Saturday, 16 May 2015

NOW Can We Get Off The Left/Right See-Saw?

Political authoritarianism is not a left or right-wing thing
I've been mulling over the results of the recent general election here in the UK and have come to the conclusion that I was right all along; we really do need a new kind of political thinking.

The question is, how am I going to persuade ANYONE to get off the left/right see-saw when they're unwilling to consider other options?

The state of play

Home Secretary Theresa May has decided to expand the definition of "extremist" and the Tories are planning to scrap the Human Rights Act, problematic though that is. Imagine having to ask Plod for permission to write a status update or blog post. That's where we're headed, people.

The Government's IT security skills shortage

"Cyber-panic" has taken hold at our clueless GCHQ, which is openly recruiting "computer network operations specialists" in an effort to overcome the security skills shortage. That they are suffering a shortage of skilled security personnel is a problem not being addressed by the omnipotent market is surely indicative of the endemic failure of neoliberalism, but neoliberalism is like the emperor's new clothes. Only intelligent, creative, and discerning people can see the finery the emperor is sporting, while the rest of us try not to notice the dimples in the cellulite on the man's saggy rump.

Where is the skills training for IT security specialists? How much is the wage? There's your problem, sort that out. Of course, knowledge and skills are probably not the real problem; getting ideologically correct staff who also know what they're doing is most likely to be what the actual issue is. How in the world can you recruit someone who's ideologically correct AND knows what they're doing where IT and the internet are concerned? It's oxymoronic, hence the problem.

FOI will be restricted

Transparency will be dealt a blow when FOI laws are amended to allow the government more leeway to refuse to answer awkward questions. Apparently this is about protecting Prince Charles's right to attempt to influence the government by writing to ministers, etc. without being called out for it but I would argue that this is what FOI is for. Besides, they're gathering data on us. Quid pro quo, not status quo, people.


The free trade agreements I've been lobbying against continue apace. CETA has ground to a halt for now and TTIP is faltering. "Stop your whining and trust me" is the wrong attitude to take when someone asks you a question. I gave Loz Kaye the third degree when I met him in 2012. He won me over by answering my questions fully and completely. The pro-FTA brigade don't do that. But I was told if you had nothing to hide you'd have nothing to fear. So... what are they hiding?

Welfare cuts

Benefits sanctions are destroying families, some of whom are forced to go dumpster-diving and shoplifting to survive. Some people have actually died as a result. Meanwhile, the government is committed to further cutting benefits, claiming that the people whose benefits have been sanctioned have got jobs so no harm is being done.

Where's the opposition?

Mostly in the press by the grass roots organisers. The Labour party itself is riven with infighting between the Blairite neoliberal and socialist factions. The trouble is not with the fact that the party wants to regain power, it's that the Right has successfully gained and maintained control of the narrative, a fact I warned about in May last year. If people believe the Right's version of things, they're going to see the Left as a threat. The Right, knowing this, have successfully characterised all dissenters as Leftist sore losers and therefore the bad guys, and it flippin' works. What in the world are we going to do about it?

We need to gain control of the narrative

Gaining control of the narrative means getting people on board. This  means repeating the facts over and over again until they gain traction.

  • 'Nuff Conservative party members are unhappy with this government's policies
  • True conservatism and fascism are completely different things
  • Many dissenters are pro-capitalism*
  • The Tories are not a safe pair of hands for the economy: the deficit is growing
  • We don't need no steenking surveillance, it just creates more haystacks to hide needles in
  • There is no such thing as the free market

We need to work together

The trouble is, the other factions are so keen on gaining and maintaining power for themselves, they're not interested  in serving the people or working coherently together.

If politics was church, Conservatism would be the Roman Catholics, Labour would be Lutheran, the Liberal Democrats would be Pentecostal, and the others would be different flavours of Evangelical. Now can you see the problem? It actually suits the left-liberal and alternative right-wingers to go along with the Right's policy of divide and conquer because they're hoping for some conquests themselves. This has got to stop; we need to be willing to work together, at least on campaigns we agree on. And one of those campaigns has got to be to gain and maintain control of the narrative.

Better minds than mine are required to work out how to reach the people where they're at and get them on to our side. Meanwhile, we need to figure out a new form of politics that isn't just the old turd dusted off and polished. You know, like neoliberalism. I can only do so  much, the rest is up to you. Can we at least talk about it?

*Managed, not unfettered. Letting captialism run rampant is like asking John Terry to keep your lady company while you're away on business.

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