Politics For Beginners Part 3

In the event, the left/right split is less than 38% to the right, and more than 62% to the left of center. And the horse-trading has begun.

I was wrong about Brown. He found his soap box again during the last couple of days of the campaign. He no longer looks tired. He’s still tarred with the Iraq brush, as is Cameron, and with other more minor stumbles, such as Duffygate but for the first time in years, he is looking like his own man again. Perhaps this is because he’s been given a mandate to trade, deal, and argue his case, and let’s face it, he is the most articulate of the three, by quite a distance.

I thought, on election day and today, (Friday 7th May 2010), that he articulated his thought and policies in a far more lucid fashion than either of the other two. Clegg was all but royal and arrogant at times during the week, but I still went with him, while Cameron wavered between arrogance and wet. Brown’s policies are also more fully formed, and he has a precise map of his own vision which he’s able to refer to as he speaks. He wants to preserve as many of the people in work as he can, and he seems to have the most joined-up kind of plan to do that. Which would seem to be ideally ‘conservative’!? Cameron showed some promise in his speech today, but he still needed the frequent glance at his notes.

The next few days should be pretty interesting. For sure, Clegg would be mad to trade away his position on Proportional Representation for a seat at the Tory table. As Ming Campbell says, “We’ve been down this route before”.

For the wanabe and bedroom anarchists among you, don’t worry, it’s coming, but meanwhile, wouldn’t it be better to enfranchise more people? We’re all well aware of the fact that Westminster sucks, but it’s just slightly better than death, pillage and destruction, and with a bit of luck, and if we play it right, we just might be able to control a whole lot more of it. That’s what this fight is about. It’s about opening the doors as fast as negotiation will allow us to, and then keeping them open for as long as it takes for all of us to be inside.

Parliament is just that, and consists of who we want to put into it every 4 or 5 years. It’s the place where we parley. It’s the place where our council sits. If you don’t want one, fair enough, but societies have to speak to each other. We all know what happens when we don’t. We’re the ape who speaks. We have to make full use of that facility in order to pass human culture to our children. You can choose which bits to pass down, and what to leave behind. That’s how we progress this thing. A vote is an element of that, and an act of conscious volition.

If you want to you can turn your back on it and become a traveller, a tramp or an aesthete, or turn ‘god save the queen’ into a drum solo. Or you can stay in the bedroom. We have slowly developed the ability to give ourselves choice. We can choose not to have children. We can choose not to hand this kind of a fate to another being. Over 95% of life on the planet is bacteria. Their choice is more limited. They’re born, they have sex and they die. And that’s it. Not much different, but different enough. If you don’t want to be taken over by people like yourself, you’re best plan is to try to do something about it…

11 thoughts on “Politics For Beginners Part 3

  1. A fantastically disappointing result! I wanted to vote Lib Dem, but as they came a poor third in my area in 2005, I felt our sitting Labour MP deserved support and my hunch was right, because she only just scraped through in front of the Tories. Meanwhile in Mr Clegg’s constituency, hundreds of people were denied the vote and were shut out of the Polling Station. Many who were inside the Polling Station were told they couldn’t vote – what a cock up. There was also a two tier system, as local residents were in one queue and all the students from the local halls of residence were in another. An acquaintance of mine is a local resident and she only just made it into the Polling Station just in time despite queuing from 8.30pm. The student queue was much slower moving and hundreds were left outside. Fortunately, Nick Clegg had a huge majority anyway, but in Sheffield Central the Lib Dems came second to Labour by only 165 votes. To think how we scoff at elections in banana republics, or at the Yanks with their hanging chads! Christ, we need a new system and bloody quick.

  2. I agree entirely with every nuance of meaning in your words Roy. There’s nothing more to add without being flippant. Roll on next election in a short while’s time…

  3. Roy now: “we have to make full use of that facility in order to pass human culture to our children”; Roy then: “more like I feel awkward passing on civilisation down to our children”…so, are we still in The Game (a phrase still in use in certain cutting-edge arts, not least in The Wire, to depict the rich, absurd, worth-the-ride anyway, Alice-in-Wonderlandness of life?)

  4. Erm – don’t bacteria reproduce asexually?
    What hapopens within the next few months will be predicated very much on the Civil Service. Bet the ghost of Sir Humphrey is rubbing his hands.

  5. though i criticise New Labour there are only 3 nag’s heads at this horse fair: Brown, Clegg, Cameron. Brown is the only one with experience enough to make some sense of the disasterous economical geography we are about to be plunged even further into, Clegg and Cameron are wet behind the ears. Clegg will gain most for the LibDems (old Liberals) by forming a coalition with Labour, and we could be seeing constitutional history being written in our lifetime with fundamental political reform – who knows where that could lead? This is exciting and i am an optimist :) However, if Clegg climbs into bed with Cameron he will have sacrificed the opportunity of a generation for real change: the ultra ‘conservative’ Tories are never seriously going to agree to change the way things are in this country, despite Cameron’s attempt to drag his party screaming into the 21st century, they just won’t buy it. Clegg will be given a seat at their table and told to speak when he’s spoken to. He knows this already. Just which way he jumps will say all there is – and all there ever will be to say, about the actual political complection of the Liberal Democratic Party i feel.

  6. 1. I’m no good at politics but it seems to me that for the first time, realistically in modern ever, we have the potential for a voting system that has a modicum of fairness about it. The lib dems should go after that as their sole objective. Whilst a medium term consensus (fixed term may be a nice idea at this point I can’t see the love-in lasting more than a few hours – what’s the point?). The Lib Dems should put PR on the table as their sole, non-negotiable objective. An election in months would soon redress the balance so that we may stand a chance of a government that reflects all the political hues and objectives of the voting population.
    2. Surely a turnout of 65% is still pathetically low, have the Aussies got it right?. Most of the young lads who work for me wouldn’t vote even if free beer was involved, how disengaged is that!!

  7. Can’t but feel deflated as the realisation that we have a Tory government propped up by a party I previously considered to be ‘progressive’ sinks in.

  8. Dear Roy Harper

    Hello. My name is Neil Cooper, and I’m an arts journalist based inn Edinburgh, and I write for The Herald newspaper, one of Scotland’s two broadsheets.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Edinburgh International Film Festival programme was announced yesterday, and features a short season of ‘lost’ British films from the 1960s and 1970s.

    The season features a screening of ‘Made,’ which I saw a long time ago, and also know to be adapted from Howard Barker’s play, ‘No One Was Saved.’

    The Herald want me to write a piece on the film, tieing it in with its theatrical roots (there’s a poster for a production of the play on the wall of Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre), and I was wondering if you’d be available for a short telephone interview to talk about your erxperience on the film?

    I’m also attempting to contact Howard Barker and John McKenzie (the latter of whom is particularly interesting from a Scottish angle following his work on TV plays with Peter MacDougall).

    I’ve only been given a small space at the moment, but if yourself and other key players from the film are on board, we can probably up it to a full 1200 word feature.

    I realise ‘Made’ was a long time ago, but I think it’s really worth some overdue attention, and it would be fascinating to hear your memories.

    The screening is on June 22nd, so we’d either run the article on the day or a few days before.

    I really hope you can help, and look forward to hearing from you.


    Neil Cooper

  9. I am very disappointed by the way even revolutionary thinkers are sucked in to the media promotion of the 3 main parties, who all support the same thing really – they are all global free-marker economics followers. They leave our governance in the hands of corporations and make goods where labour and life is cheapest.
    I stood for the Green Party in the election to give a real choice for difference and the number of people who said, ‘I WOULD vote for you, BUT you wont get in’ was truly scary.
    A simple parallel would have me buying only records by x-Factor winners as Roy Harper isn’t going to be number one (except to fans like me and thee). The music industry left to commerce produces pap at the expense of talent. Politics left to commerce by tactical voting produces what we have today – a Labour Party to the right of Margaret Thatcher, and inequality that has grown over time of Labour government. The poor getting taxed while bankers get richer, and voters voting tactically for politicians who stand for nothing other than wanting power (which they then abrogate to corporations/bankers). People need to start sticking to the principles they have and get the causes they believe in noticed. They need to read manifestos themselves rather than what the media (owned by corporate interests) tells them is so.
    Sorry for the rant, but tactical voting has been the death of principled politics and prevents its return.
    Bryan Meloy

  10. You imply that amount of freedom we have in our choices can backfire. Do you think there should be some stricter restrictions placed on what we can and cannot do?

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