Thursday, 11 October 2012

Politically Homeless

I'm a political hobo; I think that our politicians are fighting over a centre ground that is about to fall into the sea. In the last century Britain was one of a few countries sat at a table laden with the Earth's resources, now, a lot more have sat up and they have big spoons. So we should expect the cost of food and energy to continue rising, at a time when many cannot afford them already.

For me, the political consequence of this is that we need our government to be a lot smaller and cheaper. So far, so conservative, but there is a complacency about the Conservatives that I think is very dangerous. After the riots last year the consensus developed that this was criminality pure and simple and so the appropriate response was a few headline-grabbing sentences and a cut in police numbers. I agree that it was simply people taking what they wanted, but the important factor is not what was present in their thoughts and actions, but what was absent: any sense that taking and destroying other people's property is wrong.

It seems to me, we have to confront the fact that our prescription for the poor - beat them down, lock them up, pay them off - was designed in an age of plenty and is too expensive for our own. Historically states have not managed declining living standards well but we could, if we become more equal. 'All in this together' should not just be a political catchphrase, it should be a reality, because only a fairer society will be able to maintain the consent necessary to stay peaceful.

The Left think we should solve the problem by spending money we do not have; the Right that we should allow people to fall below the breadline, starting a fight we could all lose. Whose side are you on?

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