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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Politicians in a Democracy

There is a civil service (national and local) to keep the country running (by collecting taxes and spending them), a judiciary to uphold the rule of law, a police force to maintain public order, and an army to protect the country from external conflict.

A  politician’s role is to be a conduit for change, indeed potentially even to be a leader.

In theory, in a democracy, a politician effects change by using his vote to attempt to improve the condition of the citizens who have elected him.

The XXIst century politician seems more intent on avoiding responsibility and (in many cases) filling his pockets.

If you are not convinced that this is not the case, consider the following facts:

  • The currency of Britain’s major trading partners (the Euro) is under such pressure that even a break-up can no longer be ignored. All politicians in the UK (with very few exceptions) are patting themselves on the back for not having joined the Euro, although the truth is that the UK could not have joined the Euro (when originally launched in 1999) as the UK did not meet the entry requirements at the time and, much more importantly, Mr Blair and his advisers were all too aware that parliament would vote against joining the Euro. As MPs have clearly lost touch with reality, it might be worthwhile reminding them that the Pound has depreciated by 5.5 % (Source FT.com) in the last year against the Euro. The strengthening economy they would have us believe is happening is a mere figment of over-vivid imaginations.

  • Australia and Canada, countries that are friendly to the UK had both issued warnings for their citizens travelling to the United Kingdom.

  • International football matches, albeit ‘friendly’ have been cancelled because the police were unable to commit manpower to policing the events and, more importantly, to being able to reasonably ensure the safety of supporters. This is in London, the host of the 2012 Olympics.

  • The MP’s expenses ‘scandal’ has led to imprisonments but, has the lesson been learned? Certainly not, having pledged transparency there is now plenty more bleating and suggestions that the ‘open’ system should be relaxed… presumably that means less open. If you are interested in seeing the names and misdemeanours of 10% of MPs, take a look at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1181189/Full-list-MPs-ministers-caught-expenses-scandal.html . The list includes the current prime minister, his two predecessors, the deputy prime minister… the same people who show indignation at looters.

So where were the ‘leaders’ while this was going on? On holiday… that’s what I call real leadership.

Conclusion: All MP’s should be renamed Houdini and given a number (Houdini 1 = Prime Minister, Houdini 2 = Deputy Prime Minister etc). The reason being that they wheedle their way out of anything and are clearly contortionists, being able to put their feet up and their snouts in the trough at the same time.

Please note that the use of the masculine is only to make this easier to read… there are also many female politicians doing as good, or as bad, a job as their male colleagues.

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