Extreme cleavage (politics that isn’t politics)

Panic. That is the reaction in some quarters, panic. It is a place of refuge for those who think they see things slipping away and are disinclined to do much about it. It may be a brief refuge, a temporary indulgence, sand for the political ostriches sensing danger, yet panic is what it is ; and it can be contagious.

Stories. The hunt for headlines ignores the commonplace, despite the commonplace being common. Stories, written about the out-of-place, the unusual, the extreme. Stories in newspapers, stories on the airwaves, stories on the internet, stories about the unusual dominating – so that the unusual supplants the commonplace in the collective conscious.

Thoughts going north, to Scotland, where a leader steps aside. If there is ever a good time to pass the baton on then this is as good as any. Between a successful referendum campaign and the big heave to come as we all pass will soon passed judgement on Cameron and Clegg. Going before being pushed perhaps defeats the adage that all political careers end in failure. Going, and making a few judgements about the state of the Labour Party in Scotland, interpreted by the biased as only they can. Going, and sounding off, but also pledging support. You can still be a team player and offer a critique.

Opinion polls that suggest a rout in Scotland; if only that General Election was tomorrow. It isn’t; the General election is not tomorrow. Whilst the polls do not make for great reading for those of a Labour disposition, consternation in itself will achieve nothing. It seems that nationalism is on the rise in a number of quarters across the United Kingdom – a worry for those who know their history.

A deputy in Scotland also steps down – ensuring a completely fresh leadership team. There is now an opportunity to re-shape Labour up north. The referendum showed why referendums are often an obstacle rather than an aide to democracy as the debate about Scotland’s role within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dominated all. It is no surprise that following on from month after month of nationalistic debate that the nationalist party is riding high.

It is same nearer to home: allow the news to be dominated by Farage and his band of the angry and confused and there can be no surprise that their polling improves. Cue Natalie Bennett and her Greens, whose cardigan adorned outraged also ensured column inches – and a spike in polling.

Distraction and cleavage. It is a truth that the way to make oneself ill is to read a medical dictionary. There is a disconnect between the finding of symptoms and the identification of cause. Do I have a headache, is that a swelling, is my pulse racing? Cue a whole host of potentially terminal illnesses, when all you have to fear is fear itself. The same with society’s problems. Not enough housing, prices going up faster than salaries, longer waits at the doctor’s, congested roads, good school places at a premium, zero hours contracts, dead-end jobs with dead-beat bosses. The solutions are rarely found in sound-bites.

Cleaving man from man, the oldest weapon in the political armoury. Divide and rule. Haves and have-nots then, now indigenous and non-indigenous. Serious investigation may uncover a plethora of faults with the system, but those on a soap-box do not want serious investigation. It is far easier to blame other victims.

To pick one’s way through this requires thoughtful and thoroughly researched argument. That argument has to be taken to the streets. Engage, argue, persuade. The rise of apathy is less to do with political engagement and more to do with showing the relevance of politics. Politics is relevant because politics is all. Politics is also nothing if debate is subsumed fear or succumbs to laziness.


One Response to Extreme cleavage (politics that isn’t politics)

  1. This was written on request from Very Bad Apple. Here is a link to the post on their blog –


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