Which would you rather have – Chavez or Cameron?
Isn’t it amazing, the amount of joy the right-wing press and its adherents can project over the death of a man who improved conditions in his country beyond all expectations?
That is what we are seeing after the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
But we should not be surprised – after all, these are the same newspapers (and their bosses) who support the nation-wrecking policies of David Cameron and the Coalition – an unelected dictator and a cadre of manipulators whose only linked interest is their own enrichment at the expense of anybody else.
Chavez was not perfect. There are some aspects of his personality that would give any reasonable person cause for second thoughts. His support for foreign dictators is one. Any man who can draw tributes from Ahmadinijad and Assad is questionable. The rise of violent crime in his country is another – and extremely worrying. Violent crime is linked with poverty, and yet…
And yet any criticism of his presidency on economic grounds is absurd. His nation’s wealth tripled during the first 12 years he was in office. Tripled!
As for his association with unelected dictators – this seems beyond strange as he was not one himself. In fact, his share of the popular vote at his last election was enough to turn every British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill pale with envy.
That last election was won under one of the fairest and most robust voting systems in the world – that was implemented by his own party. Former US President Jimmy Carter thinks its system is superior to that of the US. Turnout was more than 80 per cent, with 55.1 per cent of voters casting for Chavez. It’s notable that the 44.3 per cent of votes cast for rival Henrique Capriles would shame every single UK Prime Minister since Harold Wilson in 1966.
In other words, Venezuela’s former president was elected by one of the most democratically-sound systems in the world, and gained more support from his people than any British PM since Churchill.
Not a despot, then.
He has cut extreme poverty by two-thirds, and general poverty by almost half.
He has cut infant mortality and improved equality; and he has cut unemployment by almost half, to 8.2 per cent (strikingly close to the UK level).
He has improved his nations infrastructure and public services.
And he has proved that left-wing policies can improve prosperity and increase economic growth.
That’s why the right-wing press hate him. He shows there is a better alternative to the nightmare we are living through.
So let’s look at David Cameron, shall we?
Only 23.47 per cent of eligible voters supported David Cameron in the UK general election of 2010 (compared with 44.32 per cent for Chavez in January this year).
That election was marred by the fact that many voters were prevented from casting their vote at polling stations that closed at exactly 10pm. This was incorrect – all voters who had arrived and were queueing by 10pm should have been admitted to the building and allowed to cast their vote. So the UK election of 2010 was carried out in an improper way.
The result was a hung Parliament, with no single political party gaining power. The Con/Dem Coalition was formed in a backroom deal between Cameron and Nick Clegg, and had nothing to do with the will of the electorate. Therefore Cameron can be said to be unelected. Less than a quarter of the eligible voters wanted him and he did not win enough Parliamentary seats to justify taking office.
Then we come to dictatorship. How many unwanted policies have we had since this rabble slithered into government, determined to restrict our freedoms just as much as possible?
Policies like, for example, the cuts to Legal Aid?
The Internet snooping Bill?
The plan to gerrymander the number of Parliamentary seats and the boundaries of constituencies, in order to deliver an unfair advantage to the Conservative Party in the next election (which, thankfully, failed)?
How many policies have been imposed on us with the intention of impoverishing the poorest in society?
The Welfare Reform Act?
The Localism Act, with its reintroduction of the hated Poll Tax (that’s the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, for those of you in England who have to deal with it)?
The Bedroom Tax?
And then there’s the Health and Social Care Act, an attempt to ‘fix’ the National Health Service when it wasn’t broken, in order to let private operators get their hands on the huge cash opportunities it offers. Has anyone noticed that the nation’s health has worsened, according to many indicators, since the ConDems took over?
And there has been no mention yet of all the policies to put money in the pockets of the very rich, donors to the Conservative Party, bankers, people who park their money in offshore tax havens (thereby keeping it away from the taxman) and the many other corrupt ways this government’s members have been filling their own pockets with cash (and those of their friends and donors) when they should have been looking after the national interest.
Yet the right-wing press supports Mr Cameron and his cronies, despite the fact that they have been a worse disaster for the UK than the financial crisis that preceded their arrival.
Can we ever hope to have a champion like Chavez in this country?
Or is the British system now so badly corroded that it can only ever attract the worst that society has to offer?