I’ve had to give this blog post a lot of thought. I kind of “knew” what I wanted to say but wasn’t entirely sure how to word it properly, so even the most “radical” lefts (or rights for that matter) would, hopefully, see my point.
There’s much talk these days of “lefties/liberals/libtards/Corbynistas” and then “racists/alt-rights/republicans/Conservatives” and so on. I thought about myself in this context and at first glance I would indeed appear to be one of the so called “right”, purely on appearance only. But then I started thinking more carefully about it and I realised the world simply isn’t that simple, especially as we live in a multiphrenic society where people tend to “pick and mix” the best bits from ideologies, lifestyles and politics that they like.
So, let’s break this down a little more. Am I “right”, well at first glance yes. But there again I don’t agree with the death penalty, period, regardless of the crime, that’s pretty “left” if you ask me. I agree with social welfare (aka “benefits”) and fair housing and all the rest of it, again pretty “left”. So where am I going with this? Well, it occurs to me to our society has not exactly mirrored the people within it from this perspective, our society, our government, our “establishment” (Police, media, council staff etc) don’t tend to be that varied and therein, I think, lies the modern dilemma.
We live in an age where information can be spread (be it true or fake) at lightning speed. We have more access to more information to all the time and this is likely to increase. However, politically we (I’m referring mainly to the United Kingdom here but I suspect you can find parallels if you live elsewhere) “swing” from left to right, back again, then back again. Labour’s in and they do a bunch of stuff some people like, a bunch of stupid stuff, a bunch of stuff nobody likes. Then Conservatives come along and they undo it and do some stuff some people like, some stupid stuff and some stuff nobody likes. Then a few years down the line and Labour comes in and on and on and on. This has been going on now for what, 50+ years?
Neither party is that “great” if you think about it, because no matter what they do (or don’t do) it’s going to piss somebody off, somewhere down the line. One party is somewhat “left”, the other is somewhat “right” and we don’t stop to think “hang on a minute we need the good stuff from both sides”, they just charge ahead with their own ideologies regardless. Think about it, you become prime minister tomorrow, surely you’re not naive enough to think what YOU think is right is the ONLY WAY? Now ok, proportional representation, it’s not going to happen. But would we want it to? Hell no, all we’d get is constant disagreement and nothing would actually get done, it’s be like postmodernism for politics, it’d be totally “meh, can’t be arsed”.
The problem we have, as I see it, is we’re being offered one way or the other way (the United Kingdom is essentially a two party system after all, Lib Dems? Hahahaha). Instead of actually listening to people and helping them (which let’s face it is what they are supposed to do) they just storm ahead with their ill thought ideas instead. I mean, fox hunting? Just grow up, we have far more important things to think about right now.
If government was actually accountable and acted upon the wishes of the people and “looked out” for them then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t think they were all just useless overpaid …. You get the idea. This is why Theresa May nearly lost the general election. We know she’s busy, we know about Brexit, BUT the vast majority of us are still in “da shite” from 2008/2009 (except the bankers and CEOs) and what did you offer those people, the “JAMs” as you called them? I’ll tell you what, sod all. She didn’t have to do a lot, just a few tweaks here and there to say “I haven’t forgotten you, this isn’t much but it’s a start”, stuff such as banning unpaid internships (much discussed but what’s happened about it?), capping utility bills and banning letting agent fees. Theresa May has been prime minister for nearly a year and has done NONE of these, it’s just all “talk talk talk” and no “action action action”.
Anyway, the crux of society’s modern “ills”. Interestingly enough I mentioned unpaid internships above and that’s part (a small part but still relevant) of the problem. Socialism doesn’t work, people take advantage and virtually everybody ends up with “sod all”, history bears witness to this, time and time again. Capitalism sucks, big time and don’t even start me on the “trickle down theory”. Neither extreme is ideal but what I think is lacking, for most of society, isn’t money, benefits or ideology but OPPORTUNITY. Government needs to remove and dismantle the blocks to opportunity, such as banning unpaid internships which only certain people can “afford” to put up with and consequently get “the job” at the end of it; JUST ONE EXAMPLE.
I’ve tried my hardest to “improve my lot” you know, I did all the “right things”, went to university (more than once, I am highly educated, way above the UK “average”) and when I left university the last time all I got when trying to find “decent” employment was barriers, more barriers, prejudice, discrimination (age mainly as I was a mature student). Think I’m paranoid? No I have proof, I’ve kept emails and recorded phone calls that shouldn’t have been made etc. University itself, yet more barriers; I got to pick 6 universities on my UCAS form (bear in mind I had 3 A Levels at A, a BTEC with 17 distinctions and more at the time) and Oxford, University College London and Birmingham all rejected without even seeing me (there goes the myth of “white privilege” out of the window, wooosh).
These are the problems we face. We’re being given the message “study hard, work hard and you’ll be a success” but it’s largely crap. It all comes down to who you know, what school you went to, where you interned (is that a real word?) I got a job at Arthur Andersen, impressive stuff you may think, but ONLY because my ex-wife (well common law wife, obviously we were still on good terms) worked there and “got me in” so to speak.
This is what needs “fixing” in our society, we need to break down the barriers to “opportunity” (real opportunity that is, not MLM or Utility Warehouse sales bullshit) so that people who do study hard then work hard will do well, will succeed. I bet if we got to that stage the colleges and universities would suddenly be bombarded with people wanting to “better themselves” and who could blame them? If I knew that going back to university right now meant that I would 99% get a £50,000+ a year (bearing in mind I’d be doing postgraduate not a bachelor’s!) job afterwards I’d be there in a shot. Who is going to study and/or “work their arse off” when all they’re likely to get is “meh” at the end of it?
That’s what Theresa May needs to do, show us you’ve “got our backs”, don’t go mad (no Corbyn style bankruptcy thank you), then break down those barriers and when more and more people “do well” watch how much better a country to live in this will be, for the many, not just for the few. Finally, before anyone says “but there are opportunities”, try thinking of others for a minute not just yourself, sure there’s opportunities for you with your MSc from Cambridge and membership of the Masons etc but think of others for a change.
Dr Steve Antony Williams – More qualifications than you can “shake a stick at”.