Conservatives Take The UK – Why Russel Brand Is Partly To Blame

Today, the UK woke to the results of their election of yesterday. And many were quite surprised that what was supposed to be a very close call, ended up being a political blood bath.
Though involving entirely different nations and parties, it was basically a reverse of the recent Alberta Electoral upset. The once strong and overly arrogant Alberta Conservatives, headed by Jim Prentice, had their asses handed to them by Alberta voters when the previously ideologically conservative province decided to vote the NDP into top office, and the provinces Wild Rose party into official opposition. Not only were the conservatives ousted, they were essentially kicked to the political curb.
So shocking was the blow that PC leader Jim Prentice decided to (or was forced to) step down as party leader.
Not only that, he also stepped down from his position as MLA for the riding Calgary-Foothills. A move that annoyed many on account to the expensive bi-election that will now have to occur.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation and many Alberta residents feel that Prentice should have to pay for the bi-election he caused by stepping down, and I do agree. But good luck with that. This is not the first time that a conservative candidate has relinquished their elected term of responsibility in order to chase a personal agenda.
Im my home province, our old conservative MLA Merv Tweed left his Brandon-Souris post early to work in the private sector, and the position was filled by Larry Maguire. A conservative who left his previously elected Arthur-Virden post to run in the Brandon-Souris election (I credit the articles of local journalist Deveryn Ross for enlightening the riding with this information).
Neither of the candidates had to pay for the bi-elections that their personal agendas caused. And on top of that, both received non-negotiable tax payed funded severance packages upon leaving office (again, credit to Deveryn Ross).
But despite this, both ridings still remain conservative. But that is a testament to the ideological makeup of both ridings (apperently even more blue then Alberta).
Either way, if you are one of the Albertans that  thinks that Jim Prentice should have to pay for his bi-election, good luck.

I used these examples grabbed from Canadian politics due to familiarity. I am unsure of exactly how similar any of the Canadian parties mentioned here are with any of the UK parties (if at all). But it seemed a good comparison, because both cases involved very dramatic and unexpected results.

Now, how Russel Brand fits into this picture.

I was on twitter earlier today (browsing the news. My main usage for all my social media platforms) and I came across this piece from The Independent covering Russel Brand’s thoughts on the election. At first my reaction was “Who gives a fuck”, being my thoughts on Russel Brand’s apathetic attitude towards traditional politics. But I clicked it, and as expected, found myself annoyed.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, the comedian-cum-activist, who fears that there’ll be “no shortage of meanness over the next five years”, says his main regret was that he ever thought he could have any influence on the result.

That is questionable.

From what I have seen of your stance, it is “None of the above”. You sit there on youtube and tell people to not participate in the system. Alternatively, stand aside and try for something better. Which in reality (more often them not) means sitting behind social media portals and sharing memes while thinking that you are making a difference.

I used to be that guy to. I will not lie.

I admit that I don’t do a whole lot to “change the world” (other then to try and inform on a number of topics of interest), and I am very cynical. But I would rather accept the cold hard truth, then to delude myself with a comforting delusion.
In this case, that cold hard truth is that one NEEDS to participate in the current political system, at least right now. You can abandon it and do your own thing, but that does not make the system any less in control. All abandoning the system does is further erode the power of the political left, and leave the majority in the hands of the right.

One could say, as evidenced by the last 2 UK elections.

I felt like old media doesn’t have the sort of power that it used to. People don’t listen to the front pages of the Sun and the Mail. These things seem kind of ridiculous. But evidently, that is not the case. Evidently, the old media, the establishment is a powerful thing

On the contrary Russel, you may be correct. It may be that the public for the most part has rejected the traditional heavyweights in journalism to other assorted sources (such as yourself).

But if they also listen to your spiel and abandon the voting booth, then their reasoned distrust of the traditional media and the establishment makes little difference in the long run. To the establishment, the BEST thing you can do is get the liberals and the progressives out of the voting booth.

The only currency we have now is compassion, and being nice to each other. We’re going to have no shortage of meanness over the next five years… So all we’ve got left is to be compassionate towards one another and get involved in causes we care about.

I will not disagree with this statement, but I will say that such should be a good rule of thumb, no matter what the over arching political (or otherwise) situation is. Do what you can. Its all anyone can hope to do.

To everyone out there, there should be a lesson in this. Stop listening to Russel Brand’s political views.

The recent (2?) election results in the UK are a great example of what you get when you choose to not use your vote. The recent results in Alberta are a good example of what you get when you do decide to vote for change.
Of course, there are many different circumstances in both instances that may make them incompatible.

But none the less, the lesson is the same.

By not voting, you are not part of the solution. You are compounding the problem.

Brandon/Souris By-Election

Its the 14th of November, meaning that the bi-election to replace my areas acting MP is but a little over 2 weeks away, on the 25th (exactly a month before Christmas! Great timing). In filling the position, we will have the same 4 main options as we usually have, along with possibly more lesser known options (such as Christian heritage).

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These elections almost always sneak up on me, but I am happy to admit that I have not missed one yet since turning the voting age of 18. But ever since then, my political affiliations have changed a bit, from as far back as I can remember, to now.

I grew up with a parent that was a fairly strict NDP supporter (as was his father), so as with most people, I took the political stances of my parents (at least initially in my participation in the political process). I know that the first vote that I ever cast, was for the NDP (big surprise 🙂 ). But my 2ed and 3ed votes consecutively,  went to the green party. The first time, I will admit, was mostly because I know the candidate (but I also agree with his platform). The 2ed time, was because I felt that despite what people say about the 2 underdog parties, they will ALWAYS remain that way if people vote with that assumption (especially the Green Party).

To my surprise, many must have also come to the same conclusion, as  both the NDP and the Green party made historical gains. The NDP became the official opposition party, and the Greens got one seat in parliament. And on top of that, the Brandon municipal election ended up booting the previously longstanding  mayor out, and voting in a city first (first Women AND Jewish mayor of the city).

When it comes to my personal politics, it seems to me that I have 3 possible choices this time around(yet another personal metamorphosis).

One thing that has not changed about me, is my dislike for the Conservative Party. I admit that I always had these feelings (being somewhat of a mirror to my parent), but recent events and policies have given me a reason of my own, to not like nor trust them.

Not the least of  which is the environmental and energy policies being mandated by the party. Canada could be a leader in the path to cleaner energy sources, we don’t have to be the Arabia of the North. Ripping up, fracking and otherwise polluting large swaths of land all over the place, in the search of short term profits (not to mention the disregard for the biggest  long term cost of the plan, rapidly erratic climate change for our kids to live with.

Then there are those “Canada’s Action Plan” advertisements that are everywhere I look. Like cigarette ads of the past, and the packaging for a certain “Canadian” cigarette brand, they have utilized clean, pretty, natural imagery to sell something that is dirty, disgusting and horribly UNNATURAL. The big selling point for Canadians being  jobs, jobs, jobs. Were helping Canadians get jobs.
Combined with the ads of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (were creating jobs, coast to coast!), its enough to make a person vomit.

A green-based economy, would create SO many more job opportunities. People point a finger at the flaws of green energy technology of today. Yeah, that is why we need more and more minds studying it then ever before. Technical advances are possible, but not if the best minds to possibly tweek them, are hard at work for an oil co with a self interest (profit above ALL).

And this distaste has a bit of a personal bias to it as well.

Over a year ago (I don’t remember absolutely when), I hand-wrote a letter to our then member of Parliament Merv Tweed. It was regarding a despicable experience that my father had with The Workman’s Compensation Board Of Manitoba.  A hard worker all his life, my dad ended up permanently injuring himself IN the process of being a hard worker, and found himself basically thrown out with the trash by his employer, his union and the board.
His employer basically refused to acknowledge the existence of the condition (even cleverly defying a doctors note), his union looked the other way (it was known that the local was much closer to the employer then the employees it was supposed to represent), and the WCB found a way to weasel their way out of paying the claim.

That is not to say that the story did not initially have a rosy beginning. My father HAD received a letter from the WCB, informing him that his claim was approved (and I guess pending). However, a representative from the WCB came to our home one night, and took the paper with him, telling my father that he needed a photo-copy but that he would get it back. We now know that he was a liar (oh, if hindsight were foresight!). And only when my father got the run around upon calling the guy back, did he realize what had just happened.

It may sound like I am telling a story of a man dropping by, but I still have the event in my memory. The nice guy with the combination locking brief case. A wolf in sheep’s clouting.

I had written this letter to Mr.Tweed, mainly for the purposes of informing. I didn’t know if there was anything that he could even do about it, but one can never know if they don’t try. And the reason why I hand-wrote the letter, was for the purpose of authenticity. I could have just as easily typed up an email, but like this blog entry, its not as personal as the physically written word (and harder to disregard, when the delete button is not available).

I was not expecting much in return, when it came to a reply. Even just a form letter, to tell me that it was received, would have been good enough. But no answer at all, the reply that I got, was a bit disheartening and insulting. Its understandable if your powerless to do anything about it. But to not say anything at all, sent me an unspoken message that said, I don’t care.

If that was the message, it has been received loud and clear.

The fact that Mr.Tweed could not wait until 2015 to leave his post and go to the private sector (costing taxpayers more then would otherwise have been necessary), confirms my suspicion of his uncaring attitude towards the residents of his riding (and the province as a whole, since we all foot the bill).

Then there is the new conservative candidate Larry Maguire, leaving his previous post  as MLA for Arthur-Virden, to run in Brandon-Souris.

Both men are paid out hefty severances, even though both are basically quiting their jobs. Then there are the costs of the 2 by-elections, required to fill both the newly empty MLA positions.

Already, were getting a lesson from 2 conservatives in terms of  personal accountability, when it comes to public funds.

And then I got the first piece of mail, from the conservatives on behalf of the new candidate (Larry). A piece that was obviously tailored to the hardcore old conservatives of the city, being it focused more on smearing Justin Trudeau’s pro-marijuana stance (with one part that could be considered a bold faced lie), then on the Conservative party’s post election platform.

Though the conservative brand certainly did not represent honesty before, it most certainly does not now.

Though I used to think the same way of the Liberal party (again, mostly remnants of my parent coming out), Justin Trudeau is striking me as having some interesting, and likable, views.

However, it seems that the views of the party leaders  should be more of a priority  during a federal election then a municipal one. Knowing this, it seems that the conservatives are grasping at straws in their attempts to  downplay their liberal opposition.

This election may end up with Brandon-Souris keeping the blue stripes that it has always had (this is known to be one of the “safest” conservative ridings in the whole country). But the scandals of recent, may present a threat to this previously safe riding. And it seems that the party knows this, considering that almost every single web address I visit has an advertisement for conservative candidate Larry Maguire, and I have yet to see online ads from any other candidates (who is paying for all of those ad placements?).

At the moment, I am undecided. It would be nice to have the riding go orange, or even Green. But that seems like a wishful pipe dream. In which case, even having a liberal candidate, would be a change of pace (that vote, if I end up casting it, will certainly be a step out of my comfort zone).

We will see.