Absolutely fantastic piece.
Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank has recently said that by 2050 ethnic minorities will make up a third of the UK. Personally, I don’t view this as an issue but evidently for some it is. However there seems to be many people who confuse race and culture, as if an increase of colours other than white will result in a loss of British Culture. I have seen zero loss of Scottish culture in my life, in fact, I’ve probably seen growth. Your ethnicity, race and religion are irrelevant to culture. All people can contribute to British, or any other nations, culture. So many seem to find it difficult to view race and culture as two separate entities. Race is skin deep. Race is simply what colour of skin you have – It should have no importance in society nowadays. Sadly, I’m fully aware this is not the case but it’s what we should be striving for. To argue that an increase in minorities is ‘dangerous’ or will somehow undermine British culture is just plain racist. If you believe that someone’s skin colour threatens your culture you need to take a serious look at yourself. The vast majority of people coming to Britain come to be part of Britain. They come to improve their lives and their family’s lives. They don’t come to convert everyone to their religion or to force you to participate in their native rituals or customs. If they wish to practice said customs then they are more than welcome. Britain is a free country, it’s one of the reasons people want to come here but it shouldn’t and usually won’t affect your life. I look forward to more racial diversity in Britain. It may finally result in the end of racism in Britain. Nothing breeds racism like isolation and ignorance and the way to fight that is for our children to be surrounded by different faces and different races.
Nothing annoys me more than race power. Be it white power or black power or any other sort of power. I think it’s stupid and racist. As I said previously race is simply your skin colour, by preaching white or black power you are making your skin colour one of your defining features which is a huge step back. To truly encourage equality and acceptance you must preach race as an irrelevance. You must teach your children that race is so lacking in importance that we should reach a period in the future that it is no longer a debate to be had. When we no longer need to think, “Are politicians representing the Afro-Caribbean population?” Should we have more minority representation in politics? Absolutely! But not to represent their race but because they want to be there and we as the public agree with their values, policies and politics.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will be judge by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their characters.”
– Martin Luther King Jr
I’m a big believer in gender equality, I believe there is no reason why men and women should be treated differently especially in the household and workplace. But all I see nowadays is ‘feminists’ and ‘male rights activists’ why do I not see gender equality activists? People are far too obsessed with their own gender issues to think how things affect society as a whole.
We need to come to realise that men are worse off in some areas just as women are worse off in other areas. I don’t see activists fighting both corners, only their own. This is not the right way to go about gender equality. Everyone needs to get behind all aspects of gender equality from fair opportunities in the work place for women to fair custody rights for men.
I often call myself a feminist as I’m totally behind gender equality but sometimes I want to put myself as far away from feminism as possible. Let’s take the FEMEN as an example – What on earth do they achieve besides embarrassing themselves? Walking around naked shouting about the over sexualisation of women is not only ridiculous it’s positively counter intuitive! Or the topless protests in LA which were supposedly meant to raise awareness on how silly it was that men could walk around topless but women cannot. As I said previously, I’m totally in favour of gender equality but there is a difference between the two sexes walking around topless! At the end of the day breasts are seen as a sexual part of the body therefore walking around topless is inviting men to think of you as a sexual object just as a man walking around with his penis out.
Gender equality is about treating both sexes the same and not having different rules and regulations for different sexes. By this I mean same pay; same educational and job opportunities; same prison sentences and treatment in the justice system; equal treatment in child custody cases. This is equality.
“Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex.”
My first quarrel is about the Marriage Tax Break suggested by the Conservatives. This is yet another policy which has the sole purpose of pleasing old fashioned back benchers. Backbenchers who put their ideologies, often religious, over the well-being and happiness of the people they represent. Although you can easily argue these back benchers don’t represent those who don’t fit into the ‘traditional family’. This is a tax break designed to fit the conservative idea of a perfect family. A father, a mother and their children but they don’t seem to understand this perfect family is not the only family. I would argue that although this traditional family may work for many people it’s not the only option for the perfect family. I would say I’m part of the perfect family! Me, my mum and the dog.
Rewarding a household because they fit into this imagine of the ‘perfect’ family is not only insulting, it’s positively dangerous! You’re not in fact encouraging people to stay together for love and their children. You’re encouraging people to stay together for money. This will simply show peoples commitment to their bank accounts. If a struggling married couple stay together for this tax break this is NOT a sign that they love and care for each other, it’s a sign they love and care about money. Personally, I think this is a toxic message to try and spread. It will only result in more unhappy people and more hostile households for children to be brought up in.
We are in 2013. We need to step away from the idea that a family is a mother, a father and their children. A family can take many forms from a single parent to a gay couple and their kids. Who are we and who are the government to judge a family simply on who is part of it?
Another thing bothering me is the proposal to make the long term unemployed work for their benefits. The first thing that springs to my mind is if you’re making this person work a FULL TIME job for £71 a week jobseekers allowance why can’t we just give them that job? Minimum wage for an over 21 is £6.31 an hour. In the UK you have to be working 35 hours a week to be classified as a full time working. That equates to £220.85 a week which means people who have to work for their jobseekers will be underpaid £149.85 a WEEK for the work they are doing. Does that seem fair to you? Because it sure as hell doesn’t seem fair to me! That’s a job that obviously needs done, so pay that person to do it. If they choose not to take it they must not want to work that badly or they have a bad attitude and they see themselves above it. In that case, they’re obviously not really seeking a job therefore these is no point in giving them jobseekers allowance.
This is no longer the government ‘helping’ people get back into work. This is the government using vulnerable people as near enough slave labour.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for providing the long term unemployed with work experience but work experience to me is 2 days a week in a charity shop not 30 hours a week scrapping graffiti off walls of run down areas. Keep in mind that’s not all they have to do! They also have to spend 10 hours a week searching for a job in a job centre therefore the government is, in a way, giving them a 40 hour a week job but paying them £71. You must also take into account transportation, if you are only given £71 a week what is the likely hood of being able to run a car and what is the likely hood of being able to afford public transport. I don’t believe the government will providing free bus passes or travel to and from the “jobs” and job centres so are the unemployed expected to pay for this out of their own pocket?
I’ve heard many stories of people who are long term unemployed sending 100s of a CVs away a week and still not finding jobs. People who spend all day every day searching and applying and yet getting nowhere. Does this Conservative government genuinely think that condensing all that searching into 10 hours a week will get people into work? I don’t see how that makes any logical sense whatsoever.
This is not helping people getting into work. This is borderline slave labour. This is forcing people into doing work for hundreds of pounds less than they should. Yet they even have the audacity to call it the ‘Help to Work’ scheme! Who are they helping? From where I stand it looks to me like they’re taking away legitimate jobs from people. Instead telling the unemployed they’re expected to this once paid job for nothing but the benefits they were already receiving.
It’s a joke.
Are UKIP fascists? It’s an interesting and certainly controversial question. To begin with I feel we must look at Dr Lawrence Britt’s fourteen characteristics of fascism. He studied a number of fascist regimes including Hitler, Mussolini, Suharto (Indonesia), Franco (Spain) and a number of Latin American regimes. While examining these he found fourteen common traits each of them shared.
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – UKIP call themselves, “a patriotic party that believes in putting Britain first.” As well as having the Pound Stirling (£) sign as their party symbol. I do not believe UKIP are extreme Nationalists in the sense the Nazi party in Germany in terms of banners and flags everywhere you look but there is most definitely miss placed Nationalism.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Right – Now this we can give a nice pick tick! In their manifesto, under immigration they say as follows –
“UKIP would withdraw from the European Convention of Human… This would enable us to deport foreign criminal and terrorist suspects where desirable.”
Now call me sceptical but this seems rather harsh. The European Convention of Human Rights was put in place to protect human rights and to guarantee fundamental freedoms in Europe. Not only does this international treaty protect us from torture and slavery it also protects our right to a free trial, to privacy and to liberty and security.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – UKIP regularly blame the EU for troubles in Europe. In fact he went as far as to blame the passing of the same-sex marriage bill (which I will come to later) on The Berlinguer Report of 2010. Farage claimed that paragraph 40 of the report would “establish an EU-wide right to same-sex marriage”. This, surprisingly, was not the case as you can see for yourself “…welcomes the Commission’s efforts to empower citizens to exercise their free movement rights and strongly supports plans to enable the mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents…”
4. Supremacy of the Military – I’ll start this segment with these thoughts: Does Britain need a big military? Are we under constant threat from terrorism and war? If you asked me, I’d say no. However under Defence Budget Notes in UKIPs manifesto they promise another £10b to be put into the military in the next 5 years if elected in order to “restore threatened items”. This is the equivalent of 0.6% of our current GDP and would result in 76.3bn USD or 3.1% of our GDP being spent on military. After the 5 years the spending will then increase by £1b for additional operational running. Then even after all that they want to spend another £5bn to develop the multi-platform deterrent! (Of course they do, how silly of me.)
5. Rampant Sexism – Well I’m sure we all read the news but if not I’d like to introduce you to a lovely man called Stuart Wheeler, also known as the UKIP treasurer! He was quoted to say women were “nowhere near as good as men” at games such as chess, bridge and poker. This was said after the EU proposal for gender quotas in the boardroom.
6. Controlled Mass Media – UKIP are obviously not in power so I cannot comment on this one. However, seeing as they call themselves a libertarian party I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they wouldn’t do this.
7. Obsession with Nation Security – Reference back to No. 4.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Goody, goody! A personal favourite of mine! We’re not back on the case of same-sex marriage. One of their brilliant reasons for being anti-same-sex marriage is that it would offend the religion and people of faith. They seem to believe marriage in faith is more important that marriage in the eyes of the law. We all know that marriage is front and foremost a legally binding service which is why we must file for a divorce if said marriage goes sour and not just walk and the door shouting “IT’S OVER!” while stamping our feet.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – UKIP state in their manifesto that they would “put an end to most legislation regarding matters such as weekly working hours, holidays and holiday, overtime, redundancy or sick pay etc. and provide a statutory, standard, very short employment contract template.” Now in my mind that simply puts power over to businesses to choose their own ‘employee rights’. Suddenly we enter an American system of having only a couple weeks holiday a year.
10. Labour Power is Suppressed – UKIP believe the central Government intervene too much in employment rights. They wish to leave it up to local tribunals “to build up a body of practical case law and real life examples on what is, and what is not, acceptable” UKIP claim these tribunals would work alongside employees and trade unions, however they have a reputation for kicking people out for having links to trade unions. David Smith, a retired teacher and bus driver was a former candidate in Devon claimed he was kicked from the party after being told his membership to the Nation Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers was a case of “mixed loyalties”.
11. Disdain of Intellectuals and the Arts – Sadly, I could not find much information under this category and while searching for information on their website about something as important about tuition fees all I could find was moaning about how Scottish students receive free higher education whilst English students do not.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – For this I would refer back to their wish to abolish the ECHR. I also found on their Worcester and Mid Worcestershire Branch website a pledge to “· Double prison places through better use of existing prisons and a substantial programme of new prison building.” They will also apparently stop any chances of early release and weak sentencing. This, according to them will cost £2bn PA. According to an article on the BBC website, in 2008-09 £4.9 bn was spent on the prison and probation service. How exactly would doubling the prison places, opening new prisons and harsher sentencing save money?
Number 13 (Rampant Cronyism and Corruption) is extremely difficult to judge as the party is not in power so once again I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say they would not be involed in corruption. As there is absolutely zero evidence or even speculation on number 14 (Fraudulent Elections) I will once again assume it would never happen.
As promised I will get back to same-sex marriage. As most people who know me will know I am very much a secularist and personally hold no religious belief. I think religion and politics should 100% of the time stay 100% separate and believe the House of Lords should be religion free and elected. UKIP seem to believe that getting involved in the same-sex marriage argument is insulting to religion and is not a government matter. They claim all good Libertarian parties would stay out of such a debate, well I ask any libertarians reading this; How is the government ruling homosexuals should not be allowed to get married a libertarian ideology? Surely that is the government deciding what someone can and cannot do and therefore state interference. SURELY the only logical opinion a truly libertarian party would have is that any person can marry any other person and it is then up to the religious group to decide if they want to be involved in such a thing. But hey, what do I know.
Now by my count and opinion this leaves them with a score of around 9/14. In my opinion, they are probably not a fascist group but still dangerously close. Such a party continuing to go unchallenged and unchecked could turn into a worrying, dangerous movement. Besides, any party that has the backing of EDL/SDL is probably someone people should be scrutinising.
David Cameron today (27th August) has posted on Twitter that Parliament will be recalled on Thursday the 29th of August to vote on whether or not Britain should take military action against the Assad regime for using chemical weapons. The PM will be making a statement to MPs describing “compelling” evidence that the regime was involved in the attack. Cameron will have to build a strong case that the attack in the east Ghouta region of Damascus was in fact linked to Assad in order to have legal basis for an attack. Any effort by Britain to attempt a UN Security Council resolution authorising military action will most likely be vetoed by Russia.
I have but one question – Why? Why does Britain need to get involved, what good could that possibly do Syria?
We have seen time and time again the devastation the West brings to these countries when they try to make things ‘better’. To me this screams of 2003 and the Iraqi’s weapons of mass destruction. Surely this time there are better ideas on the table. Why not, instead of ending the bloodshed with more bloodshed, end it with peace discussions. According to the Huffington Post since Assad cracked down on Arab Spring-inspired protests in March 2011 more than 100,000 people have been killed. Further airstrikes by the West that are intended to show Assad he’s a very naughty boy will do nothing but raise those numbers. If this man is willing to use chemical weapons on his own people, why would he care if other countries are bombing his people? When military intervention seems somewhat inevitable I feel like it’s time to step back and look at the wider picture. I don’t believe Russia is as stubborn as to refuse talks with the US, UK and France – Who are most likely to intervene.
It seems to me like there is no proper plan being put in place to deal with the problems in Syria. Instead countries are rushing to try and look like they’re going to deal with the situation and all our wonderful, all knowing governments can come up with is “MORE BOMBS! MORE WAR!” Frankly, that’s just not good enough. Now is the time for ceasefire to be put in place that is backed up and enforced by the UN. This then opens doors for leaders to come together and discuss new options and routes.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in leaving Syria alone so the two sides can eventually kill each other off. No, I believe that military intervention will only speed up the process. If there were a similar situation in Britain would you want another country bombing you or invading you in order to ‘bring peace’? I’m sure most of you wouldn’t. So why are we doing that to these people? Most people in Syria are not rebels or soldiers, most are just normal people who would like nothing better than to get on with their lives without fear of chemical attacks or bombs falling on their homes. Now is the time to talk to Russia, now is the time for everyone to really put the pressure on. With Russia on side amazing things could be achieved in the Middle East and North Africa. Instead of looking upon Russia as an enemy holding back progression we need to look upon them as a possible, very powerful ally. Yes, Russia itself has many, many human rights problems but sadly we can’t change the world all at once. But right now it’s Syria in trouble; hundreds of thousands of people are not being killed in Russia.
In short I think military intervention is the last thing the Syrian people need, instead we must all come together in search of a peaceful solution. The UN must use all of its power in order to end the bloodshed and put forward a ceasefire until a something can be worked out. The average person is Syria must not be punished more for a crazy ruler and dangerous rebellion.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the state of politics and how there are two main parties yet there are endless political opinions.
This made me think.. Do the EDL have the right sort of idea? Not politically, of course. In fact I would argue they’re verging on a hate group but they’re vocal and they’re out there! Most people don’t agree with them, most people could go as far as saying they despise them… But they’ve heard of them.
So this had me thinking – Should we all be so vocal? Do you have something that you believe, that you are passionate about? Why keep it to yourself when there could be thousands of people that agree with you.
We should be arranging marches and petitions. We should be telling the government what we want rather than complacently saying, “Oh. Well I guess they know best.” We voted them in. They are meant to be representing US! This is not a dictatorship they are there for the people.
Maybe you’re right. Maybe one letter to your local council member won’t make a difference. But i’m pretty damn sure 1000 will! If you don’t like something and your friends and family don’t like something your next door neighbours don’t like something, stand up and shout, “Mr. Councilman/Mr. MP/Mr. MSP WE WANT CHANGE!”
This leads me onto one of my biggest pet hates. The idea that political opinions are private. The idea that you shouldn’t be discussing politics in case you, god forbid, offend people. A colleague of mine once told me, “You should never discuss politics or religion in the work place.” Why not? Politics is a very important subject! The fact that we both worked there, was in essence, politics. Everything, EVERYTHING is effected by politics.
We as Brits are constantly talking about the weather as it’s always there and it’s always ‘interesting’ small talk. Politics is always there and it’s an awful lot more interesting that the weather so why can’t we talk about that too? If you have an opinion on something then don’t be afraid to talk about it. You may not want to because you aren’t very knowledgeable on it. Discussing and debating could be a fast track route to learning an awful lot more about it.
I have a good friend in which we share very few political similarities. Yet we discuss it constantly, as everyone should. This means that we both can look at the other side, we can both try to understand where the other side is coming from. I can tell you one thing for sure – It has helped us both cement our political ideologies.
And on that note I wish to leave you with this – Talk about politics! Talk to your friends, your family, your neighbours dog. Just talk! You may learn something new, you may teach them something new. You may even recruit someone into your way of thinking or, fingers crossed, get someone who wasn’t interested in politics really into it!