Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Greek 'Revolution' will not be a shining light for Europe's Left - The truth about modern Left wing politics (part two)

The truth is this subject could run and run; the last post was too long and I've had to accept Left wing politics can't be dissected in two posts. So I'll do it bit by bit, this second part has been forever delayed and of course now a General Election is going to get in the way.

If Labour manage to win outright or go into Coalition, there should be a lot of good examples of the problems of Left wing politics, but for now I’ll look at the most obvious current example of a serious Left Wing Government; Greece.

    Syriza's Leader - Alexis Tsipras 
    Greek, in a Left Wing Government and apparently serious...

There's always an element of wanting to see the opposing view fail, for it to be proved wrong; it is in the nature of politics and to some extent it is part of human nature, the cynical part of course. 

I don't wish the people of Greece ill, not at all, it'd be good to see them sort things out and create some sort of successful 'alternative', it'd be interesting to see how it can be done. 

It's not that I don't want it to happen, but I can't see it happening. Not without going into the territory I wrote about in the first post.

Just as I posted about the problems of modern Left wing politics, a party with a truly Left wing outlook was elected to Government in Europe - Greece election:Anti-austerity Syriza wins election. So it seems at least part of my analysis will be tested.

    Syriza have won people over with their humble style
    European politicians should learn something from them.

There aren't that many truly Left Governments in the world and at the end of the day without a Socialist bloc (as existed in the 20th century), they have to exist in a capitalist world and therefore lack support, for hard Left politics.

European Leftists want to paint Greece as the alternative to 'austerity', but I think they're on a hiding to nothing and of course the Left will say that it isn't the politics (the ideals) that have failed, it will be because its opponents have brought it down.

In some respects that will be true, if and when the Greek experiment fails. It's all about money and Greece needs a lot of it. The Left will say Syriza and the nation were denied the chance to make a success of it and they were unable to succeed within the current system (a German controlled EU and a wider capitalist system).

    Angela Merkel

    Between a rock and hard place...?

    Greek Protesters
    Not a fan?

    More Greek protests at Merkel
    Bit extreme...

But Greece would fail in most circumstances, at least if they didn't radically transform their economy. The only situation that would work for Greece is a worldwide revolution and then their global comrades could help them out, because right now they're a basket case.

They don't produce anything much, too many of their citizens don't pay their taxes; they have the economic set up of a third world country, but they have become accustomed to first world public services. And of course they want to maintain those services, but someone has to pay for them and if they're not producing enough to fund their own services, then who pays?

The rest of Europe, particularly Germany, feels that they are paying for the Greeks.

This BBC article talks of the inaccuracy of claims about ‘lazy Greeks’, supposedly retiring early - Greek bailout talks: Are stereotypes of lazy Greeks true? 

I wasn't aware of these claims about the Greeks, the French, yes... 

While there does appear to be some truth to the accusations, according to this article it is to a relatively small extent, but the author does go on to confirm the other problems of their economic set up. Why are people retiring early in an unproductive, dysfunctional economy? Who pays for it?

It does seem that Greece is being squeezed by Germany and the EU should take a lot of the blame for what Greece has become. Just as the Labour Government oversaw an unsustainable economic model in the UK, the EU allowed Greece to get like it is:

    Athens Olympics - 2004
    Good times.

The new ruins of Athens: Rusting and decaying 10 years on, how Greece's Olympics turned into a £7 BILLION white elephant

But the idea of writing off debt while maintaining their public sector and services, is actually insulting to those playing by the rules, not least many countries outside the EU who would love to have the Greek standard of living.

Greece as an independent nation has been afforded its standards of living by the EU and membership of the Eurozone

They are down the GDP list by any measure and their position will be assisted by the currency, many countries with far worse services and infrastructure will be ahead of them in terms of economic output. The respective circumstance and development of each nation make for complex comparison, but there is a simple principle involved. And the Left are normally fond of simple principles…

You could say writing off the debt would allow them a fresh start and a chance to reform without the burden of debt, something that has been offered to the developing world in the past.

    Make Poverty History - Edinburgh 2005
    We've come a long way since then...

Firstly I think they have to sort out the tax evasion before this is even considered, they could be closer to having the means to service the debt but this has been effectively ignored. It certainly has been by many of the Left wing advocates championing the Greek revolution, talking all day long about tax avoidance in this country and then supporting debt in one country being written off, so that they can fund their public services, instead of collecting tax for it. Money is lost from outside Greece, UK included, when the funds may well be in Greece; how does that sit with UK Uncut’s principles…? It’s overlooked -

This is Corruption, everything about the situation is utterly corrupt and that needs to be addressed. Thankfully tax evasion is being acknowledged as a significant part of the problem - Greece debt deal: Reforms will 'combat tax evasion'. It hasn't been acknowledged by the Left at large. Our mate and favourite celebrity revolutionary Russell Brand, who admits to not understanding economics, shared on Twitter a link to an article about a impromptu market of 'the people' in Greece (“Without middlemen” market). How wonderful Russell, but how much tax is collected from this to fund their public services? There was no response to my question on Twitter...

Secondly, if the debt is reduced or gone, they should then have to fend for themselves. I imagine the likelihood of them leaving the Eurozone is high if they won't service their debt and it would only be fair to the other nations within the zone, any nation with a large amount of debt. Surely Spain, Portugal and Italy will all be clamouring for better deals if Syriza get their way within the Euro.

If Greece leaves, we will see how they fair, if they can change their economy and maintain their standard of living.

The crux of the situation does appear to be that Syriza want the rest of the EU to support and maintain the Greek standard of living, when they are not productive and do not pay their taxes.

The European Left should not be championing this situation.

You can’t blame the Greek population for turning to a political movement promising to maintain their way of life without the ‘pain’ of austerity, the electoral victory doesn't make this is a success for Left wing politics, they haven’t achieved any of their aims yet.

    Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras 
    Having a laugh...?

If the Greek government do get a handle on tax evasion then the Control aspect of Left wing politics I looked at in the last post, will be in place. Although rightly in that circumstance, it would still be interesting to see the effects.

Fiscal and wider reforms would have to be fundamental and will put pressure on large sections of the population, some of whom may currently be supporting Syriza, but it will take some time to see what happens and how any changes affect particular groups and activities - Keypoints: Greece economic pledges to Europe

Greece suffers from Corruption in various ways, tax evasion is just one aspect of that and they will need to radically improve their economy with relatively limited means to prove their politics are Practical, in the modern world.

If they can avoid endemic levels of corruption as they move on, then maybe they will be heading in the right direction. Their population is relatively low and this is can enable more successful restructuring and then allow for a Left Wing organisation of society to be maintained.  

This is the case with the favourite national examples of Left leaning success for the more Liberal Left in the West; the Scandinavian countries. They are similar to Greece in that each has a relatively low population, but the similarities pretty much end there; the Scandinavians pay their taxes, levels of corruption are low and probably most importantly, they have long established, functioning economies. 

I saw one Twitter comment suggesting the Greeks should take a leaf out of Iceland’s book, the small nation having apparently made strides towards recovering from the economic crisis. And this appears to be a common suggestion on Twitter.

Iceland and Greece? Opposite ends of Europe, very different economies and cultures, and the population of Iceland is barely that of the average small European city. So it’s a bit more complicated than the suggestion…

    Reykjavik, Iceland

    Athens, Greece

It is just shows how desperate the European Left wing intelligentsia have become, as they're championing Greece, when it is little more than a fed up people wanting to maintain their living standards on flimsy economic foundations. Championing their cause is one thing, but championing their politics and methods is different. Of course it's always the principles of the matter for Leftist intellectuals, not the practicality...  

Leftists have long given up on France... And further afield, Venezuela was a former favourite of the Left - the Left's favourite 'socialist paradise' is sliding into poverty and dictatorship, but this has faded away recently and is in truth another poor example for the Left. Crime and corruption are still rife in this country, there is significant opposition to the current Government, even then it is still in some ways a better example of potential economic success for the Left than Greece, as Venezuela at least has oil money to exploit. 

It's not good, it shouldn't be a sound economic foundation for Left wing sensibilities, but that didn't bother Owen Jones and it seems the notion didn't bother the SNP in Scotland. A means to an end. At least Norwegians appear to realise it can't last forever.

If you don’t have the natural resources, then you have to work hard to stay ahead. The Greeks have got their work cut out, if they are to sort out this mess and prove the likes of Owen Jones right.

    Owen Jones
    Socialism at its best

The world was certainly looking at Greece when Syriza won power. Of course many are keen to point to Greece as the cradle of European civilisation and the pioneers of democracy, and while this is of course true, things have moved on quite a lot since then. Mostly Northwards, where modern civilisation has flourished and largely been maintained. 

    The Greeks are proud of their history
    Start there and move on...

Europe has already had one catastrophic collapse since their ancient democracy and Greece was under foreign rule for significant parts of the intervening time. So are they saying it begins and ends in Greece or the cycle starts again…?

They’re certainly tempting history now:

    Tsipras is ok now Putin is behind him...
    "I must do what Stalin should have done many years ago..."

Good luck to them, I think we all need it... 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

‘The Revolution’ will not be what you’re hoping to see - The truth about modern Left wing politics (part one)

To put it simply; the truth is the modern Left wing have got it all wrong…

Wrong in so much as there are always significant problems when their ideals and systems are put into practice. And wrong in that they are averagely too self righteous to see or accept the problems.

So many people want to appear to be altruistic, want to be on the side of ‘the people’ and while the intentions may indeed be good, the politics aren't practical, not now, not at this moment in history.

Many people work to change the world and that is vital, but wholesale change; a revolution or ‘the revolution’, is not a good idea.

    The recent Million Mask March in London
    Suggested reform may include a 'maximum wage'? 

Even forgetting how bloody revolutions have generally been in the past, the resulting system wouldn't necessarily be any better and in terms of conventional or moderate Left wing politics, the situation is the same, the system is never ‘fairer’ as it always turns out, it’s usually unsustainable and subject to many of the same problems as revolutionary politics.

The issues with Left wing politics are many and complex, and that is part of the problem in itself, Left wing politics fundamentally rely on simple idealism and principles that aren't as widespread within populations as necessary, in reality (even if they are professed views, it doesn't mean they’d be followed through…). Despite the complexity, I have managed to break it down to a few overriding points that do to some extent encapsulate the problems of Left wing systems.

To be clear from the start, this isn't advocating Right wing or even Centrist politics; this is simply a critique of contemporary Left wing politics, from a former Left wing idealist. At times it pains me to take such a standpoint, I used to believe that a revolution would be a good thing, but then I realised nothing is ever perfect...

The three problems are:

  1. Control
  1. Corruption
  1. Impracticality
The first two are significant features of Left wing systems, they combine with circumstance and individual and cultural differences to make the politics impractical; up to the present day the politics have failed on too many counts, they are impractical in the modern world. The systems do not work now, they may well in the future, in fact there's a good chance they will. But then the circumstances and the systems would be different and the Leftists' arguments of today would still be wrong, as much as they will always claim moral superiority.

One of the Left's main problems is that they struggle to see reality through their ideals and their holier than thou attitude. There is always a need for some compromise, but the belief that they are intrinsically right clouds their judgement when faced with reality, that is where the problems begin and why I wanted to write this, to make it clear.

Any current Left wing system would involve some sort of redistribution, whether it is just taxation or something more fundamental like removal of private property, it goes without saying that there would be opposition and therefore you have to have control. Otherwise it doesn't work; you would have to force people to follow the rules, one way or the other.

If you have a high taxation system or an effectively communist system, you would have not only internal opposition, but also external opposition and alternatives. You only need look at the many socialist systems of the 20th Century and their attempts to subdue and crush opposition to illustrate what would have to happen to some extent, when there is an alternative to the system and dissenting voices.

    Lest we forget...
    Socialists can ignore it, but we can't let them re-write it.

There are of course fewer examples of modern Socialist systems, though Venezuela, oft touted by the Left as an example of socialist success, has recently been having problems with opposition

(Of course the Guardian don’t like it. But everyone sees things differently – BBC QandA. And the make up of any opposition and the way it’s perceived will depend on many different circumstances. In Hong Kong the Chinese also blame 'hostile foreign interests', while it is students at the forefront of opposition again)
There are some seven billion people in the world and around 200 countries, how any effective truly socialist system can succeed in this vast diverse world is almost beyond reason.

And if all seven billion were to live under one system that would take strict control and enforcement, and if just a percentage were to live under such a system, then the remaining population and territory provide an alternative and potential opposition.

If there were to be a bloody revolution and property is removed by force, along with all the other potential facets of a Leftist movement, then obviously control and force is being applied and immediately they undermine and contradict their altruistic principles.

In the past there were at least clearer divisions along class lines and the revolution was for the working classes, but those divisions hardly exist any more, even in the developing world, with its burgeoning middle classes. Where is a line to be drawn? And how many would suffer because of a hastily drawn line?

The truth is ‘the poor’ are nothing of the sort in the developed world when compared to the equivalent populations in previous revolutions; from the French to the Cuban Revolution. And in those revolutions of the past the perpetrators openly and actively sought to destroy the ruling classes, not only the existing order. But the ‘revolutions’ so many groups speak of now in the West, not so much about the destroying?

You don’t remove your principal opposition? That’s going to make it less likely to succeed… I don’t think there have been many peaceful revolutions; change maybe, but a complete overthrow as some would have it? (The ‘Bloodless Revolution’ in Britain ushered in the current system).

    Old School
    Che knew the score.

    New School
    Who would follow Russell into conflict…?

    A fool...?

In a genuinely ‘bloody revolution’, power has corrupted instantaneously.

That leads to the second problem; corruption. This problem is relevant to all systems, Left or Right, but at least with Right wing systems it’s viewed by almost everyone as tacit, seemingly even by those running said systems. But the Left claim to be righteous, at times almost to a religious extent, ironically.

This aspect is also more relevant than control to many Western Left wing governments, the likes of the British Labour party. Too much or conspicuous levels of control is difficult for them, though try they will, there appears to be a high level of freedom, particularly economic, but corruption; incompetence, idleness and more besides, comes very easily to them…

Corruption is a loose term used to encompass a wide variety of sins. Corrupt can be in terms of making a very good living from doing very little, ignoring or excusing incompetence and the antonym to Labour's claims of a ‘meritocracy’; nepotism. (What Labour’s Red Princes tell us about Britain - New Statesmen article on Labour's nepotism) 

    'I paid for my son to become a Socialist'
    'It's a damn liberty he has to stand for election...'

The public sector could be seen as corrupt in this sense and Labour only made the problem worse. Why doesn't more money go to front-line staff; nurses, etc and why are there ‘non-jobs’ like the position I've looked at previously; the Grass Monitor…? 

There is a lot of money flying around and if they keep enough of it in the air, no-one will see where it’s landing. It's not even worth going into the MPs' expenses scandal again, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Fantastic that after so many years of being a Leftist stalwart Tony Benn left us all with a lot of talk for the Left to happily quote, but his parting gifts were nepotism and now we discover some very well timed tax avoidance

    Tony Benn
    A man of principle (talked a good game).

    Benn on Marx and Christ
    But Karl and Jesus didn't have any power Tony... 

The various elements of corruption occur within Left wing systems of all kinds, whether it is extreme such as North Korea or just a Left wing sham, such as the UK Labour party.

    How a future Labour conference might look...?
    If certain people had their way...

In the extreme it leads to the horrific injustices of a regime like that of North Korea and in the watered down version of socialism under New Labour in Britain, it led to incompetent government over-inflating the public sector, creating inefficiency, unfairness and further accentuating many divisions in society.

Left wing idealists come across as in utter denial about the problems of corruption, as well as crime. Perhaps it’s part of their idealism; if everyone becomes (by force…) equal, then all the ills of the world will be solved and there will be no crime. No-one would want to have more power or possessions (will there be possessions…?) than their neighbours or comrades, so there will be no crime. The Mafia will give up the game, drug cartels will just disband…

Now, in this time, this age, it is utterly ridiculous. (Judging by the murder rate in Venezuela, I think we have a reasonable contemporary example.)

And in terms of corruption within the system, maybe Left wing idealists and advocates do not mention the problems because they know they will benefit from them; there’s just in on the scam, they’ll get a good position in the regime…?

    Committed Socialist Owen Jones
    'When the Revolution Comes - Let the good times roll...'

I think there’s almost no doubt they don’t bring up the subject, because it will undermine their arguments.

There would be crime and corruption, and either it would be ignored or it would have to be cracked down upon, therefore further strict controls on the population.

It is the Left ignoring the complexities of the modern world and that is true of so many aspects of Left wing politics. With extreme Left wing politics, it is absolutely fundamental; in terms of how a communist system would work when it has transformed from a complex highly specialised society? (Irrespective of the pedantic nature of political academics) Marxists are referring back to theories devised over 150 years ago, when economic and class systems were much more simplistic.

Following the recent economic crisis, how many times has someone stated that Karl Marx was right? Far too many times, because he lived in a different world, and he certainly had some points about anarchic capitalism at the time, but that doesn't mean he's right now. It’s hard to say he was even right 100 years ago, if you look at how his ideology was applied through the 20th Century. 
It is the nature of the modern world that makes Left wing ideals impractical. The need for control and the corruption are indeed fundamental to this; they are symptomatic of the impracticality. But Leftists just ignore it. Their focus is simply the problems of the current global system and their solutions are idealistic.

It is often actually a dangerous level of ignorance. Blinded by their idealistic visions of a fairer society, one where we suddenly all get along and share; pacifism is a significant part of Left wing politics.

The current situation in the Middle East and conflicts elsewhere around the world (such as the Ukraine), are again highlighting the fallacy of pacifism, the complicated and competing cultures and interests in the world, and the friction they induce, are unlikely to change overnight.

The protests at the recent Nato summit in Wales were actually relatively muted (perhaps in the face of almost insurmountable need for military options), but the pacifist ideals were certainly there (No Nato Newport).

Do they believe that if the West were to disarm that the likes of ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS, ISIL, who cares what they want to be called…?!) would in turn just throw down their weapons and pick up peace pipes (or rainbow banners)?

    Spot the difference:

    No Nato Newport

    Naturally aligned...?
And a West without significant military capabilities leaving a world dominated by Russia and China, do we really want to see how that would work out? It is irrelevant that Western idiocy created the current situation in Iraq or if you want to look further back, the world situation at large, through the course of industrialisation and various conquests and wars, we have to the deal with the current global situation as it presents itself.

On an economic front, as Russia and China continue to grow and dominate, would a Left wing led Western world be able to maintain the economic strength to foster the desired lifestyles promised by Leftist politics, in the face of competition from the emerging economies of the world? The EU is fundamentally Left leaning and there are no guarantees that on its current course, let alone if it took a severe Left turn, that it can maintain living standards and its economic standing in the world (BBC business news - Eurozone economic forecast cut by European Commission and Eurozone growth sluggish as Germany avoids recession).

If you think about the practicalities of pacifism combined with the potential economic focus of a Left wing pacifist nation and ask; if we were to spend all of our defence budgets on the NHS and employing Doctors, Nurses, etc (as No Nato Newport has previously suggested), would that lead to the preservation of both world peace and our economic prosperity? Could we secure world peace and end world hunger by simply switching the funds as they now proclaim?

Too simplistic…?

The complexities and diversities of the modern world make the notion of a successful worldwide socialist revolution almost laughable, not to even go further into the need for control and the inevitable corruption. It was impractical in the 20th Century 'Second World'; worldwide revolution would take this to a new ridiculous scale.

However, even moderate Left wing regimes suffer from the same problems in a global economy, France are an example of a struggling European economy, but when they are taxing their rich at higher levels and while implementing potential economic burdens like a reduction in the retirement age for an ageing population, it isn't hard to see why…?

Again this isn't advocating Right wing economic policies, or 'austerity', investment is necessary, but when funds are misused or misdirected; then the Left’s arguments are again undermined by practical reality. They so very often, don’t know what they’re doing…

There isn't any need to go too far into the problems caused by the UK’s recent foray into ‘Left wing’ government.

    New Labour - all there
    Bunch of c**ts.

While many do not see the recent Labour Government as strictly Left wing, however confused it may have been; much of their politics was derived from post war social democracy. They blindly pumped money into the public sector and created some of their socialist ideals in that protected environment, while giving the financial sector something of a free rein.

The financial crash may have been a once in a generation downturn but it highlighted Labour’s errors and incompetence. The level they were able to spend in the public sector was only facilitated by the height of the boom they presided over and they could have invested in that time both to create a balanced economy and also to have surplus funds for a softer landing after the crash.

    Gordon Brown, on reflection...
    'I should have seen it coming...'

The balance of creating a functioning economy with improving living standards and working conditions is something moderate Leftist regimes have consistently struggled with since World War Two. It’s not that in theory, they couldn't work in practice; moderate aims working within a global market economy could succeed, and they do sometimes on a smaller scale. If it weren't for the stresses of competition and global crises they might fair better on a larger scale, they have for short times, but it is exactly that larger scale where they begin to fall apart. And while the control of moderate systems may be more subtle, the corruption, as outlined previously, can make them far from attaining the fairness and equality they claim to strive for. 
Left wing systems should work, if everyone acted and thought the same way, but they don’t. The Soviet led Socialist world of the last century was able to provide a necessary like minded economic bloc, every nation needs to have some ability to trade in order to survive and develop and they were able to survive for a time. This fuels the Trotskyist desire for world wide revolution, to make everyone think and act the same, but there again we fall into the need for control and economic control is just one aspect, conditioning of minds is a further part of the necessary control in Left wing politics, which I will look at again.

As I have already stated this has nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of right wing politics; Corporatism, Laissez-faire economics, Conservatism or Libertarianism, it’s irrelevant to this argument.

I don’t agree with the set up of the current system, from established wealth to the new super rich. Particularly for the latter; tax avoidance on an international level is something that should be tackled, but large scale Left politics, of almost any kind, is not the answer. It is something I've addressed before and the situation (tax havens, etc) needs to be changed through worldwide consensus and agreement. 

Egalitarian society appears to be a noble cause and worth at least striving towards, but that’s not the same thing as enacting the change overnight and it doesn't have to come directly from socialism (believe it or not…) or what one might deem to be a Left wing system. There are no easy answers as much as some might present their solutions as such.

It's true that Left wing politics of a sort can work on a smaller scale; Scandinavian systems are often touted in the UK as what we should be aspiring to if not modelling. However, even forgetting the population sizes, there are significant cultural differences, let alone the specific economic differences (BBC article - How Norway has avoided the 'curse of oil') and the majority of the world’s nations couldn't be changed very quickly to replicate such systems. Consensus and direction are easier to come by on a smaller scale, with fewer people pulling in different directions.

Scotland has recently been flirting with the idea of becoming the next Scandinavian country and while I don't intend to go into the specifics of that particular political nest of vipers here… The SNP were certainly looking at a Left turn for an independent nation and one aspect was disarmament. Again on the smaller scale it essentially wouldn't make any difference to the position of the West and the worldwide situation, but in view of the reality as opposed to the ideal of this Left wing idea; George Orwell made comments on Celtic Nationalism, in his essay Notes on Nationalism, which are clearly still relevant to this day – “…the delusion that Eire, Scotland or even Wales could preserve its independence and owes nothing to British protection.”

In the modern world the threats have changed but for British, read ‘NATO’, the USA, or even the EU; if those organisations and national structures were to disappear the situation of a small independent nation could change very quickly, but circumstance will not see that occur any time soon.

Orwell also comments on Pacifists and their denial; “those who ‘abjure’ violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf”. In the modern context it is fortunately more a case of ‘willing to commit violence’.

This article is principally aimed at more extreme Left wing politics, but the fallacies and failings of the Left pervade…

At the end of the day change has happened in the world and by and large it has happened under the capitalist system. Things aren't as bad as they first appear, according to the academic and statistician Hans Rosling, or they're not as bad as many want to believe.

(There's even been some positive news from the world of conservation, which came to light on Twitter recently - A Conservationist Sees Signs of Hope for World’s Rainforests. And I had remained pessimistic in this area...)

Change has of course occurred from major events, often unforeseen, shocks like the major wars and economic crashes, but still, relatively continuous progress has been made under the current system and it has come from what is a compromise between the conservative and the liberal or radical. And in the main, in the West at least since the end of World War Two, this has stopped the transition being too shocking and uncompromisingly brutal.

Change is still being played out through the world with varying levels of brutality and again do Leftist radicals think we'd somehow be immune to this?

    People have been saying humanity's doomed for hundreds of years
    But now we're here and they have the internet...

    Every generation does.

All the things the Left desire, all of their ideals, could come from changing standards and attitudes along with technological advancement. Generational change drives a lot of the evolution in attitudes and technology can provide practical solutions. This is over the natural course of time, with the odd shock accepted, so that's not to say it won't be a bumpy ride, especially in the UK and the right  political decisions are required.

No matter how much the Left might want everyone to think like them, not everyone does (not all seven billion at the beginning of the 21st century); very far from it and therefore their ideals are rendered impractical.

Obviously this subject is vast, tackling half of the political spectrum isn't easy and as it turns out it couldn't be summed up quickly... And this dissection won't be to everyone's taste, who likes to be bluntly told they're wrong? Not me. But the second post on this subject looks further into the problems of Left wing politics and includes more points from Orwell's writing.

The Left want to champion Orwell as their own and claim his every word, but so much of his writing appears to have been shining a light up to contemporary Left wing thinking. He'd have seen a lot of parallels with the modern Left and their attempts to re-write recent history, particularly that of Soviet Socialism, of which Orwell was a strong critic.

The second post will also look at modern protest movements, the activists in the likes Occupy and the Million Mask March are the front line in how the modern Left wing is evolving. In the modern complex world they represent a tremendous variety of interests and outlooks, and this is part off their problem, but many of the young disaffected will be influenced by old Left wing revisionism.

The Occupy movement want change, though truly they won't be the people organising any new system (well I f***ing hope not...) in the near future, so what they are doing is calling out for someone else to do it on their behalf.

    The Million Mask March takes its demands to parliament
    'And somebody do everything better...!!'

    The crowd breaks and a champion appears...
    'Russell Brand will show us the way...!?'

They want freedom and they should never lose sight of that, because just as capitalism and freedom/democracy aren't necessarily the same things; the 'alternatives' to capitalism do not guarantee freedom or democracy.

These minds could be led to believe that there are better alternatives and answers, which can be taken from the recent past...

    'For the Glory of Communism'
    These are not the easy answers you're looking for...

I don't know which would be worse; a world run by Soviet style Socialists or a world led by Russell Brand...
    Help us all...

Monday, 20 May 2013

In it for the money – How many council workers does it take to cut the grass?

For a long time I've been meaning to write about where modern Left wing politics is going wrong; why the idealistic followers are deluding themselves as their incompetent Leaders attempt to delude everyone else. But obviously it’s a big topic, it’s an over long blogpost let alone a Doctoral thesis or an entire life’s work…

So in a way I've been waiting for the right story or issue to latch on to, something to just let the subject flow and illustrate the situation in modern Left wing politics, particularly in the Western world.

Well there probably have been suitable topics, but the one I have doesn't necessarily encapsulate everything, but it does show up both the reality of what Labour did during their 13 years of power and also what can happen under Left wing regimes of any pretty much any kind.

    North Korea - Extreme Left?
    According to the BBC; so extreme it's actually Right wing... 

On a recent edition of a popular prime time game show in this country, one contestant gave his job title as ‘Monitoring Officer’ for his local council. So far so vague, the presenter clearly wanted some illumination and with light pressing; discovered that the contestant, for a living, checks that the grass has been cut properly… Grass the Council is responsible for and cut by Council employees, of course.

There was a just audible gasp in the crowd, with perhaps a smattering of laughter. The contestant provided only a minor justification, saying it has to be level and so on. The presenter asked if he just went back to the office afterwards and the contestant, clearly mildly embarrassed, could only shrug.  

The answer to that question is more than likely, yes. Possibly completes a report and if at all possible, has a kip before knocking off…

If there were more to the job, surely he would have thought about how to present it? He must have had time to think beforehand, even if one might then falter under those bright studio lights… So let’s just assume that is  pretty much all he does, maybe he does have other ‘monitoring’ responsibilities but clearly grass was most important. Truth is I would hope to God they find him something else to do in the winter…!

    The Grass Monitor assesses the situation…
    ‘Yeah I don’t think there’s much point coming in today…’

Does this situation need dissection? A Council employs someone to monitor their own grass cutters’ work. It’s not left to the grass cutters, no, they obviously can’t be trusted…

    The Monitor finds the job half done...
    This is what happens without close monitoring...! 

So the answer to the title question is one (or more) to cut the grass and one to check it’s been done correctly…

Salary and benefits, to monitor grass…? Build up the pension, retire early if at all possible, I don’t give a s**t whether or not it’s gold plated, it’s a stretch to call it ‘hard-earned’ whatever comes out on retirement!

And of course that is what we hear so much about; ‘hard working public servants’… Do they include the Grass Monitors in that?

    Hardest game in the world…  
    The Monitor seems happy with his day's work...

As I commented on Twitter at the time, there is no justifying a full time position like that, in any economic climate. The notion of ‘non-jobs’ is a staple of Right wing criticism of the public sector, I struggle to recall many clear rebukes from the Left, it seems the commentators are more inclined to ignore it.

Here the BBC try to offer some balance on the subject - Council cuts: Just what is a 'non-job'? Councils try to defend the jobs when directly criticised, a classic in the article regarding 'Diversity Co-Ordinators'; the defence is that the role complies with their obligations under equality legislation. OK, well all companies would have to comply, but is there really a need for a whole separate position...? And therein is the mentality of it.  

How could anyone possibly argue the case for a separate grass monitoring position? It is clear this won't be isolated, not this one role in one council, that in itself would be ridiculous. This is merely a good example.

Now this type of role may have been around a very long time, but this is what happened under Labour. The Labour Government threw money at the public sector and this is the kind of thing that resulted. That’s not to say that no workers in the public sector were pushed into difficult circumstances, but then the existence of a job like this just exemplifies poor management and ludicrous inefficiency.

Probably the most important question that arises from this is why is it still happening? Why wasn't his head first on the block? These are hard times, whichever way you look at it.

If they talk about staff cuts and ‘vital services’ being reduced, well most people are annoyed by reducing policing, nursing, etc, but the fact it is the people feeling the sharp edge of the cuts should be the most indignant of all that this job still exists!

But no, that’s not how it works, no malice towards their fellow workers whatever they might do, perhaps with the exception of managers and HR…

    Protesting Council Workers 
    A message to their managers?

It’s been identified before; the ones making the cuts are the people who should be cut. The Tories don’t make the cuts directly; the budgets constraints are put in place and the manager have to make the decisions. Only the managers and the one eyed supporters of the public sector will overlook the fact that they could easily remove a number of their own positions and reduce their pay and benefits, instead of cutting ‘vital’ services.

The grass monitor must have friends in power…

    It always helps to have friends in power...
    Ed Miliband asking which way to go next...

Here’s a simple management lesson for those in charge at the council; get the monitor out cutting the grass and just add to the job description ‘check it’s level when you’re done’...! He can have a couple of extra quid for that. He’s obviously qualified for the job, but I suppose the actual grass cutting is a different skill set to the assessing of the work…?

    This could get tricky.
    That bit will need to be checked for sure...

It is the world Labour created. While indeed money was made in the private sector and this funded Labour profligacy with the public sector, conditions in the low end of the private sector worsened. Labour may have introduced the minimum wage, but wage inflation was dragged down and the pressure put on workers was steadily increased. At the same time Labour tried to build their idea of a utopian workplace in the public sector, continually increasing wages and staff numbers, and improving conditions. Gordon Brown’s socialist ideals, paid for by the boom in the private sector.

They tried to justify the increasing salaries of managers by claiming they had to compete with the private sector to ‘attract the best talent…’ Utter b*llocks.

With all the money and staff thrown into the public sector, was there really any substantial and noticeable improvement for the average tax payer, let’s say particularly in the case of councils? They’d claim that practices and delivery have changed and improved, but so to has the world of work changed mainly due to technology. It’s essentially circumstantial (like so many of the ‘improvements’ that happened under Labour), not driven by increasing salaries for managers and their ‘management skills’.   

When salaries are compared between the public and private sector, a favourite public sector adage is that they could ‘earn more in the private sector for the same job…’ A line often touted by public sector IT workers, as I've mentioned in a previous post.

Well I wonder how much a ‘grass monitor’ would earn in the private sector…?

Labour did preside over a fair amount of cutting back in certain areas of the public sector. Services were privatised for instance and in fact early on when the comparisons between wages in the sectors were highlighted many defenders of the public sector pointed to the workers who’d been affected by privatisation, they were the low paid, cleaners for example. So this increased the average wage in the public sector and essentially vice versa, though the complexities of private sector wages were never touched upon. To many the ‘private sector’ means bankers and estate agents, or so it seems…

When Labour promised a "Future fair for all” in the 2010 general election, that certainly meant ‘fair’ for the Grass Monitor, but what about those facing cuts or being privatised? One must assume they meant ‘fair’ in a different respect…

    Labour's comic book Manifesto cover for 2010 
    There was a lot of grass in Labour's vision of the future...

This is a good example of the fallacy and delusions of Left wing politics; this is what would happen under a Left wing regime of any kind. Who knows one day maybe it won’t matter, in a changing world with rapid technological advances, but in the here and now, it matters.  

When workplace decisions are not based on the needs of a business and the pressures of a market, of any kind, they are or should be based initially on function, but then after that, they’re based on the whims and prejudices of those in charge.

It’s just jobs for the boys and if a business can afford a load of hangers on then so be it, but in state institutions, the rest of society are supporting it. It is a feature of any Left wing or Statist regime; the people in power will make themselves comfortable and surround themselves with favoured parties. Right wing governments will do the same thing, governments of any kind, but this is an argument against the self righteous, holier than thou Left…   

So what’s the difference between the bloated state institutions created by the Leaders of ‘the people’ and the old establishment? Just the entry requirements change a little and people are still potentially born into it; it’s never what you know, always who you know…

    North Korea's Finest
    Clearly his favourites...

So in the current remnants of Labour’s regime, the 'Grass Monitor' remains… Of course a further characteristic of the public sector in full flow is that when you’re in, you’re in. You’d have to go so far as to kill someone to be sacked, and even then…

It has changed over the years and into the current climate, but claims about the likes of teachers (Have just 20 teachers been dismissed for incompetency in 40years?) have given some indication of what it can still be like and I've seen the evidence in the workplace.

I know social workers have long been under pressure in terms of time and resources, this has been raised again recently with new government initiatives for graduates, and is just one example of so very many, where you have to question wouldn't the money be better spent in social services than in the ‘grass management’?

    Social Workers on Strike
    Barking up the wrong tree...?

The Left frame the argument in defence of the public sector as it exists, in terms of both individual lives - the jobs and the wider economic benefits of those jobs. It is ignoring and excusing poor management, this argument isn't about economics and has nothing to do with 'austerity'; there does need to be investment to stimulate the economy and 'vital services' should remain. This is about having the state functioning effectively, removing incompetence, inefficiency and the bias and self interest in poor management. Public money should be spent wisely, not just thrown at state institutions...

As I mentioned why not have the ‘monitoring’ role as a function of a different job with wider remit, if it is then I'd like to hear how and why that wasn't clear? I'm sure the defence would be that the role does have more functions, but it was apparent ‘grass’ is the most significant and it shouldn't be like that, that’s the wrong way round.

In terms of grass cutting obviously there are private sector equivalents we can compare with, I wonder how many gardening firms employ a grass monitor…? Well if they are making enough money and want a monitor then that is their business, it can’t be and shouldn't be justified at the expense of the tax payer.
Just as the Left say the Tories distract from their failings and the Bankers by saying look at the public sector, so to do the Left distract from this kind of state extravagance, for that is what it is, by saying look how much money those rich people have and look at the Tories protecting them....!

But the Left fundamentally do not care about this kind of situation; everyone should have a job, and it is in that world where some will slave away and others will sit back and enjoy the benefits, one way or the other.

Some slave, while others live easy lives? Kind of sounds like a Right wing regime...? The BBC's Panorama would probably say that such a regime is by definition; as linked above, the programme claimed North Korea was so Totalitarian that it was actually more like the Nazis and therefore not Communism.

    Obedient North Koreans
    When Communism goes bad...?

It was a pointless attempt at a technical definition, the fact is the same s**t ends happening whatever the original intentions, however noble...

Leftist politicians and commentators must assume they will keep their comfortable positions 'when the revolution comes', over here… Owen Jones for instance, he's bound to be Junior Minister for Propaganda. Can't imagine him getting hands dirty.

    A Champagne Socialist in Training...?
    Owen celebrates his new role in the Ministry of Propaganda...

As I was writing this post Liam “There’s no money left” Byrne has raised the issue of ‘full employment’, a classic policy of the post war social democratic years. There is nothing wrong with it as an aim, and forgetting any notions of Right wing views of unemployment, you’d have thought most governments would see low unemployment as desirable. But how would Labour go about achieving full employment? More Grass Monitors? Fair for all?  

You think Liam Byrne gives a s**t who’s doing what, as long as the stats look good? 

    Liam Byrne is asked how many grass monitors Councils need?
    ‘You think I give a f**k about anything other than my career?!’

Shouldn't the actual people cutting the grass be the most insulted of all? They work harder and probably earn less… Do they even know, does the Monitor do his ‘work’ surreptitiously…?

    As the grass cutters take a break...
    The Grass Monitor takes evasive action...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Apathy in the UK – Handing power back to an unchanged Labour Party…?

Nothing new at the start of 2013… No time to post anything during the latter half of 2012, but it turned out to be a pretty flat year, no significant changes in the overall state of affairs. Certainly no apocalypse, not even a revolution, well not in the West…

A brief review of the year; the Coalition has stumbled along, the UK economy has effectively flat-lined, Europe is still clinging on to its lower regions, the US is still coming to terms with itself, as China appears to continue its rise and the developing world is continues to develop, rapidly… And all the while the Labour Party are still spewing out the same s**t they have been for past two years, well actually the past 20 years.

The Left haven’t changed, they never do, occasionally they grow up, but… Anyway, is the Occupy Movement still going…? ‘UK Uncut’ is still kicking about and some of the UK Left’s hypocrisy and idiosyncrasy were recently exposed within their protests… (The tax avoiding Guardian newspaper giving significant coverage to UK Uncut’s campaign against tax avoidance, “Anarchists” opposed to Government joined in with the protests, demanding a bigger state (though they claimed a means to an end…) and all of this was seen as it turned out that Starbucks were pretty much the biggest tax avoiders of all… Haha!)    

And Argentina is still banging on about a ridiculous claim on the Falklands Islands, no less ridiculous than Britain’s… 

    Obama and Kirchner get close?
    'They're thousands of miles away and it's not like they're hot...'

Like Hawaii.

So yes nothing new, I’ll just pick it up where I left off; the Coalition have had a ‘mid-term review’  

    Cameron leaves Clegg behind?
    'You're a f**king liability Clegg...!'

And Labourites were spouting the same old propaganda at the Fabian Society last weekend, so I will review the relatively unaltered British political landscape; the Coalition are roundly criticised for everything they do, often rightly so, but Labour can say anything they like, with few picking them up on their hypocrisy, (so is the nature of the Liberal-Left…) and they have remained around 10 or more points ahead in the opinion polls

How that translates to the ballot box is another thing and that was part of the last post, nothing much has changed since… There were by-elections, a Mayoral election and Police Commissioner (PCC) Elections in November (ridiculous timing) and again the results highlighted how misleading opinions polls can be and how empty Labour’s rhetoric always is, it showed the true state of British politics, quite far removed from Labour’s fantastical proclamations.

There was no way that even Labour could try to spin the PCC results, so they focussed on the low turnout, instead of John Prescott humiliation to a Tory in Humberside, funny that…

I bet there were some aides running for cover when the result was announced...

    John Prescott might get handy?
    'You won't like me when I'm angry...'

His wife would have taken the brunt of it, one way or the other…

    Prescott's finest moment?
    'Who's f**king next?!'

There was an apparent anti-Labour vote in the only Mayoral election in Bristol and they were always going to keep that on the down low… And what resulted from that loss was a reaction from Labour HQ which showed a glimpse of the truly offensive side of Labour’s politics and philosophy, the aspects that we will all suffer if things run their present course; their use of manipulation and their desire to control. But I'll come back to that.

So Labour put their energies into spinning the three by-elections results and cranked up the bullshit production to overdrive. Three safe Labour seats Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham, so safe that even at their ‘lowest’ in 2010 in the midst of economic crisis with Gordon Brown in power, they still voted Labour in their droves in these constituencies… To put it into context, even at their very lowest in 1983, in Middlesbrough and Rotherham, they still won by some margin. The common phrase for this is they ‘could put up a pig’ and enough numbskulls would still scrawl a cross on the ballot paper, just fortunate enough not to dribble too much and spoil the paper… Ah it sounds harsh, but come on where is the self-respect…?

That’s not to denigrate everyone in these constituencies, far from it, only 25-33% of the electorate turned out to vote; the total percentage of the electorate voting for Labour barely rising above 15%.

Yet Ed Miliband saw fit to translate the results as an endorsement of “One Nation Labour” (the s**t he’d been spouting a few weeks earlier and again at the Fabian Society last weekend)… 15%?!!

One f**king Nation?!! 

    Miliband - A face you'd like to slap?
    Oh, you just could…

All this talk of 'One Nation', almost makes you think Ed might be worried about Scottish Independence...

15% of those eligible to vote, this is the anger coursing through our streets…? Oh it’s palpable, in the public sector… It just doesn’t seem to be translating on election days. Because remember the country is on its a**e, so it appears, and this Government is widely despised, so surely it should be more than 15%? 40 plus percent of those polled, and then only 15% of those registered, in Labour Heartlands…

Or is that just the system, it’s a safe seat so why go out in the November rain…?

Whatever, it’s not a f**king endorsement of Miliband or Labour, or any kind of clear signal to anyone, about anything...! But what the f**k, the only result that matters is that Labour gain the seats, that’s First Past the Post…

Some 65-75% of the electorate had enough self respect to abstain, but what happens then? 15% of the electorate hold sway? How on earth can that be ‘fair’? To use a Labourite sound-bite…

This Government is certainly unpopular and many more than 15% do not and would not support them, or are in outright opposition to them, but they don’t necessarily support Labour. Yet that small percentage could see Labour return to power without having to do anything, no reform, no clear and effective policies, just the same old faces and ‘normal service’ resumed.

    The Labour Cabinet - The Usual Suspects?
    The Same Old Muppets...

People are angry at the Coalition Government; they should be incandescent with rage how cheaply power may be given back to Labour! If only they could do something about it… Like vote for a different party…? It doesn’t have to be the Tories.

Do average people even consider how cheaply power is given away in this country full-stop? Even at the height of their power New Labour didn’t get the support of over 30% of the electorate, in 2005 they had a useful majority of seats with only 22% of the electorate voting for them and how many of those voters were in Scotland and Wales…?!

22% and a strong enough Government, stronger than Major’s in 1992, they received the support of 19% of the electorate in 2010. Rock bottom with a hugely unpopular Leader… Only 3% between strong Government and Opposition? How is that right?

Not only that; more and more it’s looking like the same people are voting for Labour, keeping the party’s share of the vote consistent, and very little seems to effect their decision in placing their vote…

In my last post I looked at this situation, from the local elections. Some 15% to 25% of any electorate could easily be made up from local Public Sector workers, students and unionised private sector workers, or even Old Labour, not to mention the odd Liberal Lefty making their weary way in the Private Sector…

    'What do we want? 'Fair Pensions!'
    'When do we want them?' 'Next week if at all possible please...'

It’s an organised, vocal, minority, using their right to vote effectively and with little opposition, getting their way. Ultimately controlling the country; minority rule.

Becoming 40 plus percent when pressed in an opinion poll…

A lot of people don’t like either the Tories or Labour, but forgetting the recent economic records of both parties, it’s in part because of the similarities between them; from cut backs to benefits and pensions to the deregulation and privatisation in the economy.

There is great disillusionment with politics and people feel their votes are irrelevant. I think a lot of apathy does stem from some unrealistic expectations, of Government and in general, but that’s too deep an issue to go into now. Why though would people sit back and watch an unreformed Labour Party walk back into power?

They may not blame Labour completely for the economic crisis and of course the banks were more directly at fault, but Labour shouldn’t be excused and ultimately they will not solve the country’s problems; economic and social.

If they get back in with the support of their minority, with a few floaters, what more do they have to do than appease those supporters…? What more did they ever do???

And why would they change a system that can allow them access to power so easily?

The modern Labour Party is all about control, in almost every possible sense in fact; from controlling MPs and the party line to controlling the population through surveillance. But in order to achieve their objectives they have to maintain power and as I have pointed out the current system allows them easy access to Government. The First Past the Post system is now weighted towards them (though obviously the Tories still do ok…) and in what is supposed to be a “progressive” party, so a large proportion of them want to keep the current and would not consider Proportional Representation (they were divided over the Alternative Vote, which was only a watered down version of FPTP, but possibly the ‘slippery slope’ to PR…). This is the ultimate act of control from a party of progress, retaining the system that can see them hold onto power with the support of a minority.

    Labour's No to AV Campaign - 'What do we want?'
    'Consolidated power...!'

For a clear illustration of the more despicable aspects of Labour’s desire to control, we should return to look at what happened in Bristol following the election of George Ferguson as Mayor. Labour HQ put a stop to Local Labour Councillors joining in coalition with the new Mayor, apparently due to some petty grievances, and this shows a clear example of both their centralised control and their apparent aversion to consensus.

The confrontational politics of the British Parliament are archaic, yet Labour wants to keep it like that. PR would be a consensus inducing mechanism, to bring about a new political culture, true representation and a system fairer to every voter, but Labour wants FPTP to allow them to rule alone…

    One Electoral System To Rule Them All...?
    Labour delegates leave the conference...

The move by Central Labour was quite significant and a deliberate signal. The people of Bristol should be concerned, if Labour Councillors are to act along the lines of the national political system by deliberately opposing any actions of the Mayor, whether or not they will be on any benefit to the city. The Mayor becomes a failure and Labour can regain power…? It’s really not good…

But most people don’t notice these things and Labour get away with it, time and again. For some it seems it’s almost become a case of ‘better the Devil you know’, perhaps recalling the days before the current downturn and cutbacks, of course we don’t know what would have happened if Labour had won the last election…

A lot of people must think they’ll be better off under Labour, even if only in the short term; while Labour gives with one hand and takes away with the other.

An example of this was raised again last week, as the Tories removed Child Benefit from high earners, this was one of Labour’s master-strokes giving a little back to everyone, including millionaires…! How very fair of them, they taxed you more over £35k, but they gave you a few quid back if you had kids and that’s always nice. You’ll remember that come election time… They froze the personal allowance so hurting lower paid workers, but they kept shelling out child benefit to millionaires.

Labour has decried the changes but they haven’t said they’ll reverse it…

Miliband believes in “Universal benefits”, so every family is dependent on, or feels indebted to, a Labour Government and low paid single workers can help pay for it without a break (even if you’re saving to start a family, but how could Labour legislate for that in the tax system and still make them dependent on a handout…?)      

Labour criticism has in part focussed on the application of the changes and it does seem a bit of an odd set up by the Tories, but Miliband is happy to keep shelling out to millionaires to save on back office functions? Never bothered them before… A few extra public sector pen pushers or hand outs to millionaires?? (They’ve changed…?)

But Labour do have more specific plans to take away with the other hand from higher tax rate payers (>£150k), announcing a policy that would reduce their pension tax relief

Give with benefit, take away tax relief, but who will remember their pension while they get a couple of extra quid in the pocket now; it might win a few rich votes, but the key is apparent ‘fairness’ of benefits for all, while also taxing the rich. It’s the middle income votes he wants; the “squeezed middle”. So this is great, screw the top and bottom…!

Miliband has claimed there aren’t many millionaires as part of his justification for universal benefits, but it’s everyone up to, you f***ing kn*bhead… And part of it is the principle, normally Labour and the Left are very particular about their principles…

    A pair of Pragmatic Idealists?
    More commonly referred to as a pair of useless c**ts...

Labour are so transparent, it’s astounding. Almost as astounding as a family earning 50k+ making out they are being hard done by… Depends how many kids you’ve got I suppose...? 

The ‘all caring’, standing up for the working man or whoever the f**k is relevant at the time, is what the New New Labour party are all about. This is the angle they will take on issues like benefits, often emotive, talking about ‘hard-working families’, patronising and contradictory, when they also talk about taxing high earners. The ‘squeezed middle’ or ‘the rich’, whichever is the appropriate sound-bite at the time…

As I have said it is easier for Labour in opposition, they can say anything they like because they don’t have to back anything up, yet…

For various reasons and in these caring times…, Labour and the Left have found it easier to control the prevailing political agenda in recent times and push their point of view to the forefront of public consciousness, as seen with the tax avoidance issue, where the Left (and Labour are happy to join in) have tried to turn tax into a moral issue. As I remember from childhood, the tax man was the one of the most hated in the land; Inland Revenue employees roundly jeered on the likes of Bull’s Eye…

Who wants to pay more tax than they have to? When an ISA is tax free savings and the self employed actively work to reduce their tax payments; at what point does avoiding tax become ‘immoral’?

Labour did nothing about tax avoidance in power, all of the situations brought to light recently, from Starbucks to Vodafone, occurred under Labour. Yet they have happily jumped on the moralising band wagon and few look back at their record.   

    Convicted MPs - Labour taking the moral high ground?
    Well it's not like they were cheating their taxes...!

The recent benefits cap is no surprising benefit to Labour, but another example this week which plays well into the hands of Labour is news such as high street chain Jessops going into administration. It’s incredible the number of people who directly blame this Government, apparently ignoring competition from the internet and supermarkets, the prevalence of camera phones and all the other factors involved in a particular business model failing.

HMV followed Jessops, but that has been coming for a long time and well documented, the whole music industry has been in turmoil for years. And it turns out Blockbuster have quickly followed HMV, but who knew they were still kicking about...?  

There is an underlying feeling that the situation would be better if Labour was in power throwing some money around and perhaps more concerning it seems to be a belief that the Government should somehow support such companies, to save their businesses and therefore the jobs. How is that ‘fair’? Forget the banks being ‘bailed out’ for a moment; it would be unfair to the bailed out company’s competitors, whether big or more strikingly, small; the independent traders, who will never get such Government support.

If someone thinks Government is there to simply preserve the high street and everything else as they remember it from childhood, then that is a worrying outlook…

    Newport's empty shops after the economic downturn.
    Actually it was pretty much the same before the downturn...

The feeling is underlying in Britain and there are a lot of expectations, but there’s a subject to tackle another time, on too large a scale, one which I’ve baulked at for most of last year…

At the next election many voters will be swayed by a feeling that things could be better under Labour and Labour are very could at propaganda, they learnt the tricks up to 1997 and they have not laid off since. The rest of the electorate will just stay at home; because they hate the Tories, might feel betrayed by the Liberal Democrats and maybe see Labour as the patronising bunch of c***s they are. Perhaps…

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, all having a laugh?
    What a choice...

There are other parties and people should vote for them. Obviously UKIP are polling well at the moment, but the way that is panning out and with a poor turnout, a higher proportion of the vote for UKIP will simply hand power to Labour, without a struggle.

I wouldn’t really advocate voting UKIP (certainly not in the current circumstances) and definitely do not recommend voting for the BNP, although far more people voted for these parties in the last election than the Green Party and the Greens got most of their votes in one constituency, to get themselves one voice in Parliament.

There are always other parties in every constituency and I would still advocate voting for the LibDems, despite their decision to go into Coalition, which was a mistake. But then it could be said that they have tempered the Tory Government, who knows what it would have been like had the Tories won a majority in 2010, raising the tax threshold was one of the LibDems’ flagship policies, and Labour having regained power doesn’t even bear thinking about…

    Brown reflects.
    'It should've been me...' 

A broad spread of votes with perhaps a few unusual MPs and completely disproportionate numbers of seats in Parliament would have to give weight to the argument for Proportional Representation. I’m not writing now specifically to make the argument for it, I did bring it up in posts around the last election and I will make a case for it again. The fact is it would put an end to minority rule and parties only concentrating on swing seats, MPs only have to actually promote the views of certain vested interests.  

We don’t need and shouldn’t have compulsory voting, but not voting in the next election is not an option, it would be throwing power away, giving it back too cheaply to the same old New Labour Party.

    Miliband has tried to move Labour forward?
    The past is never far away...

    Brown and Kinnock catch up...?
    'And the stupid f**kwit will do anything we say!'