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  • Writer's pictureTanya Mackenzie

Welcome To Our New Party

Welcome To Our New Party

This post is going to be a huge, messy ramble about politics. If that’s your kind of thing, please read on. If not, I understand. Also, as most of my other blog posts have been adaptations of video scripts, this one will read somewhat differently in comparison. I intend to write more than speak from now on because it is a lot easier for me as my health declines. Video editing in particular is very energy-consuming.

Given the last few years of government failings, it is natural for many, particularly those on the political left to be pretty down-cast when we here that instead of supporting struggling business owners, the arts, parents, teachers and front-line workers who have carried us through this time as best they could, our government decided that what we really needed was…40% more nukes! Hooray!

Because if the world is just a deserted steaming crater then we at least won’t have any of these issues to complain about anymore. Perhaps that is indeed the plan of the conservative government… Touché Boris. Touché.

I started to think about what I would do differently if someone accidentally left me in charge of the country, and if that would indeed be a disaster or if it would actually be better for the majority of people. After all, the civil servants and others are there to tell you what’s what, then it’s just up to you to not be an arse. How hard can that be?

Apparently, very hard, for some.

My friends and I got to talking about our new party and what we’d like to do first. First on the list is to banish all arse-faces to some deserted island full of poisonous creatures and make them fight their way out on a reality TV programme. After all, I’m sure that many of those we deem to be arse-faces would believe in ‘survival of the fittest’. Let’s see how they do. The money made from advertising with this hit show could be channelled back into a programme to help all those who have been most hurt by the consecutive conservative governments of the past years.

Now that’s not to say that I am a Labour girl. I believe that both sides, and all parties in the middle, have things they could improve on and contain their fair share of arse-faces. It’s just a fact of human life. Hence, we need to create our own party and our own policies.

So once the evils of the UK (not criminals in prison, they are paying their time. I am referring to daylight criminals who have got away with total disregard for human life, bribery, corruption, and unlawfulness due to their status and position) have been banished and aired, what shall we do while they’re fighting their way out?

Most people I asked showed mainly disinterest, as well as giving the impression that there was really no point in coming up with anything because it’s not as though it would actually be implemented. The only person who really has a plan as to what they would do if granted such power is my father, but his goal is a socialist dictatorship run by him and only him. So we’re going to discount that.

While I agree that socialism is a great thing to aim for, I would prefer not to forcefully impose it on everyone. The reality of life is that people will have different situations and opinions from us, and we just have to learn to live together. But at the same time, I abhor selfishness and apathy, so you know I’ll be introducing a few sneaky socialist agendas into the mix. It continues to baffle my mind that the people who run our country represent only the small percentage at the top, and yet apparently have the majority of support. It makes no sense in my head that this should be the case, as I would sooner forgo any vote than vote for someone who has no understanding or care for my situation and the situations of the majority of people. Career politicians have become so far removed from regular life that perhaps it is difficult for them to really grasp what they are doing and how that affects the lives of most people.

But I digress.

Abolish the minimum wage. That’s the first on my list. The fact that the minimum wage and living wage are separate things really says a lot about our society. Apparently people at the top deem some jobs to be worthwhile enough that you should be able to live off of that wage, and others apparently not. If you don’t think that someone should be able to live a life out of poverty while they are working full time, but at a job you deem to be unworthy, what right do you have to go shopping, to buy groceries, to have anything delivered to you, to eat food that has been picked for you, to have a clean home, to have a clean workplace, to walk down streets that have been cleaned, to use bins that have been emptied, to watch animated films, to go out to eat, to wear pretty much any clothing...?

The current minimum wage is £8.75 for over 25s, but drops as low as £4.55 for the under 18s. I would like to see anyone who opposes the abolishment of a minimum wage in favour of a fair living wage, live on £8.75/hour. Their jobs are arguably more challenging in some aspects, and hold more responsibility than most minimum wage jobs, yes, but I would argue that they would prefer it to cleaning streets or standing behind a till all day. Minimum wage jobs are not ‘easy’. They take a huge toll on both ones physical and mental health, and at the end of the day the worker struggles to afford rent and bills despite working long, difficult hours.

Not to mention, the utter shambles surrounding covid-19 has prompted people to look again at how much NHS workers are getting paid vs how much work they have to do. A 1% increase in pay is an insult to those who have done so much for us, so that would immediately get an overhaul and increase from me. But not just NHS workers, the NHS itself. Perhaps for instance, the billions of pounds spent on increasing our unnecessary and dangerous nuke supply by around 40% could have been put back into the healthcare system that has struggled under the weight of the last year. And yet, they say, there is just not enough money, not even enough to support the healthcare system that our taxes should be paying for, and we should be able to be proud of as a country, because in this country we don't believe that only the rich should be able to live and be healthy. Oh wait.

At this point our little reality TV show would probably be a few episodes in. People will be enjoying watching the raw and unedited arguments and slurs erupting from agitated Tories. We have more work to do though.

This one is relavent to the current times. The current pass threshold to become a police officer, in terms of exams, character interviews and psychological examinations, is 38%, whereas it used to be 65%. Even at 65%, I need more than that to pass my online course in animal care studies. Perhaps this was not the best way to create more police officers, because while it did just that, it also created officers who abuse that power. Instead, let’s up the threshold back to where it was, and introduce policing as a focus in career classes in school.

Our education system is relatively decent, but let’s face it, there is always room for improvement and can we honestly say that children and teenagers are getting the most out of their time at school? Let’s start by introducing more focus on careers, career building, and so on, taught by trained professionals in this field, and then maybe teenagers and young adults will pay more attention to such occupations as policing and nursing as viable options for the future. If we take the above steps such as increasing the wages of NHS workers and re-working policing so that it becomes a more respectable and desirable profession, perhaps that would help to get more people into the industries that need it. This can be applied to other occupations too.

I come from a family almost entirely built up of teachers, so I am wholly biased (but also am basing this on real-life evidence) when I say that teachers and teaching assistants would be able to teach better and provide important support for students, if they themselves had a better quality of life. They are doing an incredibly important job, because as a society becomes more educated, so general quality of life improves for everyone. Higher wages, less unnecessary paperwork that does nothing for the children, and a better work-life balance doesn’t seem like such a huge ask. And yet this ask is repeatedly ignored by those within and without (?) of the profession.

Let’s quickly go over all the other things we could be teaching in schools that would have a great impact on society at large, but which are not prioritised because those in power send their children to private schools and generally remain within this ‘educated’ bubble with little contact with the lower rungs of society where education may not be so great.

Safe internet usage (updated yearly);

Music and the arts, with better equipment and guidance;

Societal issues and their historical context;

Languages (better and from a younger age);

English grammar and practical writing skills (CVs, essays, emails etc);

World cultures and history (history is so much more than the world wars and Henry XIII, let's start by teaching about our own atrocities not just German ones);

Adulthood (taxes, voting, renting, buying, money, society);

Safe sex, sexuality, consent, sexual health;

Useful household skills (sewing on buttons etc.);

Philosophy, ethics and open and free debate to encourage critical thinking;

Environment and green energy;

Nature-based learning (gardening, where does your food come from? etc);

Careers (various options explored, practical advice, applying for jobs, meeting with volunteers from various professions, apprenticeships recommended);

Diversity and understanding (race, gender, sexuality, disability and more).

We could see great changes just from simple things like this, and yet it hasn’t been done because so far nobody has really cared to. It’s good enough as it is, and maintains the status quo. I suppose that what I would like to do is a little radical, but why should it be viewed so? Why is the betterment of society and the lives of common people almost always viewed as something drastic and revolutionary anyway? I think we all know why.

This overhaul of the school system and of major professions will probably take a while. By this point one of the contestants may have escaped and is making their way back to our island after bludgeoning their closest friends to death with a coconut and using their bodies as a raft. But we still have time before they get here. We’ve laid a good foundation for a better quality of life for many people, but what else could we do? Let’s just quickly list off a few things that I personally would deem to be beneficial.

- A focus on renewable energy and the jobs that come with this potentially massive industry.

- Green schemes such as planting trees, protection of wildlife, re-wilding certain areas.

- Further protection for vulnerable people such as those with disabilities and marginalised groups.

- Lowering of university tuition fees and student debt.

- Schemes to end homelessness, such as shelters, education, therapy, dealing with the causes of homelessness, and paid work training/apprenticeships.

- Re-opening youth centres and re-hiring youth workers, encouraging social skills, sports, teamwork, an interest in the arts, employment opportunities, and free general support.

- Better, safer, more affordable and more accessible public transport country-wide.

- Working with prisoners and young offenders to tackle the true causes of crime.

- A full ban on conversion therapy (which has been promised but put aside since 2018).

- Safer, humane immigration procedures, including case-by-case basis actions, and free education necessities including English language.

Of course, there is so much more that we could do and should so, so this is just barely scratching the surface, but in the time allowed before our banished arse-faces return, just these things mentioned briefly here would make a world of difference to many and put us well on the way to a better future. I’m sure that the reality TV programme will have generated enough revenue to fund all of these things at least partially. Who do you think won? Who was ‘the fittest’, or most barbaric, and made their way back to old Blighty to wrench my power away? Leave your guesses in the comments down below.

That unreality aside, in response to most of these ‘drastic’ measures, many might say I’m acting as though money grows on trees around the houses of parliament. The fact of the matter is, and what most conservatives and in fact many people within the government would not want to admit, is that we have the money for all of these things and much more. We are not a developing country, we are not just about scrambling to get by on the charity of other nations, we are not war-torn (we only do the tearing ourselves), we have…we had good trade deals, and so on.

In 2019 £22.5 million was claimed in expenses by MPs (these included ‘moat cleaning’, ‘hedge trimming around a helipad’, and ‘a leather rocking chair’), even when the basic annual salary of an MP is around £81,932. For perspective that is around six and a half times more than my average yearly salary, and yet I don’t even claim travel expenses from my company. And that is a private company with a healthy profit; the money MPs are claiming back for expenses they can easily afford comes from the people, and is taken away from better causes because of them.

In 2019/20, the United Kingdom spent approximately £42.2 billion on defence, an increase of two billion pounds from the previous year. While I understand that some defence is necessary because the unfortunate reality of our existence is that wars have, do and will happen, does this number not seem excessive to anyone else?

The point is that we have the money, and these are just two examples of where to find it.

This whole post was a huge ramble that is merely a reflection of my personal opinions, and people can feel free to disagree with, but I won’t pretend to be happy about it, and will continue to be utterly confused about the situation we have created. Or rather, that a small percentage of the population has created. But we can use our votes to stop this happening, we can use our voices to demand representation and equity, and we can educate our children to try and create a better world.

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