous because just the day before many of the same people were claiming how the vote had already been rigged and that a remain victory would not be a democratic statement by the people at all?)

I have no problem in accepting the fact that, as a society, we have voted to do something.

What I have a problem with is what this decision and how it appears to have been reached says about our society.

As I see it there are three types of Brexiters. 

First there are the people (almost certainly the majority) who have actually thought long and hard about the decision, respected its importance and carefully weighed the evidence before voting to leave.

I respect and applaud these people - I may not agree with you - but you have exactly the same right to vote leave as I have to vote remain.

The problem is that there are two other categories - probably sub-groups of one basic group.

Many people (and this is admittedly a purely subjective opinion from what I have personally witnessed) have voted because they agreed with what they thought were the two fundamental propositions of Brexit: 1 - There will be £350m per week which we can spend on the NHS and 2 - We will have complete control of immigration and only those who we think are 'acceptable' or 'necessary' will be 'allowed in'. 

Why I think there are two groups here is because it was absolutely clear that both of these propositions were outright lies and falsehoods designed to con people and to subliminally appeal to more latent qualities of selfishness and prejudice. 

That they were lies was always clear to any critical thinker. 

The ink wasn't even dry on the declaration of the result before Farage and co were carefully explaining how:

'actually - you know that £350m for the NHS - it was a mistake - er.. sorry'   


'you know what - we never said we were going to stop immigration - just that we might be able - in some way - at some point in the future - be able to say - in some way - that we have allowed an immigrant to come here without actually changing anything whatsoever'

Two central lies exposed within hours!

That is why I think there there were two groups. 

There was a group who didn't really think about anything much - but allowed themselves to be taken in by a promise of 'getting our money back to spend on the NHS' or 'stopping all these foreigners coming here and ruining our country' This group is exemplified by the reports in Friday evening newspapers of hordes of voters admitting that they had voted leave and now wished that they hadn't.

Then again there was a group that knew that lies were being told and knew why the lies were being told. They went along with the lies and reinforced them. This was done because they preferred to condone this in order, for whatever personal reason, to ensure that leave would win. In my mind this was the more cynical and rather more nasty element who have put personal gain or bigoted opinions and principles ahead of what they know to have been the truth. Should the leave campaign leaders and groups like Britain First be included in this category? You decide.

So why am I ashamed to be British? Not because we have had a democratic vote which has led to us leaving the EU but because what it has revealed about a significant element of our society.

We have politicians who are prepared to lie and cheat. We have people who are prepared to back them in full knowledge of what they are doing. And we have people who aren't prepared to look at bit more closely at what is being offered - but are prepared to be duped time after time.

Now you might say this is nothing new. Correct! But it doesn't make be proud to be British and each time it happens it makes me that bit more cynical and ashamed that, as a society, we are letting these people get away with it.

It looks like the United Kingdom (once Great Britain) will truly become Little England. We will lose all international credibility and the process of decline in our global status will accelerate.

There are so many people saying how Britain can now be Great again. I don't think Britain was ever particularly 'Great' and leaving the EU will only accelerate any respect and standing that we have had in the world.

'Great Britain', as I understand most people seem to allude to, was something built on the colonial rape and pillage of societies for the benefit of a ruling elite. Of course, we have all been 'educated' along the way that we were bringing 'civilisation', 'modernisation' and even 'salvation' to 'backward savages' but the truth is that a few people got very rich by using  one lot of  people to murder another lot of people and then stealing all their stuff. 

Does this make us  'Great' - I don't think so?

Even if it did, the colonial era ended a century ago. What might have made us 'Great' a century ago doesn't apply to day does it? 

So what could make Britain 'Great'? Surely it has to be about working together to get rid of 'bad things' from the world. Surely it's all about co-operation, understanding and tolerance for betterment of all. For me it is.

The 'Little Englander' mentality does not make Britain Great - it makes us morally impoverished and isolated.

Our 'Greatness' in the nineteenth century is long gone. We are now just another, fairly wealthy, state which is comparable to many others. If this is a decline from our nineteenth century status of global superpower then that is simply the way it is. We're never going to change it back - even if we really wanted to. Our global status and the respect which the world community pays us has deteriorated steadily since the first world war. It is because we no longer have an empire and the military might to hold it, yet there are those that seem to want to maintain an empty imperial arrogance in our relationships with others. 

Leaving the EU won't bring back the empire. There will be plusses and minuses. If we do better at one thing then we will do worse at something else. There will be no reversal of our our colonial decline and, worse still, it reinforces the international view of our imperial arrogance.

Then again we stand to lose even more. Scotland will almost certainly leave the UK and Northern Ireland may well follow. That's a 'Great result' isn't it? 

I have two hopes. First that if you voted to leave you will accept responsibility for what you have done in the future and not try to pass on the blame.
My second hope is that I am totally wrong and Brexiteers are right. Never have I hoped to be wrong so much.

Now I'm sure that the element who gave the issues serious thought about Brexit will take responsibility and will admit if it shown that they were wrong. 

On the other hand it already apparent the the leaders of the leave campaign are already trying to find ways of doing exactly the opposite. 

No doubt we will have the 'wrong type of Brexit' - even when (or if) it becomes clear we have made a mistake, one thing for sure is that it won't be Farage and co's fault. 

I really do hope that I am wrong and that Brexit will be a massive success. I can't see it at the moment - but if I ever do then I will own it. 

Of course I want our society to be the best it can be. I hope you Brexiters are right and I am wrong. Time will tell.

But at this point it should be worth noting that the democracy, which Brexiters claim calls on us all to pull together to make Brexit a success, actually means that I am liberty to disagree. In fact, if I wished, I could actively campaign and seek to persuade people that we should rejoin the EU. I could form a 'UK in Europe' political party and seek support for re-entry. That is what democracy is all about and shouldn't anyone, who claims to love democracy, agree that I have the right to do so? Surely it doesn't mean blithely accepting any democratic result for the long term. You're only as good as your last result!

Just saying ....