Lack of imagination in politics
I see the ongoing battle between left and right is being won online by the right at present.
Fake news and misleading headlines are not new. All this ‘new’ phenomenon should tell you is that you should have been reading more carefully in the first place. There is always more than one way to read any article.
Many years ago, I was placed next to a young radical Muslim male at work, who dismissed anything I said as being ‘white cow’ and who was generally a bit uncouth. He was brought up in a very wealthy area of Glasgow, at 19 had his own Mercedes, and although he was allegedly studying politics and philosophy, could not understand it when I said that reading newspapers should be regarded in much the same way as studying philosophy or history. Nobody is telling the truth, because everyone is trapped in their own time with their own social mores.
You can argue that as a Muslim, he would be rather attached to the idea of ultimate truth. That is until I mention that a far more devout Muslim that was also in the work group understood me perfectly. A scholar is a scholar after all, and it belies the argument of all Muslims hating everyone that isn’t, when you consider that the scholars are often more open-minded than the victims of a domineering imam.
This is a good analogy for the current state of politics. Labour appear to be too afraid of offending the few voters they have left, do not seem to see that the party needs radical reform to Labour, rather than New Labour values and that being decisive is a basic requirement of forming any kind of opposition. We seem to be trapped in this idea that politics consists of left versus right, when the truth is far more complex.
At bottom line, the difference between Conservative and Labour in the UK is similar, but not the same as the difference between Republican and Democrat in the USA. The Democrats are still further to the right than the UK Conservatives, but they adhere to the principles of communitarianism as a method of benefitting capitalists. There does not seem to be a party representing socialism in the USA, certainly not one we would have heard of.
As I have mentioned before, politics is not a straight line. It is s circle, and you will find that far left and far right are closely bound if you look at the examples of history. Both believe in a nation, both believe in the rights of people within that nation, the disagreement actually hinges on whether you are a team or an individual within that nation. Taken further, it is the difference between opportunity and rights. Socialism can, in certain circumstances be considerably less fair than conservatism. My personal viewpoint is that opportunity always out performs the right to stay in your social place, therefore I am considered as being towards the right rather than left by my less interested protesting socialist friends.
Socialism, as we have traditionally understood it, has relied heavily on someone already owning the means of production, so we must rail against it to protect our rights. This is all very well, but there is no reason why you cannot go and procure some means of production by yourself, and support someone less able in earning a living. Here is where I differ from your average Conservative, who says that they already have their piece of the cake, and you aren’t getting any. For a society to survive under either political system, it would be a whole lot healthier if Conservative thinking was a whole lot more about pride in concern for others and the dignity of work, no matter what level you happen to be at.
This is now considered very old fashioned thinking. Who on earth reveres the cleaner? Communists would very quickly tell you that without the cleaner, the system breaks down, so you must show some respect to your comrade no matter what task they have been assigned. This now starts to look like a class war, when in fact it is all about resources and social values, an entirely different prospect. Having worked for old and new aristocracy, I can tell you that old school aristos are very much appreciative of their staff, whereas new money and younger aristos prefer to employ someone they can abuse. Again, nothing to do with class, this is to due with cultural values, and our cultural values currently stink.
So, I propose that a new party is formed, abandoning the principles of right and left for an entirely new paradigm. How about a party that does the following? I propose we call it the Healthy Culture Party
- teaches the basic principles of economics in primary school
- reinstates the old arithmetic qualification that taught people how to understand the news, banking documents and how to manage money generally.
- ensure that everybody understands that work is a means to earning a living, and no reflection on your worth as a person. On the contrary, the school janitor may be the person who writes the next world changing treatise on education, so you had better be polite.
- Take pride in ensuring that NOBODY STARVES TO DEATH IN YOUR COUNTRY
- Encourage innovation, free thinking and genuinely free speech, in the place of labelling hate figures as we have been doing for the last twenty years. Conservative culture is now at the point of point and hate at every opportunity, with Labour failing to call them to account or opposing them on anything, a very dangerous state of affairs for anybody in this country. Don’t forget, tomorrow that hate figure could be you.
- Respect borders. Much the same as respecting boundaries in any relationship, it is simply not your call to tell other countries what to do. If you are respecting the right of Saudi to behead and bomb people, you have to respect the right of other countries to run themselves as they see fit and vote for. We have mobs instead of diplomacy currently. It does not seem to help.
- Rate opportunity above preserving the notion of class oppression. It is far more important to have a liberal financial system that fosters the growth of new and small businesses and looks on failure as experience, than encourage the idea that born poor means that you stay poor.
- Reinstate the laws against monopolistic behaviour and discourage over large business generally.
- Stimulate and encourage diverse thinking and alternative ways of doing things in an effort to produce the next generation of creative thinkers rather than fostering conformity, which is only for the benefit of the very large corporations and multinationals that will dictate future political activity. To preserve the notion of the nation state and the idea that there is a government between you and a Walmart education and health record, this is extremely important.
- A housing benefit system that adequately reflects property values, to encourage investment and discourage false valuations on property. This has damaged our formerly diverse economy almost as much as incentives for large American food and beverage chains. It is no good for the economy, and no good for the many talented people who could be creating British brands.
- Encourage the preservation of history, conservation and power that does not destroy the planet we depend on.
Of course, this set of ideas makes me an unusually liberal conservative, with communist tendencies, which is quite close to the truth, I suppose, given my background. I would vote for that. It would render us a lot closer to France in terms of views, which can only be of benefit given our current medium term future.