History lessons

DAMN is simply a masterpiece. The 14 track album is incredibly dense and constructed in a way that compels you to listen through its entirety to fully appreciate it. This is easy due to the sublime flow of songs, with each seemingly picking up after the previous before the album rewinds itself, inviting the next play-through. I would argue in the years to come that it will be known as evergreen, with the topics it touches on and the lessons it imparts still relevant. One such message imparted is on the track LUST. This song is cyclical as it explores how people can waste their time by living repetitive and unfruitful lives. Here, Kendrick Lamar considers the monotonous routine of daily life and how we allow lust to consume ourselves. A great example of this can be seen when thinking about politics.

This is a concept not everyone actively engages with, which is ironic due to the impact it can have on every aspect of life. In the song, Kendrick laments

We all woke up, tryna tune to the daily news
Lookin’ for confirmation, hopin’ election wasn’t true
All of us worried, all of us buried, and our feeling’s deep
None of us married to his proposal, make us feel cheap
Still and sad, distraught and mad, tell the neighbor ’bout it

Bet they agree, parade the streets with your voice proudly
Time passin’, things change
Revertin’ back to our daily programs, stuck in our ways; Lust

Here he is reflecting on the outcome of the 2016 United States Election (and we all know how that turned out).

trumpprez

As the (snap) general election approaches in the UK, however, we have a chance to learn from the mistakes of others if only we can get over this voting apathy we seemingly ail from. To that end, I will compare the two main political parties and their leaders where appropriate on key issues, (as from my understanding due to our voting system they have the best chance of securing power) so that we understand what we are choosing and can make an informed decision.

Higher Education

Labour aims to abolish tuition fees and maintenance grants reintroduced for university students. This tallies with Corbyn record as he voted against raising fees while May voted in 2010 to raise fees to £9000 per year. One could argue this means that Corbyn has always been in favour of making higher education more accessible while May [who didn’t pay for her degree in Geography from Oxford] was not. Just saying…

War

May voted in favour of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 along with most of her party, despite the lack of definitive proof of weapons of mass destruction (which were never found). She also voted in favour of military intervention in Libya in 2011 and Syrian air strikes in 2015. Corbyn conversely, voted against the invasion of Iraq and organized a protest against the war. He similarly voted against intervention in Libya and air strikes on Syria. So clearly May is strong in the face of war while Corbyn is a pacifist who has tried on numerous occasions to avoid conflicts that have resulted in the deaths of thousands.

Racial equality

Historically the tories have a dubious history with ethnic minorities.

More recently in 1980s, the then Conservative Government refused to impose sanctions against and entertained the leaders of the apartheid regime in South Africa. They reportedly even banned protests outside the South African embassy in London. In contrast, Jeremy Corbyn voted to end South African apartheid, being arrested for protesting outside the South African embassy in 1984. (But you know Theresa May wasn’t an MP then so we can assume she would have voted to end apartheid and protested as well, right?)

Health

Labour aims to secure extra funding (an estimated £6 billion annually) for the NHS through increased income tax for top 5% earners, increased tax on private medical insurance and halving management consultants’ fees. Such a measure is again in line with Mr. Corbyn’s voting record as he voted against passing the Health and Social Care Act, which allowed private companies to increase their role in the NHS by being paid by the taxpayer (you) to deliver NHS treatment. May voted in favour of passing the act. (Who wouldn’t want the privatization of the NHS, we can see how well healthcare in the US is going).

Rail Fares

Labour plans to re-nationalise the railways. Under such public ownership, Labour plans to freeze fares, end driver-only operation and offer free WiFi across the network. For reference, May voted against capping rail fares at a 1% increase plus inflation per annum, while Corbyn voted for capping following public outcry over the ever-increasing cost of rail journeys.

Democracy

In their manifesto, Labour plans to lower the voting age to 16. (If that sounds young, remember at that age you can have an alcoholic beverage with a meal at a restaurant and legally consent to sex). May voted against considering a bill that would have lowered the voting age to 16, while Corbyn voted to consider the bill. (This makes sense because at 16 you are simultaneously not mature enough to cast a vote but mature enough to engage in sex).

Fox Hunting

Theresa May announced plans to bring back fox hunting, while Labour banned the practice in 2004.

Taxation

The highlights of Labour’s manifesto in regards to taxes include; no income tax rises for those earning below £80,000 per annum and giving HMRC extra powers to chase individuals and companies who avoid tax. Conversely May has voted to consistently raise VAT and voted against proposals to reduce tax avoidance and evasion in 2016.

Housing

The Labour manifesto also revealed plans to build one million new homes, including 100,000 council and housing association homes by the end of next parliament and 4,000 homes for people with a history of rough sleeping. Conversely May voted against building 100,000 affordable homes in 2013.

So we have a politician with some strongly held views who is arguably a rebel (with many causes) versus one who has said what is politically expedient and voted differently. (I’m not saying Corbyn is Bernie and May is Hillary but, if the shoes fit…). Corbyn has steadfastly upheld all he supports and proposes in the face of divisive, bitter and highly unfavorable commentary even from within his own party. May seems to float wherever the wind takes her. Just observing…

In conclusion, come to your own conclusion, don’t take what is presented as fact, do your own research but MOST importantly vote and the only way you can do that is by registering to vote, here. You have more power than you realize.

Peace and Love,

Aharoun the Author.

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