Political Aspirations

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Aegis, Dec 22, 2022.

  1. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Hi all, long time no speak! Life has taken a series of very weird turns over the last few years, and sadly the situation I'm left in is one where it is very unlikely I will ever be able to practice martial arts again, at least not at the level I spent decades working towards.

    This isn't a cry for sympathy by any means. I am getting used to this new paradigm, and am trying to make the most of it. I have returned to work as a financial planner, I have rediscovered my love of photography and public speaking, and I have - bizarrely - wandered into the world of politics.

    Some of you will already have a good feel for how I tend to view the world. Those that don't might be curious as to what I stand for, and I guess the summary is "socialism for essentials, capitalism for luxuries, with personal liberty protected as long as everyone's background is respected". I have watched with horror as UK politics have lurched more to the right-wing authoritarian stance, and I am frankly disgusted at the behaviour of some of our elected representatives in the last few years. I genuinely believe that accountability is essential, and that the current system is set up in such a way that this is almost impossible (just look at the number of disgraced MPs that are mooted to be shifted to a "safe" seat for the next General Election, whenever that might be).

    One major turning point for me was Brexit. I am a committed Europhile, and even hold dual-nationality in Ireland, so I could just sit back and say "I'm alright, Jack". But that's not me. I'm a fighter, even if I can't physically fight any more. And I still want to stand up against injustices where I see them, but have shifted my focus enormously as a consequence of not being able to teach self defence any more.

    I watched a lot of damage being done to our international standing, our economy and our citizens as a result of the lies spread by the various Leave proponents. Eventually I concluded that the only way to fix the damage done would be to get a pro-EU party into power. Unfortunately, the currently government is rabidly anti-EU, and the largest opposition party has decided to try to make Brexit work, ruling out rejoining the Customs Union and Single Market despite the damage that has been caused to our country by not being in those markets.

    As such, I went through a "someone should do something" phase for a while, but quickly realised that - unless I was willing to put my money where my mouth is - I couldn't realistically expect others to do it for me.

    That's why I'm now standing for Parliament. i chose to align myself with the Liberal Democrats for three main reasons:
    • They/we are pro-EU.
    • They/we support a reform to the electoral system to make power proportional to votes.
    • They/we acknowledge that the current tax system is broken to the point where it become,s almost optional for the wealthiest in society.
    There are obviously other similarities between what the Liberal Democrat manifesto says and what I personally believe. Importantly, what I have seen so far leads me to believe that these differences will result in genuine discussion, analysis and thought from a party that genuinely changes its mind on issues when evidence changes.

    If you'd like to follow or support my efforts, I have a blog, a Twitter account, a Mastodon account and a few other places you can find me. My local party also has a website, which includes options for people to follow me, volunteer or make a donation to my campaign.

    Thanks to Mitch for letting me make this thread despite my inactivity over the last few years. I'm still a MAPper at heart, even if I can't do much of the MA part any more!
    Lupi Lou, Dan Bian, axelb and 3 others like this.
  2. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    MAP is only here because of Aegis, and he has supported multiple MAP Meets over the years. He's one of the good guys.

    Personally, I'm politically to his left, but he talks a lot of sense and if nothing else is trying to engage with people to make their lives better, and that is very much needed in the UK, as it is elsewhere I'm sure.

    So, if you're in the UK, take the time to read his thoughts and make your own mind up :)
  3. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Would love a chat about where you stand politically, Mitch. I definitely identify as firmly on the left for anything I class as essential, so it's quite possible we see eye to eye on most issues.
    axelb, Mitch and Dead_pool like this.
  4. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Anyone fighting for political reform and accountability has my support!

    Had a little look at your blog. I share your disappointment with the Labour party. Your ideas on a technocratic second chamber are interesting, not sure how you would protect it against corruption (I say "technocratic" in the definitional sense, not the pejorative).

    Always nice to see people come to politics later in life because they want to improve people's lives, rather than the narcissistic ideologues the party machines seem to churn out of student unions.

    Best of luck!
    axelb, Aegis and Dead_pool like this.
  5. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Thanks for the kind words.

    In terms of how to save a second chamber from corruption, I would argue that there would be little point to corrupting it in the first place because in my model they would be stripped of essentially all power. The real trick is to eliminate corruption in the Commons, as that's where the laws are ultimately made. Wish I had an easy solution to that, but I can't think of one.
    axelb, Dead_pool and David Harrison like this.
  6. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    My concern would be the second chamber becoming an extension of lobby groups and think tanks via "ringer" experts.

    Having real expertise informing policy is a great idea, but like any great political idea it is near impossible to prevent it becoming corrupted by the influence of business.
    Anth, Aegis and Dead_pool like this.
  7. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    I guess the answer would be to make it so that the supporters of a bill could request a supporting opinion and the opponents could simultaneously request a dissenting view. If distributed back to the Commons, the combination would hopefully mean that both sides of an issue were fully represented in all cases, so lobbying would have minimal effect.

    Definitely not perfect, but vastly better than what we have now.
    David Harrison and Dead_pool like this.
  8. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Yeah, and proportional representation would temper executive power, I suppose. The Lords have saved us from quite a lot of Draconian legislation over the years, even though the way appointments work needs urgent regulation.

    More important than these experts informing representatives, who generally have a good education, I think would be for them to inform the public. A bit of education might go a long way to preventing the worst of the charlatans from being elected... I hope.

    I've always been attracted to the idea of a randomly selected second chamber, in a similar vein to jury duty.
    Aegis likes this.
  9. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

  10. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    One of the examples I use about why Proportional Representation is a good idea is to point out that a random selection of voters would likely be a better representation of society than our current voting system for a sufficiently-large sample size.

    It's definitely a possibility that would offer representation, but unfortunately it would be seen as a duty that people begrudged and it wouldn't in any way get expertise into the chamber, at least not consistently.
    David Harrison likes this.
  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    No, it wouldn't bring expertise. Maybe docking wages if they don't turn up for votes would encourage participation.

    Having professional bodies more active in drawing up legislation could help with expertise.

    I do think your idea is good though. Definitely an improvement on the current system!

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