Little Bit Of Politics
I felt bad yesterday.
I’m going to see my parents this afternoon and we’ll probably talk about the Euro and local elections. I’ll say who I voted for and explain why, but I’ll still feel like I’ve let the side down.
I’m from a family of Labour voters, the proper old skool variety at that. And I grew up as a strange little kid who desperately wanted them to topple Thatcher from power. I remember in 1987 standing outside the local polling booth and boring other 12 year olds silly with my support for Neil Kinnock. That doesn’t make you a cool kid does it?
I remember being upset in 1992 when John Major was re-elected. Why did that happen? Who thought that was a good idea?
I also remember the elation in 1997, when after 18 years, it felt that we may end up with a moral government, one dedicated to righting inequalities and governing for the many, not the few.
Boy, did they let me down.
I had doubts back then. Tony Blair’s pandering to the mythical middle England, the move away from socialism, and the watered down ideals, all these and more made me think it wasn’t going to be the great thing I’d wished. But, hey, it had to be better than what went before, and there was always the hope that once in power the proper policies could be unveiled. I’m okay with fibbing to the self-interested to get their vote.
But the Labour government appear paralysed in not wanting to rock the boat, scared that if it alienated middle England then we’d end up with the Tories back in power within 5 years. The Tories were fucking finished, they weren’t a threat! You had the greatest opportunity in modern history to push forward a progressive, fair and moral future. In America, Obama has the Republican party pulling him back wherever they can, in 97 Tony Blair had no such trouble. But still he appeared scared to make any radical move.
And then September 11th 2001 came along. And we lurched into wars, Blair ignoring what we said as he was guided by the magic man in the sky. All at the same time students found their time at university becoming prohibitively expensive (something which will have a far greater effect on poorer families), the child poverty targets were hopelessly missed, blah de blah, yadda yadda.
Radical ideas for making this country a better place were ignored, as Labour carefully trod the middle ground in politics for fear of offending those who merely give a shit about income tax levels, or how often their bins are taken away.
What a missed opportunity.
And, even though I disagreed with the Iraq war, even though I was shocked to see the level of student debt, it was this inactivity because of the fear of upsetting the electorate that finally made me vote for the Lib Dems yesterday.
I went quiet for a while, and had a restless sleep. I’m surprised I didn’t have a nightmare in which Nye Bevan came round, crying and asking me what I’d done.
I know my mum will say I’ve wasted a vote and even though I disagree, I can see what she means. To my mum, a vote for any party other than Labour is a vote for the Tories. The Libs can’t get power, I’m just letting Davey Dave Cameron get nearer to the throne. Eugh.
But something needs to be done. As Labour sits neutered in power, more obsessed with beating itself to death rather than governing the country, extremism sits in the shadows.
Dean brought in the BNP leaflet for Pendle yesterday. It’s different than the rightly mocked one which was sent to homes round the country, this one is bigger, occasionally locally focused and chock full of the hateful, disingenuous, bullshit of that bunch of twats. I laughed at how wrong it was, and how so little of it was based in reality. I couldn’t laugh too much though because there are people out there for whom it would have said everything they wanted to hear. I’m going to coin a new term for that sort of thing – twatnip. Like catnip but aimed at twats.
And, at the time of writing this, there is still a fear that the BNP could get its first Euro MP, right here in Lancashire. Dick Griffin could have a say in how MY county interacts with Europe. MY county. It makes me feel sick to the stomach.
At election time, hearing the horrific views of the BNP and its supporters on the TV, listening to all this “Get Britain out of Europe!” bollocks from people who still live in 1945, and hearing the whines of the affluent concerned about income tax levels and petrol prices, I just want to live far away from people.
Tony Blair’s Labour didn’t turn out to be the party to tackle inequality in this country, they acted in their own self-interests, merely concerned with staying in power. And by doing so, by failing to put across a strong message about the positives of Europe, by failing to tackle the poverty that causes the hate and fear that people like the BNP feed on, they’ve just left Britain ripe for a takeover by those who I find abhorrent.
And that’s why I voted for the Lib Dems.
We get what we deserve.
From the idiot who blames foreigners for the fact that he isn’t having a perfect life, to the prick who blames dole scroungers for the fact that it costs a lot of money to fill his Range Rover; all of them looking for a scapegoat. All whining about how life has dealt them an unfair hand.
We’re in the shit financially and we lash out to blame the government. And they are to blame. But, so are we. A boom based on nothing much more than moving cash around and an inflated housing market, we were all okay with that as long as it allowed us to live on unsustainable debt. To sit around now and just expect the politicians to get us out of it without a change in our ‘Me want!’ society will prove ultimately futile. We’ll just get ourselves in the same mess again. We need to live within our means, realise that petrol and other resources are a luxury and stop blaming others for our perceived misfortune. Only then will we get the government that Labour should have been in 1997. If we can’t stop them setting policies to pander to whoever will keep them in power, then we should at least try and make our demands righteous and for the good of all of us. If we stop being a bunch of dicks, then maybe they will to.