glenatron: (Iris)
I am not tremendously optimistic about tomorrow's election. And by "not tremendously optimistic" I mean that I am deeply pessimistic. In fact the only way I can see it going is the turkeys voting en-masse not just for Christmas but for some kind of special extra-Christmas where every family has to eat three turkeys.

I am among the most English people I know and being aware where I came from was very important to me when I was younger. Now, though, I don't feel that same connection. I don't feel like this country has much interest in people who want the world to be a better place or who care about the positive qualities that once made us great, instead of jingoism, penny-pinching and xenophobia.

I can quite confidently predict that after this election we will have a Conservative administration who will work hard to erase their predecessor's short tenure upon the title as "worst ever government of the UK." Of course, they may be able really hang onto that title for the long run if they can just ensure the break-up of the union, which is not far fetched given how badly they have handled Northern Ireland and Scotland so far.

I increasingly think about leaving the country- it feels as though the British people have voted for failure and if I want to be a success along any axis I probably won't really be welcome here anyway. If you're not failing and making everything worse, you're not part of the new British experience I guess. We have had a plan for a while to move west when we have a little money in the bank so I can buy the time to make some software and start doing something more entrepreneurial, but lately I find myself looking wistfully towards mainland Europe as well. Learning a new language would be tough, as would uprooting to a new country, but perhaps it would be worth it to be living somewhere that wasn't awful, where the people don't endlessly vote to make things worse for themselves and everyone else.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
Well our government voted to begin the process of leaving the EU, which I suppose that we knew they would in spite of all the hopes one might have that there was something that could be done to prevent it. I was angry with them all over again. Angry with our main opposition party for not doing their job and opposing anything whatsoever angry with the government for the disaster they have created.

Since the referendum and perhaps doubly in the last few weeks, I have been angry and sad about the state of politics the whole time. It's easier to be sad about it, because that just sits there like a rainy day, while the anger roils and tumbles inside me and makes me want to create terrible furious music or become a politician just so I could kick their laughable parties to pieces and turn our pallid faux-democracy into something that could actually benefit the public. Imagine being in a country where people felt their voice counted enough that they didn't have to tear their own economy to pieces in the vague hope of someone somewhere noticing they existed?

There is a lot that would need to be changed, and although I have thought about politics for a long time I am also not a big fan of working in London or meetings or any of the other things that seem to go with the field. That assumes that I could get myself elected, which would be a little implausible in itself although I think the speeches and talking with people parts would probably be easier than the parts that needed me to be organised or fill in forms. Those would be rubbish.

So yesterday I was feeling sour and resentful and angry but for some reason I listened to this old song and it made me feel better. They are just clueless really, just stupid people making terrible decisions because it's the only way to further their craven self-interest. Most of us didn't vote for them anyway, just a few people who were lucky enough to be in the right constituencies, so if they're massive dolts it is an entire national system that enables them.

It's not a political song, but maybe anything can be political when you're in the right mood.
glenatron: (moody othello)
I've been thinking a lot about politics over the last six months, as you might imagine. My political leanings are towards thinking that other people are mostly trying to do their best and that if you treat them fairly then the world could be pretty good but apparently that goes against the prevailing worldview right now.

One thing that I thought, growing up in the nineties in my privileged corner of England and later in Wales, was that there were battles that had been won. That racism and misogyny were still present, still a real problem, but that tides had turned. I might have believed that the arc of history bends towards justice, if you will.

I don't see that any more. What I see is that anything positive that one can create for society is a sandcastle, that it must be constantly shored up against the endless tide of darkness that would overwhelm and swallow it at the first opportunity. Battles aren't ever truly won, you just win a reprieve, a little time to shore up your foundations, perhaps to build the walls a little higher. We are fighting a relentless evil that cannot be defeated only turned back and briefly subdued because at its heart it is an idea, a story about how the past can be recovered, even if that past never happened in the first place. It is an insidious desire for the impossible and as long as people are willing to strive for it, to consider themselves superior to others for any reason aside perhaps from their own achievements and actions, that tide will keep rushing back.

I think about this a lot. I think about how it ties into the stories we have told, the ideas we have of ourselves. I have thoughts that wander between social theory and mysticism about how these things connect together, but I find myself also thinking of something a posted a very long time ago, a brief conversation with Carausius.

What I have learned however, is that words mean nothing. The only thing that can change the world is action. It needs to be the right action and it might need words to support it, but the action is what matters.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
Here is a point to ponder with regard to the fairness agenda our Condem masters are pushing forward.

Supposing we went out among the great British public and totally at random selected someone and asked if they were a millionaire. The odds of them being one would be 0.005% approximately.

Now let us imagine you went to Westminster, visited the Cabinet and totally at random selected someone and asked if they were a millionaire. The odds of them being one would be slightly over 79%.

I'm not saying there is anything right or wrong about this- you can't get into power without being rich, after all- there is a cost involved in buying votes and if you want a capitalist democracy you have to live with that. But they can't really say they understand the pain that their cuts will inflict on the poorest, or on the swathes of middle class public sector employees who will also get the chop.

When they talk about the cuts and George Osborne ( a man with an uncanny resemblance to the bastard offspring of Peter Mandelson and Noddy ) tells us that those with the broadest shoulders will bear the greatest burden, I can't help but feel he has an image in his head of broad shouldered peasants toiling in the fields. Given that those who will bear the greatest burden by far will be women, I think he's probably got a rather funny idea of gender physiology too.

I have a pretty bad feeling about these cuts, but no rational basis for it. I don't doubt that cuts were needed, because a bunch of shortsighted halfwits over the preceding twenty years couldn't see that a deregulated financial sector would not result in great fiscal responsibility, but the difference between surgery and butchery is largely a matter of where and how cuts are performed and the outcomes are noticeably different.

Edit:
Two articles that indicate how this week have made Cameron a liar:
On the Defence review
On the cuts - the latter of these is the most insightful discussion of the announcement I've seen so far and makes me feel pretty justified in having a bad feeling about them.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
I think a hung parliament may be the best outcome for this election- if any one party is going to have to take decisions that would potentially make them unelectable for a decade then they may back off, if it's a shared responsibility maybe they could handle it.

I do hope Labour get a kicking though - much as I hold the Tories in contempt for being, at heart, a bunch of corrupt, vile, malevolant bastards, at least they never claimed to stand for anything positive and worthwhile, whereas Labour once did and then betrayed it absolutely by proving themselves to be, at heart, a bunch of corrupt, vile, malevolant bastards. Not that there weren't some good Labour MPs after they were first elected- there really were - but there seem to be far fewer now and they have grown indolent and overly comfortable in their caviar-filled trough in Westminster.

I worry about the BBC being shredded by Cameron's faustian deal with the Murdoch organisation and that an outright Conservative victory will have nothing to offer but more of the same. Hopefully the Lib Dem surge will take them a step towards appearing to the general electorate as a truly viable opposition party at least. Ideologically they have been the only one of those for a long time now.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
Reading this article on Afghan history and the ones that follow it made me very aware of how little I know about the roots of the current situation in Afghanistan and how deep our involvement with it goes. I mean sure, everyone knows about the retreat from Kabul and how the powers of the west provided weapons and training to the noble Mujahideen who later opened the door for the evil Taliban, we all know about that big picture stuff. But there is so much else there and until reading those articles I had not only not known any of it, I hadn't even thought to ask the questions that might have lead me to find out. Well worth reading.
glenatron: (Default)
I was in the US for the last Democrat victory, back in 2000, and it's nice to see that in this case the election will be decided by popular mandate rather than by a single judge- that seemed to me a lot like taking one-man-one-vote a little far.

Hearing Obama's speech was much more moving than I expected and I am truly glad that he has won. A change was necessary and it seems that most americans knew that. As others have said, I wish we had such an interesting choice to be made next time we have an election but I know of nobody remotely as interesting anywhere in our parliament. Whether that is a result of the current state of british politics or my ignorance I don't know. Probably the latter.

I do worry that the system is too strong, that Obama won't be able to transcend the walls of resistance that have managed to stop most presidents from changing anything for much of the last century. I think his grassroots campaign funding may have helped though - he presumably owes a lot less to the great corruptors of world industry than most of his recent predecessor, but no doubt there remains a debt that they shall call in due course. It seems that he is probably as good a man for the job as anyone, so if the system can beat him then it has won absolutely and will have to be destroyed before the USA can be considered a meaningful democracy. Time will tell. But today the person with the most votes won the election and that, by recent standards, is a very hopeful start.
glenatron: (Default)
I know I go on about him, but the guy hits the nail on the head so often it's almost like he's a carpenter:
"...the government simply refuses to look beyond the present, for fear of seeing something it doesn’t like. For example, it has failed to conduct any assessment of global oil supply. When I asked the business department what contingency plans it possesses to meet the eventuality that oil production might peak, it told me “the Government does not feel the need to hold contingency plans”(7). The survival of our transport networks - and therefore of the economy - is secured by touching wood and crossing fingers." - Mr Monbiot's latest column.

His suggestion of a Hundred Years Committee to represent the interests of the future is a really interesting one and something it would be really good for our parliamentarians to pick up on.
glenatron: (Default)
I'm annoyed by the budget, specifically the claim that putting another 2p per litre on petrol makes it a green budget. I'm sorry, Darling, there is no point saying "making people pay more for tax will force them off the roads" because it won't. People won't drive less than they are now because we have no choice. No british government has invested in any kind of transport infrastructure aside from roads in my lifetime. How the hell are we supposed to get anywhere if they keep ramping up fuel prices and refusing to offer any alternative services? Oops they privatised the railways so they can't ask them to reduce fares. Oops same thing goes for the bus system. The only people doing any significant work on putting together a national network of cycle paths are a sodding charity because the government will do nothing to help. It's almost as though we are ruled by a gibbering coven of duplicitous lackwit dolts.

What they, our labour government, the people's party are saying is basically that poor people aren't allowed to live in rural areas. Which probably suits them fine because then they can knock down those unsightly cheap houses and build more second homes for the fuel-rich to replace them.

And in spite of the cash they shall be rolling in every time we make a journey for which they offer us no alternative the vile degenerate scum that make up our government are still using bare faced lies as they try to privatise the NHS through the back door. And don't even get me started on the enormous amounts of money we, the taxpayers, will be throwing away because of the Blairite obsession with Public Private Partnerships, the perfect way to buy something now and spend the next thirty years paying for it twenty times over.

Unlike most people you'll hear whinging about fuel taxation, it's not even that I hate the environment- hell, I even live in it, but this isn't an environmental budget, it is an increasing the divide between rich and poor budget. It's a "here is a problem and - bad news! - we have no solution to offer so why not give us all your money?" budget.

It's enough to make you wish there were some good guys in English politics.
glenatron: (Default)
So I've been reading a book by a bloke called Greg Palast. It's very interesting. He's an investigative reporter, investigating stuff and then reporting it. The book is called The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and it is genuinely shocking. I always thought I was fairly cynical about politicians and the people in power, but I was mistaken. Things are worse than I thought, by several orders of magnitude.

The world genuinely is being run by a malevolant cabal of the incredibly rich, everyone who matters has already been bought and those who wont play the game are attacked through every available method, some subtle and some less so. The globalisation stuff is deeply shocking, the deliberate destruction of country after country by the IMF/World Bank/World Trade Organisation combination and their incredibly stupid far right economic dogma (it may be good theory but if it has never been successful anywhere in the world maybe it's time to try something else?) which pretty much serves to channel money from the developing world into the US Federal reserve. It makes me angry.

The corporate connection things are very interesting too- there is a very good chance that money from your electricity bill went into Dubya's campaign kitty. Along with the money you spent on petrol and quite possibly your water rates. Doesn't it make you proud?

It struck me yesterday that maybe the reason that conspiracy theorists all seem to lean so far to the right is that if your political views incline towards the centre chances are you have provable facts.

There is one thing that we Britons can be proud of, though. In the BBC and the Guardian newspaper groups we have two of the only not-for-profit professional news organisations in the world. That means they can put news stories out without an owner intervening because they conflict with their commercial interests, unless they cover dossiers full of obvious lies anyways. Judging by the utterly cowed state of American journalism, that is a very good thing indeed.

It's a good book, I recommend reading it. I don't know what the solution is to the consequent despair.
glenatron: (Default)
Today was a sad day because the repugnant necrophile bunny-fascists won and although I don't believe for a second that the people running the farm should have had to endure those conditions any longer and I'm not even sure I agree entirely with animal testing in many cases I really hate bunny-fascists. I don't know what it is about them that fills me with rage- I'm sure it's not purely that we get a bunch of them shouting through megaphones near our offices - but I think it's the fact that they are the extremist extension of all that whole "fwuffy bunnies are aw cutesy and no-one should be awowed to hurt them" element of society and also that they are a strong element of the anti-science agenda that appears to be gaining mindshare among the public in general. There are various reasons for that including the resurgence in Christian Fundamentalism (not feeling angry enough at the talibunnies? take a look at the science of the religious right) but I think the main one is that people are stupid. Stupid and badly educated. They want a simple world where scientists can't be trusted ( at heart I want a simple world where scientists can be trusted but that may be equally naive ) and there is a miracle cure for every disease that has never needed to be tested at all. They would rather trust the media scaremongering or to my-word-is-truth preaching than people who have dedicated their lives to study and evidence but cannot say they are 100 percent certain of anything because they know that is not how the world works.

There are more subtle problems- in many cases science can't be trusted while someone with a commercial agenda controls the purse strings but when it comes down to it the scientific method is the most effective tool we have ever developed and to ignore it is criminal.

If I was in charge, being a bunny-fascist would be criminal. In fact I think bunny-fascists would pretty much require capital punishment. Sanctimonious vegans could settle for lifetime imprisonment because they could easily develop into bunny-fascists and anyways there are very few kinds of people more annoying than a sanctimonious vegan.

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