What you see is what you get.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been rather peed off with UK politics for some time now. So Peed off that I’m seriously considering moving to Scotland next month so that I can vote YES in their referendum and if things go the right way then I’ll bloody well stay there! I’m a pensioner so I can live wherever I want. I can decamp to Spain along with other members of my Zumba class every January and not return until Spring when the snow is only a few inches thick in darkest Yorkshire and I can just about afford to have the radiators on. However, there’s something about leopards and spots that always seems to get in the way each time a great idea comes into my head and whilst I look across at our tabby cat sleeping peacefully in the chair opposite, she suddenly grows in stature and I think about how she would cope in Jockland.  How would any of us cope? Strangers in a strange land, that’s what we would be and it’s all because of politics – the homegrown variety. We’ve got elected members of Parliament who are supposed to represent us [The people] along with local authorities and parish councils all of whom are funded by the tax-payer [us again] to look after our interests but do they? The reality is that most people don’t know who their local MPs are and even more people couldn’t be less interested if they tried. Generally speaking, we don’t know who heads up the various offices that make up both the State (AKA The Government) and the mini-States (AKA The Local Authorities) or what gives them the right to have that power in the first place. The simple answer is that the electorate handed power to them when they voted or not, which is the more correct answer before sticking their heads back under the sand until another five years has past.    

In May there appeared to be a bit of a sea-change in UK politics with the European elections. I know it’s weird, considering that most of those successful in becoming a member of the European Parliament would end up doing even less for us than any of our other politicians but for whatever reason, the public seemed keen to get out and vote for once. However, let’s not kid ourselves about the numbers, turnout was still pathetically low but not quite as low as it would have been without the UKIP factor. Yes, UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party got people so excited that they actually went out of their way to find out about this voting thing, asking all the right questions such as how did you do it, where did you have to go and when does it open etc. Amazing!

I remember going along to my local polling station on the day and finding the most unlikely people there including a party of Asian businessmen who had arrived in a convoy of limousines with tinted windows. I’m not wanting to appear racist but where I live you could go months without seeing a non-white face although flash cars are quite common. Anyway, as it turned out, post election day my part of Yorkshire had less people representing my interests than before and I had become a minority! Yes, I’m now in a minority politically speaking which also means that I’m less important than I was which wasn’t very important at all and what was it someone called me? Oh yes, a curmudgeon, which only goes to show that person’s ignorance of the English language because I’m not particularly bad tempered and I’ve never been accused of being mean, quite the opposite in fact. I certainly do not begrudge any of the successful candidates their wins in either the European or local elections in May but I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one of them, if you know what I mean. 😉 However, the entire UKIP thing leaves me perplexed because I can’t see what it is that they actually bring to UK politics generally. To my eyes, they simply represent the far right of the far right and that’s High Tory territory in my book. On first impressions, UKIP don’t appear to have any new ideas and if simply posing with a pint of beer in your hand and a huge smile on your face is how to win votes then I would suggest that Ed stops eating bacon butties in public and starts visiting his local Weatherspoons [They’re a chain of pubs, Ed] for all future photo-shoots.  

I’m now in the middle of June and whilst I’m still keen to participate in the Scottish referendum I’m not feeling quite so depressed about UK politics as I was in May. The reason being that there have been some really interesting news items following the political ramifications of last month including a gem of such optimistic bombast from Labour’s Peter Hain [one of their most experienced campaigners] that would make Canute’s attempt to hold back the sea quite sensible by comparison. Hain argued that whilst Ed Miliband appeared to lack the credentials necessary to win enough votes to secure victory at the next general election, he would still win and then people would see that he did indeed have those credentials all along [Not his exact words but that’s basically what he said]. So how does that actually work Peter? You see, I’m still struggling to keep faith in a party that when given the perfect opportunity to choose an electable leader got the candidates names mixed up.

Another piece of news which doesn’t appear to have received the amount of publicity it truly deserves is the resignation of Sanya-Jeet Thandi from UKIP. Ms Thandi is a 21 year old British Indian who has been campaigning for UKIP since becoming old enough to vote and who became poster girl and spokesperson for the party’s youth wing. Now, not only did this come as a surprise, not because I was amazed to learn that UKIP had a “youth wing” but for the reasons given by Ms Thandi as to why she had decided to leave the party. In a rare example of honesty that would normally require the services of a medium to extract something similar from a more experienced politician, Ms Thandi said that she had first been attracted to UKIP because she believed that the party shared her own liberal views such as lower taxes, a smaller State and an immigration policy that offered fair and equal opportunities for everyone.  However, after three years of promoting UKIP Sanya-Jeet arrived at the conclusion that her party was exactly the same as each of the other main parties in that they were simply motivated by personal interests rather than some underlying ideology. In other words, UKIP along with the Lib-Dems, the Conservatives and Labour, lacked Soul and these days, whoever you are or whatever you do, you’re nobody unless you have Soul. However, to make matters worse and thereby hasten Sanya-Jeet’s departure from UKIP was the revelation that the party was actively recruiting racists into its ranks. [As if they didn’t have enough already]     

I found Ms Thandi’s honesty refreshing and I’m sure that she will do well in whatever career she decides to pursue although, I suspect that she will probably try her hand at event management, digital media consultancy or the kind of exciting occupation which contestants on “The Apprentice” claim to have but which they would be only too happy to abandon should Mr Sugar pick them as his next gofer. Whatever it is she decides upon, it will be something which is really efficacious. Something ephemeral perhaps but one that will make her a household name? It will certainly be far removed from the manual work that her grandparents, both Labour supporters, did when they first arrived in the UK or the middle-class professional roles that her parents, both Tory supporters, occupy today. Sanya-Jeet states that both her parents and herself believe in working hard which is why they feel uncomfortable with Labour. Obviously, this view wasn’t shared by her grandparents who I suspect worked every bit as hard as Ms Thandi’s parents did to establish themselves in the new world as it was at the time. Neither Sanya-Jeet nor her parents appear to believe in the redistribution of wealth however, I suspect that they make full use of our public services which are disproportionately funded by the less well off. Anyway, enough of Ms Thandi and UKIP. I found yet another political news item that brought me further out of the depression I was slipping into and surprisingly, it came from the Conservative camp or as I prefer to call it, the walking dead.

One of the Tory zombies, Dominic Cummings caused controversy recently by openly criticising the prime minister, David Cameron. Fair enough you might think but think again. This criticism is coming from a man who not only wants to privatise the entire education sector but wants to put Tesco (or someone like Tesco) in charge of it. I hate to think what other daft ideas this guy has got up his sleeve but the Tesco idea reminds me of when I visited the Millenium dome in 2001 and found it full of the most awful crap disguised as inspirational zones showcasing the best of British. I remember that there was a Tesco and a W H Smith education zone which I found extremely disturbing – a clap-board version of a dystopian future where people were deployed rather than employed; there is a difference which anyone on a zero hours contract will understand. [I must add that I was actually employed by W H Smith at the time and found them to be an excellent company to work for] I also remember that there were no photos of either Thatcher or Major in the Best of British display but anyway, back to Mr Cummings and his criticism of Mr Cameron.

Now I don’t wish to reveal my own political leaning but let’s just say that I don’t usually vote for the man or woman wearing the blue rosette however, I’ve got nothing against Dave Cameron personally. He seems like a decent bloke and his wife buys her clothes from both M&S and Boden just like my other half does so they can’t be all that different from you or I, could they? You would surely agree but not Dominic Cummings, Oh no! Not content with finding fault with Cameron’s leadership qualities (or the absence of) Mr Cummings has finally uncovered the single trait that proves that David Cameron is unfit to be in the position he is in [Prime Minister]. In an interview with The Times Mr Cummings revealed that, sadly, apart from the many faults already identified by Dom, Mr Cameron [Shock, horror] was exactly what he appeared to be. So, according to this uber-loyal Tory ,or, former adviser to Michael Gove as some people choose to refer to Mr Cummings, the big problem with David Cameron is that what you see is what you get. Quite an endorsement I would say and it just might make me reconsider my choices at the next election. I said, just might.

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About hovisb

Retired socialworker specialising in substance misuse and mental health (Dual Diagnosis). Previously worked in management. Enjoys culture, especially music, literature and art. Animal lover.
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