A call for reflection

Oct 13th, 2022 | International Affairs | 0 comments

Considers the need for the governance of the UK to evolve

I have generally enjoyed the James O’Brien show on LBC. Sometimes he has gone over the top in his criticism of the Government but mostly his opinions are very entertaining for me as someone who is not committed to a political party. But lately he seems to be in near ecstasy at the fumbling about which the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have brought upon themselves with their clumsy handling of the tax cuts to the richest in society and their having so quickly to change their policy. He loves rubbing in their need to perform a U-turn. Of course, we must bear in mind that the radio show is devised for the purpose of entertainment.
Nonetheless this seems to me to be on the excessive side for two main reasons. Firstly, the Tories currently constitute the government of the UK and we need them to be relatively successful in their endeavours in running the country. Being hyper delighted at their misfortune is not good for the country. In some sense we should be sad that they are fumbling so much as this can’t be good for the general wellbeing of our institutions or for the citizens themselves. In fact, it is not at all clear to me that the media’s intense focus on embarrassing government ministers and other parliamentarians is really helpful at this time. It is abundantly clear that a policy mistake was made and that it was corrected.
The second issue is that we are today surrounded by what one might call wicket problems. Wicket problems is what some people including academics call problems with no obvious solutions. There is no apparent solution in the short term to the fuel crisis and thus inflation. There is no reason to be optimistic that the war in the Ukraine will be resolved in a satisfactory way any time soon. We have all sorts of post-Brexit issues to resolve, including the lack of labour in numerous parts of our society from the NHS professionals through hospitality to agriculture i.e. lettuce pickers, to mention only one category of worker. There is the rubber boat crossing of the Channel problem which will only get worse. The railway and other union strikes are far from being resolved. We have had a lull in the Scottish and Northern Irish issues, but these are coming back in a big way soon, and of course Covid is still lurking in the background.
Does anyone really believe that the Labour Party will handle this cauldron of wicket problems well? I can see them resolving a few of these issues quickly but some of the others they will find tough to handle. We get so engaged in our likes and dislikes for the individuals involved in politics that we sometimes lose sight of the creaky old political party apparatus and the adversarial parliamentary system of government they have to work with. There are so many reforms which could be made which would make the government and management of this country more effective and efficient and would lead to the greater good for all.
What is now required is a period of serious reflection. I think we really need to engage in thinking about a fundaments revaluation of how we do politics in this country and not just muddle along with a system which may have been fit-for-purpose in the 19th century but is clearly out of date today.