State of Mind or State of the Nation?

Wednesday, 11th August 2010 at 19:29 UTC 9 comments

I’m not entirely sure how come its taken this long to get around to writing a post for my blog. It might be for any one of a number of reasons, though I suspect a sense of dull horror mixed with bouts of extreme rage and periods of just wanting to go and hide from the Tory government’s policies have been to blame. Its not exactly because I’ve been hard at work trying to fend off those policies, or because I’ve been busy with other more useful things*.

It should perhaps be noted that I’m procrastinating from a couple of major tasks whilst writing this, though one requires writing, so “getting my hand back in” would be a good idea. Also, I think I’ve gotten to a point where my brain has just about managed to balance out the immediacy of the horrors of the Tory proposals with some sense of the need to preserve myself for what could easily be a life-time of dealing with the inequality being created.

I don’t really want to call them ‘cuts’, because actually many of them will cost more than they will save, especially during a period when apparently we should be rushing to cut the deficit. The deliberate rotting of the NHS and the policies which will see a two-tier health care system, likely run in the same hospitals but with very different services on offer for the privately covered and personally

Some of this has been a sense of despair at the lack of action around (i.e. against) the cuts, or indeed from many quarters the lack of discussion of how we might see off the cuts. Those I assume will want to talk about the ideology behind them are often not interested, and those who I have come to expect will rush in with actions are being unusually stand-off-ish, with the exception of a few friends and some usual suspects. Anyone who wonders why I’m working more closely with the SWP than I have since 2005 should maybe stop wondering and do something. I’m not so much angry, just frustrated.

Biblically (yes, that still matters) I’m finding myself re-reading materials and texts just to get myself in a position from which, when people actually start to do something about these policies, I can respond on my usual multiple levels. If the Church is going to have any effect in this area, which it can and must for reasons I can leave to another post, then knowing what I’m on about could be a real help. Currently I’m re-reading Walter Wink’s “The Powers that Be”, and hope to re-read “Say to this Mountain” at some point, too.

On the more practical side, its proving quite a challenge to really explain to people what these cuts are about. By comparison, New Labour had no ideology. The Conservatives, backed by their most Tea-Party-esque Lib Dem friends (and to be honest, some of the Tories are pretty big backers of the American “Tea Party”). It is perhaps the fact that we don’t understand this mindset that will make this more difficult to see off, particularly if anyone plans of lobbying individual Lib-Con MP’s to vote against party line: how do you talk to someone who’s rationale is pretty much “the poor should just stop being poor”.

Thus far, about the best I can do is the allegory that what is happening with the NHS White Paper can be represented by a game of Jenga. For now, the Coalition aims to pull a few critical blocks out near the bottom without toppling the whole thing, but eventually the whole thing will be weakened to the extent that it shall simply topple over.

If I manage to hammer them out, I’m pretty sure anyone of the themes in this rather jumbled post will make a blog post for the future, along with discussions of how best to build a movement that can stop these policies. For now, this will do.

 

* We shall not mention FarmVille, because, to be honest, I could have written a blog post between harvesting one lot of crops and the next, and instead have often ended up playing on Facebook. Perhaps this just means I should blame facebook.

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Entry filed under: Conservatives, Economics, Liberal Democrats, Personal, Politics, Poverty.

Why I’m not watching the World Cup Amoral Conservatism

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Greg  |  Wednesday, 11th August 2010 at 21:56 UTC

    It’s good to see you posting again.

    Firstly, saying “Some of the Tories are pretty big backers of the American “Tea Party”” is like saying, “Some of Labour are pretty big backers of the SWP or “of Fidel Castro” or whoever else you choose to name. It’s true but it doesn’t tell you anything about the party, other than that people who like the Tea Party aren’t going to vote Labour.

    Secondly, what’s your problem with a two tier NHS? Ideally everyone would have enough money to pay for their own healthcare, or else the government would have infinite resources to spend on giving everyone all the treatment they need. Since this isn’t going to happen, would you outlaw rich people from spending their own money on their own healthcare? That’s rather draconian.

    Reply
    • 2. Graham Martin  |  Wednesday, 11th August 2010 at 22:59 UTC

      Well, actually, one of the most attractive things about moving to Canada is that its illegal to practice medicine privately there: you can’t buy a longer life.

      And my comment about the tea party does need some backing up, especially with research (thanks for not pointing that one out! I’ll do something about it before dedicating a post to it). I was attempting (and I’ll admit, failing) to suggest that it is key people in positions of power and trust in the Conservative Party and the Conservative Front Bench right now who are Importing a very Right-wing American attitude to the welfare state. Today’s release by the Kato Institute congratulating the Conservatives should point to how well they’re doing.

      Reply
  • 3. Greg  |  Thursday, 12th August 2010 at 13:03 UTC

    It’s illegal to practice private healthcare in Canada? That really is draconian. Are you seriously saying that people aren’t allowed to spend their own money on improving their health? You may not like the fact that some people have more money than others, but the way to deal with that is not to ban the rich people from spending money on what is a very responsible purchase.

    Had Canada banned people from buying anything else? Film tickets (you must only watch the two regulation government films a month)? Schooling (you must go to state approved indoctrination houses)? Lawyers (If your rulers approve of your case, you will win. If they disapprove you will lose)?

    Reply
  • 4. Lois  |  Thursday, 12th August 2010 at 15:57 UTC

    Greg, state schools are not ‘indoctrination houses’- apart, possibly, from some of those with religious affiliations.

    I’m not even going to bother getting involved with the rest of the argument.

    Thanks for writing this Graham!

    Reply
  • 5. Dave  |  Thursday, 12th August 2010 at 15:58 UTC

    Hi Graham,

    Friendly pointer: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Its-and-It's
    I will pre-emptively accept any and all charges of pedantry.

    Also, seeing as you mention facebook, wondered if you have any thoughts on this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/aug/12/clicktivism-ruining-leftist-activism

    Cheers,
    Dave

    Reply
  • 6. Megs  |  Thursday, 12th August 2010 at 16:00 UTC

    Graham! *hugs* I’m sorry to hear the world is disheartening you so, but, if it is any consolation, this sounds like a well thought-out post and I am glad to hear that at least a tiny part of you has realised that you do indeed need to preserve yourself for the future and for a lifetime of struggling against injustices. You can’t burn out – you’re one of the best. The very best. I love you. I miss you. Sorry I haven’t been around when you have been feeling this way about the world. I will see you in Edinburgh and we will change the world forever! (or, you know, hug and talk and do our best) xx

    Reply
  • 7. Greg  |  Thursday, 12th August 2010 at 19:04 UTC

    Err Lois I doubt either of us have much idea about Canadian state schools, The nearest either of us has got is a British state schools and so have about as bad an idea as each other about the Canadian variety. I do find it worrying that Canada considers the state to be the only allowable provider of medical care, and wonder what it would be like if they did this to other areas of life as well. I’m also worried that Graham thinks this is a good thing. For a start, I doubt Graham really wants the UK state to micromanage his life much, especially the new David Cameron version. Would you want that, Graham?

    Reply
    • 8. Graham Martin  |  Saturday, 14th August 2010 at 14:45 UTC

      I think Cameron’s state is going to micro-manage the lives of the poorest, by forcing them into poverty and into pleading with the doctors for referrals. Those who have money will obviously be allowed to do as they please, but there won’t be any of this choice for the forgotten.

      Reply
  • 9. Greg  |  Monday, 16th August 2010 at 9:18 UTC

    Of course rich people are going to have more choice, they’re rich! I have money in my pocket right now, so I can choose whether or not to buy a chocolate bar from the machine next door. If I didn’t have any money with me, I couldn’t make that choice. That doesn’t mean that the chocolate machine should be removed because some people have more choice than others.

    What you’re saying is that nobody should be allowed to benefit from anything if somebody else is denied. That reasoning is pure dog in the manger. Did you ever read that fable?

    Reply

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