|Lloyds of London after its refit following a POP victory|
I normally avoid talking about politics, but seeing as there is an election here in two days and everyone else is talking about nothing else, well ...
All indications are that there won't be an overall winner after voting takes place on May 7th. The Conservatives seem to have managed to convince voters that the jerry-rigged GDP figures are real and that an economic recovery is underway (it is, if you're in the top echelons) and are hammering home the message that Labour would ruin everything if they got into power. The Labour Party are being forced to dance to the same tune, having sold themselves out under Blair and Brown, and are a sad caricature what they once stood for i.e. a fair deal for the working classes.
In the middle we have the probable king-makers the Liberal Democrats - who are also a sad parody of what they once stood for - making all three main parties more or less the same in their untrammelled pursuit of economic growth, jobs, opportunities yadda yadda yadda.
Then we have the other potential king-makers the Scottish National Party, who are not just popular in Scotland but also south of the border. Now that the penny has dropped that they were suckered by Westminster during the recent referendum to quit the UK, most Scots have dropped the Labour party quicker than a flaming caber.
Next up is UKIP - the United Kingdom Independence Party - lead by the charismatic rogue Nigel Farage - the mere mention of whose name can have most liberals frothing at the mouth and screaming 'fascist'. UKIP seem to be getting a lot of support from the disenfranchised who have been manipulated by the right wing media into thinking that waves of immigrants are bleeding the country dry. UKIPpers tend to be ruddy faced, beer-loving folks who 'aren't afraid to speak the truth'.
And finally, traditionally in last place (if mentioned at all), is the Green Party. In a blind survey of policies people picked the Green's policies as being best. If the election was decided purely on policy then the Green's would win it. Alas, we have an unfair system, which means they will only get a seat or two in parliament, even if they do get up to 10% of the vote. I've always voted Green - I even have an election poster up in my window (along with lots of other Green posters in the centre of Penzance where I live) - as all the other parties have psychopathic policies, in my humble opinion. For some reason I was picked to attend a lunch with the leader Natalie Bennett, a couple of months back. I can report that she is entirely unlike most other politicians, and actually seems to have her head screwed on.
Still, the Greens are probably only enjoying their modest current success because they have become by default the only left wing party there is. They have many good policies, but it's somewhat dismaying to see them pledge to build half a million new houses in a country that's already way over-built. Last week, I noticed, Natalie Bennett put a link on social media to an article pointing out that up to a fifth of all species on Earth faces imminent extinction. She immediately faced angry and hostile comments from Green supporters telling her to 'get a grip' and 'talk about real issues such as jobs'. So it goes, a paler shade of green.
At least they are the only party that has mentioned environmental issues in this election.
Incidentally, the local Liberal Democrat MP rang my doorbell last week and harangued me for displaying said Green Party poster. "They're all hypocrites who take skiing holidays in Canada," was what he said. He went on to portray himself as a true guardian of all that is green and good. "Why," I asked him "did he vote in favour of fracking in the House of Commons?" He was a bit stumped by this but hastily explained that fracking is "kind of like geothermal" which somehow makes it 'green'.
So, the bottom line is that there probably won't be an overall winner as such. Coalition horse trading will probably go on for a while. The bottom bottom line is that we are entering into a period of political paralysis symptomatic of the peaking of energy supplies and the ongoing deflation of the (real) economy. Cheap oil gave everyone a few decades to be happy. Elaborate political structures could be created and everyone seemed to get their share of the cake. Sure, there was a bit of moaning about this or that government or party, but generally everyone got to chow down on the benefits of a techno consumer economy awash in credit and fiat money.
But that model is now broken. Anyone with any wealth in this country now knows that the only way they can hold onto it is by throwing those less well off under the bus. That's why, when I drive around some of the nearby villages here, all the tacky and ugly houses have Conservative placards stuck in the lawns next to their fake Chinese lions. These people see a massive and bloated welfare state (in Cornwall, the second poorest region in western Europe, four out of five families are on benefits) that needs to be cut back down to size. They see the cash-sucking National Health System as a threat that needs to be neutralised and they want the 'scroungers' to be taught a lesson and forced to work.
On the other team, Labour supporters want a continuation of welfare provision - even if, confusingly, their party also seems intent on austerity policies and clamping down on immigration.
So, we have gridlock. We'll be the new Greece before too long. Won't that be fun? To that end I've decided to form my own political party - the Peak Oil Party (tongue firmly in cheek).
The POP's slogan will be:
'Vote for us for a slightly less worse future than the others will give you'.
Its main policies include:
- All remaining North Sea oil reserves will be dedicated to building a national renewable energy sector
- Car journeys to be rationed to one day a week per driver
- All chemical pesticides and herbicides to be phased out over a ten year period
- All immigration controls will be lifted - people will be free to come or leave as they please (many will choose to leave)
- All able-bodied unemployed people to be recruited to a Land Army or face starvation
- All people working in the finance industry to be recruited to the Land Army. The City of London to be converted into a large-scale vertical agriculture experimentation zone
- All workers will be given two minutes to describe their job to selected panels of six-year-olds. If, after that, a majority on the panel do not understand the function of your job it will be liquidated and you will be placed in the Land Army. Bribery with sweets/toys will be punishable by permanent job allocation of Gong Farmer
- Defence budget to be cut by 90%, including a phase out of nuclear weapons
- All gold bullion held by the Bank of England to be sold to China or swapped for solar panels and bicycles
- The Royal Family and all their possessions to be sold to America or exchanged for cattle feed and LNG
- All corporate farms, grouse shooting moors, golf courses and stately homes to be nationalised with 50% given over to intensive organic agriculture and 50% allowed to revert back to wilderness
- All airports to be shut down after the last corporate jet has fled the country
- Everyone who successfully completes three years in the Land Army having amassed a variety of agricultural skills to be freely given an acre of arable land, a bicycle, a cow and a sum of money with which to build a dwelling of their own design
- After a stabilisation period of ten years all forms of national politics to be liquidated. Great Britain to be renamed The Britlands and broken up into small autonomous bio-regions not worth invading
Who knows, if I can raise a deposit in the next two days POP might be in with a chance. On the other hand ...