The absence of a political choice

"George Osborne got up at his party conference last month and declared that to cut the deficit further he needed to find another £25 billion of savings, and that he’d get them from cuts to welfare. You don’t have to be a Harvard-trained economist to know that the last people to have a spare £25 billion sloshing around are the poor. Yet no one seemed that bothered by the Chancellor’s economics."

Armando Iannuci published a powerful piece in The Evening Standard this weekend. I suggest you read it, "Why politicians of all parties are kicking the poor". The leader of the opposition Ed Milliband also comes in for criticism for "restricting his public pronouncements to 'tough' decisions to limit child support payments and to put a cap on welfare spending". Partly as a result of this the UK is "now in the middle of a shocking rise in poverty in all its forms".

The main theme of the piece is that this is being allowed to happen because large groups of people have been switched off the idea of voting:

"I’ve had one senior Labour shadow minister tell me that, if you’ve got a choice between canvassing students or old folk’s homes, you visit the pensioners, since they’ll vote. Hence, students get tuition fees while Osborne in his conference speech assured pensioners they’ll be protected from cuts."

He never mentions Russell Brand's infamous "don't vote" stance but as a subtext it's obvious. He offers no solution though, concluding with the line, "Socially, there can be no hope of cohesion in our communities if politics is now By Special Invitation Only".

It's a brilliant piece, even if he does reference "Lord" Owen Jones.

As someone who happens to agree with Brand's current "don't vote" position the paucity of answers to the above tweet only strengthens my resolve.

The first highlighted response is a reference to Paul Dacre, editor of The Daily Mail. Essentially it's a "blame the media" post. I'm tired of this attitude because it lets politicians off the hook. People are not stupid, they think for themselves. They choose to read The Daily Mail, it's not forced upon them. Blaming "the media" because people don't agree with you means you dance to the tune of those in Her Majesty's Government who want to control and censor it. Their intent is to avoid criticism. At worst the mainstream media acts, perhaps willingly, as a distraction[1]. However, "the media" didn't cause the banking crisis, or declare war on Iraq.

Then there's the other highlighted response, again urging politicians to "challenge" the media's demonisation. Some of the other comments further down are more are interesting but I've written this post as a clear response to this theme that political disenfranchisement is some kind of PR problem.

There are large numbers of people like me who do not vote. I don't think it's because they are apathetic or led by "the media". My reasons are everything to do with the fact there are no politicians or parties with whom I agree. The political system, "Her Majesty's Government", is sick and rotten to the core. It needs massive reform. There are no signs this will ever come because people vote for it. So I, like many others, choose to remain outside of the process. We pay our taxes so we still have the right to criticise it. In fact given that we don't willingly support it I'd argue we have even more of a right to point out its failings.

If a revolution is coming in this country it will only have meaning if it's one of consciousness. A change in the way we think. The appointment of a new "leader", "Prime Minister", "King" or "Queen" is not something I will ever celebrate, or support. The reason I don't vote is because the question I am being asked is meaningless. It changes nothing and only ever brings more of the same.

The sooner people realise this, the sooner we will have real change.

Nick Margerrison

[1] The Hillsborough disaster seems like a good example. Failings by the police seem to have been the main factor there. However an ill judged and factually incorrect opinion piece in The Sun newspaper about the tragedy is still a more widely spoken of concern for many. One of these two mistakes cost lives and had horrific real life consequences, the other was an opinion based upon police testimony. I think our priorities are messed up when we focus on the latter. I'm open to the possibility these priorities are encouraged deliberately because they let the establishment off the hook but confident times are changing.


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