Pushing Intrinsic Values…

An intrinsic property is a property that an object or a thing has of itself, independently of other things, including its context. Those with intrinsic values tend to be less reliant on the good opinion of others, their focus being more on personal relationships with friends, family and community.  An extrinsic (or relational) property is a property that depends on a thing’s relationship with other things. Extrinsicism means to not from any essential part of a thing arising or originating from the outside; “extrinsic evidence”; “an extrinsic feature of the new building”; “that style is something extrinsic to the subject”; “looking for extrinsic aid”.  Extrinsic values and priorities are much more personal and tend to be more centred around the individual and/or a highly selective group of others.  Religious views are extrinsic by their very nature on the grounds that the acts that they inspire, are more often than not, in order to improve their own standing in the eyes of their imagined deity or chances of a favourable eternity, rather from their own sake.

“Conservatives in the US generally avoid debating facts and figures. Instead they frame issues in ways that appeal to and reinforce extrinsic values. Every year, through mechanisms that are rarely visible and seldom discussed, the space in which progressive ideas can flourish shrinks a little more. The progressive response has been disastrous.”

I have heard it countless times that intrinsic values are really cynical,selfish and shallow.  I have been told that a lack of reliance on the good opinions of others shows an unfavourably independent streak.  I long ago lost count of the times where the phrase ‘she just will NOT be told‘ has been used as a form of castigation from various individuals when I could not honestly validate their point of view.  The thing is, I didn’t then (nor do I now) see it as a failing in me or anyone else. Not listening is NOT the same as not adopting -or even pretending a particular point of view to suit the feelings of others.  When one prioritises extrinsic values of calculated self-interest, a primary focus on personal financial gains,  and cherishes  popularity and the idea of their image in the eyes of others, I have observed that the means do not matter anywhere as much as the ends.  It comes at a cost of empathy, both toward those who do not share those values and those less well off than themselves as though it is somehow self-inflicted and therefore deserving of none.  A primary example of this can be seen in the so-called ‘Religious-Right’, the Tea Party movement who have recently voiced support for the Right-Wing extremist movement, the E.D.L, and a vast proportion of both the US Republican Party and the UK Conservative Party.

“Guy Murphy, global planning director for JWT: “marketers should see themselves as trying to manipulate culture; being social engineers, not brand managers; manipulating cultural forces, not brand impressions”.”

Of course, there are very few who are guided solely by either, but we invariably guide our behaviour with a mixture which is dominated by either one or the other.  This is all very well, but overall social trends seem be leaning more in favour of the extrinsic than the intrinsic.  When the results of extrinsic actions have a negative impact on the UK’s economy, those responsible have not paid the penalty for it, they have carried on regardless.  They have are still yet to admit even a partial responsibility for the errors that led to the tax funded bail out, and have instead merely pointed the finger of reproach at the Financial Standards Agency and the previous labour government for the lack of regulation, at those it irresponsibly loaned money to and those who it subsequently aided to get into severe financial hardship.  All this in true ‘Blame the Victim‘ fashion.  Why is this occurring?  The simple fact of the matter is that we are letting it happen by way of NOT speaking against things we disagree with and NOT speaking out when our own values are criticised.  Freedom of choice is quite different from being a verbal and political doormat.

“Once progressive parties have tried to appease altered public attitudes: think of all those New Labour appeals to middle England, often just a code for self-interest. In doing so they endorse and legitimise extrinsic values.”

It is not uncommon for our values to be turned around on us by those who see something to gain by painting us as hypocrites.  Those that do, seem not to understand the overall benefit in acting without self-interest, even only very occasionally.  It is human to have an infantile me-first attitude in some situations (competition for a coveted job vacancy for instance), but to adopt it on principle, it is not only anti-social but were everyone to adopt that stance it would be irreversibly detrimental for the survival of the species.  How far do those people think they will get without police and firemen to protect them, and doctors and nurses, to help them when they are ill?  It takes far more than a drive to make money while trying to turn public services into an expensive commodity, to achieve those positions.  My advice to them is to be careful.  Intrinsic values have a very important place in our society.  Where the progressive approach of attempting to pass off intrinsic as extrinsic has gone awry is by even attempting to appeal to an extrinsic and uninterested audience as by doing so, it has lost touch with previous subscribers.

“The 1986 “Big Bang” that opened up the City to an influx of foreign firms and laid the ground for the speculative frenzy that brought us to our present pass occurred on her [Thatcher’s] watch.  But she would have been appalled, or at least incredulous, if she had been told that the end result would be an economy and society awash with debts that no one could repay and toxic assets whose extent no one could fathom.”

Were the answer to a healthy society so simple as to merely privatise our public services, I am certain it would have been done by now. The trouble was that the idea of society was usurped for a time by individualism and an aversion to collectivism.  There are people still alive today who remember what it was like without the NHS but oddly enough you don’t hear them whining about how awful they think it is. It has only been since fairly recently in our history that education was available to all but compulsory and free, yet there are those who would have our school systems abolished and replaced with private schools who have free reign over admissions, exclusions and curriculum, as well as corporate protection (think Reagan and Thatcher). In other words, education would cease to be a public service essential to the overall well-being of society, and become a status symbol for those who could afford it along with healthcare and the emergency services.  What they do not mention is that the tax burden of those families who could no longer afford such ‘luxuries’ as an education and good health, would not be reduced; especially if the corporations funding these candidates get their much coveted tax-breaks.  The money has to come from somewhere so they would be stitched-up the ‘undeserving’  from both ends.

“Common Cause proposes a simple remedy: that we stop seeking to bury our values and instead explain and champion them.”

When did it become socially embarrassing to have liberal or left politics?  I know many claim to have no politics, or ‘not to get involved‘, but to them I ask how they ever make a decision about anything without politics? It becomes even more infuriating when those who otherwise have ‘no interest‘ in politics, or the intravenous-agnostics among us spin out that appallingly condescending claim that others ‘need religion or how else would they behave morally?‘.  After this comes the ‘everyone’s entitled to their beliefs/opinions‘ which is admirable, of course but I am sure that I am not the only one who has noticed that the latter is only used when we have vocally challenged an idea or voiced an opinion which disagrees with that of the user, AND that when used we seem to be excluded from that same sentiment in their eyes.  They churn out the phrase by rote and without even realising how obtuse it has become, revealing that they have probably not thoroughly thought out their own stance and gone with the, always easier, populist view.  Remember that it was once ‘popular’ to make women stop work after getting married. It was also once ‘popular’ to keep slaves, but it is thanks to those, like us, who dared to speak out against the establishment, and push intrinsic values, that they became unacceptable.

“Those who succeed in politics are, by definition, people who prioritise extrinsic values. Their ambition must supplant peace of mind, family life, friendship – even brotherly love.”

I disagree with this sentiment partly because it could be applied to ANY corporate job role but mostly because those who have embarked on this career have NOT cast their relationships aside but are doing what they can, in their view, to improve a way of life not JUST for themselves and their families but for the whole town, county or country.   What better way to promote our values, than by working to place ourselves into a position where we can physically act on them for the benefit of all of us and quite the opposite to extrinsic views?  The Daily Mail, The Express, The Sun and The Mirror, would have us all believe that all politicians are cynical, self-serving, liars.  Why?  So people continue to buy their newspapers and ‘learn’ to rely on them to tell them the way of the world.  The attitudes portrayed in the tabloid press are grossly unfair.  There are some but NOT all politicians are dishonest or behave immorally.  If you look at it proportionally against members of the Catholic church, who are being protected from investigation over often repeated accusations of child abuse, then the politicians are the ones that I shall be trusting.  Politics is a career like any other and there is NO shame in pushing yourself as far as you can go within a corporate or political career as we have evolved by competition.  The shame lies in trying to make others feel shame for NOT doing so.

People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them. We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.”

Is this affirmation at last? Doubtful, but no less true.  I would also argue that we must be as vocal in this as we can.  Join local political parties, turn up to meetings, or even start your own, but getting involved and showing the country that we are not in the minority is the way we will get our views acknowledged.  Nobody CAN listen if we just sit quietly and apologise for our views and if we continue to allow our views to be bulldozed by the gutter-press and others, then by the time we do speak up in a real emergency then it will be too late and nobody will listen.  Why should they if we have sat back and let it happen?

“We do not have to accept the world as we find it. And we have a responsibility to leave our world a better place and never walk by on the other side of injustice.” – Ed Milliband – Labour Conference Speech.


New Leadership.

Ed Milliband has won the Labour Leadership campaign, and become the 18th leader of the Labour Party, with 175,519 votes.

”I am nobody’s man, I am my own man. I am very clear about that,” he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show.

How does it Work?

  1. The voting power was divided equally between MPs and MEPs, affiliated organisations (trade unions), and other party members.
  2. If no candidate holds more than 50% of the votes by the end of the first round of voting, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed and their second preference votes are divided among the remaining candidates.
  3. This process is continued until a candidate has achieved the required number of votes and has the potential to result in a head to head contest between just two candidates.

His lead was only very narrowly ahead of his brother, David, who achieved 147,220 votes, but regardless of this, Ed is the man who will lead our party into the next general election and take the party back to its roots by reconnecting with previous supporters.  On top of the overall result Ed also won the biggest number of affiliate/union first preference votes (35%).  However, it will take much more than winning the leadership to return the party to government.  The party must first re-earn the trust of those people it let down so badly during its term.  I do think that the Brown/Blair feud is an irrelevance now that the party has been forced to wake up to the fact that the petty internal squabbles were in part to blame for their defeat in May.  Admitting that the party must acknowledge its mistakes is at least a step in the right direction; the next will be to identifying how those mistakes were made in order to avoid a repeat of the same.

“The razor-thin margin leaves the new leader with an immediate problem: he has to unite a party that split almost arithmetically down the middle.” Jonathan Freedland to The Guardian – Comment is Free.

The support from the unions is by no means all that won him the election.  He won by showing his support of the people who the party was set up in the interest of; working people.  The previous Labour party lost touch and ended up displaying their embarrassment over the Party’s union links and origins.  It shows the party has not entirely lost touch with its centre left ideals and I am very much looking forward to the his leadership speech on Tuesday.  As my readers know, I also supported Ed Milliband and it is a pleasure to finally have some good news to post.

“He won by focusing on the issues working people care about – stopping the onslaught on public services, fighting for a living wage, standing up for manufacturing, offering a fair deal at work. His acknowledgement of the calamity of the Iraq war is also vital if Labour is to regain people’s trust.” – Len McCluskey to The Guardian – Comment is Free.

I trust that Ed’s commitment is to our interests and us as our representative in Parliament rather than the other way around as it so sadly became during the years of Blair and Brown.  His vision has every chance of redeeming the party’s reputation of fairness and equality.  The nickname of “Red Ed” was unfairly dished up during the leadership campaign but he has rebutted this with a promise not to merely object to every spending cut on principle, and become a responsible opposition leader while we recover from ‘the deficit’.


Why I am backing Ed Milliband in the Labour Leadership Election.

Firstly he opposed the Iraq war (for the right reasons) unlike his brother who voted for the invasion that has now lasted for nearly 10 years.   While liberal intervention has its place, the war began for the sole reason that Saddam Hussein was believed to be in possession of weapons of mass destruction -the wrong reasons- and NOT for humanitarian aid.  Hans Blix had asked for more time to find these weapons that have still not been located. The basis turned out to be incorrect and caused a massive loss of trust from Labour supporters; both those who supported the war and from those who opposed the war from the offset (I am one of the latter and campaigned with the Socialist Workers’ Party, of which I am a former member, in protests etc).

He managed to secure an agreement in Copenhagen with regard to climate change control and ways to reduce carbon emissions.  He has also been public in his defence of climate-change research after the revelation that the finding that the disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 was a mistake.

“I think science is improved when criticised and improved when opened up. What I think is profoundly irresponsible is to suggest that one fact that was wrong about a glacier undermines the overall picture on climate change.” – Ed Milliband to the BBC

He has promised to maintain public services and give more autonomy within local government, offering more female representation within the those councils.  The promise to fight the coalition’s plans to rig the constituency boundaries to suit their own ends. Ed plans to improve crime prevention and call a halt on the excessive stop-and-search measures and ID cards. Why does the government need to know who we are and where we are other than to maintain efficient tax records? Ed prioritises values over alliances. This is not to undermine the value of loyalty but sometimes dissent is a good thing when it comes to criticising ‘unpopular’ new ideas. Allowing women and black people the vote and equal rights were also unpopular new ideas at one time.

The campaign for a Living Wage of more than £7 per hour is the heart of Ed’s campaign to become leader of the labour Party. I have had some opposition to this myself but I do have 5 good reasons for being in favour of this campaign.  Over 450 councillors are in favour of this campaign

“Research for our campaign by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that companies paying below the Living Wage effectively cost the taxpayer between £5.9bn and £6.3bn a year — because low-paid employees can top up their income with tax credits and benefits, while the Treasury also receives less in tax revenue from those on low pay.”

  1. Higher wages will mean that those on income support will no longer require the income support benefits.
  2. In turn less will be paid out to those who will then be in otherwise financially solvent circumstances.
  3. The new ‘higher’ earners will also pay more tax and therefore contribute more tax to pay for the services we all use and rely on.  They will also have more income to spend on necessities.
  4. The public purse should not be used to subsidise the meagre wages paid by unscrupulous employers who would happily pay their employees even less than minimum wage if they could get away with it to look after their bottom lines while they award their executives massive bonuses.
  5. There is not only a financial efficacy in granting those in work the dignity of being able to provide for their families without government assistance but a strong moral reason too; to fiscally and psychologically empower the work force.  The attitude that if employees don’t like the wages the job pays, they should get another job neither inspires the conscientious self-motivation that the Conservatives insist it does (in the face of the physical evidence to the contrary), or any loyalty to the employer.  What it does is allow employers to undervalue their work force.  As far as I am concerned, either keeping people who are already on minimum wage also dependant on the state or even retracting that assistance, is an insidious form of slavery which is frankly unforgivable.

“…57% of children living in poverty do so despite having at least one member of their household in work. Endemic low pay and working poverty continue to blight the lives of millions of ordinary working people across Britain.”

He is in favour of maintaining the 5op tax rate for those who earn more than £150,000 a year indefinitely whereas his brother is in favour of reducing it at some point.  The directors’ organisation are in opposition to this as they claim this will mean high earners will move abroad and that the higher rate may tempt large corporations to move to countries where tax rates are lower.  (The minimum wage was also opposed on the grounds that it would supposedly increase unemployment rates rather than protect the pay levels of low-skilled workers). Commitment to the High Pay Commission to regulate and the halt to abuses in executive pay is tied in with the living wage in order to narrow the unfair, vastly excessive and arbitrary gap between the highest and lowest paid within large corporations.

On tuition fees, Ed is in favour of scrapping them in favour of a graduate tax.

“As fees rise further, less well-off as well as part-time students will be even less likely to apply to more expensive universities and so damage their opportunities.” Ed Milliband to The Guardian on Comment is Free.

A graduate tax would be paid back as a deduction from their pay over 20 years as a percentage in-line with their ability to pay. The emergency budget will result in the stagnation of our universities and will ultimately produce further rises in fees as fewer students can afford to fill those places left after the coalition cut 10,000 earlier this year. Further education will again become a commodity of which only the rich and privileged can afford, thus forcing out culture back into the dark ages.  We, as a society, cannot afford to allow education to become a market. A rise in fees will stunt the prospects of those less well off and will result in some universities charging more to the further detriment of their opportunities.   The funds collected by a rise in tuition fees will not be used to fund universities but to plug the gaps in essential public services caused by the coalition’s savage cuts.  The current system (including grants) ties students to the income of their parents while in all other aspects they are considered independent adults.

He is correct in his approach of reforming the party away from New Labour and refuting Tony Blair’s claim that the fatal move was to veer from New Labour’s politics even slightly.  I feel that it was actually the inflexible reluctance to fully move away and act in response to changing circumstances that led to the electorate becoming disenchanted with the party.  Ed is correct in admitting the mistakes of party New Labour that began so well by pouring the funding and resources back into education and the NHS that the previous Conservative government had cut back on, and setting up the National Minimum Wage, but ended up defending banker’s bonuses after tax funding had been used to bail out failing banks that had lent irresponsibly; rather than paying back the money which had been loaned to them (much to my disgust); ignoring party members and showing visible embarrassment of their trade union links.

My Other preferences for Labour Leader

  1. David Milliband
  2. Ed Balls
  3. Diane Abbott
  4. Andy Burnham

Other posts (in no particular order).

Labour Party Treasurer

  1. Diana Holland

National Executive Committee

  1. Johanna Baxter
  2. Ann Black
  3. Oona King
  4. Susan Press
  5. Christine Shawcroft
  6. Julian Ware-Lane

NPF Representatives

  1. Russell Cartwright
  2. Katie Curtis
  3. Jenny Holland
  4. Tariq Sadiq

NPF Youth Representatives

  1. Sam Goodby

Join Labour by September 8th and have your say in the Labour leadership election.


5 Ways You Can Help Ed Miliband for Labour Leader.

Ed Miliband for Labour Leader

“I am standing for leader because when you believe in something, you should stand up and fight for it.”
Ed Miliband, Leeds, June 2010

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