Archives for posts with tag: Caroline Lucas

humanity-6

Just for the moment, forget policies and even the general election, and let’s look at humanity.

It’s been said many times, ‘elections are not about personalities’, and every time, they are wrong.

If you want to experience a world devoid of personality and humanity and based solely on policy, take a trip to your local Jobcentre and sign on, or face the arrival of an ESA50 form in its hideous brown envelope, fill it out, and await notification and then attend a Work Capability Assessment. If you get lucky, you’ll get an assessor who will engage with you at a human level, but the process is designed for that not to happen. And here’s the important bit, for many, if not most, people, these experiences are traumatising because they are dehumanising by design.

We face an election that mostly revolves around two parties, but that’s just because it is a rotten system of first past the post and is not representative of the voting public, but all of the parties will be campaigning, and the art of campaigning is the art of persuasion, and the majority of people will vote based on a complex mixture of upbringing, social status, whether they are essentially deferential or not, prejudice, personality, media influence, and so on, and tagging along somewhere at the back, there might be a greater or lesser awareness and understanding of policies.

Like it or not, the popular rise and rise of Jeremy Corbyn is about, and because of, Jeremy Corbyn himself. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And why? Because he relates to people, speaks to the people, is open and behaves in a sincere and honest way to which people can, and do, relate.

If I were to name a few others in a loosely similar vein, I’d say Caroline Lucas, who just strikes me as a thoroughly decent human being, Mhairi Black and good old Dennis Skinner.

We’ve had seven years of Tory misrule and they don’t come anywhere in the humanity stakes. Theresa May, by any sane standard, has nothing going for her, lacking personality and common or garden decency and empathy. She has no people skills and is clearly deeply uncomfortable around ordinary people, lacking any qualities of spontaneity, warmth, personality or humanity. She is ahead simply because she is ‘establishment’, along with royalty, Lords and Ladies, pomp and pomposity, and she appeals to a deeply conservative streak in Britain which views anything remotely challenging to the status quo as tawdry, lower class, suspicious and ‘not the done thing’. She is the perfect ‘upstairs, downstairs’ candidate, and mixing with the lower orders is definitely not her thing.

Who wants a Prime Minister who is at home in Safeway or Lidl? Oh gawd! If Theresa May went into such places, they’d have to clear everyone out and those who remained, to show her a packet of cornflakes, would be carefully chosen and expected be on their best, deferential, grovelling, behaviour. Sound familiar?

Why was Thatcher so popular and even got away with adopting the royal ‘we’ when talking about herself? She was establishment through and through, even though she wrecked all our national industries and put the boot in, literally, to the unions.

It is said that ordinary people voting Conservative is like turkeys voting for Christmas, and it’s absolutely true.

And Corbyn? He is anti-establishment and has no time for cap doffing, he’s trying to head the turkeys off at the polling booth and asking them to think again.

The establishment and their media nearly had a heart attack when Jeremy Corbyn didn’t bow deeply enough at the Cenotaph. What did David Cameron mockingly say during Prime Minister’s Questions? He said his mother would advise the Labour leader to “put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem”. And, god help us, Corbyn has an allotment and grows stuff and gets his hands dirty and that, according to the Tories and the right wing media, makes him unelectable. Really? Yes, really, and in so doing they mock each and every one if us in our ordinariness, in our unprivileged, unpretentious, profoundly and deeply human, lives.

That’s what this election is about. For millions of us, it’s about fighting for our lives and our right to exist, to have somewhere to live, food on the table, heating in our homes, medical treatment when we need it, a decent education for our children, care in the community, help with disabilities, hospitals, fire stations, police to help against crime, doctors and GP surgeries, nurses, junior doctors and specialists, A&E departments, and enough security to live our lives without fear or want.

It’s about humanity.

KOG. 14 May 2017

06_may_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,425

Friday 06 May 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

When I finished school and stepped into the big bad world of work, it was only then I discovered the appalling inadequacies of the education system. I did not know how to vote and had no understanding of politics, I did not know how to apply for a driving license or tax a vehicle, I did not know how to open or manage a bank account, how to write a CV, sit an interview, what a union was nor how to join one or even the benefits of so doing. In short I lacked pretty much everything I required to face the everyday realities of the world I was confronted with.

I could read well enough and write to a limited degree, the former was pretty much self taught as I developed a love of reading early in life and, in the true spirit of learning, I had a hunger for books that had nothing to do with school and everything to do with Biggles. In terms of the real world, my education began once I entered it and a slow torturous process it was too, not least because school had left me entirely learning phobic.

When Caroline Lucas posed some questions to you from the current SATs being inflicted on school children I was completely taken aback. Lucas asked you if you could “explain what the past progressive tense is”, to “differentiate between a subordinating conjunctive and a coordinating conjunctive,” and to “set out (your) definition of a modal verb”. You could not, claiming, “The whole point of these changes is to make sure our children are better educated than we are.” This from someone educated at Eton. However did you manage to become Prime Minister under the burden of such ignorance?

Schools minister, Nick Gibbs, who studied law at Durham, now an MP, similarly failed to answer a grammatical question put to him in a radio interview. In his defence he said, “this isn’t about me. This is about ensuring that future generations of children – unlike me incidentally, who was not taught grammar at primary school – we need to make sure that future generations are taught grammar properly.” Really?

I cannot answer such questions either and for the vast majority of people such knowledge is irrelevant and will remain so for their entire lifetimes and I suspect that children learning this stuff will do so because they are a faced with a pointless test and will quickly forget it and never regret its passing, unless, perhaps, they develop a taste for pub quizzes later on in life.

I can see no point in such rote learning and memory testing and nor can I see any excuse for exposing young children to such dull, uninspiring and bland nonsense. I have no idea what dullard thought this stuff up (was it the odious Gove?), but I cannot see how any child could be inspired to think creatively and inventively or be remotely excited to explore the vast realms and joys of learning faced with such arid examples of what the state laughingly calls education. This kind of stuff belongs where you belong, in the nineteenth century, it has no place in today’s world. Here endeth this collection of grammary stuff.

Cameron’s bizarre response at PMQs reveals how out of touch he is with the real Britain