I don’t often write about politics unless something exception is happening and at the moment something very exceptional is definitely happening in the U.K. and to differing degrees across Europe and the USA.
Before General Election in May, I penned the post “Who To Vote For When All The Political Parties Suck” In the last year people across the western world have grown increasingly sick of the lack of proper representation in their democratic chambers.
The people have had almost 10 years of economic problems and a seemingly never end round of talk of cut-backs, austerity and general doom and gloom. It seems to many that the people who caused all the economic problems are the ones who are suffering the least and that few people are proposing real alternatives or offering any hope beyond more cutbacks and suffering.
Across Europe voters have elected apparently extreme governments by people who are sick of the way things are and the people who constantly talk things down rather than offering hope. It doesn’t even really seem to matter which side of the political scale people vote for as more extreme parties are winning from each side. Socialists in Greece, Fascist like rulers in Hungary, nationalists in France all doing well from people who are fed up of not being listened to or represented. Scotland is largely governed by the SNP who make great capital about not being the establishment and yet in practice seem to spend more time complaining about London than actually doing anything with the powers they have but they are still new and not many have caught on to that yet.
Even in the United States, realisation is setting in that most of the power and money is concentrated in a hand full of people who are so far separated from the people that even King George III would be disgusted. Donald Trump is doing incredibly well, not particularly because he has the best policies but because he is so rich he can afford to speak his mind and not be in the pockets of corporations. The Democratic Party had long been expected to shoe in Hilary Clinton as their nominee but the closest person I’ve ever seen to a real Socialist in America in the shape of Bernie Sanders is the one who the people seem to be supporting. From a foreigners point of view, being the wife or indeed son of a former president doesn’t in any way warrant their future candidacy to the office of President and certainly no-one here would think Margaret Thatchers son should be Prime Minister or Tony Blairs wife.
Surely the same radical change couldn’t happen in Britain? Well I always thought it was ripe for happening. All of the political parties and politicians were offering the same. The people looked the same (apart from Ed Miliband who just looked odd), they sounded the same, they offered very similar solutions and had not very much in common with the people they claimed to represent as opposed to the people in their social circle.
That’s why I didn’t think it was a surprise that UKIP the UK Independence Party won so many votes at the election in May and the fact they got so little to show for it, for good or ill demonstrates the flaws in the system. I didn’t vote for UKIP but I understood the appeal of voting for a man who though is very rich at least gave the impression of being different from everyone else. If so many people on the street talk about immigration or complain about the EU, who can blame them for voting for the one person in politics who actually agrees with them as opposed to all the other parties who either openly disagree with such policies or half-heartedly do little to change them.
This summer the Labour Party (which is the equivalent of the Democrats) had a leadership campaign after the ever useless Ed Miliband did as well as I thought he would… which is not very. Four candidates were put forward and three of them were almost identical to each other and in deed to their opponents. The only radical option was Jeremy Corbyn who had to have help even to get on the ballot paper. He was a 500/1 outsider and possibly the most socialist leader of the Labour Party of all time, certainly of the last 40 years or more.
I quite like Jeremy and I like him for all the reasons that he won 60% of the party vote to gain its leadership. He is “old” and I am sick of all the politicians being 40-somethings. He is not slickly or even smartly dressed which I also like. He is different, his policies are all different and his approach is different. He doesn’t appear to be of the usual ruling club. He has been an MP for almost my entire life and never progressed in any way until now as he was always deemed to left-wing.
During the leadership campaign as every body else badmouthed him or ridiculed him whilst not thinking of a single policy that electrified the voters, he just kept to his usual dishevelled way of doing things and concentrating on his policies and what is wrong with the country and government as he sees it rather than lowering himself to the level of the others.
I was thrilled that he won and I didn’t vote for his party at the last election. I think he is amazing and a breath of fresh air even. However I can also see why many think he would never ever win a General Election. It brings up the ages old theory of whether it is better to vote for someone you believe in that doesn’t get power or to vote for the other guy who is less good but gets elected.
In less than a week he has already made big changes, government policy is already changing with regards to policies such as refugees. His appeal to young people is immense and is fostering the re-engagement of people with politics on a giant scale. He promised to put an end to the “Punch and Judy” politics and to do things differently, to represent the people and not himself or his party.
Of course as some one who is so anti-establishment and unconventional, he was causing controversy right from the beginning. Ignoring the media to communicate directly with people. Appearing at protest events regarding homeless people, mental health care and immigration. Refusing to sing the national anthem which for some reason was picked on my all the newspapers despite the countless important things going on at this time. I can see why someone in a position of importance could be expected to sing the national anthem at a professional level rather than a personal one. However, Jeremy objects to the idea of a monarchy and he might well object to the idea of God. As such singing God Save The Queen could obviously be problematic and I have no problems with God or The Queen.
The House of Commons was packed out yesterday for his first Prime Ministers Question Time with everyone waiting to see if it would all end up in complete disaster. Would he keep his promise to do things differently? Everyone wondered what would and could happen and there was even a slight look of apprehension on the face of the Prime Minister.
As it happened he was again as good as his word. In fact Mr Corbyn had contacted the general public by email and had over 40,000 replies to be put as questions to the Prime Minister and he did so in a quiet and respectful manner that demanded answers though not in a way that would win many political points.
Having alienated Conservatives, Liberals, Republicans and Democrats right now, its time to annoy Labour voters too by saying I quite like the Prime Minister David Cameron though I can see how he comes over as smarmy. Being someone who is full of instant put-downs and come-backs I appreciate it in others even in the Prime Minister though PMQs might not always be the place to highlight it. However it can’t be denied that he, like every other Prime Minister spends more time attacking his opponents than answering the questions put to him. Whats worse though is that he can get to cocky, arrogant and smarmy and has recently been more and more condemned for it. The short video clip below is a good example of what PMQ’s has been like for 50 years or more and of the PM being put in his place.
I am of the opinion that Democracy isn’t that good a system but as Sir Winston Churchill says, it is better than the others. I’d like to see every point of law being voted electronically by the public as otherwise we are all truly free only once every 4 or 5 years. Jeremy Corbyn though did take the idea a little closer by the unique and not at all exciting way of asking the Prime Minister questions directly from the general public.
He seems a genuinely nice man and someone who has concerns for the people. I always try to vote for who I think is the best party or person to run the country and have voted for various colours through the years. As contradictory as it sounds, not only did I not vote for Labour last time because I spent the last 5 years thinking what a mistake it was to elect him but because I thought the party was just a poor shadow of the Conservative Party, alas I couldn’t vote for the Liberals because I still have that old-fashioned idea of keeping promises though I think it is a real shame.
I really admire people who speak their mind and stick to their principles even if I disagree with them so long as they do it for the right reasons and motives and I hope that Jeremy Corbyn goes on to finish his career at the very peak of politics but for all the reasons I would like that to happen, I can see why so many others would be horrified if he did.
So far he has been trashed as being a joke, an idiot, someone who would ruin the economy, someone who is a security risk because he would abolish nuclear weapons and side as strongly with Palestinians as the establishment sides with Israel. All of these things are what has brought his popularity because he is offering an alternative that many ordinary people long for but who for various reasons, the people in charge of all parties seem to entirely not represent. As Mr Corbyn says, he just wants to open a debate and that is what democracy should be about and not having 650 people who vaguely agree with each other about almost everything. He has obviously tapped into the popular feelings of many disenfranchised people across the world and I think that is a good thing.
To see the first section of yesterdays Prime Ministers Question times and the total change one man brought to proceedings, you can watch the clip below.
A totally non-political and uncontroversial and decidedly more interesting post will follow soon!