Green

One Party vs. UKIP… and The Rest

UKIP won only their second seat in the House of Commons on Thursday in the eagerly anticipated dreaded Rochester & Strood by-election. With Nigel Farage’s party polling at approximately 15%, there is a genuine fear that the purple party can win a healthy number of seats next May. The prominence of ‘acceptable’ xenophobia seems to be rising with UKIP incessantly upping the ante of their anti-EU agenda and to great effect.

With the ascension of UKIP has come an ugly change to the two larger parties. In a frankly thinly veiled effort to win back support, both Labour and the Conservatives have championed a new approach to immigration policy in order to soothe the concerns of the electorate and tempt defected voters back on side. This week, Labour pledged to increase the deferral on immigrants claiming benefits for up to two years whilst the Conservatives have been branded ‘BNP-lite’. In essence, Nigel Farage may finally have a point, it appears Miliband and Cameron are hiding in the shadows from UKIP, but who exactly is speaking out for the 85% that aren’t worried by nefarious immigration scapegoating and the endless propaganda that aims to portray the EU in the same light as Emperor Palpatine’s galactic empire?

Last week, BBC’s Question Time took the bold approach of affording yet more time to discussing the issues of the ‘UKIP-ification of Lab-Con’, the NHS and UKIP themselves. One of the panellists, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown declared that no party had stood up to UKIP, which simply isn’t true. One party had stood up to UKIP a long time ago, but that party is still in the electorate’s bad books over a tuition fees clanger in 2010. The Liberal Democrats are not suddenly shouting anti-immigration and anti-EU rhetoric from the rooftops in the face of UKIP’s rise. In fact, the party has stuck to its principles, ironically given the party’s recent reputation for doing the opposite. Only Nick Clegg challenged Nigel Farage to a debate on the EU and immigration, Ed Milliband weaseled out of one as recently as a week ago. The Liberal Democrats were the only party of ‘in’ during May’s European elections, a bold strategy given the relentless tide of Europhobia in the right-wing press. Just what is this obsession with immigrants anyway? Studies have shown that immigration benefits the crown jewel of British politics, the National Health Service and has contributed £25billion to the British tax fund in recent years. Why are we talking about this so much when benefit thieves are more likely to be British, just as the tax evaders who are bigger burdens on the nation’s economy. Why are we not discussing this in as great a depth?

Too, the Lib Dems are having to battle a dogged tide of populism heading in to next May’s General Election. Given the tuition fee debacle, the party’s unrivalled efforts to challenge UKIP’s deceitful campaigning has largely fallen on deaf ears. Of course, nowadays we’re all expected to humour and indeed hate the Liberal Democrats, having failed to deliver the abolition of tuition fees and then raising them in line with the Conservatives ideals instead. Truthfully, that decision was a major blow to the party’s plans in governments, whilst it allowed them to deliver other policies such as equal marriage and a higher income tax threshold, it did alienate student voters – and understandably so. Of course, the reason the policy couldn’t be enacted was the stubborn opposition from the Tories and Labour, meaning only a majority for the Lib Dems in May would have been enough to realise the policy. Of course, the Lib Dems have made the issue of repayment far easier than under Labour, who bizarrely seem to be winning support from students themselves. As it were, the policy was undeliverable and Nick Clegg was forced to apologise for a policy he would have only been able to implement with 326 seats – but the party are still being battered in the polls, largely because of this slight misbehaviour. Did the Conservatives apologise for U-turns of reorganisation of the NHS or cuts to public spending? Have Labour apologised for abandoning ‘moral politics’ and launching a new initiative against migrants? So then, why are views like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s in that we ‘don’t trust the Lib Dems’ but trust Labour and the Tories so common? Is it really fair that the Lib Dems have taken such a hammering compared to the rest of the ‘establishment’? Will the Greens face the some blockade of disdain when they find that free higher education is undeliverable for the mean time too? The answer to the last two is probably not.

The widespread concern for UKIP’s place in the General Election next year is fair and founded. Nigel Farage’s ‘army’ is increasingly sounding like the self-professed ‘racist’ British National Party – in fact, a clip of Chris Huhne’s reaction to Nick Griffin’s policy on Question Time, a few years ago seems to mirror many of UKIP’s stances now. Their dubious morals are constantly under scrutiny and in truth detailing the never-ending list of the party’s gaffes would be tiring and depressing, especially as it never seems to dampen support. It’s time we as a righteous, moralistic electorate put UKIP to the sword like the Liberal Democrats have been for months. As Brian Paddick put it on Twitter; if you hate what UKIP and now Labour and the Conservatives stand for, then it’s time to reconsider voting Liberal Democrat.

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Political Ramblings of an 18-year-old

I’m not going to profess to being a political expert. There are plenty of issues and protocol that evades me but here is my take on the political situation in Britain.

Influence… Britain’s rag are able to sway many voters.

If you frequent Twitter or any other forum across the country, you will find discontented adults moaning about the political landscape. They usually brand the party or parties in charge as ‘useless’. So how do the electorate punish those who have let them down? They vote in the other party who failed them the term before. This country has got in to an unbreakable cycle of electing Conservatives and then Labour only to be let down by both. Weirdly, people haven’t seemed to catch on. They’re more than happy voting for these two dead horses. In fairness, many people are misinformed or swept up in media hype over political issues. It’s no secret that newspapers and a person’s parents have a huge part to play in the development of a person’s political views.

In fact, before the 1920s, the Liberal party were the second party to the Conservatives, a feat that their phoenix organisation, the Liberal Democrats have failed to recapture. In fact, many people today in the UK, still support the views and policies of the Lib Dems but given a political system that favours just two parties, many consider a vote for the Lib Dems, a wasted one. Many people are unaware that popular policies such as the NHS, Keynesian economics and marriage equality were pioneered by the Liberals but still Labour and Conservatives top the British political hierarchy.

Frozen out… The electoral system does not accommodate for three parties.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a Lib Dem supporter. But this post isn’t necessarily aimed to get you to support them. I’m more about campaigning for people to adopt greater political awareness. Misinformation has played a key role in the popularisation of the right-wing UKIP. Many have concerns about the UK’s EU membership. Whether that be right or wrong, few seem to realise that UKIP do not promote patriotism but instead nationalism, a superiority over others due to nationality. A similar political ideal to the Nazi party of 1930s Germany. I’m not saying UKIP are nazis but they are a party that stands for bigotry, an intolerance of equality for sexual minorities, represented by members of a racist disposition.

This lack of understanding leads to the wrong people ruling the country. In my opinion, talk of extending the vote to 16-year-olds is wasted when most 18-year-olds don’t even care enough to voice their opinion. Why? Schools do not focus enough on promoting political sentience, so kids end up voting how the newspapers or their family tell them to, if they even bother in the first place.

I doubt you’ll find many 18-year-olds like me that want to encourage young people to take an interest. How can we complain when we’re voting for people we don’t even support? To be frank, schools should be in charge of developing political ideals in youths, after all that’s why subjects like PDP, PHSE and Citizenship were invented. So now, I challenge everybody reading this to answer the very short quizzes below and make an informed decision in 2015.

http://www.whoshouldyouvotefor.com/england.php (includes UKIP and Green party)

http://www.whodoivotefor.co.uk/ (includes Green party)

My same-sex marriage speech

I was asked to do this by quite a few people actually. So theoretically, if I were to stand up in the House of Commons or House of Lords, this is what I would say;

I have always maintained that the best way to resolve an argument is to talk through both sides of it and make a decision, and that’s what I intend to do here.
I’m strongly in favour of passing the legislation that makes same-sex marriage legal but in truth, that’s irrelevant. In the next few moments, I won’t be speaking as a Liberal. I will simply be pleading my case as a human being.

The reasons for favouring this legislation are less in volume but no less in importance than those opposing it. Gay men and women across the country simply want the right to be able to stand before their loved ones and celebrate their relationship. It’s really that simple. To those, that say this right is already afforded to the gay community through means of a civil partnership, hear this; separate but equal is never equal, separate but equal is an inequality disguised as compromise.  The LGBT community of this country simply want to know that their inter-personal relationships are just as valued as any other.

They are the few but valid arguments supporting this legislation. The arguments opposing them are more numerous but dismissible. Many of these arguments are strongly linked to religion. Some theists out there are worried that the inclusion of gay couples will threaten God’s idea of marriage. Those advocates seem to have ignored much of what God said was acceptable in marriage. In fact, concubines, prostitutes, incest, rape and even kitchen condiments are all feasible in a Bible-based marriage but a relationship between two committed women for example is classified as immoral. This is not me taking a bash at religion; this is me taking a bash at religion trying to impose its views on government. Politics is a secular matter and theists have no right to assert their religious laws on the entire nation. Others claim that if this legislation passes in to law then those of a religious disposition will be forced to offer a double bed to gay couples at a bed & breakfast or to make a cake for a gay wedding, those worried about this possibility should probably find themselves another career because if you’re unable to cater for all cross-sections of society, no matter their gender, race or sexuality then public service really isn’t the place for you.
Away from religion, others are worried that this legislation will destroy the sanctity of their marriage and threaten their union. These people can be assured that allowing others the same union they have will not threaten theirs, these couples will still bicker about who gets the remote control and what to have for tea. This inclusion of gay people in to marriage will threaten heterosexual marriage much less than say Kim Kardashian’s 72-hour, just-for-fun marriage.
Some parents are also fearful of explaining to their children that two people of the same gender can be in love. Children are not naturally bigoted; if you tell them something they will accept it, these are people that believe in Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. As a matter of fact, just this week I saw a mother post on to Twitter how she told her kids about their uncle who happened to be gay and her story went like this;
“I’ve been forced to explain homosexuality to my kids (aged 3 and 4) because their uncle is gay. This incredibly difficult and traumatic experience went as follows:

Child: Why does Uncle Bob go everywhere with Pete?
Me: Because they’re in love, just like Mummy and Daddy are.
Child: Oh. Can I have a biscuit?”

Every child is different obviously but this just isn’t an argument. A child is a parent’s responsibility. How can you ask a portion of the population to omit their human rights just to save you a potentially awkward conversation?

Then there are those who take it a step further and consider homosexuality unclean or unnatural, to those people I say this; homosexuality is commonly observed behaviour in tens of thousands of species, homophobia is only commonly observed in one. You tell me, which is unnatural.

Progressing down the line of opposition, parties like UKIP claim this isn’t the right time. Funnily enough, I agree. This legislation should have been passed sooner. How can we wait on human rights? Imagine if Rosa Parks had decided to sit at the back of the bus because it wasn’t a convenient time to make her stand that day, somebody. When will the time be? There will always be issues in this country, meaning there will always be an excuse for parties such as UKIP to set this policy aside.

My favourite argument against this legislation is that this policy of equal marriage will lead to incestuous marriages, marriages with animals etc. Simply put, that is nonsense. When women were granted the right to vote, it didn’t go to dogs afterwards. A goldfish can’t sign a marriage licence. This is no slope and it isn’t slippery.

Those opposed to this legislation, and this may be controversial, needn’t be considered anything else but homophobes. If you want to deny someone equal rights because of their sexuality under any of the aforementioned sub-arguments then that is homophobia. That is hate against love. This legislation isn’t about gay rights; it’s about human rights that have been denied to people of a certain predisposition for too long.

We hear frequently in this country of gay teenagers taking their own lives because they are treated like second-class citizens for being who they are. They hate themselves that much because they’re being brought up in a world, where there love is less important than their families’ or their friend’s. If we don’t allow this legislation to pass then more and more generations will grow up thinking their sexual preference means they’re worth less than everybody else. This law will change social norms and literally save lives. Change is coming, whether people like it or not. And those who oppose same-sex marriage today will forever be mocked on the wrong side of history.