EU Elections and Beyond

Like with tastes, one’s political views may also change with time. When I was younger I undoubtedly stood with Labour — they are the people’s party, after all. Some of my earlier posts also state that I support Labour. So what’s changed?

Just as I believe that where you are born should not decide whether you live, where you are born does not mean that you can mooch off the system until death (even if the system somehow allows for it). These days (although obviously not true of all) I feel that Labour seem to be supported by a bunch of mooching layabouts. Everywhere you go, you hear people complaining about getting their benefits cut and how it affects them not being able to afford cigarettes or a bigger telly.

This may all be media hype, but don’t get me started on mums having as many children as possible because the more they have, the more they can claim. Quite frankly, I’m fed up with people abusing the system while friends and family work their arses off to keep the country afloat. It’s one thing needing a bit of assistance while trying to get back on your feet. But it’s shameful when you piss and moan about your country not doing anything for you when you’ve done f**k all for it. On top of that, who can trust a man who doesn’t like bacon to lead a party?!

Oops. That just turned into a bit of a rant — not exactly sure where all that came from. But I really can’t be associated with a party that seems to be dragging Britain down. Not to mention, if UKIP council candidate Bobby Anwar was in fact attacked by his neighbour, who is reportedly an avid Labour supporter, then those that have been demonising UKIP also share responsibility for the act. Violence and sending shit in the post have no place in politics. Full stop.

I generally can’t be bothered with politics but these recent occurrences surrounding the impending EU elections have really upset me. And I’ve been thinking, if Labour are out, then who? I decided to give EUVOX (EU-wide voting advice application) a go and see which party actually better fit my beliefs. I was neutral for a few questions but the results were interesting. Most of my responses were definitely not in line with Labour but to be honest, I’m not exactly sure how to anaylse the rest of the results (feel free to enlighten me).  In the end, I suppose there will never be a perfect party. But if you’re that passionate about your party, perhaps it’s better to represent it in a more civilised and intelligent way so as not to taint their image or introduce new problems to society.

Economy Society

Economy-Society

Economy Europe

Economy-Europe

Society Europe

Society-Europe

Political Party Quiz: Where Do You Stand?

Now here’s something I rarely blog about (in fact, this may be my fist): US Politics! But seeing as there’s that overly hyped thing called the 2012 US Presidential Election going on, I thought I would humour the Ginge and take this quiz. It consists of only 12 questions and covers issues regarding the environment, immigration, debt and healthcare, to name a few.

I’ve always considered myself overall to be a ‘relaxed conservative’, if such a term exists (perhaps the correct term would be ‘moderate’ conservative), and I lean more toward UKIP than Labour these days. But my overall results show that I am what Americans would call a ‘moderate democrat’:

So what does all this mean? To be honest, I’m not really sure. The Ginge and I share the same views when it comes to social issues, which seems to involve a lot of common sense.  According to the results, I’d be deemed as ‘very liberal’.

But apparently when it comes to economics, I think money grows on trees. Ha! But doesn’t it?

Although 12 questions may not seem like enough to determine one’s political standing, I thought the questions touched on key points. And the results essentially show that politically, I’m all over the map and you simply can’t fit me into one neat little box! And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I refuse to align myself with any party. One day perhaps I’ll come across one that actually fulfills all of my expectations but until then, you can save your breath on trying to convince me to join your party.

The Truth is Out: Pasties and Petrol

As much as I can’t stand politics, all the media mayhem over petrol and pasties is so ludicrous that it’s hard not to follow just for pure entertainment.  Last week the nation was rocked by three major crisis, a false petrol shortage, an increase in the cost of stamps, and most outrageous–a proposed VAT on pasties (which could possibly lead to a bakers’ march).

All the controversy over pasties doesn’t end there.  In fact, it gets better! Never mind the lies that David Cameron told about having a pasty at the West Cornwall Pasty Company.  Our trusted friends at the Daily Mail have discovered that the PM indeed sampled some Greggs treats when visiting the bakery last year, but it was in fact a sausage roll, not a pasty.  Pastry, pasty, all the same when sold warm – all VATable.

But one question still remains, as I asked before, how warm is warm? I scoured the internet for the most simplified answer and forgive me for quoting the DM twice in one post, but I couldn’t have put it any better. If the pie is hotter than what the ‘ambient temperature’ is in relation to the food,you’ll pay VAT at 20%. “Cold or lukewarm and you grab a bargain, cheat the taxman – and maybe get a free dose of food poisoning.” Well said, Paul Harris!

Truth be told, what this nonsense about pasties and scaring people into hoarding ‘jerry cans’ of spare petrol (I think I even read somewhere that a woman in York suffered 40% burns when pouring petrol into a jug in her kitchen with the gas cooker on) really highlights is how out of touch the current government is with the people. I’m not sure what the Labour lot were trying to prove when they decided to jump on the pasty bandwagon, but to be fair, you can’t fault David Cameron for having a privileged upbringing. He had no say in it, really. But there certainly is a huge gap between Tory politics and what the people need.

George Galloway Triumphs

What a week it has been for Britain and politics.  First panic ensued over petrol, stamps, and pasties, and just after 2am on Friday morning came the result Labour had been quietly dreading. Respect politician George Galloway won the Bradford West by-election by a landslide.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with him,  it is clear that George Galloway is far from an ordinary man.  At times I wonder if he’s mad (and I’m not just saying this because he appeared on Big Brother — the mother of all appalling ‘reality’ TV shows), but I do have tremendous respect for him for having the balls to express his views even if they may be unpopular with mainstream politics.  And if you’ve ever heard him speak, it’d be hard to disagree that he is a captivating and entertaining speaker.

BBC’s Nick Robinson said that “George Galloway has proved that he has the charisma, the celebrity and the message to appeal to the young, the disillusioned and the angry particularly in the Muslim community”.  This reaction is expected not just since “opposition parties during government crises are meant to win and win big”, but also because nobody likes to lose.  The Tories presumably aren’t feeling that great over this loss either, but I reckon they have plenty of other things to worry about (i.e. a country in decline due to a miserably failing government).

I don’t  see George Galloway’s victory as a huge setback for mainstream politics.  After all, it’s not like this is occurring all across the country.  That said, Galloway’s victory does show that with the right candidate, minority politics still does have a voice.  I just hope nothing like this happens with say, the BNP.

Backing Burnham

No matter who ends up as the new Labour leader, they will have their work cut out for them.  But what distinguishes the candidates to pick one as a leader?  It’s true the current candidates do all kind of look the same on paper.  As John Harris points out, they are “largely made up of Oxbridge-educated, fortysomething white men, whose adult lives have mostly been played out in SW1.”

Hence, I must admit I was a bit surprised when Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, announced she was standing for Labour party leadership.  To be honest, I’ve always known her as Diane Abbott of BBC1’s This Week.

That said, she could be the one to bridge the gap in several key issues such as the immigration system, which is still far from perfect (or fair, but then again, what system is?), and brings many years of trade union experience.  Perhaps more significantly, Labour has long campaigned for women’s rights, yet has not empowered them to become leaders.  Therefore, regardless of if Abbott succeeds in the race, she is also paving the way for future women to stand for leadership.

So, who then, will I be backing?  I really would like to say Diane Abbott, but sadly, I do not think she has a good chance of winning the race.  However, more importantly, Labour needs someone who can reunify them and in view of the rapid change of events on the ground, I would have to go with Andy Burnham, current Leigh MP.  While everyone else is distancing themselves from the Blair-Brown years he has backed the former leaders, insisting that they did a lot right for Britain.  Burnham gives credit where it’s due and I’m confident that given time, he will be able to hone and renew Labour’s message in his own way.

Not O-Kay

The results are in from the UK 2010 general election and it would appear that the voters of Britain have made history in producing the first hung parliament since 1974.  Unsurprisingly, there has been growing speculation as to what could happen as a result of the negotiations that will follow.  Again I’ll leave the analysis up to the experts, but who really knows what goes on behind those closed doors?

I suspect that even Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg aren’t even sure themselves at this point, especially not on the wee bits of sleep they’ve gotten over the past few weeks.  In-party tension is rising, and so are blood pressures.  Meanwhile, I’m left to wonder if the media could back off a bit and let things run its course.

I say this because I was shocked by Kay Burley’s interview of a protester in favour of proportional representation outside of the Lib Dem meetings.  Why interview someone if you’re just going to shout over them?  That’s a bit out of order, if you ask me.  And what’s with thinking that 65% of the British public voted for a hung parliament? Somehow, I get the feeling she’s been misinformed.

Surely, 65% of the voting public voted for their party of choice, which unbeknownst to them would result in a hung parliament.  There wasn’t a box to mark with ‘hung parliament’ on it.  I don’t know much about Kay Burley, but she reminded me a lot of Bill O’Reilly.  Kay, darling, a word of advice: learn to have a bit more tact and leave the bias out of your reporting, please.  It’s giving me a bit of a headache.

Lib Dem or Lib Don’t?

In a matter of 3 days, I’ve managed to have more first-hand exposure to politics than I’ve ever had in my entire life.  I owe this entirely to the wonderful world of Twitter.

My first interaction with a politician was with Bury North’s Labour MP candidate, Maryam Khan, whom I must say is absolutely inspiring.  Her work transcends political, religious, and national boundaries and I believe she is a wonderful role model to young women everywhere.

Our interaction was brief but pleasant and it left me feeling hopeful about reaching out to other political types in an effort to educate myself further.  However, I would’ve never guessed that what started out as a simple exercise in stretching the mind would leave me feeling so patronised.

I became interested in learning more about Lib Dems’ health policies, with specific regard to NHS coverage of Chinese medicine (including acupuncture) and homeopathy.  Currently under Labour, NHS covers both Chinese medicine and homeopathy in some areas.  But would they both continue to be covered under Lib Dems?

I decided to ask Oxford West and Abingdon’s Lib Dem MP Dr. Evan Harris.  I figured since he’s a doctor he’d be able to give me the most informed answer.  Forgive me for forgetting that most “Western” medical doctors have a ridiculous attitude toward traditional medicines.  And forgive me again for forgetting that I was not asking just a doctor, but an MP.

I was excited when I saw that he had written a response, as you always hear about politicians never taking the time to respond.  That said, my excitement was short-lived.  Instead of giving a simple yes or no, he tried to be diplomatic and said that if a medicine or treatment is not considered “efficacious and cost-effective” it will not be covered under Lib Dems.  Now, to me that means NO.  So after twittering back and forth and receiving comments like “Simples” and “What’s not to understand,” I’ve now come away feeling quite frustrated.

There are a lot of first time voters out there and they might also become disenchanted, confused, or even feel bullied by this type of behaviour.  I’m sad to say that Dr. Harris’ response epitomises the sort of culture that excludes newcomers from politics.  At least, that is what had me disinterested in politics to begin with.