Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another county heard from

Following Dave’s declaration that he avoided posting about religion and politics, I thought it only proper that I should add my two penn’orth of ill-informed, prejudiced and uncalled for commentary on the events of the last two days.
In the last two days the following has happened:-

1) Barack Obama has been elected to be the 44th president of the United States.
2) He is black
3) er…
4) That’s it.

Honestly. That is it. That is all. Nothing more.

On the day of the election the airwaves were filled with journalistic cack of all sorts - nothing of any substance or interest. It was so dire that I had to turn off the radio in my car and talk to my wife – she is recovering now, and I have not bothered her today with my prattling, so there is no need for you to fret. Today, the media has been filled with millions of words about Mr Obama winning the election, and his being black. None of it has been any more informative or of any more consequence than that.

Can I draw your attention to two worthwhile pieces of writing about this couple of days, please?

Dear Willie has produced another very nice essay – well up to his usual standard, in which he describes the idiocy of the media.

My friends at the Onion
have also told it as it really is. Yes, I know Willie said that today was not a day to be cynical, but by the time I post this it will be tomorrow, if you see what I mean. Like most good satire, the article will probably make you uncomfortable as well as amused.

Let me tell you how I see it, after all, every other bastard has been determined to foist their uninvited opinion on you.

As you may have deduced, my sympathies are on the left and liberal side of the political spectrum. Extreme left and extreme liberal. They have been that way ever since I can remember, and have not altered a great deal despite my movement into the middle classes, my growing older and more cynical and my acquisition of property. From here, I don’t see very much difference between the politics of McCain and Obama. Obama is preferable, but I don’t really see him making much difference, no matter how happy most of you are to see someone elected with a pledge to change the direction that the world’s number one superpower has been moving in. I will say this, however: I cannot imagine anyone with any intelligence ever voting either Republican or Conservative. I will never, ever vote for them or their allies. If you do vote for them, it is an act of stupidity. If you voted for McCain, it was an act of dangerous stupidity. But for Obama to have got this far, he will have cut deals and compromised. Even if he were to be a genuine liberal/left of centre idealist, those deals will come back and bite him in the ass, and prevent the changes that all of my liberal friends are hoping for. Yes, I am that cynical.

What really astounds me, though, is the description of Obama as being “socialistic”. This term is usually used disparagingly, as if caring for the rights and welfare of the underprivileged were somehow disgusting. This is the legacy of the Thatcher/Reagan era. I wish someone had strangled those two motherfuckers at birth, along with all of the other stupid fascists queuing up to take their place as the leaders of the “fuck you” party.

The spirit of the American constitution and the declaration of independence and the Gettysburg address all hint at the high ideals of socialism, but I don’t recall any US politicians who have really been left wing.

For the benefit of those of you from foreign parts, and those of you so young that you don’t remember the Labour party being on the left, can I illustrate what I mean by a left wing politician.

The man whose name first springs to mind is Nye Bevan. I have more than a few differences with his politics, but he is one of the few public figures who has gained my admiration. Nye came from working class stock, underachieved at school, and worked as a coalminer. He joined a trade union, had his qualities recognised, and was elected as member of parliament for his home town. He attracted a great deal of animosity, because of his commitment and uncompromising attitudes. Despite having a stammer and the lack of ability to pronounce the letter ‘r’ (I can’t stand people like that), he was a brilliant orator. After the second world war, the British voters kicked out Churchill who had led them through the years of conflict, (I have never found a convincing explanation for this) and elected a Labour government that was largely socialist in nature. Bevan was given the job of overseeing the establishment of the National Health Service. Not only was he given the job of doing it, but he did it, and did it very well. The principles were: health treatment free at the point of delivery, and equality for all in the standard of care received. All treatment was paid for by the taxpayer. This meant that for people of my generation, we were able to grow up in a society where we could see the doctor, have him visit us, get treatment and medicine, and not have to worry about paying the bill. Of course, no society can really afford the kind of healthcare that we want – where there is no waiting for treatment or diagnosis, there are sufficient staff, hospitals and resources to provide care of an acceptable standard for everyone, but for the early part of my life systems were put in place to strive towards that. I will leave for another time how the right wing governments of the last 30 years have shat all over that ideal.

This is a simplistic account of what happened. It is not suitable for inclusion in your Ph.D. thesis. I am merely outlining the events in order to describe part of what I mean when I talk about socialism.

Even if Obama wanted that kind of health care in America, he knows that he would never be allowed to begin to think about implementing it.

So, joyful celebrators of a new era, I am sorry if I have pissed on your fireworks this November 5th. I really hope that the new president manages to end the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, not start any new ones, sort out and regulate the fuckwits running the world’s financial institutions, and bring about a serious reduction in poverty, prejudice and inequality in the USA. I sincerely wish that. It is just that I can’t see the bastards who backed the Republicans, control the media and got Dubya elected allowing that to happen.


Mike Riversdale said...

Two good links and a great rant.
I agree with you.

The world of pressure will be upon this fella and it would be grand if we could do something to lessen that - what would you suggest?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, you and I are not singing from the same hymn book, but sometimes, I think you've been peeking over my shoulder.
Well said, sir.

Mr Coppens said...

Obama isn't really Black? Technically he is biracial or what HRH would refer to as mewlattoe...yes, quite.

The Onion is always entertaining innit? Stickin' it to the man.

Americans are still suffering from McCarthyism..for crissakes socialism? Your f*cking Constitution reads WE the People not ME the peehole.

This whole providentially ordained rugged individualistic cowboy one-man-army bullsh*t has gone on long enough...
Stop it Stop it Stop it Stop it
Stop it Stop it Stop it Stop it

Dave said...

Change is in the air. Boris for PM! Bring it on!!

Vicus Scurra said...

Thank you all for your support. I am a little surprised to find myself ahead in this poll, albeit early on. If elected I promise to end the monarchy, the class system, private education, private health care and the stock exchange. Banks, all health care all schooling, power companies will be regulated and possibly nationalised, whatever it takes to removed unfairness. There will be no discrimination on grounds of gender, religion, race or sexual preference, but anyone with Tory views will be forced to work in a hospital until they are feeling cured. There will be no gratuitous representations of naked bodies on page 3 of national newspapers, but if you are all very good there will be periodic photographs of Goldie Hawn's butt.

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave! Post mortem for Boris? Surely the poor chap has not left us? Even if he has, there is no need for an expensive medical procedure to discover the cause of death. Sticking your head up your bottom is almost always fatal.

On a slightly more serious note, I have been surprised that two of my friends who are "good with colours" have been moved by the "gay and straight" quote from the acceptance speech. Are there really, even in the Republican party, many serious politicians who still believe that "God hates fags"? I really thought that that was one battle that was largely over.

Richard said...

I largely agree with you. Thatcher was elected largely because she was a woman and Reagan because he'd once acted with a chimpanzee. Just because they're different doesn't guarantee they're excellent or that they'll be able to use their undoubted intelligence to its full capacity.

There seems to be a lot of celebration of the fact that it's only taken 40 years of equality to elect a blackish man to be the president. Only the US would imagine that particular statistic to be one of momentous achievement. N.Mandela managed it rather quicker and against a regime that made the rednecks look like child-minders.

Anyway, you'll be telling us you have Keir Hardie's cap next.

Dave said...

Vicus: see Mrs Pirate Thingies blog - seems California still hates gays.

Adam said...

Had you seen the Facebook statuses of many of my friends, you may have taken a frustrated bite out of your keyboard. On the other hand, you seem to be the type to enjoy sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

My personal favorite whiny statuses are the ones who say they are moving to Canada to avoid socialism.

More importantly, do you have a long-lost grandson who ran away to Australia to review video games and related things?

Geoff said...

Obama's going to pull American troops out of Iraq and send them all to Afghanistan.

"Join the army and see the world."

Vicus Scurra said...

Adam. How nice to hear from you. I hate to tell tales out of school, but I have to tell people here that I know from facebook that you have been supporting Obama. Older readers (is there another type?) will recall your support for Bush in the early days of our loving relationship. Welcome to the world of sense, and I warmly applaud you for not sticking to an opinion just because you always had it. (Although I probably wouldn't say that had you started off agreeing with me). I feel generally more sorry for someone who is young and conservative than I do for the older ones. I hope that you can explain to your friends that it is possible to live in a just and caring society, it is just more difficult.
I also need to tell people here your delightful news - Adam has a job, folks, in American Samoa. It is a long commute from home, so he may stay there overnight occasionally.
As for the link you provided, well I would hope that in the event of my having a grandson he would have better things to be annoyed about than the gaming community.
I am looking forward to your keeping us up to date with your adventures in the Pacific on your blog.

Adam said...

Yes, yes, but the important part is that I am now 2-0 in picking the winning President. I hate to disappoint you, but I've only moved to a center, er, "centre"-right position, mostly because Bush has screwed things up so badly. Perhaps when the GOP is done "reinventing" itself as having a platform other than being a dumbass, I can start voting for my own party again. If I get the chance, I'll blog about it sometime.

But more importantly, I have an announcement to make: I will not be document my new life in the South Pacific in my blog.

That's because I'll be doing it in a new blog (yuk, yuk). This one will actually be read by a number of friends and relatives, many of whom I don't want reading my previous entries, such as when I compared the territory to a drunken college student.

Oh, and I plan on putting at least one more entry in the old blog if I get the chance.

KAZ said...

Yes Yes Yes about Nye Bevan and socialism and bastard tory gits.

But - I still want to believe things will get better and that Obama can achieve something good.

I, like the view said...

I do agree vicus

your eloquence is delightful, as we have come to expect

and since I have previously gathered something (well, not just the one thing, I suppose) about your views and opinions during my many enjoyable times here on your delicate and fragrant patch of the various eletrcial and other connections between us, this delightful piece of writing does not shock or surprise me

so, that understood, why do you read The Telegraph?

tom909 said...

Yes Vicus, I remember when Blair got voted in and I foolishly thought things would improve. I think it was two weeks before I realised I had been hoodwinked.
I must say Obama seems like a nice chap, but let's just see shall we! Jimmy Carter was a nice chap and he just got shat all over.
The other thing I often think is, is there one, just one, person who has gone into politics with the correct motives, and done something useful, and survived to tell the tale? I don't think there is.

Vicus Scurra said...

Kaz. I am hopeful that things will be better. They would have been a damned lot worse if McCain had been elected. I just refuse to be swept along on waves of jubilation when all that we have seen so far is rhetoric.
ILTV. Apart from their having the best fantasy football competition, I find that the news is well presented and well written. And you know where you stand with them. I don't read the opinion columns, and trust myself not to believe their hype. I don't buy it, I read it on line, and find it just about the easiest site to navigate.
Tom. No.

Richard said...

Vince Cable. Bloke's got his head screwed on as far as I can see but he's a Lib Dem so nobody listens.

Betty said...

Thank you for the positive remarks about socialism and Nye Bevan. My dad danced with Nye Bevan's wife at a works do in the 1960's. It was all very innocent, unfortunately.