Tag Archives: capitalism

Why I Voted UKIP

This is a difficult blog to write, and I need to ask all liberals/left-of-centres to bear with me, withhold judgement, and read to the end. You may not like what I am about to say, but I will not hold back on the truth, no matter how difficult that may be.

I voted UKIP. I know that may come as a shock to many of you, indeed it does to me, but before we cast judgement on others who vote this way, I think it’s important to understand exactly why this comes about.

Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of others, simply myself. I know that many of my thoughts and feelings are shared by others, but I am not suggesting that they are representative.

It was 2001. I was living in Leicester. I’d just returned from three years at the University of Northampton, and I was disenchanted with the world. I was on the verge of graduating and I had no idea where life was going to lead me. My last year at university had been challenging, and I longed to returned to the familiarity of home. As soon as my last exam was finished, I moved back in with my Dad.

Leicester is a strange place. It’s multicultural to the extreme – yet surprisingly harmonious. The school that I attended is now attended by a majority of BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) students, and it was around 50/50 when I was there.

I was used to being around Asian people. I saw that they were different to me, their culture, values and upbringing did not resonate with mine, but I always judged individuals on on a case-by-case basis. I had prejudiced views about Asian people – at this stage I knew no difference between Indian and Pakistani, and I knew no difference between Hindu, Muslim or Sikh – but I never let it affect my personal relationships.

What I was born into, however, was an environment of fear. I was surrounded by people who blamed BAME people for taking jobs. People who complained ten Asian adults were living in a three-bedroom house. People who looked at the number of cars outside the house and compared their apparent “success” to their own lives. People who wanted someone to blame. People who had seen people from BAME backgrounds come to the UK and make themselves comfortable.

Now interestingly, I wasn’t too affected by this. I grew up around people from BAME backgrounds that were born in this country, and I knew that they were as British as me.

However, what happened as result of me growing up in this environment was that I too wanted someone to blame. I didn’t feel right blaming people from BAME backgrounds, so I developed a bee in my bonnet about Europe.

We didn’t have national newspapers in the house  during the week, and at the time I just used the internet for football and music news. But on Sundays, we would have a copy of the People. I would also deliver the Leicester Mercury every day until I was 18. You won’t be surprised to hear that the Mercury is owned by the same group as the Daily Mail.

Reading the Mercury, I loved reading the letters to the editor. There were two or three names that appeared regularly – serial complainers. I never took them seriously, as they’d always be complaining about something silly like the behaviour of a dog, or the fact they were expected to sort their own recycling out. I can’t actually remember specifics – it was always nonsense.

Reading the People, I loved reading the problem pages. Vernon Coleman wrote a column that I always found myself nodding along to. He was a very judgemental ‘agony uncle’ and discussed everything from sex to politics. I admired his staunch beliefs and his unwavering sense of righteousness against “liberals”. And I loved reading about everything corrupt about the EU. I even bought his book “What They Won’t Tell You About the EU”. It was great. I felt armed with my ammunition in case anyone ever started an argument with me about it.

Of course, they didn’t. No one I knew was interested in politics. So I kept what I “knew” to myself and read more about it online.

I became obsessed with this idea that Britain should be British. That we should be independent of the EU, and that we most definitely should not surrender the pound.

I didn’t take any further interest in politics. I wasn’t interested in the major parties. At this point I probably couldn’t even have told you which party was in power. I did though, understand that Margaret Thatcher and John Major were bastards, but I couldn’t have told you why.

So I voted for the only party I knew anything about. UKIP.

Oh, I missed the embarrassing part. At the time I was working evenings, so I watched a lot of daytime television. I LOVED watching Kilroy-Silk. So when he joined the party, that sealed the deal for me.

So I guess what I’m saying is that we’re all products of our environment, and we make choices based on what we know. People planning to vote UKIP now will no doubt have found something that connects them with the party. I’m not condoning that in any way, I’m just saying that no amount of “Don’t Vote UKIP” noise on social media is going to convince them otherwise.

Had I not moved away from Leicester, I think there’s a strong chance that I would be considering voting for them again this year.

Of course, there is nothing further from my mind.

So let me tell you how I got to where I am now.

I didn’t vote in the 2005 general election. I had no interest at all. Let’s be honest, it was probably for the best.

In 2008 I moved to Brighton. I started to meet new people, discuss new ideas, and I started to find myself in situations that I’d never been in before.

I started to hang around with people who weren’t bitter. People who said “you can do that” instead of “don’t be stupid”. People who lived in hope, not caught up in hate.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was starting to rub off on me. I was immediately more comfortable in Brighton than I’d ever been in Leicester or Northampton, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could do anything I wanted.

It took some time for me shake some of my prejudices, but I soon started to realise that living without fear was far more appealing than distrusting everyone.

I got a job supporting vulnerable adults who were setting up their own businesses. For the first time, my eyes were opened to the reality facing the vulnerable in society. They weren’t the lazy, scrounging scum that I’d always been led to believe they were. They were other human-beings going through a rough time.

Shortly afterwards I started supporting people with mental health support needs with their job searches. Many of these people had additional needs as well – difficulties at home, histories of abuse, physical disabilities etc. and I saw first-hand how hard they were trying, only to be knocked back time after time.

Towards the end of 2009, I had a horrid feeling. I had a horrid feeling that the Tories were going to get in. I still didn’t know much about politics, but enough people that I respected had aired their fears that I knew I had to do something at the next election. I started reading. I read up as much as I could on all the parties. I read up on how the system works, and how the local elections worked, and who had the realistic chance of getting in.

Then I watched in pain for six months, as Labour slowly lost public confidence, while Rupert Murdoch and the Mail told everyone to vote Tory.

In 2010 I voted Labour. I was living in Brighton Pavilion and I’d met Nancy Platts a few times. I liked her a lot, and I didn’t think much of the Greens at the time. I also wasn’t aware of the strength of support for them in Brighton, and I didn’t think much of their policies.

I realise now that that was because I was still holding on to some of that hate. I hadn’t quite embraced hope and positivity at this point, and I still maintained a slight resentment towards “liberals”.

This year, however, I will be voting for Caroline Lucas. There is no doubt about it. My ideal vote would be for a party that works towards the goals of the Venus Project, but in the absence of that, the Greens are the only party that is genuinely humanitarian. Talk about the economy, and putting numeric values on human lives, is inhumane. Especially when we live in a “rich” country, and a world with enough resources to go around.

I have no country. I am a citizen of the world.

My hate has gone. My need to blame has gone. My prejudices have gone. I have hope for the future.

The world has changed. Politics has changed. I know that we need a progressive government. I know that Labour cannot deliver that – they still pander to the same sponsors as the Tory party. I know that Caroline Lucas will at least hold them to account in any form of coalition.

Caroline Lucas is the only MP who has not only done what she said she would do – but been arrested for it.

Hate only breeds hate. I don’t hate UKIP. I don’t hate UKIP supporters. I don’t hate people with different views to me.

I try to understand them.

I try to understand myself.

It’s only once you’ve let go of your own fear, your own prejudices, your own resentment, that you can see how you truly can change the world.

It’s not by blaming others.

how to choose who to vote for

This has been doing the rounds on Facebook. Not 100% accurate, but it’s in the right area.

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The hidden impact of draconian welfare on the disabled – an example

I tend to keep deeply personal stuff off the internet where possible, but having just received some news and with an election on the horizon, I think this needs to be made public.

My partner and I have been looking into moving in together. Currently she lives in a one-bedroom flat, and I rent a room in a house-share. We live fifteen minutes apart, separated by a short walk, and a rather big hill.

We’ve been together for nearly four years now, and following a rather rough relapse in August last year, we decided to spend some time looking into how we could make living together work without affecting either of our independence as individuals.

I work part-time for a local charity while I’m building up my new theatre company. I also take whatever acting or modelling work I can get, and take on the odd freelance job. My gross annual income is less than £10k.

My partner is disabled and left her job two years ago as, despite her best efforts, she was no longer able to work. Her health since leaving work has improved considerably, as her has quality of life. However, she still only has a limited amount of energy each day, and at any time she can find herself spending the day in bed if something changes in her condition.

She has personal carers who look after her for a couple of hours a day, helping her with basic tasks. I spend a lot of the week staying over at her flat, in part because she is unable to stay at mine due to the presence of stairs into the house.

Extra stress is placed on both of us, because I effectively live day-to-day out of my backpack. None of my chosen lifestyle is available at my partner’s flat – there simply isn’t room for my guitar, my books, my CDs, my games console etc. So when I want to relax, I have two choices – turn on the laptop and play a computer game (after a full day staring at a screen), or watch TV – something that I rarely do when I’m on my own. As a result, I spend a lot of time at her flat working.

She also feels the pressure because she’s aware that I spend all of my time at her flat, and feels guilty as a result. I’d like to stay at home more often, but it’s not unheard of for me to be making my way up the hill with my backpack at midnight, because she’s not feeling great and needs someone to keep an eye on her.

Today we finally made the phone call to the council, to find out how our finances would be affected if we moved in together. We expected to lose some income between us, but what we were told shocked us, and has meant we have had to stop thinking about moving in together.

If we move in together, my partner will lose all her benefits apart from DLA (which is currently spent entirely on disability support needs – specialist tools, accessories, adaptations of normal household fittings, transport, and crisis needs etc.), because my income of £10k is deemed by this government to be enough for a couple to live on.

In Brighton.

Just think about that for a minute.

To say we are in shock is an understatement. If we were to move in together, we would both lose our independence. And that would be if it was possible in the first place. I’m struggling to live off £10k on my own at the moment, there’s simply no way it would be possible to look after two of us. Even in council housing, c.£450pcm would have to go on rent and council tax (thanks to the new Brighton & Hove City Council changes that mean that disabled people living with partners now have to pay full council tax), before the bills have even been considered.

So we have no choice but to carry on living apart.

For me to make up the shortfall in what we would lose between us, I would need to be earning a minimum of £25k. As someone who has never chased money, and has no dreams of financial wealth, this simply isn’t going to happen. We have no huge outgoings, we don’t smoke, drink, or go out much. I have my fifteen year old car, which allows us to get out and about- if we relied on buses we wouldn’t be able to go to a lot of places, plus it’s more expensive than driving in Brighton.

Of course, I could give up everything I’ve ever worked for, got back into full time work (assuming I can find a job) and be miserable to pay the bills, but that would only add further pressure to our relationship.

We have no choice but to live separately, and there is no hope on the horizon. Even with the potential of a change of government, Labour have said that they will continue with Tory cuts to the welfare system, meaning further pressure will be put on those already most marginalised by society.

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The world doesn’t owe you a living

“People who are successful do not owe you a living. Stop jealously coveting the success of others, get off your backside, and work at being successful yourselves, instead of expecting government to steal the fruits of other peoples’ labour for your consumption.”

“The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in poverty or sick and lonely again.”

“We’re in the middle of a recession, it’s an employer’s market, and the world doesn’t owe you a living.
we paid the education when there was grants.we did’nt claim dole because we were brought up with a strong work ethic.we did’nt need self help books,we had common sense,and iniative.many of us fought for all the things you now take for granted.the world does’nt owe you a living.”

The above are all comments lifted directly (spelling and grammar included) from the Daily Mail’s website, but I have seen similar comments on Facebook and other social media recently too. Are these the comments of a free society?

The western definition of freedom is an incredible paradox – so why is it that we can’t see that? Now I admit, I have taken a very extreme cross-section of right-wing comments, but I find it amazing how many people on the left also fail to see this.

So capitalism, it’s time for you and I to have a serious chat.

You say that you don’t owe me a living, which is perhaps fair enough. We all have to work hard in this world; that’s what capitalism stands for. But then… well, until you start giving me free accommodation, food, water and energy (incidentally, all provided by the earth and therefore birth rights), I don’t actually have any choice but to work. So we have the welfare state, which is great. (What’s left of) it is there for me during the times that I’m unable to find work, or the times when I’m ill, or the time when, heaven forbid, I am hindered by disability. But should I choose not to work – which is surely the very definition of freedom – then I am, quite literally, left to die.

You threaten to withdraw my “benefits” (nice choice of word – makes me feel guilty) – the meagre amount of cash that, if managed well, allows me to only incur a small amount of debt in covering my day-to-day living expenses. You choose to label me and abuse me through the media in a way designed to guilt-trip me into either working, or perhaps choosing to remove my (financially draining) presence from your society. Anything that doesn’t fit into the traditional capitalist value system is sneered at and denigrated by corporate media and corporate-sponsored politicians. To illustrate the horrendous hypocrisy of capitalism, just look at the way the government, or more recently, private companies, pay care staff. These people are some of, if not the hardest working people in the world. Care staff traditionally have been amongst the lowest paid in the world. If that doesn’t illustrate that capitalism ranks people who work for profit higher than people who work for humanity,  then I don’t know what does.

And the clincher is this. I would LOVE to be able to live in a system that is not capitalism (or socialism/communism or any other form of capital-based system), but unfortunately you give me no choice.

I HAVE to live in a capitalist system. I was born into it, and I have very little control over it. Don’t even get me started on “democracy”.

So if I HAVE to live in a capitalist system, and the only way I can survive in that system is to work, then surely the world DOES owe me a living?

But hang on a minute, capitalism. Let’s be totally honest with each other here. I’ll start:

I don’t want your dull-as-dishwater £7ph (just so you can claim to be paying over minimum wage) job. I want access to the things that the cash I earn brings – and in my case I’m only talking about shelter, food, water and energy. I have no materialistic desires, I merely want to be free. But you insist that I must work for that privilege. Indeed, you insist that I must pay for that privilege with my life. Ironically, with my freedom.

But what about you? Oh yes, that’s right. You don’t want to employ me. Aside from the fact that I stand against everything that you stand for, you know that you would be much better off employing a machine to do that job. A machine doesn’t get sick. A machine doesn’t have emotional concerns. A machine won’t complain about their wages or working conditions.

So why don’t we just cut the crap and jump straight to the solution? Did you know that we are not using machines to their full potential right now? So many jobs can be automated using existing technology, but we continue to employ human beings in dangerous, low-paid and uninspiring jobs to “keep the economy going” so that “we can all contribute”. The economy. Something that doesn’t even exist. A human creation designed for one reason only – to keep the privileged elite at the top, and the ordinary people slaving away until they die.

Haven’t we gone beyond this? Surely we can see that we are all sacrificing our lives in the name of something utterly preposterous.

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” – Dalai Lama XIV

The good news is there is an alternative. The video at the end of this post is a good starting point for looking at potential solutions. Bear in mind that Jacque Fresco has spent his entire life working toward this, so you will not learn even one hundredth of a percentage of what is possible in the video. Follow the links below if you are genuinely interested in how to make a difference. I have been reading articles and watching videos for a couple of years now and I still feel like I understand less than one percent of Jacque’s work.

The Venus Project - When education and resources are available to all without a price tag, there will be no limit to human potential - Jacque Fresco

To learn about viable solutions to some of our greatest challenges as a human race visit www.thevenusproject.com.

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