Friday, 3 April 2015

Do We Want Personalities or Policies?

Last night's 7-way TV debate proved (in my opinion) to be a far better experience than expected.

There were a couple of times when the debate threatened to fall into chaos, but by and large the speakers made their points reasonably well. The Plaid Cymru speaker was one of the weaker ones, but I liked her (probably magnetised by the lovely Welsh lilt!) and thought she was coherent - but, of course, represented only one corner of the UK.

But Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) has made a big name for herself. As a commentator noted, if she didn't represent SNP, her natural allegiance would be to the Labour Party. Indeed, at times she spoke up for what I would call real Labour Party values. That's not to say I thought Ed Milliband did badly - I don't think he did - but his was a more prosaic and manicured performance directed by stylists, whereas Sturgeon seems never afraid to shoot from the hip - a la Nigel Farage. Sturgeon knows that the SNP are going to have a big say at Westminster, irrespective of whether it's Tory or Labour that ends up as the majority party.

Farage and UKIP will get support - but not by as many as some think. As for the Liberals and Nick Clegg: what a useless outfit they are. They knew very well that their natural allegiance would have been to the Labour Party, but in 2010 chose the Tories to work with, and now they try to say "It wasn't us guv!" Having already broken a big promise on tuition fees and helped through the bedroom tax, they deserve to be sent out into the wilderness in my view - there's little or no backbone present there. They've not learnt much over the 90 years since they last flirted with power.

Our eyes were programmed to be fixed on who are thought to be the main 4 last night: Cameron, Milliband, Clegg and Farage. But why are they considered so, these all men leaders? Ms. Bennett of the Greens didn't come across too well last night ... but I suspect that was more to do with their belief in real policies than personality. Their policies must have something about them if their membership has increased by as much as they say, but, let's face it, they are a party for those that think with more aspiration than simply improving their family's financial situation. The Greens are concerned about the future of the world, and with the news today that the world's water supply may not be enough to go round by 2030, we surely need to address a sustainable way of life as part of our political agenda.

I will be reasonably happy if the Labour Party becomes the majority party with the Greens, SNP and (I have to include them) Liberals guiding Labour into a more Big Picture view of politics, including the sustainability issue and encouragement of green technology.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Tory Story Gets Worse...

Economic recovery they say: households now better off (by 0.2% on average - and we know what that means), but they don't admit to some of the unmitigated disasters that they have created:
  1. 40% of teachers are reported as quitting after one year (i newspaper, Apr 1, 2015). The matter has become more critical: the figure quoted 12 months before was 40% attrition in FIVE years!
  2. The Commons Education Committee report says that in 2013-14, 119,760 teenagers were on apprenticeships. The number is significantly down: it compares with 129,890 in 2010.
  3. "Homeless children 'at highest level since 2011'" reported by the BBC Nov 3, 2014.
  4. A preponderance of insecure and inadequate jobs as part of their boast of unemployment falling.
The list could go on, and on (including reports of suicides because of various benefit cutting measures)...

And what do they now indicate? £12bn further cuts which are sure to crucify the poorest quarter in society, and are not even necessary. Michael Meacher MP speaks eloquently about this here. I greatly recommend you visit this page and also see his other articles.

Yes, a viable economy is vital! But I believe there is something vile within the core of Tory policies that should cause us to scream out in horror. They talk of 'the Big Society' when they only mean big men in business and keeping them happy. They talk of protecting the NHS when they only dream of making it move over to private initiatives. And that has proved to be another Tory policy failure as privately run Trusts have gone under. Since when has moving a health entity into the business sector made sense?

The Tory Story has failed miserably. And they weren't even elected into power in 2010 - they have only achieved what they did because the Liberals failed to form a coalition with the Labour Party - their more natural allies. 

Labour is unlikely to have an overall majority this time as well. Good! But what should happen is that they will be the majority party and with the support of other middle and left parties they will develop sensible - and human and sustainable - policies.

Let us vote, work and pray to uplift our society back into true One Nation policies.