The problem with policy

c: | f: /

One week to go until December’s UK general election. Will anyone we put in office make a difference without being prodded? I’ll give you a clue: the answer rhymes with low ducking pay.

The election next week is going to be entertaining. I have no particular political allegiance: left right, centre, purple, whatever. The problem, as The Architect posits in The Matrix, is choice. Or, in this case, lack thereof:

  • The Conservatives tax the middle classes out of existence and divide it between themselves and the rich.
  • Labour tax the middle classes out of existence and divide it between themselves and the poor.
  • No other party gets a look-in because the media are bought and paid for by the two dominant groups.

So, once again, just two horses to back. Red or blue. Left or right. Black and white…. right?

Maybe not.

Top-down doesn’t effect change

Boris Johnson is a joke. Jeremy Corbyn is a joke. All other political parties are either a joke or have scant policies that aren’t viable to make any difference to what matters – the earth’s survival.

They all print shiny pamphlets and spam constituents with letters on fancy paper claiming they’ll fund this, do that, fix what matters using magic beans and unicorn lips, and do it better than that other lot who just want to hammer nails into your gran when she goes for a check-up. They have a policy for everything. And every one is not worth the tree that died to tell you about it.

Policies won’t save us. People will. You and me.

Brexit, tax dodging, the NHS, food safety, immigration, the economy… it’s all kind of important, but largely a distraction and fluff that bears little relevance unless we all knuckle down and do something about the impending disaster(s), towards which those in power are driving us in their unending quest for power and wealth.

They don’t care. Never have. Doesn’t matter who’s in power, they’re going to sit pretty, amass wealth and hope to buy themselves out of a crisis when the world caves under our collective mismanagement.

Bottom-up does effect change

What can we do about it? Sit at home, elect some amoral loser who pretends to care, and wait for them to grow a conscience? Hardly.

How about instead, we get off our arses and make one change, be that not throwing away perfectly good food that’s out-of-date or clubbing together to stop big corporations behaving badly, the power to effect change is in our hands, not theirs.

By all means, vote the way you’ve always voted. Vote the same way your parents did. Vote for someone different. Vote for someone with the craziest haircut. Just vote, because that gives you a voice.

I appreciate that institutionalised voting takes place. In such ‘safe’ wards, if someone stuck the correct colour rosette to a muffin, it would be put in power. Doesn’t matter. Vote. Get it over with, then forget which colour rosette the “winner” wears and get passionate about one issue you want to see changed. Research it, club together with your mates and make sure whomever you or your constituency have elected get the message: loud, clear and reasonable.

Change isn’t cheap. It costs time. Five minutes to set up a petition. Ten minutes to chat with your neighbours and find out if they want to help make things better. Half an hour to compose a solid email or letter to your MP. They don’t know if you voted for them or not. They have to respond if you’re polite, even if they reply on three pages of ridiculously expensive paper waffling in language none of us understand.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck Furby, change doesn’t start from the top; it starts from the bottom. Us. We massively outnumber those we place in power. They have to do what we say, regardless of which way we voted. Please use that power for good. For real change.

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