I have not spend all that much time watching election politics news, partly because I’m just way too busy (day job plus family), but partly because it is so boring and depressing;
“The media and Party X attacks party Y for saying they would increase spending on the NHS by £5bejillion which would cause a hole in the budget big enough to trigger the end of the universe”
“The Media and Party Y attacks Party X for pledging to reduce university tuition fees because actually only rich young men would benefit because women are already lower paid… blah blah blah…
I don’t believe this is the best we can come up with. If Germany can have a great national health system and low university fees there must be a way to do it. I want to see what we can do.
Nothing is impossible (unless actual real science says so), we can land a spaceship on a comet but we can’t find a way to run our country effectively enough to achieve what almost any society would aim to achieve?
I’m not interested in Red or Blue anymore, because they are all neo-liberal (a term I only recently learned the meaning of since it sounds like a high-brow politics and philosophy term). What it means is a system of government where the state does less and less, i.e. deregulation and privatisation while private companies take more and more responsibility for things like healthcare, education, infrastructure and security.
Such a system has delivered tuition fees, academy schools, NHS privatisation, rubbish service on the railways and insufficient, piecemeal investment in infrastructure. And as a final kick in the teeth this is all propped up by government subsidies costing even more than before they were privatised in the first place.
Anyway. That is the politics of the past now. The politics of robbing Peter to pay Paul. The politics of “it can’t be done” and “you’ll never change it”.
It is time for a new type of politics. Politics with a positive mental attitude. The politics of
“if country X can do it, then so can we… so how do we make it work for the UK?”
Politics involving team work and problem solving, using and trusting the skills of our people and our resources to remove decades or century-old barriers, to work out a system of economics, for example, which will minimise economic bubbles and busts, provide a functioning safety net for people who fall on hard times are hurt, sick or need community help in any way, while allowing everyone to achieve their potential.
Charities and faith groups have done an outstanding job of pulling people out of the river and helping them survive another day. But now it is time to help our society by taking an honest look at whoever is pushing those people into the river in the first place and stopping them. It is not enough to drop some coins in the collection, we have to have courage to use our own minds to judge the situation around us and we have to trust that there is indeed a better way than austerity and status quo politics.
It is not crazy talk or pie-in-the-sky ideas from a bunch of hippies versus sensible red or blue conservatism. What we need is the willingness to look outside the old and broken box and to vote outside that broken box on the 7th May. Voting for tweedledum this time and tweedledee in 2020 will probably never fix our country, how many more people will fall below the poverty line (or die needlessly) by 2020 if we don’t vote for change? Nobody sensible is suggesting we kick over the ant’s nest and start from scratch. We need to be wise and realistic but at the same time determined for change and optimistic. We must have the courage to say,
“wait a minute, quantitative easing didn’t work last time, can’t we stimulate the economy another way before spending another £375billion on that?”.
Look at who your candidates are, look at their skills, their work and educational background, would this person be any good at problem solving and morally courageous? Would they be good at working in a team to look critically at the options, understanding the salient points and making a pragmatic decision based upon the facts presented?
That is the novel and ground-breaking politics we need.
No more deciding policies based upon what a true-blue or real-red do. What do the facts of the situation say? Is it sensible to fund universities with 35 year loans? Does it make sense to reprivatise a public company run railway which was making money for the tax-payer?
It is not that hard. Humans successfully landed a man on the moon 56 years ago people. We can do this.