Views and News from my side….

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Doing a bit more than normal has led to me not updating my once in two days blog. I am planning to update it a couple of times in a week from now onwards. Once on a Weekend and once on a Weekday.

A couple of issues made me sit up and take notice of things.

1. Hollande Wins. Well that was not unexpected. However i did notice a piece of news where he would be meeting the “Socialist” Obama in the White House. Jeez he makes Obama seem like Sarkozy.

2. Greece elected a sizable number of far-right MP’s. They seem to make LePen’s FN look like bunnies. My Advice: EU beware. Don’t discount the democratic deficit in your organisation.

3. IPL and drink driving seems to be the major news story in India. Indian Premier League is a Premier League for that silly game where people stand at one place, like baseball, and think its a sport. Anyways we had incidents of owners throwing a tantrum, organisers throwing a tantrum and players well acting like players. I wouldn’t bore you with details except suggest you google IPL. It will make for an exciting weekend.

4. Disaster – Kenny Dalglish sacked. What do Americans know about football ?

5. I have been reviewing cars lately. I have been specifically looking for  a hatchback. For drivers be sure to look at the following when choosing your car. Ford Figo Diesel with its excellent handling and solid feel and Honda Brio for its sexy Engine and Gearbox.

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What do i want in an Indian President ?

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The two traits which i look for in an Indian President would be

a) Understanding Constitutional proprietary –  I don’t want the Indian President be to media savvy. I want the President to be measured and reserved in his or her comments. The person should have an academic understanding of the constitutional duties of the Indian President so his or her tenure can be controversy free. The person should not be prejudiced towards any political idea.

b) A symbol of India – The President of India should symbolise the Republic of India. I want that one person to reflect the people of India in terms of their feelings, hopes, aspirations etc. I would want that one person to reflect the hopes and feelings of the tribals of the North East, the disaffected youth of the Kashmir Valley, the aspirational class of Bombay ( I was born when it was called Bombay and no Thackeray is going to make me call it Mumbai), the sensitivities of the Tamils of Madras ( If I am going to call Mumbai – Bombay then I better call Chennai- Madras).

So if a Pranab Mukherjee can do the above two or a Narayan Murthy do the above two I will support them. But they need to reflect the above two points before they get elected.

So do I have a candidate who I wish could become the President of India ? If I had the choice I would support PA Sangma. He is a Garo tribal from the North Eastern state of Meghalaya. Coming from a region , and i am including the entire North East, which has seen a lot of violence he would symbolise the “Unity in Diversity” concept of the Union. He would be a positive role model for various communities with their unique identities on how to live with the contradictions of India. He would be able to represent disaffected youth from all parts of the country. He has been a top parliamentarian in the prejudiced madhouse of Delhi – this shows he is aspirational and a trailblazer. He has been one of the best speakers in the Lok Sabha and was considered to be tough, fair and balanced. Thus he would in my opinion reflect the image of Current Day India as well have an understanding of the constitutional duties of the President.

The Nationalists in Europe

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I just read that LePen is not voting for any Candidate in the French Presidential Election. Marine LePen the leader of the National Front in France, and the candidate who stood third in the First Round of the French Presidential Vote has decided not to cast a vote for either the Right Wing Candidate Sarkozy or the Left Wing Candidate Hollande. She has been the most interesting candidate to watch as she has realised the version of Nationalist Parties which would succeed in Modern Europe are the authoritarian, but not extreme authoritarian, versions of SNP and  Plaid Cymru. Only this would be palatable to the modern European Voter as Extremes are considered distasteful in that part of the world. Whether she can make the voters forget the history of the NF is a different matter altogether. In that sense parties such as the English Democrats or UKIP do much better in matters of public perception as they don’t carry the historical extremist baggage. If you read about the history of economics by the likes of people like Niall Ferguson etc you realise that Nationalist Parties with Socialist philosophies are the ones to generally do better during a recession. Europe, thanks to the Germans in the 1930’s, has already experienced the fruits of extreme Nationalism. Thus extreme Nationalists will always be abhorred there however moderate nationalist parties do have a chance to fill the gap between the liberal left-wing parties and authoritative right-wing parties. The concern I have about these nationalist parties is not their xenophobic views but their views on Globalisation. The issue which concerns me is that there is a chance that due to their increasing influence there maybe a partial rollback of positive political attitudes towards Globalisation in Europe. As such it would be very interesting to see if pro globalisation parties across the political spectrum can create policies which may calm the fears of the natural voters of these nationalist parties.

Lok Pal Bill

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Ex Indian President, His Excellency, APJ Abdul Kalam’s views on the Lok Pal Bill is something which i agree with.  This  man of vision, fair play and hard work has also shown he understands the psyche of India and its people. His assertion that the  Lok Pal Bill is just going to fill up jails and not clean up corruption in the Government machinery is absolutely correct. He asserts that it’s the kids of today who would decide if India becomes a less corrupt society or not. He implies that the values of Indians as it stands does not discourage corruption. There seems to be a consent in Society that corruption will happen. Until we don’t bring a change in society which would change us from a country ” where there is someone always willing to sell his mother” to a country ” where corruption and corrupt people are treated as equivalent to murders and murderers” we wont reduce corruption. I don’t not mean to equate the two crimes nor do I mean to suggest that the punishment should be equivalent but  I am suggesting that people from all parts of India should treat those who take bribes or offer bribes as equivalent socially to murderers. If this attitude is encouraged in the kids of today only then would we change as a country in the future. And this needs to be a national mission as corruption methods/standards differ from state to state.

Political Leanings.

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Politics is discussed in newsrooms and dining rooms using the popular left-right model. Left Parties are generally Socialists with liberal view, Centre Left Parties are Moderates with a left-wing bias, Centre Right Parties are again moderates but with a Right Wing Bias and Right Wing Parties are free market oriented with a social conservative message. This unfortunately is incorrect as you can have various combinations to determine your politics. You could be Socialist Leaning with Conservative views a.k.a Reagan Democrats,Most Political Parties in India etc. You could be a free market supporter but completely liberal in relation to your social views.

I have attached an outcome from Politcalcompass which has devised a test which helps you to determine your political views. However please be aware that this has primarily been designed for a Western Audience and as such may not be an appropriate tool for a person from the Non-Western World.

The various parts of the X and Y axes can be defined as:

Left – Socialist/Communist from an economic viewpoint at the extreme with views moderating as you move towards the centre.

Right – Free Market – US Style Capitalism at the extreme with views moderating as you move towards the centre.

Libertarian – Liberal attitude towards life and governance at the furthest point from the centre.

Authoritarianism – More Dictatorial as you move away from the centre.

Thus you could say that Hitlers Nazi’s were a left-wing party due to its economics but completely an authoritarian party due to its governance style. It may be said that Thatcherites are right-wing when it comes to Economics and slightly authoritarian when it came to dealing with Unions, IRA terrorists etc. The Scottish National Party is a Centre Left Party because of its continued commitment to Social Issues,Community etc when taking economic decisions but due its desire for Scottish Independence can slightly lean towards authoritarianism due to its nationalist political view. It could be suggested that the Green Parties in Europe are left-wing when it comes to economics and Liberals when it comes to governance style.

It could be suggested that politicians like the last few US Presidents and British Prime Ministers have decided to make the Centre-Right philosophies the bedrock of their economic policies with different shades of authoritarianism due to the various terror threats and strategic issues faced by their countries. Some readers could say that all Indian political parties including the so-called Right Wing BJP are different shades of Centre Left in terms of Economic Policies due to income inequality in Indian Society and different shades of authoritarianism due to the social conservative and patriarchal nature of Indian Society.

This proves that branding a political party as left, right, centre etc leads to confusion and does not provide a clear picture. I would suggest it would be better for political pundits to discuss the standings of political parties  on important issues without defining it as Left wing, Right wing, Libertarian or Conservative. As such they may not get surprised, at times,  with the results of elections.