Alternatives to conventional politics are sorely needed. Hardly anyone in England is impressed by most modern politics. But as they make most of the laws and we have to wait for 4 years to change to (likely a similar) government, what can we do? It’s worth getting involved in local politics, but for national politics, it’s obvious that something different is needed.
Why Newts Matter More Than Politics
If we want to raise children who believe newts are worth more than designer trainers, we have to start early. Adults who go hunting and shooting innocent animals to be photographed with them, usually do this because they have been led to believe not to have empathy with other creatures, from a young age. Nearly 100% of serial killers have a history of animal abuse.
George Ansell (who ran the US version of the RSPCA 100 years ago), was asked why he focused on stopping animal abuse, when there is so much cruelty to man. He answered, ‘I am working at the roots’.
All the three main parties have been in power over the last 20 years, with not great results. And most fringe parties are either bonkers or scary. What are the alternatives?
- The Green Party (run by co-leaders Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley) is supported by many, but others are not happy they are ‘in the machine’ with Green New Deals ((wind turbines are not the answer to climate change) and Brexit (not exactly local democracy). England’s first Green MP Caroline Lucas has a history of campaigning for animal welfare and against fracking (she even got arrested!) Read Why We Get The Wrong Politicians.
- Renew is a new independent party, that recruits people from outside politics. So rather than political graduates who intern for MPs, these are people with real world experience, who can solve problems. The first candidate won almost 4% of the vote at a by-election, and there are elected councillors in Bedfordshire and Lancashire.
- Animal Welfare Party has a few councillors nationwide. It’s not had much success but worldwide (especially in The Netherlands and Australia), a few elected MPs have changed policy.
- The Peace Party again is more theory at present, but it has a lovely manifesto. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a few councillors getting elected for this party?
- The Alternative is more a new platform for politics, with elected leaders in Denmark. It’s similar to the Greens, but people form the manifesto, rather than the party.
- Something New is a fan of ‘open source’ government to end deals done in back rooms. It’s trying to drag politics from ‘neither left nor right) but ‘forward’. Policies focus on open democracy, climate change, democratic reform and civil liberty.
There’s an old joke about a driver lost in the countryside. She sees a local, and stops to ask directions to her destination. The local resident says ‘Hmm, well, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here’. Something New
Trust Me, I’m Not a Politician asks what went wrong with our democracy and public life. Dorothy Byrne leaves no-one without her razor-sharp wit as she takes on the MPs to avoid rigorous journalistic scrutiny, and explores the pitfalls of impartiality,.
Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd. Bertrand Russell
If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking. George S Patton
People would rather live in a community with unreasonable claims, than face loneliness with their truth. Bangambiki Habyarimana
Sheep only need a single flock. But people need two: one to belong to and make them feel comfortable. And another to blame all of society’s problems on. James Rozoff
The Power of the Herd is an interesting book by Linda Kohanov, which looks at how this kind of politics stems from how horses behave, rather than packs of animals with herd leaders. Horses tend to be social and just get along, and she writes that politicians (and big business) could learn a lot from how they behave. From dealing with conflict to the power of consensual leadership, rather than the ‘dominance theory’ that believes in the survival of the fittest. The book concludes with 12 powerful guiding principles.
Be Proud Of Our Multiculturalism
We should not deny that racism exists in England, because it does (especially in certain sectors of the media). But overall, you have to go a pretty long way to find a redneck racist in our green and pleasant land. In fact, not only does it not matter to most people whether you are black, white or brown – you probably could be green, and it wouldn’t matter!
Having said that, there are serious problems. Most people stopped by the police in cities are people of colour (often without any reason) and of course, we have different kinds of racism (often perpetuated by the media – against Muslims, Jews and Polish workers).
Did you know that St George (the patron saint of England) was a Roman soldier, who came from Turkey and died in Palestine? Has anyone told Nigel Farage?
One area that has a lot of differing opinions is Halal. Welfare scientists at Compassion in World Farming do want a ban. But it’s well within the ‘rules’ for Muslims to be vegan or vegetarian. The blogger at One Arab Vegan is. Read these recipe books to find out more. If you’re Jewish, read the recipe book Oy Vey Vegan!
If it had not been so serious, the government’s behaviour during the pandemic would have been quite funny. It spends years telling us that ‘we don’t need migrants’. Then Then during COVID when there were no (very skilled migrant workers) to pick the veggies, they asked us to do it. But we don’t have the skills, it’s a job that takes a lot of training. Where did the ministers think their Brussels sprouts came from, if not by hands from the ground of good working people?!
The best solution is simply to say nothing. If everything does not bring their grievances to the fore, then in a generation nobody would be racist. If something bad happened to you or you have certain views, just keep them to yourself. You know likely they’re wrong.
He would be seething at his death being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate. What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down. Borrow his intelligence, share his drive, feel his passion, burn with his anger, and extinguish hatred with his kindness. Never give up his fight. Father of Jack Merritt, who died alongside his colleague Saskia Jones on London Bridge
What We Can Learn From Other Countries
What we can learn from other countries is that we are in serious danger of becoming a country with a Trumpian government, believing we are more important. We don’t need to be ‘world-beating’, just a peaceful friendly nation, which makes good tea! The fact that most people supported the Chancellor’s proposal to cut aid to the world’s poorest (the week after committing £16 billion on defence) means worrying times ahead.
Our politics is nowhere near as progressive as most of Europe. We still have one Green MP, while Greens are in government in many countries (the next German chancellor is tipped to the co-leader, who in his spare time writes poetry). The large Green vote means their forests are highly protected (unlike ours – only a petition at 38 Degrees stopped our government from recently trying to sell off all our forests to private companies).
- The Serenity Passport is a world tour of peaceful living in 30 words, with secrets drawn from cultures around the world. Try Ayliak (the Bulgarian art of living slowly without worry), Hoppìpolla (Icelandic jumping in puddles), Flâneur (French leisure strolls) or Utepils (a beer outside with Norwegian friends).
- England’s second-largest pear tree was just chopped down, to make way for the disastrous HS2 project. Germany’s state-owned railways are deemed the best in the world, we could have spent that money on upgrading present stock.
- Europe also has less of a consumerist culture. Christmas for instance is not about everyone running to buy everything in Argos. It’s about singing carols in town squares around real Christmas trees, and eating roasted chestnuts, and attending Midnight Mass. There is no celebrity culture either (people prefer a walk in the forest, reading books, warming by the fire or watching Northern Lights, over reality TV).
- A third of Danes and Dutch cycle everywhere (both flat lands). The Netherlands used to be traffic gridlock, but today has more bicycles than people!
- Despite cold weather and dark nights, Nordic countries don’t grind to a halt, when it snows. They use snow chains, side-lights on cars, doors that open the right way in snow, and heated driveways (not pet-toxic rock salt). People on low incomes don’t live in dark damp bedsits: they have BOKLOK houses – light airy homes with bike parks and green spaces.
- People are nice, and things are fair. Fines for shoplifting and other crimes are based on income. Finland is known as home to the ‘$103,000 speeding ticket’.
- Estonia is one of the most forested countries on earth, with free public transport. There is also little state religion. It’s interesting that some orders visit to try to convert – from countries with problems, caused by organised religion!
I can think of many US states where it would be uncomfortable to declare yourself an atheist, gay, choose not to have children (or be unmarried and have children) or to raise children as Muslims. I don’t imagine it would be easy being vegetarian in Texas, or a wine buff in Salt Lake City. And don’t even think of coming out as a socialist! In Scandinavia you can be all of these things and no one will bat an eye (as long as you wait, and cross on green).
Now is probably a good time to make my confession about Finland. I think the Finns are fantastic. I can’t get enough of them. I would be perfectly happy for the Finns to rule the world. Michael Booth