BATMAN DOESN'T LOVE ME ANYMORE.

9.3.04:

Oh, for the love of God, Patrick, while you just shut the fuck up already? Of course I know how Blair's mind works and how he reached to decision he did; it worked by not thinking at all, and following his own gut rationality. That's how all minds work, you little prick. The point is, he is the embodiment of the national opinion of a democratic nation, and so his opinion counts for little more then shit all. I wish he'd stop doing that crappy 'both our opinions are equally valid, and I just happen to be insanely anti-Arab' crap; last time I checked, my opinion didn't qualify my to bomb the shit out of yr stupid arse for voting in a President that threatens the world stage way more then Hussein did.

Yeah, we're all interconnected (everyone gets how Blair didn't make up International Liberalism in 1999, and wasn't even the first holder of the Executive in a major Western power to translate it in to policy; even Clinton beat him here, with his 1993 State of the Union / 1992 inauguration speach (I can't remember which), and since when was it OK to go Look! This is an International Liberal policy! just because seeling it as the Realist, self-preservation policy it really is failed?), so why the hell can't I have a vote in yr President, Patrick?

And I'm going to say this again, because I don't seem to ever stop saying it; I'd have been all for getting rid of Hussein, and emancipating the people of Iraq, but the US/UK , in the state they are in at the moment, with the arguments they are making and the track record they have, and just so insanely obviously not the people to be trying to build a peace. The point is that something should have been done a fucking age ago, back when everyone who want the war now weren't caring too much that the guy was gassing people.

At least I have the basic decency to be morally consistent.

PS. The very long post below is Cass' fault, because he pointed out that at least America have a Democrat to vote for, which, while the choice may be a bit fried-shit,-boiled-shit, beats the hell out of fried-shit,-fried-shit-with-hating-gay-people-on-top. I thank God my constituency is Lib Dem / Conservative so I don't even have to think about voting Blair back in.

_chris! // 13:50

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8.3.04:

I do realise that the below is very long. Can someone who lived through the 1980s please tell me how I'm supposed to cope with Micheal Howard without just fucking shouting all the time, sometimes to the point where I worry about my health?

_chris! // 21:54

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It is possibly the single easiest target for someone on the periphery of the establishment to attack. A large state is an easy symbol of oppression, which is where Nazism’s long term appeal has fallen away. No, today the state takes away a man’s liberty. Imagine how much easier it would be for a middle class family man to be at liberty today if he didn’t have to deal with trade unions fighting for his right to earn a decent wage, or a national government over-seeing the road network to allow him to get to work every day, or a British Broadcasting Corporation creating a common culture to bind together he and his workmates and give them something to talk about during the day.

What liberty, really, is it that this man is lacking? The liberty to advise against recruiting a black man in case he is taking work from a native? The liberty to sit at work all day, happy in the knowledge that his children won’t be taught in school that day that gay men don’t rape babies? The liberty to stare up female colleagues skirts to prove his promiscuous heterosexuality in the face of all those New Men liberals in Whitehall?

Small government, non-interventionist government, regulatory government, is the greatest myth the self-identifying middle-class has to tell themselves these days. It takes as many men in Whitehall to regulate the privatised rail industry as it took to run its nationalised forefather. Positive discrimination, yes, is a nasty and unfortunate policy, but is transitional only, and one that is necessary in a capitalist system; the non-existence of markets in the real world, where they are constantly undermined by human nature, must be rectified by forcefully demonstrating the worth of the maligned, the ignored, the prejudiced against. We shall call it socialisation, and it is the new industrialisation, because we’re all post-materialists now.

The state as oppressor is, further, the refuge of the classist; a variation on the theme of anti-academia prevalent in the rather hopeful socialist overtones of the Conservative message. Certainly the representative nature of the state may be called in to question, as may its intentions. We may question its common personification as The Man, as a faceless bureaucrat, and challenge it, because challenge it we must, if it doesn’t come up to our standards, but we shouldn’t just call it The Man and throw stones at it.

The continued rhetoric of the state as an alien outside of us; the faceless bureaucratic male in the face of human variation and experience, is compelling but self-perpetuating. The problem lies not in the actual state, but that we do not see ourselves as part of it. So, tax is money stolen from the rich to give to the gay, public housing a contravention of Darwin’s principles and the academics, in their ivory towers, run our lives with their elitist, chattering classes opinions.

This is, of course, a great big lie, which doesn’t stop people seeing it as such, and so it becomes so. The state is alienated from its constituents, simply by virtue of their seeing it as alienating. Certainly there are structural concerns with British democracy as it stands, but these are not concerns that will be effectively countered by Howard’s proposals. We will be left instead with a state incapable of reforming the elements of society that need to be reformed and should be reformed through a truly national organ of power. Local communities will hardly become more integrated and safe if the rule of law were turned over to the Neighbourhood Watches, whose guise of grass-roots democracy makes them probably the biggest threat to representative democracy in the Conservatives’ massed ranks of antisocial malcontents. Instead, the state will simply stand back and allow homophobia, misogyny, racism, ignorance and fear to fester happily in the nation at large, as to do otherwise would contravene the people’s liberty to hate.

**

Howard also speaks of knocking down those barriers to choices that are currently only available to a moneyed class somehow identified, incredibly, as the anti-Conservative Guardianistas, and make them available to all. This ideal, currently manifested most clearly in the Health Vouchers scheme – most clearly because it is the only policy that could conceivably function in a country of this, or any, size – does little more then expose the worst excesses of profit-mongering in the private sector; it beggars belief that Howard should propose that the government will pay cost for any operation you may wish to have in a private sector, and all you have to do is scrape together the mark-up, and still hold up the private sector as providing value for money.

The Conservatives appear to be the only group of people in the country left who take Marx’s historical determinism seriously, and so are continuing that fine tradition of providing piecemeal reform to stave off the worst possible excesses of the disenfranchised. So in 1832, the factory masters were allowed in, on the theoretical grounds that they represented their employees, and on the practical grounds that if you cut them they bled Establishment, and since then the Parliament’s been reformed a bit, a few more people have been allowed to vote for it, to stand in it, to vote in it, etc. In fact, despite the fantastically slow, reluctant and ideologically dubious nature of the change, which renders just about every man implicated in its enforcement null in the eyes of democrats, we’ve been left with, in the Lower House, and adequately reasonable model of exercising your public, political voice with few administrative, structural changes to be made.

Which poses a serious problem for the Conservatives, who are somehow supposed to prevent these people from going mad and ruining it all. He’s been gifted, at least, that they all seem to be lurching to the irrational Right, where he’s infinitely more comfortable, then to the traditional Left. Except that he can’t pander to the British National Party contingent because even he realises that immigrants are vital to our economy. Because it would be impossible, morally and practically, to enfranchise these people in the way they would like to be, he has instead set about legitimising their concerns by creating a political process no one really knew they weren’t a part of to begin with.

Ever since the monolithic, awesome, crushing juggernaut of anti-thought that was Thatcher’s New Public Management, the ideal that the rest of the world has had some trouble, to say the least, catching up with has been the concept of an irrelevant national system. It is here that it meets the similarly thoughtless Small Government ‘Theory’, with its desperate attempts to create a façade of liberty, and from this point of convergence, the ideology goes on to say that what all people need is an equal point of entry in to a market system for all people to be equal, for all of liberty’s criterion to be met. ‘The choices that previously only money could buy’ are pretty obviously there for all see; the choice to not pay tax through a complex system of offshore bank accounts and spiteful trust funds, for instance, or the choice to buy policy innitatives from the national parties. These, of course, are not the choices the Conservatives wish to present us with. Rather, they wish to present us with a choice of hospital and medical treatment.

Of course, they do not wish to give us all a genuinely equal and fair entry point into this particular market, either through enforcing such high wages that we can all afford to buy these services or by absorbing the whole thing in to the National Helath Service and making the only requirement the rather fair and understandable ‘that you are ill’, but rather providing us with a Health Voucher that will allow those already able to afford private health care a discount, and the lower middle class the ability to present as non-working-class, because nothing would be worse then loosing this class to an imaginary Socialist movement hell-bent on providing a functioning and rational framework with which to understand their grievances. Of course, all those who still can’t afford private health care were probably fired from their job because they’re gay / couldn’t afford a good enough education to get a good enough job to earn a high enough wage / are women who are yet to find a man to pay for these things for her will all be left with a poorer, second-rate, lower-tier, National health service. Obviously none of these people deserve healthcare in a liberal society.

**

The very ideas of negative liberty, and of a market-based society, are both repugnant ideals to pedal at all, but especially here, where they are being sold by a gentleman demagogue to a constituency of racists and the wilfully ignorant, complete with the apparent aim of widening this constituency through hateful lies and tabloid headline generation. There are reasons why we have laws against blatantly lying in the media about things, and it’s because people vote according to what they read / hear / see in it, because when it comes down to it people don’t actually want social capital reduced, and so will believe what they read, and they’ll read filth like Howard and believe him to be offering them a better way of life. Society is a lot closer to ideal then it is in the Conservatives’, and even the sales-needing newspapers’ interests to admit, and the last thing we need is retrogressive, hateful liars apparently bent on destroying it.

_chris! // 14:03

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