Sunday, 18 June 2017

Guide To Life - Politics

I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about politics on this blog again. I am going to break that promise. However, unlike before, I am not going to rant about it. I kind of want people to understand why I say things I say and why I am a walking paradox, i.e. a man who despises politics and politicians yet feels the need to rant about it at almost every opportunity.

Actually, the truth is that I wanted to start a series of posts with the working title “Guide to Life” – my guide to life really – and I want to get politics out of the way first.

One of the things I have learned in 2017 is to adopt a more positive outlook on life and, fingers crossed, so far it has worked. Sadly, 2017 is proving to be as bad as 2016 (both personally and politically) and I may elaborate on that in my end of year round up.

So let’s talk about politics.

Basically I am what is known in Britain as a “lefty”. Some people have called me a “loony lefty” but the truth is I’m not one of those. Americans would probably call me a bleeding heart liberal.

I thought I would just put this up front because it explains why I am not keen on the British Conservative Party or the American Republican Party – or indeed any other right wing party.

What I have learned this year more than any, is that I really need to listen to those who have opposing views. And I have started to do that. I have realised that by chatting to Conservative voters, I can actually see where they are coming from. Of course, this is not always the case because I have been accused within the last month of being a “total lunatic” – but that is a one off. What I have found is that if you meet somebody with opposing views who is as reasonable as I am trying to be, then you can have a decent chat without animosity about your political differences and, most importantly, learn from them. Also, you can hope that the same occurs in the opposite direction and that they learn from you too.

The guy who told me that I was a “total lunatic” disagreed with my philosophy of wanting to help other people. I explained to him that Conservatives, also universally known as the “Nasty Party” in the UK (not by me by the way), adopt measures that expand the gap between rich and poor and austerity measures have a devastating effect on those who need it most – the poor. Rich people are generally less affected. I would be quite happy to pay more tax to assist.

He admitted that he was “selfish” and didn’t care about the less needy in our society. I can’t change his personality and I didn’t try – I just disagreed with him. At the end, we shook hands and he said “Great discussion but I think you’re a total lunatic.”

I wanted to say “I’m just a nice guy!” but I stopped myself.

We recently had an election in the UK and it was a corker. Our Prime Minister, Conservative Party leader Theresa May, wanted to steamroller her Brexit policies through parliament without the opposition having a say. The problem is that her majority was not very big and she feared that she faced problems. If the right wing press are to be believed, the opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is an incompetent and unpopular lunatic. Theresa May decided to have a snap election (having promised that she wouldn’t do that) because her approval rating was sky high compared to Jeremy Corbyn’s.

Theresa May pretending to be a normal person

Corbyn: "Give us a kiss, Theresa"
In her mind, she would not only win, her victory would be a landslide and she would get absolutely everything she wanted through parliament and Brexit, as well as other right wing policies, would fly through with a massive majority.

Her arrogance was breath-taking.

However, she didn’t reckon on Jeremy Corbyn being a far more charismatic and principled leader. She also didn’t realise that the Conservative manifesto would piss off just about everybody but the most die-hard lovers of the party. Worse, she led with the soundbite “strong and stable” and proved to be the complete opposite, refusing to debate on live TV and only talking to the party faithful instead of the average man in the street.

She didn’t lose the election. She won.

The problem is that her majority has been slashed and we have a “hung parliament” which means that no party has overall control.

She is in a worse position than she was before and any Brexit or other policies stand a great chance of being outvoted by the opposition parties. In American terms, she is a “lame duck” Prime Minister.

I love this, not just because I oppose Brexit vehemently. I love it because the gutter press have had a kick in the teeth for their attacks on Corbyn and he has proven to be far more popular than her as a leader.

What this means for Brexit, I don’t know – but it is better than before. It is a spectacular own goal.

I have stopped ranting about Donald Trump too. In fact, on the contrary, I am now fascinated by what’s going on over in the United States. While internal US politics usually has no interest, Trump’s term is proving to be mesmerising, not least because of his tweets, his arrogance, his self-contradiction, his outrageously unpopular policies and his idiocy (and while he may be intelligent in terms of business, his pedigree as a politician is proving to be the complete opposite).

"How am I getting away this this? I have no idea!"
I remember Nixon resigning but I was too young to fully understand why. With Trump, I feel like I am watching a Hollywood movie and I am already overstuffed on popcorn, waiting for the next instalment.

Basically, to conclude, I think we should all listen to each other’s views on politics and learn to understand them. I welcome anybody to comment and either agree that indeed I am a lunatic – as long as you tell me why. If you are British and a Brexit supported or are American and love Donald Trump then please also feel free to engage.

I won’t bite.

And, for now, I will stop referring to Donald Trump as an Oompa Loompa.


Elephant's Child said...

I am a tree-hugging chardonnay swilling leftie. Which was the description of one of our Prime Ministers. Despite preferring Merlot I am reasonably comfortable with the label.
Fanatical anything scares me.
The hard right policies, and the growing disparity between the haves and the have nots scares me too.
And the Trumpster worries me. However he is managing rather a lot of own goals so I watch in fascinated horror, and the hope that no-one from his side of politics who is more competent replaces him.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

You and I are kindred spirits. However, it is fascinating to listen to opposing views. I am trying to understand them, rather than ridicule them. With Trump, however, it is almost impossible - though I have yet to engage or listen to a fanatical Trump fan. I live in hope.




River said...

I think peaceably listening to each others point of view is a great idea, there should be more of it. The problem comes when it's my turn to speak. I'm so clueless I don't have a point of view, nor do I know which side I should be barracking for. But I can listen and nod if that helps.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I'm sure you do have a point of view - nobody truly fits in a niche. Listening is a good thing.