Debate or bust

According to everyone ever everywhere, it’s going to be a HUGE CATASTROPHE if we [insert voting habits here]. I actually quite agree, but only because I think everything is already a HUGE CATASTROPHE and am worried that no one has noticed. When you think about it, it almost doesn’t matter because the fossil fuels are running out and in 50 years, we’ll be burning underfunded care homes to keep warm anyway, and living in disused hospitals decimated by the conservatives because of the housing shortage the immigrants we didn’t let in definitely caused.

Debacle Debate 1.

I don’t want to talk about the first debate because Farage was in it and the oily nationalism of someone who thinks we can close our borders and everything will be better makes me feel the same desolate certainty that the gods hate you as when your biscuit falls into your tea mid-dunk. It was an hour of Farage talking over Julie Etchingham and her apologising and British people wanting something they may or may not be able to spell. “Yeah but if we stay, is we still sovereign though?”
No, astonishingly we can’t override all those other nations we agreed to work in a team with because there’s no ‘massive wanker’ in t-e-a-m.

Debate 2

Participants for Remain: Nicola Sturgeon, Angela Eagle and Amber Rudd
Leave: Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Gisela Stuart

I think my favourite element of this debate was the frequent use of the word ‘whopper’ and the bit about leprechauns, which certainly livened everything up. My problem with the 350 million per week scandal is not that a politician put a mega lie on his bus (did anyone seriously think any figures mentioned were not going to be displayed to advantage with rebates/other statistics left out?), because that’s frankly not a surprise, I’m more surprised BJ has a bus actually, but rather the fact that people seem to believe the Tories intend to invest that money into the NHS. I teach English and I know when Boris uses a conditional like ‘we could use some of that money for the NHS’, he’s expressing a hypothetical ability, not something he’s actually intending on doing. Clever. Perhaps inside his head he’s holding hands with that leprechaun, dancing a jig on his whopper bus in the nude, singing, ‘but I won’t but I won’t but I won’tywon’tywon’t’, who can tell?
I mean, they can tell us that’s what they’re going to do…but if they don’t, what can we do about it? Vote them out? Unlikely, with first past the post, where stuff like this happened in 2015:

‘Labour saw their vote share increase while their number of seats collapsed. The Conservatives won an overall majority on a minority of the vote, and the Liberal Democrats lost nearly all their seats – despite winning 8% of the vote.’

The attitudes of both sides became a little clearer for me. Nicola Sturgeon expressed my understanding of the EU – a group of independent countries agreeing to work together to guarantee freedom of movement, so people have the choice to work where their skills are needed. Or like me, if you fancy working somewhere German speaking because that’s what you’re good at. This freedom of movement is the only good thing in a world (still) controlled by capitalism, where money is the only thing not ruled by borders.

Yeah it’s not perfect, but the UK isn’t perfect either. And I don’t know if anyone’s noticed but the Empire is over. We’re not a massive world power people should be bowing and scraping to. We’re a wee country with a shaky economy and I’m for working together to work it out. If you pull out of the EU and destabilise the market and it collapses, what chance do we have of improved trading then?

I also really don’t like the Brexit attitude at all. It’s an attitude that would fly absolutely nowhere else. Something in your life is shit? Abandon it. Don’t even try to improve it, just drop it straight away. I mean, that’s definitely what I’ll be telling my children. As much as I’m loath to agree with Cameron on anything (remain, not anything else), his entire perspective towards the EU is currently, ‘let’s have less risk, put less in and get more out.’ Another excellent life lesson I’ll be sure to pass on to the dear children, who are suddenly so important.

Immigreation*

Leave: Immigrants are bad and wreck everything the Tories have so carefully funded and built up. They also irreversibly push down wages because employers in the UK are genetically unable to pay the minimum wage if they can see a way to scam more money somehow. That says far more about our attitude to work, dignity and worth than it does about immigrants.

BJ then purports to be outraged at the democratic deficit in the EU, which we certainly don’t have in a country with an unelected House of Lords (other bicameral gems include Belize, Lesotho, Madagascar, Oman, Russia and Saudi Arabia) and he’s blatantly ignoring the fact that if every single person in Scotland voted to stay and 51% in Wales, England and Northern Ireland voted to leave, Scotland would have to leave as well. Or the other way around, if everyone in Wales voted remain and 51% of the other UK countries voted leave, Wales would have to leave. Is that democratic? I guess it’s a grey area and depends on how much you think the smaller UK countries should have sovereignty over their own affairs. I’m easy, I think if you’ve got a National Assembly/Parliament and your own language, then you should be listened to when your citizens make a decision in a referendum. If the smaller countries can be dragged out by the weight of England, what’s the point in them even voting?

 

E-definitely not a con-omy

Nope, no cons here, not in any’o our figures. This bit got a bit off topic and BJ was desperate to get in his Project Fear jibe, which I found quite disgusting. For the majority of the indyref campaign in Scotland, the YES side had to contend with a huge media bias and still managed almost half the vote. Not a single newspaper was in favour of independence for most of the campaign. The bias was even the topic of university research that the BBC responded to by sending an insulting email to the author’s boss before they tried, and failed, to take the research apart. For BJ to quote that back and claim the remain side are scaremongering on a similar level is out of context, childish and misplaced in the current debate.

The most telling comment from Gisela Stuart about the EU was when she said, ‘They need to sort out their problems.’ And that’s my issue with that statement. I am European, these are my problems, too.

Up next…
I’ll tell you what it won’t be, me making snide comments about Boris’ scarecrow hair or overprivileged upbringing, where he was able to buy a better education than everyone else, because I am a grownup and therefore above all that.
NHS, workers’ rights and sovereignty coming next…

 

 

*This blog post may contain subliminal messaging

**and some sarcasm

 

 

 

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Debate Games: Health tourism- I once had a giant scab ripped off by a doctor in Greece, does that count?

Debate continued…

One last word on the deficit…as important as it is to get the deficit down (and people are always saying it’s important nowadays and since when has anyone in the public eye ever lied to us? Why on earth would they?), as Nicola Sturgeon and Natalie Bennett point out, it’s not worth the drastic austerity measures if in doing so, you cripple the infrastructure and drive a section of society into poverty. And it certainly won’t be the section who told you how important it was to cut the deficit. Talking about the debt legacy left to our children is all very well, but I’d rather children with debt than a decimated public service and a worse quality of life. Sturgeon is proposing to cut the deficit too, just not at any cost.
(In all seriousness though..was that last bit a pun?)

Health Tourism

So glad Farage brought that up. It certainly didn’t feel like tourism when that Greek doctor looked at my leg and announced he wanted to ‘take it off.’ Was pretty sure my insurance wouldn’t cover that. I was actually relieved when he just used pincers to rip the scab off and doused me in iodine.
Firstly, that Hunt was talking nonsense and ‘the UK is actually a net exporter of patients, with more now leaving the country for treatment than arriving here.’ Brits are going abroad for things like cosmetic treatments and weight loss surgery, according to the article. It does seem a bit rich to then complain of people coming here, getting an address and then demanding to see a doctor for their flu or to have their ingrown toenails operated on.
Pure hedonism, I call that.
In fact, the Guardian points out that those coming here are from rich countries and bring an economic benefit of £219m with them. So we should actually be bloody grateful, it looks suspiciously like they’re propping up our NHS at the moment.

Zoe Williams wrote a great article underlining the fact than EU and non-EU migrants who come here to work are young and less likely to be ill and a drain on our health service. So in actual fact, Migrants are better for our NHS than you are.
I love her exposé on Polish medical centre alternatives to the NHS, where people are willing to pay for what they see as a more thorough service. One of her interviewees mentioned they thought GPs rarely refer people to specialists and another joked GPs prescribe paracetamol for everything.
In my own experience recently in Germany, at the gynaecologist’s, (now there’s a module we should have studied at university. There was an awful amount of describing round certain terminology going on) I was given an ultrasound on the spot, something which I don’t think would happen in the UK. That being said, I haven’t had the bill yet.
And he said I had a small womb. RUDE.
*Edit: Got the bill. It was a Sonographie, not an ultrasound. Easy mistake, it was cold, wet and weird.

You can’t round off the health round without a despicable comment from Farage and he duly obliged by informing us that 60% of HIV patients being treated aren’t British nationals. If that wasn’t enough to make me choke on my emergency chocolate (it was), his smirk when Sturgeon said she tends to think of people recently diagnosed with a horrible virus as human beings and not of their nationality would have. If you can smirk at that, you shouldn’t be in charge of a tissue, let alone a country.

Immigration Infatuation

“Immigrants drive the wages for everyone down, therefore they are bad.”
Ugh, typical example of politics focussing on symptoms as oppose to addressing the problem. Everyone’s wages are low, you say? RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE AND FUCKING STICK TO IT. How is no one outraged at the employers who are paying non-British workers less to save themselves money? The real issue is that there isn’t enough work for everyone and that is an economic problem. The only way that can be solved is to get the economy growing again and that’s not done by austerity and restricting the spending power of the majority of the population.

Also, the way we look at the issue of immigration and work is insane. If you were to imagine the situation in another way and took nationality out of the question and accepted that there’s not enough work for the population, you wouldn’t come to the logical conclusion that the answer is to reduce the population. Yet that’s exactly how the immigration/work debate goes. What would we do?
“I’m terribly sorry everyone, there’s not enough work for the current population. Unfortunately, everyone with an IQ under 65 has to be exterminated. But don’t worry, it’s only until the economy picks up again.”
Focus your efforts on fixing the economy, for goodness’ sake. Anything else is distraction politics to draw attention away from the fact that it doesn’t matter too much to the ruling elite if they improve the economy or not; they won’t struggle like most of us will in a bad economic climate. And the ultimate cheek of it all – their solution, austerity policies, hurts the average-earning majority and doesn’t touch the rich minority.

Welcome to politics in a chronically unfair society.

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Debate Games from a safe distance. Or, I might have to come out to my parents as an immigrant.

Oh it’s debate time again. I’m watching from the 651st money swallowing constituency of the UK- Europe.
This free movement of people lark is fabulous. I come over here, get a job, buy toilet paper and pay into their economy and sod off before I get old and ill and drain their health services to the bone. Oh my God that’s barely English, I should probably just sod off now.
And my parents are so proud. I’m not sure why it’s different if EU citizens come to the UK and do the same, but Farage assures us that it is, and my parents, made ever insular by life on two islands (UK and the Village), buy into his rhetoric of blame. They don’t stop to think that I’m doing exactly the same, and that they are proud of me. I try to alert them them to this fact by nice, simple, short emails with detailed footnotes but I don’t think it’s getting through and they’ve stopped answering my calls in the run up to the election.

In order to stop me sinking back into my orphan pit of despair, I’ll take a look at the first debate with all 7 leaders and hopefully uncover more material to email my parents, in the vain hope that they’ll see the light and start answering my calls. Because 1. I really need some summer clothes from home and 2. if they vote UKIP again, I’ll have failed as a human being because it is really not that difficult to point out how dangerous UKIP are.
Anyone who wants to see the loving emails I send my parents, please click here. Yes you may forward it to your hideously right-wing parents too.

First Impressions

Doesn’t David Cameron look a bit like he’s going to cry? I sip my tea wine (we’re an hour ahead, I don’t have to lie to you) and contemplate the rest of the bunch. Natalie Bennett seems very nervous, but you know what, I actually like that. It reminds me that she’s a real person who’s worrying about doing her best and that she hasn’t been so artificially spin doctored and stuffed with rhetoric that she can’t think for herself anymore. Unlike overconfident Farage, who was described fabulously by one Twitter user as looking like a stoned amphibian, at which I nearly had a wine #maccident. I would never stoop to comments about appearance in a serious matter like politics so all I could do was retweet.
Whilst I’m not commenting on appearance, THIS.

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Took me right back to these heady days, which is all I could think of during Clegg’s opening remarks.
Leanne Wood’s Welsh voice made me homesick, but if you listen carefully you can hear Farage choking in the background at the sound of a foreign accent. Awkward, you can just imagine him readying himself to throw her out before remembering the establishment has decreed we’re loving England’s half retarded offshoots beloved equal partners right now.

Yes but deficit?

Farage reminds us that national debt has now officially reached 120 trillion billion zillion according to an independent UKIP think tank and we should stop wasting 0.7% of our gross national income on stopping civilians dying in war zones.
Another huge waste of course is Europe. Everyone knows how much money we chuck across the water to Brussels and quite frankly, for what we get, it’s hideous.
Actually, I didn’t know so I googled. Apparently, the UK public expenditure is more than five times bigger than the EU budget. So the budget can’t be that ridiculous. Only 6% of the EU budget is spent on admin, 94% (yes I did that sum by myself) goes back to the member states. (Same source) The graphic on the BBC shows that the UK contributes between 0.6-0.7% of our GNI to the EU budget. En plus, ‘the UK government estimates that the single market brings in between GBP 31 billion and GBP 92 billion a year into the UK economy – or between 5 and 15 times the UK net contribution to the EU budget.’ Now, I’m not only struck by how similar the abbreviation GNI is to ginbut also how not like a waste this seems. S’ok, I’m tweeting the amphibian about it now.

Next time…

Farage couldn’t move on to his favourite topic of invented health tourism and explosive immigration without a dig at the canny Scots, who dared to prioritise having no tuition fees through their devolved power over education. RUDE.
But of course, they only managed that because England subsidises the crap out of them. In fact, Scotland contributes 9.9% of UK revenues but receives only 9.3% of UK spending, according to the 2011/12 GERS report. Sturgeon pointed out that Scotland has paid more tax per head for the last 34 years than anyone else, so it’s not Scotland who is the subsidy case.
Stay tuned for immigration soon, the more riveting half of the debate where we see Farage wet himself visibly giggling at the thought of the Greens raising foreign aid to 1% of GDP and attempting to help people. HILARITY.

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