No Politics is Local 57


Two friends of mine, one a Conservative and one a Liberal Democrat, both of whom live in London, were last weekend each volunteering for their parties, telephoning unfortunate voters in Cornwall, asking them to vote in today’s county council elections for their respective parties. The cordial hatred between the coalition partners seems focused particularly today on who controls Cornwall.

Whether this frenetic telephone activity does any good, or rather whether it achieves the desired end for the party, seems to me open to doubt. I am bemused by the apparent widespread concern on the Indian subcontinent for the state of my glazing. I think if I started getting phone calls from political parties, I would rip my phone out. Perhaps they do it more as a team building exercise to keep up morale among their own fast dwindling memberships, than for its effect on voters.

I suspect the days when local issues really effected local elections are in general behind us, sadly. What we have here is the same tired old national choice between three parties, whose policy differences are minute. All of them supported giving all your money to the rich bankers, and enabling them to play casino with it all over again. All of them support war and massive military spending. UKIP supporters probably want even more of the latter: less foreigners here, and more killing them elsewhere.

I suspect this will be a good day for Mr Farage. That will help still more people in Scotland to understand that Scotland is an entirely different type of body politic, has absolutely separate community values, from England. As I have opined before, in the medium term Scotland should leave the United Kingdom, in order to stay in the European Union.

I shall be speaking at the Edinburgh South launch of the Yes Scotland campaign on May 24th.

My very, very best wishes to Ingo the Independent in Norfolk!


57 thoughts on “No Politics is Local

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  • Passerby

    Having stood in many local elections as well as fighting the national elections, I can assure you , it is all a dog and pony show.

    The local, and national issues in the fast flowing information society no longer apply, however the notions of keeping the locals busy through rearranging the days that rubbish is to be collected and or which street is to be anointed with the residents pass for parking their vehicles is designed to give the impression of a modicum of “independence”, that can be drawn upon at the right junctures and absolve the central planners from their crimes and misdemeanour’s.

    So far as the national elections go, the parties are the holders of the order of the trough, that in turn appoint which nose is to be allowed near the trough and in it. Needless to point out; the nose that is the most expedient and adheres to the story lines fed to the punters 24/365 is the nose that stands a chance of getting near the trough.

    There is no democracy, in fact it is dead, and the charade is designed to convince the hopefuls (the great unwashed); they too can make a difference! Yeah right, I am still buying the lottery tickets to win it some day too.

    PS. Before anyone gets on their high horse, and starts, can they tell us what percentage of the eligible population in fact have voted, minus the postal ballots that make a banana republic look a credible “democracy”.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    This is something that is called vertical power. At the end of the day, well being of people who live in Liverpool, Leeds or even Aberdeen depend more on London (politicians in London) than on their local councillors. Central government has more resources and their policy has much greater affect. This is unitary system that is not specific to the UK. Even if Scots chose independence they will still have vertical power but coming from Edinburgh rather than London.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Passerby,

    As I have not lived here for most of my live, can you please enlighten me when there was a ‘democracy’ here and when it had died?

  • Komodo

    I hope Ingo can disprove some of that, Passerby. If he gets in, I’m sure he will. We certainly need to get away from the party system.

  • Haemoglobin

    Hi Craig

    Thanks for the notice regarding your Edinburgh appearance. Do you have a time and venue for this event?

  • craig Post author

    Haemoglobin,

    No, I will post it as soon as I do. It was originally scheduled for the 17th, but had to be changed due to a cock-up by me, I am afraid. Margo MacDonald was also going to be speaking on the 17th – am very much hoping she’ll still be able to do it on the 24th.

  • DtP

    It constantly amazes me how few people either give a toss or even know who they’re voting for or why. Ho hum.

    I quite like the Farage band-wagon, if only to make Cameron look like an absolute twat, which he is. I say this as a card carrying member of the Conservative Party but….what’s the phrase…ah, yes, fuck him sideways with a pineapple and call him Marjorie. Tosser.

  • Passerby

    Komodo,

    I hope Ingo can disprove some of that, Passerby. If he gets in, I’m sure he will. We certainly need to get away from the party system.

    Ingo is an honourable man , and for certain he will give it his best shot. However, given the constraints, and the imperatives of the local gauleiters he may end up with disappointing results. I wish him luck but my experience proves otherwise.

    The party system is a sure shot way of terrain control, that sifts out any kind of undesirable individual whom may wish to rock the boat, and or has any ideas above his station (aspirations beyond a serf). The local party activists, normally some of the most irritating and dysfunctional individuals around, tend to be the gatekeepers of their masters, and will ensure the demise of any upstart.

    Added to this are the petty rivalries that start from the little lies to big lies to be spread around regards the individuals deemed unfit because these individuals have not been arse kissing hard enough and or are a credible alternative to the bunch of showers running the show.

    The whole notion is to destroy any possibility of any change, and ensure the retreat of the agents of change, to maintain the status quo. Fact is some of the corrupt practices that I have witnessed contemporaneously, will horrify some of the stary eyed voters to distraction.

    There is too much to write on this subject, alas I have not the time, but you get the drift.

    Uzbek in the UK

    When you stop being a condescending prick and start interacting in a more civilised manner, perhaps I will be compelled to respond, as it stands, just make of it what you will. What difference does a foreigner make, whom has zero influence on the outcomes taking place here in UK? Given he/she is fully informed of the finer points of the UK electoral system.

  • Mick S

    DtP/Usbek In The UK

    Anything above parish councils has long since devolved into voting on tribal lines with very little regard for any of the individual candidates, or indeed the policies of the parties they represent.

    I recently moved from living in a city to a small village. Its quite a novelty being able to chat to the people on the parish council informally about things of interest. Of course the scope of their powers and budget is limited, but that aside it is refreshing.

    Democracy on a countrywide scale, in the terms of the representatives actually representing the wishes of the people, doesn’t work. The scale factors mean that the politicians and parties dictate the landscape and the voting system ensures that only a few actually have to worry about what the electorate think.

  • Marktheguitar

    Hi Craig, keep up the good work.I always enjoy your posts. Your observation that the 3 “main” parties are pretty much the same is spot on. I do however disagree with your comments about Ukip supporters. Whilst there may be some in Ukip (and the other parties too) who are for “less foreigners here, and more killing them elsewhere” as you put it, the majority just want to
    be able to control their own destiny and are sick of being mislead. The EU may have its pro’s but the cons far outweigh them. Also real democracy has been thrown away and no govt. party in power ever put transference of sovereignty and governance in their manifesto’s. I really do think the big 3 need a massive kicking at the ballot box. Also I cannot see how Scotland being independent AND being in the EU is actually being independent at all. All the best.

  • nevermind

    Thanks, I’m merely trying to be part of something that changes the equation at county hall, what flattering post, there are more of us and I’ll be happy if the local Tory loses, regardless of whether I get anywhere or not.

    No telling what voters will do, but the lack of trust is so palpable when you talk to them, gently trying to tease out what makes them tick.

    I have to say that there was not one of them rude or abusive, but full of venom for the established political parties, housing, incineration and lack of services, whilst cuts and bedroom tax also were seen as OTT and callous to the extreme.

    It is heart rendering what has been done to this clapped out, fundamentally undemocratic and fraudulent system and how little regulatory powers the electoral society really has. And the political parties have perpetuated this apathy, because it favours them, guaranteeing that getting their own voters out will have an impact.

    Bring on lottocracy, were voting is random and all take part, draw the reps out of a hat and forbid re-elections, something that would happen only very rarely, give the pulled/selected a choice of whether they want to do the job, if not pull a new name.

    At the second election, balance could be guaranteed as one draws a candidate from the opposite gender.

    AND IT WOULD SAVE TONS OF MONEY,
    ITS FAIRER BECAUSE EVERYONE TAKES PART,
    DOES NOT REQUIRE POSTAL VOTING/FRAUD.
    PUT AN END TO CORRUPTION AT ALL LEVELS.

    Votes get counted tomorrow morning 9am and I shall let you all know how Ingo has done….;)

  • Frazer

    Hague in Dodgy Mail today asks what an Independant Scotland would do to fund and form a Secret Service as well as open Embassies around the world…well fuck me, who says we need a Secret Service ? I am sure the people of Scotland, if needed, would channel more millions to world dictators through MI6 as per usual. Prick !

  • April Showers

    Yes Mick S I agree. And parish councillors, as a general rule, declare any financial or vested interest in a matter under discussion, so unlike most of the troughers in Westminster and in the county HQs.

  • April Showers

    Craig speaks of Cornwall. I watched Mrs Hodge and her Public Affairs committee in action the other day on the scandal of Serco’s Out of Hours Doctor Service in Cornwall where records had been altered to gloss what they have been doing.

    Some links here on a note I made at the time.

    Watching Valerie Michie MD Serco, Dr Louis Warren Contract Director Serco, Jeremy Stafford CEO Serco, answering Mrs Hodge’s Public Accounts Committee on the Out of Hours Service in Cornwall. Jargon prominent. It’s all about statistics, technology, resources quality measurement etc. Care of the patient does not seem to be a concern.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/07/private-contractor-data-nhs-watchdog Andrew George LD MP blew the whistle on Serco.

    http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/review-Serco-s-hours-GP-care/story-18341555-detail/story.html#axzz2S8hhRGTm Serco are getting £32million for this abysmal ‘service’.

    The actors

    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/valerie-michie/8/813/a40 KPMG is there in the biography of course

    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/jeremy-stafford/1a/53b/521?trk=pub-pbmap ex BT Government Services !! Offshoring is now a verb.
    Chief Executive UK&Europe at Serco Plc
    Location Milton Keynes, UK Industry Outsourcing/Offshoring

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmpubacc/uc1105-i/uc110501.htm Minutes of the hearing

    [..]
    Dr Warren: I was and I worked for the service clinically. I worked both as a self-employed doctor and I came on as an employed doctor in the middle of last year, and now run the service as a GP and still work.

    [..]

    Dr Warren: The first thing I would say is that, as a clinician and a GP, I work for the service as well as having the director role. The importance of medical management has been recognised-it was part of the reason why I was offered the position. There are good processes in place on whistleblowing, which have been verified by our unions, which have recommended them and guaranteed how good they are in terms of policy and in terms of the processes that our staff can use.

    What is more important is that the ethos and culture within the contract has improved significantly. I meet staff daily. I get e-mails and phone calls, and from the bottom to the top, we have an employee communication forum for staff members to put their views forward. There are several different mechanisms that have been made more robust to ensure that relationship with our staff. We are delivering care and it is easy to lose sight, with the events and challenges of the past year-you mentioned NHS Pathways-of the fact that we are delivering very good care. While there have been issues with the contract, our patient surveys in the past six months have shown that 95% plus of people rate the service as fair or satisfactory. That is way above the national average. We benchmark in the top quartile.

    Chair: We are talking about whistleblowing, Dr Warren.

    [..]

    Followed by Sir Ian Carruthers, Acting CE Strategic Health Authority. Also Steve Moore Chief Exec Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT. Both made rather pathetic contributions especially when challenged by Mrs Hodge’s sharp tongue.

    Plus this non-entity Joy Youart who is now chair of the Cornwall Clinical Commissioning Group. CCGs already to your area btw.

    Q231 Chair: So are you getting out of the contract? Did you work for the PCT before?
    Joy Youart: No, I worked in NHS London, and I was the chief development officer for the clinical commissioning group.
    Q232 Chair: Had you written this national contract then?
    Joy Youart: No.

    Appalling and Serco are being paid with our taxes. How many lives were lost in Cornwall because of Serco’s shortcomings?

  • Cryptonym

    Marktheguitar: As a supporter of Independence for Scotland (and for England and Wales etc. too, Independence from London’s misrule), I agree with you on the seeming deficiency of incomplete Independence resulting from the membership of the EU as it is presently constituted. Membership of the EU does however remove one of the unfortunate circumstances that existed pre-union and that was the difficulties placed on and resulting collapse of thriving trade between mainland Europe and Scotland due to the conditions of terror and blockade that England’s Westminster government placed Scotland under, relief of such siege conditions that existed and resumption of such mutually beneficial trade with continental Europe (and with England itself too) being the only benefit of the 1707 union. Scotland is acutely aware of that beneficial aspect of the EU as a result of that unfortunate history; if England left the EU and wickedly, treacherously blocked or interfered with free exchange between Scotland and mainland Europe again, England could see itself isolated, widely condemned and challenged in international law by Scotland the UN and the EU. It does have to be considered however that protection (as opposed to free trade) of home industries is one certain method of growing the capacity and profitability of those industries free of fair and unfair competition such as the dumping of low cost or subsidised imports on markets to destroy indigenous producers and manufacturers.

    In the long run Scotland will assuredly move towards more of a participatory democracy, rather then an entirely representative one, due to the all too apparent gross deficiencies of the party system, political parties being effectively conspiracies to undermine the proper operation of democracy, empowering a clique all too easily subsceptible to and inviting corruption. UKIP are treacherous and ugly, but New Labour is actually closer to them than the Tories; they are a trojan horse in much the same way as the SDP/Liberals, except instead of poaching from and splitting the left and centre-left vote as the LibDems once did (though always a thoroughly right-wing party in sheeps-clothing), UKIP are splitting the right and further right vote, from which the Labour Party, now to the right of even some elements of the long extinct traditional Tories, can only stand to gain. In as much then as Steele and Owen had Thatcher’s hand up their backside, today’s UKIP is the answer to the fevered wet dreams of Miliband, Balls & Co. A pox on all their houses.

  • Jemand

    Solution –

    1. Agitate for the introduction of preferential voting,

    2. After ensuring #1, vote for a minor party, not one of the two majors,

    3. If you do nothing, don’t complain.

  • Jay

    Again Craig, why should the working and middle classes that work pay in taxes for those that are not working and paying taxes in a system.

    We are nurturing a work ethic, for some its easy to work others simply can’t.

    How much we help them is questionable.

    Craig UKIP supporters are concerned, at least address these and use your heart to build alliances.

    Come on-we are Liberal!

  • craig Post author

    I have met some really pleasant UKIP supporters. But the party’s decision to push an anti-immigrant bandwagon is not something I can forgive. Immigrants in general are actually very hard working. I support a rather old-fashioned work-ethic myself. The tragedy is, the lack of available work for many who genuinely want it. That worries me a great deal more than the perversely indolent, who are a very small minority.

  • Komodo

    Again Craig, why should the working and middle classes that work pay in taxes for those that are not working and paying taxes in a system. (? -K)

    Possibly because the system isn’t providing jobs for all? Because they might not want people to starve on the streets?

    I’d have more sympathy for this very Daily Mail question if I hadn’t spent two years on benefits trying – hard- to get a job before getting the one I’m in, and if I saw any sign of moderation in the cost of housing. Thank you, taxpayers. I’ve paid you back now. You didn’t lose out. I appreciate not having to live under a railway bridge – and possibly die there.
    Signed-
    A taxpayer (working – never mind the class.)

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Passerby,

    Here you go again. I did not mean to insult you. It was just curiosity in its purest form. You said that democracy here is dead and I was wondering if studying the last few hundred years of british history (including decades I have not lived here) I missed out spells of pure democracy. And I also wanted to know what do you mean by democracy?

  • Uzbek in the UK

    History teaches that in terms of economic hardship extreme (right or left) ideas prevail. It had always been a case of blaming outsiders for the evils rather than looking at the problems deep in their roots. At the time of high unemployment it is much easier to point on immigrant Pole or Pakistani than demanding change of legislation that prevents casino banking and speculation that led to economic collapse in the first place.

  • Alan Campbell

    Careful, Craig. You’re the electoral kiss of death. Hilarious that you’re campaigning in favor of the EU.

  • Cryptonym

    Jay: In the unlikely event of UKIP ever having some day a small number of Westminster seats, comparable say to that of the Lib/Dems, a Labour-UKIP coalition is far more likely than a Tory-UKIP one, and hung parliaments inevitably more frequent than not.

    Your work-ethic, it sounds more like a workhouse ethic, and it is nothing new at all it is no different from the position of both Labour and Tories (the LibDems extinct), but people aren’t actually a resource to farmed, exhausted, worn out, their health destroyed and then lives discarded, all for some Hooray Henry’s coke dealer’s enrichment. Most people in work in this country, the jobs they do might as well be left undone, they contribute nothing, cause more harm than good; from the pointlessness of sales and marketing and PR, to professional sports or gambling, keeping up with the Jones’s, consumerism, and service sector boutiques; even where a tangible end-product results fickle fashion and built-in obsolescence, unserviceability or shoddy short-lived goods: consumer-indurables, means much ‘work’ done contributes nothing but pollution and runs-down, sickens people, they transfer wealth around from the many to the few, contributing or adding no value. Talk of worth ethic, or even the ‘deserving poor’ as distinct from any other form is simply elitism born of privilege, aided by unearned wealth and temporary good luck -divide, exploit and rule, one-upmanship, pulling the ladder up behind you. UKIP have failed to make race or nationality as divisive as they would hope and like, the people are inoculated and immune, UKIP now present themselves as errant class warriors, recastacting on behalf of an asocial aging-Thatcherite parasitic caste, the BNP/NF in suits – for once not for a court appearance – scared now of tasting for once the poisionous snake-oil they once dished out wholesale, selling their own fear like some gangland villains hoping to diminish and dilute it, demonising and excluding the victims of an economic system that by design must fail.

  • Sophie Habbercake

    If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.
    – Mark Twain

    Dad! That Blair Ad you posted (on the Toils of the Historian thread) and the absence of any abuse or smartness, if it wasn’t a stupid prank, it was the nicest thing you ever did on this blog. Now people can draw their own conclusions and we can have a discourse. Was that a mistake or are you starting to use your brain?​

    And Dad I don’t know where you are but I don’t think you should come home just yet cos I’m just back from school and Haycroft Road’s like a car show with all flashy vans and SUVs all the way to Hook Rd Dad and I don’t think you should be anywhere round here, and there’s police aswel. They’re the only ones who come to the door, and that’s reassuring in a scary sort of way.

    Gary told me I was an idiot (but in a cool way and he was smiling) cos it’s not a lizard that changes anything except it’s skin and I knew it was a Leopard but I was so cross with Mr Komodo that the wrong word came out and then I didn’t know how to stop without looking stupid. And I’m dropping the “Cagna Pazza”cos it was only to scare April S off Komodo and I can’t quite square it with trying to practice compassion.

    You know if that Buddha had sat under a tree in Surbiton trying to work stuff out I bet he’d probably have been arrested, or at least stopped and searched for being foreign looking.

  • Komodo

    Talking of fairness- let’s say I can’t afford to buy a house, or even pay the deposit. I have to rent. Chances are I will be renting from someone who has bought the property, on a mortgage, specifically to let it. To make economic sense (for him), I will be paying him, monthly, the full mortgage on that property, probably plus a little something, and plus the parasitical letting agent’s fee. Result: he winds up with ownership of the entire property, having paid damn-all for it. I end up out on my ear without any equity at all.

    So why are working taxpayers subsidising rich bastards who have somewhere else to live? Riddle me that.

  • Komodo

    So what’s Stoyan Georgiev doing with himself these days, Sophie? I see the business has closed. I really hope your dad isn’t the wrong side of him…

  • Jay

    Its’s gone beyond family, why does the state do what the family should do.

    Why does the daughter of the wealthy man get a council house?

    Komodo the system is set up wrong and backed wholesale.

    Thanks Cryptonm great points I agree, the business with fishing is you sit there all day doubting your bait on your hook. You pull it out to check.

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