With the leadership debates coming up there is no better time to get interested in Politics
With the national election coming up in may – it’s time for us to get interested in what to many of is very uninteresting, but has a huge effect on our lives, the people around us, and our country as a whole. Politics – the activities associated with the governing of our country. This is what affects how much wealth is available, level of healthcare, personal protection and education. To not be interested in politics is completely understandable, the media and the breadth of it is such that it is difficult for us to be interested in it. It is a sly ever changing animal, and each political party has such a huge, fast moving body of policies and ideas, that it is almost impossible for us to understand it unless we work in it. However we must endeavour to try, and speak out about issues, otherwise we leave room for our rulers to take advantage of our economy. Some people will not believe the dishonesty that many politicians employ, and dismiss a lot of the theories and news as propaganda, believing it impossible for someone intelligent and seemingly well intentioned to be capable of it. However the best we can do is attempt to learn more around the subject, so we can decide for ourselves what is just and true, and thus determine the best actions we can make for good in our own lives.
What the Tory Government are shaping the UK towards – A Laissez-faire Economy
A Laissez-faire economy is an economy with no government control – no involvement in terms of pricing and services offered, no regulations, and no taxes. The prices are set based upon supply and demand for everything – this includes healthcare, transport, and even workers. As the UK is a democracy where the government is elected by the people, the general public currently have some control over what happens to the government run services such as the NHS, by who they elect into power. A free market economy puts the power into the hands of the big businesses, who can set prices if they have a monopoly over the production of certain goods. This can actually be beneficial to the general population if companies are owned by their employees, such as John Lewis, however, most private companies in the UK are owned privately by shareholders. As a result in such an economy you will see the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer, as those with power of production of goods are able to increase prices, and lower wages. This is not to say the Britain will ever have a completely Laissez-faire economy, but we are heading in that direction. Although, it could be argued that Laissez-faire policies have some benefits.
The Advantages of a Laissez-fair free Market economy
Increase efficiencies – More freedom with price means competing companies producing the same product will have to increase production efficiencies in order to stay competitive
Reduced prices of some goods – competing companies will have to reduce prices in order to win consumers
Allow growth – A free market with less government regulation and more freedom will enable growth, as some of the regulatory barriers in place which make it difficult to start new businesses are removed. The freedom for employers to pay employees what they want will also reduce start up costs for new businesses.
Create more work – Growth could create more work and jobs, and a reduced minimum wage, or even no minimum wage, means companies could employ more people at a reduced wage.
The Disadvantages of a Laissez-fair free Market economy
Huge class inequality – The ability of rich individuals to pay lower minimum wages for labour, and grow and expand business further means the differences in quality of life between social classes will become bigger.
Lower quality of shared services such as roads, transport system and free healthcare – With lower taxes, there will be less money to contribute towards shared services such as roads and emergency hospitals.
Incentive of money will create a culture of greed – The incentive of money and competition will force companies to go to further lengths to reduce costs, which will inevitably lead to exploitation of resources, the environment and cheap labour.
The poor will be left behind – Those currently claiming benefits and needing help to find work and gain skills will be left behind with no way into work or to cover their basic needs. Privatised health and transport systems and other necessities will be unavailable to them, as they won’t have money to be able to pay for them.
Socialism for the rich
A number of times during recent years, tax payers money has helped to bail out big businesses in financial crisis. A lot of companies financial troubles could have been avoided if they had not paid out bonuses. In many cases, the companies have gone on to pay larger bonuses, whilst and after being bailed out by the tax payer. However, public attention is generally focused by the media on benefit cheats and ‘bottom scroungers’, influencing public opinion to think claiming benefits is unacceptable, shameful and uses up a lot of tax payers money, when huge amounts of money is being used to bail out banks, which is in some cases a direct result of the bankers paying themselves high wages.
The influence the Media has on our general election
Newspapers, television channels and internet sites have a large influence on our general election and who gains power. The choice of the media to publish certain stories on large platforms that are accessible for a large number of people will direct attention towards some issues, and away from others. Many of these channels or media platforms are controlled from above by high net worth individuals who have a clear vision of what demographic their news should appeal to and what type of stories should be pushed. For example the gigantic Murdoch empire, which includes Sky tv, The Times, and The Sun newspapers, is a collection of platforms owned by a high net worth individual. Due to their ownership, political parties with more wealth preserving policies are likely to get more positive coverage, and those parties with opposing policies are likely to get more negative coverage. The control of high net worth individuals over our media is further reinforced by journalistic positions generally being filled by those from a privileged background, due to better education and family support during training and unpaid internships.
The Benefits of non-for-profit Government Owned Public Services and Welfare
Access to services that increase quality of life for each individual is better for the country as a whole. Good healthcare for everyone means the prevention of spreading diseases. If only rich individuals with private health insurance were treated for Ebola, then this would not prevent the spread of it. Similarly widespread contentment between people, makes for a happier, healthier workforce and a stronger economy.
More opportunity for lower-income families – The argument that providing welfare and training for those out of work leads to scroungers is backwards. If we didn’t provide support and advice to job seekers, then those job seekers would have less opportunity to find jobs. The structures which can be put in place to support lower income families and help them seek jobs gives them opportunities for employment and thus contributes to a stronger economy.
Services would be run in order to help the population rather than generate money – Private healthcare companies and hospitals often push unnecessary surgeries and treatment as they are expensive and generate large amounts of revenue. Often private business is run to benefit the company rather than the individual. Companies being run non-for-profit by the government would switch this agenda.
Tony Blair, the Demise of New Labour, And The Return of Old Labour with Ed Miliband
In the run up to the 1997 British election, Tony Blair emerged as a new kind of Labour leader. His self-styled ‘New Labour’, a centrally placed Labour party that encouraged growth and protected public services whilst satisfying high net worth individuals, won him the support of media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch, and ultimately helped to win him the election. However with the Labour party now taking a more left leaning stance with concentration on public services and and a good level of welfare, this looks like a return to a more traditional Old Labour. The only missing piece of the puzzle being, that Ed Miliband has been elected as Labour’s leader. Severely lacking in charisma and interpersonal skills, Miliband is not a popular or appropriate leader, having often made mistakes in speeches. However, luckily the leader is not the party, and although they represent a large part of it, there is still a strong argument to vote Labour, despite Labour having a very weak candidate for PM. Which brings us to our question, is it time for a Labour government? Only time will tell.