Monday, 2 April 2012

Philosiphy & Maybe A Future For Society.

I was wanting to write about the Budget and it's injustices, but try as I might, it would just never work out right. Then, out of nowhere, this happened... I hope you feel stirred to comment... Good OR Bad, I won't be hurt or offended, just don't be rude, but do be honest. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and this is mine...

One of these days, I may put my thoughts on the budget to "paper", but not just now. I feel this is where we need to start... 

Realistically, I am more interested in your disagreements and criticisms than the positives, as only with debate and differing viewpoints can the pitfalls, weaknesses and details be rounded. If it stands up, we might have something. (Although, on a personal basis, I do hope one or two of you feel moved to make a positive comment.)


What the budget did do for me, was to encourage me to look beyond the rhetoric and promises (broken and yet to be broken), as well as the spin centred "Publicity Machines" that drive and buy elections today. This political process can leave even the best intentioned politicians, firmly "in hock" to their new sponsors. I will say that in my mind, I fully understand why the budget was what it was and why, a big claim I know. But, understanding is not to be confused with sympathy, or even remotely an acceptance. 

My idea will need many additional aspects, input and changes to have a chance to succeed so throw in your comments, ideas and opinions... We have more minds put together than any government. Lets turn this into a working model...

If that is even possible... but to me, the following is the core of an idea that may just give us a chance not to follow in the history of other great civilisations, to turn the tide of society and culture today (eventually).

In my eyes, society is broken. (It's clean, it's simple.) Look around you, really look at the WORLD around you. Below the skin binding everything together, no-one with a heart could ever think it's right.

There are MANY reasons for this, none of them good enough on their own, but as a society, I feel that we have lost our perspective on what we value in people and success. The following is a (Very) sketchy model for something that I feel would benefit society as whole. With good hearts working together, a generous sprinkling of effort and faith from others, hopefully, we can start the long, painful climb to a better, more balanced society. 

The Idea

It is my fervent hope that this policy, would, in time, lead to a change in voter behaviour and voting numbers, benefiting society as whole. When the population is forced to choose a party mainly on policy alone, not slick publicity campaigns, WE, the People, might at last have a chance to make/get a party that is convincing in it's efforts to represent us. 

(A dream? maybe... Difficult? Yes... Nigh on impossible? Possibly... But NEVER beyond ability.)

In my own opinion, politics today relies on keeping the voting population as small as possible. This is so the even smaller group of "floating voters", that decide elections, is as physically small as possible. This benefits all the political parties and means that policy is easier to make (less "painful"), funding for electioneering can be more effectively targeted and the election more easily "controlled". This philosophy is a natural result of the system we have today and means that the large majority of disaffected non-voters (who have just argument), continually feel even more disassociated with the process of life and politics around them. 

A common cry is: "What's the point, they are all the same and just as bad as each other". We have all heard this at some time or other. Another common cry is: "we know its broke, but how can you fix it? It will never be fixed!", Just and true words in my opinion, or are they really?

Below is my idea. It is far from perfect and there are many details to iron out (I have many already). BUT, it is an idea, a start.... Take a look and read it all before you judge.

The Details

In my view, the basic need of society today, is the removal of all 3rd party finance from the Election process and minimising financial influence on party funding in general. Nothing new, I am sure you will agree. but here is how and why I think it can work.

The change in party funding and electioneering will, hopefully, have the eventual effect of forcing all parties to focus on policy, not "theatre". It can even force a peaceful and almost willing change of direction in the politics of today. I believe that it will, in time force the parties, all of them, to begin actually listening and responding to the general population as a whole. Election promises will have to be more rigidly held to, or the party concerned will lose ground the next time. (Remember, they have nothing more than their public perception to sell).

NO-ONE will be able to buy themselves out of trouble with over inflated advertising budgets and "spin". In addition, because of the reduced entry level and even handedness of funding, more people may be moved to join in the democratic debate, or even start parties of their own. In my eyes this can only be better for politics. Lastly, without the current quantity of money floating around the political system, a large number of the "Career Politicians" will be tempted to move into the private sector in order to gain the associated financial rewards, power and influence that is their, so often transparent, motivation.

A new generation, already maturing, will have the chance to gain positions in government and more freely pursue their true values. Also we all benefit from the lower risk of blatant corruption and a higher threshold of consequences when discovered. I hope we would start to see some integrity return to politics. Possibly naive, yes! But honestly, the threshold is pretty low right now.

The next generation will have a chance to grow in a more transparent, more trustworthy democracy. Nothing is ever perfect, but they would have the chance. That has to be better than today?

Before I go on... YES, my plan is likely to be tough on the public purse (at least in the short term) and it is not cheap in regard to the possible implications on taxes... BUT, I do believe that as the changes start to take hold, we will see genuine financial benefits in way of a reorganisation and re-prioritisation of the tax system, health, benefits and employment law amongst others. The very system will force the parties to distinguish themselves by policy, things will inevitably start to change. 

(everything  in time, we all know it's broke, but lets not stand by and complain... Lets try to fix it as best we can). 

When will we be able to say "it's done" and who will suffer the most? Who knows, your guess is as good as mine... BUT, if it happens, we might just be lucky enough to see the embryonic form of a better society before we die. Some will kick and scream, some will relish it, others still will, unfortunately, struggle. But what are the majority of us doing right now. Every day? Really?

In time, with faith and patience, I believe society and all of us could be the winners. (if we are lucky and stay determined on the path.) 

Now don't get me wrong here, I have experienced life from the top to the bottom of society, been lucky and had a good life. Yet, I have met good at all levels of society, but there are too few, anywhere. I am no Communist, nor am I a "true capitalist", if such a thing can truly be tolerated on grounds of simple human decency. Also, don't get me wrong! I have no problem with the acquisition of wealth. On the contrary, it is a good thing for society and the general population. For me, the testament of a person, is purely in what they choose to do with that wealth and whether they respect the responsibility it conveys. 

Can they use it, or be used by it?

"That is the Question", to quote a very famous writer. Another influential man once said to me, "measure twice, cut once", it's all the same analogy.

Too many in this position of wealth choose the latter path and forget that this society today was built on the "generosity" of the wealthy. However selfish, or financially motivated it may have been, never forget that our first sewers, schools, hospitals, libraries and many other services that we take for granted today, were exclusively paid for and funded by the wealthy before being turned over to the tax payer in the form of Government control and ownership. Our tax system and society was never designed to operate without this support. It is a direct result of the wealthy not continuing this tradition in any meaningful way today, that has led to the ever increasing tax burden and general dissatisfaction of the "common man".

We are being asked to pay for it after it was gifted to us. The responsibility lies with anyone who has the wealth spare to fund the basics of our society. You and me too... When we make it, we have a duty to repay those around us who, as a community, as friends and family, supported and encouraged us. Brought a smile that changed the mood of a day. We ALL have the responsibility.

The Legislation

This legislation changes little in the political process. Essentially it is the same as now with two key changes...

During Elections, ALL party funding (publicity, campaign funding and all that goes with an election), would come from the public purse and be limited in value (Another debate again). ALL outside funding, in ANY form whatsoever would be Strictly Prohibited. Existing party funding would be frozen. (certain exceptions are necessary here. But again, for another day.)

Only when Election finance MUST come from an evenly distributed, publicly funded source. As well as, all non Election funding of political parties by businesses, of ANY size and that of any other interest groups, is prohibited. AND with ALL party donations capped to an annual limit (Again for another day) AND all personal donations are listed on a freely accessible register, with amounts and all business interests disclosed... Only with this and more, in way of complete financial transparency in government, can we ever have a hope of beginning to achieve this change that society is crying out for.

The goal is to establish the beginnings of a long, slow process of re-balancing the socio-economic system toward valuing the person and intellect, not wealth, apparent success or self importance.

Potential, not Paper.

And there it is, in three paragraphs.

To Conclude

It is my fervent hope (and yes, you have seen many such words here), that this change in values at the "top" of our society, will eventually bleed (far too slowly, but inevitably) into the Psyche of the general population and with luck (there it is again), this will eventually lead into a new philosophy in life, business and the worth of the employee and fellow man. As new generations become the business and political leaders of the future, we might just be lucky enough to see it start taking hold in a permanent way. 

Don't bemoan the problems, look at how your actions can change the life of those around you for the better. And how that could lead to a better world for us all one day.

To the truly wealthy, who might just read this blog (my ego again), Think! Do you pay lip service with your charitable donations, or do they come from the heart. Only you know the answer to that question and only you that has live with your conscience.

Lets not go the way of the great empires before us, let's not fold in ourselves.

It Starts Now!

It's time we stand back and look at what we prioritise in society today