Home / Dave Brockington / Some Local Voices: Austerity, Homophobia, and Britain’s Waning Global Presence

Some Local Voices: Austerity, Homophobia, and Britain’s Waning Global Presence

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Plymouth Labour Party activist John Petrie has some unequivical things to say about the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and the Conservative Party:

Following the two World Wars, successive governments expanded the state to create a fairer society that distributed wealth more equally and looked after its citizens, particularly those in need. With this new Post-War Consensus the UK gradually became a more equal place, with higher social mobility, less income inequality and state owned infrastructure that was run for the benefit of the people of our country. This state, which Cameron so gleefully discards, was earned by the suffering of many people over many years and it is sickening to see it dismantled for no other reason than ideology and greed, the very same ideology and greed that caused the crash from which we are still recovering.

Kate Taylor, a Plymouth City Councillor (also Labour) took issue with a local dinosaur who wrote a letter to the local paper proudly claiming that he is dropping his patronage of the Plymouth Evening Herald because . . . they did their job by covering local Olympic medallist diver Tom Daley’s “coming out” as being in a sam-sex relationship. The Herald is a local paper. Tom Daley is a Plymouth Olympic medallist. Mr John J Jones is a local bigot who is a regular contributor of letters-to-the-editor:

I don’t know why you have the views that you do, Mr Jones. I don’t know why you think it is fair to call me, or members of our gay community, “abhorrent”, when in my opinion, the only abhorrent thing is the fact that you pigeon-hole me as “perverted” for being attracted to, or having feelings for, another woman rather than a man. It goes without saying that those views are extremely offensive to the LGBT community, and whilst I hope you delay your boycott of The Herald for long enough to read this letter, I must admit I am somewhat relieved that I will no longer have to read such opinions in my local newspaper.

Finally, this morning I revisited a nuanced piece written by my colleague Dr. Jamie Gaskarth. He suggests that the House of Commons rejection of intervention in Syria is evidence of further British retreat from the world stage:

Lacking the capacity, and the desire to act, Britain is retreating from its role as an interventionist power. Two further developments are feeding this process. One is the democratization of war powers; the other, the juridification of foreign policy decision making.

[. . .]

In sum, reduced military capacity, public opposition, the widening of decision making to the legislature and the emphasis on international law and high standards of evidence have all combined to stop Britain intervening in Syria. If these processes continue and harden, then it is difficult to see the UK being able to act out the great power role of ‘global policeman’ in the future.

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