Friday, November 17, 2006

Re-post: Let's get political - Apr 05

From Sunday, April 10, 2005

I'm trying to decide whether I have enough real faith in our political system to vote at all. I went to a girl's grammar school where some of the houses were named after famous suffragettes. We were strongly discouraged from studying domestic science or the arts: maths and science were pushed on us whether we seemed so inclined or not. We were also taught from day 1, what sacrifices had been made by certain women to enable us to work in previously male-dominated sectors, utilise birth control, earn equal pay and enjoy equal rights - and to vote. It was drummed into us never to waste the opportunity to vote, because this would be a betrayal of the suffragettes' long hard fight.

So I've always voted, in local and national elections. It's important to have a say, right? If you don't use your vote you can't complain about the election outcome. Democracy is people power. We choose our own leaders.

But in recent years I've started to doubt that. There are - what - 60m people in this country, a fair proportion of whom are politically active. How come I get to choose who I want to be leader from just *3* of them?

I don't actually want any of the three on offer as Prime Minister. Furthermore, I don't actually believe it will make much difference which party gets in. Sure, they'll tweak this and tweak that: a percentage on income tax here, a percentage on national insurance there. A few billions more for healthcare here, for education there. But, like competitive high street banks, in the end they're much of a muchness and the actual differences between the three are negligible.

Even if someone comes to power with good ideas and high principles, they'll soon learn what's actually at stake if they implement their ideals. Very quickly they'll be briefed about the tightrope our system is balanced on, the extreme narrowness of the available room to manoeuvre. Funds are committed for projects years ahead, millions of people's livelihoods depend on the preservation of the status quo. Like a huge piece of machinery, our county's steering has to take place well in advance and only then within certain set, narrow parameters.

I don't believe in compulsory education. I'd like to see it scrapped immediately. I think it's coercive, damaging to people and families and I think it discourages learning and turns schools into battlegrounds. But no political party would even consider implementing this change, primarily because it's in the interests of commerce that parents have free time to go to work and that children are trained from an early age to be compliant, to focus on paper/IT-based activities, to be confined within one room following orders for the bulk of the day, and to accept limited dreams and career/life choices.

I don't believe in centralised healthcare. I'd rather funds and facilities were made available for most patients to be cared for in the home instead. I think this would minimise things like MSRA and speed up recovery times. I think doctors and nurses should go to patients, rather than the other way around. Sure, we need emergency medical centres and probably operating theatres, but it's my belief that convalescing is better done at home. And I'd stop the practice of drug companies sponsoring the training of medical staff. And doctors being bribed by drug companies, and by the government for vaccinations. But no political party would ever implement this change, because of the financial effects.

What else? I'd have a laissez-faire style of government. I'd stop all the coercing, guiding and steering that governments like to do. I'd keep the government's nose out of things that didn't concern it: family life, health choices, educational choices, career choices. I'd abolish speed limits and traffic restrictions. There would be no more traffic wardens! I'd cut taxes dramatically and look at making them voluntary. I'd fill the position of power only to keep it filled, not to use it.

Cloud cuckoo land? A recipe for disaster? Never going to happen?

But I don't think I can continue the charade of ticking boxes for systems I don't believe in or agree with. I'm trying hard to find enough positive aspects about the current systems to enable me to use my vote happily and in good faith, but so far I'm not succeeding.

I saw a link to the NotApathetic website on a home ed list email the other day and from it I see that I'm by no means alone.

posted by Gill at 7:22 AM 20 comments


Anonymous Degs said...

Hi Gill,

I love your blog, just found it today and have spent way too long reading.


12:58 pm, November 19, 2006  
Blogger Gill said...

Degs! Hello, lovely to see you xx
How's things?

1:32 pm, November 19, 2006  

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