Well, there’s a surprise! Not. A General Election has been ‘sprung’ on us, the UK, dated 8th June. Seven weeks of lies, half-truths and the slickly manipulated media storm of professional politics. Yeuch! Many things really piss me off about all this, but it’s the way the manipulators assume we can’t see what they are doing that really gets me riled up. It’s made worse for me by the fact that many people really don’t see they are being sold a crock, and don’t want to know. Nobody will thank you for being told they are, and have been, gullible (Jeremy Corbyn please note).
At time of starting this blog, we are only 72hours into the campaign and already we see the same old staged photo-opportunity and the repetitive ‘sound bites’. Mostly from the leader of the Conservatives, but other political parties are available. And they know it works: just gather up a handful of enthusiastic supporters and dole out besloganned placards to be a backdrop to the leader on camera for the Six o’clock news. The news media are complicit in this fiction too: if the camera occasionally pulled back to a wide view from time to time we’d get a more realistic picture of support and enthusiam, with ordinary folk just drifting by a knot of noisy accolytes. But no, almost a year on from the Brexit referendum, people are shown in vox-pop interviews still mindlessly regurgitating slogans they swallowed back then. It’s was all lies, and it’s still all lies. Look at what they do, not what they say. We’ve seen what they do, even with a slender majority.
Let’s be clear about this; the Conservatives have been in power for 7 (seven) years, not one. They have already presided over the collapse of the NHS, the education system, the care system and the welfare benefits system, the evisceration of the defence establishment, the failure of the prison system and, at the same time, giving tax bungs to the already very rich and corporate Britain. And then there’s the immigration issue which underlay much of the support for Brexit: may I remind you, dear reader, who was the longest ever serving Home Secretary and cabinet minister responsible for law and order, security and immigration during that time? Yes! It was Theresa May! And yet TM has the brass ringed neck to say her government is about stability and experience while a vote for anyone else is sabotage and a recipe for disaster. How very dare she??!! She even has the gall to say that the alternative to another 5 years of Conservative governance is a coalition of chaos, a thinly veiled swipe at a possible coalition of left-wing interest between Greens, the SNP, Labour and others. Excuse me Mrs May, but which party was it that entered a coalition with the LibDems for the first five years of this government? Oh yes, the Conservatives! And with narrow majorities they’ve been only too glad to draw on parliamentary support from some distinctly grubby, and extreme, quarters During that first five years they continually blamed the outgoing Labour government for having to carry out “slash and burn” austerity, which they were really loving, and given the chance have every intention of pursuing further. Remember the “Big Society”? Cameron’s slogan which covered the wholesale shift of state support for services onto the shoulders of those least equipped to carry it. Thousands of police officers lost, so that the detection (clear-up) rate for crime is 16%. More people in prison than ever before, with fewer officers to look after them. Rehabilitation? Forget it. Remember the big educational opportunities of Academies and Free Schools? Many have closed or are failing. Never mind that idea, let’s have more Grammar schools instead. Care Homes and Care providers backing out of contracts left and right while carers on the minimum wage are run ragged from house to house. Excellent military aircraft like the Harrier and Nimrod scrapped so we can eventually buy worse back from America. Aircraft carriers scrapped to be replaced with another £8 billion worth – as yet to sail. “State of the art” destroyers with engines that failed and had to be replaced. Historically low levels of house building, and even that pitiful level of completions is mostly in the private, homes for sale, sector. Affordable housing? What’s that?
Let’s not get into the obscenity of food banks (almost so commonplace as to be unremarkable now), the inexorable rise in homelessness, the assault on the disadvantaged and disabled, and on pensions. Is it any wonder many of our young aspire to fame and celebrity as a way of living a better life. And where is money going? The “deficit” is down, but borrowing (both state and personal) is up! Amongst other places, let’s not forget nuclear power stations and High Speed Rail (HS2). Don’t be misled. The people sitting round the cabinet table with TM, and their advisers, are the same people that were there under Cameron. And now they expect us to believe they disavow it all, deny any responsibility. “It’s all going to be better now, trust us.” Again? Really? Who are you kidding?
I could go on, and on, but if you’re going to vote, please don’t be conned into thinking it’s about Brexit, OK? Despite the fact that many of the pre-referendum warnings are coming true, it’s been agreed (and voted for by Labour). It’s going to happen. If Brexit has any place in this General Election at all it is because we deparately need to rein in the hard-line “Brexit at all costs” lobby – because a cliff-edge Brexit will do nothing for anyone but the financially secure and internationally mobile.
As a natural Labour supporter I have no problem with Jeremy Corby’s policies, or his personal honesty and integrity. Unfortunately elections in a modern so-called democracy are not won on policy or integrity. Look no further than America for proof of that. Who even remembers Bernie Sanders? He gave Hilary Clinton a good run for her money but lost, and so did she. Democratic elections, in a mature (?) democracy like ours, are won by appealing to narrow personal interests, prejudice, political ignorance and character assassination.
If the last 7 years have proved anything positive, it is the capacity for ordinary people to reach out to help others, even when increasingly under the screw themselves. However, as I see it, other than committed supporters of Labour, there is little hope of a Labour Party fronted by Jeremy Corbyn and John Macdonald persuading enough voters to win. I fear the hordes of politically ambivalent, opportunist, or plain stay-at-home voters, will return another right-wing coalition with the Lib-Dems. Remember, you read it here first.