I don’t often, if ever, get political on my blog, but I am political.
I am a big fighter for human justice, fairness and compassion,
and the way the world is lead is important to me.
I don’t want this post to be about my political leanings. We all have them and in this world, at least where I live, we are free to air them. I realise not all parts of the world have this freedom, and I am very grateful that I live with political freedom. Our views, our opinions and our politics are our own and we are allowed them.
Politics is getting very ugly.
Some of you, who are much better historians than me, will point out that politics has always been ugly. That it’s always been full of lies, deceit, ambition, and corruption. You’re probably right. But with the advent of social media, we are perpetuating it ourselves. I’ve been accused of sharing social media posts, memes, and articles without checking the facts, and years ago I did, until I began checking facts before reposting. I try not to post anything, except my opinion, unless I’ve checked facts first, though I will post others’ opinions, because I am allowed to do that too.
© Lisa Shambrook
Brexit was ugly. Brexit (the UK Referendum on whether to leave the European Union) was perpetuated with lies no matter which side of the argument you were on. It was undercut with lies, xenophobia, name-calling, and scare-mongering on both sides. The party leadership contests are the same, and don’t get me started on the American Presidential election.
This post isn’t about my politics, but I do want to discuss the ugliness of politics. PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) in the British Parliament is ugly, always has been. They laugh, bully, put each other down, and generally act like they are on a school playground, or in a farmyard, though these analogies are very unfair to both children and farm animals. PMQs is game playing, on both sides. It’s like Good Cop Bad Cop. It’s about half an hour on a Wednesday when the Prime Minister answers MP’s questions in the House of Commons. But it’s hostile.
If you know me well, you will know my political leanings. I don’t hide them, and recently on Twitter I shared the following two tweets when Theresa May our new PM took her first PMQ session:
I got a lot of agreement and some opposition, that’s cool, it’s my opinion after all. On the 13th July, I listened to Theresa May’s speech outside number 10 Downing Street with interest. She had just become our new Prime Minister and her speech was very good. She spoke about poverty, welfare, people, and the struggles we go through every day. She, according to her speech, knew exactly what state the country was in and vowed to change it and help us. Within days her Cabinet was reshuffled and familiar faces we’d hoped to see gone were there, and our faith was diminishing. And, yes, how you feel will be akin to your political leaning. I’m allowed mine.
So PMQs was the first time to see her in action. And this is where I saw the true ugliness of politics. Every question was blocked by posturing, jibes, name-calling – and yes, politics does not change. The people do, the actions don’t.
But what shocked me most was the media bias.
It was reported, gleefully, that Theresa May had wiped the floor with her opponent. Now regardless of your politics, if I’d seen this the other way round I’d have been just as shocked. It’s not that she’s Tory, but that her body language (leaning forward to intimidate), her tone (aggressive), her words (demeaning, bullying, and cruel personal insults), and her expression (calculated revulsion and sneers) spoke volumes.
Since when is someone considered strong because they can insult someone better than someone else?
Since when has great leadership consisted of putting down the opposition?
The media reporting was and has been very biased towards one party. Maybe this has a great deal to do with Rupert Murdoch owning the media brands we listen to or read. But the media bias has been so strong lately that it needs looking into and changing. The BBC is supposed to be unbiased, but is it?
These two reports: BBC admit intentionally damaging Corbyn leadership with contrived live resignation, and the Independent’s Our report found that 75% of press coverage misrepresents Jeremy Corbyn – we can’t ignore media bias anymore, show just how much damage is being done in the name of the media. Whether you like Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn or not, you can’t help notice the media portray him as a loser. I watched the interview with Andrew Marr recently, and found a calm, well-spoken politician who put across a strong vision for Britain, but the media don’t show that in general. He is spoken of as unelectable, yet the people have voted in their droves for him.
I’d like to see both leaders taken seriously, and both leaders to take their responsibilities seriously too. I felt that Corbyn had nothing to say during Brexit, maybe he didn’t, but maybe it was just unreported. I also commented during Brexit that the Liberal Democrats had been conspicuously absent. But when I spoke to a Lib Dem supporter, he assured me that Tim Farron had been at many rallies, spoken well and was well-versed in his opposition to Brexit, but I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him on British media. On the other hand, UKIP was totally over-represented considering they have less members of parliament than the Lib Dems (UKIP: 1, Lib Dems: 8). The Greens and UKIP have one member of parliament each, yet, who did you see more of during Brexit?
Fair reporting is one thing I’d like to see.
The other is less lies, I’d like to see no lies, but that is probably both unlikely and impossible! The lies during Brexit were breath-taking in their arrogance, but I won’t go into that, done and dusted.
I am seeing the same thing in American politics, and fear the same outcome in their Presidential Election. Outright lies, xenophobia, and scare-mongering. The fear of having Donald Trump become President of the United States, outweighs my fear over leaving the EU one hundred fold, despite the problems leaving the EU is bringing. Our pound is unstable, and has lost a lot of ground against foreign currency, this means something to me as I send my son money in Canada, and where £50 would have given him $100, it now only gives $85. That’s a big loss when every penny counts. Food prices here are rising and we have yet to see where trade goes. Hopefully as a country we can make the best of it. But Donald Trump? I’m on the Nope Train with that one.
The reporting in the US is diabolical and much of the electioneering is about honesty or dishonesty. This chart shows how damaging the reporting is. From my newsfeeds and the media I’ve seen surrounding Trump and Clinton (and incidentally, Obama, who I’ve had great respect for) both are seen as unethical and dishonest. I’ve even seen Hillary Clinton bandied about as being criminal. This article Lying Liars Who Lie: 2016 Edition, (ignore the religious tones if that’s not your thing the sentiment is still the same) points out that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Jeb Bush, are some of the most honest politicians around. Then you can take a look Donald Trump’s results…
Sometimes I wonder at people.
- Edited on 26th July 2016 (day before posting): Having just watched Michelle Obama’s DNC (Democratic National Convention) speech, I feel things can change. It doesn’t matter which side you are on, it’s her interest and passion we need to change how politics work. Ignore who she supported if you’re not with Hillary Clinton, but notice how Michelle speaks, how she offers truth and facts with passion and without putting down the opposition with a cruel personal attack. That’s how I want my politics.
“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is: when they go low, we go high.” – Michelle Obama DNC Speech 2016
This post was not written to further my political views, but to show much I wish politics could change.
There is no strength in bullying, intimidating, or invalidating the opposition.
There is no honour in lying to the public.
There is no humanity in deceit.
So why do we fall for it and could it ever change?
Can politics and the media surrounding it ever become honest and not corrupt?
*Note on comments: everyone is allowed a valid opinion, but if any comments are deemed attacking, aggressive, or inciting they will be removed or unapproved. Don’t feed the trolls.