I’ve watched self-serving, immoral politicians run Britain into the ground for decades – nothing in this country will improve until they do
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Can any UK government get it right? Politicians appear unable to achieve good outcomes on the things that really matter. Only the most self-compromising and self-serving appear to get to the more senior positions and stay there – Gove, Hunt, Johnson, Grayling, Williamson et al. Most are able to add plain vicious or nasty to their approach.
Labour appears unable to pull a robust, costed, action plan together and are more tainted than most with the brush of incompetent fiscal policy and business/financial management. The Lib Dems are just irrelevant most of the time as their “good” policies are undeliverable.
Most government ministers engage in cynical fiscal and financial sleight of hand while smiling wolfishly and proclaiming, yet again, that we have, or will never have had it so good. (The latter may be true, but we need to feel good for it to ring true.)
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We keep being promised good politics and yet it never seems even close. Even MPs are abandoning PMQs. The disgraceful budget fix on betting machines, promises of looking after hard-working people, of proper funding for everything from the NHS to schools and social care; building houses, roads, and railways; and dealing with drugs, street crime, hate crime, and illegal immigrants, all suffer from saying one thing and doing another to avoid or reduce the perceived benefit – or, simply, the truth.
Conning the public appears to be seen as acceptable practice. Under-promising and over-delivering appears to have been deemed a mugs game. Decades of this attitude and action has seen the public and public institutions respond in kind – becoming cynical, self-serving, immoral and quasi-criminal, if not actually so. Politics, while supposedly championing fair treatment, has become covertly immoral and promotes hatred instead of tolerance, extremism instead of compromise.
The politics of a UK-style Brexit, when compared to the calm, clear and firm EU approach, is symptomatic – we are combative and threatening when intelligent, cool, calm and pragmatic heads are needed.
I am a Remainer, but could be persuaded by sensible and reasoned argument to Leave (much as I would prefer the EU to change a bit) except for the bile spouted by the “just (expletive deleted) do it” Brexiteers. It’s the ignorance and seemingly blind self-serving stupidity of UK politics that exasperates me.
Our car industry and other industrial productivity is in decline (not wholly due to external strategic decisions in the case of Jaguar Land Rover) and the financial and services sector is going to be damaged by any deal, no matter how “good”.
We refuse to act with moral strength over any matter, citing financial necessity. Instead of acting to remove the stranglehold, we shrug and let it continue while that further degrades our standing. Nowhere can be far enough away to let these things slide in this modern world – you are either decent, or not.
We are told, authoritatively, that we have 12 years to act before millions suffer dreadfully from climate change, with hardly a comment from our leadership and the departments concerned. Same old kick-it-down-the-road, let-someone-else-deal-with-it “leadership”.
We are told that domestic energy prices will be capped, when poorer users just need some help to swap and the companies concerned are making reasonable margins, while the fossil fuel industry is allowed to fleece us and make record profits as the government freezes fuel tax again – enabling further profit to made, just as lifting stamp duty thresholds made no difference to house costs for buyers.
Fiscal policy should be promoting less profit in bad things and making good things worth doing. Throwing money at public institutions is not the answer I seek. Every part of society should be fairly treated against sensible outcomes, and efficiency and improvement rewarded. Taxes must rise, but as little as possible. Gold-plated public service packages and pensions have to go, along with private sector executive super-deals. Free market economics are good, but with sensible limits to provide a balanced reward system for everyone in profitable companies, and a decent safety net for those that need it.
Companies where principals take most of the cake without sharing can simply be taxed to avoid eight figure payouts. No one needs more than £10m over the life of a contract or period of employment without sharing.
On a positive note, politicians such as Tracey Crouch who treat their brief seriously and honourably are to be applauded. If more politicians and civil servants acted honourably we wouldn’t run out of good politicians and managers, we would develop better practices. You reap what you sow.
As the centenary of the First World War is played out it seems not much has changed in practice – the British people are being led by some of the most donkey-like and immoral leaders imaginable, while our “lions” are sacrificed for principles that are being overtaken by wiser countries, and we fail to deliver on our talk of global leadership.
Time for a change.
Michael Mann Shrewsbury
We must have a Final Say on Brexit
The single simple EU referendum question has – over the two and a half years since it was asked – led to many more complex questions over disentangling nearly half a century of politically entwined trade and cooperation that are patently not so easy to answer.
This is clear to everyone now.
In light of this, if we are not given the opportunity to reconsider whether it’s all really worth the bother, it’ll be a dereliction of governmental duty deliberately cutting the plebs out of the plebiscite in the end.
And the calls for a Final Say on the final deal, with an option to remain obviously, daily grow louder as a consequence.
If you don’t want to be reconsulted you can have your reasons, but a meaningful democratic approach to the increasingly convoluted and damaging long drawn-out process of leaving clearly isn’t one of them, no question.
Belt and braces democracy in my opinion over a decision that will affect generations of Britons to come is a very necessary answer in the circumstances of looming parliamentary deadlock.
We must have another say.
John Haran Leigh-on-Sea
Trump and romanticising war
“If you want the old battalion, we know where they are, we know where they are, we know where they are. If you want the old battalion, we know where they are – they’re hanging on the old barbed wire! We’ve seen them, we’ve seen them, hanging on the old barbed wire, we’ve seen them, we’ve seen them, hanging on the old barbed wire.”
It beggars belief that in the week of the centenary of the end of the First World War, Donald Trump is boasting about “beautiful barbed wire”. God help us all!
Rosemary Mathew Cambridge
Isn’t God ‘love’?
Just wondering – if God is love, why does it appear that the American Evangelicals use fear and hate to control their flock? Reminds me of a man in the White House!
Barbara MacArthur Cardiff
Thank you, Tracey Crouch
Excellent article from John Rentoul, I must say that although it is not fashionable to applaud any MP at the moment – was it ever, I wonder? – I agree entirely with everything written and wish Ms Crouch a speedy return.
Following on from this, I now hear that we may be staying in a customs union with the EU; therefore it has to be assumed that “principled” politicians will commence resigning from the cabinet forthwith!
Finally, as his job will doubtless evaporate, can I look forward to Liam Fox returning to a role allegedly more suitable, like running his local jumble sale?
Robert Boston Kingshill
The death penalty
In response to John Hayes’s assertion that, when bringing back the death penalty for crimes like the Westminster Bridge attack, “most people would deem that appropriate”.
No, Sir, they would not.
Laura Dawson Harpenden
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
Sign our petition here