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Are you feeling happy?

Happy International Happiness Day from us here at Shamocracy. Are you feeling happy? Britain is the loneliest country in the EU, and our young people have never been less connected.

When you look at what can make us happy, namely community and health, you can see why we aren’t as happy as we perhaps used to be. Our sedentary, indoor, isolated lifestyles; more-than-full-time jobs; chemicals in our food; rising house prices and debt; depressing news; threat of climate change; growing poverty and inequality; and rapacious consumerism don’t lead to very fulfilling lives.

But we can change it. We can form communities again, to rally around these problems. We can make life choices to reject the accepted norms, reject consumerism, reject life long debt, eat healthier. It is hard, our society and government don’t want to make that easy for us, but it’s not impossible. Being happy spreads happiness, so it’s a very selfless thing to do.

As I write this, the sky is getting darker as the moon passes in front of the sun, but it will very quickly get brighter again. You can do the same in your life. Reach out, join community groups, take up a sport, and the revolution will start with you.

Curious about the Green Party?

While Shamocracy is not affiliated with any specific political party, we find that although Labour and the Lib Dems have some progressive policies, on the whole their policies are not very cohesive or strong. They’re also increasingly right leaning, without either party taking a firm stance on the real issues.

The Green Party, on the other hand, has relatively distinct policies that are particularly forward thinking and would represent a real change to society and the environment. Global warming is pushing the earth into a danger zone and we are currently in “decade zero”; we have until 2017 to start reducing carbon dioxide output if we are to prevent irreversible climate change, so the environment is a much bigger priority than most parties will admit. But it’s the Greens’s social policies which most people find compelling — they promise an end to austerity through greater tax on the most wealthy and corporations. They would seek to close tax loopholes and improve social services. They would introduce a citizen’s income replacing all benefits and state pensions (and the associated administration overhead) to provide everyone with a fixed, continuous income funded by current welfare spending and income tax. The Greens are also the only party of the ‘big five’ that promise a basic wage that matches living costs, as opposed to the now-unworkable minimum wage which means 60% of people below the poverty line are in work. Continue reading


Are our leaders psychopaths?

In what academics call neoclassical economics, human beings are largely rational, self-interested decision-makers. This stereotypical human, often referred to as Homo economicus, is a creature of coldly calculated selfishness, dispassionately maximizing its best interests even if that comes at the expense of others.

The researchers artificially controlled the behaviors of the partners in some rounds of the game, so that the research participant would find out that they received $10 from their partner and then be asked how much they would give in return. Those people acting like HE [Homo Economicus] gave their partners no money, even after experiencing the generosity of the anonymous person they were paired with.

I know. Cold.

This explains the actions of those in the banking sector. It’s exactly why the industry needs strong regulation. Incidents such as the child abuse scandals in Westminster suggest the same mentality in those running the country. Indeed, there is quite a revolving door between the banking sector and government.


People’s views aren’t in line with Conservatives

Following the last post showing the public’s views and policy preferences are not in line with voting intentions, the latest YouGov poll following the Autumn statement shows a similar disparity:

Cameron & Osborne have a solid lead on the deficit – 41% trust them compared to 22% who trust Miliband & Balls. However, asked what the government’s policy should be on the deficit people’s views are significantly out of line with the Conservatives’. Only 20% think cutting the deficit mainly through spending cuts should be the priority, 19% think it should be cut mainly through tax increases, 36% think the government should not prioritise the deficit at all and should instead spend more or tax less to try and encourage growth. A reminder, perhaps, that people’s perceptions of who they trust on the economy or the deficit is not necessarily based on what their policies are.

Further evidence perhaps that the right-wing media has a significant effect on voting intention regardless of policy.


A long list of sex acts just got banned from UK porn

The last time the conservatives tried to censor pornography one of the men who helped draw up the policy, Patrick Rock, was charged with possessing child pornography images.  The latest on his case is he failed to turn up in court due to ‘illness’ and the hearing has been adjourned until the 19th December.  We’ll be sure to check up on how he gets on then.

UPDATE: We keep our promises, he appeared in court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to charges of making and possessing images of girls aged 10-14. He’s due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on the 27th February. These things take time!