As the UK approaches the forthcoming election, the political scene is as dank, dark and dismal as the weather. There isn’t even the light or warmth of a single new idea or even the prospect of innovation down the road. And all this at a time when politicians concede that “politics is broken.”
Politicians acknowledge that they have lost the trust of people, but persist in chicanery, deceit and peddling downright lies. Every politician who talks about why they went into politics says it is because they want to contribute and help make a better society. Yet they seem to lack any sort of moral compass and be incapable of ever answering a question, let alone telling the truth. Depressing doesn’t even begin to touch on the feelings the situation invokes: we are diving beyond despair.
As we revert to a classic ideological clash between socialist and capitalist ideologies, I question whether I am the only one who can see the pendulum we are on.
Margaret Thatcher swept the Conservatives into power on the back of the discontent caused by poor social management and a struggling economy offering abysmal service and handicapped by one strike after another. The restoration of better economic conditions has resulted in those times being largely forgotten for 40 years.
Now, however, her ideology of minimum government interference and trickle-down economics is proving to be fallible as well, and we witness wealth increasingly concentrating in the hands of the wealthy. Yet the Conservatives continue to promote the same policies. A brilliant cartoon in today’s Times newspaper depicts them as the back wheel of an old Penny-farthing bicycle with the front one being Brexit – itself symbolic of a national desire to go back to the “good, old days” when “Britannia ruled the waves.”
If the cartoonist were apply the same logic to the Labour policy he might perhaps replace the Penny-farthing with an ox-wagon. Although perhaps a little extreme, that would represent the nature of the backward step Labour are proposing with their manifesto and so many of the policies that would restore those pre-Thatcher conditions. Their leaders claim that what they are proposing is not revolutionary but is “transformational.” They may be justified in their claim, but is retrogression really transformation? Do we really want to adopt policies that have failed everywhere they have ever been introduced?
The thing is that pendulum moves but it never goes anywhere. It just oscillates back and forth, from one extreme to another. Unfortunately in this instance the extremes are both undesirable yet we seem to be in the throes of yet another conflict between the two with all the doom, gloom and disaster that comes with them. Yet we seem to be incapable of getting off the damn thing. Like it or not, we are riding this pendulum on its nightmare journey to nowhere. By heavens it is depressing, and I want to get off.
Please get hold of my book, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped read my ideas as to how we could change our economic systems and promote discussion and debate around them so that we can answer these questions to restore democracy and safeguard a better future for future generations.
Very insightful, Bay. The pendulum seems to be swinging further to the extremes by the day. I like the idea of coalitions, although I know many in the UK consider them to be ‘unstable’ or ‘impotent’. Maybe it’s just that the UK isn’t used to them. Here in Scandinavia, everywhere has a ‘consensual democracy’, where cross-party coalitions form the government. Because political parties that are in competition with each other end up working together (even if not 100% harmoniously) it arguably reduces aggressive, oppositional electioneering, averts the extremes and fosters more collaboration where fresh ideas can play out.