Have you ever really considered the adversarial nature of politics? The way that bitter arguments are not only expected, they are positively encouraged?
Have you ever watched Prime Minister’s Question Time (with ANY serving Prime Minister) and laughed at the chimpanzee-style antics of the jeering, booing and ‘here-here-ing’ that characterises it?
Have you ever really considered what it means to be political?
It’s something that’s been on my mind since the recent elections, with UKIP’s progress plastered over every newspaper and television channel, and the Green Party”s progress quietly ignored. It’s actually been on my mind since the Labour Party unsubtly uncoupled themselves from workers, from trade unions, and from their left wing, socialist beginnings and targeted middle-class voters – and that is the risk that as mainstream parties grow closer together ideologically, more parties will spring up on the fringes to fill in the gaps they leave.
Bitter arguments between political rivals are healthy. They encourage debate, they respect the full range of opinion that voters have on a range of issues. To be political means to have an opinion, and to use the voting system and the elected representatives at whatever level to try and get that opinion represented.
Right now I, being a definate left-leaner when it comes to political position, am in a state of dispondency, watching as I have the right-wing slip not only of political parties and mainstream politicans but also the attitudes of other people with whom I have had conversations, and of course with the media. The blame game is in full swing, blaming immigrants, black and ethnic minority people, disabled people, gay people, and splitting the electorate down the middle into spongers and strivers.
I hate it. I hate that the average voter has had their intelligence and good judgement dismissed, and has been influenced so badly that they walk blindfolded into a place where one doesn’t have to take responsibility for one’s own actions, rather simply has to blame someone else and write angry letters asking people to stop ‘them’ to stop ruining ‘your’ life.
The political climate right now is, I believe, geared to make rich people richer and poor people either more apathetic or more angry. And the results of future elections will depend totally on whether apathy or anger begins to rule the ‘not in control’ classes.
There’s a real danger that people who a century ago would have been guaranteed to be political socialists are now the breeding ground of the right wing. Having been downtrodden and at the thin end of the economic recovery ‘wedge’, they now blame the very people with whom they previously would have stood shoulder to shoulder. And this is, I believe, solely down to whether they are motivated by apathy or anger.
An angry rant at someone who is different is, I think, more the sign of an apathetic voter who has completely switched off from mainstream politics. A considered reading of the issues before joining Left Unity, or the Green Party, or Unite Against Fascism, or a similar organisation, is the true response of anger, and the true response of someone who wants to see change that values all rather than just the rich.