Tuesday, 26 July 2016

I'm not laughing...

You know those jokes that include something like: “...and she said, but I thought I could trust him ...he’s a Politician!” and the way people look at you with sympathy/pity when you say things like: “...but I thought this was supposed to be a democracy.”

I’m not laughing though – I’m angry, really bloody outrageously, ferociously, viciously, rightfully – angry and I’m not being naive – I KNOW we can’t trust politicians and I now know that ‘democracy’ is just a loose term that’s been misappropriated but just knowing – doesn’t negate the need to be outraged and determined to act for change.




Politics tsk... such a shambles, such a lie and such a bloody dangerous con. We are lead to believe we live in a democracy and that the little 'X' in a box every 5 years or so makes it so. Yet essentially we are faced only with 2 choices - because our voting system is not proportional, keeps safe seats safe and weights our votes differently. Often we aren’t voting for what we want, simply to get the most dangerous ones out. It’s nearly always though the red ones or the blue ones, swings or roundabouts but still the same playpark.

Sometimes it’s a bit better for the less privileged and there’s social benefit and other times, it’s better for big business and the wealthy. It seems though that when Tony Blair took the Labour Party leadership, he lightened the red and shaded it blue – so even the poor system we had, was made far worse because it seemed it was always big business and the wealthy being pandered to. Our meager crumbs now mere dust droppings.

This system of ours with its lousy unrepresentative voting and sold-out politicians in key controlling roles, means that broader views get barely a notice and what could be a brilliantly effective blend of hues - is just not on offer. The choices are there in small numbers but the system reminds us that if we want the REALLY bad guys out, then we can’t vote based on moral conviction or what we truly believe – because it would be wasted.

I have spent a great deal of time with activists and campaigners in these past 5 years and like many, I’ve wondered what was the point in voting because my chance of making a difference is negligible and besides - I wanted to change the system, not engage with it or encourage it with my seemingly pointless vote.

But the problem is, the system is rigged so that control and power rests with those it rigged into office and we can’t get near the controls unless we enter first – and the only way into the system, is via its politics. Sure we have our vast numbers but what – are we all going to rush parliament? Maybe plan B ...but for now the ability to divide us through tales told in the media that demonise one sector, for another to sneer at or fear - means we’d struggle to unite sufficiently to work together on something as big as system change (we didn't do so well on unity with the whole EU thing).

A few years ago I joined the Green Party and have grown to think of it as another arena for activism – somewhere to seek change. I resonated with one of the first things I read about the party, that it ‘sought to change the system from within’. I went last week to the hustings for a new Leader and Deputy Leader/s and realised how many I knew in the room from frack-free actions and how on actions, I see more and more Green Party members... helps to reassure I’m in the right place even if politics doesn’t always feel like the right thing.

Recently there’s been talk of political alliances, issue-by-issue politics, Proportional Representation and working to change the way our government is elected. With this in mind and the awareness that nothing is as it was in government at the moment – it feels like we should prepare for opportunities wherever they present and in whatever arena they’re in.

I made my decisions for voting after the hustings although I was already pretty sure about the role of Deputy Leader/s; an easy one because I have had the opportunity to share platforms and demonstrate alongside both ShahrarAli and Amelia Womak and have the utmost respect for both. Genuine people who seem to be doing what they do, because they actually give a damn about the outcomes.

Shahrar I have seen adapt to different audiences; whether on the street at an Occupy Democracy demo or the lectern in a community hall. He has a strong presence and is a decent human being – which for me, matters.

I’ve seen the effect too of Amelia’s warm approach, plain speaking and intelligence at actions and feel that the experience both bring, will ensure some stability in what I hope is a huge surge of change in the way we do politics in the UK.

Especially as I think that if David Malone gets the role of Leader (who likely has my vote), then the  knowledge of Shahrar and Amelia will play a vital part; his background isn’t ‘traditional politics’. Maybe that’s why he feels like the sort of change I’d like to see? He has a rich past that ties in science, economics and media but it is his campaigning that attracted my attention, he appeared to be doing it like we do – because he is outraged at the injustice and lack of intelligence I think. I may be wrong of course as I have only had a little time with him but his involvement in media means there was plenty I could research. Although Caroline is also an option in the vote, I believe she already plays an exceptional role as an MP and this offers the opportunity to add to our assets rather than split one.

Meanwhile on another side of town... Jeremy Corbyn seems to offer the promise of a more true opposition and if he can get through this, I hope will aim for more co-operative politics and a can get government to addresses its own system; how it operates and who it serves. 

Right now I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a shambolic, unstable and dangerous situation in government; the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn should be unacceptable but happen anyway and we have a prime minster that no-one chose and who for her first trick, rushed through a vote on a weapon that if the truth were known, most would not want. Trident with its huge price-tag along with the actual ugly reality of what it actually does surely should not take precedence over the desperate needs in so many parts of our society from the NHS to education, prisons,  small business, energy and social care.

It’s hard to see how this all turns out but sometimes my stomach finds knots to tie trying. By contrast, in activist arenas I feel so positive and optimistic – I think this is because activists are truly inspirational people... every event/action/meeting, gifts something back. New knowledge, a brilliant contact, the warmest hug, an incredible idea, a good laugh, plans for how we make it all better and the knowing that all those people beside you – give a damn too.

Politics, parties and processes feel so alien, difficult, uncomfortable and stubborn - the task of dealing with them, hampered by hurdles, brick walls and ugly truths wrapped in red tape. Increasingly though, the Green Party (and currently, elements of the Labour Party Corbyn Campaign) – are looking a whole lot more like activism does to me. And if we are to get some control of/within the system of government, we need them to.

Planning too far ahead at such a changeable time is challenging but first things first – the aim I would think for at least 76% of us (who did not choose this government) is to ensure THIS government stops having control. We can do this without a revolution which is handy – if we just smuggle good activists in as politicians (shhhh don’t tell anyone!). 

Actually I watched Caroline Lucas defend her son against police brutality and get arrested and have on many occasions now, walked/marched/campaigned with Natalie Bennett and I’ve gone back through decades of video clips to watch Jeremy Corbyn’s speeches and conclude that there are activists already dressed as politicians, we just need a lot more of them - and we need them working together for what is best for the people of this country and not just some sector’s economy. 

Over to you David in the hope that you can work for the sort of diversity and co-operation required to wrench control from the hands of those politicians that sell out our communities to the energy sector, that risk our health with the privatisation of our NHS, that deny our children’s potential with education too poorly funded and too costly to access, that allow our pensioners to freeze because of a budget that is colder ...and that take us to wars by lying to us, putting our forces in harm’s way, causing the slaughter and suffering of millions and doing all this at our cost – in every way.

There are many arenas in which to make a stand and it is I believe by ensuring people of good intent are in as many of them as possible – that we can begin to make true change. Afterall, if you’re an activist... what would you do with control? Would you make things better for only you? Is that what your activism is about? Of course not... we’re in it for a bigger picture and greater goals than any 5-year-term-in-office could possibly offer.

Long old ramble there but all out now... heroic of you to stay to the end.




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