DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
With regard to Reaction’s new series of articles – Better Britain: What do we want for our country? – the last three years have shown the complete failure of politics in the UK. The lack of respect, of tolerance, of the ability to listen, of engagement, of compromise, of leadership, is now clearly obvious.
All the main players seem primarily concerned with their own tribal advantage. They are “right” and everyone else is “wrong”. There is no one immune to this criticism, the charge can be levelled at all the partys, all the leaders, all the sub-groups, remainers and leavers, everyone. All claim to be acting in the “national interest”, at least as they define it, but they are not, they are all playing games and most of us have had enough. Labour, Tories, Nationalists, Liberals, Greens, Change UK – it applies to all without exception. As much as the party’s and politicians are to blame, so too are the media and we the public in general who reinforce the tribalism and hostility. We all need to reflect and change.
Politics has become so awful. It is now held in low regard and sadly many of the good people that are needed will have nothing to do with it and are not coming forward. Who in their right mind would willingly become involved with one of our leading parties?
How did the concept of good governance – the facility to hear and respond to the nations needs and to design and implement policy to meet those needs and to release the nations unlimited potential – become so lost? How did government become so weak and divisive?
Clearly major reform is needed and new leadership must come forward to implement such reform.
The political parties are no longer fit for purpose. The future of our nation should not be left in the hands of a few unrepresentative activists of either left or right or some sub-group.
There needs to be an entirely new mindset and attitude in the public at large and in all the major players. There needs to be an injection of sincere engagement, of respect and tolerance. We need to embrace free-speech and guard against censorship. We need good, honest, open debate.
There has to be a shift from conflict to more consensus. Conflict divides, it frustrates, it weakens. Consensus integrates, it unites, it is the harder option but done well it brings strength and maximises the collective will.
Westminster is too remote to be able to hear and respond to the needs and opportunities of all the nation. There must be meaningful decentralisation of power and resources to the nations, regions, cities and counties. Perhaps an English Parliament could be established to complete the devolution process – maybe in Sheffield or Nottingham. Not everything has to go to Manchester or Birmingham.
The House of Lords should be reformed and elected to provide a strong counter to the Commons. It could also be designed to provide a strong and meaningful voice for the nations and regions.
The strength of the UK is its diversity, but too often Westminster does not recognise or embrace this. The government should be legally obliged to consult the devolved authorities on strategic questions. Let’s make the Bank of England the Bank of Britain.
Policy wise there is so much that needs addressing on poverty, housing, infrastructure, education, health and social care, the environment, to taking advantage of the new growing industries and services. There are so many inspiring people working in these fields whose voices should be heard.
With a new mind set, a new leadership, reformed and new institutions, positive engagement with each other, there is great opportunity ahead for this nation to unleash its potential. All we need now is that new leadership to move things on. Just maybe, out of this crisis, there will come a real national renewal.
If we are to have a Better Britain and more effective politics then a change to our ridiculous voting system for Westminster is essential. We have new parties emerging and a huge hunger for change. We hear it said that Britain is divided but parliament does not, and cannot, properly reflect the divisions and articulate what people want because it channels everything towards two failed old parties.
Worse, the only thing propping up the legacy parties is the First Past the Post voting system. Get rid of it and open up politics to new forces, parties and individuals.
Iain Martin wrote in his most recent newsletter that a new Tory leader will have to hold a general election. I think that the new Conservative leader should call a general election. I do not fear that outcome. As a Conservative activist, there is nothing worse than campaigning for policies you do not believe in as we did at the 2017 general election.
On the assumption that the next leader is a re-negotiator/no dealer, my party’s activists will be enthused and will work hard for re-election.
It could be that the Conservatives lose in a general election but I will take my chances especially against the complacent and arrogant Remainers. It is vitally important that you fight for something you believe in. This is proved by the Brexit party and, on the other side, the Lib Dems.
But I am not sure that this parliament will win in a fight with a no deal PM. It is true that parliament could revoke Article 50 but it would be a brave Labour party that did that. It is easier for MPs to vote for no action. Revoking Article 50 sounds too much like taking a decision.
Reaction has provided a brutal but fair assessment of the May debacle.
As a person that votes whenever there is the opportunity to do so, for the second time in my life I did not vote Conservative – in the European elections, as the Conservatives have done such a poor job in recent years. I voted for an independent candidate.
Note: the first time I didn’t vote Conservative was in a local election when I used one of my votes for an independent candidate who assessed the local issues more accurately than any other candidate.
But while the performance against last time was poor for the Conservatives in the local elections, they did still succeed in getting more councillors elected in absolute terms than Labour and the Lib Dems combined. Maybe they are not as doomed as everyone thinks.