Sep 112014

Ben said this yesterday (the bold is mine):

To me, the Scots Independence debate seems to have shown a yearning not so much for separation, but rather for a state and a country that means something – for a better democracy.

I think we can (and definitely should) all share that aspiration, but the idea that Scotland by cutting loose will be free from the denationalising forces of global wealth and power that bear down on us and our governments is fanciful – if anything it will be more vulnerable to them, as will the rest of us. [...]

This I agree with, though with a number of caveats I shall outline in a minute.  He goes on to assert:

[...] There will be positive aspects in coming to terms with the reduced status that separation will bring, but they are nothing that could not be achieved within the union.

First, the caveats I mention.  Yes.  The smaller you are, the more likely you are to find yourself vulnerable to globalising forces you may not be able to resist.  However, having said that, it’s clear that the United Kingdom, as it stands, is in thrall to – has been in thrall to for decades now – those globalising forces which look to play off one nation’s workforces against another nation’s standards of living.  And instead of encouraging the payment of living wages, successive governments have subsidised large companies by an infrastructure of tax credits and other dependency-creating measures – all designed to weakly and ineffectually serve the hopes and working pride of generations of working people.  Just because you’re as big as the UK (as it has been to date) doesn’t mean you can necessarily make a different sociopolitical landscape out of what the globalisers want the world to toil under.

Nor that our politicians are going to be big-hearted or courageous enough – or even have that persistence and cognisance of a broader vision – to want to make that important difference Ben is clearly looking for.

Equally, just because you are smaller doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take firm stances against the kind of destruction of living standards taking place at the moment.  Iceland is an example of how small can sometimes mean humongous; and although I’m not saying we should necessarily follow their lead in the substance of such matters, I am saying we should be prepared to accept that size doesn’t have to be a question of numbers – it can also be a question of how assertively we exhibit our principles.

The second quote I took from Ben’s piece, where he argues that the positives we surely all desire can exist without but also within the Union, hits the nail, perhaps unconsciously, on the head: if I were in the unenviable position of voting in this election, I would still be wavering I can tell you.  For me, nothing at all that the “No” camp has said has convinced me that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.  Whilst Tories and Lib Dems have laid waste over the past four years to what once was a gloriously eccentric, fudging and generally socially responsible body politic, there is little left in public discourse – as mediated by our politicians, anyhow – which I find myself currently treasuring or wishing to rescue.

If the “Yes” camp wins in just a few days’ time, it will be because too many people have not been convinced by a “more of the same” argument.  An argument, in fact, which could have been couched in quite other terms: “Take this opportunity by the scruff of the constitutional neck to implement a total overhaul of everything we do – and are!”

But no.  The “No” camp simply believes in “more of the same”, precisely because the “No” camp has spent the last four years destroying all the evidence and practice of what truly made the United Kingdom united.

They have lost all contact with “what we used to be”, precisely because they have turned that “what we were” into that “what we used to be”.  With awful intentionality and deliberation, and with a clear ideology designed to disembowel everything which did clearly, naturally and beautifully bind us together in a constructive cultural dissonance.

We once were “better together”, of that I am sure – but not any more, I’m pretty clear.  Not in the light of historic child abuse; not in the light of historic police corruption; not in the light of media-led manipulation of democracy and its institutions; not in the light of a socialism by stealth which actually – in the end –  turned out to be the anteroom of a neoliberalism by shock and awe.

My advice for what it’s worth, then, to those with a right to vote in this referendum?

Vested interests will always use fear to defend their positions.  Voters’ sacred task is to filter their own from vested, & vote accordingly.

And that’s really the society we should be yearning for.

And that’s really the legacy we should be wishing to rescue with this damnably conflicted vote.


Biz news

As promised, I’ve been working hard on my biz – as befits this time of year.  Although, when working in an online environment, academic years and timeframes seem to mean less and less. Here’s what I’ve been doing.  First, this blogpost where I announce for the price of six hours of personalised classes that you [...]

Home is where you were born; but also where they really love you

The following is something I wrote this weekend in moments of doubt.  I don’t know if it bears sharing with a wider audience, or whether such sharing is, in truth, an unworthy baring instead. You must be the judge of this; I can only continue to question what the world delivers in its curious and [...]

What do we mean when we say we are “pro-job creators”?

This tweet led me to this Labour Party YouTube video: Before I continue, let it be clear from the start that whilst I’m still currently a Labour Party member, its behaviour during the recent #DRIP process has meant I will be deciding in September whether to continue to pay my dues.  I am as [...]

Robin Williams

I just posted this on Facebook.  It explains how I feel today.  No word describes it better than sad. Feeling rather sad today.  Don’t think the news about Robin Williams helped.  Shouldn’t affect me so much I know; never met him; only knew him thru’ cinema.  One person in peacetime, not hundreds in wartime.  But [...]

Change, its magnetism and practically all our media

A story from the Guardian/Observer website today got me thinking.  It’s headlined: Rising Ukip star on Roma in the UK, vaccines and racist gardeners and it’s introduced: Rotherham is a Ukip target in next year’s general election. Jane Collins tells how she hopes to unseat Labour by being ‘different’ Notice the adjectives “rising” and “different”.  [...]

Beyond the Internet and the worldwide web

Some thoughts I just brainstormed via Twitter: #Globalisation promised progress from the well-off to the poor. TBH, it increasingly delivers pockets of poverty to the formerly well-off. #Globalisation’s making us poorer: s’times literally, as water loses its status as human right; s’times, just a simple poverty of spirit. The more our leaders (we too) get [...]

A monarchy of customers

I posted earlier today an email which reached me as the nominal Amazon author I am (I’ve never received any payment as such, but this blog is still up there on their site as a product).  I was quite positive about the thrust of the argument this presented.  An apparently virtually identical letter was posted [...]

Are e-books the revolution paperbacks once were?

Just received this email from Amazon on the subject of e-books.  In itself, it’s a novel and a half, but makes for fascinating reading: Dear KDP Author, Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when [...]

Big Government, being humanitarian and the US as the “world’s policeman”

Dan Hodges suggests the following: There’s only one thing worse then the US being the world’s policeman. And that’s the US not being the world’s policeman. I’d take issue with the use of the monolithic singular (no state, however useful, is ever that monolithic – nor should be in a modern liberal democracy) and the [...]

Ownership, being human and defining our concept of freedom

I finished the Asimov story, “The Bicentennial Man”, recently.  If you haven’t read it, do try and find time to do so.  As with most of Asimov’s shorter works, the narrative creeps up on you quite slowly – though the read itself is never boring.  In a sense, they’re like Ibsen plays: so much happening [...]

Remember Google Reader? Oh, but there’s this “right to be forgotten” …

I read that the first Wikipedia page has been lost to Europe’s “right to be forgotten” rulings – and like #DRIP (more here, here and here) after it, I’m afraid that very little has been thought through at the moment of its conceptualisation. Many have written well and hard about how incompatible this “right” has [...]

“God + ogle” – and why Facebook really uses https

There have been stories this morning on how over a billion unique user name/password combinations for over 400,000 websites have been stolen by cybercriminals.  Everyone’s being rather cagey – to date – about the issue as far as I can see: no lists of the websites (a lot of info to process, admittedly), though perhaps [...]