According to Plato, a Philosopher King or Queen is the ideal leader; a ruler who has a love of knowledge, intelligence, reliability and who is rational and also strives to live a simple life. This is the kind of ideal ruler in his utopian city Kallipolis.
This idea should be contrasted with our current leaders and icons, from the frugal Bill Gates and Queen Elizabeth to the extravagant pomp and circumstance of President Donald Trump. Currently, Great Britain is at a critical juncture, with the General Election just one week away with the two dominant parties making a case for how the U.K. will lead into the next decade. In the last two weeks, it was reported that 1.2 million new voters, more than half of them under the age of 25 had newly registered to vote, leaning towards the Labour Party. However, all things were offset during the terrorist attack last week that targeted young people at a concert in downtown Manchester.
Whereas the Conservative Party might have hoped to use the Manchester attack as a convenient platform for a stronger military industrial complex and justifications for further foreign interventions against nations like Libya, Jeremy Corbyn has turned the argument around that in fact, it was our foreign intervention in Libya in the first place, and other parts of the Middle East that had lead to the rise of terrorist factions.
Clearly, we are in an era of what Mr. Corbyn has said that the "energy cartels" have dominated our global landscape. The quest to control the sources of oil and gas abroad has lead to numerous foreign "interventions" in which to support our leading energy and defense contracting industries into unprecedented financial gains, a pattern set in the 1970s by President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when Britain allowed the U.S. to utilise British airbases to bomb Libya in 1986.
Although a "special relationship" was originally established between the United Kingdom and the United States during WWII between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, when they were united against Germany, fissures in this "special relationship" began cracking during the Vietnam War when Prime Minister Harold Wilson attempted to usurp and curb America's actions in Vietnam. President Johnson at the time told the British Prime Minister, "I won't tell you how to run Malaysia and you don't tell us how to run Vietnam." (source: David Reynolds, 'A "Special Relationship," America, Britain and the International Order Since the Second World War', International Affairs, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Winter, 1985–1986), p. 14)
Whereas Jeremy Corbyn had spoken the truth that no one wanted to discuss and say aloud - that in fact, our history of foreign military interventions have lead to the rise of terrorist factions, the Conservative Party has lead the way in shifting the political dialogue into meaningless generalities.
Under the advice of American campaign manager Jim Messina, Prime Minister Theresa May now appears to be afraid to speak the truth, and instead devolves into a carefully rehearsed dialogue of key words reminiscent of the inanity of American propaganda in politics: good vs evil, strength and stability, rich vs. poor, whilst constantly shifting opinions and methods to account for the public's support, vigilantly watching the polls to re-edit the Conservative platform.
Whilst David Cameron, her predecessor, the silver-tongued Etonian who could convince the public of anything with his humour, wit and analytical mind; Theresa May, under the influence of Jim Messina, seems to have reverted to the style of American Orwellian politics: repetition of key phrases, and generally evading and never answering the question that is asked during interviews, leading the public to view her as inauthentic and a figurehead for the corporations and energy industries that she is supporting.
Jeremy Corbyn has said that we should open a dialogue with the opposition and perhaps that is what is necessary in order to understand why terrorism has been on the rise since the 1970s. Although I think for the skeptical mind, and as a general rule, politicians are not to be trusted, and Corbyn himself has shifted his stance rather suddenly from a no-nuclear power society to now support nuclear power, at least he speaks to the public as intelligent human beings, and not degenerate into a series of Jim Messina-inspired inanities of political campaign management utilising social media for mudslinging, spread of fake news and perhaps even trying to get a cheap emotional reaction out of the public from a national tragedy.
Fake news is the capacity of lies to go viral, spread maliciously by those with either a political or (much more common) financial motive. America strategically utilised fake news in the media to launch a war against Iraq, alleging that "unidentified sources" said the latter possessed weapons of mass destruction, which was later found to be false. Although the Iraq War was beneficial for the defense contact industries and the energy sector, the ramification of short-term profit thinking has lead to the unprecedented rise of terrorist factions and threw both the United States and Great Britain into another financial recession that culminated in the 2008 financial crisis.
Perhaps it's time for the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Great Britain to evolve. Perhaps it's time for the U.K. to set the boundaries and foundations to support our energy industries to move into the next era, not by launching more wars, but through an era of transformation. Perhaps it's time to shift the perspective that the U.K. has just been an obedient lapdog to all of America's modern wars. Perhaps it's time to embrace the reinvention of British soft power into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a revolution that will be propelled by new developments in transportation and energy, and build bridges and trading routes, and not by sending missiles and soldiers into foreign territories and destabilising our earth with fracking in a short-term bid for cheap energy.
Perhaps it's time to finally move away from the short-term profit building economics that has lead our nations into social poverty and begin to start thinking long-term about what it means to be a citizen in our global-interconnected world.
By Sierra Choi