'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Open Letter to Our PM


"You only care about the things you can use, and therefore arrange them in the following order: Money, supremely useful; intellect, rather useful; imagination, of no use at all. … 
It is a vice of a vulgar mind to be thrilled by bigness, to think that a thousand square miles are a thousand times more wonderful than one square mile, and that a million square miles are almost the same as heaven. That is not imagination. No. it kills it. "
- E.M Forster, Howard's End.



10 comments:

  1. Hi, Kate! I'm curious...What prompted this post? We don't hear much about NZ politics or politicians here but I'm willing to learn.

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    1. Not well enough and not enough room here to answer you here Robert. But I will email you at a later date. Thanks for your curiousity!

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  2. I disagree completely with your point of view, although I acknowledge your right to freely express your opinion.
    We live in complex times and to be a politician is the result of many years academic study, years of community work, and great personal commitment, no matter what political tradition that person follows.
    If you find that your politicians are not acting and reacting the way you would prefer, just ask yourself how they got the job. Ask yourself why the majority of the population voted that way.
    Democracy means you do not always get what you want, but it is what most people want.

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  3. Thanks for your comment Louise. Your second sentence is indeed how things should be. However that does not apply in this case. And the majority of the population did not vote that way. Democracy is, like evrything, not perfect. And is especially imperfect when the power is in the hands of a few who also control the media, and therefore the knowledge-base upon which people make their voting choice.

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    1. You have my full agreement, Kate.

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  4. I have always been amused by the USA's love of 'bigness'. Everywhere wants to have the biggest something, banana, lobster, pair of shoes, gun, etc; these roadside monsters are everywhere, and are I imagine supposed to be admired.

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    1. One of my most popular posts dates from about five years ago and is entitled 'The Big Kiwifruit' about just such a collosus

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  5. I agree with you Kate, but it is worse than you think. It's not just that money is thought of as being supremely useful but it's that the whole 'shooting box' (money, the free market, private enterprise, competition) (all things useful in themselves in the correct context) - is built into a quasi religion; people now have "faith" that "market forces" will solve everything from world hunger to toothache, but only we would turn over the running of the world to this new religion. The idol that's worshiped here is well known - it's called Mammon. Mother Teresa said that the greatest hunger in the world was in the developed world and it is a spiritual hunger - to understand the nature of this spiritual hunger (in it's broadest sense) and it's solution we need to engage our imagination, creativity and our humanity.

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  6. Having been involved with politics (but never been a politician) all my career working life it is certainly true that he who controls the media controls the electorate. Of course when there are competing media empires there is an element of choice. However it is a choice, very often, between the power, money and might of one faction (often the unions) version the power, money and might of another (often big business including the financial institutions). Obviously no politician in national politics gets right to the top without money to fund his campaign (just think of the cost of electing a US President).

    As for democracy much of the 'democratic' world has a system of either proportional representation or first past the post elections. Australia, for example, elected it's current PM (as the leader of the Labor Party) with 33% of those who voted. I think Australia has compulsory voting (which is unusual) so the percentage of the population voting is very high (93% I think at the last election). The PM of the UK was elected with 37% of a 66% turnout. However in Scotland the Conservatives only had 16% of a 71% turnout which gave the Scottish National Party 50% of the vote share.

    In many ways the Scottish vote was interesting: not least because the big guns of the press controlled by unionist interests came out against the SNP.

    So the best one can say about politics and politicians in most 'democratic' countries is that they have won because the system in place in that country has been followed. Even Ancient Greece where democracy started was controlled by its citizens who comprised only males of a required standing.

    I have no idea why I decided to say all that. I came in for a coffee and read your post. Perhaps I should have stayed outside gardening instead.

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