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July 10, 2014

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Ben

Another example: price of housing has tripled since 1997. Politicians all go crazy when the price of gas goes up a bit. The latter is a rounding error against the former.

Stevenclarkesblog.wordpress.com

You are quick to blame politicians, but is there any demand from voters to look at these wider issues?...

...Not that I've heard.

We get the politics we deserve.

Ralph Musgrave

I see some of the strikers are complaining about low pay AND PRIVATISATION. I smell self-contradiction. Public sector low pay can only mean low pay RELATIVE TO the private sector. So why are they complaining about being moved into the private sector?

Robert McCall

I think social change will happen. The same problems are appearing all over the globe. A 'participatory culture' is emerging, the Flok Economy in Ecuador appears to be off the ground, and we see a growing demand for strong CSR standards within business - all positive signs. Probably a culmination of Wikileaks, TPP in Ottawa as we speak, Snowden and the NSA, war, gun control, narcissism, fraud and corruption inside FIFA - I think the worlds had a stomach full.

Deviation From The Mean

Fascist Ralph said,

"So why are they complaining about being moved into the private sector?"

This is not what the dispute is about actually, it is about below inflation pay rewards for a number of consecutive years now. So people are not relating to the private sector but to inflation. It is called real wages. If inflation is 3% and you get a pay reward of 1% you get less for your money. Is that clear?

So I suspect what you are smelling is your own bile.

AllanW

You conclude that party politicians do not steer the ship of state, merely shape the onboard entertainment. They neither influence nor are aware of the tectonic movements (or 'currents' in your analogy) that ultimately shape our society. You are wholly correct. What's worse is that a few of them are only now beginning to realise that fact; the rest continue to be blithely unaware of history and their own precarious grip on the limelight.

Politicians have never set the agenda, they only respond to powerful social movements. I look forward to the opportunity of demonstrating this fact in response to any particular queries but won't take up your time with it now as you seem to understand the point already.

You might however consider key parts of the reason for this state of affairs. I'd offer two main ones; the institution of political parties (being the foremost vehicle for selection of our politicians) and the continuing abstraction of politicians and their funders from everyday life.

You might try to argue, as many politicians do, that the best of them remain embedded in the normal lives of their constituents through regular attendance at constituency surgeries and the process of addressing various issues as they affect their constituent businesses and organisations. But this ignores the fundamental reality of their continued existence, advancement and wealth; they only prosper through adherence to party lines. All young politicians know that on any issue facing them they must do what they are told by the party organisers or be deselected, defunded and defenestrated. Any cursory examination of our current system reveals this fact to be true, it's the basis of most political satire and art.

And the party is not interested in solving policy issues; it's not interested in anything other than getting it's hands on political power or retaining it's grip on political power. That goal may occasionally coincide with some worthwhile social objective but never mistake the real motivations involved; doing whatever is popular enough every five years to win a narrow plebscite. The rest of the time they can devote themselves to what's really important; their career, personal wealth and fame.

Which is why political parties are funded by the wealthy because they know that filling the feeding-trough of political parties offers the best way of continuing or establishing their business and personal advantages. It takes no time at all to establish this particular fact, we all know it to be true through the experience of our lives. The merry-go-round of state preferment contracts, networked back-scratching, specialist advisors, provision of expertise on secondment and bolt-hole retirement plans involving sinecures on boards has been endlessly revealed by the last vestiges of investigative reporting and whistle-blowing that exist.

Which acts to remove the politicians' perspective further and further away from poverty, homelessness, inequality and the least powerful in our society. You know, what most people still unreasonably think is their actual job. It's no surprise they distance themselves in this way ..... just unforgiveable.

Are there solutions to these problems? Sure; many of them. Will the politicians find them out and promote the best of them? No. Will you hear about them through the mainstream media outlets? No. You need to go back to the grassroots and find out what is forming the next great social movements on the ground. I'd invite you to Manchester to see it happening first hand if I knew you at all.

Guano

Musgrave:- "So why are they complaining about being moved into the private sector?"

That is not what the dispute is about, but if they were moved into the private sector it is highly unlikely that they would benefit from higher pay or better conditions. Most jobs that are moved into the private sector suffer pay cuts, greater insecurity and worse conditions.

Guano

"It's rather that party politics sees some things but not others. And it is often blind to very big socio-techical changes."

Yes, indeed. That's why the last thing anyone interested in politics should do is go into politics. Politics as it is practiced (especially by the three main parties) is full of mechanisms that prevent the participants from seeing the big picture. "The voters aren't interested in this" "It will lose us votes in the swing constituency of XXX" "The Sun will accuse us of wanting to make people poor". Once you accept that kind of framework you're not going to be able to see the big challenges or the long-term trends. Political parties see themselves as managers of the status quo and are rarely going to challenge the consensus of the vested interests in that status quo.

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