on alternative government

It doesn’t matter which “side” of politics is best represented by this essay; true democracy comes from truly alternate viewpoints being correctly represented in government:

The Overton window — it’s the political theory that, at any point, there are policy ideas within the window that are seen as acceptable. Mainstream. Anything outside that particular window is seen as mad, bad, or dangerous. Not acceptable. Not to be taken seriously.

It’s my opinion that the Overton window has been significantly pushed to the right over the past couple of years. […] There is a sense that what were once overly punitive ideas are now meat and potatoes.

You know the kind of thing — punishing immigrants, demonising them, even. Cutting benefits from those who need them most, dismantling the NHS, shackling the unions — that kind of stuff. The kind of policies that would have previously raised eyebrows — and blood pressure — are now greeted with a nod and a muttered ‘quite right’.

[…]

You need brave people. Unselfish people. Ready to stand outside, prepared to be mocked. Passionate, committed and determined. I don’t see that in many of our politicians.

Last night, I heard a lettuce-fuelled Labour leadership hopeful tell a TV reporter that he is re-evaluating the ‘core values’ in the eyes of the electorate, as if by merely saying those words with his mouth, then the answer will turn up in a taxi.

Let me tell you the core values, sunshine. They are to stand up to inequality, punch hard for those who cannot, and REFUSE to be bowed in the face of battle. Save yourself the money you were going to spend on shiny leaflets. You won’t need them. Just stand up, charge forward and bloody fight.

Labor — the Australian one, that is — was and is wrestling with this same issue; I infer it’s a common problem in all “western” democracies at the present. They still haven’t figured it out, and they started struggling with this so-called problem while they were nominally in charge. Now they’re trying to be functionally the same as the current government, which for all intents and purposes means we’ve got a one-party system.

Thing is, I’m fairly sure that the average voter, when not being told what to think by the media establishments, would be quite happy to see a genuinely alternate viewpoint represented by an opposition party with significant size to it.

Without it, we’re heading well down the path toward an entirely less compassionate society.

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