The Politics of Fear

Or maybe the gun and the ballot?

A new category for this I suppose; ‘Rant’ seems appropriate as this is nothing more than my opinion.

So here we all are! On this side of the pond we have looked across and seen the campaigns being waged in the run up to your Presidential Election and shook our heads at the hyperbole and sensationalist rhetoric used by all and sundry. We’re so much more civilized than that! EU-referendum-ballot-paper-638210

At least we liked to think we were but now? Not so much. Brexit; for fuck’s sake! The tosser who came up with that stupid abbreviation should be taken out, put up against a wall and shot (if only we had lax gun laws) and as for all the serious people who adopted the term; they really should know better. Of course the use of a silly word with less than three syllables is the least of my concerns. Over thirty million votes out of a possible forty-five and the populace has decided we should leave the European Union. 52% to 48% and that is democracy and I am 100% fine with that.

Lots of people are shocked by the result and yet forever and a day everyone was saying it was going to be close, a knife-edge and I am wondering if any of those people had access to a dictionary. Me? Well, I figured to remain within the EU was the lesser of two evils and at least remaining within we had a chance of putting our views across. And here is where the issue begins. Generalizing there were three major areas that concerned the British people. Immigration, Euro-interference and value for money so to speak.

I’ll start with the last first just to be awkward. Value for money. The contributions we make to the EU against what we get back. Of course, part and parcel of this is the access to a huge free market and its access to us. Personally, while within the EU our position always seemed to be the best of both worlds particularly as a bridge to the US with an English speaking capital a short rail journey and even shorter flight to the mainland. If you’re going to have a EU base of operations being able to order a coffee in your native tongue may not necessarily be of financial concern but I would guess it has swung many a CEO.

A figure that was bandied about by the Leave faction was that we paid £350 million to the EU every week; what they failed to mention was that it was a gross figure and with the various grants and such coming back the net figure was £135 million. Stillbrexit bus a fucking huge amount of money but those grants went to some of the poorest areas of the UK; Wales in particular was a net beneficiary, getting more out than they paid in. They voted Leave. Some suggested, although there does seem to be a high incidence of amnesia now, that the money could be funneled into our Health service. A policy that Joe Public thought was perfect.

There is quite a bit wrong with the EU in a financial sense as it stands, particularly the Euro itself where strong economies like Germany are trading with an effectively ‘weak’ currency meaning they can sell their goods cheaply at highly-competitive prices whereas other members such as Greece with a weak economy and a strong currency find that they can only sell their goods at expensive and non-competitive prices to other countries and the spiral continues. Of course a lot of what is seen is a direct result of the global crash which wasn’t down to countries but to Banks and Global corporations and not directly as a result of countries or economic unions. Their fault is letting the bastards get away with it!

Euro-interference. I guess in the US you can get an idea of this between State and Federal. A far away power decides what is best for us with apparently no consultation. But wait… didn’t we elect a government and our own representatives to the EU to do just that. And actually any laws proposedhave to be agreed by ALL member states and ratified in their own Parliaments. By all accounts in 2015 there were 14 or so such laws/regulations handed down and in 2016 just four. The real question of course is were they insisting that we should all wear orange on Tuesdays or maybe that all employers should supply adequate safety equipment to their workers? My thoughts are they were the latter and I suggest if you’re interested you should look them up and definitely not take my word for it but please, pretty please go to the source of information and not any second hand websites.

Once upon a time the EU decided that all bananas should not be too bent! Straighter bananas would be better for transport. This was reportedly widely and definitely stoked the fires against EU interference. Now if you have any space-awareness you will realise that one banana sitting on top of another follows the same curve and the only extra possible space you could gain would be at the very top and bottom of a container. This story it turned out originated in a Pub between journalists having a pint. It was a bet! Which of them could get the daftest story about the EU published.

The wall is getting crowded and I might have to issue the Firing Squad with automatic weaponry!

So when it comes down to it a bunch of elected representatives from a multitude of countries and differing political bias’s have to come to an agreement on a fair law/regulation that has to be acceptable to all. I can’t see orange being a mandatory colour on Tuesday’s ever being suggested let alone being ratified. It is understandable, and I’m sure it’s the same in the US and other countries that being told what to do (or not) by people in a place you’ve never been to will rankle somewhat. Even in just the UK being governed by London rankles quite a few of the people here, ask Scotland.

One last thing is the suggestion about the extra layer of bureaucracy being a waste but as it turns out the EU assembly uses a tenth of the people that the British government does and that’s where so much of our money goes too! Of course the general distrust of politicians is there too and so the thought of even more corruption inveigles itself into the thoughts of Joe Public. And yet it was here and not in Europe that there were investigations into Right Honourable Members of Parliament and their expenses claims and it is here that we are bringing all the power back to. Damn we have a sense of Irony!

And now for the ‘Hot Potato’! Immigration. Can a country truly now be utterly isolationist? Well N. Korea can but maybe they’re the exception that proves the rule. And really what populace would want to be as that means no one enters, no one leaves… oops movie reference!

The big bogey man mentioned in the campaign was Turkey becoming a member and opening the floodgates as the principal of freedom of movement is allowed within the EU. David Cameron, the Prime Minister had negotiated a deal where simply a person had to work within the UK for four years before they could claim any state benefits. Alas this had not yet been ratified by the EU and, well that was a fuck-up on their part so all the naysayers simply suggested that the EU couldn’t be trusted to honour the deal (nothing xenophobic there).

As for Turkey… they have been applying to join the EU for years…decades and so far have completed one part out of thirty to apply for EU membership and yet any EU member has a veto vote on the application. Not really the imminent invasion suggested. And without a doubt having such a pool of labour available does suppress the average wage but the UK government saw to that over twenty years ago when they destroyed the unions. The Joke is that the UK has actively searched out immigrants throughout its history and maybe (as the name of my Blog suggests) cynically I might suspect that has always been the reason. Justifiable come-back for a global spanning Empire???

The flip-side is of course for those citizens here it now may become so much harder to work or live elsewhere in Europe. Not my problem… Irish passport… damn I’m going to enjoy the Blue Channel!!!

Understand me, there was and is a lot wrong with the EU and it should be fixed but there’s also a lot right too. And if we are out we have absolutely no say about the matter and yet we will still live within the strong sphere of influence it exerts. Economically we may find ourselves to be its bitch. Not only are we at a crossroads but so is the rest of Europe who have, quite possibly< as many malcontents as we have and possibly in order to keep them in line might just take a very hard line with this divorce. So many phrases spring to mind… toys and pram, nose and face, creek and paddle-less!

And David Cameron handed in his notice.

boris before

Before…

The man is smarter than he looks! Have you ever been at a game and the winning fans are shouting “YOU’RE NOT SINGING, YOU’RE NOT SINGING, YOU’RE NOT SINGING ANYMORE!!!!” Well oddly the winners aren’t singing…they’re barely talking because they’ve realised what a poisoned chalice

boris after

Before…

they have poured. Cameron is handing over the reigns and it isn’t unfair as he was for staying and his replacement has the unenviable task of negotiating the transition with all the politics and ramifications involved and if anyone can accomplish such a task successfully (without things getting worse, possibly for years, before they get better)… well I’m not sure such a person exists, anywhere!

Maybe Cameron should have announced during the campaign this was his intention and the leaders of the Leave side might have taken a long pause for thought. Oddly enough just before the referendum a letter signed by numerous MP’s supported the idea that Cameron should stay and see the country through whatever the result! Now there was a bunch of gutless, yellow-bellies!

Hmmm… might have to put an extra tier on the wall and upgrade from automatic weaponry to high explosive!

If it wasn’t so fucked up it’d be funny!!!

So, we now live in interesting times, possibly dark times but definitely interesting. One effect already making itself felt is the rise of racism as, I would guess, those of the Far Right feel they have been handed a mandate by the people to encourage those immigrants (legal or not) already here to leave even quicker.

Might have to re-think this wall and munitions idea.

So I don’t agree with the result and it even makes me feel saddened but I stand by it. That’s what democracy is about. But… there is one thing above all that does anger me.

Lies!

The Politics of Fear really only work if a person/politician/journalist/scum-sucking-mollusc is allowed to lie. And I’m thinking that maybe it should be illegal to lie to the public in any election or referendum or even at all. Of course you would have to get those self-same Right Honourable Members of Parliament to pass such legislation so that could be a problem?

Possibly even worse than them is the mass-media who report the News. The News you will note and not the truth. Here, there is an odd imbalance to the large forms of mass-media; the likes of radio stations and national TV are controlled and will be brought up if they show any bias. Heck, private radio stations can lose their broadcasting license if they show any bias within six weeks of an election. However, the printed media has no such control. They say they do but the body is one of their own and in no way independent or with any real teeth. About as useful as a blind pilot, no disrespect to pilots or blind people (though I can’t see them being offended).

The Sun says” A simple get-out clause one National newspaper uses; printed in aSUN_SAYS_right_col_451423a reasonable size up in a corner followed by a banner headline that is nothing more than their opinion. And because its an opinion or if you like an editorial they literally can say what they like. Of course the other thing they do is repeat or quote other stories not caring if they are true as long as they chime with their own views. Or their own view of what their readership want to hear/read and ergo sell more papers.

One strange thing about the above Newspaper is that they employed Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame to write an opinionated column. A man renowned for having outspoken views and an exponent of the Politically-incorrect statement. To be honest he is a great entertainer and lots of his “quotes” were just irony or outright jokes and far too many people took him far too seriously. Odd then that when he comes out in favour of remaining with the EU The Sun doesn’t seem to push his views, possibly quite the opposite! I’m still not sure what their agenda was; do they simply think this was what their readership wanted to read and therefore sell more papers and damn the consequences?

A case in point that I know quite a few details about and in particular the truth of it. The Daily Mail printed an interview with a hijacker that had landed in the UK with a plane full of Afghans. One thing that was apparently not reported, definitely by the tabloids, was that they were indeed Asylum Seekers. People who had fought against the Taliban; they were on our side and during the flight even though they were armed it seems that they had no need to terrorize the passengers or crew. A flight to freedom. When they landed they offered to surrender their weapons immediately and it was only the security forces wariness (and I can’t blame them although the cynic (there he is again) wonders if they had been ordered to wait for the optimum News time) that extended the hostage situation.

So a number of years later, having been granted asylum and one of these hijackers/allies is now working at… wait for it..Heathrow Airport and happily minding his own business. The Daily Mail published an interview with him stoking the ‘fires’ of racism and bigotry. What was wrong with that News story I hear you ask? Well, they never did interview him! It all went to court, the newspaper asked to hand over notes and any recordings of the interview and even asked when the interview actually took place and where. Now you would think journalists would do their research especially when they are lying but they didn’t and cited a time when the man was actually at work with lots of security footage to prove he was going about his legitimate work.

So, the court of law orders a full retraction in their newspaper and a hefty fine. What does the Daily Mail do? They print the retraction… under a full re-print of the interview!!!

Hmm.. maybe I need an island and a small thermo-nuclear device?

So, yes I accept the result of the referendum even if the full facts never did manage to rise above the sea of lies and disinformation. I would like to see the word “Honourable” removed from MP’s titles and proper control of media, not censorship; sure they can print what they like but they should be held accountable in a way that would make them think twice about lying to all of us. And any opinions or repeating of opinions should never be put up as banner headlines.

The other, far more insidious aspect of elections and referendums is the Pollsters. I think it’s the Heisenberg Principle that is the problem here. Simply put; when conducting an experiment one should be sure that the simple observation of the process should not effect the results. So, Mori or some other Polling company release a result of the way an election is going and publish it as fact, always glossing over the margin for error in their figures. “The Remain vote is going to win.” So people see this and it encourages those who wish to leave to go out and vote and possibly comfort those who want to stay and don’t go out of their way to vote. One million people was the difference in the votes and that is a lot but it was only four votes in every hundred, as I said earlier it was always going to be close.

The post match analysis has indicated that only 40% of those under 24 years of age voted… a disenchanted youth? Over 70% of the over 60’s voted… disgruntled elders who see all their hard work, their pensions being taken by foreigners?

The other point is that Polls are reasonably easy to manipulate even if they aren’t aimed at a particular demographic sample or area. Do I think immigration is an issue? Yes or No? Do I think the EU has too much power? Yes or No? Do I think the Euro works? Yes or No? Should we leave the EU? Yes or No?

It’s a practice that Polling companies have engaged in for a long time, particularly when employed by a client that wants a particular result to a survey. A series of questions, worded precisely and with simple yes or no answers that when you come to the final question if you answer it in any other way than the way ‘they’ want will make you look stupid. So to think that Polls have no effect is naive in my opinion and either they should be banned or at least fully incorporate their margins for error (I imagine that for the referendum that would have been 56% Remain to 58% Leave, of course that would suggest that a professional Polling company’s guess is as good as yours or mine!) or simply that it is mandatory for all registered voters to vote. Sure they do that in other countries and no bad thing in my book!

So there you have it, my little rant that has no more power than your own opinion, Dear Avid Reader. And as I said earlier, please, pretty please, with sugar on top DO NOT take my word for it or anyone else’s; find the facts for yourselves from the original sources.

I guess all these people who I would put on an island of retribution have someThe price of touring people who love them and by their grace I will not carry out such a threat… that and I don’t have an island or a nuclear device… or even an air rifle…!

Normal (perverted) service will be resumed shortly…

FtFagos

~ by ftfagos on June 28, 2016.

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