Monday, 2 June 2014
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it
Does anybody remember who won the local council elections? Surely it has to have been
Labour with a 324 seat gain. The overall picture still puts the Conservatives ahead with 8296 seats overall, but they lost 236 in the election; that’s a comparative gain of 560 seats by Labour. So it’s no wonder the Tories have been quiet about it all, allowing UKIP to take the limelight a little over the subsequent Euro elections; burying bad news, so to speak. My thanks to the always interesting Peter Hitchens for highlighting this.
His blog neatly sums up how tricky it is to separate fact from fiction in politics and indeed even in the news. If you have an area of intellectual expertise – the law, technology, business, the sciences – you already know how the newspapers are almost universally incapable of relaying the truth to their readers. And even worse, they indulge our confirmation bias with astonishing brazenness. Thus the planning of a new wind turbine is either: a harmful attack on people’s health and sanity (Daily Mail) a progressive and necessary step towards fuel sustainability (Guardian) lining the back pockets of Britain’s parasitic land-owning classes (Socialist Worker) or a new holy temple of enlightenment and salvation (Green Party News).
There is no real place for the truth in all of this as there is no such thing as the truth when it comes to politics. Oh, there are facts all right, but facts are difficult and often need specialist knowledge (we used to call it education) to analyse them. Raw data can be difficult to discover and even more difficult to convert into meaning and even in the supposedly open information exchange of the internet most of us rely on others to do the donkey work. My blog for instance, is always written from my own perspective of what is right and wrong and while obviously always showing the one true path, might not be to everybody’s taste.
So the next few years are going to be really interesting. Let’s assume that whoever wins the general election next year will have had to offer some form of referendum on our membership, or otherwise, of the European Union. Like our party political system there are die-hard Europhiles and Europhobes whose minds will not be changed, but the opinions of probably half the electorate are up for grabs. How are they going to be able to decide which way to vote? And I’m serious about this; whose version of ‘the truth’ will they go with?
Them 'as wants' to stay in the EU have years of momentum on their side. The project rumbles on, crushing all in its path and nobody dares challenge the received wisdom that we are better off on the train pissing out than running along the platform trying to piss in. But who said we needed to piss in, or on, anything anyway? Some supposedly foregone conclusions are nothing of the sort yet remain unchallenged.
They say that Britain couldn’t survive without immigration. They say our coffee shops would grind to a halt, our offices would never get cleaned, cars never get made and crops never get picked if we had to rely on British workers. What on earth did we do for the thousands of years BEFORE the EU then? It’s only because successive socialist-inclined governments over the last half century have allowed our values to be steadily eroded and have taken easier options – easier for them. Instead of doing the hard things – maintaining or improving education, guarding morals against a rising tide of laissez-faire, do-what-you-like individualism, instilling civic pride and a healthy level of patriotism and yes, putting Britain and the British first.
Oh it’s all very old-fashioned, I know, especially with the seductive myths of happy multicultural diversity and all that shite, but those who make policy have almost exclusively NEVER had to suffer the consequences. Even those politicians from relatively humble backgrounds know that having risen to cabinet level it is unthinkable that they will ever have to return to the type of lives the greater majority of their constituents put up with. I still believe it is up to the individual to make their own way in life, but if government has one purpose, surely it is to protect the environment that makes aspiration achievable.
What if, unencumbered by EU regulation and socio-political group-think, Britain could home-grow and train, as we used to, the very best in the world? What if life outside the tired, old union sluggard is not mere survival but confident and successful and vibrant and the UK has in its grasp the possibility of becoming a world powerhouse again? Yesterday’s ‘The Big Questions’ single enquiry was “Is there life after death” and despite all the confident assertions, nobody really had any truthful answers. Nobody knows until they go and there wasn’t one audience member who had actually come back from the dead to tell us what lies beyond.
Brexit or bust?
Well as sure as eggs is eggs the European Union will, like all administrations, run its course and decline into obscurity. Indeed, we may already have witnessed its early heart attacks. Nobody knows what awaits our part of the world after the EU shuffles off its mortal coil and joins the choir-invisible and it’s certain that nobody in the here and now can say. Independence might not only be new and interesting and exciting, it might be the start of a whole new global success story, but one thing IS for sure. If we don’t try it we’ll never know.