Tag Archives: myth

Popular Myth 3: You’re all the Same!

Wouldn’t that be nice? Responsibility off our shoulders. Sit back and relax. The Parties are all the same.

The Camel-Coated One by Asbjorn Gundersen in Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England

The Camel-Coated One by Asbjorn Gundersen in Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England

Here’s a quick quiz:

Which party thinks the Environment is the most important issue?

Which party is committed to protecting private wealth?

Which party is strongly in favour of public spending and state intervention?

Which party wants us out of the EU?

Which party puts Liberal values and Democracy first?

Wasn’t hard, was it! The hard thing is resolving those conflicts inside ourselves.

Katie Barron tries to canvass a particularly self-righteous suburban mum on behalf of the Liberal Democrats. Here is one side of the conversation….

http://liberalengland.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/guest-post-youre-all-same.html

The Mother by Asbjorn Gundersen in Adventures in Tory Land

The Mother by Asbjorn Gundersen in Adventures in Tory Land

http://liberalengland.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/guest-post-youre-all-same.html

Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England, tales of the canvassing trail, is available as an ebook and paperback through Amazon and in Waterstones St Albans. Yours for £2. For a laugh, click here! http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

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#UKIP Myth 2: #Race

Leo is two and eight months and still hasn’t noticed skin colour. He knows his colours, and he’s got no qualms about making personal comments, remarking loudly on beards, moustaches, moles, hats, shoes and walking sticks. Very occasionally he talks about hair colour. ‘I’ve got brown hair. Mummy’s got brown hair. Daddy’s got…. grey hair!’

On Saturday we were coming back from the big Quaker meeting in Friends House in London and Albert pulled up in his car to talk to us. Albert is from Trinidad. After the chat, Leo asked me, ‘He’s a boy?’ ‘Yes, he’s a boy. He’s a man.’ ‘He got a willy?’ ‘Yes.’ With that cleared up, Leo went back to talking about trains.

The Racist Animal Lover by Asbjorn Gundersen

The Racist Animal Lover by Asbjorn Gundersen

Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England, by Katie Barron and Asbjorn Gundersen, is available as an ebook and paperback through Amazon and in Waterstones St Albans. Yours for £2. For a laugh, click here! http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

#UKIP Myth 3: #Europe

Imagine if I went into the Bakehouse in St Albans, handed over a fiver, got my mocha and my change, and then started shouting, ‘They’ve taken my fiver! They’ve taken my fiver! They’re bleeding me dry! It’s so corrupt! Why do they need a manager? Look at that bowl full of tips! And all the rules! Have to go to the toilet marked ladies – so bossy – Why can’t I go in the gents? Or right here if I fancy? Have to sit at a table, supposed to sit at an empty one, not allowed buggies here, not allowed dogs there, for gawd’s sake! And look at that five pounds I just gave them! It’s monstrous! What are they doing with it all?’

I find this a useful website for facts on our contribution to Europe etc:

https://fullfact.org/europe/election_2015_europe-43684

Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England is available as an ebook and paperback through Amazon and in Waterstones St Albans. Yours for £2. For a laugh, click here:  http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

#UKIP Myth 1: #Common Sense

Our dear old local UKIP candidate John Stocker is still talking about Common Sense with every breath, just as he was in 2010.

The Gentleman Businessman

‘The Gentleman Businessman’ by Asbjorn Gundersen in Adventures in Tory Land http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

I have to admit I use it myself quite a lot, usually snootily (shame) about parents who ‘have no common sense’. Why don’t they use some common sense? etc.

But I mean something different from John Stocker. I mean, ‘It didn’t work last time so why are they doing it again?’ ‘So and so NEVER does X, so why do they keep banking on their kid doing something he/she never does actually do?’

Yes I know I’m being obnoxious but at least I’m rational. When I talk about common sense, I’m talking about using past evidence as a guide to one’s plans, one’s ‘policies’. I’m asking for evidence-based policy.

But Stocker means something else. Common sense for Stocker means taking his daily life as a paradigm, and assuming that his personal experiences in his life will be a good guide for an entire nation’s policies. This is not evidence-based, because he doesn’t present evidence that a nation is the same as a household – the same as his household.

Nations are more complicated than households – which are complicated enough! I want policies based on what nations and governments have done and experienced, not on what J Stocker has done, even though I know he has lived an interesting and varied life. So I’m afraid there have to be some experts in there, such as economists, preferably arguing with each other, and public health researchers, dare I say it a sociologist or two….

Thomas Paine's pamphlet 'Common Sense' 1775 advocating American independence

Thomas Paine’s pamphlet ‘Common Sense’ 1775 advocating American independence

Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England, tales of the canvassing trail, is available as an ebook and paperback through Amazon and in Waterstones St Albans. Yours for £2. For a laugh, click here! http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

#Labour Myth 1: Ends Justify Means

Just now in St Albans, mild-mannered and likable Labour activists are distributing a glossy tabloid with a big lie on the front. Many of these activists are church-goers.

They must believe that the end justifies the means.

I wonder if this is the dividing line between Labour and the Lib Dems. Labour fight the class war to win. Lib Dems fight it but only up to a point. Labour see that as weak, or a betrayal.

Meanwhile Lib Dems worry about truth, and an individual’s human rights. If you abide by those things, can you ever win a war?

But are wars ever won? Is there ever an End? Is today’s China a communist state? Is Iraq a liberal democracy? Is Afghanistan ‘terrorist’-free?

If there is no end to things, no end in sight, maybe the means are all?

Popular Myth 2: Politicians are Mummy and Daddy

As children, we expect our parents to put us first, to be firm but kind, above all to be right.

And then we grow up.

The Mother by Asbjorn Gundersen

The Mother by Asbjorn Gundersen

But we still seem to have unrealistically high expectations of our politicians, and to go into all the bitterness and woe of neglected children when they turn out just to be human.

As members of a democracy, I think we need to trust less to individual saintliness or brilliance in an MP or leader and trust more to the democratic process: politicians will do what’s best for us exactly to the extent that we are prepared to vote for what’s best for us. And that takes some thinking! In fact it might turn out that we are the ones that need to be brilliant and saintly more than they!

Dear old Nick Clegg especially comes in for gunning from media and voters alike because he

– changes his mind  – compromises  – adjusts to reality  – doesn’t know everything  – isn’t scary enough  – isn’t always right  – admits fault  – isn’t omnipotent…

But maybe we are grown up enough to cope with a Liberal leader?

Buy Adventures in Tory Land: Democracy in Middle England, in paperback or kindle format, through Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1GpXY1F

#Tory Myth 3: Life is Tragic

I hope I meet Byl Wringe again some day. Last heard, he was teaching Philosophy in Turkey.

When we were students together he had a moustache he fiddled with. We were Young Fogeys, at the end of Thatcher’s era. Byl said he couldn’t be a Christian because Christians denied Tragedy. But things do go wrong, he said. The centre doesn’t always hold. To deny that fact is to deny also the vulnerability of the world, which is its beauty, its lovability.

Believing in Tragedy is believing that irresistible forces meet immovable objects, that there are problems that can’t be solved. In the tragic world view, Economic Growth is pitted against Environmental Protection; Housing against the Countryside; Employment against Inflation; Human Rights against Human Responsibilities; Security against Peace.

Poster for Sophocles' Electra, performed by students at Kings College London in 1989

Poster for Sophocles’ Electra, performed by students at Kings College London in 1989

That’s what the Ancient Greek Tragedies did. They took abstract nouns and hurled them at each other. Antigone can’t reconcile Respect for the Dead with Respect for Authority. Electra’s love for her Dad drives her to hate her Mum. Pentheus is torn between sensuality and dignity, in the end literally torn.

What’s the answer to these clashes of opposites?

‘Sacrifice!’ say the Right Wing. ‘One Good has to be sacrificed for another Good!’ (Oddly, it’s often someone else’s Good that has to be sacrificed.)

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?

Possibly a transformation of both?

What if transformation were possible? What if reconciliation were possible? What if there were solutions?

‘Love hopes all things.’

What if the tragic outlook missed a trick, turned out to be a little wooden, seeing the murdered tree of the cross, and not the dynamo that was forged?

Byl, are you out there?

Buy Adventures in Tory Land: Politics in Middle England at amazon.com/co.uk or click here:

http://amzn.to/19GvXqE