About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Time for a Reboot !

I am reflecting on the dreadful week that we have had. This piece is therefore emotional, for which I do not apologise. I am purposefully not naming names or pointing fingers and am therefore not supplying links to the news stories involved.

Yet another mass murder in the States, surrounded by a plethora of hatefilled politicians pretending to care and to grieve whilst doing nothing to address the issue of US gun laws. Then we have the awful and apparently frenzied murder of a Yorkshire MP by someone allegedly calling out “Britain First”.

These are both events driven by hate and fuelled by the adversarial politics of divisiveness, emnity and, again, hate. This has brought me to an inevitable conclusion. Politics, to quote my techy friends, needs a reboot. I saw a post yesterday from a Canadian friend which put some of my thoughts into that useful format of the Facebook meme.

“Have we tried turning the USA off and back on again?”

Unfortunately this toxic politicing not only applies to the hate filled rhetoric of the US Presidential race but to almost every aspect of US politics in the current climate of fear, prejudice and despair that they preach on a daily basis. Don't even get me started on the so called Christian clergy over there.

It also applies to the way our own politics is starting to drift more and more quickly towards the politics of division, destitution and here's that word again, hate. More and more UK politicians are drawn into words or actions that incite or inflame the actions of others. They create 'Others' for us to denigarate, blame and despise. Be that immigrants, benefit 'scroungers' or the workshy disabled. In this they are supported by much of the media and so called journalists who repeat politician's lies as if they were the truth and peddle and profit from the same hate that brought us to this violence.

We may like to reassure ourselves that this is only some oddball far right approach to politics and that most politicians are above it. I wish this was the case but, it starts in little ways that we allow as acceptable in our adversarial system. It escalates as we move up the greasy ladder of politics in minor ways and ways we talk about as 'policy' direction and 'regulation' and the inevitable route takes us to conflict and killing.

It starts in the adversarial, dismissive and disrespectful actions of Councillors in formal meetings, the casual berating, jeering at and abusing of their fellow councillors just for a different political view. It continues in the rhetoric of hate used by small minded politicians, from the right and the left, promoting division in our communities and alleging they wish to save us from some bogey man or other. It's ultimate expression in the UK is the deliberate policy decisions of Governments to do down sections of the British public for their difference, their origins, their frailties or just because they cannot function well in this manic globalised economy where no level of performance is ever quite good enough.

All the while politicians of every hue will claim to care and to be working for the best resolution to the problems besetting this world. I am sure that in some cases this is true but, many fall into the trap of promoting despair, division and hate through their words and sometimes their actions.

Evidence from the US is that the terrible events of Orlando will not change their politics, I can only hope that we have not yet become so debased and that we can see that the murder of an MP in such a manner is a reflection of our politics and it is our politicians that must address this toxic promotion of hate and must address it now.

It is time for politicians to stand up and be counted, reject hostility and hate in politics, promote respect and hope, before it is too late!

1 comment:

  1. The response from those very same people who stir division is sickening; Machiavellian doesn't even cut it. Once again the establishment, in the form of MPs, manage to make an overtly tragic incident all about them. Jo Cox was murdered by a man, who seemed to have obvious mental health issues (let's just add he could have developed fascist views without being diagnosed as having mental health issues). MPs are responsible, en masse, for cutting and ruining mental health services. Yet many of those MPs and their little scrotes in the media are demanding why mental health services - those mental health services they've been happy to cut to a point where they are increasingly unable to serve their purpose and even then the media don't even report the cutting of - 'allowed this to happen'. Tommy Mair, the man who killed Jo Cox, will probably have been influenced by the pathological thread of racism and xenophobia running through society, something stirred up by the rhetoric and policies of parliament. But the response from MPs and parliament is not to look at themselves and what they are doing to people but how they can be further removed, 'protected' and separated from life outside their sphere. Not how we can be protected from the fall-out of MPs and parliament but how they can be protected from the people affected by their fall-out.