Time to quit the debating society and get some proper work done

In recent years, the folk at the Houses of Parliament have gone some way to civilising the process.

They changed the hours of working, and substantially cut down on the night shifts and so on.

This period has also resulted in an electorate which feels increasingly unrepresented and let down, both by the government/s and the effectiveness of the oppositions.

During this period, whilst PMQs has retained an albeit stage-managed confrontation, much of the day-to-day politics has been pretty civilised, culminating in Labour’s front bench abstaining on the recent Welfare bill, using some procedural excuse.

This may well be a valid, practical approach to politics – the governing party have a majority, which normally would enable bills and legislation to pass into law no matter what the tactics employed by the opposition. This leaves the battles to be fought in the media, where each party can jostle for their position to be heard, and where the knock-out blow comes from zingy one-liners that play well with the public.

And this suits the politicians on both sides – these folk were always the ones to be in the debating society, to take an argument and try and outwit their opponent. That’s their culture.

This also has added benefits; – media exposure & sensible working hours, and ultimately for most folk in the public eye, these are VERY GOOD THINGS.

I get that.

But the public outcry over the oppositions apparent capitulation suggest this isn’t a good long term move. Over a period of growth and reducing poverty, with all main parties idealogically close to each other you can get away with it. But when the public feel persecuted, excluded, trampled and ignored, it doesn’t look good, and it doesn’t win support.

A recent piece by former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes struck me.

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The new leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition will have the choice – how far to appease, be the sensible politician, but risk losing the momentum of their election result, the Labour party support that is currently so passionate; or to embrace that feeling, to decide that now is the time to let rip – after the summer recess the MPs should be rested and ready, so enforce the party whip and put the government under the most indecent pressure.

Imagine the impact on those part-time MPs with lucrative second and third jobs, they’re gonna get pretty narked pretty quickly, imagine the view of the electorate suddenly turning to the inability of Cameron to get things done. The lobby reporters would have to change tone, it would be “will Boris be here to vote, this MP is out of the country, that one is poorly …” –  Suddenly a tiny majority looks fragile, the opposition is heaping the pressure on, the usually calm will start to fray.

Time to do the hard graft, Labour, this is the pre-season training phase – get fit and lean now, and hit the new season like a team of world-beaters, set the scene.

Jerry Hayes piece: http://jerryhayes.co.uk/posts/2015/08/13/a-corbyn-victory-will-herald-a-dramatic-change-of-tory-tactics

Oblomov III returns from the wild frontier

I can’t keep my trap shut any longer.

So for a few months you get your head down, get things done, teach your children. And around you events unfold, things take shape in the mists, patterns emerge, and (as ever) if only for the sake of my own sanity, but also for the sake of sharing, I can’t keep things to myself any more.

We’ve seen global forces at work, with the neo-liberals of all shades starting wars, picking winners and losers, apparently based on what wealth can be appropriated from this nation or that, now or in the future. Beggar the populous. But just maybe, overall, it’s good for us. 

And then there’s the economics.

Maybe the best thing that can happen is that we decimate a public service, break the will of the users and workers, and privatise it, because ultimately that makes everything better and nothing worse.

And free markets (who doesn’t approve of freedom and choice), except they’re rigged and nobody told you, but that’s alright cos that’s animal spirits and entrepreneurialism, and if it’s wrong then the folk involved might get told off.

And loading individuals with debt for their education, their transport, their shelter, so there’s always a rent to pay. We all understand that. We all want to get stuff, and don’t mind working hard to achieve it. So maybe that’s the best way to do things.

 

If all these things were of a benefit to us they’d have a ton of evidence (both financial and anecdotal) to prove it.

And the population of these countries would be better off, and would know it, and feel it. We’d revel in the security with improved productivity and creativity. The infrastructure (roads, rails, ports, power, sewers, hospitals, social care systems, parks, museums), would be in the best state ever. The environmental challenges facing us all would be understood, and we would have the joy of creating the great technologies and innovations that can help us and the planet through them. And the opportunities for our children would be better than ours, and they and we would see that, and they would feel proud of their parents, their nation and we’d all erect statues of Friedman, Reinhart & Rogoff.

And if all this made the world better, the media would actively seek to get under the bonnet, understand the successes and failures, and discuss them in detail so that we may all have a better understanding of how we, the people, changed things for the better.

 

I don’t see that do you?

I think it’s pretty obvious to everybody that life for most people is actually a bit worse, or a lot worse. And for various reasons (state pressure, owner pressure, incompetence, bias, Stockholm syndrome) the media are very selective about how they show this, and so for most of us, we know things are bad, but we have to take the expert opinions on-board. We look to our opposition parties, who all want slightly more of the medicine, or slightly less of the medicine, or a cheaper medicine, so we conclude that the patient is sick and the doctors are doing their best. But we don’t get to ask if it’s an illness or poison.

And we are taking the poison. Every day. And the doses are getting bigger.

What I’m trying to say, really, is STOP. Have a think about our perilous, tiny existence. 

What do we, COLLECTIVELY, want to get out of this life, for us, and for the future generations of us, and other species?

Because, if we don’t know what a good outcome looks like, then we can’t challenge our systems and structures, and we can’t question our leaders and their media orators on the really important stuff. And while ever we don’t understand that, the poison keeps being administered. I don’t know if we’re doing it consciously or accidentally, but the point being, WE ARE THE PATIENT.

The recovery is a long road, but relatively painless, but we need to stop taking the poison, start being our own physician, and we start with understanding, and work our way up individually, because even the villainous hate figures (take your pick) at the heads of Govts, parties, NGOs, they’re all just folk too, and I reckon we’re smarter than them. Well, you are.

 

 

 

(apologies for the complete lack of structure, narrative framework etc – you can tell I haven’t written anything in ages, but I hope you’ll forgive me)