What About The Workers? By Trevor Plumbly

 

Labour pains

I’ve always voted Labour, partially due to my background, but mainly because its basic aims seem more laudable than those of their Tory counterparts. Now, sadly, that political divide isn’t so sharply drawn. But these days it seems no-one with a political pulse wants to enter the fray with any warlike intentions; it’s ever been thus, but the buggers are a bit more cunning now. Left or right isn’t a comfortable enough place for today’s breed, it’s probably too close to the firing line. The coveted position these days is ‘the centre’; this is not precisely on the fence, that’s reserved for minor parties, but slightly to the left or right of it, depending on one’s political leanings, is the place to be. It’s sad really because this quest for a lukewarm platform has robbed us of gutsy orators, and we’re left with milquetoast mumblers and mild mannered academics.Scuffles in Ukrainian parliament

Armani overalls

It must be tough to rant about the plight of the workers when they don’t have much of a plight. Most of the hurdles of the past seemed to have been cleared in recent years and, since union pressure is the cause of a great deal of the changes rather than political will, Labour appears hard pressed to find an emotional button to push. It’s simply got too intellectual for its own good. It’s just not a contest any more. Time was the two leaders would volley insults, real gems like ‘he’s just a shiver looking for a spine to run up!’; but now it’s too civilised to be even entertaining. Two well educated gents playing polite ping-pong with words rather than the verbal slug fest of old. Maybe the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘haves’ have finally discovered that they’ve all got enough and as a result elect politicians that reflect their comfort zone.

The ship of state…

Remains unrocked, once again it was ever thus, and indeed it will remain that way until some form of stimulant is injected into a system, hidebound by superfluous tradition and protectionism. Why bother for instance, with question time in parliament? This once important opportunity for opposition members to interrogate government ministers has become peppered with smarmy nepotism, government backbenchers pop up to ask their own ministers patsy questions and we get what virtually amounts to an election speech in reply. There’s also been a sharp rise in feigned sensitivity: ‘I take offence at that comment Mr. Speaker’, is not quite the same as ‘Jimmy Brown pulled my pigtail’, but sadly it sometimes gets close. Surely the Westminster system has run its course and relatively young countries should look towards creating a more efficient form of governance. It seems obvious that, as with the law, the more legislation you create, the more people you need to pay to enforce it and, worse, the harder it is for ordinary people to feel part of it. We’ve been cajoled into complacency and as a result the veneer of charisma, inter-party ‘accommodation’ and the media sound bite have become the new reality.

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