• Time For A New Politics

    by  • January 27, 2010 • Politics • 12 Comments

    For most of my adult life I’ve been involved in various forms of campaigning across a variety of issues. I’ve worked with politicians at all levels, and advised and consulted. But I’m increasingly of the opinion that the politicians we have are part of the problem, not the solution. We face the greatest crises – multiple crises – we have ever encountered, and the vast majority of MPs are simply not up to the job of tackling those great problems.

    For the last few weeks I’ve only sniped and snarked about this across Facebook and Twitter. But I’m starting to wonder if we have to accept this incompetence and inadequacy with the usual British stoicism or if there’s something we can do about it.

    While I ponder on what can be done, I am happy to support this initiative by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, a charitable foundation. It’s a small step, but the more people speak up, the more those at the top can be encouraged to listen. Watch the video, then vote for whatever you believe in.

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    12 Responses to Time For A New Politics

    1. January 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm

      As commented on facebook – I totally agree. Everything wrong with modern institutions has it’s roots from an age long past and of little relevance. Politics and Education to name just two. There needs to be big change but there’s little point in ranting and rebelling without putting forward ideas for change no matter how radical. It gets the conversation started at least. I … See morepersonally think that the environment will be at the head of everything we do soon and mould our future. Food, water, resources and fuel aren’t just things to discuss as an afterthought, they are our life. I don’t think our politicians are up to the job.

    2. January 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm

      It doesn’t help that we persist with the antiquated first-past-the-post system of voting. It not only disenfranchises a large proportion of the population but it also ensures that any revolutionary thinker is kept well on the leash.
      It makes my blood boil when some ill-politicised dolt proclaims that “if you don’t vote you have no cause to moan”.

    3. January 27, 2010 at 11:54 pm

      Clive – totally agree about first past the post (I’m a member of a group called Make Votes Count). The Tories and the old Labour dinosaurs refuse to allow people to have a proper voice – and I don’t mean Gordon Brown’s half-assed assent to alternative vote. It needs to be proper proportional representation.

      Pete – and again, I agree. We have 20th century (and earlier) institutions gasping for life in a 21st century environment that is so far removed from what they know that it might as well be another planet.

    4. John Legrys
      January 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

      As a local elected Labour Councillor and Leader of my Group and has been involved in community politics for most of my adult life – I am afraid I tire of the ever spiralling debates on ‘new politics’. This debate has gone on since – well only the gods know – and was well discussed Machiavelli back in the middle ages. It’s not a ‘new debate’.
      Maybe I am an old farting dinosaur – but the clear reality is that there is no one holding anyone back from being involved in the current UK political process.
      All people must get involved – whether it’s via single issue groups via social networking through to the shear hard work of being a real live politician living in a well provided western capitalist economy.
      Many people complain about being politically disenfranchised – but ‘never have the time’ to do anything about it – until Tesco or Travellers want to build next door. They then complain that ‘the Counci’ ‘Government’ (someone else) l should stop development on their favourite piece of land – but want to sell their land to the highest bidder.
      The ‘new politics’ should be about being actively involved – and taking time to understand how humans & society work. Lets have some real new politics – and discuss how we want to live our lives with others on this planet.

    5. January 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

      I don’t think anyone disagrees about getting involved, John, which is what this Joseph Rowntree campaign is all about. It’s about the people who do choose to get elected not listening, or playing the same old 20th century games, and not facing up to the problems that lie ahead.

    6. Markus
      January 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      This is the trouble.People crow about whats wrong with society and do naff all about it..And dont say what difference does it or would it make because you cannot complain about it unless you actively try to do somethiong about it.Mark you say its about the powers that be not listening..well they would do if there was enough of a voice but you know very well that the reason why things dont change is because the people ( voters) out there are quite happy to breaze through life not giving a shit.You can pass the buck onto your average politician( which are all pretty useless until a mass of people object about something then they u turn like theres no tomorrow.But I think its pretty disingenuos of you to blame politicians as you know we live in a culture (Diana culture) where no one wants to be left out of a craze of the day.You should be ranting about the public about how fkn lazy most people are about how most dont give a sht..alot of Authors on twitter etc crow about life but have all the time in world to twitter the fk out of there twitter page..how about writing a few letters gettings your neighbours to get involved..start a website up..Mark its the chaos theory in motion .You cant fall back on this tired notion that its someone elses fault about society.Some people need to follow not lead.Im sure you would agree.But dont fall back on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to say ” Hey im involved in some way” take the lead yourself.

    7. January 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      You shouldn’t go pointing fingers without knowing facts, Markus. I’ve been an elected councillor, in the cabinet of my local council with a budget of £10m and tackling serious issues. I’ve been (and still am for all I know) on the parliamentary slate of a major political party, should I ever want to find myself a constituency. I’ve led campaigns on the environment and social deprivation, and a load of other stuff. I’ve held office in a union and organised campaigns there. I’m saying this *because* I’ve done all that. The system is flawed, and with the problems approaching, it’s going to cause misery for many people.

      Yes, a good portion of the public doesn’t want to get involved – but that’s always been the case. Politicians have accepted the job of motivating those people, and being a voice for them – and they’re failing , so they need to be called out on it. If a soldier turns his back on the enemy, you call him out on it. If a policeman fails to arrest a criminal, you do the same. And if politicians – who have applied for the job, and are well-paid for the job – aren’t up to the task, you call them out.

      If you accept a broken system, then you deserve what you get. Authors, and other people with a platform, have a right to point out that it’s not working – on Twitter, or anywhere. It’s not passive, it’s not negative. Making people take notice of it is all part of the Chaos Theory that you mention.

      So, just for the record and just this once, I *have* done it, and I think I’ve earned the right to speak out about it.

    8. Markus
      January 29, 2010 at 8:27 pm

      Elected councillor?on the slate of a major political party etc..POLITICS MATE..meaningless..Youve missed the point im making quite conveniently.Ive seen what moves the arse of councillors and commitees and its not your power my friend its the publics power of threatening to not vote in the council unless things get done.Your power as a councillor stops dead when enough people vote against . Mark sorry but that means nothing unless the system your in wants to change and if you actually thought that being an elected councillor would give you a voice in affairs then thats pretty misguided.Ive seen how local councils move and the red tape that you have to go through to get things moving .Its like a politiican saying “I do so much work and wanted to get into power to change things” balls to that..Complete lies..you only go into those roles to taste the power.Most people with a brain cell would not bother to vote..it is a meanigless task.Who ever gets in would follow same path to be reelected .We as individuals ( I:E charities) have more power than most people know.You can say all you want about how youve been elected to this group or that but by the mear fact youve come on and told us that your not happy with the way things are ..well mark you aint very clever is all ill say ..and forgive me but abit slow on the take too.You want to change things you would get out there join the organisations you now join Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Maybe alittle less blogging and whinging and alittle more doing ..but its takes effort to DO so maybe whinging is easier.

    9. Markus
      January 29, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      anyway Happy Newyear all.I wont be back to comment..too many things to do.

    10. January 29, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      And blimey are you missing the point. It’s all politics – doesn’t matter which level you’re operating at, and nobody can pretend they’re outside the system. Or maybe I’m not expressing myself simply enough. But thanks for dropping by.

    11. January 30, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      Thirty years ago there was a campaign to put animals into politics. Boy did we work hard to make it work and for a while there were promises and intentions expressed by the major parties keen to get anyone on their side, except naturally the Tories. But it really felt as if the tide were turning and now all these years later things are probably just as bad as they ever were and you know animals will always be mistreated in the most unpleasant of ways. What do you do? I can sympathise with most of what Marcus was saying except for the personal attacks. Why do that? You know someone has lost the argument as soon as they start yelling, belittling and blaming it all on the person they are addressing.

    12. January 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      I sympathise too. At the moment I’m searching around for different ways of getting things changed. I’ve tried it on the inside and learnt a lot. But people who are not connected to political parties have the most strength. Politicians follow the path of least resistance. Whoever does the leaning gets the best results.

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