Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 6 September 2009

W(h)ither democracy?

There is an interesting vignette of what is wrong with our political system in one of The Times leader articles today on public spending:

Labour will not grasp this nettle, having failed to tackle the pension apartheid between the public and private sectors for fear of upsetting the unions. There is a hint, though, that the Conservatives may be preparing to do so. Although the party has not yet published any detailed proposals, and may not do so this side of the election, it is letting it be known that this is an area where it is ready to take action.

So on one of the biggest issues facing us, the Conservatives "may not" publish detailed proposals this side of an election. In which case how the hell are people supposed to make up their minds whether to vote for them, and what sort of mandate will they have even if they win power? And one of the largest circulation newspapers in the country just mentions this in passing in a leader article. Rather than being cause for outrage and insisting they must spell out their plans it's just accepted with a nudge and wink in the lobby that the detail may wait until after the election. In other words, we the public don't get any say.

No wonder people are disillusioned with politics.


Stephen Glenn said...

Totally agree Mark, for the last few years the Tories have been saying 'we won't give details of our plans yet as we're not in an election'. Now it appears that even then we aren't going to hear what the plans are and the electorate will not be any the wiser.

Just when are we, or the Tories for that matter, going to learn what their plans are?

mariet said...

Of couse they won't give us their plans - probably too draconian to contemplate!

Mark Thompson said...

mariet - I think many people will just say with a shrug that this is inevitable but how have we collectively allowed our democracy to get to the point where a putative government actively conceals its plans as part of its election strategy? Ny the way I am not singling out the Tories, Labour are at this as well.

As it happens I think Cameron will regret his timidity. For radical changes he needs a mandate. If he is straight with the public now and he wins, he has that mandate. If he isn't then he will find it much harder later and he will be much more unpopular as a result.