Opher On Politics
When I was young I was pretty apolitical. As far as I was concerned politicians represented the establishment. The establishment was a bunch of extremely wealthy people who manipulated everything. Who you voted for meant very little because it was always the same people who held the power.
So I did not vote and did not involve myself in their games. I wanted out of the game.
As I became older, and had to work in the system (like most people) I began to see that it was more complex than that.
Firstly, few people were fortunately enough to have a skill/luck that enabled them to work outside the establishment.
Secondly, most people (musicians, writers, artists, actors, film stars, entrepreneurs and celebs) who were successful creatively were soon incorporated into the establishment. They thus had a vested interest in maintaining the system.
Thirdly, there was a practical difference in voting for a political party. They did make a difference to what happened on the ground – within limits.
Fourthly, it was not going to be possible to change the system.
Changing a leader in an institution, a nation or a global body makes a huge difference. In a business, a football club or a school, a leader can affect the whole ethos. They change the zeitgeist. That affects everybody.
I began to look at politics in terms of Four Levels – I called them Macro, Mega, Local and Personal.
On the macro level nothing changes. A bunch of extremely wealthy people and corporation run the world.
They operate internationally.
Their focus is power and wealth (interchangeable). They use their money to manipulate markets, buy off politicians, corrupt officials, gain influence through lobbying, donations to parties and even more illegal means.
They create situations that pour the bulk of the world’s wealth into their pockets.
If an anti-establishment party comes to power they manipulate the money markets to starve them of money so their economies fail.
They use loopholes to avoid paying taxes.
They put pressure on through bribes, donations, promises and threats to achieve the legislation they want.
They want growth and more money.
They are prepared to use war, environmental devastation, mass exploitation, poverty and extreme force in order to crush opposition and maximise their profits.
They do not care about the outcomes for ordinary people or the environment.
They want tax loopholes, no workers’ rights, no environmental restrictions and no planning restrictions.
They only give ground if they are forced to.
The establishment run things, run governments and are leading the mad rush for growth that is destroying the planet.
I do not know if they act in unison, as a cabal, or in groups, or as individuals. They are the multinationals.
They control the media and thus manipulate the minds of the masses.
Mega politics operates nationally. It is what we think of as political parties. The Tory and Labour Party. The Democrats and Republicans.
They all depend on donations. They all need the economy to work. They all require media backing. They all respond to bribes, promises and lobbying.
Without the donations they cannot become elected. Campaigns cost a lot of money.
Without a positive spin in the media they will not be elected.
Without an economy that works they cannot be re-elected.
Without support their policies will fail.
They are all open to bribery and corruption. It’s amazing how many politicians walk into plum jobs or sit on boards for huge sums.
The system is corrupt. The tax loopholes never get plugged. The tax is never properly paid (apart from ordinary people – then every penny is collected). The environmental and workers legislation only ever goes so far. The media is never properly controlled.
Nothing is ever fair. Everything (like the vote, workers’ rights and conditions, pay, equality) has to be fought for. Once won it is then easily eroded.
But, for all that, politics does count for something. The political parties are able to work within parameters.
In order to be elected they have to be pro-establishment (or the media rip them apart and people are manipulated – the economy is undermined in the short-term to get them out of office) so nothing fundamental changes – tax loopholes, taxation, workers’ rights, environmental laws, health and safety.
Within the parameters it is possible to finance the public services, increase workers’ pay, introduce health and safety, and introduce environmental legislation – just as long as it does not take too much wealth away from the elite.
So voting Labour or Tory, Democrat or Republican can make a big difference to the working people, those on welfare and the poorest in society.
It is worth voting even if it does not oust the real masters.
Local politicians can make an impact on how money is spent locally. They are open to the same bribes, corruption and lobbying as the national politicians (on a smaller scale) but they have control of large sums of money and can decide how it is spent.
This can make a huge difference to public services.
Voting for one party or another can make huge differences to what happens on the ground. These things impact on the poorest people in communities and the services they can access. They impact on the richness of the amenities that are available to the community.
Voting locally can make a huge difference.
How one lives one’s life is the politics of self. We can choose how we interact with others. We can choose how we interact with our society, environment or the people we meet, work with and are friends with.
We can make a pleasant environment or a frosty one. We can build or destroy.
We can influence what happens locally and even, to an extent, nationally.
How we choose to live our lives has moral/political implications.
I’m sure there’s a lot more that I can say. I might add to this later.
As Roy Harper (or Tubular Sock) might say – we can’t change the game. It’s always the same bosses. Politics is a game.
As Opher Gpoodwin says – we can still make a difference and democracy does make a difference – even if it can’t change the game.