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Idealism vs Reality

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 12 May 2022, 14:07

We haven't had a working government in Stormont for 2 years now.  It's a political stalemate between the 2 extremes of Irish Republicanism (Sinn Fein) and Unionism (DUP) which are, in all probability, irreconcilable.  Especially, since the DUP hold the balance of power in Westminster and are keeping Theresa May in office and the Conservatives in government.

The same political stalemate is happening in the US with the stand-off between a Republican president threatening to close down the Government again and the Democrat-controlled Senate refusing to fund his wall.

Then, we have the political shambles of Brexit with Theresa May incompetently lurching from one crisis to the next and unable to deliver a 'deal'.  There is political stalemate with Europe refusing to renegotiate and neither the Left nor the Right anywhere able to fully grasp the reality of life outside the Parliamentary bubble for the rest of us and deliver what we want and need and not just on Brexit.

The stagnation of politics in the West at the present time is because we are caught between 2 irreconcilable positions, the Left and the Right, or public vs private and there is no-one of competence, capable of stepping up and delivering a coherent and practical alternative. (Well, apart from me!)

The other problem is that the political structure and the policies of the Left and Right are years out of date and do not serve the world of today.  The Right dominates at the moment because the Left have collapsed and failed to address the reasons for this.  Tony Blair did attempt to move Labour from the old policies of the 70’s that had kept them out of office and towards the middle but unfortunately, he kept going in that direction and ended up more right-wing than some Tories. 

The Right believe in capitalism, especially Free Market Capitalism which has been the doctrine since the 1980’s.  It doesn’t matter that it collapsed in 2008; those on the Right still refuse to acknowledge its failure or to acknowledge that it worked best when it came with a social conscience as it did in the time of people like Cadbury and Rowntree.

The political doctrines of the left and right were drawn up when the parties were formed, either in response to or opposition to, events or social and political conditions as Labour did after the Second World War when the populace demanded change.  The Welfare State was set up to address the demand for better health care, education and housing and to provide a safety net against poverty.  However, the Conservative Party detest the Welfare State and have been doing their best to dismantle it since then.  Their belief in the private over public is best seen in the way they sold off and privatised all the nationalised industries. 

Here in the North, Sinn Fein are becoming strangulated by their ‘ideals’.  Their refusal to sit in Parliament was a policy drawn up a hundred years ago as a protest against British rule in Ireland.  Since they have signed and accepted the Good Friday Agreement, they have accepted British rule in the North so why are they not taking their seats?  They also have a problem with the oath to the Queen but let’s be realistic about it, would anyone think they really meant it? Or they could do what Tony Benn always did and cross their fingers.  If they were in Parliament, they could at least drum up support against the oath from other Parliamentarians and get rid of it altogether.  Ironically, if they had taken the seven seats they won after the last election, they could have made life very difficult for the Government and since they were able to change their position on the EU from anti to pro within a couple of years, I don’t see why they can’t make that change.

The doctrines of the Left and Right, like Sinn Fein and the DUP are based on certain ideals.  Each has their own belief in what the world should be from their perspective and they try and shape it to fit in with those ideals.  That’s not to say that having ideals is necessarily a bad thing but when it translates into policies and dogma that are unchangeable and cause political stagnation then it becomes a problem. 

The politic world is ripe for change, a middle way has to be found between left and right, a balance between public and private because as history has shown us, neither of these options has worked when put into practice. It is time to abandon the doctrines of the past and move towards a new way of working. Brexit has shown that issue-based politics has driven a wedge through the left and the right but it also offers hope of a better way of working in the future.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) it would mean the parties within Westminster would have to abandon their dogmatic political position and work to deliver a solution where politicians would work together to resolve the issues instead of trying to impose a party-based solution more concerned with keeping a government in power but which cannot deliver in the long term.

We need a complete restructuring of the political landscape.  We should decide on the issues, healthcare, housing, transport, security, education, what are we willing to support through taxation, what kind of society do we want and what are we willing to do to create it?  In abandoning party politics and moving towards issue-based politics, we would be dealing with the actual problems, free from the dogma and rhetoric of the past and instead, focussed on finding a solution to today’s problems. It would also mean a reduction in government and an end to cronyism and corporate predominance. 

There should also be rules in place so that only people who actually live in a constituency have the right to stand for election in that constituency. This would get rid of the London-centric politics which has split the country and left those outside the London and Parliamentary bubble feeling disconnected and forgotten.   

While many are worried about Brexit, we should see it as an opportunity to redraw the political landscape.  Once Britain is free from Brussels, we have the chance to start over, to wipe the slate clean and rebuild society and the political structure.  Margaret Thatcher once said ‘there is no such thing as society’, this was a very famous quote but it was only part of what she said, she went on to say, ‘There are individual men and women, and there are families.  And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after ourselves and then look after our neighbour.  It is time to look after ourselves. 

Change will come, the disaffection of the people with politicians and the political structure is evident across the world.  We have hit an impasse and Brexit has revealed the failure of the Left and Right to find a way forward or to offer a solution.  If we are to move forward, then we have to address the realities of the world today and create a political structure that serves the needs of the people and the country first.  The day of party politics is coming to an end, change can be frightening but with a little courage and imagination, there is no telling what kind of society we could create.  All it takes is the will to make it happen, we can be idealistic and wish for a better world but at the end of the day, it is up to us to create it.  Idealism does have its place, it can and does inspire us to action, great men like Mahatma Ghandi were idealistic and achieved so much but it was achieved through action and by facing and dealing with the realities of the day.  

Idealism fails when it doesn’t deal with reality as we have seen only too well in the last century. 

Albert Einstein once said, ’Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow’.  I think we should learn from yesterday, act today and tomorrow will take care of itself’.

A few weeks ago, a bomb went off in Derry; a stark reminder of what can happen when the ‘ideals’ of the past, impinge on the present reality.  When vacuums open up in politics and leadership (quite often between their ears!), the worst elements step in and try to fill them. 


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Strivers, skivers and parasites

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Sunday, 11 Oct 2020, 09:25

Well, I hope you all enjoyed Christmas, and looking over the weeks headlines, it’s good to see the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the Tory party.  

From Osbourne’s ‘strivers and skivers’ speech, to Alec Shelbrooke’s big idea to give welfare claimants cards, that can only be used for essential items, and now we have Iain Duncan Smith planning to cut welfare for up to three years to discourage the lazy and wanton, and all those who are living the high life on benefits!!


Now, I have a solution to all these problems, I ask you, why stop with cards?  If they really want to be sure that these ‘skivers’ don’t use the taxes that us ‘strivers’ pay, to spend on things like drink and cigarettes let’s take it one step further.  Why don’t we put tags on them like they do with criminals, then with all thBe technology we have, we can track their movements, or better still, although this one probably applies to the long term unemployed more.  If they’re out of work for more than six months, we could have them chipped and pinned like they do with dogs.  We could give the police scanners and if they find anyone in a pub and/or smoking, or walking along the street with a carry out, then they could be scanned and if they are on benefits, we could have them arrested and cut their benefits.  We’d save the tax payer a fortune!


But, now when I think about it, this might prove too expensive.  Maybe we should try something else, I know, we could have them wear a special kind of badge that shows they’re on benefits, and then if someone sees them drinking or smoking or spending their money on non-essentials, we could set up a hotline where they could report them.  Of course it should be free, but I don’t really think the hard-working strivers of this country would mind spending a pound or two to rid the system of another scrounger.  Who knows, we might even end up in profit!!  

Come to think of it, badges might not work either, well, they could take them off you see, it would be difficult to enforce, and cards too could be expensive, and then if they lost the card it would have to be issued again, even more expense. 


Right, what about this instead of cards at all.  We could set up stores where they would have to go on a weekly basis to collect the essentials they need to live on, then they wouldn’t need money at all.  I’m just thinking, we could kill two birds with one stone here, as well as controlling the spending of welfare recipients, we could also put those with weight problems on a restricted calorie diet, thereby fixing the obesity crisis as well.  Simple eh?


But now when I think about it a bit more, there could be a more efficient way of organising all this.  I actually have very good organisational skills, did I not tell you, oh yes, I am a model of efficiency when it comes to getting organised.  I’m also good with ideas, I know, I’m a real all rounder!  Maybe I should join the Tory party!!


Right, so how could we make it more efficient?  I’ve got it, why don’t we round them all up and put them in camps, after all, they are parasites feeding off the rest of society and really they don’t deserve to be part of society so we should separate them from all the ‘good hard-working strivers’ in this country.   Yes, that’s a  better idea and they can stay in the camps until they get a job which, of course, we will help them to find. 


That’s definitely a better solution, but then what would you do in a recession when people can be out of work for a long time and there might not be any jobs?  Hmmm, now that could be a problem and it could prove to be very expensive over the long term.  Give me a minute to think….Ah yes, I’ve got it, you know at times I amaze myself with my thinking!  We could have them put down, yes, that would work, wouldn’t it?  I wonder if anyone would object, that’s always a possibility, you know how people are always banging on about human rights these days. 

 Hmmm, let me think what we could do to drum up support for the idea.  Well, we could always run campaigns in the papers and pick out some of the worst cases to show the hard-working strivers how these parasites are sucking the life blood out of this country.  Yes, the Daily Mail would definitely be interested in that, and we can always count on Rupert’s media empire to support us.  Oh and do you know what else we could do, we could sell it as a green solution to the problem of over-population, reduce the surplus population, reduce the green house gases and save the planet too, I really am brilliant when I get going, if I don’t mind saying so myself!

 Now that that’s sorted, how are we going to actually get rid of them?  I know, maybe we could shoot them all, that’s quick and fairly painless.  One bullet per person, to the head, that would work best, wouldn’t it.  It would definitely be the quickest way, and maybe we could get the bullets from Asda,  I hear they’re great for this sort of thing.  Oh sorry, I should explain, Asda are Walmart, they’re just called Asda here.  Who knows, we might even get a discount for buying in bulk.  Maybe we could even help them out with the problems they’re having with their workers going on strike in the US. 

 Now there’s another line for the business to expand into.  Oh yes, we could make a business out of it because everyone knows that the only thing that matters in life is business and making a profit.  Yes, people have to work, that’s what they’re here for isn’t it?  I mean, have you never heard of the old saying ‘Work will set you free’?  Yes, I remember reading that somewhere, there was a place where they had it above the gate, it began with A, I think, oh it’s slipped my mind now, but I’m sure it will come back to me, anyway……

 Now that I think about it, the shooting thing might not work either, it might be a bit time consuming, having to shoot each one individually.  I’m sure there’s a much quicker way of dealing with all this….YES!  I’ve got it.  We could do them in batches, round them all up into a room, it would have to be sealed of course, and then drop in something, like poison gas!  Yes of course, it’s such a simple solution to a simple problem, I can’t understand why we didn’t think of it before!

 Which is really what the Tories big ideas are all about.  Simple solutions thought up by simple-minded people.  It’s very easy to paint everything black and white, it’s easier to group people into categories and stick labels on them and ignore the fact that you are dealing with individual human beings, in individual circumstances.  To think like the Tories requires no real thinking skills at all.  In the world of Osbourne, Shelbrooke and Duncan-Smith, people on benefits are scroungers, skivers, parasites, feeding off the backs of the hard-working men and women of this country, the good people, the taxpayers.  But when you really look at it, who are the real parasites feeding off the people? 

 I mean, what about the global corporations?  There is a myth about the economy in this country that is continually supported by the media, I recently heard it repeated again on the BBC news.  You have heard it too, when pundits and politicians talk about the ‘decline in manufacturing’.  THIS IS A LIE.  There was no decline in manufacturing in the UK .  What happened was that companies took all the manufacturing jobs from here and moved them overseas.  All the manufacturing jobs that used to be done here are now being done in places like China, India and Turkey .  Most of these jobs were traditionally done here by the working classes but under Margaret Thatcher’s ‘free market economics’, (after she wrecked the unions and with the help of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire turned Union into a dirty word), companies were able to chase their profits around the globe from one exploitable, low-waged economy to the next.

 But here is the paradox in all this.  The people here are still expected to support a first world economy even though their jobs were allowed to be taken away by their government so that all their business friends could make bigger and bigger profits while those who were lucky enough to have a job have found the value of their wage going steadily downwards. 

 And this is another thing I have often wondered about, WHY ARE  ALL THE  PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A COMPANY NOT ALLOWED TO SHARE THE PROFITS?  One person may start a business but it takes a whole army of workers to build it up and maintain it.  No one became a millionaire or billionaire by themselves alone! Where is it written is stone that the person who started the business is the only one entitled to the profits it makes?   

There are only two things in nature that take more than they need, one is man and the other is cancer.  Anyone who operates in this ethos of greed, who sucks up a bigger share for themselves and is quite happy to sit and watch his fellow man go without especially, when he has more than he will ever need, is a cancer on the face of humanity.  These people are the real parasites.


 And now, in the midst of a recession, caused in no small part by the very party whose initial policies led to these problems to begin with, they arrogantly scapegoat the working classes and unemployed, and blame them for the present economic ills when they had little or no control over them at all.

 Margaret Thatcher and business leaders promoted an ethos of greed in the 1980’s, it is still alive and well in certain sections of the business community and the present Government, and is evident in the arrogance and simple-minded outlook of Thatcher’s Children and their policy ideas.  In their view, it’s dog eat dog world and tough luck if you lack the skills and/or money to survive in it. 

 Let’s all ignore the fact, that they are members of the party that created this world, that it was their policies that allowed the jobs of the working classes to be taken away, that skewed government policy and the law to favour big business and the corporations, that know nothing of the reality of life for the millions who are struggling daily with real poverty, who sit in their mansions pontificating to the rest of us about money and values while cutting housing benefit for the young, who deride the public sector but are quite happy to take THEIR wages from the public sector, who want to dictate to a man who has lost his job and is now living on £71 a week dole money, how he should spend it, while having done nothing to protect workers and their jobs.  

 Yes, Merry Christmas, Mr Cameron and Co, may the new year find you all on the dole and the sooner the better for us all, and shame on you Nick Clegg for keeping these people in office!

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