Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Politics and Political Parties - the truth is out there, somewhere

The issue of representation has been filling my head recently, which follows on from the furore about QT.

And so it comes up again with the dear Jennie asking why certain bloggers are ignored by the blogging establishment.

As a general topic it's one I get into on a regular basis. The discussion always centres around what the definition of 'politics' is.

Some people think politics = political parties.

Others think everything is political.

The first seems to come from a mindest that people involved with political parties are unable to be objective, while the second comes from a mindset that nobody is completely objective (even when they try).

I get round the accusation of bias by taking the 'BBC defence' and seeking out a balanced view, but this then creates a difficulty in giving appropriate and proportionate weight to the different sides.

So, what can be done to give a more representative account and convince critics that no group or individual is being discriminated against and treated unfairly?

Ultimately I think there is some overlap between those who think white working-class men are being treated unfairly and those who think BME groups and women are being treated unfairly: the establishment is failing to placate these critics and convince them by communicating the full extent of the issues at stake, and this shows the action being taken by the establishment is not sufficient.

Without getting into the question of immigration and how desirable it is (people who know me personally don't need to ask - I have some strong views), the establishment has failed to clarify that these issues are a choice we each need to make - we need to separate the narrow issue of what is good for 'me' and the broader subject of what is good for 'us', and if they do not correspond then we need to understand why not.

It has been a consistent trend of Gordon Brown's path to power that he has crushed, negated and otherwise sidelined opposition wherever he has seen it, but this has had the consequence that the public has not debated questions of importance as assumptions were made and conclusions jumped to, bypassing and failing to account for any uncomfortable facts.

Where Thatcher and Blair stimulated demonstrations of opposition, Britain under Brown has simply gone ahead without wider participation in the discussion of the ways and means worth adopting. Where Thatcher and Blair were capable of debate (however inaccurately), Brown asserts.

Britain under Brown is increasingly in the iron grip of a new establishment - despite their noises about inclusivity, participation at elections is not rising and general membership of political parties has fallen. The seemingly inevitable passage of David Cameron into Downing Street is not being met with any general acclaim and the growing climate of cynicism about politics is enthusing a sense of separation from participation in the processes of democracy among the public: politics is now a lifestyle choice, not a reflection of those choices we make in our lives.

It seems obvious to me that the two-party hegemony suffocates a real sense of representation, and the more it seems likely that this will continue then frustrations from different sections of society will increasingly crop up.

It does not matter what Labour or Conservatives do about our borders, or if their initiatives bring about a massive increase in women or black or Asian MPs, because it is only a temporary repreive - they will still represent the same way of doing things which has consistently shown itself to break down as the innate incoherence of their binary philosophy crumbles.

Inclusivity cannot mean substituting one preferred view for another more preferable view, as that just perpetuates a sense of prejudice and disenfranchisement, rather it must mean growing the overall level of participation: an open democracy cannot stand still, it must constantly constantly strive to break down the barriers which so easily grow between us.

If politics is for anything, then it must be the art of pluralism - if only because the word itself means 'relating to the people' or 'public affairs', not because politicians are commonly compared to a bunch of blood-sucking parasites.


Jennie said...


Oranjepan said...

Thanks, I'm glad - all the long words started losing me...

Irene said...

I think the thing that is so
exhausting is how personally people take politics-it's actually the most irrational behavior of humans.

And of course it doesn't help that the govt uses it to their own advantage to manipulate the irrational.

The problem with this country which is a really good reason for the apathy or complacency-and I put my very bright good friends in this area-is that because well, our lives are not as bad as Chileans during Pinochet or the Russians under Lenin, that things are 'just okay here', even though they are not.

So despite the fact that we're supposed to be a country of bright young things, this is all redundant because human beings are inherently irrational, so irrational that logic and commonsense flies, flies out of the window.

So when you're dealing with irrationality, how do you make sense for the rational to at least show some light?

This is why I'm so into visual data and not all this talk and more writting.

Show em how it works.

The government-a government regardless how Right-Wing runs like a huge corrupt non for profit organisation. It has a profit and loss account. The UK has a profit and loss account.

When a new govt comes into power-every 4 years or so (if a new one does)it recreates a new business plan. A new budget.

This country-business-has been running for centuries. If a normal business that is non for profit that is HUGE had been running for a long time, you wouldn't ignore the past profit and loss accounts and simply concentrate on a completely new business plan!

But this is what we do in this country! We act in the most irrational way about history that we don't like-slavery was HUGELY profitable and paid for a lot of infrastructure (roads, buildings etc), like any OTHER revenue would do in a business-and we behave as this there is no such thing as accountability and really this governement is run on ideas and opinion..

It's mind bogling.

When you ignore a bit of a profit and loss account you don't like in business, you will more sooner than not go under and when you're dealing with non for profits with triple bottom lines-social good, welfare etc, well....

But it's not good for the government to offer this information-as logical as it is-to the public because it means they'll realise voting right or left is possibly the most irrational thing you can do when you're a country of right, left and in between.

So yes I think you need to bring in more women, ethnic minorities etc because that's when true innovation appears.

Ideas flourish or grow on an equal playing field, not in a field with people who all look, think, act and speak the same from the same school and backrgounds.

Irene said...

Blah, blah, you know what? I'm just going to design what I'm trying to say, like that creative guru who did it with the American Healthcare issue. He drew it all on napkins and made slides of them!