Who should I vote for in the forthcoming election? A person or party with political gravitas, one that shows qualities of statesmanship. Or should it be statespersonship? Where are such people? I only see squabbling fourth-formers exchanging slogans as if they embody the solution to the world’s problems.
Our politicians try to do their best but they are products of the system which seems to me to be flawed. But that is a story for another day.
We all want better welfare services and better infrastructure paid for by the state. We all want to pay less tax, have better paid jobs and cheaper houses. We all want better pensions, security in old age, better and free education. Above all, and we should not lose sight of this, we all want freedom.
A statesman should tell us where we stand now and where he or she hope to take us in the next 5 years.
Where are we now? None of the politicians has assessed the current state of our country in the world. We have a devalued currency, wages are going down, productivity is decreasing, inflation is increasing and we rely heavily on international loans. Furthermore, our transatlantic allies are less reliable and predictable than they were. Then we have decided to cold shoulder our friends in Europe.
Of the two political parties which may form a government one is promising everything we want for free. The other is leading us into and unknown future in the hope that it will be ‘all right on the night’ but with no clue about exactly where we might stand.
Strong and Stable
For the many, not the few
Change Britain’s Future
Confident and Caring Britain
Stronger for Scotland
What do they mean?
What do these political slogans mean? We ought to be sanguine about them, even about the one of your own favoured party. Let us try to be critical. You can compare their manifestos here,
Strong and Stable. (Conservative)
We are heading for anything but a strong and stable situation. What is stable about Brexit? Do British emmigrants and European immigrants feel stable in their situation?
Strong. Will we be strong out of Europe? How do you get strong by giving your friends the cold shoulder? Forward Together is the title of the conservative manifesto but it does not explain where we are going.
For the many, not the few. (Labour)
Part of the deal of our democratic system is that the winners will not neglect or persecute the losers. This slogan implies that there are a few persona non-grata who must pay for the rest of us.
Change Britain’s Future (Lib Dem)
Britain’s future will change no matter who governs. The future will be shaped by world events more than by local politics. Some things politicians seem unable to change. Does anyone remember a time when the NHS was not in crisis? Does anyone believe that in two or five years’ time we will not be discussing a crisis in the NHS or the burgeoning national debt?
Confident and Caring Britain (Green Party)
These, in my opinion are qualities that come from the bottom up and cannot be imposed from the top down. It is an ‘motherhood and apple pie’ statement, everyone approves of the idea but it is how you plan to get there that matters.
Britain Together (UKIP)
This watchword, Together, is chosen by the most divisive of all our political parties. Those useful, and industrious, immigrant workers – we don’t want to be together with them, do we? Those Europeans – anathema.
Stronger for Scotland
Could this be the converse of the Labour party slogan and translate as ‘For the few, not the many’?
What’s to do?
You should vote this week. Vote for the one which you think will be least damaging to the country. None of parties seem to have any great vision for the future and they have very little idea of how to improve matters.
Political parties could start putting their houses in order. The party system is failing. It selects political candidates who will ‘fit in,’ who won’t ‘rock the boat’ or have awkward ideas. Parties select professional committee people who have never had to make decisions of any consequence, who have never studied in the University of Life and who are practiced in the art of doing nothing in case someone criticises them. As for nepotism, there is none of that is there?
Of course, there are dangers to choosing candidates who have studied at the University of Life. Look at what has happened in America. We could have had Fred the Shred or Philip Multiyacht Green of BHS as prospective prime ministers.
Freedom used to be paramount, parties claimed that under their rule we would be freer. Now we are losing our freedoms and we should ask why.
It is the duty of governments to strive for the maximum freedoms for its subjects. One of the best definitions of democracy is a political system that gives freedom to do whatever is not contrary to the rights of others. We strive for and defend our freedoms; my parents’ generation even gave their lives for it.
We will shortly lose our freedom to travel throughout Europe; our European passports will be revoked.
We will lose our freedom to trade unhindered, in Europe.
We will lose our freedom to work and research with our academic colleagues in Europe.
Those millions of Britains living in Europe face an uncertain future, fearing that many of their freedoms will be lost. Similarly, those Europeans who have chosen to live in Britain.
Universities will have their freedoms to research and exchange with the world’s scientists curtailed.
Daily we hear of attempts to limit freedom of speech in the interests of something or other. By ‘freedom of speech’ we must include the freedom of the internet, Facebook, Twitter etc and the freedom of encryption as well as the traditional freedoms like freedom of the press.
We will be unable to associate freely with non-UK citizens. Indeed, the government is planning to ask us to spy on them in case they are not on a government approved list. This has happened before of course, at the beginning of the Third Reich, in Eastern Europe during the communist regimes, at the start of the Sri Lankan civil war and, nearer to home, in Northern Ireland.
What I did.
I wrote to my MP, Steve Brine, about the impending loss of freedom and particularly about losing the freedom to travel ‘without let or hindrance’ as our passports quaintly phrase it. He replied saying that he would bear my points in mind. In fact, he will vote the way his party tells him to vote.
What will happen?
Whoever wins this election, negotiations on Brexit will start. Slowly and surely, we will begin to accelerate down the economic slope as we find we have to make compromise after compromise which we do not like. Trade will decrease, the government will receive less in tax and we will be unable to afford the services we now have.
Europe will strengthen under Merkel and Macron, America will lose further credibility and where will May’s ‘Global Britain’ be? Friendless in Europe and exploited by America.
Please can someone offer a better scenario?