Holidays: A Class Issue?

“A couple who took their three children out of school for a family holiday during term time have been fined £630.”

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Some of my finest childhood memories are of family holidays, where as well as social development, you begin to fully understand that there is another world out there beyond your own culture, your own country. Though I was privileged enough to come from a family that could afford, just about, to holiday during the school holiday period, people on the lower end of the pay scale are certainly under threat.    

Those who are rich enough can afford the peak-prices and the luxury, quite often, of being smug about putting their child’s education first, will continue to do so, unaffected by this invasion on parental responsibility. Furthermore, those with significant financial wealth that don’t ‘value’ their child’s education can simply pay off the fine and still retain control, removing the child from school at a whim if necessary.

Working class families at the bottom end of the pay-scale, however, will find themselves priced out of holidays, competing with the wealthy during peak season and so the local park will have to do for now. This is a class issue if there ever was one. If you’re on £12000 per year, believe me, you’d be lucky to afford a holiday for the typical family of four at all, even outside of the peak school holiday period.

It would seem that the supporters of this proposition have a fundamental misunderstanding of both supply and demand with imposing these fines.

First of all… Why do parents take their children on holiday during term-time? Apart from work commitments; the biggest single reason comes down to price as it is significantly cheaper. For those on measly incomes, such as the minimum wage, taking your children on holiday in the school holidays is not a choice; it is a must, if you can afford to go at all.

The biggest cause for peak-season prices is the rigidity of our schools that will not allow a seven day break during term-time, thus creating the price hikes in the first place. Strengthening this rigidity with silly fines can only add to the problem.

What will these fines achieve? If they work as designed then children lose out on their holidays, along with the cultural exchange, then a guarantee of higher prices for peak-holiday periods and cheaper holidays during term times, widening the disparity between the two substantially.

The result will be super-cheap holidays during term times, to match the now lower demand. The working classes will then have to choose between not going on family holidays until their children reach the age of sixteen, or becoming criminals by lying to the authorities on the reasons for their child’s absence, taking up the low cost options.

A Paranoid Warning on Totalitarianism

It would seem that the old fashioned notion of the parent being sovereign over their own children is dying on its feet. This article might seem like a complete over reaction, perhaps it is, but there is justification.

We are experiencing a gradual shift towards totalitarianism, of course we haven’t been told or asked about this, it hasn’t been in the manifests of the political elite, but this of course is the danger. Totalitarianism creeps upon us, it doesn’t ask permission, as the answer would be no; ID cards (narrowly avoided), smoking bans, racial meddling, stop and search laws, upcoming obesity taxes and laws… Did New Labour, or the rest of the political elite for that matter, include these in their manifestos?

The imposition of fining parents is another step in removing parental responsibility, if we continue down this path then where will it end? Removing the right to home school? Deciding that your child is too sick to attend school? Perhaps even discussing politics with your children?

We should be a great deal more wary of handing our rights and responsibilities over to the state, as is fashionable at the moment; it’s much harder to get them back.

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Russell Brand's Very Boring Interview.

I always feel a little queasy when I hear champagne socialists like Russell Brand whining about an unfair system that mistreats the poor and rewards the rich. The reality is that his success and fortune have come directly from a system of largely free market economics and democracy, both of which are under serious attack.

Usually I wouldn’t have any interest in writing about the, quite frankly, very boring and unoriginal interview with Paxman in which he provided us with a few rants likeable but less articulated, to that of John Lennon’s – Imagine. Furthermore what did Brand actually say that was so profound? To me it just sounded like very repetitive angst-inspired drivel he could have picked up from a Rage Against The Machine concert. For a reason unknown to me the video has gone viral and potentially done an incredible amount of damage to our democratic system, by dissuading voters from voting, so deserves a response.  

There is no reason that the rich, like Brand, whom publicly cry for the poor to propagate their careers, cannot give away all their wealth as a blank check to HM Revenue & Customs or a charity of their choosing. If he really cares for the less fortunate, then why wait for the tax rules to change and redistribute his income for him? This is the beauty of a free market system as it allows people who are truly philanthropic to accrue wealth and if they wish, give it away to those less fortunate, which is the most efficient means possible, far more efficient than the state.

You might think I’m being unfair, that perhaps he shouldn’t give away all his wealth within a system that he sees as constitutionally unfair and corrupt.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt lets see how much money and effort he puts toward setting up a new political party or getting this revolution of his going. The trouble I have with millionaires like Brand is that if a revolution did take place both he and the rich would be immune to any disastrous consequences, probably responding by fleeing to America to escape ‘redistribution’. Not that I’m concerned about Brand leaving personally, but when he and the rich depart for America, they will take all their money with them leaving us a poorer but more equal place.

Where we do agree, sort of, is that mainstream politicians have not faced real opposition for decades (with exception to UKIP’s recent successes) and instead politics has become a cosy club for Eton graduates. Ironically, the biggest reason for this predicament is that 40% of people do not vote. To put this number in context; the Conservative Party gained the highest percentage of votes in 2010 with 47% of votes, which when considering only 60% of people voted, is a tiny percentage. The 40% of disenfranchised non-voters that Brand talks about already hold the democratic power for change, should they wish to exercise it. There are countless options; stand as or vote for an independent, vote for a fringe party, tactical voting, there is no excuse not to vote and then bellyache about politics afterwards.

Can you imagine the change that would be brought about if that 40% of non-voters voted for The Green Party and won as a majority? There would certainly be a revolution. This kind of revolution would be my idea of hell on earth, mind, but nevertheless it could be attained through our democratic process. Brand’s wealth could be redistributed amongst the poor; instead he could be placed on a state farm with the rest of us, growing organic wheat crops without the use of machine tools or fossil fuels and receiving food vouchers instead of monetary payment. In fact sign me up; I’m with Brand… viva la revolucion!

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The Left's Bogus Monopoly on Racism

Any attempt at discussing immigration is almost inevitably hijacked by insults from the Left. Whether it be a representative of the main three parties or an enlightened middle class gap-year student, it’s often linked with Fascism. To me it seems enormously unwarranted as the Left is more than culpable for its share of racism in both history and within the policies it is and was adopting recently. Although tempting on occasion, I do not class New Labour’s ideology as the same as Stalin because I appreciate there is a vast difference between the two. The Left, however, largely refuses to follow this really quite simple logic and instead insists on generalising the Right. It is totally unwarranted that the Left currently holds a monopoly on racism, when, in reality it is responsible for much of the resentment between races in Britain today.

Positive discrimination, under quotas from the Left, was a disaster for race relations in England. This without any shadow of a doubt created resentment between races; it actively recruited on grounds of race, discriminating against better skilled and suited candidates. Imagine you were the guy who was turned down for a job because of your skin colour, positive discrimination, not your merit made this so and the government encouraged it. If before you were simply ignorant, now you were racist.  

The left in Britain has committed to eradicating free speech over the last decade, especially on the grounds of racism, which has spectacularly backfired resulting in, of course, more racism. I deplore racism but I don’t believe anybody has a right “not to be offended” at the expense of free speech and expression. Allowing dialogue to take place is always better than silencing it, just look what happened to the BNP after Nick Griffin was allowed on Question Time, has anybody heard of them since? I didn’t think so. Free speech works in the interest of the oppressed; it allows the arguments in favour of oppression to be blown out of the water. The Lefts’ continued silence of the BNP allowed them to grow in popularity, transforming them into victims. Racism isn’t nice but if people are thinking it, it needs to be challenged and discussed.

Despite the Left’s best efforts to make them both one in the same, immigration and racism are two wholly different issues, having almost nothing to do with each other. Why would the Left want to make them the same? The Left supports immigration as a means of achieving its ideology and so by making it racist to discuss immigration, it thus makes itself immune to political debate, ensuring success. It’s a deplorable act, almost on the same lines as “Doublethink”. 

If this week’s question time is anything to go by we are amidst an epidemic of lazy pantomime politics by the Left in England. By lazy I mean that they are on the back foot, giving no real political argument in support of immigration and instead reverting to a distasteful use of insult, phony emotion and theatrics. It’s an attempt, again, to divert the argument away from a rational and logical discussion concerning immigration, to racism. I am baffled as to how this technique works so well in front of televised audiences, almost always guaranteeing applause in the face of facts or any real evidence for that matter. It seems like a tribal loyalty attributed better to that of a football crowd, their team has lost abysmally and yet still they jeer and chant their way home convinced they are the better team.  Perhaps this reflects the failures of our education system or dare I say the audiences’ ability to think objectively, both of which are interlinked.

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England 1983: Socialist dreams… Orwellian nightmares.

“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

You are blissfully enjoying a cigarette with an alcoholic beverage, unfortunately outside as is law now, at a pub in England. The choice of a smoking or non-smoking pub has been made for you by the state. So you’re outside in the rain despite paying £9 for a packet of cigarettes and £3-odd for a pint of beer (or should I say 568ml glass of beer containing 2.1 metric units of alcohol) as it will be known rather shortly. The cost of both products is astronomical due to the heavy tax imposed by the state. You’re soaking wet from the rain, you had to walk to the shop as its now illegal for the pub to sell cigarettes from a vending machine.

There is no justification in this scenario for any politician, or some know-it-all intellectual, to take these quite basic freedoms away from you. And, believe me, they want to take those rights away from you. Imagine somebody came across to you, poured away your pint, snatched and stamped out your cigarette. You would be right to yell, politely of course, obscenities and for them to mind their own business.

The problem in this scenario, however, is that as you get home from the pub and start to regain warmth in your extremities, turn on the BBC (compulsory funded left-wing media) and light up a cigarette which for the minute is still legal to do within your own home. On the program sit three politicians from ‘different’ parties all echoing the same drivel. The difference between these parties is simply pedantic; they agree with the guy who poured away your pint and stamped out your cigarette. They aren’t arguing about whether or not they should limit your freedoms, they are arguing about how they are going to do it.

The key to taking your freedom away is by manipulating the individuals costs to the NHS and other public services to fit their political agendas; we’ve all heard the line “such a persons behavior costs £x on the NHS”. Herein lies the argument for private un-politicised healthcare and public services, but I wont digress.

These politicians basically state that your body is no longer yours; it belongs to the state, because the state will have to fix ortake care’ of you if it breaks. Any school child with a pocket calculator can debunk this completely bogus line of argument right away, because the vast sums of money the state receives from tobacco and alcohol far outweigh the cost impaired on the state from their use.

But hey you might not drink or smoke, this won’t affect you, not until they take away a right that you do care about. I don’t personally ride a motorbike but I would defend an individuals right, however stupid, to ride it without a crash helmet. Freedom comes with responsibility.

Recently we have heard talk of a ‘fat tax’ on food and drink in order to curtail the so-called obesity epidemic facing Britain. This is huge; this is totalitarian, a government wishing to control not only your lifestyle choices, but even the food you eat. Where is the public outrage?

People today seem to want the government to exercise control over them, primarily because they have no control over themselves as individuals. This inevitably results in a loss of freedom, both to the responsible and irresponsible individual.    

There is an immense threat upon freedom in this country, its not about whether or not you agree with another persons lifestyle choices, its about whether its justifiable to take that right away. Am I the only person unsettled by how many other personal freedoms our politicians could apply this to?

The list of prohibitions and coercions will inevitably continue to grow, along with the states power, whilst personal freedom and responsibility are diminishing along with the sunset each day. This is progress, this is 1983… heading for 1984. 

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