April 4, 2013

Uborka gets political

I wake up in the morning to Radio 4, mainly because Thought For The Day is always good motivation to get out of bed and switch it off. This morning I am awakened by the smug mealy-mouthed whine of some git blaming the welfare state for the deaths of six children. I have gone about the rest of my day in a depressed cloud. There are horrible parallels here, the state casting one social group (the poor) as subhuman, evil, to blame for all that is wrong with society. Next they will be forced to live in ghettos and work for nothing. Oh…

I find myself in unusual agreement with the Church of England, which on Sunday accused the government of  “promoting six myths about the poor: that they are lazy; that they are addicted to drink or drugs; that they are not really poor; that they cheat the system; that they have an easy life; and that they caused the deficit.”

How can I stand by and let this happen? How can you? What are we going to do about it?


29 thoughts on “Uborka gets political

  1. Personally, I think there’s no chance for any of the three main parties to now be anything other than indistinguishable tossbags of the first order.

    As a result, I’ve just re-registered the domain for the Political Party I was thinking of starting back in the wake of the last General Election.

    I’ll be spending some time thinking of pledges/manifesto ideas too – I’ve a few already, some stupid, some guaranteed vote-winners, so that should be fun.

    I’m even looking into the proper registration of said party with Electoral Commission. I’m sure there’s something major that I’m missing, but so far it all looks a bit simple…

  2. I suppose it’s got to be simple, if politicians can understand it.

  3. Yes, I was just going to comment that it can’t be that hard, looking at who else has managed to achieve it. So here in our hotbed of torydom, I’m looking forward to the revolution very much.

  4. I have an unfashionable view on the current political and social malaise affecting this country. It’s not one I often share because, I admit, it provokes wide-eyed stares and accusations of being mad and out of touch.

    For all that the web and social media has apparently made protest easier, I think that all it’s done is fragmented it. Yes, there are e-petitions here – some hugely successful, like the current one regarding IDS living on £53 a week – and movements that have emerged out of social media there (e.g. UK Uncut), but although the total of voices raised in disapproval is probably huge, they’re all over the place and the message becomes blurred.

    In 1989/90, the movement against the Poll Tax – the pinnacle of Thatcherite ideals, it seemed – didn’t have the net. Yet, to my mind, it successfully organised itself into a mass movement far better than any of the current ones. it culminated in the Poll Tax riot which, although it degenerated into violence (at which point I, er, bravely went and hid in a tube station, yup), pretty much brought down Thatcher. True, the Tories limped on (and won in ’92 by some awful fluke that I still don’t understand some 20 years on), but I’d argue that Thatcherite ideals were never as powerful again – until Cameron became PM, of course, and is going some way to prove himself even worse.

    What’s needed, then, I think, is a coordinated, properly organised movement against this government, against the way it’s changing society, demonising the poor and removing just about everything they need to survive with an ounce of human dignity. That would mean mass protests of the likes of the Poll Tax demos, with various groups coming together to be one bloody loud voice against this government, and that – vitally – needs to include the poor and disenfranchised. The worrying thing, of course, is that such a mass movement could also result in violence (which is what people have immediately assumed I’m condoning when I talk about such things – I’m not).

    Do I think that’s going to happen? No, sadly not. Not in this country, anyway. I think we’ve not only lost faith in politics, but we’ve lost faith in mass protest movements and have come to believe that campaigns of clicktivism can solve everything.

  5. It’s true, and the amount of effort it would take to bring about such a major and co-ordinated activity is daunting.

  6. Found myself looking for the like button at the end of Vaughan’s comment. Which is probably precisely the kind of apathy he’s railing against.

  7. Yes, quite. I think the problem is that many people – and I’ll freely admit I was one of them at first – thought that social media was the great new saviour when it came to dissent. The number of people I heard saying things like “Well, the Arab Spring happened via Facebook and Twitter!” was astonishing. They seemed to forget the small point that while such huge movements were *planned* on those channels, it then involved hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets. We’ve seized upon the first part and aren’t shy about protesting online, but so much of it doesn’t really go anywhere or do anything because only a hardened few are committed to taking the next step into the non-virtual world. It needs sheer weight of numbers behind it for those who don’t generally engage in protest or dissent to join up.

  8. But the next problem is that a non-violent protest is too easy to ignore. It’ll only work if the politicians are genuinely afraid.

  9. Fine, I’ll start my own political party. With blackjack and hookers.

  10. Yes, that’s the unspoken – and frequently unpalatable – truth of such protests. There was some fear surrounding the riots of 2011, but – perhaps fortunately for the government – they weren’t organised and the violence was, sadly, more about just chucking missiles at the police and stealing consumer goods. They were scared in 1990 because the violence was (even though I’m aware that this might partly be viewed through rose-tinted spectacles) actually *about* the issue at the heart of the protest. They felt the genuine public fury.

  11. You can have blackjack and hookers, so long as the blackjack and hookers lead to the overthrow of the government. I’m thinking Profumo scandal… Gosh, imagine the shock if politicians should have mistresses!

  12. Hmm. I don’t think it *has* to start with violence – and hopefully wouldn’t end with it either! But, for instance, if the symbolic centre of a number of large UK cities was taken over by huge, mass sit-in protests, would this government *really* want to be seen ordering the police to remove people by force? Or sending the army in? I’m fondly imagining a huge protest village, Tahrir Square size, in Trafalgar Square or Parliament Square. If the numbers were big enough (i.e. not the relatively small numbers camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral), I think that would be quite a wake-up call.

  13. Again, the government have the media by the balls, so they can paint the protestors however they like. So first we must reclaim the media.

  14. Well, if you can get hold of a tank to invade a TV station, I’ll certainly help run URTV (Uborka Revolutionary TV Network). I’ll do the weather forecasts.

  15. I wouldn’t aim for violent revolution – well, not until I lost the election, anyway – but would aim for providing concepts that would actually a) fix things and b) get people saying “actually, that’s what I want”.

    At least in my head, that’s the crux of things – make sense, get voters agreeing with your ideas, and actually, you know, be the voice of the people. Instead of the current mob who say “Yes, I hear what you’re saying”, then ignore it completely for doing what they want.

    I think Vaughan’s right, that there is an awful lot of apathy around (I’d worry about it, but can’t be bothered) but I remain optimistic that there’s a way of getting people out of their clicktivism and actually doing something.

    Mind you, a political party with true social-network savvy/understanding would be an interesting concept in the first place, and would have far more chance of connecting with “ver peepple” now than poxy political broadcasts etc. And the basic ethos on that would just be “Look what Cameron’s doing, and do exactly the opposite”

  16. ” a political party with true social-network savvy/understanding” – that’s us, then, innit?

  17. Mark Zuckerberg is launching a “political advocacy group”.

    He’s also – possibly – a Republican.

    That rather scares me.

  18. Anyone who wants to post a bit of actual manifesto can have a guest login. Right, Pete?

  19. Bagsy me to be the environment secretary / energy minister when the party gets elected. But then the tories did promise to be the “greenest government ever” so there might not be much that I can add. *cough*Bastards*cough*

  20. I wanna be the minister for families. Is there such a thing? Can we make one?

  21. If we’re in power we can do whatever we want. Minister for families sounds awesome.

  22. Pingback: …grayblog…- separating the wanted from the unwanted » The long rambling post that I nearly put on Uborka

  23. I think I’d like to see some accountability and evidence…just once…with the clearly stated goal of improving life for the most people.

    ‘We want to do X, which we predict using these models (here they are, feel free to use them yourselves) will result in Y for 500,000 people. We believe this because we used the same models last year and they were pretty much on target.’


    ‘Ooh god things are BAD we need to do this, NOW or things will get worse, sport analogy sport analogy dunkirk spirit’

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