….and I'm already turned off. Cameron slags-off Milliband, Milliband slags-off Cameron, Clegg tries to present himself and the LibDems as some sort of moderating force (if they can get into another coalition), the SNP are sitting back enjoying the fun and Farage has yet to show his hand.
Its difficult to judge the various opposition and minor parties because they don't have any record to judge against but I found it amusing to hear Cameron say that, in the next Conservative administration, they would ensure that the NHS is fully staffed. Obviously it begs the question that, if that is such a priority, why didn't they achieve it in the current (soon to be recent) parliament?
I'm also amused to hear the Conservatives repeating their biggest lie which is that the last Labour administration brought about the 'Age of Austerity'. Forgive me for saying it but wasn't it the banks and the lenders who took most western economies to the brink of disaster and did I hear any politicians warning of the potential disaster ahead? No. So whilst I see them all as being complicit, the Conservatives are the most hypocritical given that the 'interests of capital' are their prime focus and also their paymasters.
So, when it comes time for me to put my cross on the ballot paper I will be voting for 'none of the above'. Some might say that it is my duty to vote by voting for my chosen party but if none of them represent the values and aspirations that I embrace, why should I not express that view?
It is the fundamental failure of our democratic process that there is no option to express dissatisfaction because, in voting for any of the parties under the current system, the voter simply legitimises the status quo. Not a good situation if you want real change.
16 February 2015
The Green Party is gaining a voice and it may just be that 'austerity' rather than the environment is the issue that is making them attractive. Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Greens, was talking on the radio a few days ago about their opposition to 'austerity' and it seems to be a theme which links minor parties in advance of the election.
It will be interesting to see where Farage stands on the issue and that raises the spectre of my worst nightmare where the Conservatives remain in power with the support of UKIP, the unspeakable in support of the unspeakable.
Posted by niall connolly at 09:53
11 February 2015
Politicians are a pretty cynical bunch so its difficult to judge whether Nicola Sturgeon is serious in her reported opposition to 'austerity'. It could be part of the SNP's strategy to further unbalance the Labour Party in Scotland ahead of the upcoming election. On the other hand, it might be an indication that 'austerity' is loosing its appeal.
In 2009, Cameron addressed the Conservative Party Conference and said, "The progressive thing to do, the responsible thing to do is to get a grip on the debt but in a way that brings the country together instead of driving it apart. That means showing leadership at the top which is why we will cut ministers' pay and freeze it for a parliament. It means showing that we're all in this together………….."
It's a statement that Cameron and his coalition colleagues have repeated often enough since then, probably on the basis that, if they say it often enough, eventually it will become the perceived truth.
But the course that Cameron & Co have pursued, that of 'austerity', isn't a fiscal strategy and has clearly shown that we are not 'all in this together'. The reality is that 'austerity' it is a return to a Victorian view of society where 'wrong-doing' must be punished and, in that context, it is useful to question the intent and purpose of 'punishment'. Quoting from Richard Garlikov, punishment can be seen as either as a deterrent of future wrong-doing or earned and deserved as a fitting consequence to doing evil.
So who did evil that 'austerity' has to be visited on the whole population? Certainly not the whole population, but actually a very small and hugely influential sector of the population - the banking and financial sector. And I doubt that anyone thinks that the banking and financial sectors are experiencing anything like the austerity that is being visited on the general population.
So Nicola's opposition to austerity is probably just another well timed political manoeuvre because I doubt that she would have the courage to take on the banking and financial sectors and punish them appropriately. Not whilst her friend Alex Salmond is such a supporter of Fred Goodwin et al.
Posted by niall connolly at 09:29
9 February 2015
So, George Osborne tried out the 'pensioners bribe', saw how effective it was, and decided to extend it. At a time when its hard to get 2% return on your money, George is giving everyone the chance to get 4%, or, sorry, George is giving some of us the chance to get 4%. And who are the people who will get this 'golden hello'. Pensioners. So what's wrong with that, pensioners need love just like everyone else? Well, I'll tell you what's wrong with it. There's an election less than 4 months away and pensioners vote in higher percentages than any other age group. Normally, under a two or two-and-a-half party system, this might not matter so much but with a hung parliament looking quite likely and with minor parties looking like they will exert more influence, grabbing a chunk of voters makes a lot of sense.
But remember just who pays for this 4% beano - its the taxpayer. That 4% will be paid by everyone out of their tax contributions and it will probably be paid for by more cuts in three years time if the Tories succeed. If they don't, they can always blame whoever happens to be in power at the time.
Win - win. Go George!
Posted by niall connolly at 09:27
31 January 2015
I'm sure that many people are quite disparaging about what is happening in Greece but at least the Greeks are beginning to question the dominant view which is that the way out of the financial crisis is austerity. It will be interesting to see how Alexis Tsipras and his colleagues in Syriza handle the European Financial Establishment because they present a real challenge to the accepted wisdom of austerity whose purpose is, in fact, to protect capital and the interests of capital.
And now the Spaniards are beginning to show signs of dissent. Where will it end? Certainly not in the UK because in blight we are way too smug and complacent. When does Big Brother start?
Posted by niall connolly at 15:18
2 January 2015
As the New Year fireworks fade to a distant memory we can look forward to an election less than 6 months away and it will be interesting to see how the various political parties position themselves.
The Tories will follow the script that they have used for the past 4 years which is that Britain's economic troubles and the consequent 'Age of Austerity' was caused by the preceding Labour administration. They will say that Brussels is a huge threat to Britain's sovereignty and must be constrained. They will say that immigration needs to be curtailed. They will say that we must all work harder and for less in order to 'make Britain stronger'.
For their part, the Labour Party will seek to be reasonable and rational in the face of Tory claims. They will cosy up to big business and the CBI and suggest that Tory extremism is a threat to the economy and stability. They will promise not to rock the boat whilst, at the same time, seeking to achieve a fairer redistribution of wealth without increasing taxes on anyone with influence. They will also try to recast Ed Milliband as a dynamic and attractive leader.
The Scottish Nationalists will share the same objective as UKIP where both will be trying to achieve enough votes to give them leverage in the likely event of a hung parliament.
As for the LibDems, what can they do to save their deposits? Probably nothing.
And throughout the run-up to the election, everyone (Tory, Labour, LibDem, SNP, UKIP) will ignore the reality of the global financial crash - that it was the culture of capital that caused the crash and it is the culture of capital which continues to visit austerity on the many in order to benefit the few.
There is no co-operative balance between the interests of capital and the interests of wider society - society serves capital and the interests of capital and, until something is done to reset that imbalance, the age of austerity is likely to continue. None of the political parties have the balls to address that issue. Its far, far easier to blame immigrants.
Posted by niall connolly at 11:19