A guest post by Samuel Miller
Apparently the UK faces ‘challenges’ according to the Conservative manifesto released on Thursday.
That’s one word for it I suppose. There are of course others, but none the weans could read before the watershed.
Brexit Britain, austerity ideology, UK populations and society in general fractured along so many fault lines. A society so divided that all the kings horses and all the kings men… Well, I’m sure we know how the nursery rhyme ends.
How did it come to this you might ask? Two reasons near as I can tell. Firstly, the buck stops with our politics and its relationship with the media and corporate world. Y’know, good old fashioned greed and self interest. The naked manipulation of the populations of the UK and the division of their demographics for political and financial advantage. Exploiting and expanding small differences into the chasms which divide and where none exist? Create them.
Out of the 30 OECD countries the UK has the 7th most unequal distribution of wealth and has the honour of having the 4th most unequal in Europe. With the fifth largest economy in the world (as Treeza and co. keep reminding us), that should tell you all you need to know about our system of government and what its priorities are. Its not and never has been the governance and care of the populations of the UK. I’d say it more resembled an asset management exercise and some of those assets, those that aren’t strong, fit or prosperous enough of course, would be expendable assets. Survival of the fittest by any measure.
The second reason we are where we are? That would be the fault of the electorate. You get who you vote for. You get the society you contribute to, or don’t, as the case may be. For generations the populations of the UK bought into the big lie of our governance, that it gave a shit, could be trusted, was just the way it was meant to be. We allowed ourselves to be reduced to ‘ists’, ‘isms’ and labels (Makes that whole dividing thing so much easier). We allowed our system of government to take our best and brightest, make over their idealism and turn them into ‘weel kent’ faces we would vote for, perpetuating the cycle of legislative abuse. Worse, we allowed them to tell us who to trust, who to vote for, who to alienate and who to hate. The pen proving itself every bit as destructive and effective as the sword over a great many years.
The voting electorate let it get this bad and they allowed the fox to convince them it was a good idea to leave him in charge of the hen house. The majority allowed themselves to be convinced they were powerless to change the way things were.
Most readers will have had a few days to absorb extensive commentary on the contents of the Conservative manifesto by this point. In times of plenty, with a stable body politic and a more or less stable wider society, such a manifesto would unsurprisingly be binned out of hand. A party attempting to sell the public on the concept of emergency measures which would effectively grant them the divine right of kings would not only set off warning klaxons of extremism, they’d also be quite rightly ‘labelled’ themselves as dangerously unhinged.
Today though? With a massively dominant right wing Conservative government and societal narrative. The willing support of an equally massively dominant right wing media to sell their narrative. Oh, and let’s not forget the nature of the democratic deficit inherent in the political make up of the United Kingdom, it’s not only possible the Conservatives can pull this off, it seems entirely probable.
The Conservatives dominate current UK politics on 36.9% of the vote. They seek a mandate to extend austerity measures, stifle democracy and silence dissenting voices (see under internet policy). If they should extend their vote share and representative presence in Commons, does anyone really doubt what their idea of ‘strong and stable’ means in reality by this point?
This is the government that turned sanctioning and benefit cutting across the board into a national sport and has been found to be in violation of human rights for same by the United Nations. This is the government that removed motability vehicles and personal independence for thousands of disabled citizens. This is the government which has seen wealth disparity and food bank culture grow exponentially for every year it has been in office. We have people starving on the streets of a 21st century United Kingdom. We live in a state where government policy has been cited as being linked to an increase in mortality rates. The world’s 5th largest economy remember? Pretty certain readers can and WILL add a lot more to this list.
This government wants your permission to extend its own powers. THIS government.THIS system of politics.
In Scotland, we have only very rarely had any influence over who will eventually take office behind the door of number 10. We will never have enough MPs in Commons to form a partnership of equals. Simple arithmetic dictates this stark fact. What the majority in Commons decides, Scotland historically and meekly accepted. Brexit and the nature of Brexit being a perfect example of the UK’s and Westminster’s democratic deficit.
Today though, we have an opportunity and one we created for ourselves. We can decide who we wish to represent and defend our interests as a nation. We can decide who best represents and reflects our body politic. We can decide when enough is enough. We can choose to take a different path. We can refuse to be labelled, reduced to ‘ists’ and ‘isms’. We can decide what kind of country we want to live in and we can instruct our representatives to act accordingly.
We can choose who we want to be and how we wish to be viewed by others in the world. We are potentially two votes away from having the government we vote for at every time of asking.
Most people after the past few years are probably sick to the back teeth of politics. Understandable to say the least. But if we don’t fix a patently broken and societally destructive system, then who will? If we don’t do it now, whilst it is still possible, then when? Decision time is almost upon us. What kind of country do you want to live in and what legacy do you want to leave for future generations?