Thinking Long Term

31 January, 2008

Politics is everything

I was thinking this morning about how much politics is a part of my life.  But really, it’s not just my life, politics is central to everyone’s lives, whether they realise it or not.  I realise this is rather a politically geeky thing to say – but hey, I figured if you’re reading my blog then I might be forgiven!  My family get irritated when I talk about politics at the dinner table.  They’re scientists – they like to discuss things like kidney ferns and isotopes and acute demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy.  Whatever that means.  I kinda wish I did biology in year 12.  The funny thing is, while most people profess to hate politics, they’re talking it all the time – whether it’s how much they’re getting paid, how well looked after they were in hospital, how many bloody pointless letters studylink sends them, what little Suzie learnt in school yesterday, or the weather (yes, weather is politics – climate change politics).  Most of these things I’ve mentioned are social issues – things that actually affect the way people go about their daily lives.   And it’s these things that the Labour-led government cares about.  Labour was founded on the principles of community well-being.  Labour cares about what we care about – whereas National instead has a focus on individualism.  Take John Key’s State of the Nation speech a couple of days ago.  While the first message people perceive (after the scaremongering about youth crime – ambulance at the bottom as usual from them) is that National supports free education, the hidden agenda is 1. Privatisation of year 12 and 13, and 2. cutting benefits to 16 and 17 year olds.  I.e. if you are 16 or 17 and you are pregnant, sick, disabled, or looking for work, you wouldn’t be able to receive the Independent Youth Benefit.  Good one, John.   And what exactly did he mean by “genuinely too sick to work”?  I was too sick to work recently, so I had to go on the sickness benefit.  I would not have been able to without a medical certificate.  Seems pretty genuine.  And I would have been earning about three times as much (in my near minimum wage earning summer job) if I had been well enough to work.  I really wish I could have been at work!  Sometimes, people are in unfortunate circumstances.  And that is when we should collectively support them.

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