Category Archives: Speaking Out

The Swings and Roundabouts of Syria

 

In dire situations, it is the composed leader who can create the right type of environment to save lives. They possess the ability to create calmness in heated situations and can direct people safely to safety. However, the incompetent leader only ever exacerbates the situation; generating fear, tension and an unnecessary panic that costs lives. For those of us in the West, there is a fire in the building, and the person leading the evacuation is Donald Trump. Quite frankly, I’m sick of seeing innocent people getting trampled on!

Every time we intervene in foreign affairs, it is our soldiers who sacrifice the greatest. Every time our leaders sanction air strikes, it is the innocent people of those countries who lose the greatest. Every time there is a terrorist attack, it is our innocent who suffer the greatest. For every action there is a reaction similar in response. In other words, you kill my friend, then I’ll kill your friend etc. but what does this change?

The swings and roundabouts of western politics aren’t much different. We like to profess how much we like change, but does it ever truly happen? Firstly, both the obsession and dissatisfaction with change between progressives and conservatives has lead us to the point that we are forever stuck in limbo doing the Okie Cokie. Secondly, the disillusioned are far too stubborn to participate in the system, so things only ever move the same way as set by prog-cons.

The sad part of this is that I see the same status quo among world leaders with not much scope for change. Might I add, [leaders] who all seem to have an addiction of playing chess with the average man playing the part of pawn. Ask the local man or woman down the street, they know this. They know that we are pawns, we all do, and we accept this, but I can’t accept it any longer. The Frost Report taught me better.

If the United States and Russia go to war, a decision will be executed from an office out of touch with people like you and I, yet it will be you and I who’s futures are determined because of it. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will be the first ones on luxury jet planes heading to sanctuary when shit hits the fan, along with their family members and loved ones. For Trump to bomb Syria, it’s nothing to him personally as it’s not Trump who has his neck on the line personally.

Leaders in the west seem to always escape trial. Blair and Bush are the epitome of this fact, as they still continue to stroll around like they are the untouchables. But for us civilians, we aren’t untouchable. We are far more dispensable to them because they don’t know us. Yet they claim to represent us.

No matter where you come from; the UK, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania or Turkey, you will find that we all have people close to us. People who we love and care about. We all want to be happy and to live good lives. We all want to respect our traditions and honour the history of those ancestors who have fallen before us. Some of us have children, who sometimes like to play together, while we share meals; telling our own stories and personal experiences over a drink or two.

We share parts of our own languages (sometimes teaching each other the naughty words) and we see beyond the differences and value each other’s company. We go to work, pay our taxes and try to be helpful towards others. We are good people, yet we are the very good people who are always the first casualties when bad leaders lash out.

Our leaders are supposed to lead by example, but in the case of Trump authorising air strikes against Assad, it is stupidity at its finest. It’s like having that idiot friend, who ain’t really a friend, but he keeps lurking around and acting hard cos you’re there. You know, the show off who keeps looking for a fight when you just wanted to enjoy a nice quiet pint.

Trump’s reactionary air strikes will only reap what they sow. He has acted like a bad alcoholic parent who, rather than approach the situation responsibly as an adult does, has approached the situation possessing no other strategy but chastisement. The same leaders who tell you not to smack your kids but to use behavioural strategies instead. The same ones who keep quiet when they drop a few bombs killing kids but yell fowl play when chemical weapons are used. Hypocrites!

I was also upset by Tim Farron when he said that, “evil happens when good people do nothing”. It felt like the same rhetoric that was used to mislead us into Iraq. I would better perhaps argue that evil will always happen whether we like it or not. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a role for good people in the world. I believe the role for good people is to bring comfort and peace to places in the world where comfort and peace was thought impossible. Otherwise, what is so impressive about being good and what more are we doing but going round in circles?

That and giving ISIS (a far worse evil) more power. Assad really has no reason to kill innocent civilians with chemical weapons, considering his political objectives of bringing stability back to Syria. The correct response would be to take more time to build an inside position in order to see if it was Assad. If the Russians are working closely with him, then why aren’t we working closer?

We could have requested an opportunity for him to prove his innocence, by having a UN team supervising their air strips and strategic meetings. There are far more peaceful ways to work out where this has come from. There are also other alternative possibilities that rebels or ISIS have captured weapons and it could be the case one of their sites has been bombed, inadvertently setting off the agent. Or he could have been set up due to the past? There are other possibilities. I’m quite sure we should be careful after Iraq.

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Le Pen représente tout ce que la France n’est pas.

img_3784N’oublies jamais tes racines, elles représentent ce que tu es. (Never forget your roots, they represent what you are.)

As a child, my parents took me and my sister away on numerous holidays to France. I guess it was far more convenient to go there, as we could be at the port of Dover in the hour travelling from London. It wouldn’t be long before we were on the Sally Line ferry and enjoying the play-zone, watching Tom & Jerry and playing with new friends before finally arriving to the smell of fish in Calais.

We have traveled all over France. We’ve been to Brittany, Montpellier, Soissons, La Rochelle, Toulouse and too many other places to name. Even as an adult, I have visited Paris and Arras, and we’ve kept the family tradition alive as I have taken my children away to France by following my dad but in my own car.

The French were always full of compassion and hospitality. Always happy to point us in the right direction if we were lost, or throw in the odd free drink or desert when we ate at restaurants. Wherever we travelled; north, south, east or west, we never fell short of gaining a new friend. We were never made to feel like aliens or foreigners, and I guess that’s why France has always felt like a second home to me.

However, something peculiar always stood out to me as a child and I never really understood or made sense of what it meant at the time. I used to see “Le Pen” graffitied across motorway bridges (mainly when we travelled in the north west region). It made absolutely no sense to me, but it’s a memory that has always stuck with me.

As an adult, I now know what that graffiti meant. Thinking about it, it’s a message that has always been there. A subconscious message. It was powerless message back then, but today it is a message that is starting to grow wider. In retrospect, it was a long con and now that it’s starting to pay off, it’s so sad to see.

When the terrorist attacks took place in Paris last year, the whole world mourned, but they mourned more so for Paris than they did for other places in the world. It had nothing to do with the fact that many French people are white, but because to many France are a symbol of peace.

The French are by no means angels. They are not innocent of their involvement of imperialism and war throughout history. To be fair and to some extent, everyone has blood on their hands. However, the French are progressives that have established and helped build alliances in Europe through the means of Treaties.

When the U.K. and the United States are leaning to the right of politics, the last thing one wants to see is France lose its rationale by ending up down a similar path. There is currently a war of ideas, and France is a stronghold for liberals and progressives on the left. Should the right capture France, then western civilisation will have regressed and all progression would have been for nothing.

I agree, people are fed up of the establishment and they are desperate for change. But as desperate as we are, we should not allow our despair to lead us into madness. The day that any Le Pen rules France, will be the day that I return to that same bridge in France and write RIP Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Fascists Remembering Our Fallen A Disrespect To Their Memory

img_3703Remembrance Sunday is always emotional. In a hotel in Folkestone this weekend, they held a function dinner for ex-military, and seeing them all in their uniforms and wearing their medals commanded both sadness and respect. Sadness for those fallen, and respect for those still here with us.

Seeing them reminded me exactly how important they were and still are; how significant to our shared history they are; how they had less than we have today and yet still the many liberties we are fortunate to have today, are because of them as they sacrificed and gave up things so that we could have them.

They were arguably one of the bravest generations of men and women to walk the planet, and yet they all came from different walks of life, and they all converged in order to defend a valuable set of common interests. Those being, to oppose fascism and fight for the rights of the marginalised, minorities and those considered weak or vulnerable, so that none can be intimidated, bullied or killed simply for being different.

We wear the poppy with pride for our fallen, our survivors and for the values they fought listed above. Yet despite the right wing propaganda machine circulating their nonsense that liberals are against the poppy, I could not be prouder to wear one. This doesn’t mean that I supported the war in Iraq or agree with western foreign policy, but it’s because I believe that we should remember our dead, and the poppy signifies the remembrance in them and our common values.

What ruins this memory are the flaws in right wing ideology that many are advocating, promoting and supporting today. I know I’m always banging on about the right wing, I know it might get jarring, but I only do so because there are so many contradictions, and such contradictions need to be surfaced so that men and women who buy into such degrading values, can rethink what they have bought into.

If we can agree, both on the left and the right, that many gave up everything for us,  all so that we could have the freedoms we have today, and that Churchill was right when he said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”, then why do the right wing possess so much passion for this yet wish to deprive others of having the same right to live in liberty and to honour their fallen?

Why is it that blacks are forever told to “get over slavery” and the right wing insist that it shouldn’t matter to them because it wasn’t done by us and it never happened to them? Why are the right forever complaining by saying that black people don’t need a month to be reminded of their history, yet if someone is not wearing a poppy, it means betrayal and treason of ours?

I think that everyone should live by three things. 1. We all should remember our fallen. 2. We all should do everything to enable the freedom of others as our investment in their freedoms are an investment in our own and 3. We shouldn’t tell others they can’t have one thing yet at the same time defend our right to have just that. It is contradicting and promotes one rule for one and another for everyone else. This is not what our ancestors died for and actually represents the biggest form of disrespect to their memory. Those in support of right wing politics should acknowledge this, reflect and improve their line of thinking. They fought against fascism, not for us to become fascists ourselves.

Why The Right Need To Take Responsibility For Brexit, Farage & Trump

IMG_3683.PNGI’m honestly trying to remain calm and collected, but the truth of the matter is that it is the right, not liberals or the left, who have created the mess we are in now, and rather than label them with “buzz words” please let me explain why.

The right argue that liberals and the left should be responding to recent election results with acceptance and decorum. Although, I actually fundamentally agree that all democratic elections regardless of outcome should be accepted, I can also understand why liberals and the left are dishing out a ‘taste of their own medicine’.

Many who have supported Brexit, Trump or both have something in common. They have both complained of having “buzz words” thrown in their faces rather than them being understood. They wanted their ignorant views tolerated despite them not wanting to tolerate others. However, what’s happening to them now is a backlash of their original doings.

Prior to ‘buzz words’ and labels such as “racist”, “xenophobic”, “sexist” etc we had buzz words from the right to describe the liberal left such as “foreign lovers”, “tree huggers”, “politically correct”, “lefty scum”, “swamp dwellers” and the list goes on.

There are very good and justifiable reasons as to why words such as “racist”, “xenophobic” and “sexist” are being used to describe the person either using or supporting others who are saying racist, xenophobic or sexist things. Throughout history and even hitherto, to this very day, there has been a plethora of discriminative policies and legislation that has enabled the subjugation of people and also encouraged acts of violence towards minorities whether that be being black, foreign, women or LGBT etc

However, when the right use words such as “foreign lovers”, “tree huggers”, “politically correct”, “lefty scum”, “swamp dwellers” etc. They are not calling out policies or legislation that has resulted in discrimination towards them, they are simply using these “buzz words” to attack someone for defending a minority to whom they support being attacked.

There is a hypocrisy on the right, and both liberals and lefts should not self-blame for recent electoral losses. This is not to say that there aren’t lessons to be learned and improvements to be made, but the liberal left should not have to appease the right nor should they regret calling out their racism when they were being racist, sexist or xenophobic etc.

The other hypocrisy is they were the ones who originally said that if they lost, wether that be Brexit or the American Presidency, that they wouldn’t accept the result, and they also went on to say that if they lost, it would mean the elections were rigged and they wouldn’t stand for it. Their words! Now they are getting a taste of their own medicine and they can’t stand it but indeed they started it.

They voted for a Conservative Party, for Brexit and for Donald Trump. Liberals and the Left are not responsible for the rise of the right for they have read between the lines, called out their fear-mongering and lies, they tried to educate those in support of the right and yet it was the left and liberals who were the ones originally shut down and dismissed with “buzz words” by those supporting Brexit and Trump. Yet now the right have won, they have been lied to and it’s now they want to have the debate and to work together?

The duty of liberals and the left should now be to stand firmly against discriminative policies that will directly or indirectly lead to the pain and suffering of others. Both right wing governments and leaders need to be held to account. It’s quite bizarre how the disillusioned, anti-establishment, working class have been saying for many years how they are fed up of lying politicians who are “all the same” yet when politicians such as Farage, Trump and Boris Johnson use fear tactics to win, and once their pre-election promises are proved to have been lies all along, their supporters still carry on to support them.

It makes one think of all the hell they gave Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, who actually never so much went back on their promise or lied, but was blocked from delivering some of their promises by a Tory party that later went on to win a majority government by gaining the support of those who complained about liberals betraying the public. Just look at who’s been betrayed and lied to now and at what cost? There is an old saying, that being, what goes around, surely must come around.

The Lib Dems Should Be Radical And Take The Government To Court

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The Liberal Democrats have forever promoted the fundamental importance of Human Rights, and one of the most significant benefits of being a member state within the EU is that we are all equally privileged to share such rights. Despite all the Lib Dem’s great efforts to promote Human Rights, they could go so much further to show the public just how powerful Human Rights actually are.

It’s not difficult to understand why the Conservatives want to scrap Human Rights. After all, most of their policies are Draconian, and so Human Rights are a threat and basically get in the way of their Public Bills. The Tories will do everything they can to scrap Human Rights, but Human Rights have not yet been scrapped and this is where Tim Farron must use the tools still available to him, while they are still there.

Many would think that it is impossible to take a government to the European Courts, but why should it be? After all, no living man, police officer, judge, or politician is above the law. This includes organizations, political parties and governments. In fact, Amnesty International has recently taken the UK Government to the European Court of Human Rights over its indiscriminate mass surveillance practices. So why cannot the opposition do just that? It is fundamental and the Rule of Law that no one is above the law.

When Labour stepped to one side and allowed the Welfare Bill to pass, no consideration was given to the ramifications this Bill would have on the young, sick, disabled and low waged working poor. Not only does the Bill impact on the Human Rights of those living, but it also attacks the unborn third child who did not ask to be born nor should they suffer because it. Capping Child Tax Credits to two children does not mean that parents will become more responsible overnight. And by thinking that cutting Tax Credits will punish the parents more so for having a third child, then you have simply not even bothered to consider the innocent child who will actually suffer the most.

Article 25 of the HRA states:

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

A clear violation of the Human Rights Act is evident, and yet no one is taking the government to court for such acts. Our eight Lib Dem MPs in Parliament could make such a difference, they just need a little dutch courage and to do something radical that’s probably never been done before! If they could employ human rights by acting on it, not only will it demonstrate why Human Rights are so important but will show how they work for you, and ultimately, it could also save many of those currently being attacked by ideological driven cuts in the name of austerity. Otherwise, what’s the point of Human Rights if we never stand up or hold the right to actually defend both ourselves and others when our rights are being attacked?

The Wrong Time, The Wrong Place For Lamb

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I think that I have been a little unfair by underestimating Norman Lamb. After hearing him speak at a recent hustings hosted by EMLD, Norman, not only passionately but also very honestly, spoke about his current understanding of racial inequalities. He clearly said that he wanted to listen more. I guess this is as a means to further understanding, but surely any potential leader should not need to listen as they would already grasp the issues at hand and have a clear plan as to what needs to happen next.

Norman certainly has a lot of experience to offer. He also has a lot of leadership qualities about him. He talks like a leader, he looks like a leader but the question is, is he ready to lead? To be fair, Lamb probably deserves far more credit than he has currently been given. Tim Farron has always been the favourite, and it takes a lot of balls to step up to a giant.

I definitely do see Norman as a key player to the future of our party, and perhaps one day even leading the party, as his liberal values are strong and he articulates them so well, but I do think his leadership bid right now is a little premature. However, experience may be the best thing that he can take from all this in order to help him grow. It reminds me when Simon Hughes once spoke about how many times he lost before he finally won.

Tim Farron has always been the favourite to win the leadership. Competing with Farron was always going to be difficult for any candidate, as Tim has worked his socks off over the years to build up an excellent rapport with members as well as with local parties.

If I could give Norman any advice, or point out anything that he lacks in leadership quality, it is that he needs to spend more time engaging with members and to build more so on personal and meaningful relationships with them . It was more so evident when Norman left quite quickly after the EMLD hustings where Tim stayed much longer afterwards to speak and listen to members.

Although to Norman’s credit, he did make the effort to shake hands and say his farewells, he still needs to put more time into the members that he seeks support from.

Both candidates are without doubt passionate to lead, but it’s just not Norman’s time. It’s time for Tim. But all credit to him. It would be dreadful to have a king crowned without competition.

The Conquest Against Tim Farron

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Since Tim Farron decided to stand for Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Lambites have been all out trying to smear Tim and hinder his campaign. Despite Tim giving a more than fair justification to his previous voting record, Lambites have not ceased to keep throwing the same accusations towards Tim. Unfortunately, to some it’s not about liberalism at all, but more about winning at any cost.

The Norman Lamb campaign is being called a ‘conquest’ by many supporters because as with any conquest, they believe there is something to conquer. Just as the crusaders captured Jerusalem in the first crusade, the Lamb ‘crusaders’ are attempting to capture the future of liberalism. However, as with any conquest, they can only attack for what they lack. In other words, they can only attack for the things they do not already have. That is why they are attacking Tim because deep down they know that Tim already has the liberalism to lead and they do not.

For far too long, we have seen this type of skullduggery take precedence within British Politics. The question you truly have to ask yourselves is, do you really want to see the Liberal Democrats continue with the same old politics or do you want to see the party do what it says on the tin? Tim Farron has lead a positive campaign based on fairness, honesty and transparency. He has not shied away from the tough questions but has tackled them head on. His support has not attacked Lamb, but on the contrary, they have complimented Lamb but chosen Tim to lead.

The Lambite camp, on the other hand, are doing their very best to keep Lamb hidden away by focusing on portraying Tim in a negative light. Mostly, they are trying to use his religion against him. Even though the justification presented for Tim’s previous voting record was one based on logic rather than faith. And as it stands, Tim has always been the favourite to lead the liberal movement and they simply cannot accept that. We need a better politics and Tim does not only lead by his words alone but he leads by good example. The Lambite conquest will try to damage Farron, but Tim’s movement is strong and it will take far more than a few rusty daggers to see him off.

Liberal Democrats need to ask themselves, do they want to be conquered or liberated?

1906 Reasons To Support Tim Farron

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If you were expecting one thousand nine hundred and six reasons to support Tim Farron, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m sure there are that many reasons to support Tim, maybe more, but I want to talk about the great Liberal triumph of 1906.

In 1906 the Liberals achieved a landslide victory, winning around 400 seats, due to Henry Campbell-Bannerman reuniting the party, as well as not forgetting the existence of an ‘out of touch’ Tory party. It’s difficult to truly determine whether it was Liberal strengths or Conservative weaknesses that truly brought the Liberals to their victory in 1906.  As a pluralist, I like to think that both factors correlated and paid complements to one another. If this is the case, then the Liberal Democrats have everything still to play for in 2020.

The Conservatives failed in 1906 because they introduced unpopular legislation and managed to alienate the public from the political process. Pretty much like we are witnessing with the Tory government of today. On the other hand, the Liberals had united with the workers and stood up for the things that truly mattered. After all, It was the liberals who wanted reforms that would introduce better living standards for those most vulnerable. This gave the Liberals strength.

109 years later, we seem to be back in the same place; divided (due to the last 5 years) and we have a Conservative Party looking to introduce more ‘tough love’ pieces of legislation. With over 16,000 new members joining the Liberal Democrats since the General Election, The Lib Dems are now in the perfect position to rebuild momentum and take on a Tory Party that will, no doubt, hit low paid workers and the unemployed the hardest.

If we can build on our strengths now, then waiting for the Tories to produce their weaknesses is but a matter of time. However, relying on the Tories to grow weaker isn’t the problem, we do still need to be strong and more than anything, we do still need a strong leader.

So, who is our Henry Campbell-Bannerman of our day? I believe that man is Tim Farron. Tim understands the ‘bread and butter’ issues better than most, and I truly do believe that he can achieve more than Campbell-Bannerman by not neglecting social reforms. Over the past 5 years, Tim has been a colossal strength to the party. He is admired by many, and has the ability to charm liberal ideas.

Tim is also endlessly proving that he can reunite the party by both acknowledging and connecting with the grassroots (who work for nothing but sheer love). If Tim is to win this leadership election, then travelling back to 1906 might help him achieve just that.  We are living in times where things appear to be different from that of 1906 but in reality we are still living in the past. If anyone can bring us forward, it’s Tim Farron.

The Housing Crisis No One Seems Bothered About

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With inflation at its lowest on record, one would think there would have been a decrease in housing rents. However, rents are not going down but, on the contrary, they are going up!

The Independent published an article this week explaining that the average Londoner would need to earn at least £27,000 a year to live in London. Unfortunately, the housing crisis is not only impacting on the low waged worker, but more so, on the unemployed.

With a scarcity of housing, let alone the scarcity of affordable housing, the private sector is doing absolutely nothing to accommodate the needs of those most in need. I contacted 25 landlords last week and all refused to accept Housing Benefits. One landlord kindly explained his reasonings. He said, “The going rate for a two bedroom property in the London Borough of Bexley is around £1,050 per calendar month. However, housing benefits are only paying up to around £850 a month” to support those on low or no incomes.

This leaves a shortfall of £200 a month that tenants are being asked to make the difference up. People who are either on a low income or are unemployed are more likely to need to borrow £200 a month to cover their bills and living costs let alone having to actually borrow more to contribute towards their rent. It’s a spiral of debt and a win-win for pay day loan companies.

Most landlords understand that people on either low or zero incomes are less able to meet the shortfall, and so there is no confidence in offering tenancy agreements to those on the bottom end. The government is doing absolutely nothing to tackle this crisis. In fact, under the Public Space Protection Order, homeless people are now being criminalized by local councils where they could be given £100 fixed penalty notices or fined as much as £1,000 for simply being homeless.

The Conservatives have never been about progressive policy or working with new ideas to offer practical solutions. Their entire history has been one based on using deterrents rather than offering pragmatic and positive solutions to moving forward.

Crippling the bottom end only enables the top end to stand more firmly. The problem with greed, is that nothing is ever enough. Once people are used to a higher income, they will not want to take a drop in their incomes. And we see this clearly within the private housing sector. No one wants to lower their rents, and the government does not want to pay more. The only loser is the unemployed homeless person.

Despite inflation being low, landlords are more than happy to benefit from the extortion. Many landlords will clearly outline that they do not accept DSS. It is nothing more than an attack on the poor. Just as there were once signs in shop windows saying, “No Blacks, No Irish and No Dogs” we are now seeing signs in estate agent windows saying, “No DSS”. The poor are legally being discriminated against and demonised to protect wealth. As Landlords are enabled to exclude those most in need due to the cap on housing benefits introduced by the previous Coalition Government.

Even local councils, currently being held by Tory majorities, are begging their own leadership for no further cuts. The thing with the Tories is they will turn on their own to cover their own necks if they have to. The housing crisis needs to be addressed, but I have a feeling this Tory government will do absolutely nothing to address the issue. In fact, if they do address the issue, it will only be to make things even harder for those at the bottom.

And how is it they can do all this and get away with it? The electoral system facilitates the Tories and their hold on power. They are free to do whatever they want now and there’s not a thing anyone can do about it. If you protest, you will be outed by the media as a “dirty leftie” but the truth is, it’s not about left or right but fairness. Many people are homeless, but they are also voiceless. 

The Conservatives are not bothered about the housing crisis because under FPTP, and with a poor opposition, there’s no one that can hold them to account. As long as business owners and landlords are financially benefitting, at the expense of the poor, and as long as the Tories continue to throw a few bread crumbs to the upper middle classes, they will continue to govern and get far worse.

Landlords are making billions per year, despite them neglecting their properties, and they are still increasing their rents. The demand for housing is rising. There seems to be a lot of talking about this issue but no one is doing a thing about it. Why would you do anything about it if you are comfortable with a roof over your head? Some people are not as fortunate. 

How The Tories Really Won GE2015

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There seems to be a common misperception with regards to our democratic voting system. Many seem to think that First Past the Post (FPTP) works very well and is a democratically fair system. However, there are many others who can (rightly) see something far more problematic with it. Regarding those in support of FPTP, they tend to only be supportive of this electoral voting method due to it benefiting their own ends in someway. On the other hand, many voters seem to accept FPTP due to apathy, as well as being far more ready to accept the status quo than to challenge it.

FPTP is far more about competition than it is about representation. It is based on either winning or losing. If it is fair to say that Members of Parliament are elected based on winning, then is it not also fair to question the fate of the losers? Surely our democracy is not one based on representation but one based on gambling. It is based on chance rather than choice – it just really presents the illusion of choice. Of course you have a choice. You can vote with principle or tactically, but as much as you do so, you will never get the representation that you truly want. Not unless you are on the winning team, of course

Fundamentally, FPTP underpins and supports a two party political structure that is not fit for purpose in 21st century Britain. To put it bluntly, It’s simply like going to Lingfield and trying to figure out the right horse to back. If you happen to get lucky and win, you will see great returns. But if your horse falls at the fences and you lose, then you simply go home empty handed; having to wait five more years until you get another chance to place your bet.

It is completely understandable why many feel that voting is pointless. In many ways under FPTP it is. Those disillusioned mostly say, “Nothing will ever change”, and despite everyone making the effort to encourage non-voters to vote, the non-voter does have a legitimate point to make. This point needs to be understood rather than criticised. If telling non-voters that “if you do not vote, then do not have the right to complain” is justified, then what do you say to those who do vote and yet their vote still counted for nothing?

When the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Tories, the Liberal Democrats wanted to push electoral reform by bringing Proportional Representation (PR) to the negotiating table. In my own personal opinion, there is not a fairer and more representative system that exists today than PR. Although, the Lib Dems have been accused of being nothing more than “power hungry” and “careerists”, the Lib Dems gained a position of power through FPTP and yet still wanted to introduce a fairer voting system!

Seeing that the Conservatives won a small majority, a majority nevertheless, the idea that Britain is crawling with Tories could not be farther from the truth. Overall, they only picked up 36.9% of the vote share and yet are now representing the other 63.1% of people that did not vote for them. Surely in a fair democracy, you would at least expect any governing body to rake in at least 51% of the vote. Unfortunately, the majority is being governed by a minority who are clearly dressed in baggy trousers; appearing the majority just because the goal posts have been placed where it suits them.

Another thing one must question, is, if the Conservatives really cared about the electorate having any form of real representation, then why did they refuse to accept a PR referendum when the Lib Dems put it on the table? It was simple. They did not care about the electorate having representation, they solely cared about maintaining their position in power; not to represent but to govern instead.

There are small pockets in the country, voting under FPTP, who’s vote counts up to 22 times more than the vote of others. It took millions of votes to elect one Green and UKIP MP and yet only around 33,000 votes to elect a Conservative MP. This is our democracy people. Like with a game of sport, that has been played under corrupt rules, we must demand a replay under new and fairer rules. This Conservative government, in my eyes, do not have the legitimacy to represent or govern the majority. Our system appears more elitist than ever before. The system is broken, and we should be doing everything we possibly can to fix it.