On reflection part 1
I'm really sorry I haven't posted over the last few weeks. I have been very busy with content, much of which you can see in the video library on this site. Alas, my dear old mum had a stroke, caught Covid 19 in hospital and passed away. So it's been a challenging time to say the least.
What I've tried to do over the past couple of months, is connect with people on twitter, so I can get a better understand the challenges people identify with. This will hopefully help me create a blog for those that may be interested in my views in a little more detail. If you are joining me from Twitter, welcome friends to a place not hindered by limited characters. I wanted to create a space where we could have more detailed discussions and you could better inform me of your views on US politics and current affairs.
Treat this post as sort of an introduction, but you will find some earlier posts that you may find interesting, so please feel free to browse. It's my intention to post as and when I have something constructive to say, rather than blather on about nothing. Hopefully, that will be at least once a week.
Having now spent more than a few weeks on Twitter, I have to say that I can definitely see how people can become addicted to it. It seems to provide a kind of proximity to events as they happen. However, I do think one has to be armed with a healthy supply of scepticism and an inquisitive nature to draw on, so as not to get sucked into a narrative others would have you adopt. I think that if you are used to getting news from various sources and stay alert, Twitter can be an incredibly valuable source of public sentiment to help you form an opinion.
On the downside, I can definitely see how bad actors can use it to brainwash those who get their news from single sources. I am thinking in particular of Fox News and now other right wing media sources, which seem to have gained more prominence in the run-up to the election. In the wider Twitter community, I made some dedicated virtual friends with good hearts and a passion to see America free from the tyranny of Trump. These were people from all walks of life and all ages. I think fondly of a young lady called Libby, who was I think still a student. On my first day of tweets, she very politely put the brakes on my writing aspirations, by telling me to slow down and proof read my tweets before pressing send. I know it sounds odd that I might think about that exchange, but she did me a huge favour and helped me train my twitter fingers to better effect, for which I will be forever grateful. I still hear her virtual voice in my ear when I fire off a tweet in anger without checking it first.
When I started this journey, I was purely driven by my hatred for Donald J Trump. Now I realise hate is an often used word and that has almost devalued its meaning. In my long life, I have met many people, some of whom were unpleasant or not very nice. I can honestly say, that I have never hated anyone, let alone hated someone I don't know in person. From the moment he ran for the presidency, I knew that were he elected, he would turn the political system upside down. Little did I know, how bad it would become. Over the last four years, I watched on in horror as he did one outrageous thing after another.
I was not that well versed in US politics, but as someone who has been around UK politics up close for over a decade, I had a basic skillset to help me navigate what I now see as an 'Interesting' political system, that looking from the outside often defies logic. I find myself beyond intrigued, by the role money plays and how you can be a president but not be able to get anything done. How partisan politics creates an environment where the American people are almost irrelevant when it comes to consideration of how policy will impact the average American. In the UK, there are very strict limits on election spending and whilst parties have become more adept at sailing close to the wire, it is very difficult to step over the line. Let me make it absolutely clear, UK politics has long been devoid of what I would call real talent. We are blessed with a mixture of substandard inbred talent that have never had a job, other than being a special advisor or political staffer and people from the private sector that look at the job as an adventure into public service.
For me, a parliamentary representative should be someone who lives and is an integral part of the community they aspire to represent. All too often, politicians become elected representatives for the wrong reason. They do it for the status it confers, rather than to effectively represent their communities. I idealistically view it as a vocation, if you do the job properly. You have to be all in and not be frightened to tell truth to power. I know many that went into it with just that very mission. However, the opiate atmosphere of halls of power, soon see ideology replaced with career building and political expediency. Expense accounts, subsidised dining and assisted second home purchasing, wakes people up to the opportunities to profit, whilst just staying just on the inside of the rules. There is little argument that the spirit of the law is all too often stretched to the point of plausible distortion.
Just like the US, UK politics is by and large, a two party system. The US has Republicans and Democrats, we have The Conservative Party and The Labour Party. Conservatives are traditionally the party of business, law and order and defence. I think you could safeley call that Republican? Whilst Labour, is viewed as the party of the working class, closer to the Democratic Party in the US. As both the UK and the US are what we like to call developed western democracies, It's easy to think of them as broadly comparible systems. However, there are some very big differences in how legislation is created and passed. The US has two elected houses, whereas in the UK, whilst there are two chambers, only one is elected. We have the House of Commons, which seats around 560 elected Members of Parliament. The second chamber is an unelected chamber, that in recent times has swelled to around 800 unelected Members of the House Of Lords. In the UK, the party of power is the party that holds the largest number of seats in the Commons.. At the moment the Conservatives hold a majority of 80 seats. So if the Labour Party and all other smaller parties voted on legislation as one, they would be 80 votes short, assuming all conservatives voted with the government. The political objectives are therefore always to try and peel off government supporters to support the opposition, just as the US does in congress and the senate.
Enough of that for now, I just wanted to provide an idea of what informed my understanding of party politics. UK voters don't register to parties, nor do they have primaries like the US. For the benefit of better understanding my politics, I would put myself at the centre of the Labour Party, although in recent years, I have voted Liberal Democrat, which is one of the smaller parties. It is for that reason, were I a US citizen, it is safe to say I would be a registered Democrat.
In upcoming posts, I share my thoughts of US politics from the outside looking in. It will no doubt lead to laughter, as my naivety shines through like the burning sun. However, I sometimes think some fresh thinking from outside the box, may elicit some interesting conversations on moving forward in a climate where 72 million people voted for the other guy and politics is so polarised that its hard to see better days. I look forward to some lively conversations that spill over from Twitter, as well as debate born here. Thanks again for taking the time to listen to my thoughts. I look forward to developing new friends and new conversations that prove beneficial to those kind enough to participate.