Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On the failings of the Human Memory in Politics

I believe in Conviction Politics, whatever colour your rosette. To this end, I've created a Pledge to that effect. Please Pledge your support by agreeing to turn out and Vote with your conscience at the next General Election. Thank you.

You know, for the longest time I've tried to avoid venting my opinions about the current political situation. Improvements in my life have meant that the rage, which previously drove me to comment on any and all political pronouncements or events, is no longer part of my life, and is not missed in the slightest.

All that aside, sometimes I'm still struck by the urge to write - when the news just gets too much, and Gerry can't handle me griping at the TV any more. And now, I'm filled with the desire to ask just one simple question:


I've been watching coverage of the Conferences over the last couple of weeks, and it appears that we're driving headlong toward a much-needed snap Election. Yet unbelievably, the general opinion is that the 'new' Prime Minister should be 'given a chance' and that 'things might change'.

I can only assume from this that the average British voter is so dulled, so inured to spin, lies and misleading statistics that they cannot see the facts for what they are.

For the record - Gordon Brown is not some new rescuer, parachuted in from nowhere to save British politics.

Gordon Brown was, for ten years, the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the very Government that has caused the problems we all suffer with now.

- It was this Labour Government which increased the Tax burden through rises in stealth taxation (99 tax rises between 1997 and 2006) - recommended in the Chancellor's Budgets. By Gordon Brown.

- It was this Labour Government which raided UK Pension funds by scrapping Dividend tax relief - recommended in the Chancellor's Budget. By Gordon Bown.

- It was this Labour Government that raised £22.5bn with the sale of 3G licenses, yet we now have a massive budget deficit of £7bn. And who was the Chancellor presiding over this mammoth wastage? Yep. Gordon Brown.

- Iraq and the WMD lies. The Cabinet voted (with notable exceptions) for military action in Iraq, and to stand by the 'Dodgy Dossier'. Who was the second-most senior member of the Cabinet? Any guesses? Anyone? Well done. Gordon again.

Then - as if that lot isn't enough, look at the policy 'promises':

Violent crime is up. Gun crime has risen fourfold since 1998. Antisocial behaviour complaints have risen massively. Oh, and we've run out of prison places.

Incidence of MRSA infections in UK hospitals has risen 31.5% since 1998. The NHS has been suffering a budget crisis since 2006. There's a huge problem with NHS dentistry, and problems with the GP service both during working hours and out-of-hours despite the much-vaunted - and wrong - new GP Contracts.

So despite ten years of increased taxation and ever-better promises, we are in fact worse off and worse served than we were in 1997.

Yet Labour still scream "remember the Tories! Remember how bad it was!". And, dutifully, the general populace believes them.

Yes, the Tories made mistakes in their 18 years. But as I recall, the last Labour administration nearly destroyed the country - anyone care to recall the Winter of Discontent? Or what the higher rate of income tax was? (83% - yes, 83%). Or, for that matter, what the BASIC rate of Income Tax was prior to 1979? (33%).

The other commonly-raised spin is that the Tories were the party of 'sleaze'. Yeah, right. Remember how Bliar said that his New Labour Government would be 'whiter than white'?

Are we supposed, therefore, to ignore David Blunkett? There's 2 incidences of sleaze right there. Or Peter Mandelson? Another two. Or Keith Vaz. Or Tessa Jowell and the mystery mortgage. And let's not forget the sitting Prime Minister being interviewed by Police in connection with 'Cash-For-Peerages'.

You may think, after seeing all that, that I'm going to try and persuade you to vote Conservative. But I'm not. Neither am I going attempt to sway you to Lib-Dem, Plaid Cymru, SNP or even Monster Raving Looney.

It's not my job to persuade people how to vote. A vote is a precious thing, and something we're lucky to have.

What I want to do, more than anything else, is persuade you to THINK.

Please, don't be swayed by biased reporting (you'll see that the links above aren't just from right-wing publications, there are independent and left-wing sources in there too). Don't be led by spin, or promises from any side.

Read. Get your political information from multiple sources. Make your mind up with the care and consideration suffrage deserves.

But please, please PLEASE - Use your MEMORY. Just because there's a new face at the helm, don't believe it's a new start, especially when that 'new face' has been a senior member of Cabinet for the last decade.

Whoever leads this Government today, they need to answer for the actions and errors of the last 10 years.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh.. Now if only people would listen - and if only the choices were more varied, it seems that no matter who you vote for the outcome will be the same.

..kind of explains the ';why bother' attitude of most of the population eh!?

Dungeekin said...

The 'why bother' attitude in people is largely responsible for the situation we find ourselves in - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In any democracy, there are 80% who will vote party line - and would do so whether it was Maggie Thatcher, Tony Blair or Josif Stalin standing as their candidate.

The remaining 20% floating voters are disillusioned by the spin and lies, and no longer turn out - with a result that whoever can get more of their core out on the day wins, whether or not they're deserving or have a mandate.

(In fact, in the last election the Tories got the larger share of the popular vote, but with the existing majority and a FPTP system, Labour still held Government).

Personally, what I think we really NEED this time around is a Hung Parliament based on a large turnout - enough to show all parties that we're sick of homogenised politics and ready for cross-party policies that genuinely achieve something, rather than the current soundbite/move-the-goalposts approach of the majors.

Thanks for commenting!