Archive for the ‘Short: Uk Politics, Economy, History’ Category

I can understand the sympathies of those who wished to remove the sculpture of General Lee from the Emancipation Park, but I can’t agree with them. The statue is a part of Virginian history, and although it represents a dark chapter in their past it should not be ignored. History is about honesty not morality. Perhaps a reorganization of the park would be more suitable, with other important historical figures that opposed General Lee included. General Lee was can be regarded as a radical figure in American history, an icon that contradicted the idea of national solidarity and was one of the most rebellious men that ever existed in America since its conception. I’ve always believed that America’s public history challenges the notion of true American nationalism, there are several controversial statues that outline this point; the Benjamin Tillman statue in South Carolina is a replica of man who was once famous for lynching black Americans, there is a sculpture in Alabama of Edmund Pettus, a renowned Senator and a Ku Klux Klan leader. These figures were both had significant roles in undermining progressive policies in post-civil war America. Why haven’t these statues caused controversy and uproar since they were erected? Could it possibly be that the General Lee statue became a beacon of resentment against Trump and his political culture? Perhaps this is a reminder that no matter how much we try to protect history it will always be politicised for one reason for another.

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If the protests themselves were much more about the entrenched cultural and racial tensions that exists in America as opposed to the Sculpture itself (but of course they are linked). Then one must also state that no socio-political group came out of the protests with any glory; the White Supremacists demonstrated what a violent joke and a disgrace they are and the counter-protesters must also share some responsibility for the violence they conducted. If anything, the events in Virginia are revealing the flaws and the lack of credibility that so often comes with protesting radically  against the establishment. Large sections of the UniteTheRight rally refused to use the methods of nonviolent protest and instead came to the Charlottesville armed with intent to incite racial hatred. This rally was organised by Robert Spencer a man who allegedly coined the term “alt-right”. Now the alt-right have had some legitimacy in the past for exposing the neo-liberal agenda and its tools of injustice, but now the racist claims that have been made against now hold some weight and thus as a group they have surely lost a lot of credibility. The Counter-protester’s actions mirror those used by previous self-proclaimed left wing groups who have used  extremely aggressive methods to express their point. Although, they claim to be progressive, their political motives are cloudy; they claim to fight for the civil rights for each American citizen but they often trample over the values of free speech and liberty. I believe that this group often begin with the right intentions as many of their leaders often speak of creating a more democratic and fair America, but their behaviour and action often betray their words. So it seems that the radical wings of the political spectrum inhabit groups that use oppressive and coercive methods of political protest means left wings of the political spectrum. Some may call this the death of politics, but perhaps we are need of a new rational and pragmatic force that does not abide by a political wing so strictly. Or perhaps this is the time when we must not have any restraint in our political ideology. I believe there are plenty of opportunities for political compromise but perhaps we must remember the roots of our political principles and that we must adhere to them with integrity.

 

Good-Debt-vs-Bad-DebtThe financial policy that the conservatives have adopted has been harsh and unrelenting, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that their financial mindset is becoming less and less sound. ‘Live within your means’ seems to the buzz-phrase for Osbourne as he tries to bring some sort of legitimacy to austerity. But in my opinion, he is simply alienating all political perspectives. Firstly, if look at this from a leftist perspective, the phrase itself simply does not make sense. Many citizens fall in to debt and bankruptcy, but it isn’t because they couldn’t resist the urge to ‘live within their means’ rather that they had no choice. Medical treatments, redundancies, the rising cost of utility bills are all factors that we can’t control and force us to borrow from lenders just so that we can survive. Those at the bottom of the social ladder simply don’t have the luxury to ‘live within their means’. The state can’t just simply withdraw its funding towards society and say we ‘have achieved our budget surplus so everything will be okay’, because at the end of the day if the current prosperity of your populace is dwindling, then eventually your nations finance will begin to stagnate, as we have seen the tax receipts have fallen short of expectation by £1.1 billion.

If we look at this financial policy from a right-wing perspective, we also see its short falls. Traditional right-wing political economic theory tends to have strong links with business,  private enterprise and commerce. Pumping money in to certain schemes can have strong long term benefits for society, as more jobs and services become open to the public thus creating more avenues for wealth creation. Hence the term ‘you reap what you sow.’   But if one ‘lives within its means’, then one is prevented from investing in profitable projects due to the fear of debt. Now no one likes the idea of risk but if there is a strong potential for a positive turn, then the state should take it. As the UK shadow chancellor recently commented ‘If you borrow to invest, the debt will more than pay for itself in the long run as the investment matures and raises the economy output, and thus tax revenue‘. There is a longstanding concept that debt is always bad, but debt that is controlled, regulated and planned can have social benefits.

In the 1640s, Oliver Cromwell pumped huge amounts of money into his republican navy to defeat royalist forces across the European continent. Some would argue this was a reckless ill-thought venture which plunged Britain into debt. But because Cromwell had used the military to help abolish the monarchy he was allowed to build a financial system that moved away from old medieval ties of feudalism and towards more innovative ways of generating a steady and strong revenue. If there is one historical lesson that the current chancellor George Osbourne can learn, is that taking economic risks can be a responsible way of sustaining security for the future. Mr Osbourne if you want our UK economy to grow and develop, loosen the shackles and let it flourish.