Send in the clowns
I think I like Russell Brand (without knowing him personally of course). I didn’t much like the juvenile prank played on Andrew Sachs (after all I am a huge Fawlty Towers fan) but, on the other hand, I watched with glee as someone, with both celebrity and more than his fair share of eloquence, publically dismembered some of the establishment greats. Even that articulate old fart Paxman looked nonplussed (Jeremy Paxman’s The English is one of my favourite books by the way).
So, the emperor’s not got any clothes on then, eh?
I agree with loads of what Mr. Brand says but he’s wrong to dismiss the democratic mechanism itself. It is still the key process for a society to be able to collectively impose itself upon opportunists, criminals, parasites (eg. those who make a profession out of being wealthy), corporations, bent politicos, etc.
The fact that our democracy is corrupt and broken to the point of hilarity-were-it-not-so-dangerous, means that deep reform is desperately needed; but however you change it, you cannot get rid of it. That’s why I support the work of Unlock Democracy.
Who votes wins
Saying your vote is irrelevant will never persuade those believers in enlightened self-interest that their votes are irrelevant. They are confident that their votes are not (and I agree with them). If you want your views reflected you have no choice but to win the fight against those who disagree with you. Believe me, they will vote. Always.
A good example
Pensioners are determined voters; it is a deeply-felt part of their value system. I note that pensioners are worried over by politicians quite a lot; there is considerable fretting and frowning over how to bring dignity to their existence. I also note that, at pensionable age, we instantly transform into ‘treasures’ who have ‘worked hard all their lives’ and ‘made their contribution to society’ – even, mark you, those previously on benefits.
In stark contrast, the dignity of young people (not renowned for their voting diligence) is nothing to fuss over. It would seem that dignity is an entitlement achieved through only two methods ’round these parts. One, become old and knackered, or two, have loads of dosh.
Our economy has more people of working age than jobs for which we are able (or should that be willing?) to pay. This state of affairs is described as under-employment; governments worry about it in a noisy sort of way (because it makes good copy about them “caring” for the plight of the victims).
Rather than admit the failing is that of our society and not of our kids, the institutions of the state treat young people who cannot find work as inadequate, unmotivated or both. One mainstream proposal has it that they should be forced to be “useful” providers of 30-hours free community labour in repayment of a debt to society incurred through a week’s benefit payments.
I’m not all right, Jack
To our middle-to-end-of-career successes I say this: if, as citizens, you truly cared for future generations, you would be delighted to reduce your own working hours, take the resulting income hit and free up space in the workplace for them. So they can have a share of the pie. So they get the dignity of a job instead of the insulting combination of inadequate hand-outs with a back-hander of moral debt. Although, let’s face it, most of you are only interested in your own children; the devil take the rest, eh?
Be in it to win it
To our young electorate I say this; the oldies vote and the politicians worry how they might react to policy. You? An electoral irrelevance – unless your generation shows the powers-that-be the only real teeth it has. Never forget: the bark of protest means sweet Fanny Adams to a politico unless it’s backed up by the bite of a lost vote. Have at ’em lads and lasses!
Anger is an energy
Don’t waste your anger on building up frustration and resentment. Start kicking up a fuss. Make the oldies miserable, make your parents miserable and, most of all, make the politicians wish they had chosen a different career. Previous generations have got angry and forced change. It is your responsibility to take the next steps towards a better future; don’t expect your parents’ generation to help out – they are Thatcher’s chutney-brained children who were taught to help no-one but themselves.
I know many youngsters are taking the fight forward through protest groups. These groups are great; I have been involved in quite a few myself over the years. However, protest is about objecting to plan A. Protest alone cannot design and implement any sort of plan B; like it or lump it, for that you need politics…