Political Rants

Okay, hear me out.

I was having a mental discussion with myself the other day, inspired by someone’s postings on social media about Brexit. They were talking about their decision to vote leave was due to them hearing satirist and host of The Mash Report Nish Kumar saying leave voters were racist. Their logic behind the matter was that if they vote leave, it proves that statement to be false, as they don’t believe themselves to be racist.

There are many issues with this, notwithstanding the fact I cannot find any clear evidence of Nish saying this, it’s also the fact that their actions were completely and utterly pointless.

Yes, there are a group of remain voters suggesting that people voted leave because of either racist or xenophobic reasons, and, whilst some people may have done this, you cannot extend that to all leave voters. It’s an issue that makes me frustrated at other remain voters because I know many people who voted to leave for many other reasons, some of them with very legitimate and well-informed grievances with the EU and, back then, leaving the European Union was a way of resolving them.

Those remain voters annoy me too, but not enough to justify voting leave. To give the original poster some credit, he was largely undecided until that moment, and it was individuals like that who had to decide going off the behaviours of both hardcore Remainers and Brexiteers, and I don’t blame them for looking over at the Remain camp and seeing some rather disgusting behaviour and smear campaigning on their behalf.

The thing is though, Leave voters aren’t the only people guilty of using negative behaviour to push their own agenda. The Remain campaign got voters because of the murder of Jo Cox. This might not be a nice image to comprehend, but it doesn’t make it false. The Remain campaigners, or at least some of them, used her murder to paint all leave voters with the same brush. People chose to vote one way over the other because of the actions of one person. That applies to both the extremist Thomas Mair and Remain campaigners who slated Leave voters by accusations of racism and murder. I was even guilty of it at the time, it was hard not to be when a decision such as Brexit is being discussed. It might seem a stretch and inappropriate to use the murder of Jo Cox in this way, but it still resulted in the same thing, people voted going off one person’s, or a handful of people’s, actions, as opposed to the different arguments that were genuine, such as membership fees, EU legislation, freedom of movement, and trade agreements.

The issue is that both campaigns took advantage of the emotional vote, from Leave’s NHS bullshit-bus, which promised, sorry, suggested, an alternative use for the money used to be used, to Remain’s targeting of Leave campaigners, voters, and their own version of scaremongering (e.g. the ‘Stronger and Safer in Europe’ advert).

The main problem with the emotional vote is exactly what was observed, it causes a rift between voters, leaving instances where arguments that should have been about policy becoming an attack of the opposition’s opinions. These acts don’t result in compromise. An argument where you are targeting another person’s beliefs makes them more stubborn and more likely to defend them. It leaves no room for debate if you immediately make it personal, and the build up to the referendum was more often than not littered with emotional arguments and attacking the opposition instead of debating the positives and negatives of Brexit.

There has been a significant shift to this way of thinking and arguing, especially online. The right-wing’s incessant proclamations of “snowflake” and “cuck” shows that. It normally comes from people without any kind of comeback, meaning they have to target the person sharing different views to fire back at them. It can also be an individual that doesn’t want to listen to the alternative viewpoint, and has already decided to ignore the point and insult the speaker instead.

The left is also guilty of this. The main problem is that the left use words which can be a valid point, such as calling out racism or bigotry. However, people use these for differing opinions on immigration, welfare, and many other issues where there is room for discussion. Opposing open borders, for example, is far from racist. In an ideal world, open borders could be fantastic, people coming and going, international intermingling, a world free for everyone to live where they please. But that is being ignorant to the fact that there are people out there wanting to damage our society and hurt out country. Keeping out undesirable people, on a very basic level, is more than understandable. Who would want suicide bombers, terrorist leaders, right-wing extremists, and Donald Trump coming into the country? This can go too far, however, and can include people wanting harsher policing of our borders for racist and bigoted reasons. The lines get muddied, and that’s a major issue for a lot of left-leaning and liberal people, as they often claim racism when they just want to be cautious. The same issues fall for right-leaning people too, where they think allowing significant amounts of people, such as refugees, into the country will have a very negative effect on society.

The main solution to this problem is a broad education on these matters. Right-leaning individuals need to realise that refugees are people from a second-world country wanting to get stability and safety for themselves and their family. It’s a human responsibility to look after and take care of others in need. Seeing we have bombed Syria, we have directly added to the problem. We cannot expect to cause refugees and then reject them when they come to our doorstep. There is nothing wrong with helping out your fellow man, and calling people cucks and snowflakes for wanting to help other people, whether refugees, women, or the LGBT community, will just cause more conflict. You should look at why these people have those views and try and empathise with them. Once you strip it all to its core, you’ll just find people wanting to help other people. But enough about my ranting…

Left-leaning people need to realise that right-leaning people won’t go away. Not everyone will agree with them, and that has happened since the creation of independent thought. Mankind has been at its most peaceful when people have put aside their differences to work together towards a larger goal. This means listening and hearing the opinions and thoughts of disagreeing opinions and compromising with them. Neither one of you will get everything you wanted, but as long as neither one of you has damaging or hurtful views, it’s okay.

This has kinda been a big rant, but I think I’m just a bit sick of seeing people arguing about important issues with next to nothing actually being debated. Not to mention if someone attempts to debate, they just get called a cuck/racist/snowflake and the whole thing stalls and usually ends.

Communication is one of the most important parts of living, and recently? We haven’t been doing that.

Political Rants

I have never voted for Labour. Today, that changes.

Yes. My big 2017 snap election secret is out. It still feels very weird to say, but hear me out.

My polling history has been sketchy at best, I have got to admit. I have had a huge overhaul in ideals and priorities in the last 5 years, which has resulted in my political standpoint moving more and more towards the left hand side of the spectrum.

My original party of choice was the Conservatives. Yes, I know. Again, hear me out.

They were something different, in a world where my views were slowly developing and growing, a disillusioned teen viewing the end of the Labour years, the financial crash, and the beginning of the end of New Labour. I had witnessed war in Iraq, terror in London, and a significant amount of struggle from people facing the brunt of poorly regulated banking systems and poor investment.

David Cameron and his new form of Conservative Party was a breath of fresh air, or so it seemed at the time, and I, like many others, was caught up in it. The 2010 election, the Conservative-LibDem coalition.

Despite being too young to vote at the time, I supported the Conservative campaign, I was a blue, a Tory, to the utter despair of people I knew, die-hard Labour supporters, friends. I went along with it all, I supported austerity cuts, because we needed to cut the deficit, we needed to get the budget back on track and reduce spending. It all made sense, but it didn’t play out that way.

It is bizarre to consider that, if the Tories were successful in their austerity, and removed the deficit by the 2015 election, I, and many others, may have had a soft spot for the government – maybe even praising them. But that didn’t happen.

The deadline kept on extending, and extending, and extending, and now we have moved on from a 2015 goal to end the deficit to a 2025 goal to end the deficit.

With the goalposts constantly moving further and further away, it became less and less possible to justify the cuts that the Conservatives were, and still are, making. They have made serious and damaging cuts to the NHS, started the privatisation of Royal Mail, cut funding for poor students, and a significant amount of other cuts that hurt the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the young. How can someone still have faith in a party that has done nothing but take, and provide tax relief for the rich? Give or take a universally approved marriage equality bill, of course.

With all of this in mind, I made my switch to the Liberal Democrats. I voted for them the first time in the general election in 2015. I had seen through the unfair press they were getting as the minority party in the coalition. They made hard decisions and restrained a much more vicious Tory party than what we were expecting. They provided balance and security, and paid the price for it, as the Tories blamed them for the poor results and took the positive ones for themselves, something that they still do now.

Since then, I have been a Liberal Democrat. To my knowledge, I am still a Liberal Democrat. I have been a member of the party for over 2 years now, and very much defend the party and its core values. It holds a very major part of my political identity, with key figures such as Nick Clegg, Norman Lamb, and, possibly controversially, Tim Farron all inspiring me to be more involved in politics and form my liberal identity.

However, the 2017 election is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before on a political front. Half of the country is still reeling from the Brexit result, and the concept of a Tory Hard Brexit seemed inevitable until the election was called. The snap election that was, in my opinion, just a tool to take advantage of a fractured opposition and gain more seats. The Copeland by-election, the constituency next to mine, most certainly played a major part in this election being called. The Tories took an old Labour stronghold, an ex-Shadow Cabinet’s constituency, almost out of nowhere. Theresa May is intending on having that trend stretch further into Labour’s turf, gaining an even stronger government to have full and comfortable control over the Commons.

This is where strategic voting comes into play.

My local constituency has been a Labour stronghold for years. Tony Cunningham was the MP for 14 years before Sue Hayman took over in 2015, and Dale Campbell-Savours held the seat for an incredible 22 years before that between 1979 and 2001. For the first time in decades, that seat is at its most vulnerable, with the Conservatives trying its hardest to extend its support in the North.

Let’s not get just put my decision down to strategic voting, either. Sue Hayman is a pretty great local representative for the constituency. She has fantastic values, has fought hard for local concerns in the Commons, and has worked tirelessly throughout the entire election campaign. I know, I subscribed to her email updates and her schedule has been airtight at times. She even took time to go door to door, and spoke with my grandparents, sending them correspondence with an update on their concerns afterwards, too. It’s a fantastic work ethic and shows off a person who cares deeply for her party and the people in her Workington constituency, whilst my local LibDem candidate has been mostly mute, with most of the LibDems in the area’s concern being on Farron’s seat in Westmorland and Lonsdale. I just don’t feel obliged to vote for my party’s candidate if there is a better one available that would keep the Tories out of the area at the same time.

I must admit, too, that it goes beyond my local MP. The Labour manifesto very much speaks to me, and appeals to me in a lot of ways, sharing my views with a significant amount of their policies. I like Jeremy Corbyn, I think he is a breath of fresh air in modern politics, a man who has stuck to his guns through hardship and prosperity. I am not scared of him, far from it. He is not a man deserving of fear, unless your ideals are against a progressive, liberal movement, he is a man who has not let public opinions define him. He has done the dirty work when he has needed to, negotiating with the IRA to try and resolve the issues going on at the time. Having a discussion with terrorists doesn’t make him a terrorist sympathiser, it makes him better than the terrorists, he hasn’t resorted to violence to achieve a goal. This is the exact type of man who should be in charge of international conflict, whether political or military.

I do not have entire faith in the Labour manifesto, however. I do not think all the aims are achievable in one term, or at least not fully. Restructuring funding for the NHS, buying back the Royal Mail, and setting up a public energy company to drive down prices would take a hell of a lot of effort alone, never mind entirely scrapping tuition fees and reorganising them to a structure that works.

However, I’d very much rather a Labour manifesto that meets most of its goals, as opposed to a Tory government that is allowed to enact their manifesto in its entirety.

I feel like that is enough from me right now. I will be posting as the election day continues. But I feel like I have said enough for now.

If you are registered, go out and vote. I’d rather you didn’t go for a Tory option, but regardless of who you would vote for, exercise your right to vote. It’s important.

Happy Election Day, everyone.

Corey x


The Introduction of the National Living Wage.

In 2015, George Osborne announced in his budget that the UK were going to make sure that, by 2020, we would be on £9 an hour, well deserving of the title “the National Living Wage”.

However, despite the fact that inflation by 2020 would arguably make £9 an hour less impressive (seeing that the Living wage rose by 40p in November), there is also a catch. At the moment, the only changes are going to be for people aged 25 and over.

The justification of this by the government is that it will allow young people to “secure work and gain experience” as well as to “maximise the opportunities” available to them.

Now, this seems fine and well, apart from the fact that this is pretty much going to screw over young people AND people over 25.

Just think about it. At this moment in time, the national minimum wage is £6.70 an hour. This applies (currently) to anyone over the age of 21, with the minimum wage for 18-20 year old workers being £5.30 an hour, and a staggeringly low £3.87 for people under 18. This means that, BEFORE the changes, people over 21 are earning £2.83 an hour more than under 18s (and £1.40 more for people aged 18-20) for just being older. Say what you want about ‘gaining experience’, they are doing exactly the same work as someone who is 21+, and it’s not that fair.

From April 2016, the situation is going to be even more clouded. This is due to the government’s 2020 “living wage” plan making its first progress, boosting the wage from £6.70 an hour to £7.20 an hour for people aged 25 and over. This means that, especially people who are working in shops and other customer service industries (as well as other employment that works on a minimum wage payment), the wage gap between 17 year olds and 25 year olds is going to be an incredible £3.33 an hour. Simply for being older, 25 year olds are going to be paid almost DOUBLE the wage of someone under 18.

You might, however, argue that 16-18 year olds “don’t need the money as much as 25 year olds”, because they spend it on unimportant things like university funding, or even a car or driving lessons. Whatever arguments you say about teenage spending, there are adults that spend their wage on pretty much similar things, whether it be video games, alcohol, or trying to avoid getting £50,000+ in debt to study at university. It doesn’t mean that their work is less valuable, or that they put in less effort.

Look at 18-20 year olds, if you want another side of the argument (I’ll be getting on to my current age bracket, 21-24, soon). They are getting paid £1.90 less despite being legally classed as an adult. At that age, finding work isn’t about getting some extra pocket money, it’s either finding work to complement further education or as a full time job, and, therefore, trying to save up to move out and become independent (seeing that they legally have to pay council tax anyway).

This becomes even muddier when it comes to the 21-24 year old workers. This is pretty much consisting of graduates and the independent adults from the 18-20 section, with some mature students thrown into the mix. This group has all the responsibilities as people 25+. If you have a person working in a shop that’s full time (I’ve classed this as 40 hours, but some companies differ) and 24, and another person that’s full time and 25, there shouldn’t be a £20 per week difference in their wage. The only reason they are being paid £20 more a week is because of their age. When you are doing something like retail, having 1 year more experience or being 1 year older doesn’t make a fucking difference. Being 24 as opposed to 25 doesn’t make your bills, your council tax, or your mortgage repayments (okay, with this government, this example is stretching it a bit far) any cheaper. It’s exactly the same financial responsibility as an 18 year old would have, so why do people 25 and older get placed on a minimum-wage significantly higher than people that have the same responsibilities financially? £2o may not seem like much per week, but it adds up to an extra £1,020 a year just for being a year older, which is just simply ridiculous. If you were working 40 hours a week at 18 years old, someone aged 25 and over would be earning £3,952 more a year from April. The exact same job, the exact same responsibilities, but your age (and the concept of experience, we mustn’t forget about that) means you earn nearly four grand less a year, because fuck you, 18-20 year olds – lots of love, George Osborne.

The Living wage issue doesn’t just affect people under 25, though. Seeing that 1 in 20 (or 5% of the population, roughly 3,250,000 people) are on minimum wage at the moment, and the suggestion of it increasing to 1 in 9 by 2020, people over 25 will more than likely find themselves too valuable for businesses to employ them. Significant amounts of high street companies hire 16-20 year olds already because of their lower wage cost, but increasing 25 y/o+ workers’ wages by 50p an hour (and steadily rising in the future) will just make the cheaper, more affordable teenagers even more worthwhile. Sure, they will earning more, but they will most certainly see doors close in the future because of their extra expense.

The living wage is being heralded as a “masterstroke“, but without other increases to the minimum wage for younger people, it’s quite simply adding another tier to the minimum wage and rebranding it as “living”. All it is doing is making a clear statement that people 25 and over apparently work harder than people under 25, and that they deserve to be paid more because of it. I’m sorry, George Osborne, but as someone that has suffered through the minimum wage tiers and austerity cuts, and not had a rich family to bail me out whenever I needed it, I know when I’m being served shit despite being told that it’s champagne.