Okay, be honest. You did NOT see that coming did you? You woke up that morning and the whole world was about to change. You just couldn’t believe what you were hearing could you? You were shocked, just like me, I still cannot believe that they’ve cancelled American Idol!
I’ll be honest, I have no real feeling towards the long running US “talent” show that gave the world Kelly Clarkson and…..I’m assuming there were other winners? I’m just looking for a witty and amusing way in to talking about one of the the most shocking UK general elections in history!
So here we are. The votes are long since counted and now we’ve got a Conservative government for the next five years. Fully unleashed this time, no Liberal Democrats to hold their hand and say “y’know what, maybe don’t do this”. You could probably say that Tories are already on a full assault on the UK; reducing the annual household welfare cap from £26,000 to £23,000, pressing ahead with the removal of the Human Rights Act 1998 in favour of a UK Bill Of Human Rights, giving Michael Gove a job.
Michael Gove, you remember him. Former education minister who famously couldn’t even spell ‘Backa’…..’Bakker’…….’Chewbacca’ – BACCALAUREATE!!! Now in charge of UK justice, the man wanted to block school head teachers from reporting sex abuse in 2013, and ruled out a public enquiry in to allegations of paedophile politicians within Westminster in July 2014. Oh, and also the bloke who locked himself in a commons toilet (my personal favourite). How on earth this man even has a job, any job , never mind in the government, defies logic after his dire record as Minister for Education. Another appointment was to Justin Tomlinson as Disabilities Minister, who had previous voted against protecting benefits for disabled children. I wonder, is David Cameron actually going through his MP’s resume’s, looking at the way they have offended the UK people, and thought “now this will really piss them off”? I’m surprised they didn’t hire Jeremy Clarkson to be “Minster Of How To Really Look After Work Colleagues” #Satire. Much of this government just reeks of a giant middle finger to many people of the UK. For some, the fact that the Conservatives got the majority needed without any coalition just defies logic, especially when the opinion polls said otherwise.
Back when George W. Bush was the American President, I was off doing a bit of world travelling. Broadening my horizons was just one of the aims. During my occasional frantic search for accommodation, I would bump in to like-minded folk from the good old US of A. These Americans, so embarrassed as they were by their leader and their countries reputation, would check in to hostels saying they were Canadian. This would have hurt, especially when the relationship between America and Canada is a long standing joke – “Canada’s like a loft apartment above a really great party” Robin Williams once joked. Maybe here in the UK we had a similar situation. Maybe when being asked by pollsters (that’s people who collated polling data, not people from Poland, m’kay UKIPers!) who they were voting for, they were so embarrassed to tell the truth that they lied? Or maybe they just hadn’t made up their mind. Which ever way you look at this, you cannot blame the electorate. Everyone in this country over the age of 18 has the legal democratic right to vote for who they want in power. That right to vote came at great sacrifice and it should not be squandered or taken for granted. So you can imagine my annoyance, nay anger, when I hear people in the supermarket or the street complaining about the election result and then saying “I couldn’t be bothered to vote, knew this would happen”. 66.1% turned out for this election (up from 65.1% in 2010), that means that 33.9% of eligible voters did not vote. Oh yes, maths! If you are part of this 33.9% and you are complaining about the result you only have yourself to blame.
A lot of people place fault on the voting system itself. This whole ‘First Past The Post’ thing was fine when the race was between two political parties, but with at least eight at the very least attracting serious support from the voters, this system is completely irrelevant and needs to be changed. Proportional representation is something that seems to be called for at the end of every election, because the votes don’t seem to translate directly to seats. This year it was even more obvious that things have to change to really become fair.
Oh yes, graphs! No matter which way you try to spin this, the Conservatives received more votes, but Labour are much closer vote for vote. Scarily, so too are UKIP. You know UKIP. Lead by Nigel Farage who, after losing his seat in Thanet, became the only one of three resigning party leaders to be unable to resign effectively. No, I don’t like UKIP, but others do, just as they like the Green Party etc. That’s part of democracy. Electoral reform will go one step closer to reflecting the voters choices. There are now many petitions going around demanding a change to the UK voting system. Now is the time to get your voice heard and make our system fairer!
Away from the question of fairness, there is one of choice. Some people have blamed the parties opposing the Tories, especially their leaders. “Weak” and “unconvincing” were words I sometimes heard to describe the opposition. (In the interest of fairness yes I did hear some words to describe the current government but they’re not suitable for a serious political article like this. Okay, maybe I just couldn’t spell them!) I was surprised when Nick Clegg kept his seat and feel genuinely sorry for a man that I believe made a huge difference in the last government, simply by being a roadblock in the Conservatives plans. Sadly, all people remember is that he made a mistake and apologised for saying there would be free tuition fees. There will now be a lot of policies being put in to practise by this majority Conservative government that the Libs Dems would have opposed and blocked. The repeal of the Human Right Act is just one known example. Be in no doubt, Nick Clegg will be missed from Government.
Sadly Labour’s former leader will not be missed, simply because we never got to know him. Ed Milliband was jinxed from the moment he beat his brother David in the leadership contest, and from there he was treated, as Jeremy Paxman so eloquently put it, like “a north London geek”. There seemed to be some defence of Ed’s character through the completely unexpected “Millifandom” craze. But even with his apparent burgeoning sex appeal, together with his endorsement from “yoof” friendly anti-establishment “comedian” Russell Brand, and his polished speeches accompanied with apparent new found confidence couldn’t save him from such a crushing defeat.
During a prolonged commentary on my Twitter feed during the aftermath of the election, when we witnessed some impromptu demonstrations against austerity outside Downing Street (including rioting and defacing of a war memorial. On VE Day. Classy!) I made an observation:
Oh yes, Twitter! I was surprised at the support this comment received. I mean look at those stats – join the retweets and the favourites together and you’ve got double figures! (Maybe I need a reform too?) Still, this comment has stayed with me, and is the main reason for this article. For all the choice we have, the chance to vote, the reforms we want to make it fairer, you have to ask if this democracy of ours is really fair, when we are influenced so much by the media. Rupert Murdoch to me is the one who holds the power and influence over this country. He’s in our lives constantly. Many of us have him in our homes. Every time we switch on a Murdoch owned TV show, or open one of his papers, it’s like willingly inviting some kind of ancient lecherous vampire in to your house. News International is well known as a multinational corporation with it’s own political agenda. Their newspapers including the Sun and Times helped to promote the idea of Nick Clegg being unable to keep a promise, the idea of Milliband being that north London geek, supporting the Tories in England. It swung it’s support in Scotland behind the SNP who romped home to the kind of landslide victory politicians dream of.
I’ve read articles saying that Murdoch isn’t anywhere near as influential as he used to be. Ed Miliiband even said it in his little chat with Russell Brand, but I wonder if he too is now re-evaluating that comment. Murdoch’s power, while diluted in recent years with the phone hacking scandal, the closure of News Of The World, and the public using the internet a lot more to gather information, is still just as potent and as poisonous. I saw that former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has advised his party that they need to return to the ways of New Labour. That having a more politically centred approach is the best way to get Labour back in to Number 10. Yeah Mr. Blair, that and the huge public backing you received from Rupert Murdoch!
The relationship between the media and politics has always been a nice cosy one. It’s practically symbiotic. Politicians are media savy these days – they have to be for they’re in front of the camera. And that’s a huge problems. Everything is staged, nothing feels genuine. That’s why Farage was such a breath of fresh air, seeming to come across as a man who says it as he see’s it. Which is wrong by the way but, yes, praise for Farage there.
No British government since 1978 has been elected without the support of Rupert Murdoch. He has effectively been a political public relations machine for almost 40 years. But why is he so interested in British politics? During the investigations as part of the Leveson Enquiry, John Major revealed Murdoch’s long standing dislike of the European Union. It is alleged that Murdoch is strongly opposed to any anti-competition regulations that prevent his vast media empire from expanding. With the UK removed from the EU his empire could start to expand further, away from the prying eyes of Brussels,
It’s worth noting that the Leveson Enquiry report, published after investigations in to the News Of The World and the general ethics and practises of the British press, while welcomed by David Cameron, has not had it’s recommendations implemented.Ed Milliband wanted full legally binding press regulation, Nick Clegg also wanted to see changes, Cameron didn’t. Nothing has changed. Murdoch’s empire has helped to keep the conservatives in power through fear, casting doubt on Labour’s ability to manage the UK finances and portraying Ed Milliband as a self-serving traitor who would jump in to bed with the SNP at a moments notice just to gain power. All this while portraying the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon as the woman who will wreck our economy, and yet throwing it’s support behind this very party in the Scottish edition of the Sun, The whole 2015 General Election was manipulated by a greedy old man who wants nothing more than to grow his right wing media empire in the UK without any competition or laws to stop him.
So how do we stop him? Lets be honest, this government aren’t going to do a thing. It’s down to us. We stop buying in to Murdoch’s lies. Put down his papers; The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times. Authors – don’t use the Authonomy website any more – it’s owned by Murdoch, as is Harper Collins Publishers. Oh, and Sky TV BSkyB is still 39.1% owned by Murdoch, so switch off your Sky too! If he doesn’t have a reason to be in the UK, he’ll up and leave. So can you do it? CAN YOU??!
Note: Sky TV UK has just bought Sky Deutchland and Sky Italy from 21st Century Fox. This will create ‘Sky Europe’. Draw from that what you will.
Right, I’ve got the latest episode of The Blacklist recorded on Sky+, so I’m off! I will jut say this – watch this government closely. Very closely. I have to wonder if doing things like hiring Michael Gove to repeal the Human Rights Act is a distraction. No one expects it to succeed. Scotland have already said ‘no chance’. So what else are they doing in the background, hmm?
In the meantime, here’s a fun game – LET’S ALL SLAP MICHAEL GOVE!!