A Voter’s Dilemma

If you are resident in UK, you will probably be voting in a General Election tomorrow.

As, come rain, snow, hell or unacceptably high water, shall I.

I cannot add anything to the litany of high principle that has bombarded the people of Britain for the last eight weeks, or comment meaningfully on the scheming, conniving and legal wrangling of our Members of Parliament throughout the last three years.  You will have formed your own opinions.

So how can I contribute?  How can I, personally, decide which box to tick?

One thing I can offer is memory.  Not ‘nostalgia’, simply memory.  I was already an adult when UK decided to join the Common Market, then a tariff-free trading relationship with a half-dozen Western European nations as signatories.  I have voted in more General Elections than I care to count.

Here are some thoughts.   The day before UK linked arms with Europe, £5000 would buy a very reasonable house, a cup of coffee was the equivalent of 12.5 pence, and £6 to £7 would cover the weekly ‘shop’.  Make no mistake: the price/wage spiral started there, and it was led, of course, by prices.

In a few years, back there in the 1960s, the cost of living escalated by 100%.   In a very few more, UK had lost most of its industrial base and an entire fishing industry.  In a handful of decades, the German hegemony that likes to entitle itself the EU has asset-stripped UK mercilessly, while we, as the only other net contributor to the EU, paid them for the privilege.

We weren’t doing brilliantly before the EU, but we were doing all right.  Without us the whole Tower of Babel is likely to come crashing down, anyway.  I can’t think of one solid reason to stay locked in with them, nor can I imagine why we have to pay them even more to get out.

That single influence should dictate the destination of my vote.  The Conservatives are the only electable party with a determination to press forward.  The others are advocating one or another form of surrender to the Bergers of Brussels.  Well, let’s see.

The Labour Party is the only other real contender for government.  Putting aside its neo-Marxist leader’s extremely extreme views – his support of the Irish Republican Army, his reluctance to maintain a nuclear deterrent, and his past associations with Hezbollah, plus his party’s, if not his own, anti-Semite history – the party he would lead into power is to the left of left-wing Socialism.  I remember the Labour governments of the 1970s.

The Labour Party is, and has always been, led by the creaky democracy of ‘Conference’ in which the powerful trade unions have a disproportionate say.  In the current campaign their Chancellor-in-waiting, John McDonnell, has twice mentioned ‘collective bargaining’ as insurance that everyone should enjoy a decent standard of living.

I remember the true effect of ‘collective bargaining’.  I can shorten it to one word: strikes.  The threat of industrial action will have teeth again if Labour re-nationalizes such services as the railways.  ‘Collective bargaining’ means forcing up wages to a point where productivity is stifled and prices mushroom.  ‘Collective bargaining’ means one disaffected railway worker in Crewe can bring the whole national railway network to a halt.

So, not Labour then.   The other parties, Liberal, UKIP, the Greens – no, I’m afraid not.  I want my vote at least to have a chance of counting.

Which brings me back to the Conservatives, even knowing their only real interest is in perpetuating the worst aspects of the British tradition – class, unearned privilege and the preservation of wealth of a chosen few.  I am not, by instinct, a Conservative, especially at this junction in our history, but I accept they will generate business growth and get back at least some of the country we had and have lost to the EU.

Which is better for all of us, in the end.  So thereto I plight me my ‘X’, albeit, I think, for the last time.

Let’s see what happens…

This ‘Ere Eupo

Now, my Darlin’s, ‘tis like this.

Other year we had a vote, see?  ‘Twas like ever’body got to ‘ave a say about how us felt about the immigrants an’ our sovinty an’ that, an’ we all turned out and we told ‘em, no uncertain fashion, like, what us thought we ought to do.  Leave that there European Onion thing from the Brussels!   Yes!   An’ it turns out we didn’t want nothin’ more to do wi’ no onions, and ‘ow we wanted to go out by ourselves.  Aye!

Well, turns out we were wrong, see?   ‘Cause all these ‘ere thinkin’ people says we should stay in, an’ ‘ow we faces certain ruin if we don’t.   An’ we says to ‘em, see, it was a Democratic Decishun, but they say that don’t count, ‘cause apparently they won’t get so much money if us makes ‘em leave, and they won’t be able to live in they there nice London apartments no more, or travel around this ‘ere Eurpoe to get better jobs, and stuff like that.   They says we bin lied ter, an’ un-screw-pew-lus people, they led us up the garden path, an’ that.  We jus’ voted ‘cause of the immigration, an’that.

So they goin’ to change wha’ we want to what they want, and that’s on’y fair, ‘cause we’m jus’ ord’nary people, ands not great and good like they is – are.

So, seems to me that all these ‘ere clever people, they on’y peddle that there Democracy to us when they want us to see things their way; and if we don’t, then they got to twist it about until we do.  Lawyers, and Ac’demics, and that, they knows what’s good for us, don’ they?  An’ learned people, they thinks we’re too thick to unnerstand ‘bout Eurpoe.

See, I voted ‘cause I didn’t think that there Onion was goin’ anywhere.  I thought that my country is what serves me a livin’ an’ not none of the Brussels.   They’m got strange money that they keeps printin’ with no vaalue behind un, they keeps poorer countries strugglin’ for a livin’ an’ it’s not long afore we becomes one of those, if we stays in, like.   They’m sittin’ there with smirks of their faces, takin’  our money and givin’ us less back than what they takes; they makes rules we can’t keep up with, and my sheep dip’s more ‘ficient at keepin’ out the nasties than their imm’gration pol’cy.  They destroyed our fishin’ ind’stry, they put the cost of livin’ up for all of us an’ they make us tax things we shouldn’t, don’t they?  And we can’t take so many people!    Now, that’s not racist, nor nothin’, but us as dooty to house and keep the people we already got.  It makes sense, see?  If my neighbour, he don’t put no fence up,  his sheep gets all mixed up wi’ mine an’ they overstocks my land.  Seems simple sense to me.

But there.  I don’t know nothin’.   I’m jus’ the peasant who’s ‘pinions you thinks you can ignore – I’ll jus’ tug my forelock as I passes you by and you can try to forget it’s me who does all the work, who keeps your nicely feathered beds stuffed an’ makes the country run.

Let’s drop the accent now…

So, overturn the will of the people with your contrived arguments and Machiavellian tactics.   Buy your politicians and your expensive lawyers to find a case for you to make.  But if you do, and you succeed in controverting the will of the people you will finally write the obituary to democracy, and prove the lie you have been trying to disguise for so many years.

And I, at least, will stand against you, tooth and claw.  And if you succeed I will never bother to mark a ballot paper again.  I wonder if anyone will?

A Time for Change?

A report by the Hansard Society, the UK’s leading source of independent research and advice on Parliament and parliamentary affairs, should give everyone pause.

Interviews conducted with a representative sample of 1000 British citizens found 63% agreed that “Britain’s system of government is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful” and in response to the statement “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules”, 54% agreed and just 23% said no.

Only 25% of the public had any confidence in MPs’ handling of Brexit,  (see my post ‘Let’s Discuss Nationalism’) Fifty-six per cent of respondents said they believed Britain was in decline, while  47% felt they had no influence at all over the national direction.   The public feels strongly that the system of governing favours the rich and powerful and that political parties don’t care about the average person.

People are not confident that politicians act in the public interest.

When, in 2016, it was suggested a referendum concerning severance from the EU should be held, 77% of the population surveyed were in favour.  The current figure in favour of referenda has slumped to 55%.

Although many have chosen to do so, it is unfair to blame the Brexit issue for ‘breaking Democracy’ when all it has really done is shine a spotlight upon flaws that were already there.  Democracy, inasmuch as it is a recipe for governing which ‘carries out the will of the majority while having regard for the needs of the minority’ probably never existed at all.  Our much-vaunted ‘world’s oldest democracy’ was a sham from the start – Members of Parliament only started receiving an income for their services in 1912.  Prior to that, right back to 1721, the time of Sir Robert Walpole, only those of significant means could afford the honour of representing a constituency, being bought and paid for by the local landowners.

Twentieth and twenty-first century political history has no place here, although I am happy to trade blows with anyone who would vie with my observation that the Conservative and Unionist Party, or a close imitation of it, holds and has held the Golden Ticket in the UK for the best part of the last hundred years, at least.  That is too long – at least, that is too long.

Does the freedom of information the internet provides spell the death of Democracy?  The lies no longer convince – the truth is harder to hide.  Understandably, there are many who will see the proposition “Britain needs a strong ruler willing to break the rules” supported by 54% of a representative sample as dangerous. They will hold up the spectre of intervention by right-wing extremists, Marxists, anarchists, and any other ‘ists’ you care to name.  They will warn of the breakdown of law and order – little realising, perhaps, that it is their law and order, no longer the law of the people.

A strong ruler.  Maybe it is time; maybe Democracy has failed to withstand the test of truth, and maybe even dictatorship is better?  Does Churchill’s quote ‘Democracy seems a very bad system until you examine the alternatives’ hold good in 2019?  Personally, I cannot see myself casting another vote until radical changes have been made.  We are already stabbing each other in the streets; if we take no action now, when does the shooting start?