Band of the Week - Porcupine Tree


Friday, 23 April 2010


It is the way of the world that are will always be winners and losers, and the winners always come up with ways of consolidating or improving their position. There is no better example of this than the current political climate in Britain. The campaigning for the General Election on May 6th is well under way, and I can't really believe what the politicians are saying with their
promises to do this and that if they get in. I'm sorry, but I have gone beyond this kind of kidology a long time ago. No politician can deliver what you want no matter which party he is in. Politicians rub their hands in glee when they win a seat in Parliament and they know that a gravy train is waiting for them at the nearest station, though now of course they have to be a little bit careful at what they claim as expenses. No, most politicians will always look at personal opportunities first, I'm convinced of it, and the constituent will always come a distant second in the priorities race. Take Labour's time in office since 1997. Don't they remind you of a watered down version of the Conservatives? I remember the time when they won in 1997 very well. I
wrote a letter to Tony Blair on my way to work on a train to Liverpool one early morning in 1995, which I didn't send in the end, going on about how our country needs a Labour government to rid of the hated Tory rule, who had proved that they don't give a shit about the ordinary working people here in Britain. The continous relevations in the tabloids about
Conservative MP's screwing their secretaries and basically just doing what they wanted, and seemingly getting their jobs back after a spot of 'gardening leave' just pissed me off so much.
But it just wasn't the content of the revelations themselves that pissed me off. It was the blantant disregard to decency and honesty, which I believe that Tony Blair and his government would adhere to, and wanted to see in politicians. I must have been quite passionate about politics or the state of the country (which really I suppose go hand in hand) during this time. I believe it must have been the accumulation of 11 years of the Tories in power that produced this frustration and vented onto my writing pad that morning. I don't feel exactly the same way now. The hope I had back in those days has long disappeared and has been replaced by a cyncism that has almost turned to apathy. Apathy must never be reached, though. It's the rock bottom of
human experience, and would surely signal the end of human civilization if it were to become compulsory. That will never happen, certainly not as far as I'm concerned anyway. When you
study history as long as I have you get a sense or feeling on what's important, or should be important. Being apathetic means that decisions are not made and making decisions is what
changes things. Indeed history is the study of human decision making. There's almost a science attached to it. What was one of Newton's laws? For every action there is an equal reaction. Well, the history books are full of actions that provoked reactions, whether equal or not. For an effective government to function there must ALWAYS be winners and losers, the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Take employment. There can never be jobs with decent, liveable wages for all of us. It's impossible. The competion would be cut-throat, and literaly the stress and anxiety would change our personalities so much that a 'kill' or be 'killed' behaviour would prevail. Imagine a world where everyone has degrees and were highly skilled, and all competing for the same positions. Everyone wants to better themselves, elevate to the next level in wealth and social standing, but its important for our society to work if some never find their way up the ladder. Ever wonder why people do menial jobs? It's because it has been drummed into them that that's all they are capable of, which must have started at school. We are graded and assessed in school and our path in life is pretty much established there. They are needed, because others would not do it. Where would we be without shop workers, for example? Some may say that these kinds of jobs are transient, but I've seen the same people working in the same shops for years, and apparantly quite content to carry on. Not my cup of tea, but it fits into the life plan of some people. So when a politician promises to cut unemployment or create more jobs, he's really saying he's going to cut the unemployment figures down, which are highly interpretable anyway. The words and the delivery he uses are directed at the individual because it's the individual's vote he's after. Analysing the discourse of a politician is quite fascinating. Try and hear what the politician is really saying behind the words that he chooses. They are trained to say the right things, at the right times of course, especially when an election is coming up. Still, a skilled discursive psychologist could literally read his mind.

Health. This one's easy. If everyone was healthy and living longer the population would increase so much it would place enormous pressure on resources. It is a tricky balancing act. Too many ill people and the same can happen, affecting the well being of the economy. The very profitable pharmaceutical industry can't afford to have too much healthy people about, or they would not make as much money. Think about it. People smoking has been an enormous source for raising taxes for years. If everybody stopped smoking imagine the difference it would make to the budget! It's just not in their interest to help people quit. You have to wonder why after all the years and the money pumped in as to why a cure for cancer has not been found. Imagine the effect THIS would have on so many industries if ever one was discovered. I find that strange. How many times have we heard on election campaigns that promises are made to make the health service better? Every one of them! And do they? Even today the health services are in a shambles so despite the billions spent nothing has improved. So, there's another 'promise' that I won't take too seriously either. I got a chance to see the Live Sky debate last night and I encouraged the boys to see it so that they can try and see what its all about. It's Simon's first election and he didn't have a clue who he was going to vote for. I was particularly interested in what Ben's view was, 14 and still in school so not much interest at this stage of his life about the current state of the country. To my horror his first impression was that Cameron appealed to him! Then as he viewed more of the debate he soon realised that Cameron was not for him and that Brown was the one that appeared to make sense. At the end of the debate Simon, on the other hand, told me he was more confused than ever! Which is not surprising because, of course, all 3 of them were saying that they want to do the same thing, but were saying it in different ways. All 3 parties were claiming that they had the 'winning ticket' to a better Britain, but all 3 can't be right! The confusion was heightened for Simon, I think, because they were all pretty evenly matched, so not one of them came out on top, as one of the polls suggested. In hindsight it probably wasn't the ideal debate for a first time voter to be exposed to, especially as Simon has never been interested in politics before. He would rather it all go away, but his politicisation will, I'm sure, change the way he views his world from now on.


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