Why do people oppose Corbyn so vehemently?

The Labour Party has made 10 key pledges in response to the announcement of the General Election. They are progressive, positive and concrete. Among them: Nationalise the railways (to nay-sayers, look at the cost/productivity of our railways compared to European services. Germany, Switzerland, and France to name a few. Germany has ‘one dominant publicly owned train operator, and one publicly owned rail infrastructure manager. By comparison, the UK has 23 train operators and a hopelessly atomised infrastructure.’), commit and act on the Paris Climate agreement (one of the first things Theresa May did was to abolish the Climate change department), generate 1 million new jobs through investment projects, safeguard the NHS. You can find the rest here.

Now, to me, these don’t seem so bad. And I think most people reading this would agree that the economy and welfare of the society is at the heart of Corbyn and Labour’s policy. They have a direction and it’s forward. Interestingly, 74% of newspaper articles written on or about Corbyn do not accurately discuss his views or ideas – this figure is genuinely astounding. How can we properly judge a politician when the media refuses to deal in fact and policy – his politics is largely ignored, in political discussion this is outrageous misrepresentation. When did you last read an article discussing his policies? I can’t remember either. This study (linked above) identified that this is a growing trend in our media – we can see almost an identical treatment of the Labour leader Ed Miliband in the 2015 General Election. Do we remember his policy or vision for Britain? No. We more likely recall those hilarious pictures of him eating a sandwich, or cruel close-ups. I thought those kinds of pictures were for mates on their birthday, not for genuine articles by serious newspapers in the build up to a General Election. It makes me boil to think that we are treated this way – when we vote we are making serious decisions about our country, we are exercising democracy, it’s ridiculous that the media does not properly inform us. Instead we see our leaders ridiculed and bullied.

This isn’t me saying I think Jeremy will or can win this next election, I think that is extremely unlikely (but then so was Brexit and Trump). No, he won’t win. But do I think this is because his policies are wrong or irrelevant? No. He wants to introduce a minimum wage of £10, how dare he want to increase my crappy wage! Won’t stand for that. He wants to renationalise the railway – you know what that means don’t you? We may afford fares, inefficiencies may be ironed out (the railway system hasn’t benefited from lots of competition, there’s too many companies trying to make profit which leads to disunity in the system). The railway companies are now more subsidised than they were under British rail. Corbyn wants to generate 1 million jobs through investment projects in our infrastructure, schools and the NHS. Now in the short term this will cost money, but it’s the short term economic policy of the tory government that has led to crippling cuts in the public sector. Long term investment projects are far more sustainable, another of his pledges is investment in renewable energy, making the country greener and greener. These things are largely ignored though, instead the media criticise him for not singing the national anthem, or jumping on comments about wearing a suit. It’s confusing as to why this is relevant at all. Criticising a republican for not singing an anthem about a Queen is like criticising a fish for swimming. I imagine if he did sing the anthem passionately he would be criticised for not holding true to his republican values – shouldn’t we praise the man for having a backbone and sticking to his ideals and principles? Yes of course we should, especially when we look at Theresa May announcing a General Election after staunchly stating there would be no early election. A principled politician is a rare thing today. He is displaying virtues we would teach in our children – standing by what you believe even if it is difficult to do so.

Maybe he isn’t the best leader, or the type of leader the country is hungry for. I can’t argue with the polls – he isn’t doing well and is set for a heavy defeat, that much is clear. This doesn’t put me off though. I find it infinitely refreshing to find a man who isn’t a career politician, who has fought from grass roots for what he believes in, and in staying true to himself has ended up the Labour leader. I agree with what Owen Jones recently said of him; ‘He will lie awake at night thinking about these things’. Maybe you’ll say that isn’t enough, and maybe you’d be right. But can we honestly look at our politicians on the whole currently and say this of them? I’m not so sure, but then that’s a claim which I could never support. But it is interesting to think about nonetheless.

Another thing he has been heavily criticised on is his stance on defence. This is an extremely contentious issue, and it is so divisive that I hate talking about it with people as it always gets so heated. It’s one of those issues that most people have a strong opinion on. I agree that we should get rid of Trident. This article isn’t about that though and would take up a whole separate piece on the rights and wrongs of nuclear weapons, so I will leave the subject with this; Corbyn has consistently voted against movements to enter our resources in conflicts around the world. His foreign policy is peaceful, and this has a lot of merit. This voting pattern speaks volumes about him. He knows what he believes and stands by this, he fundamentally holds to humanity and a value of life. I’m not saying the opposite is true to anyone who thinks differently of course, but I admire the man for it regardless. We don’t have enough leaders brave enough to pursue options other than violence, which is potentially what is needed. In a world or Trump, Putin, and North Korea we don’t need an extra finger on the trigger. They can cause enough suffering between them. I would rather have a leader who would think long and hard about killing. And I mean seriously wrack his own beliefs and soul for a decision. If he ever did push a button or give an order, it would be never be lightly done. Maybe this doesn’t matter. But somehow, I think it does.

He is so often accused of being incompetent. But I would argue that his lack-lustre state and nervousness aren’t incompetency, they are signs of dejection. He won the position of Labour leader on a wave of positivity and optimism, yet from day one he was barraged with negativity and personal attack. What he thought was an opportunity for change was flawed by vehement opposition from all quarters. I can’t imagine anyone who could continue with passion after the strain he has come under. You cannot say that this is normal either, very few politicians at the moment are coming under quite as much fire as he is. I feel sorry him in all honesty. His face holds a look of someone who has realised that the dream he held to – one which had hope and care at its heart – simply won’t be received. When I tell people I like Corbyn I’m usually faced with derision, which is fine. But I’m proud to say that I support him, he’s someone I can believe in and stands for something I can believe in. He represents genuine change in the country perhaps further afield. When we all complain of the rise in right-wing politics across the globe, can’t we see the irony when we rail against someone who bucks this trend? He is a threat to the policies, economics, and status quo which are currently deeply established – these are the forces he cannot overcome. He won’t win, but not for the right reasons.

 

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Time is here, but not.

The clock moves, but nothing does.

Nothing responds to traces of time trying to change this spot.

 

Spots of light linger loosely, cling closely, to

Spots of life; floating flies, dancing and darting.

The busiest thing here, silent and new.

 

Blossom frosts tall trees, yellow-green.

Hedges hold wisps of white,

The willow waves overhead, slowly shifting shadow.

 

The heat must melt air. Slowing everything down;

Time races on, but life stands still.

No cool breeze lifts the load of this thick air.

 

Dust rises as cows protest the farmer,

Birds compete, entering their soft song.

Nothing intrudes or interrupts this mix.

 

Fields of innocence idly exist, playing platform to this scene.

Here, tales of terror taint nothing.

Fear fails to flaw this beauty.

 

Only blossom falls here, only trees wave in the dust.

The only green is grass, only the sun burns.

When all else seems broken or betrayed,

Forgotten or failed,

shaken or shed:

Then hold to scenes of goodness and innocence; our only defence.

Dear ‘Trump is actually okay’ people, he’s not.

So far, I’ve tried so hard not to be overly vocal on Trump on social media; I’ve been wary of becoming what winds me up the most – a facebook preacher. I’ve also had very little to say that hasn’t already been said, so thought why add noise to the same sound? But little by little, imperceptibly, my distaste has turned to anger, then to worry and now, genuinely, being upset. Upset, mainly by what is going on following his inauguration, but also by the arrogant provocations from previously silent Trump supporters which are responded to by condescension from ‘liberals’. Both sides express hate (myself wholly included in that), and in this blind rage they ignore what is fundamentally at stake. (That is a lot by the way).

First things first: climate change. Didn’t think I would ever end up writing something which explains roughly why climate change is a thing, and possibly the most important threat that humanity faces (I’m not claiming this post as some revolutionary and profound insight, most people will agree and see what I say as obvious). Something which must completely transcend politics, economics, religion, and any other issue which is at the forefront of discussion currently. I’ve been told I’m quite opinionated (fair enough really), but I can’t see how this is something which people can have divergent opinions over. The climate can influence our very survival and existence, it is fundamental to our fragile lives on this planet in space – our uniqueness in climate to other planets is why there is life. Whether you believe this is by design from a creator or just a random occurrence matters little, what matters inherently is that we have this planet which sustains life – we all live off the same one, destroying it like we currently are actually confounds the meagre logic at work in my head. The planet is a gift (apologies to the cringes which followed that), one we have an unrivalled responsibility to cherish and not spurn. I don’t want my grandchildren to see my generation as the one which had the resources to stop climate change tipping irreparably over the edge, condemning the world to irreversible and adverse effects. I would quite like them to be able to visit the places we are currently destroying through our use of fossil fuels, not to mention the places we destroy to harvest them. I won’t get too poetic or philosophical about it. Destruction of the world we have as we know it speaks loud enough for itself, or it should.

One of the main triumphs of people who support Trump, or people who simply don’t dismiss him, is the use of fact. Now there has been extreme controversy over ‘facts’ lately, and ‘alternative facts’. People criticise the wave of populist conservatism as being loosely (if at all) based on reality, but the accusation can go the other way. People like myself often express opinions and ideology (wholeheartedly believed in) but cannot substantiate evidence. This is a failure, as facts simply hold precedence. So, when someone asks me to ‘prove’ climate change (perhaps a flawed thing to ask, I can’t prove a lot, but that’s because I’m limited by my research and intelligence, not by the truth) and I find myself faltering. I get annoyed, not because I think I am wrong, but because I have exposed a fundamental flaw in neo-liberally minded people. We quite often accept things as truth, and assume everyone else agrees because our views are so (apparently) reasonable. Well, I’ve discovered that this cuts no ice. So, here are some facts. (I will provide the link to the website, which provides links to the research, then if you dispute it you can read what I’ve read).

  • Sea Level: Globally, the oceans have risen 6.7 inches in a century. The past decade has seen this rate of sea level rising double.
  • Global Temperature: 15 of the 16 warmest years ever recorded have occurred since 2001. (Seems like a coincidence, doesn’t it? Funny.)
  • Sea Temperature: The top 700 metres of the oceans have warmed by 0.302 degrees since 1969. (That’s roughly the top 2300ft).
  • Ice: Greenland has lost between 150-250 cubic kilometres every year between 2002-2006. Antarctica lost 152 cubic kilometres in just 3 years. Glaciers (globally) have, on average, decreased by 12metres. (That’s 9000 cubic kilometres of water).

Yes, climate change is a natural occurrence. But the concentration of change in such a small space of time, uncannily coinciding with vast and rapid industrialisation globally, does suggest that humans have some influence. And when I say some, I mean a lot. The liberal circles have been astounded by people’s capabilities to deny facts and choose to ignore experts. I can understand this denial in some circumstances. For example, in Brexit the economic implications were pretty much unanimous, yet the people voted to leave. This conscious decision to ignore economics is reasonable, if not rational. When people speak of economics on the TV screen, and mention we are recovered from the recession (or any other stock political line), most people in the UK haven’t directly experienced this recovery. For a huge proportion of Brexiteers, the economy wasn’t a factor because it’s never been on their side, so if it got worse then they wouldn’t see the difference in big enough a way to shape their decision. Brexit was an emotional and heated decision, emotion trumped (pardon the pun) economics. Economics is obviously fundamentally influential in our world, but for many, the threat to our current mode of economics is welcome. It historically hasn’t worked for them, currently isn’t – so why should they choose to protect it? Climate change is worlds and worlds apart from this. To deny it is irresponsibly arrogant.

So, now the point of this little diatribe. Why am I going on about climate change? (Someone could have asked, thank you if you did). Well, Trump doesn’t ‘believe’ in it. As if it is a God or a myth to be disputed. He sees it as the bogie man. But I think he does believe it, I think he must know it is real. What is more sinister and worrying then is that he is simply profiting from it not being resolved. (He, and many of his party and newly appointed team.) In 2016 a third of Congress did not believe in climate change, that is 182 members altogether. They, interestingly, make roughly $73million from oil, gas and coal companies combined. Trump’s battle cry is framed as being for American workers, when really, he’s looking after the interests of those profiting from the conscious destruction of the planet. Obama saw climate change as a national security threat. Which, makes sense. If we exacerbate climate change then eventually it will threaten not just the planet, but the security of the people. A huge portion of people live by the ocean, they will need a place to go when oceans rise. Who will provide this land? We all rely on water, when droughts are more common and desertification continues, water will become scarcer and scarcer, leading to more water conflict. When our finite resources dwindle, they too will be a cause for conflict. Perhaps people are comfortable with this in the west, because they know that the seat of power is beneath our legs – we will ultimately have the strongest force behind us vying for the resources. Maybe that’s too much of a harsh condemnation, but realistically these things could happen should the effects of climate change worsen. Trump’s approval of the Dakota and Keystone pipeline prove to me the direction of his policy, and thus America’s. They will pursue short term benefit in profit and energy, at the cost of long term sustainability. The Dakota Access Pipeline is estimated to create a whopping 50 permanent jobs – unheard of. The pipelines aren’t so destructive in themselves, it is the directional shift of policy which is more alarming. The global consensus seems to have shifted to an effort of cooperation in cleaning up the world, but now America is giving an abrupt about turn and isolating itself from the world. That sends a dangerous message to other countries – if one of the biggest polluters seems not to care, why should they?

Finally, as it is so recent and contentious, I feel I should at least mention the Travel ban. So this drove everyone mental, understandably. But be clear what it is and isn’t – it isn’t a ban on Muslims. It is however, a poor attempt at protectionism, and a grossly misconstrued policy. If it held genuinely protective qualities at its heart then there would be different countries banned for the 90 days (I would imagine). Saudi Arabia for example. 15 out of the 19 hijackers on the 9/11 bombers were Saudis. (I am in no way endorsing the ban or saying that Saudis are more likely to be terrorists, just showing the superficiality of the travel ban). If Trump and his advisors wanted to protect American citizens, they should maybe do something about guns and gun violence in their own country, perhaps put some long-sighted glasses on and pursue sustainable energy policy, and even cooperate with the world constructively rather than seek isolation and alienation. The ban is following up on outrageous claims Trump made during his campaign, which he now (with such high principles) is delivering. The indefinite ban on Syrian refugees is also heart breaking – will the ban be followed up in conjunction of a cessation of bombing Syria, or would that make a little too much sense? I don’t know.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I kind of hate that I’ve written this, as it adds to so much SOUND revolving around the man. But it’s the first time in a while I’ve had anything to say, so thought I’d just get it down before it goes. Hopefully, most of you will see everything I say as blatantly obvious, but trust me not everyone does. Our first mistake is assuming everyone agrees. Our second is then labelling them stupid or bigoted.

Sources:

http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

http://grist.org/climate-energy/surprise-a-third-of-congress-members-are-climate-change-deniers/

 

Small Voice

Maybe my voice is too small – polite?

I’m drowned amidst the frantic

Noise and clamour – maybe they’re right?

Screaming, biting, gnashing. Fear.

 

The voices of truth are now distant.

Grotesque walls of hate surround,

The shadow grows and spreads; no, I can’t.

My soul rages, my mouth still.

 

Maybe when they beat it; the beauty,

Maybe then I will utter.

Utter that I dare not even mutter.

That I love, love what we have.

 

Yet here I sit, polite. Don’t regret.

I could write a quote, insight.

I could preach and boil, an empty fight.

I could lament the loss in despair.

 

When I look back, what will I look at?

My inaction? My impotence? Hypocrisy?

Let it not be; much rather failure,

Better that than passivity that

 

Failed. Much rather raged against it all.

Against the greed, selling and buying

Our greatest responsibility, gift.

 

A pipe here, signature there. Deny. Deny. Deny.

Who are you, you suits and smirks,

You to destroy?

 

Destroy. That which has been here longer.

Buy your truth, buy our ears. Bind our mouths.

No more. A small voice is greater than none.

 

Brexit! What a mess!

Over the past month or so since decision of 51.9% of the UK to leave the EU I have tried to not think about Brexit. On the whole I’ve avoided asking why it has happened and why it has caused such division in the UK to emerge. A lot of people are angry at the decision, some jubilant and perhaps most frustratingly, most are scared. I’ve avoided the topic not because I am disappointed with the outcome, I voted to leave, but because I’ve been appalled at the behaviour so many people on both sides of the fence have displayed. I believe all the actions we now witness are fuelled by fear and misunderstanding. Ever have those two traits been divisive in human history, arguably sparking the Cold War for example (not to mention being the root for racism, religious persecution and hate).

I think there are four more obvious issues having arisen in the aftermath;

  1. ‘Disenfranchised’ youth
  2. Increased Racism
  3. Economic Uncertainty
  4. Liberal intelligentsia snobbery

 

All of these, imagined or real, are destructive and must be left behind if Britain is to unite and prosper in the future (that is, the future by its real definition, not the short-sighted media definition).

1. Disenfranchised Youth. Since Brexit, swathes of people my own age, younger or slightly older (16-25) have railed against the decision to leave, accusing the older generations of having stolen their futures in Europe and generally ruined the country. Passion is the best thing in politics, but passionate denial will only halt progress. I’ve seen calls for a second referendum or for our government to simply ignore the result. These pleas are ignorant of democracy. If you can’t accept a democratic decision, then maybe your quarrel is indeed with the elderly, having fought two wars to protect our form of democracy from the clutches of dictatorship, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be in this mess of allowing other people’s opinion to triumph! Curses!! I’ve also seen statements such as ‘Nearly half want to stay’ or ‘London and Scotland voted to stay’, these arguments are perhaps slightly ridiculous too. If a rugby or football match was won with an unfair penalty or by a tight margin, it wouldn’t be called a draw, having the result nullified. The margin of a decision simply can’t be a factor in whether it’s decided or not. If a referendum was ‘close’ and therefore the status quo was accepted, surely nothing would ever be decided? Or if at every General Election the margin was close again, should we just have another and see if droves of voters change their mind? No political decision could ever be made.

Another cry of my generation has been that 16-17yr olds should have been allowed to vote as it was such a big decision. Perhaps if I was out of the voting age I would feel differently, but it certainly seems that it is only after the vote was made that a voice was found on this issue. Suddenly people realised they didn’t have a vote and it just happened to be the day after it was made! If this was really and genuinely a constitutional problem in this country then where were these voices before the voting? Where were they in 2015 with the General Election? If it meant so much why weren’t you campaigning at a time when you could have made a difference and been allowed the vote, then have had your say. Criticising a system for not remedying a problem which they perhaps didn’t even know existed because of a lack of lobbying and campaigning at an appropriate time is hardly helpful or justified.

Upsettingly there has been a flippancy regarding how younger people have talked about the older generations and the fact they have stolen Europe away, despite the fact they are less likely to live with the consequences for as long. This is preposterous, in 2 years time not every old person will die with a cackle aimed at the youth out of spite. Furthermore, these are perhaps the only people qualified to make a choice on the matter, they remember life outside the EU and have lived inside too, they can draw comparisons we simply can’t. Perhaps it’s best if we listened a little more before calling people snakes.

2. Increased Racism. There is little for me to add to what most people will already think about this. In a 21st Century Britain, racism has no place. We must all try to drown out the clamour of hate with the voice of humanity. I don’t know any vocal racists (and probably don’t know any silent ones), but I imagine they have little idea why they hate people of different race. Perhaps the ethnicity of someone is enough of a difference for them to channel the rage they hold, blind rage though it may be. But let us be clear, voting leave and being a racist are far from synonymous. There is a slight suggestion that this may be so and it is worrying, very few people I know (including myself) voted to leave because of anything to do with immigration or race. I think if you look at the UK today and have some sense, you’ll see that immigration is necessary and should be welcomed. Throughout the world and history, people use certain ‘banners’ for their hate and anger whether or not the ideology, religion or movement even remotely represents their extreme feeling. Don’t label half of your country because of a few idiots, as we don’t label whole religions because of a few evil nutjobs.

3. Economic Uncertainty. The day after the vote was seemingly a dark day, stock markets fell seeing the FTSE 100 fall from 6338.10 on the 23rd to 5,982.20 the next day whilst the pound fell to a 30 year low. Blind panic descended and it seemed everyone lost their minds, striking out against Brexit as being a calamity and the ruin of the British economy. Most people probably don’t give a moments thought to the FTSE 100 or the FTSE 250 on their day to day, I know I don’t. It has such little bearing on how we live our life daily and what decisions we make. Yet when the media filled us with dread and told us be scared, we duly listened and lost the plot. It is easy to be caught up in fear when the media perpetuate a sense of panic and chaos, even when for the average household nothing has really changed. We don’t now hear much about the fact that the FTSE 100 reached a 12month high when trading closed this weekend whilst the FTSE 250 broke its pre-Brexit level and climbed to an eight-month high. Why aren’t we going nuts about this? And a weak pound isn’t all that catastrophic, it improves the competitiveness of our exports which should increase their sale to foreign buyers, thus seeing a rise in the amount of currency entering our economy in the form of transactions. China for example artificially lower the value of the Yuan to improve the Chinese trade position, it isn’t as gloomy as we would like to think on the whole. Sorry.

4. Liberal intelligentsia snobbery. This is perhaps the most frustrating of the four, and arguably most damaging to the country. George Orwell describes the ‘mentality’ of the then (1939-1945) left wing intelligentsia, but for modern purposes I will replace ‘left wing’ with ‘liberal’ as this covers far more of the people I wish to talk about. ‘The mentality of the English [liberal] intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion…and underlying this is the really important fact about so many of the English intelligentsia – their severance from the common culture of the country…highbrows took for granted, as though it were law of nature, the divorce between patriotism and intelligence. If you were a patriot…[you] publicly thanked God you were ‘not brainy’. If you were an intellectual you sniggered at the Union Jack’. Although his assessments aren’t 100% accurate to today’s liberal portion of society, it does have some credence. Liberalism in this country does take an extremely negative standpoint, criticising unconstructively every decision or move made. It also tends to look down slightly on the working and lower classes and to an extent the middle class, assuming their opinions are largely bigoted and misconstrued. For a long time I was guilty of this and perhaps still am to some extent, but what shocked me out of it was indeed the reaction of people to Brexit. Virtually every person I knew that I deemed to be liberal displayed the most conservative and regressive qualities on the Friday after brexit, whining and mewling at the decision, in complete denial. While it can be accepted that people were disappointed, it is disheartening to see so many intelligent people simply sever themselves from the rest of their country because a vote didn’t go their way. As Liberal people it is obvious you stand for democracy, and that means, fortunately or unfortunately, that you stand to be disagreed with regularly by many more people than agree with you. To then rail against the fact that democracy was exercised simply because you lost the vote is hypocritical and ridiculous. You can’t have democracy on the conditions that everyone agrees with you, liberal or not. It is then not all that ‘liberal’ to label half of the country as ‘racist bigots’ who all would see Farage in power and immigrants out. That is about as bigoted if not more than the people you are criticising.

The fact that London voted to stay whilst the rest of the country on the whole voted to go is perhaps indicative of the fact that the liberalism enjoyed in London simply hasn’t translated to the wider country. This maybe isn’t a good thing, but it certainly shouldn’t be an excuse for intelligent young people to moan and label huge portions of the society they live in as idiots and racists, it means simply that our country isn’t as one minded as we thought. If you want that to change don’t insult the people who you want to change, show them why you think your right. Give them a reason. We’re leaving the EU regardless, but if we leave divided and asunder then it will be bad for us. But if we constructively move forward we have an excellent opportunity to shape our own country and its future in the world. Let us not waste our potential on fighting in toxic squabbles which add to the division in our country, but channel it on making the best of Brexit and moving forward.