Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Smoke and Mirrors

“I am prepared to tell you absolutely anything!” No, this is not a quote from a politician’s speech; it is a quote from the rather funny series called ‘Black Adder’. However, the quote could well have come from any number of our incumbent Parliamentarians because 2010 opens the door to a new wave of lies, deception, obfuscation and kidology. Sit back and enjoy the playground bickering as two sides attempt to ‘outbid’ each other in the race to kick and elbow their opponents out of contention. Marvel at the amazing claims to be able to achieve what they, and every other previous Government for the past 100 years for that matter, have failed miserably to achieve before. Welcome one and all to the start of the campaign trail for the 2010 General Election.

Media coverage of politics in the UK is dominated, as per usual, by Labour and Conservative. The first spat of the New Year is over the economy and who has got its figures right. Labour produced a tremendously large document discussing plans to dig Britain out of debt; No, not Labour’s plans – the Conservative plans. You see it is so much easier to disparage the opposition plans than it is to justify the rightness of your own. So we learn that Labour thinks the Conservative plans are unachievable but we have no idea if Labour’s plans are any better. So what kind of message can we take from this opening salvo? Surely the message put across by Labour is not so much vote for us as it is don’t vote for them.

The conservative party, in the meantime, has declared that it tends to concentrate on the National Health Service (NHS). It plans to ring-fence the funding for the NHS, which means that other departments must surely bear the necessary cuts any future Government will desire to miraculously accomplish within one Parliamentary term simply for the purpose of looking great and ‘electable’ once more in the next General Election. But look closely enough and you can see that most awful of management devices called ‘the quick win’ in action. The NHS funding is already there. All the Conservatives are saying is that they will leave it alone, which is what they want to do with most things anyway. Perhaps what is most surprising about their declaration is that they are not seeking to privatise large sections of the NHS – probably because no one has any spare cash right now.

The Liberal Democrats may or may not hold the balance of power if the expected result of a hung Parliament becomes a reality – and just maybe politicians will take notice that we, the people, will no longer accept their kind of futile political point scoring that resembles nothing more than a flock of quarrelsome seagulls squabbling over a piece of dead crab. Perhaps one might even give the Lib Dems some credit for not joining the unseemly scrap.

Of course, the clever bit to all this is the way media coverage is distracted form things like the MPs expenses scandal and the ongoing Iraq enquiry, both of which has cost the tax payer extraordinary amounts of money and leaves no politician covered in glory. We must remember in the coming days when we hold the power to change the way we are governed, that whatever successive governments have promised in the past, they have singularly failed to deliver on it.

In the 2010 election I think we all know that whatever Government is formed, the tax payer will be paying taxes to pay back the debts created by unwise and foolish banking investment practices. There is nothing financially in this package for the little people. And thus we approach a defining moment where ordinary people can feel comfortable in voting on principle rather than on their own pockets (yes we all do it at some time or other) because there are no immediate material benefits to us. Therefore we have a glorious opportunity to use our vote – and use it we must – to change the way politics is delivered in our country.

For example, I noticed on the BBC news web page for ‘Politics’ (that is British Politics) that there is a subheading for Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh Politics. There is no heading for English Politics because England does not have an English Assembly. The ‘English National Party’ would want to have one of these along with the much popular introduction of a national holiday for St George. Please note that the smaller parties are concerned with letting you know what they stand for, rather than what the other parties will do to you if you are stupid enough to let them get in. Positive political campaigning does exist and I believe you would suffer no detriment by listening to a few of them. Clearly they have something positive to say, unlike Labour or Conservative who clearly have nothing to say worth listening to and nothing new to offer. If they did, wouldn’t they be talking to you instead of competing with each other?

Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors. As one politically astute person pointed out on a website recently, if only Labour or Conservative are the likely Governments under our first past the post system, we are as near as living in a one-party-state as can be. There is no democracy - only the big boys club. I don’t know about you but I have had more than enough of their empty promises, deceit, back biting, corruption and self serving policies. Don’t be afraid to change your allegiance this year. Vote for someone who tells you what they want to do. Don’t be afraid, be involved – be very involved.

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