Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A medley of semi-optimistic thoughts on the UK political situation.

Today's reading is taken from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 22, verse 11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

We have a Conservative Prime Minister again.

The family grouped around the TV held its collective head and moaned. But not me. Why not? Various reasons.
  • Son Joe had taken me up in his tandem paraglider, which had put my head in a good space.
  • Been down so long it feels like up to me. 
  • NuLabour were a bitter disappointment and not much better than Tories ("Tony Blair a PM" = anagram on "I am Tory plan B"). 
  • The Tories' cutting fanaticism might just possibly be to some slight degree moderated by LibDem fiscal moderation. 
  • Dave is a decent Tory, a man whose heart is in the right place, even though his ideology is in the wrong place, but then so is Labour's and the LibDems. They all base their economics on the manifest impossibility of infinite growth in a finite system, and seek to base our national security on the threat of total destruction of civilisation. 
  • Being in with the Tories may prove to be the kiss of death for the LibDems, and bring an influx of LibDems into the Green Party, to complement the recent influx of refugees from NuLabour.
  • People may begin to distrust the media. Let me expand on this:

The most interesting (not to say edible) morsel that we can extract from this pile of spew is that despite having a 3:1 advantage in terms of newspaper support, the Tories failed to gain an outright majority. Which says a lot about the basic positioning of the British electorate. If we had a neutral, balanced press, the Tories would just be a minor party.

The media have a lot to be embarrassed about, if they had a conscience, but it would seem that there is a requirement to hand in your conscience on the first day of journalism school. They have spent the last 5 days presenting speculation as "news", interviewing each other, and bewailing the fact that politicians are having to negotiate with each other, as if this were the worst thing that could possibly happen. They hid the fact that this is the norm in modern democracies. Their time would have been better spent in explaining clearly the facts about th FPTP system, and how the various alternatives might work.

But they did not, and for this failure, the media do not earn respect. They do not convey news and understanding of news, they are propagandists. With a balanced media, the British electorate and government would be progressive.

That's the optimistic bit. Now for the pessimistic bit: a review of the Tories' four leading vices:
  1. They are infested with climate change deniers
  2. Their economic slash-and-burn policies will bring on a double dip recession
  3. They support the ridiculous FPTP system
  4. They would increase the Rich-Poor Gap.
 We shall see. Will the Tories bring on a double dip recession? Maybe, maybe not. If it does, people may choose not to believe them in future.

Our immediate task, as thinking and active people, is to work to win the referendum on Alternative Vote - indeed, to make sure it happens. Sure, AV is no better than FPTP, but it does lay the foundation for AV+, which would give us the proportional representation that we need.

Our second job is to rebalance the media. The only suggestion I have for starters is a law to require the proprietor of any newspaper to be published in the title banner, just as the proprietor of a pub has to be published over the door to the pub. I got this idea from Mark Thomas' manifesto, one of whose suggestions was that the Daily Mail should be required to print "The Paper that supported Hitler" on its banner.

So there we have it. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Nous allons voir. Ici, c'est merde, oui, mais merde peut etre compostee.

No comments: