Skip to main content

Andy Murray's vote counts too

Andy Murray started the new year in style with a 6-2, 6-0 crushing win over Rafael Nadal to reach the World Tennis Championship final. Already commentators look for the superlatives. Is this the 'new' Andy Murray, coming back strong after a difficult 2014? Can he win another Wimbledon? Will he tell us who to vote for in the general election?

One thing I do know is that he should not have been expected to apologise for making his views known about the referendum on Scottish independence. He has a right to express his views. Andy Murray expressed regret after tweeting his support for the "Yes" campaign. The Wimbledon champion received a torrent of abuse after tweeting his support for the Yes campaign on the morning of the referendum. He should not have felt it necessary to regret. There is nothing to regret. He now realises that his views matter, perhaps more than he realised. But why anyone could get angry about a Scot expressing his views about independence demonstrates how some people cannot distinguish between the sporting hero and the expression of his own views. We do not own Andy Murray.

His infamous tweet was an expression of the extraordinary enthusiasm generated by the referendum. Politics came to life. Politics finally mattered, and nothing is now the same. It was a 'no' vote by a reasonable margin, and yet it changed our politics for ever. We need now to find a way of injecting the same enthusiasm into the general election in May. If we can get the same kind of fierce debate, real debate — and argument about ideas, then no matter what the outcome it would be good for British politics.

It is expected that the Tory party will outspend Labour by 3 to 1. That is a wide margin. Should our elections be decided by who can spend the most? How will the Liberal Democrats Square up against their coalition partners in the general election? It will be a difficult election for them. But will Labour be able to offer a coherent and credible alternative, or will the arguments be about a slither of difference?

Politics matters. I cannot think of an election where so much could change and where the outcome is so uncertain. British politics may never be the same again as we truly move into an era of alignments rather than clear party dominance. Will that be a good thing? It will be good if it broadens the debate and brings into the mainstream ideas that challenge us. It will be a bad thing if it further narrows the middle ground over which the parties fight.

If it galvanises Andy Murray to be brave enough to give his opinion, and if it galvanises others in the same way, then perhaps 2015 will herald a new start for British politics. But, it is for Andy Murray at least a good start. Let's hope he really does have a better year than 2014 - in Tennis that is.

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…