Tag Archives: equality

My New Model of Left-Right Politics

Because (I like to think) I’m human, I make models of the world around me. Because I’m a computer scientist/a bit weird, I write them down or draw pictures of them. Since I got interested in why some intelligent people have different political views to me, a couple of years ago, I’ve been trying to model the values which underlie people’s belief systems, which I believe determine their political views.

My working model for the values of Left-Right politics (I’m a fluffy compromise near the middle of this scale but I have other scales, upon which I weigh myself a dangerous radical) has been that The Left believe in Equality and The Right in Selfishness. As a radical liberal, I obviously think both extremes are the preserve of drivelling idiots – compromise is all. The flies in my ointment have been the selfishness of the Far Left and the suicidal economic tendencies of working class nationalists in wanting to #Brexit. My model clearly had flaws.

This morning I was amusing myself with a #UKIP fan who countered being told by a woman that it was best to have O type blood (presumably because it is the universal donor) by saying it was best to be AB, so he could receive any blood (a universal recipient.) On the surface this seems to confirm the selfishness theory but I made an intuitive leap that he thought he was too special to lose, which was far from the conclusion I’d arrived at, during our discussion.

My new, modified theory is that the Left think ‘no-one should get special treatment’ and the Right think ‘My DNA is special. I deserve more’. This belief that “I am/am not special” has almost no correlation with the evidence, or even with class. I have no evidence of whether the characteristic is inherited or learned but Michael Gove and members of the BNP clearly  decided that they were special and deserve to be treated better than other people. Tony Benn, on the other hand, argued himself out of believing that he had a God-given right to a place in the House of Lords. Please let me know why I’m wrong.

Socialism or Capitalism? Option 3 Please

A while ago, I was considering how people, who’s thinking I respect could be SO WRONG about politics. I concluded that politics is a cultural argument over our shared definition of fairness and that flows from our personal values. The Ancient Greeks were able to believe concurrently in democracy and slavery. We appear able to believe that refugees need to be helped but they can’t come here.

‘Left’ thinking says that all people are born equal, so if some fall behind then those that do well have a duty to support them. The further left you go, the less likely nationhood seems important. We are all the same, sharing a single fragile planet.

‘Right’ thinking says that some people are genetically superior to others and deserve to be rewarded for their greater ability. The further right you go, the more likely bloodlines and national pride are to seem important. All of us are better than all of them. ‘We’ own our island and are free to exploit it’s national resources.

I think both of those beliefs, devoid of any balance, lead to horrible societies in which a particular set of bullies run rough-shod over the interests of the general population.

I have been very supportive of the idea of the Labour party electing Jeremy Corbyn as Leader, to disrupt the gradual drift right by all parties (except The Greens) and start intelligent debate instead of statistical lying, sound-bites and obscene inequality. I think Capitalism is overdue for replacement but I’ve seen no evidence yet that the far Left have any plan that will achieve that without violent revolution.

My first alarm rang when both Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn referred back to the Miner’s Strike in their acceptance speeches, as though it was a proud time for the Labour Party. Listen to what Barbara Castle said about that: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b068w44x

Any attempt to align the TUC with a single political party could be a final death-blow for unions in the workplace, where they belong and are desperately needed, when a Conservative government is next elected.

Knocking 8 Bells out of the Working Day, For Sexual Equality

This morning, on the Twitter:

@Madelinep said to Professor @DrAliceRoberts, “We’re shoehorning women into careers designed for men with stay-at-home wives”.

@DrewbertG replied, “We’re shoe horning men into them too. If things are going to change for the better it has to be for everyone.

@Madelinep added “Women & men need work flexibility. The lack of women at senior levels tells the big story”.

I threw in:

@wootube “Idea: Make jobs smaller for everyone? Allow people to have 2 or 3 it they feel they have time?”

I want to expand on that here.

@DannaKo1 suggested the Twitter hashtag #workrevolution because the issue was wider than #womeninacademia. As a non-academic man, I feel honour-bound to agree.

My idea of feminism is that men and women, on average, probably have slightly different capabilities in some areas, whether due to biology or social conditioning but that no human being is average so individuals have the right to an opportunity to prove that they are equal to another person. I get very frustrated by feminists who refuse to discuss, for example, father’s rights, until The Patriarchy has been crushed. That doesn’t appear to me to serve equality well.

In purely practical terms, if society is structured to expect men to work until midnight ‘when the pressure is on’ but women have a legal right to leave at 5pm because they have childcare duties, guess who is going to be given the top jobs. Like many, I had a rant recently when a politician made a crass remark about mothers deserving to be paid less, presumably because child care meant they had less experience than someone who had stayed at work. Most feminists were disgusted that he considered a woman to be worth less. My objection was that he should have said “any parent who gives childcare greater priority than work”. Why isn’t that every father too?

I’d like to propose a solution: Assume a school day for under-16s will be 09:00 – 17:00. Adult education and the world of work moves to the system traditionally observed aboard ships – watches, 4-hour units of time. In the day time, these run from 08:30 – 12:30, 12:30 – 16:30 and 16:30 – 20:30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship%27s_bell

When raising a child, instead of one parent stopping work and the other continuing, they have the option for parent A to work the first watch, leaving parent B free to get children off to school. Parent A works 1 or 2 watches and is available to pick the child up from school. Parent B works 1 or 2 watches after 12:30. Anyone can choose to work part-time, full-time or even 12 hours.

Now the radical part: every job is advertised as normal, specifying the number of watches required and when, if it matters. All candidates are considered equally and ranked. When the job is offered, the successful candidate, regardless of sex, has the legal right to say they wish to work less watches than required. Alternate candidates are then offered the rest of the watches, until the job is full. With an appropriate notice period, any employee has the right to reduce the number of watches they work. The watch becomes the unit of work instead of the day, the watch-year is the unit of job experience. Clearly, the impact of every role potentially becoming a job-share will be an additional management overhead but the pool of trained and experienced candidates for every job may be expected to increase considerably. An employee approaching retirement may choose to reduce watches, prior to retirement, allowing a replacement to be trained, in parallel.