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General Election 2015

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Zou, Jan 29, 2015.

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  1. willie45

    willie45 Well-Known Member

    Jings! It's a good job we've got the likes of you to keep us on the path to true wisdom, Zou. Keep up the good work; it's doing a power of good. Nothing like a good sneer to keep us all in line eh?
     
  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Sneer? It's no coincidence that the biggest movement to the left in decades has come from the ashes of the failed indyref. Voters across Scotland saw media and politicians lying through their teeth at them. They became engaged and started to ignore the loud voices in the media and question things for themselves.

    For me, the perspective of living in Japan was the first thing that alerted me to what was going on in Britain. From a distance the inequality and lies were immediately apparent, whereas when I lived here I was in a cocoon of filtered and approved messages. On my return I made an effort to stay away from the pernicious effects of mass media, and I've not had reason to regret it.
     
  3. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Additionally, if you read what I've been posting recently you'll know I'm advocating direct engagement and community building. I will keep that up because it DOES do a world of good.

    We don't need socialist governments to look after and nanny us if we start looking after ourselves and our communities. It's not about party politics it's about life and living it for mutual benefit. If that upsets you or comes across as sneering, then you'll have to explain why, because I just don't see that.
     
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    That is very laudable but you have to operate within the confines of the Governmental system alive at the time. As a way of living, I applaud you. I have to ask, however. Did you vote at all? Or did you withhold your vote as a protest? Just wondered. You needn't answer.
     
  5. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    In the end I did vote, and along with just over 3000 others in the constituency ensured the Scottish Green candidate didn't lose her deposit.

    Where I'm coming from with the lifestyle thing is twofold. Firstly, freedom is a state of mind. Don't let the bastards grind you down, as the saying goes. Live a good life and by your actions encourage others to do so too. Politics can be depressing, but I don't recall ever being happier than when trying to live up to the standards I've put on myself. Living well is just so much fun, and by ensuring no-one suffers as a result is a great bonus. If folk would step away from their TVs and papers and (non-AP, of course...) magazines they could perhaps get a fresh perspective on life and community. Step away from advertising putting images and desires in front of you, and focus on what you have. It's hugely liberating.

    Secondly, humanity needs to organise and cooperate, or die. That's why we group together, live in communities (even on remote isles), and employ a division of labour to get things done. Cooperation empowers us, but society at present teaches us to win, to get ahead, to have more than others to be happy. Instead of working together we fight and argue over resources and property. We become insular and self serving rather than team players. Everything we do is for our own benefit, not the bigger picture. If we can set an example and demonstrate the benefits of communities and mutualism we stand a far better chance of convincing others to join us. Cliché quote time - be the change you want to see.
     
  6. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Even? How do you think small communities co-exist? In isolation? To borrow a phrase. If you prick them, I bleed.
     
  7. art

    art Well-Known Member

    Alternatively, perhaps there are simply not enough 'who need it most' to win a democratic election? perhaps because we are a generally richer society today than we were 50, 100 years ago when the labour party was in its heyday?

    I'm not saying that's the case, I'm saying I don't know, though I do feel rather uncomfortable about the idea of electoral conditioning and some self-appointed superior intellects (who are these people?) suggesting that the masses are too stupid to know what's good for them and that only they know best.

    We've moved on from Animal Farm these days, haven't we? The country is no longer populated by earnest, trusting, but slightly dim, characters like Boxer.
     
  8. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    The idea was that some may think you move to remote islands to get away from people, but in reality you tend to know your neighbours better than most urban flat dwellers for example. We as humans tend to need others around us, even if it doesn't always look that way. :)
     
  9. art

    art Well-Known Member

    Well said, but you're in danger of being accused as being a 'no such thing as society', 'I'm alright Jack' right-wing nutter. Nonsense, of course, but it happens.

    Yes, look after yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbours, your community. Cooperation, not some trumped-up, tribal, envy-based 'class war' that plays into the hands of those who wish to divide and rule over us all.
     
  10. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    You regularly talk about us being better off as though finances are everything. Is a slave better off because he gets pocket money? No, he's still a slave, and it is that condition which affects him most, not having a few coins in his pocket.

    When I talk of people needing representation and support I speak from personal experience. I've been long-term unemployed twice, and homeless. I've seen that the system doesn't work. I've seen countless others in the same situations who haven't had the good fortune I have had which enabled me to get out of those circumstances.

    I don't see how it is patronising or leading of me to say "I managed to escape those circumstances, I've seen ways to break those circumstances, and fix the system." I'm not standing for office, just offering my own experiences as a guide to say there is another way.

    How dare conservatives say that the ill, foreign and homeless are lazy, fraudsters or deserving to suffer, whilst they know nothing of being in those positions? If we listen to their rhetoric or absorb their media we run the danger of turning on ourselves, when we should be turning on the system.
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Highlight: They can do it precisely because they know nothing of being in such a situation, and lack imagination or empathy or both.

    A good few years ago, one of my friends died. He was in his 30s. He just couldn't hold things together. We'd met in Bristol in the 70s, when he was a teenager, and kept more-or-less in touch. The last time I was in the same city as he was (Birmingham), I bought him a meal. That was the last time I saw him. He was in a hell of a state: rotting teeth, not much of a grasp on reality. I suppose I should just have shot him and thrown his body into a lime pit, as a "scrounger".

    Another friend (a school friend) was homeless for a while, but the last time I heard he'd got his life back together. Some do; some don't. I also know a couple of people who are complete wastrels, and for whom benefits were a lifestyle choice, but I am also reasonably confident that they couldn't have held down jobs -- the more so as there are ever fewer jobs to go around. Someone else I know is furiously chasing work, and not getting it. Is this because she is being unrealistic (not impossible) or because the jobs aren't there?

    From my own limited experience of being on the dole (for a total of maybe three months, as far as I recall, but I've forgotten because it's around 40 years ago) it's not much fun: you have to live on VERY little, and you're sometimes, though mercifully not always, treated like dirt by those of the dole staff who seem to think they're doing you a favour instead of doing their job.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    Sounds to me more like what you'd like to imagine they'd say. Can't say I've heard it myself.

    I'm sure we can all sympathise with the situations you've found yourself in, and I can't comment on your situation, other than saying well done for digging your way out; my daughter has been unemployed for 7 years and probably now regarded as unemployable, she can probably take a lesson. My son lost his journalism job at Xmas with little prospect of continuing in the same line.

    We hear a lot about migrants from E Europe, but my experience of them and I do know a very large number, is they are far more ready to uproot and go wherever they need to go and suffer whatever it takes to get work and to succeed in it. Mobility of labour has always been key and I have heard all the reasons why we lost it: housing prices, development of local communities etc, but those factors affect immigrants even more so and they overcome them.

    I've said to my son, the world doesn't owe you a living as a journalist. If that sector is shrinking, go train to be a teacher, or something in demand. Don't expect someone to invent a job for you, bring it to your door, subsidise it. I have gone abroad and re-invented myself a few times, ending up nowhere I ever imagined. My niece married a Scottish plumber making a good living in Spain. What did he give up and what did he go through to achieve that? Flexibility, determination, doing what you have to do.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    Do you know many teachers? I'm a qualified teacher and I wouldn't ever go near it again, not least because one of my dearest friends -- a woman I love like a sister -- has just taken early retirement after a mental breakdown.

    What do you believe is "in demand"?

    In a rich society, actually we are all "owed a living". Consider the alternative: that we deserve to die.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  14. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    My nephew is a deputy head and sister in law just retired as a French teacher.

    I'm sitting here in my office while my wife sees six patients today in hers, who have had various kinds of mental breakdown. None of them are teachers.

    In demand is a relative term meaning we probably need more of them than we do journalists. But could equally be taxi drivers, who we are paying people to go to Romania and recruit. Might also be electricians or IT people who we are outsourcing to Cluj, Czech Rep and various other places.

    But with the good news that we are all owed a living, I can't see why any of us bothers doing anything. Join the Euro quick and we can all retire and let the Germans pay for us.

    But do pay attention to details: "I've said to my son, the world doesn't owe you a living as a journalist."

     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
  15. art

    art Well-Known Member

    With respect, I don't think I mentioned money, though I understand it's easy to misunderstand.

    I retired at 50. Not because I was rich and didn't need to work anymore, but because I decided that money wasn't as important as my time. Yes, I was fortunate to have a well-paid job but I was careful to live within my means and while friends were busy borrowing to buy new cars every year and moving home every few years, I concentrated on paying off my mortgage and remaining debt-free. By 50, I was able to retire from my 60-70 hour a week job and 'downshift' my life because I was debt-free, and we have been able to live adequately on Mrs Art's salary from her part-time job on an average UK salary. That will drop later this year when Mrs Art retires, but should hopefully recover in a few more years when we draw our pensions.

    I consider myself to be far better off today than when I was working, even though I am now considerably poorer financially. So no, I don't equate 'better off' with simply having more money.


    Nor do I, but that's not what you said earlier (or perhaps I misinterpreted), which was that those in need have been conditioned to vote against their best interests. I find that really hard to believe and it sounds patronising to suggest that people can't decide for themselves how to vote. As for your own personal position, I applaud your resilience and determination.


    I would agree. In fact, I would agree even if they did have experience of being in those positions. But, frankly I don't see that they are saying that, and presumably nor do all those people who voted for them don't see that either - unless you're going to insist that the electorate has been somehow subdued into such choices? So yes, dispute the system, fight the system, perhaps even turn your back on the system and refuse to be driven by it?

    Elections can expose some peculiar attitudes, but one of the strangest seems (to me) to be the concept of political parties winning or losing an election. Elections are not a competition for the amusement of the parties involved, they are for the electorate and whichever way the electorate votes must, by definition, be the correct result. There should be less talk about political 'power' and more talk about political service.
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mike,

    So you DO believe that everyone who doesn't work deserves to die?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  17. art

    art Well-Known Member

    Our rich society gives us free education for 13 years until we are adults. It provides subsidised higher education if we choose it. It provides for all our healthcare needs. It provides a welfare 'safety net' should we have the misfortune to need it sometimes in our lives. It provides us with pensions and other welfare benefits in our old age.

    While it can be reasonably argued that people are 'owed' all this, at what point do your think that people should take some responsibility for their own lives?

    Surely it is only by taking responsibility for their own lives that people can give back enough to society to ensure that all those things 'owed' to them are actually possible to provide.


    Once again, individual anecdotal examples of extreme hardship are irrelevant - there will always be such examples. But they cannot, by definition, be wholly representative of our society otherwise it simply wouldn't work as it does and not be able to "owe a living" to anyone - or to help support those who are experiencing extreme hardship.
     
  18. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    I mean what I say. Those are your words, not mine....as I think you are well aware.
     
  19. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    He knows that perfectly well. It is an attempt at a rather pedantic philosophical game.
     
  20. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Art,

    Para 1: As soon as possible. But for some people it will never be possible, and others will experience more or less extended periods of misfortune. Are they not owed a living? My very simple point is that the only alternative to being owed a living is, for some people, death.

    Para 2: Highlight. No. The plural of "anecdote" IS data. As soon as we forget the "individual anecdotal examples of extreme hardship" it is all too easy to pretend that everything in the garden is lovely; that we never need to worry about "individual anecdotal examples of extreme hardship"; and that the feckless layabout with the big-screen television is typical of everyone who doesn't work.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2015
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