Deja Vu

May 20, 2009

I was on a political forum just now (mostly American with a small transnational representation) and a couple of the loyal Democrats on the board were licking their fingers with glee at the demise of the Republican party. They virtual-high-fived each other at the news that the GOP had lost the most ground for a period of the past eight years. Despite this not actually being that cataclysmic a statistic, they agreed that the GOP was over. It was curtains.

Now don’t get me wrong I consider the vision of a US run by McCain and the neocons as more frightening that far than the prospect of an Obama America, but I’ve been here before.

We saw the same thing in the UK when Blair and New Labour came into power. Back then gleeful leftists said the same of the Tories and the case for it seemed compelling. But a week is a long time in politics and a term is an eternity and at this point it is looking increasingly likely the conservatives could win the next election.

When Blair came to power it was a very comparable set of circumstances to Obama’s recent victory in the present day. What happened to this country under New Labour is something I will never forget, especially since it was with my first vote that I and most of the rest of Britain voted Blair in the first time.

The similarities of Blair and Obama are striking:

A long time under a conservative government which the vast majority of people had utterly lost faith in.

An exciting young politician comes on the scene promising serious progress. For Blair the key word was “New” for Obama it was “Change”. Both share a remarkable talent for public speaking, inspire people with catchy scripted sound bites while saying a bare minimum about policy.

Both came in to power by taking the votes of the centre, and even a bit of the centre right as well, on top of their parties traditional left-leaning and left wing following.

When Blair came to power he rode on a massive surge of popularity and he was given a political blank cheque for what I now see as an amount of time that was frankly irresponsible on the behalf of me and the British people in general. As he subtly brushed away election promise after election promise no one seemed to mind that much. Give him time. Wait and see. Have a little faith. It’s better than it would be if the other guy won. Then suddenly he was up for a war, but he told us to trust him because he was “a straight kind of a guy” and a majority did. And then we woke up one day and realised we were a pigeon step away from a police state and engaged in an illegal war and occupation. And this man we had put so much faith and trust in was responsible for millions of deaths abroad and the wholesale dismantlement of most of our civil liberties. And he just did not give a fuck.

I would really urge Americans to not focus on how they feel about Obama, but on what he actually does, as that is all that is relevant in a matter as serious as the direction and nature of their nation.

A large problem with the left-right paradyme (especially with a two party system as there is in the US and here in the UK) is it provides a huge opportunity for a lazy mind to view the world in a binary world. Zero and One. Black and White. Right and Wrong. Just pick the side that closest suits their own views and write off the others as the baddies.

So when Obama replaced Bush, Good replaced Bad. No consideration that it could have been Bad replacing Even Worse, or even Even Worse replaceing Bad but I hope not. I truly hope in fact that Obama proves me wrong, but I do not have a very positive outlook on how these next 4, or likely 8 years will pan out. I would direct you to the blog of a friend of mine, Mohsin, and his superb blog article on this issue for an indication as to why:

The truth people need to realise is that the people who run the agenda are not elected. Whichever party is in control of the UK the international bankers will still run the Bank of England, the same corporations will be dictating politics with our economy as hostage, the E.U. will still write 70% of our new laws each year and the same corporate interests will own the media. The power a civilian politician has, even in the case of the Prime Minister or President has is extremely limited. Considering the sway the media has on an election it is fair to say that no politcian could even become a nation’s leader unless the corporate and banking powers thought it prudent to their own agenda.

The late great Bill Hicks put it best:

“I’ll show you politics in America:

‘I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.’

‘I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.’

‘Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!’”


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