Thursday, 19 August 2010

Could the sun shine again over the UK? [Ar putea străluci soarele din nou peste UK?]

This blog makes no secret that I consider the New Labour rule of the UK a complete mess, a moral catastrophe degrading many things which were once decent, civil, and pleasant in Britain, and made this country a good example to other nations.

It’s just the opinion of a foreigner, therefore subjective, biased, exaggerated. Let alone ungrateful, as it was a Labour government in charge when I was awarded a Chevening Fellowship, lived in the country for a while, met so many people…

And also, started this MunteanUK blogging project – I avoid calling it simply a blog, because it is not a typical diary, and I keep dreaming of the day when more people, apart from my few constant readers, will bring their contribution to it.

Now, I would be pretty naive to believe that David Cameron & Nick Clegg will deliver the ‘big change’ they promised, nevertheless, after their first 100 days in power I choose to remain rather optimistic.

Any little change (such as this one) for the UK was better than what the New Labour had become, as any change would have been better for Romania in December 2009, had Traian Băsescu not been reelected.

As this article puts it, the coalition is neither a Tory government nor a Lib Dem government”; both parties have managed to push through some dear measures, both scrapped others, and Clegg plays down the fears of a coalition break-up.

While the British economy remains in dire straits – a threat that could jeopardize any reform – maybe even the mostly cordial relations between Cameron & Clegg are but a similar situation to the Phoney war of September 1939 – March 1940, some calm before the storm.

What’s wrong with merely hoping that things could go well? On paper, this Big Society that Cameron envisions looks attractive enough. He wants some fairly decent things that I’d personally like to see in any society:

[1] more powers to communities, but critics say that it only means the cease of funding from London, so that many local structures could be left to distintegrate on their own, unassisted; :-(
[2] people encouraged to take an active role in their communities;
[3] transfer of power from central to local government (werent Labour promising the same thing back in 1997?!);
[4] support co-operatives, mutuals, charities and social enterprises;
[5] the release of government data.

Having no problem with these ideals per se, I believe that today’s British society lacks the moral backbone neeeded to put them into practice. How could people be encouraged to take an active role, as long as they have been hardwired to live on state handouts?

Will such a Big Society make up for the loss of personality of the perfect politically correct citizen meant to be ruled by Big Brother? Apart from a few NGOs, how many ordinary British citizens care about government data?

There are many similar doubts I could raise; the most serious one is that no society can redeem itself, unless people have changed their hearts and views of the world. For the time being, thank God that New Labour is gone.

However, the moral climate in the country is as degraded as T. Bliar & G. Clown have left it; people don’t know where they are coming from, nor where they are going to, and rare are those who have a meaning of life other than having fun, here and now.

Like those fooled by Băsescu in Romania, over 95% of the Brits probably want nothing else apart from living well,” ignorant of the fact that what they call life is but a passing shadow compared to the true afterlife.

Can any substantial change – influencing not only the economic situation of people, here and now, but their salvation – occur in any human society, be it British or Romanian, from where the Maker of all things visible and invisible has been banished?

No, I’m afraid no such change is possible. Cameron & Clegg may want to safeguard the economic comfort of their citizens, and save some money for this heavily-indebted British State, yet they cannot save souls, as no other government can.

[For all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Gregor said...

I’m afraid I can’t share your optimism here Bogdan. I think in some ways the 2010 election was like the 1969 American election when most progressives voted for the Democrats despite their abysmal record over the past eight years.

This is difficult to understand from outside: how could anyone vote for such an abysmal party?

The simple reason is that in a two-party system all a party has to do is convince voters it’s the second worst ;-(

The best reason (probably the only reason) to vote for LBJ was that he wasn’t Richard Nixon. And the best (only?) reason to vote for New Labour was that they weren’t the Tories.

In opposition the Tories were awful: they did practically nothing to defend civil liberties and their record on foreign policy was ridiculous. David Cameron stated that Georgia should be allowed to join NATO after Saakashvilli bombed his own people. Whatever you think of the Russian response, to say that such reckless behaviour should be rewarded by a mutual defence treaty is mind-boggling. Especially when they have a nuclear armed nation as a neighbour.

As for the economy, this is very complex. The deficit is a cause for concern, but recklessly slashing government spending may create a depression. Furthermore, the relationship between welfarism and liberalism is not as antagonistic as many like to make out. Unemployment wasn’t a major issue in pre-1980s Britain.

The simple fact is that Cameron and Osborne have a very poor grasp of history: especially the history of Britain. Most privatised companies now receive more in state subsidies than it cost for the state to run them. I suspect that either Cameron/Osborne will create vast unemployment or they will back down on their reforms.

I could be wrong. They might slash state spending and see a growth in the private sector. However, for historical reasons, I doubt this. Being fair, and to continue the 1969 metaphor, I do think we might see a more sensible foreign policy. Just as the right wing media allowed Nixon to go to China and stop the Viet Nam war, so I think Cameron can withdraw from the manufactured ‘war on terror’ without being accused of being soft on terrorism.

Furthermore, I am pleased (in a sense) that New Labour is nearly bankrupt. This means that the Tories will have to achieve more than convincing the British people that they are the second worst party. Maybe now Proportional Representation will be inevitable?

My point isn’t to defend New labour from any criticism, but to try and describe how it was to live in 21st century Britain. The media (especially the pro-Tory media) was extremely disturbing and totalitarian in its views about how Brits should have to give up liberties because some Saudis allegedly blew up some American towers and some British Muslims allegedly blew up some British buses. It was an odd feeling: the investigations into these supposed terrorist attacks were highly dubious, whilst the media kept telling Brits that we weren’t primarily Brits but ‘the West’, ‘SECULAR’ ‘enlightened’ etc. and as such had a duty to take part in some weird attack on countries half-way round the world whilst experiencing an attack on our own freedom. Of course New Labour were dismal but I also think it would be unfair to blame them for a mood of hysteria.

Anyway, I do agree with you on one thing. Politics is all superficial. We can only pray to God that we find peace and freedom, and not put our trust in the sons of men.

MunteanUK said...

A reply to Gregor (part one)

You probably know very well that I am not a 'fanatical' optimist, and my article clearly ends with the very last idea in your comment, that we should not "put our trust in the sons of men" - all in all, there's not too much disagreement between us, is it? :-)

In order to explain my optimism, I would like two invoke two rather subjective arguments, not ones based on 'reason'...

1) I always want to 'hope for the better'; although I am not brainwashed to believe in the promises of peace & prosperity of any political leader, I 'choose' to be optimist; it's all a matter of choice...

Some people choose to be pessimists, saying that, in the end, they can always be either 'pleasantly surprised' (in case their grim predictions are disapproved by reality), either in position of laughing at others when they say 'told you so'.

I choose to hope, and I hope there's notheing wrong with that.

2) In my opinion, the religiously indifferent Cameron & the atheist Clegg appear to me more decent human beings than the hidden papist (Bliar) and the son of a Protestant minister (Clown) who had 13 years to discredit themselves.

Once more, I could also be proven wrong, but at least this is how I 'feel' these days, that Cameron & Clegg have a more honest appearance.

Maybe Bliar & Clown gave the same impression in 1997, in comparison to the Tories, who had been in power since 1979 - this is only for you and other Brits to say; I don't know.

On the other hand, I admit (and had done so at the beginning of my post) that my opinions are inherently 'limited' to my status; I am a foreigner, and a mere observer of British politics.


I agree that the two-party system makes it very easy for politicians, and that the Tories didn't have to do much, unlike the Lib Dems who were at least trying to give the impression of carrying out an electoral campaign.

Although I am sure they didn't try too hard, as long as they knew the electoral system was 'restricting' them to the third place.

But what if the current coalition will manage to change the electoral system? I bet the Tories are quite reluctant to pursuindg such a reform, but I am curious to what extent will Clegg push this on the Cabinet's agenda.

The fact that he got the promise of a referendum is really 'a big deal' but a true electoral reform implies more.

The Brit electoral system may be clearly unfair, but be sure that proportional representation (PR) also has a lot of shortcomings that should be overcome!

MunteanUK said...

A reply to Gregor (part two)

I must agree with you that Clegg & Cameron may not know too much history, and I remember that we have already discussed on this blog Cameron's stupid stance on Georgia.

But you are also an 'optimist' when you are hoping for a "more sensible foreign policy," aren't you?

Theoretically, you could be right, but let me quote a conspiracy theory that I heard (sorry for being unable to give you a link).

I heard that the next '9/11' could strike (sometime over the next two years) on British soil... what about the City of London, equally symbolic as Manhattan was?!

Such a carefully orchestrated terrorist attack would justify the severe restriction of civil liberties, as well as (re)engaging Britain in the war against terror.

What do you think about this? Have you heard/read anything like this?


Sadly, with or without New Labour, I suppose that the Brit media have a NWO agenda... Oh, yeah, you, the Brits, are the best, the most enlightened, the wise secularists and humanist, a 'lighthouse' for the entire humanity kept in the darkness by religions and narrow-mindedness!

This on the one hand, while - in the same British media - one can see how degraded Brits are because of promiscuity, binge drinking, obesity, irreligiousness etc...


The economy is a very difficult topic for us; I'm afraid we can't say too much here. There are so many 'ifs and buts'...

Only one opinion: economic recovery may not be so much dependant on natural economic cycles, on the attitude of people (consumers), on the courage of businesspeople etc.

I am sure it depends on where the NWO artisans what to take the world. 'Booms' & 'crises' are no longer 'accidental' in our world.