Thursday, 23 April 2015

Capitalism and Voting // Two Weeks Until Election Day

2015 is the year I turned eighteen, and thus, is the first time I'll be able to vote for a party which I think should govern our country. With election day looming, and as a huge fan of Russell Brand, I have frequented his online YouTube show, The Trews, in which he often discusses the corruption of the media/Britain's political system and the effects it has on society and the working class. I don't think I've ever so continuously agreed with a human being more. In particular, I enjoyed Episode 279, "Is Capitalism A Religion?" which you can find here if you have a spare 8 minutes. However to spare you the trouble, I'm going to tell you, briefly, why he's right.

Russell says, "Capitalism is a religion; it has its books, it has its rituals, it has its ministers, it has its institutions. If you are a heretic, you will be condemned. If you disagree with its rules and its systems, you will be imprisoned. If you become an expert in it, a high minister, you will be richly rewarded... Capitalism is an extreme ideology that creates inequality."

Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state, or, as Russell puts it, "the extreme global ideology that everything is a monetary resource" or "has monetary value". It's a saddening thought, but one we all know; the government are set to make money out of us until we die. And when we're not workers, we're consumers. Any money that you are paid by your employer is most likely put straight back into the system when we buy on the high street. By this system, the money goes straight back up to the top; the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer. We, the working class, get to keep hardly any of our money, while those unable to work are left on benefits living only on what the government decide they are worth. And this is why I believe that Capitalism is fundamentally flawed. I suppose that makes me a heretic.

My mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia (and other, physical, disorders) when I was fairly young, and now lives in a council house/flat. As she was deemed mentally unfit to properly care for me and my younger sister, my dad fought for custody of us during their divorce. This means we have always only been able to see our mum at weekends, and while this system has always worked for us, it became more difficult when the Conservatives came into office and established the bedroom tax. In a nutshell, the bedroom tax is when "the amount of housing benefit paid to a claimant is reduced if the property they are renting is judged to have more bedrooms than necessary". My mum's flat has two downstairs bedrooms, one is her own, and one which my sister and I share at weekends. But, because we are not permanent residents of the house, my mum has to pay extra money, ON TOP OF RENT, to keep the extra room. Bear in mind that, if my sister and I were still under sixteen, we would still be legally required to spend weekends with our mother. Is it fair that she has to pay extra to, effectively, just obey the law, especially as she isn't able to make much money for herself, due to her condition? No. Especially as, in time, she might need someone there to look after her permanently.

I very strongly believe that it is wrong to tax the poorest of people, when all the money is at the "top" of society. If only you could get the rich to part with some of theirs! After seeing the financial struggle that my mum is going through at the hands of the bedroom tax - while those in Westminster get richer - I, myself, am desperate for the tax to be scrapped. This meant that I was very close to deciding to vote Labour, who promised to do just that. I agree with most of what they stand for... but isn't it all really just a question of whether the policies in their manifestos will actually be implemented, if they do get into power? And I don't truthfully believe the answer to that question is "yes". Although I don't agree with UKIP's policies AT ALL, I had to agree with Nigel Farage when he said there isn't enough of a difference between Labour and Conservative anymore. That leaves me with a choice: to trust in the Party I most agree with NOT to fuck up this country, and vote for them, or, alternatively, not to vote at all. I don't trust any politician at the moment. I believe they're all self-interested in one way or another. Off-shore bank accounts, TWO kitchens? While people are homeless and starving in this country? I don't want to contribute to the system that allows them to do those things. Moreover, I would actually feel guilty and partly responsible if I had helped to elect a party that goes on to lie to the public or f*ck up the economy, or any other such terrible things.

Here I get to bring in my favourite analogy of the moment: if you don't like any of the sandwiches at Subway, would you buy a sandwich from Subway? Of course you wouldn't! So why vote for the best out of a bad bunch? As Russell says, give us something to vote for. You have two weeks to change my mind!

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