Carl Jung once said that it was the insane that saw the world for what it was, and that the rest of us only kept our sanity by lying to ourselves, continually. This is apparently true with British politics as well, with those parties that dare to suggest an alternative to a system so painfully and obviously broken labelled as 'mad' by their opponents and the media alike.
Politicians are accountants, their primary role now to 'balance the books' and spout meaningless figures to an uninterested audience. We no longer debate about if we want something, or if we like a policy, only if we can afford it.
Politicians are cheap stage magicians, using misdirection and smokescreens in the form of struggling families and individuals that happened to be born in a different part of the world to distract from systemic issues that their chums profit from.
Politicians are judges, deciding who lives and dies, a decision made easy for them by assessing the size of their wallet. Money has been definitively handed from the poor to the rich this parliament, with few of the parties on offer coherently challenging the class culling this has resulted in.
Every respectable study done into immigration has definitively shown that migrants have very little effect upon wage rates, are net contributors to the economy (and therefore help create jobs) and play a vital role in running many public services- yet still we blame the immigrant. It has been shown that only 0.7% of benefits are claimed fraudulently (a figure dwarfed by tax avoidance), that the majority of claimants are actually in work and that there are more unemployed people than there are jobs, yet still we blame the welfare claimant. We've had a ridiculously slow recovery, widening inequality and stagnating pay whilst the 1% have enjoyed unprecedented levels of wealth- yet still many choose to champion austerity.
At every turn our political Establishment lies to us, telling us alternatives aren't possible despite numerous examples to the contrary across the globe and throughout history. The worrying percentage of privately educated individuals that make up the ranks of the Commons, of the press offices, and of the business elite clearly have a vested interest in the status quo, an interest at odds with their constituents, their readers and their customers. The effect this has upon our system is dangerous: evermore our system is geared towards the interests of those at the top of society, and the PR machine works overtime to give the masses justification for immoral and unsustainable levels of inequality and environmental degradation, feeding them the lie that it is in their interest.
The problem for the fringe parties entering the fray is that they're doing so on The Establishment's terms. Whenever anyone attempts to suggest that we actually stop destroying the planet or try to be nice to each other, they have to fight against decades of dogma and misinformation that has seeped from the main parties in an attempt to justify their private agendas. The problem we face isn't that people need to learn more about politics- they need to learn less. We need to rapidly unlearn an awful lot of rubbish that has been spouted out of our TV's and tabloids over the past few years, wrestling control of our imaginations and our hope from the 1%.
What hasn't been seeping out of the main parties, however, is a coherent and joined up narrative as to just why our economy can't seem to go much more than a decade without falling apart, why we don't seem to be able to stop destroying the planet, and why inequality keeps on rising. The Tories blame White Dee, UKIP blame Romanians and Labour... well Labour are too busy searching for their spine to answer the question. None of this really gives us an answer beyond a shallow and short term outlook- in some ways we have all become conservative now, seeking to shift blame away from complex, structural inadequacies to individual moral failings. Many of us have given up hope on changing so rigid and inaccessible a political system that we choose instead to accept the scapegoats that are placed before us.
The problem with this is unexpectedly highlighted by George Osborne: in an odd way we actually are 'all in this together', bar a handful at the top. The migrant is just another human being, trying to make a living in a country that offers them better opportunities, and the benefit claimant is actually the person working next to you that can't afford to look after their kids on the pitiful wage you both earn. The problem that has the both of them to where they are is the same: the 1%. Blaming them might be easier and make us feel better, but it doesn't get us anywhere, it just turns us against ourselves instead of the people who really are causing the problems.
We need a national discourse based upon evidence, and all the evidence, whether it be about how to tackle inequality, low pay, climate change or fixing the NHS, is that the power of the 1% needs to be dispersed. This is the big secret looming over this election that only the 3 women on the stage on Thursday night were brave enough to reveal.
What the debate showed was that there is a clear and coherent alternative this time around, with bold individuals willing to fight for it, and a good few willing to listen too. However, this election will still be dominated by lies and ignorance, propagated by an Establishment on the edge.
It's about time we had a national discourse based on evidence and truth. It's about time people's dreams and hopes weren't dismissed as naïve and unrealistic. It's about time we realised that there is a powerful and pervasive elite that is successfully trying to divide us, but if we stop letting them, together, we can topple them. Let's make 7 May that time.Suggest a correction