Politics: Why I feel that those at the top don’t care.

Warning – this is a long post.  

 

It contains my opinions about BRITISH POLITICS. 

NOT American Politics / the American Election. So if you aren’t in the UK and aren’t interested in what we do here, I’d move on and find something else to read.

Should you be trying to avoid the UK Election, I suggest that you don’t bother to read this post.

Should you be balancing on the fence about who to vote for in the UK, feel free to read and see if it helps you.

If you have a comment that may help people with making a decision, feel free to read and comment. 

If you just want to upset people, then go away – I have no time for flame wars or trolls, and your comment will be deleted.

So keep it informational and friendly PLEASE!

 

Got that? Good… here we go then.

In the UK at the moment, we are in the run up to a general election. I’ve voted in each one that has come up since I was 18, and I’ve always voted for the same party – Liberal Democrat (yellow) – simply because I loathed the attitude of the other two parties (Labour (red) and Conservative (blue)) towards the people with the same background as me…

…Yes, that’s right… I’m a born and bred Council Brat.

It has always seemed to me that the two main parties hated the people that I grew up with. To be honest, not every single person on the estate I lived on was a shiftless loser the way the two main parties painted them; in fact that was the exception rather than the rule. They were pretty much all hard working people who needed a little extra help to make ends meet.

I studied hard and got myself into university – as far as I saw it, it was a step up (remember at the time I was a kid, please.) and I was glad to get out of there. Politically it made me the sort of person that the parties wanted to vote for them – educated, neat, polite and wanting a job. so they tried their best to persuade me to support them. At the time, I stuck with Lib Dem because as I saw it, the Yellows had never had a chance to show what they were made of and actually change any of the injustices they talked about (yup, I was such a kid…)

Fast forward a few years and there I am; a hard working Mother with a fiancé and a future. I’m a teacher, paying tax and NI and in a Union. The Blues tried their best to persuade me that they had education’s best interests at heart. My union urged me to back the Reds because that was what a good Union person should do… I stuck with the Yellows, hoping to see a change in what I thought was a world crashing down.

Then my personal world crashed down around me. I went from being employed to being on the Dole, on BENEFITS, and in a way that added to the depression that came from losing the baby and my job. I was at rock bottom and none of the parties cared – I’d landed back in the place I came from – POOR STREET.
That hurt (well of course it did, falling tends to hurt) and no matter how much I tried to climb out of the impact crater , it didn’t matter.  The place I was in politically was vilified and no help was extended to help me out.

When the economic crash happened Poor Street was considered a money drain, so the parties cut things to the bone. The Yellows had joined up with the Blues to deal with the work of government and they’d betrayed my support. They didn’t want to help Poor Streeters, they wanted the MONEY Vote from Big Business and the Wealthy…

…nothing new there, huh?

Anyway, when this year’s election was announced. I started looking for another party to vote for. I’m sick of the rhetoric that the main three parties come up with. But as soon as I started reading their manifestos I realised that they were all alike. *sigh* None of them really seem to care about the normal person except as a way of getting into power. They all want the Money Vote and they don’t seem to care who they squash to get it.

In some constituencies, they care about education – so the schools get a good deal there, but other things go to the dogs. In my constituency, all they want is the Money Vote, so they are pushing through hundreds of houses all over the place, without regard for where they are placed, without making sure that  the infrastructure for the residents is there. They’ve ignored local people’s views left right and centre… and here’s my biggest bugbear…

Currently all the smaller towns and villages have their own library. They’re all useful places and in the village ones, they’re often the only library that the elderly can get to and the only internet access that the poorer people can access. The local schools use the libraries to bolster their own lack of resources and it provides a lovely way of getting kids interested in books and the community.

In the latest wave of AUSTERITY cuts, our Blue led Council decided (against all the evidence contrary) to downgrade the village libraries. The Town libraries are getting left alone – they’re too important apparently…

I read that as  “They have too many voters with money.”

So they had a consultation.
In our village a small proportion of the people who live here cared enough to take part. Letters / emails were sent to the Council. The children in the local school sent letters to the council about why they shouldn’t close the library that they use weekly as a part of the school’s literacy lessons. Petitions were signed, questionnaires filled out (and very heavily weighted questionnaires they were) and sent off. Meetings were held and physical protests carried out.

But one thing that wasn’t mentioned was that the council expected the Community to fund the library as well as do the work inside it.

That’s right.

Whoever takes over the running of the library will also have to find the £20,000 per year to keep it open.  

The council will very kindly (sarcasm) provide the services of a lone peripatetic Professional Librarian and won’t cut the library off from its supply of books.

So when the Council ignored the people who responded to the consultation period and decided to go ahead and make it a community led library, they asked for “expressions of interest” from local groups to decide who will run it. These  “expressions of interest” take the form of business plans; each group that submits has to show that they can provide the wherewithal to keep the library going.

Basically, if they don’t get any  “expressions of interest”, they will CLOSE the Library.
Should they get a group volunteering to take it over, they will let them do it, wait until the group fails to provide any money (through whatever means necessary) for the running of the library… they will CLOSE the Library.

So, downgrading the library is just the slippery slope into oblivion because…

they will CLOSE the Library.

So if anyone asks me who I am voting for this year. I’ll tell them who I am NOT voting for.

I am not voting for the Blues – they only care about  the Money Vote.

I am not voting for the Reds –  they only care about  the Money Vote.

I am not voting for the Yellows – They refused to take the reins when they finally managed to get into power and actually change the things that they said were injustices.

I refuse to even discuss the Purples (how dare they steal my favourite colour!) because of two things – they only care about  the Money Vote and they are the worst parts of the Blues under one umbrella. And the other party (a step beyond the purples) shall not even be named, they are racist, sexist bigots.

There are other parties though:  Plaid Cymru (Dark Green) and The Green Party (Green). If I were living in England I’d only have the Greens as a choice. If I lived in Scotland, I’d have the SNP (Gold) as a choice instead of Plaid Cymru. There are also a couple of Irish Parties – the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Dark Green, Gold and the Irish Parties only really care what happens in their own countries. Theywant their countries to be free of England’s rule, but for the moment they will settle for being able to control what happens in their respective Assemblies.

They don’t care about the health of the whole country. 

The Greens have some very good ideas in their policy manifesto. They also have some very odd ones…  and no, I’m not going to quote any, that’s counter-productive. But…

…Now we hit the Rub.

In Britain we run elections on  the FIRST PAST THE POST system… (go through the link to find a site to explain that one if you don’t already know)… but that means that the party with the clearest majority will form the government. As long as that happens, then the rest of the votes get wasted.

So if there is  a 40% majority for one party, that means that 60% of the voting public are unhappy with the government they get.

FPTP takes away the choice.

Now you might say that this is just how life works; there have to be winners and losers. But it leads to a lot of people thinking “Well the party I vote for never gets in, so what’s the point of Voting?” and they just don’t bother (aka voter apathy) to use the power they have been given.

So, if you live in a Blue Led Constituency (like I do) as long as there are enough blue voters who actually bother to vote (*sighs* and they always do here) then that party gets returned to lead the constituency and gets a seat in parliament.

Have that happen often enough and the Blues form the next Government.

As I said earlier. I voted Yellow all my life because I thought that if they got in, they would change things in Education and for the Poorer people for the better. I was wrong; they got in and didn’t use it. That means that I am not going to vote for them again. It doesn’t mean that I am going to vote Blue / Red either though.
It also doesn’t mean that I am going to NOT VOTE either. I could use my vote tactically and vote for the next biggest party that will probably win and keep the party that I really don’t like out… but that means I have to vote for another party that I really don’t like.

I always vote with my conscience, so that I can say  “At least I didn’t waste the power I have been given.” but what it actually means (if I don’t vote red or blue) is that my vote is wasted in the process. *sighs*

It’s a LOSE/LOSE situation in my mind. Not a WIN/LOSE…

And that is depressing.

But it won’t stop me voting.

If you have been paying attention, you can probably work out who I am going to vote for. None of the parties really fit what I believe in, but I’ll vote for the one that fits the best.

The Doctor and The TARDIS

D’ya know that feeling when you have a loose tooth and you can’t help wiggling it?

I’ve had that feeling for a while now – every time I talk about Dr Who or watch the show, my mind drifts back to the story I wrote in 2008 and I wonder where on Gallifrey I have put the bedammed thing.

Anyway, I was talking to a friend and yet again he suggested that I write a Dr Who Book.

As much as I would love to do that, I’d get into a great deal of trouble if I tried to do it myself and as yet, I haven’t had an email from The Moffat to invite me aboard to write an episode (a girl can dream can’t she?) so the likelihood of being allowed to write a Dr Who book is one of those “when-I-win-the-lottery” type dreams…

Ahem.

The conversation started that tooth wiggle off in my mind and I decided to trawl through the files on my archive/flash drive.

I found it.

After several years of discussing it, I found it. And it’s not as bad as I thought it was… memory does strange things, you know.

So I’ve posted it under the Dr Who Fanfiction section of my “Free Stuff to Read” section. It’s called “The Doctor and The Tardis” and I wrote it in 2008, long before any discussion of Gallifrey or the chameleon circuit had come up in the modern TV series.

I left it on a cliffhanger, clearly intending to write another section, but now that I look at it, I don’t want to. I don’t want to mess with the relationship between the TARDIS and her Doctor. So it’s going to stay like that.

Sorry.

Despite that, I hope you like it… and I’ll try and get round to writing a new section to the current Dr Who story I have up…

Wool, Grapefruit and the World…

You do strange things when you’re pregnant.

I just spent three quarters of an hour trying to section a red grapefruit because I was fed up of having to dig the sections out and leaving so much fruit behind… I guess I thought that sectioning it would be easier; peel the fruit, cut out the sections and eat.

Hah!

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was sat eating my hard won grapefruit segments that the actual fruit is made up of all this little bubbles of juice that burst when you bite through them. They’re sweet with a sour after-taste and oddly compelling.

 

Writing is like that. Well actually, Reading is like that, not writing exactly.

I read “Wool” by Hugh Howey yesterday and it is the first SF book that I’ve read that has made me think in terms of the words I was reading. Each word was like a bubble of grapefruit juice, soft and elongated on my tongue and each time I read and understood what he was saying, the taste of grapefruit juice built up; sweet, sour and oddly compelling.

I had “Wait” by Take That playing while I was eating and the song seemed to fit with both what I had observed in the grapefruit and through reading “Wool”.

The lyrics that really stuck were:

 

Free your soul to me,

Words can set us free.

 

It’s true. Words can set us free; we just have to have the courage to say the right ones. They are the ones that hurt, the ones that highlight the problems in our world in such a way that we have to deal with them.

 

Reading “Wool” was a sweet / sour experience. On one hand the story was incredibly compelling and interesting. You wanted to see what happened to the characters next and it was difficult to think about mundane things (like washing up) while you read each chapter.

But about half way through the book something happened. I realise that whether he had intended it or not, Hugh Howey was commenting on what was happening in the world now. And that his vision of what the future could hold was a real possibility.

That’s scary.

Why?

Well think of it this way. It’s 2013. I’ve got two children (one 12, the other 8) and a third one on the way. If I think about what is happening in the world now, there is a very real possibility that their future, the one that I may never see, will be an ugly, regimented world where food and energy are rationed down to what you can afford to buy.
There will be a need to limit the population; whether that’s because of the food shortage, space shortage or whatever, so the joy of being a parent will be limited to those who either can win / buy the right or those who are considered so essential to the running of the world that they have to continue their line.

It will be a world of sacrifices with most people just trying to live in it the best they can with the hope that their children (if they have them) will have a better world in the future.

And that scares me.

It doesn’t matter what the energy companies say, fossil fuels (even shale gas) are finite. They will run out. The population of the world is expanding and instead of helping the Africans to improve their land and grow crops to feed themselves and maybe others, we are helping them to fight each other through the Arms Business.

It’s all so backwards.

 

I don’t care about money. Actually, that’s not quite true… I do care about it, but not in a materialistic way.

I’m forced through circumstance (lack of full time teaching jobs in my area, being unable to drive and a son who needs more than usual maternal attention due to being Aspergers) to remain a stay at home mum. So I write books, publish them myself (as best I can) and volunteer in the community as a Guider.

My partner, having been thrown out of one industry for being Dyslexic and undiagnosed Aspergers, is changing career to one that suits him as a person and looking for work. Unfortunately, it’s one of those careers that (like writing) is very difficult to get into without a lot of experience. Which he doesn’t have, despite being talented at his chosen career.

I care about money because we need it to live; you can’t buy food or energy without it and the prices are getting higher every week as the more materialistic of the human race try to pull as much of the world’s money into their personal accounts.

My writing makes a little bit of money. The rest (because of the aforementioned circumstances) we have to get through the benefits system. Which people higher up the money chain are trying to pull out from under us because they think that we don’t deserve it or that we are taking too much from the country and not giving back at all.

It’s a grapefruit juice bubble existence.

Sooner or later (the latter please!) it is going to be bitten into and who knows what comes next?

 

I’m not sure that I am making any sense at the moment – blame it on Sprog, he/she seems to enjoy making me write oddly – so I will leave you with this:

 

Read “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

Enjoy the words as they burst on your mind, revel in the wonderful story, then think about what he is telling us about our world.

 

And when the next chance comes for you to vote in an election of some sort, consider what the party you are going to vote for would do with the country you live in.

Would they make it better for everyone or just for themselves?