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Sunday, 8 December 2019

Where I Stand, And Why

I doubt you have failed to notice, if you are one of my UK readers, that there is an election around the corner.

In fact I dare say some of you are sick of it already.

Those of you who follow this blog might notice that I have leaned away from the politics more recently - because it has become increasingly hard to present a point that I haven't already addressed, and to not succumb to rage or despair. That is very easy - rage or despair, that is. Having seen some of the ways in which those in established power have utilised that power.

I'm not going to give in to that.

Most of you reading this have already decided who you are voting for - or if you are voting at all. I'm not going to exhort you. I make no demands.

I'm just going to get back to basics here, and tell you the decision-making process for why I vote the way I vote.

The French Revolution, 1789. During the meetings of the French National Assembly, to determine the extent of the powers King Louis XVI should have, there was a division in the assembly hall - a literal physical one. To surround themselves with those who would agree with them, those who wanted the supreme executive power of the entire nation to rest in the hands of one man - the King - sat to the right of the assembly hall. Those who wanted the executive power to be divided among the people sat to the left.

The press caught on rather quickly, and political groups themselves adopted the phrasing for rapid shorthand of where they stood - power in the hands of the few, or power in the hands of the many. A stratified, vertical society, or a wide, horizontal society.

I am part of the lower rungs of society. I am not one of the lucky few that a right-wing attitude is meant to help. Don't get me wrong - I acknowledge that I am privileged in several distinct areas, and that I have it better off than many - I just also have to acknowledge that my income alone puts me below the line of interest to the right.

That means that if it helps out the stock exchange and not the people that have to clean it after it closes, I'm not interested.

There are lots of arguments as to magic money trees and where the money is going to come from. These discussions always seem to come up when talking about paying for something that someone doesn't want to see paid for - and always seem to ignore the fact that there is seemingly endless money to pay for other things.

The fact is, governments don't spend money like people do. They don't work like a kid's piggy bank, and anyone that tries to convince you that they do is not fully informed on the process. It is not as simple as having a pound in your pocket and knowing how many apples you can buy with it. I will concede, however, it is good to have a large amount of income into the treasury - because then the treasury can be used to help those that need it, and can't be opposed with the argument of a lack of the aforementioned magic money tree.

Once upon a time, a significant proportion of this country's industries were national. They were run by the government, and any profits they made were put into the public purse. If they didn't make a profit, that was a thing that was easy to absorb - because their running was tied to the national finances, not their own bank account.

Then they were sold - and significantly undervalued - to private investment. Companies that answered to shareholders and upper management. The argument was that doing so would mean the companies would have to compete and that would keep prices low - this has been proven objectively false, as anyone who buys rail tickets will tell you.

The list includes BP (70s-80s), Rolls Royce (1987), British Gas (1986), British Airways (1987), British Rail (1995-1996), local bus companies (1988 onward), National Express (1988), the local water companies (1989), British Shipbuilders (1985-1989), all the regional electrical companies (1990), Royal Mail (2013) - all of these utilities and industries that you will no doubt have noticed have increased vastly in cost since their privatisation, while not necessarily increasing commensurately in terms of service provided.

Which means the money flows up, and not back down. Meaning that while wages slowly increase the cost of living increases a lot faster, meaning less money in the pockets of normal people, and less money in the government budget.

If political decisions empower shareholders over people using services, I'm not interested.

And speaking of increasing costs and support.

Homelessness and poverty are both on the increase, currently. There are ways to prevent both. This requires actual work, actual spending, and actual attention. It cannot be waved off as a non-issue. People, human beings, are made to suffer because of policy for a variety of reasons and excuses. This can't be allowed to continue.

Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I am a sap, because I would be willing to put help in the hands of people who "don't deserve it" rather than prevent it being delivered to those who "do deserve it" - and you will find that what people mean when they use specific terms will vary.

If fiscal burdens are eased, people spend more money. If people spend more money, companies do better as a whole, rather than just the companies who have positioned themselves to force you to partake in their services - see above about privatising gas, water and electricity. If people and companies do better they spend more tax. Which means the country does better.

If fiscal burdens are made heavier, people spend less money. If people spend less money, companies do less well as a whole. This means less taxes. This means less for everyone.

Either way, those who can ensure their income is maintained, will do so. You will often find people in that position are more the kind of people that sit on the right hand side of the chamber.

If political decisions impoverish people rather than supporting them, I'm not interested.

There's more but I don't think I need to necessarily go into any further detail.

I won't get into debates as to which leader I believe is the nicest person. I won't get into Brexit - that horse is already dead, and I won't beat it any further. I won't get into voter suppression and the outdated first-past-the-post system. I won't get into the treatment of minority groups, not because they aren't worthy but because that is two or three blogs in and of itself, and all of it pretty damned partisan, which I am trying to avoid here.

It's just that simple. I can't support a government that will sell off our country's goods for a quick profit and leverage the subsequent losses on the people. I can't support a government that has overseen a hundred thousand children in poverty just before Christmas despite us being one of the six richest nations on earth.

You make your choice.

Just ask yourself if you can look your fellow human being in the eye after you put that X in the box.

If you are concerned about whose party best suits your political beliefs, I have shared this website before. It is called Vote For Policies. It goes off what the parties have said they will do. If you wish to see whether or not the party actually stands by what it says, you can use TheyWorkForYou to check the representatives voting records; no matter what a politician says, it is their vote in Parliament that counts.

See you down the pub on Friday, yeah?

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

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