Saturday, 1 May 2010

2010 Election: Capitalism, UK politics shadowing America and an idea.

Aprils Election Storm CloudsIts less than a week now until the election and I'm depressing myself more and more investigating, researching and learning about the actual ins and outs of the financial world. For someone who thinks Capitalism has given too much freedom to large and multinational business which is just encouraging something of an Imperial dominion over the world, I find it hard to stomach listening to the ongoing debates which all seem to take for granted the long term and only seem to consider the short term.

This post is all just my view and maybe I'm being a little idealogical, but one thing that does seem to be emerging already is that the UK's Parliamentary elections are becoming more like the USA's presidential elections.

In my opinion the current situation is that the Labour Party is suffering from disenchantment since they've almost become a sub set of the conservative attitude, almost meeting them in the middle though still keeping a little more sense. The Lib Dems have taken great strides with the greater access to publicity, especially amongst the young who are starting to feel the inequality in the country for themselves as they enter further education and the work place. The Conservatives seem to have met labour in the middle from the other side of the fence and are saying whatever they think they have to to try and get elected.

It seems though, all three major parties have convinced a lot of people that the answer to the way out of economic problems caused by the financial world and wealthy people screwing us (by passing us on their debts instead of absorbing the shock themselves) is by giving the same people more freedom and opportunity for bigger profits... short term it is the only solution to prop up markets but surely aren't we setting the country up for a bigger fall? Where are the pledges to the long term overhaul to a fairer society? Where are the plans to limit the extraction of money or the slice of the pie able to be retained for those creating the value and therefore profitability of the country for us to be able to better our society and unlock potential in our children?

The lack of answers to those questions aside and this fall into a some bizarre US type blind faith that the leaders of major corporations will look after their workforce, the main reasons that I feel the UK's politics are becoming Americanised begin with the leaders of the key 3 parties in the UK taking part in live televised debates and how this is changing make-up of public opinion (should the press be trusted).

With the TV debates, a lot is down to the personalities, the two opinions that are gaining ground in the system here are starting slowly to align to the same political divisions in the US. The Lib Dems seem to be positioning to become the UK equivalent of the Democratic Party and the Conservatives matching up to that of the Republican. Labour seems to be being squeezed both ways with the class divisions in society more and more becoming income divisions due to the breakdown of the traditional British community led by Maggie Thatchers reign.

This is neither good or bad as times change so will the political landscape to meet new challenges. However the problem seems to be that the focus has well and truly started to ebb away from the local candidate (who could well be a moron or brilliant) and is probably going to be much more influenced by the personality of the leader. To me this is bad news. What I would consider the downside to politics in the US, that of celebrity culture and hype, is playing an ever increasing role compared to more in depth debate on issues and policies at a local level about what may be best for the long term prosperity of the individual, the locality, the nation and the world. The culture seems to be led by media profiteering and politics is becoming more and more a product with parties/candidates becoming brands, with TV debates selling tag lines and sound bytes, with tabloid newspapers alligning with a candidate and selling a bias view of all events to people who need education to help choose wisely not spin from someone hoping to make money from them.

With the corporate world pretty much leading society where it wants and unelected people largely focused on self gain having such a sway in the eventual laws we are governed by and public spending,  it is slightly worrying. However to be fair, since the same 'independent' advisor's, religious leaders and commercial groups with vested interests have always had a large influence over what actually happens when the country is governed its not like much is changing, only a different face to an old problem.

Being slightly cynical; at least the - 'its who you know not what you know' system will be equalled by something equally as silly. Making a mess of a debate on TV or saying something on a microphone will be blown out of all proportion ahead of policies and could end your brands chances. Combine that with the spin that tabloid newspapers spew out and even with these aspects alone it all becomes quite a farce. A farce of trying to convince a mass of people who probably don't really have a great picture in their minds of the national situation let alone the international scene that policies you have will benefit them even if it screws someone else over. On the plus side its at least making politics a more entertaining spectator sport even if our lives get turned upside down and we're paying more for less to help someone else keep huge figures in their bank statements and investment portfolios.

What an odd political time we live in. The local issues in Northern Ireland are even more perplexing and disheartening due to the further divisions and tribal politics overriding any other issue.

As for me, I've been trying to think of a way I can get along in this society in the long wait for caps on wealth that whilst not adhering to the whims of the rich or reinforcing the injustice faced by the poor. A way to help society with retaining the benefit from its own hard work and not just benefit the greedy and ruthless, the already privileged or lucky. A way that might  empower every individual to unlock their potential within the system that has evolved to how it is today.

Short of the government doing much about it - which in Northern Ireland is like hoping for a piece of an asteroid to deflect the ball into the net at a football game - and in Great Britian with the Lib Dems or Greens unlikely to get into power other than as part of a co-collision government in a hung parliament (those being the parties who I believe have the policies that would at least start a bit of positive change - so come on a score draw on the 6th May and a hung parliament!) things aren't likely going to be much different tomorrow than they were today.

I'm starting to seriously consider doing something I've long thought about as a way to personally go about it... starting a Social Enterprise. If I think of a good idea, and manage to afford some time and money besides trying to eventually find an over priced run down shell of a house to call a family home and to pay the bills and for the odd luxury to keep us sane, then I'm going to be right on it :)

Any ideas?

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