Friday, October 27, 2006

Leadership deficit

As another week trundles by in British politics, the disillusion of the British people with their leaders grows still further. After the pathetic display of John Reid on immigration- showing yet again why "Yes, Minister" really was so painfully accurate- we now have the usual Tory sex scandal.

I make no judgment as to whether a man leaving his wife for another man is any better or worse than leaving his wife for another woman. It is to be regretted either way, when there are children involved, but I will make no Jeremiad - although since he seems to have opposed a good deal of legislation to equalise the legal position of gays, so I suppose he could legitimately be accused of hypocrisy.

What tires me is that every generation of British politicians makes the same mistakes.

Meanwhile, the British people are getting frustrated with a political class that alternately talks down to them or ignores them. The political scandal is not the easy-to-understand sexual shenanigans of obscure political figures- it is the denial of power and even information to the mass of the British electorate.

After a nominally Labour government that based itself on marketing gimmickry, are we now to have to endure a nominally Conservative government differing hardly a jot ideologically, and based on the same trivialities of image?

If so then our politics have become morally bankrupt. For the fact is that there are ideological questions that need to be addressed. As a Liberal I am sceptical of government, yet the newtorylabour consensus entrenches inappropriate government at every level and very big and centralised government in Whitehall- it is a dangerous coalition, and an expensive one too.

It is not enough to change the party of government- we must change the system of government too.

The moral and intellectual pygmies who might laughingly be called our masters deserve to be tested to higher standards- a more open political system is now vital. The nineteenth century habits of both legislature and executive must be reformed. The absurd secrecy that the British civil service demands must be abolished outright- the Freedom of information act, which has been reduced to a pitiful farce, must now be given real teeth.

With political participation rates now falling below 50%, even for a general election- the time has come for the whole racket to be cleared out, bag and baggage.

A free market in politics is long overdue...

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