They shall inherit by Trevor Plumbly

The silly season

The English get into trouble when they take things seriously, but happily, a sense of the ridiculous helps them cope.

Lord Buckethead with Theresa May in Maidenhead

Elections are a serious business to the Brits so they lighten things up with odd characters like Lord Buckethead who received 239 votes at the last election when he stood against Theresa May in Maidenhead; he hailed that as a triumph, so like they say, ‘it’s not the winning……’ God only knows what motivates the man; maybe he just wants to illustrate what a pantomime the whole system has become, if so we could do with a bit of his philosophy down under.

Don’t vote, don’t moan!

Down here we take elections even more seriously and I want a chance to moan before the event – who the hell listens afterwards anyway? My problem is finding the will to vote for any of the current offering; more of the same seems like an extension of sentence and change would open the door to fringe loopies and bewildered visionaries, hoping for a place round the trough. It is a time for rabid rationalism, and pearls thus far include: free condoms to ease the burden on the benefit system and ‘affordability is in the eye of the beholder’ (wisdom from the Housing Minister discussing the current crisis). Then there’s the old chestnuts, crime and punishment, ‘more cops on the street! There aren’t any cops ‘on the street’; Mr Plod is not pounding the pavement, he’s tootling around in a squad car with the windows rolled up. Conjugal visiting rights for prisoners, now there’s a thought; never mind what put them in there, the odd bonk will set them on the righteous path.

Charles Sanders Peirce, founder of the philosophical tradition of pragmatism. Peirce later described it in his pragmatic maxim: “Consider the practical effects of the objects of your conception. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object.”

Portable principles

It’s scrub up time for those we used to call ‘representatives’ and I get worried when they adopt a moral tone. One recently referred to another party’s policies as racist, but went on to say that they would work with them, describing their stance as ‘pragmatic’. Principles, it seems, can’t survive the rarified atmosphere of the MMP system. Commitment fares little better: deals will be struck to establish a power base, portfolios traded for watered down policy promises and blatant capitulation hailed as ‘compromise’. It is a time for the public to speak, but as evidenced in the UK and the USA, sometimes they only manage to mumble.

 

 

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