I expect you are all well and truly fed up with the election by now, as am I, but I thought it was worth (for me at least) writing some of my
thoughts rants on the whole thing. I’m not too bothered about the result as such, as ermine notes FI chasers and early retirees are likely to do ok in the next 5 years, but peoples attitudes and reactions, and then subsequent reactions to reactions have riled me up somewhat. Let me say before we start that I am far from clued up on politics, but I did try to at least look at some of the key points of each manifesto (admittedly in sound bite format) before voting. I am mainly commenting on my social sphere’s opinions that I have both heard in real life and on social media. I would like to think I have a big enough group of “friends” (on facebook at least) to represent roughly what the voting public thinks, which is perhaps the thing that worries me most 🙂
real life comments on the election
I thought it may be more entertaining for the reader for me to just deconstruct, or just plain laugh at/despair at some of the comments one by one. I could have just gotten into a ranting match on social media or even in real life with said persons, but I thought I’d take the cowards way out 1 and just have a pop on my blog instead… 🙂 Here we go…!
Facebook comment #1
“Absolutely staggering to see so much support for Labour on my feed, the party that took us into 2 illegal and misguided wars killing millions, flooded the country with unprecedented levels of unnecessary immigration when our institutions are already buckling and left the country with a monumental national debt. The cherry on the top being Ed Milliband as the Prime Minister of Great Britain. My oh my.”
The way I saw it, there was a global recession which started in 2008 which didn’t really have much to do with a Labour government at all. It was sparked by the sub-prime mortgage bubble in the US and this perpetuated throughout the rest of the world. I have since been fortified in this view by reading articles in the aftermath such as this one 2, ok it’s in the guardian so may be a little biased, but Paul Krugman surely knows his shit on this subject. I have also read a fair bit of the Oxford economist Simon Wren-Lewis’ blog mainly macro 3 who seems a little more independent in thought and both he and Krugman not only agree with my initial thoughts, but go further and say that the spending Labour were doing at the end of their term was specifically because of the recession and it was a good thing. Standard macro economic theory is that the state should expand during the bad times and shrink during the good times, so the austerity measures brought in by the conservatives in 2010 actually stalled the recovery!!! This isn’t just the thoughts of some random maverick economist but the general consensus:
“I’ve not come across a single non-City, non-partisan economist who does not concur with the view that the performance of the coalition has been pretty poor (or simply terrible), yet polls repeatedly show that people believe managing the economy is the Conservatives’ strength” –Read full article here
“Do you agree that the austerity policies of the coalition government have had a positive effect on aggregate economic activity (employment and GDP) in the UK?”
The response was clear: 15% agreed, 18% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 66% disagreed. As CFM reported: “Ignoring those who sat on the fence, 19% agree and 81% disagree with the proposition. This ratio is unaffected by confidence weighting.” – Read full article here
Going back to the original facebook post, we also have a strange comment about Labour leading us into Iraq and Afghanistan. Now I’m all for anti-war type of rhetoric but to believe that the Tories would have not also done the same thing is surely delusional!? The tories for me seem even more in the pocket of the US if you ask me, and Cameron wanted to send troops into another warzone less than two years ago, which was voted down by Labour and some members of his own party.
I will mainly leave the immigration comment as that is a heated and divisive subject, but will say most of what I have read on that subject from an economy point of view is that immigration is generally good for the economy. The ad hominem attack on Miliband also needs no debunking as such and there is plenty of that going around (see below).
In sum, the poster of this comment has not checked any of the facts behind their
views rants, is severely lacking any kind of independent thinking, and has swallowed and is parroting the bullshit that is perpetuated in the mainstream media.
I would like to say at this juncture that I am not a Labour supporter, but a supporter of rational thinking and policy decisions, and social justice. I am also a detractor of bullshit, groupthink, and vested elitist interests (amongst other things 🙂 )
ad hominem and on, and on and ad hominem
People seem to love an ad-hominem attack on the leaders of each party, seemingly as solid reason to vote for that party. Alternatively they may enact a reverse ad hominem . Here are some examples:
“Ed Miliband is a twat”
“David Cameron is a twat” 🙂
“I don’t like that Green party Leader, and she’s not even British”
“Nick Clegg seems like a nice man”
I’m completely baffled. Fair enough if there was a sociopathic maniac in charge of one of the parties then use that as a reason not to vote for them but apart from that, check the manifesto’s and vote accordingly. A party is not made up of one person so voting just because you don’t like the look, sound, or smell 4 of a leader is not the right way to go about things, IMHO!
after the result
When talking with colleagues after the result who seemed generally happy with the Tory victory, so I am presuming that is who they voted for, I was listening bewildered yet again to comments such as:
“Well they got the economy going well again so they deserved another shot” – See above again for the low down on that one.
“I’d really like to see them get the NHS going again” – Whilst pledging some extra money, they’re actually for privatisation of the NHS, which is surely just another step towards a US like paid for system, which I think everyone agrees is not what we’d like over here. This person has in effect voted for one thing whilst hoping that they will do something almost completely the opposite to what their manifesto states 5
More facebook comments:
“If you’re so outraged and can’t accept a Conservative government that was democratically elected by a margain(sic) of 15% by the British public then I suggest you seek out a country that will offer you a better quality of life. It’s not North Korea, you’re free to leave if you so desire.”
On the same thread but a different person, having been challenged on the fairness of the voting system…
“Why is everyone now moaning about electoral reform because they don’t like the election result? We’ve democratically voted in a party using a system that has been around for hundreds of years. A system that was democratically voted in favour of 4 years ago. I’ve made up my mind. People are idiots.*”
Having done the requisite 3 minutes of standard Wikipedia research it turns out that 68% voted for no voting reforms in 2011 with a 42% turnout. That means that only 28.5% of the electorate actually agrees with the current voting system (and was be bothered enough to vote for it). Unsurprisingly, the two major parties had a either a strong view on no reforms (Tories) or no official position (Labour). Given that, is it really that surprising that the Yes vote got trounced? Once again… those with power have vested interests in keeping the system that is most likely to keep them in power… SHOCK!!!!
*This thread took an ironic turn when someone replied with something along the lines of “yes and using the fact that systems have been used for hundreds of years as a reason to continue to use them and not challenge the status quo is always a good idea *cough* slavery *cough*” – The original commentator then replied with “Slavery got shit done” – QED. People indeed are idiots.
a new way forward
As stated above, I am not particularly pro Labour but they definitely seem the lesser evil from my point of view. However I clearly think we can do better. Having read the full points of the Green manifesto there is a lot that I disagree with in that as well, I am in fact of a similar view it sounds as Justin over at Risk and Well-Being 6:
“Indeed, I like bits of each party manifesto but find other parts bonkers.”
It would be impossible to get a political party that everyone fully agrees with of course!
However I did stumble across two potentially interesting initiatives which are worth a further look for anyone reading who is of a same view (or anyone else for that matter!)
Something New – They stood in three constituencies by the look of things and got a few hundred votes in each. Obviously it’s a huge task to get anywhere at all but from small acorns and all that. The party leader is an engineer (which is probably why I like the sounds of it) and it looks like they are trying to take the pragmatic and rational approach to each area of policy. Take a look at the policy page and see if there much you disagree with!?
Open Politics – This is the crowd sourcing political platform that produced the manifesto for Something New. Crowd sourced everything seems to be the trend du jour and I can see this working very well in politics as well. There are obvious pitfalls though, such as… if this went country wide then the crowd we are sourcing from might end up disagreeing with many of the policies that are currently in this manifesto, which currently I agree with perhaps even 95% of. There must be some sort of vetting procedure involved which I am sure has already been thought of (simple example, I come up with a manifesto pledge to give all members of the electorate £50,000. I am sure countrywide this would get voted in!? 🙂 )
Admittedly there is a hint of David vs Goliath about these sort of start ups, but if you think this sort of thing cannot gain traction then take a look at Iceland who’s current polls suggest that Píratar (the Pirate Party) are the most popular party!!!
On that note there is actually a UK Pirate Party which shares many similarities to the Open Politics group above at first glance (disclaimer: I literally just googled that and have not investigated it at all!). It seems to me that the strength may lie in numbers and if there are many of these similar independent groups popping up all over the country, then they would do best if someone could unite them all under one banner. With a catchy party name and a charistmatic, good looking leader of course 7! 😉
Phew! That’s all I can think of today. Hope you enjoyed or found it vaguely interesting! No questions for today but if you have any comments either agreeing or disagreeing with any of the above please do leave a comment. I’d be interested to hear everyone’s views on the election, the result, and the current political landscape of the UK. Thanks! 🙂
- Let’s face it, what good would that have done anyway? I find that people already have their beliefs and only listen to the “facts” that back them up anyway so most of it is just hot air from both sides. ↩
- Found by a retweet from Cerridwen, follow her now if you aren’t already! 🙂 ↩
- Hat tip to comment Greg on ermines post for that link, cheers! ↩
- That would be a bit creepy! ↩
- There were a few other very similar comments whereby people said “I would like X/Y/Z” where the manifesto pretty much stated that the party would be doing the complete opposite, but I can’t remember them now. D’oh! ↩
- Formally The Rational Pessimist ↩
- I just realised that it might have sounded like I was referring to myself there, unfortunately I have neither of those traits, so any input I could give would be behind the scenes or more likely just doing some tech stuff for them ↩