Tagged: politics

My Campaign for Benevolent Dictator

I’d like to throw my hat into the ring and launch my campaign for dictator.

These are my initial policies:

1) Those with large amounts of money will cook three times a week for those with no money. They will prepare a range of sustainable meals that are freezable and easily reheated.

2) Lonely elderly people to look after the children of single parents so that these parents are able to work part-time/seek educational opportunities. In return, the single parents will spend one day a week with the elderly person

3) The Queen downsized to a house more suitable to her needs. She’ll be allowed to keep a personal staff paid for out of the royal purse. The same goes for Charles & Camilla and William & Kate. Buckingham Palace will be given to the National Trust.

4) Anyone who hurts a child, an animal or the vulnerable will have the same thing done to them.

5) Education will be freely available.

6) The disabled treated will respect and dignity. Those who are able to work will be found suitable jobs, those who are not able to work will be given help & support.

7) The church is not allowed to make a profit, they must use their fundraising and charity status to help people. All people, they can’t turn anyone away because of religious belief. Religion will not be a tool of oppression in my dictatorship. Any profitable enterprise the church is involved in will go directly to the state.

8) Racists, homophobes and other such people will be subject to re-education. There is no room for discrimination in any world.

9) The unemployed to find work and help will be given to help them, such as lonely elderly people assisting with child care or retired people helping them get into a suitable work/home routine.

10) All profits  absorbed back into transport companies to improve transport and cut costs. There will be an end of rewarding board members with large bonuses or paying company chairman ridiculous amounts of money. The same applies to all utilities.

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Do the politics matter? – thoughts on ‘The Iron Lady’

Phyillda Lloyd’s recent ‘biopic’ of Margaret Thatcher staring Meryl Streep has come under scrutiny for taking the politics out of Thatcher’s conservative government choosing to focus on her rise to power. As a film ‘The Iron Lady’ is a structural and narrative mess, but regardless of your politics the film is worth watching for Streep’s extraordinary performance.

I’m one of ‘Blair’s children’, my political knowledge is largely confined to episodes of ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘The Thick of It’; my understanding of Thatcher and her polarisation comes from what is essentially popular left-wing satire. I would have liked to have seen more politics, both the good and the bad, I would have liked to have seen what made her so popular with the voting public despite the strikes and union opposition. The moment that was seen as her betrayal by those key cabinet members was too brief, why were her closest advisers determined to bring her down? Prominent Tories have gone on record saying that it’s too soon to make a film about Thatcher and I would agree, if the film had been about Thatcher.

Last year channel 4 showed a drama about Mo Molem, played movingly and brilliantly by Julie Walters, that is the type of film I want to see about Thatcher. The politics do matter as it’s clear that Thatcher’s politics were what defined and polarised her for a generation.

Is it ever okay to discriminate?

As part of my AA100 ‘the arts past and present’ course, one of the tutors posted a discussion on ‘cultural exemptions’ using the example of that Christian couple who wouldn’t let a married gay couple share a double room. The couple wanted to gain exemption from the law on the grounds that they do not believe in sex before marriage. I’m sure you can see the problem here, the gay couple in question are married – or at least as married as the law will allow them. The judge ruled that they had acted unlawfully, as they were in violation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 – I also believe that this ruling strengths the place of civil partnerships. The director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission made a very good point that by opening their home as a commercial enterprise ‘ “means that community standards, not private ones, must be upheld.”

I think that using this case is a bad example as there are no situations where discrimination is okay and I’m getting increasing fed up with the position that homophobia is okay, that it’s okay to discuss situations where discrimination is allowed and that we can’t say “no, that’s wrong.” because religion is involved. This would never be the case in a racial discrimination case, we don’t believe racism of any form is acceptable in any situation so why is homophobia allowed?

I don’t believe anyone has the right to exemption from the law, no matter what they feel about it. If you break the law, you should be treated as equal as anyone else would be – the law is blind. Sentencing is a different issue, if you break the law you should be dealt with under the law – if that law allows for circumstances to be taken into consideration then that is what should happen (although I think that child murder, rape, paedophilia and animal abuse should carry set sentences).  I agree that no issue it truly black and white but I think that grey areas hurt people.

An example recently used in a discussion was could you specify that you only wanted women applicants? The answer is sort of – there are circumstances where you can but I believe this is wrong as this sort of exemption has the potential to be used for discrimination. If a male-to-female transsexual applied for the position, could they be discriminated against because biologically they are male? Legally, I don’t think they could but it’s this sort of grey area that bothers me (and this case has happened I also found a very stupid news article about a transsexual). I do not believe that your gender has any bearing on your ability to do a job, whether you’re the right and appropriate person for the job is all that should matter. I don’t like this idea that only a woman and can understand rape, what if you’re a woman who has been raped by another woman or a man who has been raped by a man, or a man who has been raped by a woman or a woman who would rather be counselled by a man? Should you be denied access to a male counsellor because someone has made the decision that only women are able to do the job? Sometimes when I make a doctor’s appointment I’m asked if I want to see a female doctor – to be honest, I don’t mind as I don’t think my doctors gender means they are going to treat me any different, but I do wonder if a man is asked the same question or if they have to tell the receptionist they want a male doctor? I also sometimes wonder if men are scared to ask in case they’re thought of as sexist.

I suppose my position is that in order for society to be equal, we have to be blind.