Matt Wilcox

Musing

Jan 29th 2019

A political note...

Summarising what I've been saying for years, and to record as another "told you so" for later reference.

Skip this entirely if you don't want to be depressed; the UK is screwed, let me show the ways...

Looking at the state of things in the UK and US... here's how I see it: modern politics is unfit for purpose, and the main tactic for the people in power mistakes stubbornness for strength. The only tactic they seem to know is to flat out refuse to listen to experts or change their mind - regardless of any evidence. On all sides of the political landscape. Labour is no better than the Tories here. Their only action any politicians in positions of power seem to take is doubling down on whatever viewpoint they think got them into power in the first place - regardless of how true that belief is and regardless of any other factors.

The political landscape is an environment where agenda-ignorant capitalists hold most power. Where educated or liberal agendas are stifled to death because they're harder to understand and turn into profit channels than playing to known biases. Modern politics is a hostile environment for wider reason. It's now the school playground, full of lightly educated selfish bullies dressed in the outfits of respectability, and its that bunch that have been left steering the Titanic.

For 40 years the people in power in the UK have systemically robbed the country's assets and public services in order to make the rich richer; plenty of evidence showed that privatisation would not end up producing better services, but that stopped nothing. We've seen the privatisation of power, water, transport, and almost complete is that of health care. None of those things are providing better value for the public now than they were when publicly owned. But they're making rich people richer now, which was always the goal. Sold to the plebs via lies, dressed as "but perhaps this will be good for you" messaging.

Now, decades after that, it costs us all more to get from A to B, to work a comparatively lower paid job, to pay higher taxes, to give to the already-rich, where we can die younger because of illness we can't afford the cure for (yeah, life expectancy is down).

If a service is for the public good, it should be owned by the public. There is little good effect on the public at large when capitalism steers the nations public services.

These "public services", core parts of any civilised society, are not public services are anymore. They're not run for the public good - any public good is a side effect, now. They've been commandeered to be wealth generators. They mine the poor for wealth because they are systems owned and run by rich capitalists.

Housing is becoming impossible for whole generations. Because not enough were built to satisfy demand, so that the people who own houses got richer as their house value increased. It's supply and demand; too little supply too high demand and boom - all those house owners will vote for you because you're doing a good job making them richer. The issues of a generation or two of people who can't bring in sufficient wages to cover the cost of living in a house and also saving for retirement? Problems for a different group of politicians in a few decades. Who cares?

This whole self-inflcted disaster of Brexit is going to be hideously brutal, and it was entirely predicted by the experts from day one. We got here because the politicians in power

a) knew that and quit en-mass when the vote went the way it did and

b) the remainder are so inept (or malicious) they spent 2yrs making deals for themselves and achieving nothing for the country until they wound down the clock.

The country is fucked regardless, and it has become ever less reasonable to believe otherwise as time grinds down - there's a reason they've planned military on the streets in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Remember, this was sold to the UK population as "the easiest deal in history" where Britain would "hold all the bargaining power". The pile of voices from experts in all sectors touching international relations; from education to international business to the IMF and EU themselves - assuring that was utter rubbish - were soundly ignored.

The talk from politicians has been "The UK voted for Brexit and to not deliver would be undemocratic". It is a lie. A wilful one.

Referendums are not legally binding. The public were asked for an opinion, not instruction - that's what a referendum is, by design. They were also asked a question almost no citizen is qualified to answer, based on a campaign of lies, because the weak tory government had promised to do hold a referendum in order to win a handful of swing votes and get in power. We know that. It's a matter of record. Vote Leave and co have been found to have broken the law doing what they did. None of that is in dispute. We can all look at the laws of the land, read how our democratic system works legally speaking, and see the records in the courts and find for ourselves that these things are true, if we choose to look. But... most people don't choose to look. That's too hard. They let others tell them how to feel. Tabloids; the most read papers in the land; tell us how to feel - look at the language they use. It's not about education or news or fact. It's about making you angry at the people they want you to be angry at. They're distraction. They're open manipulation. They're rich capitalists dressed up as a public good. Recognise a trend?

Here's what people voted for: A better country with more opportunity and more wealth for its citizens.

That's what people voted for, and we were all told by rich media corporations, and some minority hard-right racist politics, that the way to that was outside the EU.

We were also told by all major parties at the time, by the government at the time, and from experts in numerous sectors that leaving the EU would have the opposite effect, even with the best deal imaginable. Those experts promised disaster in the event of No Deal. Those experts pointed out that Britain had already got highly preferential treatment in the EU and reaped a huge swath of benefits from it. Which would go away if we left.

But... we live in a culture where everyone thinks anyone's opinion is equal to anyone else's on any subject; and where trust in government has been eroded so much that huge swaths of people either disengage from what they feel is a pointless ineffective rabble, or lash out to hurt and defy governments that have impoverished working people.

We now pay the price of that.

My granddad tells of his youth where poverty was brutal. We're heading back there. And it was not the younger generation with a future to live that voted for it. It was not a majority that voted for a hard brexit - no one voted for a hard brexit; it wasn't an option to vote for. No one voted for May as PM. She wasn't an option to vote for.

And if there's a general election now (which there won't be, because Corbyn is so inept he's failed even that freebie) it won't change anything; because there isn't a choice on the table. Again. Labour hasn't got the balls to say the facts: Article 50 needs to be recinded, and we need to remain in the EU as though none of the last 2yrs had happened. That's the best deal available. It's one no party wants to offer. It's also why so few of my generation have any hope or any desire to engage in politics.