When the Party is ready!?!

IDs is at it again!

According to him, although the Cons have determined that welfare benefits are going to cut by £12 Billion, the Party hasn’t yet decided where the axe will fall.  Pardon?  Have I got this straight?  (Has IDS got it straight – did he ever get anything straight?)  The welfare budget will be cut by £12 Billion, but it hasn’t yet been decided where the axe will fall?

Of course he knows where the axe is intended to fall.  And no wonder you don’t want the electorate to know in advance of the ethnic (lower paid and state-dependent) cleansing you want to accelerate!  People, real persons, have no relevance on the Cons agenda, they get in the way of profiteering, asset-stripping, selling off Britain and lining off-shore accounts.

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Democracy in action? Or democracy inaction?

It is well-recorded in terms of votes at election time that, over recent times (the last 20 years or more), no Party forming a government has secured not less than 50% of the electorate’s vote for that government.  (For “government” read both national and local.) Beyond doubt, the consequence of our less-than-democratic “first past the post” voting system which certain (the two larger) Parties have a vested interest in not wanting to change.

But, so far as democracy goes, there is an even greater fault-line.  That fault-line relates to who chooses a Party’s candidate to stand for election in the first place.  Not unreasonably, such a choice is usually made ‘locally’ (‘local’ in terms of the electoral boundary – ward, district, council, parliamentary).  More completely, such a choice of candidate is made, not unreasonably, “locally” by Party members.

But that’s the rub!  Based on Party published accounts and related figures, and taking the current three major Parties as measured by number of MPs, the total of the number of people who are registered as subscribing members of these three Parties taken together is less than 1% of the eligible electorate.  Almost by definition, therefore, the people we vote for have been selected by less than half a percent of the electorate as a whole.

And that’s democracy?  And passing legislation which requires people to vote is not going to solve the underlying malaise of disinterest, disbelief, disengagement and wholesale disillusionment of the electorate towards a discredited political system and those with a vested interest in maintaining it.

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The political “standard” of double standards

For some long time as measured by parliaments, and regardless of which Party is in power, it is well-known that the Conservatives do not like unions.  The latest wheeze by them presents a more than ample example.  But, additionally, it also presents a more than ample illustration of that Party’s double standards.

The Conservatives have declared they will pass legislation to the effect that, for any form of industrial action (and strikes in particular) to be lawful following a ballot, not less than 40% of the union membership must vote in favour of such action.  At one level, this may not seem unreasonable, at 40%.  However …

The “however” is that the Conservatives (and other Parties too) would have notable problems so far as the election to Parliament of MPs is concerned if the same, not unreasonable, standard was applied to the minimum percentage of eligible voters voting for a specific candidate.  There is a good number of MPs who have been elected on far less than 40% in their favour.  As significantly, a given government would have difficulties in showing that, as a country, it has the support of not less than 40% of the electorate.

Double standards writ large.

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Isolation and Loneliness as brought on by the Government

Self IIIa A touch-stone of the DWP and recent governments (local as well as national) is the concept of “digital by default“.  All that paper, all those trees saved!  And near-enough instantaneous communication too.

But, for whose benefit?  Certainly not the now-privatised Post Office delivery services!  But, private enterprise, being now-privatised, sink or swim!

Along with this “digital by default” and in this more so-called modern communication age, the equally so-called “benefits” of on-line communication.  Skype, instant messaging, emails.  You name them, and others.  All of which, of course (or is it?), enabling ongoing and “real-time” communication.

What has not been addressed, however, and is carefully avoided is the extent to which this unfettered idolatry of the digital age has brought about an increase in social isolation.

Pardon?  Better communication has brought about an increase in social isolation?  That doesn’t follow, does it?

Think about it.  Over recent decades and, generally, as a direct result of industrialisation, nuclear families (as they used to be called), like nuclear physics, have been torn apart, split asunder, and examined closely in terms of the individual and, as portrayed, individual and separable parts.  But, backing up a little, are they genuinely and honestly individual or separable?  Could the individual atom and, theoretically at least, its separable component parts, exist in isolation?  Welcome to the atom/hydrogen bomb!  Not at all!  It explodes and causes wide-ranging and life-long lasting damage.

And so it is with the foundation, the bedrock, of families.  Nuclear families were those now anachronistic entities when “family” looked after family:  generations within hailing distance of one another (often under the same roof) and looking out for one another.  And then the concept of “on yer bike!”  No work?  Get mobile, move, and go to where the work is.  The appropriate word for the one-time family unit is ‘fragmented’.  These days, perhaps ‘dysfunctional’ is more appropriate.

Overall, and governmentally-ignored (knowingly governmentally-avoided?), “digital by default” has resulted in an increase in real-time isolation and more real-time, everyday loneliness than ever did industrialisation.  A slow-motion explosion of family, cultural and identity cohesion.

“Digital-by-default”?  To up-date the one-time film theme tune, “Hello, loneliness, my old friend!”  Oh, how the words of that song have so very, very much to say about and against our so-called “modern” society, and those who run it!

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Double standards?, Hypocrisy?, Left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing? Or just plain and simple Politics?

Self IVa Over recent weeks I have noticed a couple of particular publicity campaigns, both, beyond question, either directly supported by or otherwise encouraged by the current government.   I am sure I am not alone in having noticed the conflicting, contradictory even, message these two ‘campaigns’ espouse.

On the one “I am in“.  The television campaign to encourage people in employment to contribute into a works’ pension scheme.  (I have for very long felt discomforted with that word, “scheme”.  As in ‘scheming’ and underhand and a con or rip-off?  Unhelpful – or maybe not! – undertones as to meaning.)  Save for your retirement.  Good idea.  Who could argue against that?

But, on the other, the contradictory and very recent publicity of the relaxation of the pre-retirement ‘cashing-in’ rules enabling a pension-saver to withdraw cash from their “pension pot”.

Save for your retirement and build up a ‘pension pot’?  Cash in your ‘pension pot’ savings before you retire?   Same source telling you to do both?

Personally, I am left thinking that this current government is desperate to give a boost to consumer spending and, like so much else of the asset-stripping it is actively encouraging and permitting, looking well outside the two-dimensional box to release non-governmental, non-interest-bearing ‘loan’-type, locked-in cash.  Good for the government.  But good for you?  Look out for the rash of Lamborghinis on our over-congested and pot-hole strewn, ill-maintained roads!

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TV Debate and Absence of PM

There is much that is and has been said, and Party-partisan dismissed, about Cameron’s stance that he will submit himself to only one TV debate.

To date, however, no-one has offered what amounts to a rational explanation for this purported act of cowardice.  “Purported”?  Read on!

Whatever else may be behind all of this and whatever else others may think, the one thing which has not been registered is the presence of the Cameron/Conservative spin-doctorisation as bought by him/them from America.  Of one thing above all else that anyone should note is that Cameron’s stance would not have been allowed unless this American spin witch-doctor had not approved it.  This close to the election?  This close to Cameron?  Be real!

Which beggars the question, if this was, in effect, Party policy, Why?  Why only one debate?  Why ignore the inevitable negative jibes?  Why surrender the chance to put forward the Conservative record of achievement?  Why would Cameron and the Conservatives want to avoid the limelight?

Answer:  because it is a minefield!  All of it.  The negative jibes, the Conservative record of achievement, the risk of national ridicule and dénoument?  Absolute self-inflicted minefield.

The sole logical conclusion is that, by contemptuously deigning to present himself to a single debate (when there may be as many as six other Party leaders present), Cameron can do his usual side-stepping dissembling and double-talking, and, in order to ensure there is equal time for the other leaders, avoid hogging the limelight when his Party’s abject failings would be publicly scrutinised.

If not, why else avoid the opportunity of facing the country?  Why else avoid a God-sent opportunity of putting the record straight?  Why else duck and dive and dissemble?

They made a film the title of which epitomises his craven capitulation:  “Despicable me!”

That’s politics for you!

Posted in "Later Life Agenda", DWP, Health and Well-being, Older People, People, WMLLF | Leave a comment

“Wrong Button Pressed”

According to the Scottish Police (‘Police Scotland’ to be precise) just over 200,000 stop-and-search records were removed from that Force’s database because someone pressed the wrong button.

A policeman fires a Taser gun.    At the end of January (2015) the Police Federation advocated that all police officers should be armed with tasers.  “Wrong button” – a euphemism for gung-ho trigger-happy?  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

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