This is not a typical WHATIFIHADAPA post but the events of the EU elections are too tragic to go without comments. As a UK Citizen and a Swiss Resident I have a perspective, concern and solution for what needs to happen. Why empathy and history are needed to be better developed in our societies. At school one of my favourite subjects was history, so much so I took it as an A ‘Level. The lesson I gained from understanding the past intrigued me, but somewhat leave me at odds on EU the UKIP results. History was one of those compulsory subjects that were needed to develop a society that evolved, and learnt generation after generation to perhaps be wiser. UKIP’s party spokeswoman Suzanne Evans agreed with a host on Radio 4 that they had difficulty in appealing to the "educated, cultural and young."
The recent events of UKIP made me question what has happened to that education that so many of us received, who did not learn about WW1 and WW2 in the UK. History repeats itself. Didn't anyone learn anything from history classes where countries hit harsh economic times they look for a scape goat, it's the outsider, the immigrant, whether that be a: Jewish, Black, Bulgarian or Polish person. Regardless of whether you are in Germany, Switzerland, US, UK, We have been in recession since 2008 and this far right sentiment has been building up. You may argue that people need to be better educated, better informed, yet from abroad I watched the interviews and read articles which exposed what UKIP stand for. So then I had to question what is missing.
The first thing is empathy. I landed in Switzerland in 2008 and suddenly I was the foreigner who was unable to get accommodation because I was not Swiss, and during the last 6.5 years have faced what some groups may face in the UK. I would have to argue Switzerland is worse, for example, insurance premiums are pegged at where you are from, CV’s are supposed to come with photos and processes have inbuilt xenophobia. Once you are in this position you also have empathy and an understanding that the reaction of protectionism is flawed. Protectionism can destroy more than the value that open markets, and labour can create. The problem is that our governments have not been creating policies that add value. They are not representative of the people and so policies that bail out banks, and feed an ever increasing inequity in wealth have created what some have called a protest vote. I would have to argue if you want a protest vote at least vote ‘Green’ they might actually do some good.
So what governments need to do is look to the long term and have solutions to our economy that aren't blaming immigrants, or the poorer in society. There is too much of this from the other political parties too in regards to social reform. The bigger issues are income differences, taxes on new industry and industry diversity. If we want to have a stronger economy we cannot just survive on being a service economy we need more investment in tech, green and manufacturing. There need to be School policy changes so that languages are properly taught so our kids have as much labour flexibility as people coming to Britain. Forget meaningless changes of abc, to 123 grades! There needs to be free higher education so that our kids have the skills and can compete in the long term labour market. Candidates need to have empathy and understand the voters, so there needs to be more normal people in government that have walked in our shoes. I remember a while back Borris Johnson had appointed a man who had worked with children in gangs, but he had to step down when it was found he had a conviction as a minor. Now I am not saying that we should have criminals as politicians but we need to face the reality. A person who has made positive changes to a community because the understand the problems is going to be more effective than an someone who comes from an old boys network, may or may not have partaken in weed or fiddled expenses. The hypocrisy in politics is killing people that could really make a difference. There is too much classism in politics. I would like to see more people who know what it's like to grow up in an area where there are gangs, joy riding, youth unemployment, underemployment and can think of real solutions.