Sunday, May 16, 2004

War! What is it good for? It's good for business.

I have become increasingly confused about political labels.

In the old days, in this country, you tended to be left or right, Tory or Labour. Even the Liberal Party/SDP was judged on how left or right it was at any particular moment.

There is a myth that politics became more centrist. It didn't. It made a massive lurch to the right and then re-calibrated itself. Thatcher set a Year Zero with the right as the new centre point. New Labour positioned itself a couple of degrees to the left of that point, with the Tories increasingly extreme as they become more and more desperate in opposition.

As Mandelson so horridly uttered: "We're all Thatcherites now".

Apparently Thatcher and Reagan were both Neo Liberals. Dubya, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld are Neo Conservatives.

Apparently if you are against this war then you are left-wing (in British speak) or Liberal (In US speak).

To be honest I am fed up with being labeled in this way. I am against this war simply because it is wrong. I am against it because I have bothered to find out more about it than those in favour.

I know about the effects of the sanctions since the last war, I know about depleted uranium, I know the current level of civilian deaths is at least 10,000 and more likely thousands more. I know that Iraq could never be a threat to the West.

I must admit I swallowed the WMDs line to a certain extent, I mean, I thought Saddam had SOMETHING, but it turns out that was all lies too.

I know that Iraq had nothing to do with 911. I know that Iraq had no links with Al Qaeda. I know all about the Bush dynasty from Bush snr's dodgy CIA days to Dubya's oil links and his various corporate sponsors (Enron anyone?).

I know that the list of nations that America has fought, illegally bombed, interfered with, funded rebellions, undermined governments, assassinated leaders etc, since World War 2 is as long as your arm.

So my views on this are based on knowledge, they are not based on political affiliations. My opposition to the war is not left wing, it is the correct view based on the information available.

In addition, not finding WMDs has proved that all the protestors were right.

As I mentioned in America they used the term "liberal". Which is more often than not used as a term of abuse. There seems to be a cartoon version of liberals (see Dharma and Greg) as long haired, pot smoking, Grateful Dead-listening, conspiracy theory believing, tye-dye wearing freaks. If you are against the war and a "liberal" then you are probably all of these. Or so goes the common TV/media cliche.

Having been a Labour voter, I always thought of myself as left wing. With New Labour, I haven't a clue where I stand. Increasingly I try to think instead about what is right and wrong.

I think politics needs to become more naive. Forget the fat cat lobbyists, the special relationships, the careerists, the focus groups and yes, forget even the media.

We need to do back to what is right and wrong. Not what is left and right.

It is right that health care should be available to everyone.
It is right that no one should starve.
It is right that everyone should have education.

And when I say this I mean the world, not just our little corner of it.

Talk to politicians long enough and they will tell you this is impossible. It is not, we have just come to accept that it is. And many of us have forgotten what is right and what is wrong.

I've had conversations with right wingers or racists or whatever who have rattled off the most abhorrent rhetoric. Have you ever noticed they never look you in the eye when they do this? They know, deep down, what they are saying is so horribly disgusting but they do it anyway out of hatred and greed. They are wrong. I believe they even know they are wrong.

If you want to take Britain as a microcosm. Then I believe that if you spend more on education then you create more entrepreneurs, you give more people a chance, you help more people to avoid poverty.

If, on the other hand, you make tax cuts so the rich get richer, then what are this rich left with? Outside their little compounds their surroundings get poorer. They have to spend more on security, they live in fear, they can't find anyone with the right skills to work for them because the education system has failed. They have to pay more on health care and education because public provision is under funded and failing.

This doesn't mean that entrepreneurship and hard work shouldn't be recognised and rewarded. Of course it should, but a balance should be achieved so society isn't the loser.

So yes, I believe naivete and the ability to see in black and white is a good attribute in politics. It should not be about supporting a team.

I could decide to support Arsenal instead of Newcastle United and every year I could celebrate silverware. But what would be the point? My heart wouldn't be in it.

Likewise, if you are Labour affiliated and you think you should tow the party line, just to safeguard power,then I ask you why? Surely politics is about right and wrong. It's about making a difference for the better. What is the point of being in power if you just abuse it? If you are not doing this then supporting the winning team is worthless.

So don't call me left-wing or a liberal or whatever other tags you might want to label me with. And I have used them myself before just to save time. I am me and I believe what I believe. And I know I am right.

What I believe might not be easy. It might not be practical. It might not even be popular. But it is right.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.