To catch a Mike Sivier is simple. You wait until he passes by and then you reel him in with some juicy discussion about politics. Now, I love fishing! I found myself standing by the river bank today, and I was lucky enough to catch a Mike for a short time. What follows is the discussion between an eager fisherman and a political fish! I hope you enjoy our time together!
Q) Hi, Mike! So let’s start of with a simple question. Why do you vote for the British Labour Party?
A) Is that your first question? I am actually finding it quite hard to answer!
Q) Sorry Mike! I guess I just like making them tough.
A) It shouldn’t be tough, though. “Why do you vote Labour?” The honest answer is that it’s the only organisation in the UK that is actually still interested in EVERYONE’s well-being – the Tories are a minority-interest party for the very rich, UKIP for the anti-Europeans, the nationalists for their own countries and the Lib Dems for themselves. Labour has a lot wrong with it at the moment, I’ll admit. But I think it’s prepared to change, with the right encouragement, while the others are only going to dig in deeper. OK, next question.
Q) Do you consider Ed Miliband to be the saviour of the UK? Or will a stronger leader come along?
A) I think Ed suffers from poor advice. Maybe the top tier of the Parliamentary Labour Party has been in the Westminster bubble too long, maybe they suffer from having all studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics in the same way as the top Tories – they’re not thinking in the same way as people on the street, so they’re not saying the things we want to hear. Ed’s performances are a symptom of that. He seems to be insulated from the reality on the ground – a good example of this is welfare. Labour’s still talking about a welfare system that will put disabled people back into work, for crying out loud! We need a system that can accommodate the problems that people have and give them the help they need.
Q) How about (Ed) Balls? Is he the real power behind the Labour throne?
A) Balls – no, he isn’t. We are definitely not in Blair/Brown territory again. Balls does need to learn some new tricks, though. Labour can’t continue to oppose Tory economic policies while admitting we’d do much the same. We need a programme of investment in growth – in the industries that provide the best fiscal multipliers (meaning for every pound spend by the government, the economy benefits by more than a pound in the long run). We need to renounce Tory welfare policies. Attacking the most vulnerable isn’t the way forward.
I’ve gone into some of this in detail in the blog. My favourite member of Labour’s top team right now is Andy Burnham. His performance in the NHS debate was excellent.
Q) Do you think the NHS (National Health Service) can be saved? I guess the question really is– how can it be saved?
A) Yes. Obviously reabsorb everything that has been sliced off – no recompense to the private companies. I think there will be legal reasons this will be possible (I don’t think the hiving-off to private companies was done in a legally-permissible way in the first place). We’ve got a lot of medical experts with strong opinions on what should be done and we should be listening to them – right now – with a view to having a strategy in place immediately after the 2015 election. We should NOT go around thinking we know everything we need to; if there are experts willing to advise, let’s hear it!
Q) You believe (Ed) Miliband will do this?
A) He’ll do what makes him electable. Look at his performance at PMQs last week – he trounced Cameron. He CAN deliver. He comes from a Labour dynasty – he’s literally steeped in the philosophy of the Labour Party. He just needs the right information. I’m going to have to go.
Q) One last question– is Tony Blair a detriment to the party?
A) I disagree with a lot of the ‘Headline’ things that Tony Blair did, but beneath all those, he did a lot of good for the UK. Of course he did – even if you don’t like New Labour, just look at the alternative – a government led by William Hague? By Iain Duncan Smith??? (Ye Gods, anything but that!) But now it’s past time we let go. He can’t do Labour any good now. Labour must move back towards the left and embrace the social policies towards which the UK and most of Europe were moving before the late-1970’s. That means an end to Blairism. We have to put as much distance between ourselves and neo-Liberalism as possible. That do?
A) Yes, thanks Mike! Great quick interview and thank you for your time!
Q) Okay, thanks Nick!
With that Mike was back to do what he does best– writing blog articles and making sure the world knows what is going on behind those big political walls mere mortals cannot pass through.
Check out Mike’s blog, Vox Political, right now for the truth as he sees it!