…Well, you know, we all wanna change the world.

  1. It’s absurd for Jeremy to suggest that someone who lives in a society, whether they vote or not, could in any way have no authority to speak on political subjects. All you need to have that authority is eyes, ears and a brain.
  2. Russell seems to confuse “voting” with “voting for Tories”. Although in the UK voting system with first past the post, single member electorates and no preference voting, the system massively favours the big established parties and if you vote for someone else, like an actual progressive candidate*, you are with respect to the contest between the big two parties making it easier for the one you like the least to win government – you’re at least having your voice heard. Opting out entirely (or, in Australia, voting informal) just makes it even EASIER for the big parties to ignore you, and makes it even harder for alternatives to grow.
  3. The fact that the current parliamentary system in the UK is fundamentally broken and undemocratic doesn’t mean that anarchy is better. For one thing, the main flaws in their system could be remedied without abandoning the whole idea of democracy. For another, remember that it’s the Tories who are cynical about the idea of “society”, and the poor and vulnerable who tend to do particularly badly when it collapses entirely.

I look forward to reading Russell’s plan to move towards a better world. Hopefully his gig at the New Statesman will help him push us in that direction.

*Surely even in the UK progressive people do actually run for parliament.

UPDATE: Here’s his piece in New Statesman.

Please –

Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics.

What you’re doing is politics. When you read people arguing things you agree with, or against things you despise, that’s politics. Maybe be a bit more specific? “I am utterly disenchanted by all three big political parties in Britain and the electoral system which locks them in”, perhaps?

Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites.

Again, define “politicians”.

Billy Connolly said: “Don’t vote, it encourages them,”

Actually, voting AGAINST THEM is the only way not to encourage them. Abstaining just encourages them to ignore you and people like you.

and, “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.”

Ha ha, but useless. If by “politician” you mean “MP in one of the big establishment parties”, sure. But if by “politician” you mean “person with political views who genuinely has ideas to push the world in a more equitable direction and can persuade people to support you through the strength of those ideas and your advocacy for them”, then no – you’re exactly the sort of person who should make politics your profession.

Young people, poor people, not-rich people, most people do not give a fuck about politics.

But they DO. They just don’t give a fuck about what they’re being told is “politics” (the Westminster farce) or what they’re being told are “the politicians” (the establishment MP jerks).

They see no difference between Cameron, Clegg, Boris, either of the Milibands

…because there’s little.

…or anyone else.

THAT IS A MASSIVE CALL. “Anyone” else? There’s no-one else advocating for the things they believe? NO-ONE? Or is it that there are people who are representing the political views of the young, the poor, the not-rich, it’s just that the establishment media are ignoring them? Maybe let’s go and find these people, or if we can’t, become those people instead?

…There’s little point bemoaning this apathy. Apathy is a rational reaction to a system that no longer represents, hears or addresses the vast majority of people. A system that is apathetic, in fact, to the needs of the people it was designed to serve.

Sure – so we should be fighting to FIX THAT SYSTEM, or consider a better one if one’s on offer. We can opt out of what they call “politics” without opting out of POLITICS.

You know who wants anyone who believes in equality, fairness, social justice, compassion to give up on politics? The people who want the opposite.

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4 responses to “…Well, you know, we all wanna change the world.

  1. Just read his New Statesman piece. I like what he says once you get passed the waffley bits!

  2. narcoticmusing

    While I agree with your premise, J, don’t you think that is a bit nit-picky?
    No wonder why people don’t speak up if when they do, they get their argument ripped to bits. This sort of attack against a person expressing what a huge amount of the population feel – complete disenfranchisement with the current state of politics – only tells people to shut up unless they have got the perfect argument.

    So agree with your point, Jeremy but I don’t think it helps the disenfranchised apathetic populace to stand up if they watch someone get shredded just for trying to express their disappointment at said system.

  3. Reblogged this on The Alternative Zeitgeist and commented:
    Excellent post!

  4. Rusty has a few good points. I’ve always appreciated his honesty and in fairness to him, no-one should be expected to have a fully tested alternative ready to roll before criticising the status quo.

    Billy Connelly is a wise man but he’s also a comedian who tells jokes for a living. He may not actually have been being serious.

    I have never heard any politician of any persuasion in any system say:
    “It’s terrible that so few voted. We really must lift our game so that we engage more people in the system.”

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