Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Marvel Team-Up #1000000: Tea Party & #OWS

We really need to get the Tea Party folks and the Occupy movement together. They might not agree about much but the central issue of bailing out the banks, and the financial services industry having too much power over our Governments is one they can both agree on and fight against.

I have to say I've found it amusing to see people who were so dead against the Tea Party suddenly gushing over the Occupy *Insert Place Name Here* crew. I find both movements a little unsettling, but I suspect that's just my typically British dislike of confrontation which all protest is at heart. Both are movements that represent the frustration that is being felt across much of the Anglo-Saxon world; that disillusionment with Government and politics in general that helped propel Barack Obama to such heights and gave Nick Clegg a brief moment in the limelight. 

Whilst I think the #OccupyLSX protesters are just the same leftie, big Government types that were protesting against student fees last year, I can't help feeling a little sympathy with them. They might not have solutions to our problems with which I agree, but at least they've recognised there is a problem and are doing something about it.

Our entire financial system, the dodgy PFI and PPP's so beloved of New Labour, and the relationship between corporations and our Government needs a complete overhaul. The left might think that means more Government control, the right might think it needs less. But both are starting to realise something radical needs to change. Perhaps if the two sides started working together rather than sniping at each other, things might actually get done.

The people behind the Cleggist Uprising, were left unsatisfied by the results of the 2010 election and it's aftermath. Did we really think they were going to go away? The Occupy movement might fizzle out and disappear. But something else will just come in it's stead. The people are unhappy, and I don't think they'll stop until something truly fundamental changes.

Where's the UK's version of Ron Paul when you need him? 

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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Real Marriage Equality Battle Has Begun

The Scottish consultation on religious civil partnerships and marriage equality makes the Westminster version look positively backward. Whilst Westminster has categorically stated what can and cannot be involved in the consultation, the Scottish Executive has been a lot more open in allowing a more frank discussion on FULL marriage equality.

And this means that the opposition, that dark conservative grouping of Telegraph journalists and Catholic priests and all the miserable souls in between, has moved from grumbling to action.

For years the fight has simply been to get marriage equality on the agenda. The Stonewall controversy, the lobbying of politicians, the endless debates with civil partnership fanatics; these were all just about getting everybody singing from the same hymn book. Now the real battle has begun in the north, and the opposition of the Catholic Church ironically makes it far easier to argue the case for marriage equality. Now the weak links in the LGBT rights cause will have to toughen up and start fighting back. Thank you Archbishop Mario Conti!

You can read his full statement from the weekend here, but one thing that interests me, as a libertarian leaning sort, was this particular statement:

However the question would not be asked were it not for the increasing acceptance, wittingly or unwittingly, of a particular ideology which considers all structures and ethical systems as inimical to human freedom.  It places personal autonomy above even physical realities so that, for example, the very determination of one’s own sex and gender is regarded as an issue of choice – even a supposed human right.

This is one of the telling differences between his world view and my own. Whilst the anarchist world view of no structures at all seems to fly in the face of the realities of the human condition, the idea that choosing how we wish to live our life, how our bodies look and how we describe ourselves is somehow wrong boggles my mind. Who does he think he is to tell others that they must live their lives exactly how he wants them to live and to not aim to improve themselves in anyway they wish? This authoritarian arrogance is the achilles heel of the opposition's case, and should be exploited as much as possible.

His plan to encourage the Catholic voters of Scotland to block vote is another sign of the Catholic Church's desperate desire for power over individuals and Government's. I suspect the Catholic voters of Scotland are more intelligent and independent than their Church leadership gives them credit for.

The basic premise of the argument against marriage equality is that "same sex advocates" are involved in a conspiracy (get those tin foil hats ready) to change the meaning of marriage and undermine society in general. As far as supervillian plans go, it seems very uninspiring. But that's the funny thing. Far from wanting to undermine marriage, most marriage equality supporters want to get join and thus support that very conservative institution of marriage. As Chris Ashford says in an article regarding a Telegraph hate piece:

Moore reminds us that the 'victories' of gay marriage/same-sex marriage are in fact about the incorporation of homosexuals to heteronormative institutions. These acts of 'progress' are not about a fundamental re-appraisal of the marriage construct, which remains inherently conservative.  As such, these attacks by the likes of Moore can act as a 'smokescreen', creating a reaction among LGBTQ activists to argue for same-sex marriage - if the nuts are against it, we must be for it.
It's time to get dug in and start the fight for marriage equality, for what is happening in Scotland is bound to be repeated here in the south. Scottish readers should respond the consultation, and the rest of us should begin a letter writing frenzy!

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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Liberals For Ron Paul: Bridging Troubled Waters

There is so much common ground on which Ron Paul supporters and leftie liberal types can stand on, that it boggles the mind that they haven't joined forces to move the United States in a direction they could both state was better than the current status quo. I've always said, my dream 2012 ticket would be Paul/Kucinich!

Item 1: Executing US citizens

I am aghast at the laid-back way many Democrats have accepted President Obama's decision to order the murder of an American citizen. The Salon puts it well in it's article "Execution by secret White House committee". It's almost unthinkable to think that any of the Republican candidates would have done differently with the honourable exceptions of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. With no serious challenge from the left, it's really a no-brainer that to get rid of this authoritarian administration (and not replace it with a worse one) then you need to support Ron Paul! Put your economic beliefs aside for now, this is about something far more important; the rights of US citizens to a fair trial and due process and their right to life itself! It doesn't get more important than that.

Item 2: Occupy Wall Street Both the people behind Occupy Wall Street and libertarians have missed a trick. Imagine if they had focussed the protests on the fact the US Government bailed out the corrupt corporations and continues to have unhealthily close relationship with the individuals and institutions at the top of the finance industry. The common ground could have made these protests into a truly huge event. Instead the Occupy Wall Street folks on the ground have made this an "us against them" argument about individual wealth and taxation and have brought in all sorts of demands only loosely related to the main issue (free college education etc.), putting off a large proportion of the middle-of-the-road US population. And libertarians, rather than pointing out the areas of agreement, have joined right in with the narrative and the name-calling and consider them all loony socialists. If Americans really want to stop the fat cats from getting subsidies and backhanders from the Government then they need to stop deluding themselves that President Obama is going to do anything about it and vote for someone who really will cut off the cash flow to the corporate vampires: Ron Paul! There's a cut the left and libertarians can support!

Item 3: Ending the military-industrial complex America is not a free republic. It's Government plays to the tune of various corporate interests. The billions of dollars it pours into it's military don't just go there magically, there's an entire lobbying industry working to keep America "strong" by getting public money spent on weapons. Ron Paul is the only candidate out there saying that, whilst he respects the work of the men and women of the US military services, he will scale back the extent of the bloated US forces and their international committments. Ron Paul is the peace candidate.

Since Obama took office, the left's opposition to violence and military spending has become strangely muted. Here's another issue on which they can revive their good principles and share them with opponents to the mutual benefit of both. A vote for Ron Paul is the only vote that's going to help kick the military-industrial complex out of America. There are so many issues on which leftie liberals and classical liberals disagree. Health care, social security, etc. etc. BUT these issues aren't going to be solved under the current administration. They need to be put aside whilst the basic rights of US citizens to life, to a Government of the people and to freedom are regained after the decades of erosion. Then both sides can get back to arguing over their pet projects and pet hates. Voting for Ron Paul is the only way to bring about a real change, and create a new status quo in the world's greatest republic.  

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Monday, 3 October 2011

Scottish Tory Leader Contenders On Marriage Equality

The Equality Network has helpfully provided some quotes from a Sunday Herald interviews with the Scottish Conservative Party leadership contenders on marriage equality: 

The Sunday Herald yesterday interviewed the four candidates for leader of the Scottish Conservatives. One of the questions was “Do you support the introduction of gay marriage?”

Jackson Carlaw said “Those churches which are content to hold gay marriage ceremonies should be allowed to do so. Those churches that do not wish to do so should not be compelled.”

Ruth Davidson said “I do support the introduction, but with a vital proviso: that faith organisations should not be compelled to perform ceremonies if they do not wish to.”

Murdo Fraser said “I support religious groups having the freedom to carry out same-sex unions if they wish. I support civil partnerships for same-sex couples, but am sceptical as to whether the definition of marriage should be amended to include these.”

Margaret Mitchell said “I’m fully supportive of civil partnerships. For me under the Christian faith, marriage is between a man and a woman.”
 I don't think that requires further comment... 

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist