Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Capitalism with a conscience, or free market socialism , call it what you want, I believe it's a viable alternative to the Coalition's policies

I was inspired today to write a piece about socialism after getting into a debate on Twitter with a free market Christian conservative who was arguing that socialism is evil, taxes are unethical etc. I eventually won the debate (well she stopped replying to me) when I mentioned the fact that Jesus was a socialist, as in the Bible he is quoted as saying,  'it is impossible for a rich man to get into heaven.' Jesus's political stance is evidenced by the following quote, Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Now, whether or not you believe Jesus was the son of God, or whether he could really walk on water (I don't), the fact is that Jesus was a socialist. So all those Republican Christians who are calling on Obama to cut spending and for more tax cuts for the rich, well they need to study their Bible more carefully.

The second instance was when I read that Steve Coogan was for av. I then did a bit of research and found that Coogan describes himself as a socialist who enjoys paying tax. On the PoliticsHome website, this was mentioned to which one person commented, "A Ferrari driving socialist - now that is a new twist." and then another one, "Frank skinner is another lefty luvvie who drives around London in his Lambourghini."
Well, excuse me but socialism isn't a religion, it has no god to dictate the rules or level of socialism that one must obey. And that is exactly it. Me and Coogan would appear to share similar views on the economic side of politics. We both would like to have lots of money (and he has, I haven't) yet we also believe that the richer you are, the higher percentage of tax rate you should pay. Call it modern socialism, capitalism with a conscience, call it what you want. But there is definitely socialism there.

It seems to me that the political spectrum has been diluted since the days of traditional Labour v traditional Tory. One example of this is the fact that New Labour's policies on crime would appear to be to the right of the coalition's crime policies. I actually prefer the Ken Clarke way to the David Blunkett and Jack Straw way. Now I believe that is a good example of me trying to be objective in my politics, which is something I strive for. I would never describe myself as tribal Labour, as that is rather like a religion. Although I am a member of the Labour Party, I disagree with a few of their policies. In the future I may be a member of the Green Party, who knows. I do know however that I will never vote Tory as their whole survival depends on them keeping their policies on privatisation and tax cuts for the rich, because the rich are the people who fund them. Likewise I wish Labour would steer a bit away from the unions, but I recognise that they were founded by the unions, and also that unions are a force for good (most of the time) in society.

Ok, so back to my socialist views- which include free healthcare, education, emergency services for all. I believe in the welfare state, and believe it helps many unemployed people to find jobs. I also believe that there is a need to further reduce the gap between the rich and poor, and government has a large part to play here. I also would like the government to keep the 50% tax rate, and even if I won the lottery tomorrow, I still would as I would still have a shitload of money to live off and I would delight in the fact that I would be paying a lot of taxes, like Coogan. So critics of socialism need to get into the 21st century and realise that modern socialists are more realistic than socialists in the past. For example, I also support a majority free market, and recognise that businesses create jobs, growth, wealth etc.

I hope the coalition's corporate tax cuts for companies create jobs in the UK, but if they don't, well I don't support them. I believe the correct way to address the deficit is not by making massive spending cuts and making millions redundant and therefore unable to spend their wages, it is by having more emphasis on taxing the rich, and obviously reducing spending, but not too much. Growth in the UK is half of the US where Obama has made minimal spending cuts. That in turn has meant unemployment has remained steady and therefore the economy is growing there, resulting in more taxes coming into the treasury, which means a lower deficit. Furthermore, Cameron's wish to get rid of the deficit in 4 years is risky and harsh, I believe it should be 8 years.

Furthermore, I believe passionately in democracy, and one feature of a democracy is that no one person should be able to dictate a government's policy as much as Rupert Murdoch does. Hence well done to Hugh Grant for what he did:

That's all for now