“While modern capitalism constantly develops new needs in order to increase consumption, people’s dissatisfaction remains the same as ever. Their lives no longer have any meaning beyond a rush to consume, and this consumption is used to justify the increasingly radical frustration of any creative activity or genuine human initiative — to the point that people no longer even see this lack of meaning as important.” - Pierre Canjuers, Socialisme ou Barbarie #27

Friday, 2 September 2016

Out of the Heartlands and Into the Spleen

In two weeks I move out of Manchester city centre and into Bury, a distance of less than 10 miles but that crosses a couple of constituency lines, taking me out of out of Labour territory and into Toryland.  Middle England, perhaps. If ever an understatement was to be made, it's this: this is disappointing.   A cursory glance through the charmingly useful theyworkforyou.com reveals my soon-to-be local MP to be a Mr David Nuttall, whose astonishing voting record reads like a list of all the top things a person would have to say if they wanted an absolutely guaranteed way to piss me off.



It starts badly, and only gets worse. "David Nuttall is a Conservative MP, and on the vast majority of issues votes the same way as other Conservative MPs."  Oh dear.  Let's look a little closer.  Here are some of the things David Nuttall has voted against in his parliamentary career: equal rights for gay people (including the right to marry), greater European integration, increasing welfare benefits to at least keep them in line with inflation, new high speed rail infrastructure and slowing the rise in rail fares, against allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life, a wholly elected House of Lords and a proportional voting system for MPs, measures to prevent climate change and - this one's my favourite - he has voted against the Human Rights Act.  That's right, in 2012, David Nuttall voted in favour of repealing the 1998 Human Rights Act, a act that requires UK law to be consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.  In this instance, fortunately, Mr Nuttall was in the minority, and the Human Rights Act was not repealed.  How irritating that must have been for an elected representative of a constituency of human beings.

So, OK, David Nuttall is against legally protecting human rights, against co-operating more with our neighbours, against developing transport infrastructure, against allowing people to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones, against introducing more democracy into our bizarre and dysfunctional political system, and against taking action to deal with the climate change that has already begun to make parts of our planet uninhabitable.  So far, so Tory.  But really.  What's going on?  Is he just against human life?  Who elects these people in the first place?  I've visited Bury many times, and human beings most assuredly do live there.  18,970 of them voted for David Nuttall in 2015.  I wonder it what it was they thought they were voting for, exactly.

Let's have a look at some of the things David Nuttall votes in favour of in his capacity as a public servant.  They include: the use of military forces in combat operations overseas (including, of course, against ISIL/S, perhaps ignorant of the fact that this serves their insane apocalyptic ends very nicely indeed), replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system, more restrictive regulation of trade union activity, raising university tuition fees, mass surveillance, selling state-owned forests, killing badgers, the privatisation of the Royal Mail and restricting the scope of legal aid.  I'm not joking about killing badgers, by the way: Mr Nuttall has had four opportunities to vote for killing badgers, and has done so twice.  He was absent for the other two votes, which leaves open the possibility that, at best, Mr Nuttall takes a neutral position overall on the issue of badger killing.  So the evidence suggests that Mr Nuttall is against not only human life, but badger life as well.  For those of us left alive, he supports the privatization not only of public services, but of forests (so, basically, of the very stuff of life itself).

It boggles my mind that such people can win elections and exercise power over a country of civilized human beings.  I hasten to add I wish to make no personally disparaging remarks against David Nuttall or any other human being.  In all sincerity, I find it hard to doubt that even someone with such a patently inhumane voting record is still at his core a soulful human being with basically good intentions; but as the saying goes, by their fruits you shall know them.  It is the ideology that motivates people that I despise, not the people themselves.  I'll just take some comfort in the fact that Mr Nuttall won his seat in Parliament with a majority of only 378 votes in 2015.  That's about to be cut by at least one.