Friday, 29 May 2015

FIFA and corruption in the UK

FIFA and corruption in the UK

Amongst all the outrage and disgust at the actions of the execrable Blatter and his crew of bagmen, swindlers and fiddlers, there was very little said about the role the UK plays in maintaining and servicing these corrupt leeches. Why has it taken the American authorities to begin the process of cleaning up a major world institution? As Craig Murray reveals in his latest blog:

‘The FBI had somebody wearing a wire at the London Olympics to capture the FIFA corruption taking place in the margins. What were the British authorities doing? Nothing.
Britain prides itself as having in London the world’s leading financial centre. Substantial assets, both financial and real estate, from FIFA corruption are located in London. But Britain has taken over the crown from Switzerland as the major financial destination which will always protect ill-gotten wealth.
Alisher Usmanov played a major role as bagman for the corrupt Russian World Cup bid, particularly with delegates from FIFA’s Asian Confederation. His place as Britain’s third richest resident is very obviously based on extreme Russian corruption and he rose to power and wealth solely with the use of gangster muscle and contacts he gained and expanded while serving a prison sentence for blackmail. But he is a billionaire and beloved by the City of London so there is no danger of him ever being investigated in the UK.
That a key figure in FIFA corruption over Russia’s World Cup bid, is undisturbed in his large shareholding in Arsenal FC, says everything about the complicity of the British establishment.
Usmanov’s friend Gulnara Karimova is a startling example. She is now under formal investigation in Switzerland, France, Sweden and the Netherlands over the glaringly corrupt origins of her billions. Only a fake house arrest by her father has prevented her real arrest. Yet in the UK, where she has three homes including one in the No.1 Hyde Park criminals’ hangout, where she shops regularly and her son is at university, there is no move against her whatsoever.
I am delighted to see the moves against FIFA. But to me they illustrate very plainly what a corrupt stinking hole London has become.’

Anyone in any doubt about the above need only to look back to the fund raising dinners hosted by the Tory Party. A more unsavoury bunch of characters it would be hard to find: 
Russian oligarchs - tick    Offshore tax avoiders - tick   Bankers - tick
Financiers (spivs) - tick   Oil magnates - tick.

Now why would these disparate creeps attend a Tory fundraiser at a cost of 10k per head? What could they possibly hope to get out of sitting next to a Tory Minister for an evening? 

Yes FIFA is corrupt and deeply rotten. So is the UK.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Alistair Carmichael MP is a liar

The LibDems solitary surviving MP in Scotland has admitted that he lied about a memo originating from the Scottish Office when he was Scottish Minister. The memo claimed that Nicola Sturgeon had expressed a preference for David Cameron to be Prime Minister to a French diplomat. This happened immediately after the first leaders debate where Sturgeon performed impressively and the memo contradicted her publicly stated views. Sturgeon and the diplomat swiftly rebutted the claim and the recent investigation by the Cabinet Secretary backed them by saying it was a ‘mistranslation’. Carmichael sanctioned the leak but crucially lied about doing so when challenged by Channel 4 News. He claimed the first he had heard about this was when he was told by a journalist. 
He is currently the MP for Shetland and Orkney. His majority was slashed to just over 800. It is extremely unlikely that he would have survived as MP if the truth had come out before polling day.

For the wider picture try this from Craig Murray - the ex ambassador to Uzbekistan sacked by Blair and Straw for exposing their collusion with torture.

It is no secret that Alistair Carmichael is a friend of mine. Not least because he told parliament so in 2005:
“The Government’s signals to the Uzbek regime have not always been helpful. I am thinking especially of their treatment of my old friend, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who has done us all a great service in graphically highlighting the appalling human rights record of the Uzbekistan Government.”
Alistair was one of very few MPs who raised the dreadful human rights abuses in Uzbekistan even before I got there. He has a genuine interest in human rights worldwide, and had a much better motivation in going into politics than the large majority of politicians. He was never anything like a diehard unionist in personal conviction. I felt quite proud for him when he was asked during the campaign what would his role be in negotiating for the UK the conditions of separation after a Yes vote. He replied that he was Scottish, and he would be on the Scottish, not the UK side.
I have never chosen my friends by my politics, and I am not one of those people who is only happy in the company of those who agree with me. I am happiest with a few drinks and a good argument in intellectually challenging company. I also do know that all human beings are flawed, and I don’t expect perfection. So I have no intention of ending friendship with Alistair.
All of which makes it hard, but I have to say that I really do think he needs to resign as an MP, and to do so immediately.
It was not just a mistake to leak that memo, it was wrong. It was even more wrong because he himself believed it was written in error and did not give Nicola Sturgeon’s true opinion. But in an election in which the Scottish Lib Dems faced wipeout, he saw the advantage of playing this trick. That was wrong on many levels. I would add that I feel very confident that Alistair would never have done it without consulting Clegg first. Clegg should resign too. And instead of the usual Cabinet Office stitch-up, there needs to be a real inquiry into the whole history and production of that extraordinary minute, and whether Alistair was set up to do it. The Scottish Government needs to be an equal partner in constituting that inquiry.
Alistair has no alternative but to resign because he then repeatedly lied about what he had done. It is much better that he goes now with a full and frank apology to everyone, especially his constituents. When you have blatantly and repeatedly lied about something, you cannot expect people to give you their trust again. That it even seems a possibility is an example of the erosion of ethical standards, of which Tony Blair is of course the greatest example as liar, mass murderer and multi-millionaire.
But we should not lose sight of the real lesson. The corrupt and rotten structures of the UK state are so insidious that they can take a fundamentally decent man like Alistair and lead him to behave so badly. There is something within the rotting organisms of UK institutions in their decline from Imperial power and dependence on corrupt banking and corporate systems, that infects almost all who enter them. While I worked for the FCO I saw really nice colleagues, decent men and women I worked with, go along with organising what they knew to be illegal war in Iraq, and with facilitating the torture and extraordinary rendition programmes. Because that was what paid their mortgage, looked after their children, and above all gave them social status as high British diplomats.
Westminster gives untrammelled executive power to a party with just 23% of the support of the registered electorate. The majority of parliamentarians are unelected Lords a great many of whom are themselves mired in corruption – and some much worse. The organs of state power are used to facilitate the flow of money from the poor to the very wealthy, which is the actual cause of the deficit in public finances. The rewards of being on the inside are sweet; those outside are measurably dispossessed of wealth, and measurably alienated in politics. The media is controlled by this corporate state.
Alistair Carmichael’s story is not the story of a bad man. It is the story of what happens to a good man who buys in to UK power structures. The real lesson of the sad story of this period in Alistair’s life is that the UK is evil, corrupt and corrupting, and that the UK state needs swiftly to be broken up.

Maybe not broken up - how about massively reformed?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Annette Analysis

Annette Article
The following article was written by ‘Annette’ in response to an article in ‘Labour Hame’ asking what went wrong with Labour in the election. It is an excellent analysis of an appalling campaign and has gone viral.

“I am so tired of the word “nationalism” being branded about by Labour. And, oooh, they inserted the word “patriotic” in their constitution, how quaint. Personally, I don’t give a toss about patriotism and nationalism. I am an EU citizen living in Scotland and I voted YES because it is my firm belief that every country has a right to political self-determination and should not be ruled by another country. This is something that I suspect most Labourites would in theory agree to, because it makes them sound noble, but when applied to Scotland, they suddenly get a hissy fit at the notion of someone “wanting to break up our country.” The only explanation I can find for this behaviour is that they believe Scotland is not a country.

I’m going to help you out here, Labour, because I have watched your decline for a long time and it seems clear that you have not the foggiest idea where you have gone wrong. That is why almost everything you did to improve your prospects has only made things worse. So let me try to explain, and let me tell you in advance that everyone I have spoken to over the last few days agrees with me. Not because I am so super-clever, but because it is blatantly obvious. Only Labour seem to be unable to see it.

Forget Blairism. The con Blair pulled off worked once, but it will not work again in our lifetime, because there are things people don’t forget. Blairism gained Labour the support of a certain number of swing voters and that helped you as long as your core supporters loyally stood by you. Whatever made you think, though, that you could give up the goals and values of your real clientele and that nevertheless they would keep voting for you indefinitely? Sure, many people feel loyal to a party and are patient with it, and there is a certain inertia that needs to be overcome before some voters desert their traditional party. But if that party continually fails to represent their supporter’s interests, these supporters will eventually walk away. The sentence I heard again and again and again these last few months was this: “I have not left Labour, Labour have left me.” That is the core of the problem.

So listen to me well, Labour Party, because if you get this wrong again you will be done for, once and for all: Don’t try to appeal to Tory voters. Tory-leaning voters might vote Labour as a one-off protest vote, but by pandering to them you alienate the people that are your natural clientele. For a few years that might work out, but eventually the Tory-leaning voters will return to the Tory fold and your own supporters will decide you’re just not worth it anymore. If they have any sense, they’ll move on to the Greens, and if not, there’s always UKIP. If they feel seriously conflicted, they might just stay at home and not vote at all. In Scotland, they have serious alternative now. In any case, you’re unlikely to gain back their trust as long as you present yourself as a paler copy of the Tories. Nicola Sturgeon did give you the heads-up in the leadership debate. She said that of course there is a difference between Tories and Labour, but the problem is that the difference is not big enough. It is nowhere near big enough.

There are several ways in which this failure to be properly Labour instead of Tory-lite has played out.
1. You have failed to be an effective opposition. Instead of challenging the Tories’ brutal austerity policies, their hair-raising incompetence with the economy, their blatant favouring of the rich elites, you have done little else than bicker about details. You have allowed the electorate in England and Wales to believe against all evidence to the contrary that the Tories are basically right. You voted with them for more austerity cuts. You voted with them for Trident renewal. You voted with them for more foolish military interventions in the Middle East, even though you must know by now how the Iraq War has damaged you. You abstained from the vote on the fracking moratorium which would have succeeded had you not been so cowardly. You have not been a counterweight to the nasty coalition, you have enabled them.

2. You have allowed the Tories to determine the political narrative. Instead of countering their agenda with your own agenda, you kept telling us you would do much the same as the Tories, only in a nicer way, and you deluded yourself that this would keep everyone happy. All this nonsense about cutting the deficit by slashing public services and restricting government spending, when it is standard textbook economy that in times of recession the government must increase spending to help the economy recover – you could have called the Tories out on this, you could have presented the figures of how the Tory approach had made the economy much, much worse. Why did it have to be Nigel Farage of all people who pointed out in the leaders’ debate that the Tories had doubled the national debt? That would have been your role, you should have hammered this message home relentlessly instead of letting them get away with their ludicrous claim that they had fixed the economy. You even allowed UKIP to set your agenda: Instead of making it clear, like Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon did, that immigration really, really isn’t a relevant problem, you went about printing “Controls on immigration” on mugs and even inscribing it on your ridiculous monolith.

3. Instead of fighting the Tories, you fought your potential allies. This wasn’t so disastrous in the case of the Greens and Plaid Cymru, given their small numbers, but I will say that having a big campaign to unseat Caroline was not only mean-spirited but stupid; those resources should have gone into targeting a Tory seat. However, it was your treatment of the SNP that might well have cost you the election. Again, you let the Tories determine the narrative. They crowed about a constitutional crisis, about a second referendum which neither the SNP nor the wider YES movement are seeking within the next few years anyway, about “breaking up our (sic!) country,” about chaos and nationalism and England being held to ransom. They and their compliant media outlets abused the SNP and the people of Scotland on a daily basis in the most despicable terms. And all you did was parrot them. Nicola Sturgeon could not have held out her hand any more sincerely, and yet you sneered at it.
What you could have done, should have done, was to challenge the Tory narrative. The SNP have been riding sky-high in the polls since September; and you had known for months that you could only form a government with their help. Plenty time to come up with a constructive strategy. You could have pointed out that the SNP are a moderate party of the centre left. You could have pointed out that they have a track record of eight years of competent and sensible and not-at-all-outrageous government in Holyrood. You could have pointed out that they stood for the kind of temperate progressive policies that many, many people in England would have been delighted to see. You could have pointed out that in no imaginable universe would even 59 SNP MPs be able to call the shots in a 650-strong parliament; that you would always be the boss in any kind of arrangement. You could have thrown all your might into convincing the English electorate that a Labour/SNP team effort would be good for the whole of the UK, as it undoubtedly would have been. Instead you declared a week before the election on national television that you would rather see the Tories return to power than work with the SNP. The stupidity of this is mind-blowing. And all under the banner of “not working with a party that seeks to break up the UK.” Tell me, what is your deal again with the SDLP, a party that seeks to unite Northern Ireland with the republic? You don’t even field candidates against them to give them a better chance? If you can work with them, why not with the SNP? But even today you still harp on about “nationalism” when in fact what the people of Scotland have opted for is the moderate social democratic policies which you should have offered but didn’t.

4. Having alienated your core supporters and turned your back on your potential allies, and with no progressive track record as an effective opposition to show to the electorate, you have based your election campaign on sound bites, PR stunts and silly gimmicks. Just after Nicola Sturgeon presented her gender-balanced cabinet and promised to work tirelessly on shattering the glass ceiling, you insulted the women of the UK by inviting them to talk “around the kitchen table” about “women’s issues,” proudly brought to us by a pink van. And you didn’t see it coming that people would call it the Barbie Bus and laugh it out of town? You allowed Jim Murphy to run amok in Scotland with one insane “policy announcement” after another – remember the “1000 more nurses than anything the SNP promises?” Why not promise weekend breaks on Jupiter for the over 65s? You wheeled out Gordon Brown at random intervals to make meaningless promises and you expected people to be swayed by the pledges of a retiring backbencher? You had some wishy-washy election promises carved in a massive gravestone and you thought that was a good idea?

Yours was a hopeless, hopeless campaign from beginning to end, without vision, without structure, without conviction. And yet I, like so many, clung to the hope that surely people in England must be so fed up with the Tories by now that they’d vote for you anyway and that surely once the election day dust had settled you’d see sense and head a progressive alliance with the SNP, SDLP, Plaid Cymru and the lovely Caroline Lucas who is worth her weight in diamonds. We could have turned things around for the good of the many rather than the few. Instead the Tories now have carte blanche to suck dry the people of the UK and grin smugly while they feast on our bones. All thanks to you, Labour Party. Now get your act together and make sure this will never happen again. I cannot spell it out any clearer.” ‘Annette’

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Tory Government: legal and illegitimate

Thanks to Craig Murray for the following:

"The almost total blackout on broadcast media of the police attack on the popular protest by thousands outside Downing Street – with 30 injured and 17 arrests – is in stark contrast to the wall to wall coverage of the staged fake “riot” in Glasgow in which 6 people were slightly rude to Jim Murphy with no arrests and no injuries.
Thanks to the UK’s appalling electoral system, we now have a seriously right wing government with absolute power from an absolute parliamentary majority, but which 63% of voters voted against, and which was supported by only 23% of those eligible to vote. Many of the 38% who did not vote at all, were not apathetic but actively disgusted by a corrupt political system which offers little meaningful choice in most of the UK.
Legitimacy is a different question to legality. The government is undoubtedly legal under the current rotten system, but its legitimacy is a different question entirely. Legitimacy lies on the popular consent of the governed. With an extreme government supported by only 23% of the population, actively planning to inflict actual harm on many more than 23% of the population, there are legitimate philosophical questions to be asked about the right of the government to rule. With so many, particularly but not exclusively young people, now reading sources like this one and not being enthralled by the mainstream media, today’s protest is but a start." (my emphasis)

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Shy Tories or Shite Tories?

General Election aftermath

63% of the electorate who did vote did not vote Tory. Yet again we have a majority government elected by a minority. Add the third of the electorate who did not vote then it becomes clear that barely 1in 4 of the electorate voted Tory. Throw the unregistered 7 million into the mix and the position is totally untenable.
Do the maths...
UKIP came third in number of votes cast with 12.6% of the vote yet have 1 - yes one - MP. Compare and contrast with the SNP who, thanks to concentrating their campaign north of the border, managed 56 MPs with 4.7% of the national vote.

Remember this whenever a Tory tosser starts spouting about having a mandate.

Also bear in mind the nature of the beast. Andrew Rawnsley writing in the Observer 10/5/15 had this comment:
'This government will not be popular for long. In fact, the Tories were not popular on polling day: 63% voted for someone else. The Tories are not liked, even by quite a lot of those who voted for them. Many did so only because they fancied the alternative even less. His fragile majority will be acutely vulnerable to rebellions, ambushes and blackmail by a handful or two of backbenchers. That will get worse when the majority is eroded as byelection losses take their toll. By announcing that he has fought his last general election, he has put a sell-by-date on his premiership.
A vanishing majority, dissipating authority, a lot of cuts to come and expensive promises to keep, a fractured kingdom and an EU referendum that will split the Conservative party asunder. David Cameron should savour his “sweet” victory while he can. History tells us that it will turn sour."
Julian E had this to say writing on the 38 Degrees Manchester website.

Fighting the Long Defeat
'I am 67 years old. Since the onslaught of the Thatcher era, I have seen many of the characteristics and values of this country that I thought worthy of being proud of eroded and eradicated. I was involved in education as teacher and teacher educator from 1969-2011. During the Thatcher/Blair/Cameron period, I have seen many of the goals and processes of education that people involved in education believe to be worthwhile sacrificed to the ideology of greed and institutionalised inequality. 

This morning (Friday 8 May 2015) has brought a stark reminder that our form of democracy has battened down on a particular credo: “As long as I am doing OK, those people in charge are doing OK, and if some people aren’t doing OK, that’s not really my problem.” Or, more simply, “Greed is good.” 

I came to view my 42 years in education as a process that I called, “Fighting the long defeat.” It seemed, and still seems, to me to be an honourable undertaking. For what it’s worth, I recommend it to those committed to the defence of the human dignity of individual victims of greed, committed to the well-being of groups and populations suffering from the depredations of greed, and committed to the sustainability of a decent human life on this planet, threatened as it is by the greed of the powerful. It is all the same struggle. To go to battle in the hope of victory perhaps comes naturally to the young — it certainly did to me. I want only to warn that it carries with it a terrible risk of disillusionment and cynicism — the last refuge of the coward. I refuse cynicism and I do not expect to see any kind of victory but, in my own little way, I will fight the long defeat. The struggle continues.' 

For those in despair at the thought of five more years consider this quote:
“ There is no final victory. There is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought over and over again. So toughen up. Bloody toughen up.”  Tony Benn

Never forget as the tory tossers continue their attack on the poor, the weak and the vulnerable - not to forget our Human Rights - We are many they are few.

Friday, 8 May 2015

We Are The 1 in 4

Eh? Who are the 1 in 4?

Walking among us are the members of a powerful sect. They number 1 in 4 of our electorate and exert a disproportionate influence on our lives. They are divided into two elements - the public face - arrogant, privileged, loud and possessed of a strong sense of entitlement. They occupy much of our media and politics. Then there is the other wing, much larger yet rarely visible and seldom heard. This group emerge every five years from their sleeper cells when their public colleagues summon them to do their bit. They share the values of the public wing but rarely the power, wealth or influence. They are very good at doing as they are told.

Who are they? 
These are the Tory party members and followers who slide out every election day to do their masters bidding.

Why are they so invisible?
They recognise that their values of selfishness, their love of money, their hatred of foreigners and in particular their loathing of scroungers, socialists and socialism, not to mention people working for the common good, could make them unpopular in their communities. They say very little and contribute even less unless it is in their personal interest. Not for them campaigning on behalf of an asylum seeker, a food bank or a homeless family. Only when their direct interests are threatened do they emerge and make their feelings known, for instance, when a high speed railway line is scheduled to go through the bottom of their garden. Or when someone threatens to increase their taxes.

Why are they so influential?
Our ‘First past the Post’ voting system serves these people well. They do just enough to ensure their public wing forms the government of the UK. 

How so? 
They have figured out that a third of the people entitled to vote do not bother. They know that all they have to do to keep their political wing in business is to make sure their quarter do vote. They are very good at this.

Has this always worked?
Another sect known as the ‘Tories with Red Ties’ did succeed in diverting some of the cult away from their one true path for 13 years. 

So these people can be persuaded to change their minds?
Not really, no. 
Only when the last fish has been caught, the last animal killed, the planet dying before their eyes and they are starving to death in abject misery will they finally realise they cannot eat money. And as they lie dying they will also recognise that they cannot take their wealth with them. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Root Canal Election

How appropriate to spend 90 minutes in the dentist’s chair on election day undergoing root canal treatment. The experience was lengthy, unpleasant, involved a lot of very careful drilling and being a rear tooth meant the gagging reflex kicked in. It also felt like it went on for ever and it was also costly. How similar to the current election. 

It has been an execrable campaign. The Tories have majored on lies, bribes and threats. Labour have been supine in response, working a ‘don’t rock the boat’ approach, which has been singularly uninspiring. The LibDems also whitewashed their malign influence within the coalition - secret courts? Bedroom tax? Massive reorganisation of the NHS setting it up for privatisation?

UKIP finally being exposed for the bastards they are but still having a lot of silent support. The Greens having the best values but little chance of effecting meaningful change. Then there is the SNP. The treatment of Nicola Sturgeon by the Sun sums up the mendacity of Murdoch’s rag. In England and Wales they depicted her as a semi naked Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball. Meanwhile across the border the Scottish edition of the Sun backed Sturgeon and the SNP. The Tory scare about the SNP has resonated with middle England. Their tactics perfectly exemplify just how shallow and and base the current Tory party is. They are prepared to split the UK to achieve their aim of being the largest party so they can best serve their masters in the City of London.
The disconnect between us, the electors, and them the elected, just got a lot a wider. Billions of cuts to come but don’t tell the masses. Major issues undiscussed - Foreign policy, Education, Snooping/Human Rights Act, privatisation, pensions and above all the rotten state of our politics. 

Something can be done about our shitty politics - massive reform. 

Not sure what can be done about shitty teeth….

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

No economy on a dead planet

There is our current economic model, commonly referred to as neo-liberalism, now dominates every corner of the earth. Thatcher and Reagan won. They sold us on an ideology of competition in every aspect of life. They began the process of removing as many barriers to competition as possible. They crushed unions, stripped away regulation there to protect workers, consumers and the environment we live in, all in the name of increasing competition. This ethos of competition now drives a large part of our human behaviour. We don't think like communities or even as a unified nation of people any more. It's dog eat dog, survival of the fittest. The real tragedy is that unfettered competition is supposed to benefit us by increasing choice and cutting bureaucracy, but in reality it has done the opposite. Big business is getting bigger and more powerful at the expense of small independent traders that provide real choice and originality. Real choice has been replaced by the monotony of large chain stores, restaurants and coffee shops and personal service has been replaced by call centres and self service via the internet as businesses get bigger by cutting costs.

Our transport, communications and energy infrastructure has been sold off to big business, so now our governments are left impotent when it comes to tackling global problems like climate change. In short, they’re no longer in charge. Our democracy is a sham. So much power has been handed over to the private sector that our politicians are powerless to act. Or so it seems.

Unwilling to interfere with the market to install the infrastructure necessary to quickly switch our energy supply to clean renewable sources. Unwilling to interfere with the free market to put in the infrastructure to pave the way for a switch to electric cars. But hang on, don’t we provide millions in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry every year? And what about the deal with Eon to build and run the new Hinkley nuclear power station? Huge subsidies proposed, which has now led to a legal challenge by one of our fellow EU members.

It's clear therefore that it isn’t just about ideology and an unwillingness to interfere with the 'free market', our problems are amplified by greed, power and vested interests. How many government ministers have links to the fossil fuel industry and the big energy companies? How many of their friends and supporters are wealthy landowners who benefit from agricultural subsidies? Those in power support privatisation because it is a transfer of public money to private interests. From the 99% to the 1%. They do this because they believe in a ruling elite and they want to maintain this status quo. Growing inequality? They simply don’t care.

Globalisation and neo-liberalism are not compatible with securing a safe and stable planet for the future. The pursuit of continuous economic growth at the expense of all else can't continue indefinitely. We can't continue to base our economic system on competition at a time when we need collaboration to deliver a safe and secure future for ourselves. Tell me, how can we expect over 200 nation states to agree on a way to limit CO2 emissions whilst simultaneously competing with each other for business; the same business that is producing the CO2 in the first place based on a competitive market economy that only services to drive up consumption?    

We can’t.

Is change possible?

There is certainly a growing number calling for a change to the economic system. It probably started with the Occupy movement, which has now been joined by a growing grassroots environmental movement. The problem is that whilst we know what we want, we don't know how to get there. Politically, many on the left will vote Green this time around, but will that be enough? The best we can hope for is a few seats in parliament and perhaps a little more influence on the Labour Party if they form a minority government with the support of the Left.

The problems with UK politics run deep. Most people can't think outside of the existing political orthodoxy that is represented by the three main parties and the corporate media because it's not debated and reported on in mainstream channels, and most people vote how they've always voted anyway. That's if they vote at all. Only 65% voted in the 2010 General Election and most of those votes were meaningless in our First Past the Post system, where only people in 'marginal seats' affect the outcome. It's a dire thing to admit, but our democracy is not democratic enough to be relied upon to drive the real change we need.

After this election and its aftermath is over there are 3 things that need addressing: 1) we need constitutional reform - a new voting system based on proportional representation, regional devolution and an elected 2nd chamber of parliament; 2) we need to free the press and media from corporate ownership and vested interests; and 3) reform party funding to make it fair and equitable and out of the grasp of corporate power.

We might then finally begin the journey that closes the gap between the country we have now and the country and world that most people would surely prefer.

Thanks to Jon Crooks for this article. He is on Twitter as thebeardyguy which is as good as anything for a handle. The News Hub and 38 degrees also need thanking.