Owen Jones goes into the Lion’s Den | Tory Party Conference | Owen Jones

This week has seen overwhelming levels of smugness and [somewhat higher than usual levels of] vitriol present in Manchester as the annual Conservative Party Conference is underway. Whilst some less-subtle people, perhaps misguided, perhaps overwhelmed by the gravity of reality caused a bit of scene outside which undermined the legitimacy of the actual protests, spry Socialist Owen Jones has ventured through the looking glass to get a first-hand feel for the people behind the generalised establishmentarian misery.

Which is great. Good for him for seeking the other side of the argument for the sake of a balanced conclusion. It is true that we sometimes forget that behind the labels are individual people with the power of reason. I however, have reasoned that a lot of Tories are either scared of change, too comfortable to envision a different way, too influenced by the media, too short-sighted to look at a bigger picture or too ignorant to care (my possibly harsh generalisation) – and I would imagine that Mr. Jones agrees with me. Based on the conversations he’s had with these attendees, they seem to just have different values, of status and position and impression and stuff. Personally, all these transient things are not to be valued.

The guy at 3:36 obviously didn’t expect to be interviewed, but whatever he’s on he seems to be at the conference for a jolly. And that tells me a lot about his attitude, at least.


Abracadabra! Britain’s political elite has fooled us all again | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian

Bankers, bosses, selfish politicians; all are masters of misdirection. It allows them to escape blame-free

Source: Abracadabra! Britain’s political elite has fooled us all again | Aditya Chakrabortty | Comment is free | The Guardian

Last week I posted an article on a Green MP’s opinion, and the acceptance of political narrative. Today’s article makes an excellent point.

You may remember at the beginning of last year, when the news (in the UK) was full of coverage of the floods in the South West – and the government passed the Gagging Law? Or, now the news is full of coverage of the impending threat from ISIS (or immigrants, for that matter), how we’ve all completely missed the ongoing discussions about TTIP?

I may make the point poorly – but the point still remains. READ BETWEEN THE LINES!


The UK is the most unequal country in the EU | i100 (The Independent)

The Tory government has only just assumed power, and already Britain is the most unequal country in the EU.

Source: The UK is the most unequal country in the EU

Yes, a very short article – but a very direct point to make.

I will say – perhaps in a stunning act of hypocrisy – that I’ve always felt that the Middle Class are the most problematic portion of society when it comes to actualising change, as they aspire to be Upper Class whilst unaware that they are just as exploited as the Working Class are.

Despite this, I find it startling how apathetic most people seem to be towards this widening inequality, and what ramifications it has on society as a whole. The rich aren’t suffering austerity.

Here’s a little infographic on why austerity doesn’t work.

Here’s a Guardian article on why trickle-down economics doesn’t work.

Greens blame Tory majority on Labour’s willingness to “accept the narrative of its opponents” | New Statesman

I wonder how many of us who are actively engaged in politics are kicking ourselves that we simply did not understand how he was controlling the campaign.

Source: Greens blame Tory majority on Labour’s willingness to “accept the narrative of its opponents”

A follow-up on yesterday’s post, again from the New Statesman, from a Green MP.

I think he makes an excellent point – I have heard people who voted Tory since question their choice, and I suppose a lot of that is to do with how the leaders handled their media presence.

Too often, I fear that most people take things on their face value, and don’t read between the lines.


Don’t give in: an angry population is hard to govern; a depressed population is easy

Hours after the Conservatives were re-elected, the government looked at cutting access to work schemes for the disabled. You’d think they’d at least have the decency to bring some flowers before shafting the vulnerable, but no.

Source: Don’t give in: an angry population is hard to govern; a depressed population is easy

If anyone’s still reeling from the result of yesterday’s election, here’s an interesting thinkpiece from the New Statesman.

To quote Teddy Roosevelt:

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.


Who the F*!k voted for the Tories?!

I’m genuinely gutted. That exit poll shocked me – what happened to the hope? What happened to the desire for change?

People bottled it at the last-minute. Same as last time. I thought we were past that “fear is more powerful than hope” after the Scottish Referendum, but apparently not.

My take – ignorance is the problem; people are too apathetic to realise what’s going on (of course, it’s in the establishment’s interest to have apathetic people – no one to notice what the government’s getting away with), people only have a superficial understanding of what’s going on (compounded by media bias and politburo PR) and therefore don’t consider issues fully, or people have been conditioned by pre-existing ideology that inequality and privilege is part of the natural order (awfully convenient if you’re already privileged and powerful).

Despite enabling a Tory “majority” (36% of the vote a majority makes not) the one take-away I’m happy with is Scotland – they actively want change and hopefully they’ll now get it. Localised devolution makes much more sense – I just despair for the Left-Wing contingent down here subject to the supposed will of the people under Cameron’s English National Party.

Just to be clear – THIS is what we’re getting under a Tory government. Why people voted for that is beyond me. Here’s what NHS workers had to say about it this morning.

If you clicked that link about the election results, you’ll notice that 33.9% of the eligible voters didn’t turn out. I wonder how many of those people would have voted against the Tories? Whether the system works directly or not – until we have a self-reliant form of organisation we have to rely on the State to a certain degree, and by not voting we’re only letting the Fascists win: if you don’t say anything then your voice can’t be heard!

We definitely need a more proportionately representative system of government in this country, in the interest of accurately reflecting the public sentiment, rather than a sweeping generalisation. However, if that were the case then UKIP would have 83 seats in parliament, which is a terrifying prospect. So perhaps representation is only half the problem.

As a final thought, the Greens got 1,157,613 votes – 296,823 less than the SNP who got 56 seats – and only won 1 seat. There is an appetite for progress somewhere, but until we change the voting system we’ll be going round in circles. We can worry about stamping out ignorance later.

Greens never finished 2nd in GE result before, says leader“If we had a fair proportional system, we’d have 25 seats” Natalie Bennett tells Andrew Neil about Green Party election results.

Posted by BBC Daily Politics & Sunday Politics on Fry’day, Month o’ May 8, 2015


I get the feeling that my song will continue being relevant for the next 5 years…


Benefit sanctions: the 10 trivial breaches and administrative errors | Society | The Guardian

The coalition’s benefit sanctions regime, under which more than 1 million jobseekers had their unemployment benefits stopped last year, has spawned hundreds of documentary accounts of claimants being penalised for capricious, cruel and often absurd reasons.

via Benefit sanctions: the 10 trivial breaches and administrative errors | Society | The Guardian.

An Ideological programme that is manifested in the effects on the lives of real people.

Whether, philosophically speaking, you believe in welfare as a principle and the conditions in which it should be applied, the main problem here is the same across our current political spectrum – it is a system that is not fit for purpose. One could argue that the current situation is a direct result of Tory reform (whose ideology is fundamentally opposed to welfare in general) in blinkered service of the deus ex machina of ‘Economic Growth’, but in addition to this causality the main problems seem to be caused by the enemy of progress across parties – Bureaucracy (incidentally, another thing that the Tories pledged to reform, and New Labour is guilty of exacerbating).

The fact is, if you think people can lead a cushy life ‘sponging’ off the government, you’re sadly mistaken. Regardless of this, the Welfare State – including the NHS – is something that was conceived and incepted to represent a capacity towards the greater good, and it’s systematic dismantling that leaves some of the most desperate people in the country (particularly in this example seemingly people with mental health issues?) in hopeless situations, is quite frankly backwards.

But I suppose that’s what Conservatism is all about, at the heart of it.

See also:

The Beveridge report revisited: where now for the welfare state?

Revealed: how coalition has helped rich by hitting poor