tag : bright yellow-green apples: go and do it

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

go and do it


figure 13.8. it could be you

The general election is nearlly upon us. So with trepidation, I'll make my last political comment (of which there have been few here, and fairly disparate) before the voting. Here're a few little impressions to carry as we go to the booth or postbox from my own little electoral mind:

(1) Tony Blair is not a liar. I don't think he's actually out to tell lies to us, despite what the en vogue view might be. I think he has a very elastic sense of things, choses his words and views so carefully, that he manages to come out feeling full of integrity. We might judge that his view of the world, and his way with words and ideas, is very dangerous. But we cannot call him a liar if we to see him with the complxity he deserves as a remarkable and conssumate politician. And that's not necesarily a compliment.
(2) The Conservative approach to 'the other' has been racist. Whether by explicit talk or by implication, thier national campaign has been extraordinarily xenophobic. We've seen attempts to insinuate crime, terrorism, disease, and economic disadvantage with incoming people. In fact they've been shockingly grubby and negative, trying to whip up our most selfish and dysfunctional impulses. Even the manifesto was spartan, reducing fundamental areas of our life to strange niche promises. So rather than 'better hospitals', we get 'cleaner hospitals'. Desperate? You don't know the meaning of the word till you get Lynton Crosby working for you.
(3) The media have been even more frustrating than usual. Whether The Daily Mail or Jeremy Paxman, so many have been out to make cheap points that resemble theatre more than dood analysis and discussion. And most ridiculous of all, they've chased the white rabbit of Iraq ad infinitum. When there are absolutely vital social and welfare policies around, they would rather ask the same question twenty times - one for which they know what answer they will get. But they wish to be simplistic and look tough and cynical. The war may be symptomatic of many things that are awry about this administration. But the coverage is symptomatic of many things that are awry about our broadcasters and print.
(4) There have been all sorts of dilemmas. Who to vote for? We seem to have been told by all sorts of people about the various dangers and advantages of going one way or another. I would like to keep the Tories out - but some say that it'll never happen, others that Labour are the only way to do so, still others that a good protest vote is in order. I want progressive government, even as I know so many use the term as a fig leaf. The resulting thought? That everyone's been spining thier own agenda for us, and feeding the stories to suit. Oh dear, I sound all cynical.
(5) I would vote for the Green Party by instinct. Environmental policies are more pivotal than most parties have really acknowledged. We cannot pay lip service here - it must be at the heart of every area of policy. From threatened biodiversity right up to climate change, this must be systematic and geniune - for our sake as a species and for the rest of the world in which we are a part. And this party has been the closest I've found to attempting that. I might vote for them, even if they're not on the paper. I'll write it on the bottom if need be.
(6) Not voting is a crime. Morally, there is no justification for it. We cannot allow our governmental system to become collonised by obsessive fringe parties and minority fanatics, who are more likely to be motivated to turn out than the moderate general public. Politics is a compromise, and you'll only ever be totally happy with a one person party of yourself. So chose someone and vote for them, the closest you can find. It's cheap and silly to say 'they're all the same'. They're not. And if you really want to have a go at the terrible stifling consensus - for there is some in some ways - then go out and spoil your ballot paper. Apathy can be used to a politicians interpretative agenda. A spoilt ballot paper is an official record of dissatisfaction. Whoever you vote for, get out there and do it.

"This was a party political broadcast on behalf of post liberal productions. No responsability will be taken for misunderstandings, innacuracies, indifference, or annoyance by the reader, as the writer's shortcomings are well known. See you after the vote..."


Anonymous James said...

How would you respond to the suggestion that Blair "told lies"? Not that he is "a liar" as in "worse than me and incapable of telling the truth" but simply that wilfully or not he has spoken untruths in very serious circumstances?

I won't be voting. I would have, but it seems that in order to get the absentee ballot I need, I would have had to request one earlier than Blair was required to call the election....

On a slightly different note, http://www.notapathetic.com makes for interesting reading.

3:16 AM  
Blogger mary said...

a wannabe voter's reactions to the post liberal 6 point plan...

(1) well, i agree with you there, it's silly to box people and pin all your hatred for the state of the country on them. he's only human, after all...i think he means well, and i think no government is without its faults. i'm actually rather hoping the conservatives will win, just to prove that they won't make a better job of it than mr blair.

(2) yes, i think they have been encouraging a negative and wrong "us and them" attitude. i suppose a cleaner hospital is a better hospital, but what about waiting lists? and the actual proficiency of the doctors, and the quality of healing they provide? mleh.

(3) jeremy paxman annoys me anyway, cos he's rather mean. i suppose the iraq war has been done to death, but it will be influencing the way lots of people vote. what annoys me is the way some parties try to get all the anti-war voters by critisising it and tony blair's actions, when it was a really hard situation, and i'd like to have seen them do better in the circumstances. wanting peace is very simple, but in practise it's not that easy. how do you stop cruel people? being cruel back isn't the answer, but i'm not sure anyone's come up with a doable alternative yet. but there are other important issues that have been wrongly pushed aside cos everyone just wants to point the finger and call people murderers or niaeve and all the rest.

(4) i think you can afford to go a bit cynical here - it seems everyone is just out to slobber all over you for your vote. because they want POWER, and it's hard to find politicians you actually trust. it's not the way things should be, there should be lots of lovely people running for government, you shouldn't have to search them out.

(5) enviromental issues are really very important, and i agree, they should be pivotal. it's no longer about dithering about, we need to do something or else in a few generations life will be very hard, living in a yucky planet where all the landfills are full and the ozone layer is going vastly wrong.

(6) ah, no here i don't agree. it's all very well to say that no politicians are perfect and you have to make do with what you have, but i think they should be a damn sight better than they are now. not necessaily in england, but here in northern ireland it's a disgrace, everyone running in our area is a terrorist, unbelivably sectarian, or just silly. i shouldn't have to choose between that (well, i don't at the mo :P but you get the gist) there should be at least one bloody candidate who isn't in it for preservation/destroying of the "union". it's crap. and the one party who aren't obsessed with this issue, are a faction of the ira. so, could i vote tomorrow, i think i would not actually bother. staying at home does send a message, i believe if the turn out gets less and less, the government will eventually realise that the needs of the country aren't being met by the candidates on offer.

wow, that was lengthly! sorry, blog post in its own right! see you after the madness is over...

12:24 PM  
Blogger ash said...

1) no, but he is full of sh**. The dude has said many things in policy that he has failed to deliver, and a few that he actually did the opposite of. This is not a man of integrity even if he has avoided explicit lies.
2) yep.
in fact yep to all the others, especially the last.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

1) I agree with James on the use of the term 'liar', which loses all meaning when you bear in mind we all lie. However, aspects of Labour's campaign accusing the Conservatives - the 35 billion cuts line, the charges for hospital operations line - are, quite simply, not true.

2) I find it remarkable then that after refusing to brand Blair a 'liar' you will bland Howard a 'racist'. Otherwise I agree, although I think the finer detail of their policy has been a little more sophisticated. Certainly neither of the two main parties have operated an exactly ideologically challenging campaign.

3) The media are always infuriating. I have been reading reports of sex crimes from 1985 this morning, and some headlines about the Brixton riots and so on a few weeks ago, and the level of baseness shown was absolutely shocking. I agree they've been an absolute mess about the election, but it's not out of step.

4) There should be no dilemma. You should vote for who you want unless doing so might result in you not having a vote next time. The solution is to look at the facts about tactical voting, and I thought between The Independent and myself we were pretty thorough.

5)*Martin has pontificated about plants enough for one criminologist, obviously doesn't have a clue what he's on about so won't say anything here*

6) I agree with the thrust of what you've said here, except that spoiling a ballot paper clearly does not prevent votes from the BNP counting for more.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Just in response to Mary too:

'How do you stop cruel people?' was never, ever, ever, ever the question about the war until after it had 'finished'. It may be a question in some people's support, but the entire justification given to us pre-war focused on the external threat.

That is because - and I know there's fuss about the legality or illegality of the war - it is abundantly clear in international law that you cannot invade another nation because you don't like the way they do things.

4:24 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

James -

Thanks for the link, it looks very interesting.

As for lies and suchlike, let me rephrase. I think he's actually been working with a strong sense of integrity - but a very personal one. From his perspective, I suspect he's managed to create a mental and moral landscape without duplicity. He choses his terms and his arguments with such consideration that he really believes he's been free of lies and thus there's no need for contrition. So calling him a liar is wrong - I suspect it hasn't been done intentionally. It's a matter of purpose, and he seems to be utterly pragmatic - things change when it's expedient for them to do so. Though we out here feel utterly wronged, and most agree that there have been untruthes flying around.

11:35 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Mary -

(1) I would wish some lesson, if I really thought it would have an impact. Just remember that New Labour is a conscious effort that defines itself by being in opposition to a Conservative government through the 80s and 90s. Plus, with all the will in the world, there's a material difference with the Conservatives - thier social, international, and ethical approach is extremely corrosive.

(2) I like Jeremy on a good day. But he's let slip terribley in the context of this election. He's made the assumption that sound probing of politicians is equated with fascile obsessive repetition of the same questions - assuming that this is a public service. I didn't like the way the Iraq war was approached and conducted - and what it indicates about the administration concerned. But there are MASSIVELY important issues of our social services, our society, environment, economy, culture that are overshadowed by a subject that allows easy and fascile grandstanding by everyone. Liar. Liberator. ect.

(6) I may not have expressed the strength of my dissatisfaction with things here. I am deeply frustrated by so many things - from the marketisation/privitisation consensus to the deference to power. But. There is a lot of variety within the parties, they are diverse and multi faceted things. They are a coalition of people, and expression of the needs of collective social life. There's enough in the major, and minor, parties to find a place for pretty much anyone if they have some imagination and purpose to engage. Defficiencies are not a good enough reason to sit on your hands. That way obsessives get the say...

11:56 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Ash -

See my reply to James. Plus, failure is not the same as deceit. It may be bad, but cannot be equated. Nor can changing your mind for that matter.

12:00 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Martin -

(1) See my reply to James.

(2) I never actually mentioned Howard by name here - surely as a law student you would have noticed that ;P Though I would accuse him of it - either directly or by intention in the reaction he seeks to engende. But really, I'm most upset by the Australian advisers he's called in. To see thier dispicable tactices shot through by defeat would be a very rich reward.

(3) You're right to bring up the historical precedent, for a bit of perspective. My memory is short and I am young.

(6) What I was trying to articulate most here was that people are better spoiling than sitting at home. It's a matter of degree. After all, I'd rather people voted Tory than let the BNP in. Similarly, I'd rather they register the protest tangibley than allow for disparate 'apathy'.

12:11 AM  

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