Tag Archives: politics

General Election

Don’t panic, this isn’t going to be a boring post about politics but we’re having an Election here in the UK today and I’ve been a bit perplexed by people’s behaviour in the lead-up.  I’m not making any judgements just voicing observations, because I often find people’s behaviour bewildering and I’m sure I’m not alone in that!

For those of my readers who live abroad, the Conservatives (Republican equivalent) won the last Election by a huge majority and Labour (Democrat equivalent) supporters are determined to not let that happen again.  My Facebook feed has been chocka full of Labour supporters posting how the Tories (Conservatives/Republicans) have decimated the country and how Labour will put it back together.  Seriously, every other post is slagging off the Tories and bigging up Labour to the point where I’ve had to unfollow some of my friends because they were doing my head in.  They feel like the Jehovah’s Witnesses of the political world and I don’t answer the door to them either 😉

My Tory friends (and I know they’re out there!) don’t say a word.  They didn’t in the last Election either, but someone was voting Conservative because they won with a landslide.

I’ve had to stop posting anything about politics on Facebook because there are 3 or 4 of my friends who feel the need to comment on everything I say.  I wouldn’t care but I’ve actually voted Labour my entire adult life but even so they still try to ram their message home – WTF is that all about, they’re preaching to the bloody converted!  The difference is that I know the Labour party has its weaknesses just like the Tories have their weaknesses – god forbid I should voice any of them though because these few friends then feel the need to defend them.  It feels both hugely patronizing (like I have no grasp of the issue even though I have A levels in both Politics and Economics) and a bit like I’m being bullied.  No wonder Tory voters don’t say a word on Facebook because they would be pilloried 😦

I wonder if the Labour supporters know how intimidating their behaviour is?  Do they have an objective when posting all this stuff online and if so what is it?  To convert intelligent, grown adults into their way of thinking – how patronizing is that?  To tell non-Labour voters they are wrong and to do the right thing – “right” in whose world?’  What gives them the right to force their opinions on others?  Why can’t they just do what Tory voters do and put their X on the ballot paper without a fuss?

Most normal thinking grown-ups aren’t going to be swayed into voting one way or the other by something one of their mates has written on Facebook.  If I was undecided I would read each Party’s Manifesto to see what their actual policies are.  I would then read some articles by well-informed, independent political commentators to see what they make of the issues.  I’d then look at my own personal circumstances and make a choice from a combination of all these things.

As it is, for the first time in my life I am not voting.  I can’t, in all conscience, vote Tory because they actually are decimating our NHS, education, welfare and care systems and don’t give a toss about the vulnerable in society.  On the other hand, if Labour win I would actually be petrified for the Brexit negotiations – Jeremy Corbyn can’t even decide on domestic policies without changing his mind like the wind and being bullied by his own party members, so the thought of him negotiating our country’s future with the likes of Germany’s Angela Merkel terrifies me.  For the first time in 57 years of voting my Mum has voted Tory this time.  Her reasons are Brexit.  As she says, the Brexit negotiations will affect our country forever, whereas the Election is only for the next 4 years when she can then vote Labour again and get rid of the Conservatives.

It’s great when people are engaged and passionate about politics.  It’s not great when they intimidate, don’t allow any opinion but their own to be voiced, challenge, cajole and generally act like a bully in a school playground.  Young adults are especially vulnerable to this type of behaviour and, while it’s wonderful to see younger people taking part in politics, we need to be careful to provide both sides of the argument then let them decide their own path.

If I wake tomorrow morning and Labour have been victorious I will be truly worried.  If I wake tomorrow morning and the Conservatives have been victorious I will be worried for very different reasons.  It’s a loose/loose as far as I’m concerned.

Hypocrisy

I think I must be hormonal because I’m feeling a bit arsy.  Because of that this post may seem controversial but I’m going to write it anyway on account of the fact it’s my blog and I can write what I like 😉

There is a lot of castigation of Trump going on but I admit I’m finding it all rather confusing.  It’s not Trump’s fault he was elected – he couldn’t have been elected unless someone voted for him.  Unless millions of people voted for him.  So I’ve got to be honest – I’m not entirely sure why we’re all berating him.  Do the protests include his entire team?  Those who helped him to stand for election and those who make up his government, because he can’t run a country on his own?  Hitler would have been pretty useless without Himmler, Goebbels, Heydrich, Frick, Goering and Eichmann and Trump would never have reached the Oval Office without the financial and political backing of some very influential allies.  It seems we need one scapegoat and Trump is it but we have to bear in mind that no man is an island and you don’t get to be President on your own.

There are so many vile regimes in the word I’m not entirely sure why we’re solely focusing on Trump.  6 million people died and 2 million people were displaced in the Great African War between 1998 and 2003 – it was the deadliest conflict since World War II yet there was not a single protest about it in the West.  In fact, I’m sure most of us have never heard of the Congo or the fact that 48 women were raped there every hour.  Where was our outrage then and where is it now they are again on the brink of civil war?   Where are our women’s marches  standing in solidarity with our sisters in Africa?  Nowhere to be fucking seen, that’s where.

The situation in Gaza is beyond words, and has been absolutely sickening for decades.  Palestinians are under military occupation, living in a Ghetto no different to the Jews in Germany during the 2nd World War, imprisoned, starved, killed.  Where are our protests about that?  Apparently placing temporary restrictions on travel into America and wanting to leave the EU is not fine, but routinely breaking the arms of children or imprisoning them or starving them is OK.

And while we’re all currently up in arms about the situation in America where the hell have we all been since 2011 during which time 250,000 people in Syria have been killed and another 11 million (11 MILLION!) have been displaced?  Where has our outrage been against the inhumane way migrants have been treated in Calais for the past 17 years – where is our castigation of the French President?  Or the fact asylum seekers in Australia are placed in detention camps like criminals?

I’m baffled as to why some acts of evil are “nothing to do with me guv” and other, arguably much less serious issues, are worth standing up for.

I probably shouldn’t mix politics with religion, but I’m going to anyway.  Religion confuses the hell out of me.  The Church of England has recently voted that their stance banning marriage in Church by same sex couples should stand.  Their reason being “the bishops have upheld the authority of scripture against the impact of cultural change”, in other words the word of the Bible is law and should not be deviated against.  OK, I get that.  So in Leviticus 15:19-33 when it says that a woman is unclean for 7 days during her period and in order to become clean should “on the eighth day bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons and present them to the Priest at the entrance to the Tabernacle” we should still be doing that?  When the Bible tells us that women who “fornicate” should be stoned to death (not the man who either paid her for sex or raped her, they get off scot free because, well, men have their needs don’t they?) that’s what we should still be doing?  Some argue that the Christian church follows the New Testament not the Old Testament, however the New Testament “bid slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect…” Titus 2:4-9, so does that mean Christians disagree with the abolition of slavery?

We seem to be very choosy about the things we deem to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and which of our principles are worth standing up for and which are not.  I must admit I find the world confusing and I’m more than a bit baffled by our hypocrisy and the way in which we justify our views and our actions.

We’re all doomed

Bear with me in this post.  It may seem like it’s about politics, but it’s really not.  It’s a wider issue about how puzzling I find human nature and why, most of the time, I want to go live in a cave and have nothing to do with the rest of the human race.

As I mentioned in another post, I had to take a break from Facebook after the UK voted to leave the European Union.  The anger, mud slinging, ranting and loud cries of “we’re all doomed!” did my shagging head in.  I absolutely couldn’t see the point to it.  Have people not got better things to do with their energy than spend hours every day ranting at their friends through social media which achieves absolutely fuck all.  If you feel that strongly about your Government bloody well DO something about it.  Become a political activist.  Lobby your MP.   Join political forums where you can all rant and argue to your heart’s content if that’s how you want to spend your time – I personally can think of better things to do with mine.

I personally didn’t vote to leave the EU but I absolutely respect other people’s right to.  I think their reasons were naive and misguided for the most part, but I absolutely understand them.   Their fears, particularly over uncontrolled levels of economic migration, had been ignored by successive governments for years and finally they had a chance to get their voice heard.  And heard it was.  Good on them.

Where I think both sides have the argument wrong is that the Leave voters think the EU have been making decisions on the NHS, Welfare and Education, which they absolutely have not.  And the Stay voters think that leaving the EU will affect the NHS, Welfare and Education, which it will not.  Our Government makes policies in these areas – you want change, vote for a different Government in the next general election.  Why anyone voted these right-wing, elitist Tories in in the first place astounds me.  How the majority of my countrymen voted in Cameron, who claimed Disability benefits for his disabled son despite earning 3 times the national average wage then, after he died, made the same benefit almost impossible to claim plunging millions of disabled people into poverty astounds me.  But this is not an EU issue, it’s a Government issue.

The EU Referendum was a democratic vote and I abide by my country’s decision, even though I don’t necessarily agree with it.  Having made that decision, I am behind my country 110%.  I have to live here.  I want my country to succeed.  I can’t get my head around people online constantly spouting about our failing economy, how the UK is going to break up and how, in 1001 ways, we’re all doomed.  It’s almost as if they actively want the UK to fail so they can stick their tongues out like 5 year olds in a school playground and say “na na, told you so!”.  Who the fuck does that?!

Following the Decision there were people online saying they were “ashamed to be British”.  Why’s that exactly?  Because we’re the 5th richest economy in the world despite, as a country, being the size of the state of Oregon?!  Because we have an (admittedly imperfect) health care system which is the envy of the world?!  Because our country is so fabulous half of all economic migrants from all over Europe want to live here?  God, it sounds awful – I wish I could leave (yes, I’m being ironic).

Having fears over uncontrolled migration to a country the size of a postage stamp and who doesn’t have the resources to serve its current population isn’t racist.  It’s justifiable and realistic.  Those people who’ve jumped on the racism bandwagon, on both sides, sicken me.

Scotland now want to leave the UK.   Again. They want another referendum on independence, despite the fact they had one only 18 months ago and the majority of Scots chose to remain as part of Britain.   The Leave brigade didn’t like the decision, obviously, so they undemocratically want another vote because they don’t respect the choice made by their fellow Scots.   And there you have it folks – not respecting any other choice than your own.  Stamping your feet like kids in a playground going “I don’t like it!”.  Tough.  It’s called democracy and if you lived in an un-democratic country such as North Korea you’d realize quite how lucky you are to have it.

Northern Ireland are now also calling for a referendum on independence from the UK.  They want to be part of Eire, ie. the Republic of Ireland.  They want to leave the 5th richest economy in the world and join a bankrupt country who had to be bailed out by the EU, which by the way includes Britain.  Fabulous choice, knock yourself out.

The young voters were particularly vocal after the Decision to leave was made.  Leave votes apparently “robbed them of their futures” yet when quizzed they couldn’t tell anyone how, exactly.  Of all of my young friends who want to go and work, or live, in a foreign country none of them are chosing Poland or Romania – they are chosing Australia or New Zealand, neither of which are in the EU.  We are not closing our borders and chaining everyone to their beds for God’s sake – all the hysteria is absolutely draining.

The decision to leave the EU will not all be positive.  Neither will it all be negative.  Change is always unsettling and there’s a lot of work to be done.  All we’ve realistically achieved is to become like dozens of other countries in the world, eg Japan and America, who manage to survive despite not being a member of the EU.  In fact, they’ve fared a whole lot better than Greece and Ireland, both of whom declared bankruptcy while being part of the EU.

I refuse to read another word on how the UK is doomed and simply cannot understand the mentality of those going round like the fucking Grim Reaper.  Get behind your country.  Show some respect for your fellow countrymen and for the democracy your forebears fought so hard for.  Be proud to be British.  I know I am.

 

And the winner is

Politics isn’t a subject I cover on my blog, neither am I an activist.  Despite studying politics at A level, and working in the political wing of local government when I developed M.E., I found very early on in my illness that the whole subject was just too stressful for me and zapped my energy to the point where I had none left to do anything else.  I had to give it up and leave lobbying and activism to the healthy (and the sick daft enough to use their precious energy on it which, no offence, to me is lunacy when you have M.E.).  However, as many may know, today is a General Election here in the UK and by tomorrow we will know who is going to govern us for the next 5 years.

I’ve voted Labour all my life (for my American visitors, Labour=Democrat and Conservative=Republican, kind of).  Labour is the party of the working classes of which I am a card carrying member.  For the past five years we’ve had a Conservative government in power and, if I’m honest, it’s been proper scary.  They have demonized sick and disabled “scroungers” to such an extent I’m surprised we’re not stoned in the street.  They have made sickness and disability benefits so hard to obtain that almost no-one qualifies, and there have been literally hundreds of people who have had their benefits withdrawn and gone on to either die from their disease or kill themselves as they had nothing to live on.  The emphasis has been on “hard working families” of which I am not a member.  I am single, childless, sick and unable to be “hard working” in the traditional sense of the word – in the government’s eyes I’m pretty worthless as a human being.

According to the government’s own figures, there are over 10 million Britains living with long term sickness or disability.  Many are retired, some are working, and some are not.  We are at best ignored and at worst denigrated.  Big mistake.  We may be ill, many of us may be benefit claiming scroungers, but we are still VOTERS – a fact the government seems to forget.

My local MP has a Conservative safe seat.  My vote for some other party is wasted as I live in farming country and the majority of farmers vote Conservative.  So, I decided to write to my MP and tell him a little bit about my life.  Here’s a section from my letter:

Please remember, however, that we are not all fit enough to build Cairns or run community Pubs, or be “hard working” in the accepted sense of the word but that doesn’t mean we have no worth. I volunteer my time each month putting together our Parish newsletter from my bed – I’m not well enough to attend Parish meetings but by helping with the newsletter still feel I’m contributing to village life. I run a blog, which attracts over 400 visitors every day from 188 countries around the world – in sharing my life with others I hope I show them they’re not alone in their struggles. I do my elderly parent’s shopping from my bed via Tesco.com as they don’t know how to use a computer and nowadays struggle to get out as my Mum has heart and lung disease. I also shop for my next door neighbour, who has advanced Parkinson’s disease, and his wife, who is 88 and unable to drive. I adopted an unwanted dog (one of several rescued animals over the course of my life). I even help to employ 2 local people, one to clean my house and one to walk my dog as I’m unable to do either. To all of the people in my life I have value and worth.  It may not be on a grand scale, but to my parents and my little rescue dog I am everything – sick or not.

I received a reply, which stated:

I agree that rhetoric on issues like unemployment, or those who claim
benefit support, can sometimes go too far and take on an unpleasant
tone. You are a powerful example of the damage this can cause, and no
one should ever be made to feel worthless.You clearly do a tremendous
amount for your local community.

To give the man his due, he’s actually an excellent MP and did help to have my sickness benefit re-instated when it was removed when the new rules were introduced by his boss.  He is also highly intelligent and has been touted as a party leader of the future, which is why he needs to know what life is like for everyone in his constituency.  My letter was quite lengthy and I don’t think he’ll forget it in a hurry.

I hope sick and disabled people vote today – I do mine by post in case I’m too unwell to get to the polling station.  And please don’t vote for a marginal party like the Greens – they’re never going to get into power and your wasted vote just lets the Conservatives back in.  If that happens I truly fear for my future, as they’ve been bold enough to openly pledge that they will make further cuts to sickness and disability benefits, when many of us are already living in poverty as it is.   Maybe they hope we’ll all just top ourselves or be killed at birth – it’d save them a bomb on welfare which they could then give in tax breaks to businesses.  After all, a strong economy, money, greed and excess is what life is all about – people are unimportant.