Skip to main content

Brand shows a new brand of politics

I am no great fan of Russell Brand. His brand (no pun intended) of humour doesn't appeal to me. But his appearance on BBC Question Time last night demonstrated one salient lesson. There is everything to be gained by confronting UKIP directly rather then pandering to the fears they stoke up about migration.  The Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat strategy of trying to outpace UKIP on this key issue simply tells voters that UKIP have got it right. Russell Brand demonstrated how to challenge UKIP on their own turf.  The audience responded. Yes, it was a divided audience but I had the impression of a sense of release that UKIP had finally been challenged and found wanting.

Brand's style cuts through the usual heavily nuanced political debate around a centre ground that is the size of a pin head.  One of the reasons why voters are turned off politics is that there are few people out there who now make a bold statement that might represent their views, and there are precious few who will try to lead and persuade.  They argue instead about small detail. It runs on the lines of 'yea there is this problem, and yes the Tory party propose the following, but we will do more'. The policies are essentially the same but differ in degree rather than substance. Or so it seems. And if it seems so, then politicians have an up hill battle.

How many time do we hear, as we did last night the arguments over a tiny detail?  Under Labour 5% of NHS services were 'contracted out', now we were told by the Tory minister 6% is. So is the real difference between Labour and Tory simply 1%? The answer to that is no, but the debate last night didn't reveal that. The truth is the substance, nature and motive behind that 6% contracted out is substantially different which is why the BMA this week warned about 'creeping privatisation'.  But why does it matter? It matters because it shifts funds away from NHS departments and if NHS department budgets fall then the ability of the NHS to provide the services expected will diminish. The need for more contracted services will increase, and this is why the BMA warned it was a 'creeping privatisation'

On the program last night we were told of a considerable number of Tory MPs who will gain from such contracting out. This needs further investigation and exposure. The whole process is ethically compromised.

Nigel Farage's trick of damning every other politician was exposed last night. He looked increasingly like an emperor without clothes. It was not a pretty sight.  He expects to go on these programs and have all other politicians pandering to his issues. Last night was different. Brand showed the way. Dare I say it was a new brand of politics - and that pun was intended.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bad trade kills the planet.

One problem with the financial crisis of 2008/9 is that it focused attention on the banking system as if it could be separated from global economics.  It fostered the notion that all that was needed was to reform the banks and all would be well.  The underlying assumption was and is that global economics didn't and doesn't need fixing.  Everything works well but for the financial system.  Let's all keep calm and carry on.

Yet, the focus on a bad banking system hides an underlying economic malaise,  The economy depended on banks lending, and growth was predicated on debt, debt and more debt.  This was not simply a problem of the banking system.  It was, and remains a problem arising from the mythology of economic growth.

Politicians have long fostered the mythology of growth.  Growth became a  mantra.  Growth is good.  Good is growth.  Let's grow! Growth as and is presented as a miraculous cure.

Let's call this the first neoliberal myth.  The second neoliberal myth…

Hummingbird exposure to pesticides

Many have responded to the campaigns to stop the use of pesticides killing bees.  Bees are not the only animals affected.

Hummingbirds are noted as a species of conservation concern by Partners in Flight, and their populations are estimated to have declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014.



New research reveals that hummingbirds and bumble bees are being exposed to neonicotinoid and other pesticides through routes that are widespread and complex. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

To measure exposure to pesticides in these avian pollinators, investigators made novel use of cloacal fluid and fecal pellets from hummingbirds living near blueberry fields in British Columbia. They also collected bumble bees native to Canada, and their pollen, and blueberry leaves and flowers from within conventionally sprayed and organic blueberry farms.

The researchers detected pesticides and related compounds in cloacal fluid and fecal pellets of hummingbirds revealing…

Brexit won't save the planet

Brexit isn't an ideal. It might break the cosy economic and political illusion that all growth and trade is good. But there is little thinking behind it. It won't lead to better trade. It won't save our planet.



No plan for Brexit The UK is  now just months away from leaving the European Union, yet still the government has no plan for Brexit. Sector after sector of British society are registering their concerns about the consequences of a 'no deal' Brexit.  The country is in the dark about what the future might hold.  Key issues remain unresolved, yet it is as if it doesn't matter.   Brexit, remember, means Brexit!  
Whether we are for or against Brexit we should be concerned that the government can't agree on what kind of deal they want with our biggest trading partner - the European Union.  
There is no idealism behind Brexit, and no vision for the future.  Instead, there is a blind hope that it will be 'alright on the night'.  That somehow a…