Friday, September 21, 2018

Drifting through the voids of British politics...

It’s been a long time since I ventured into the blog. Yes, I’ve written a few things for Liberal Democrat Voice as the mood, or a sense of vague obligation, has inspired. It hasn’t been easy though.

I had begun to wonder if I wasn’t beginning to drift into mild depression but, whilst there is much “out there” to despair over, it is, to a great degree, one step removed from my day to day existence. After all, Ros and I are happy together, work is alright (and does not dominate my life in any sense), and life in the village continues on its quietly satisfying way. I have much to be grateful for.

Beyond that though, it is hard to feel inspired. Our politics is not unsatisfying, it is broken, our nation led by the inept and incompetent, the Official Opposition equally uninspiring, the loudest voices being those who would be better silent. Closer to home, local government appears to be a desperate battle to preserve even a semblance of the services that our communities have taken for granted until now.

To make matters worse, the combined impact of social media, the mainstream media and of a public prone to believe in short sentences delivered with passion regardless of the facts has served to increasingly drive out the rational, the genuinely doubtful, those inclined to listen to the argument before reaching a conclusion.

Government, under such circumstances, whilst not impossible, is difficult and constrained, especially given the ease with which the underpinnings of our democracy - an independent judiciary, the rule of law and a neutral Civil Service - have been discredited by the extremists and fanatics.

The question one asks oneself is, “Why bother?”. The answer should be easy - if democracy and civil society matter so much, someone needs to fight for them. The motivation to act on that urge is, however, hard to find. If the British public want to try out cliff-jumping to see if it might be enjoyable, is it for me to stop them, or should I work on the basis that people, and perhaps a nation, should bear the consequences of their actions?

What causes me to hesitate before I quietly amble away into the sunset is those people I know who are vulnerable, or different (which can sometimes amount to the same thing). If Brexit happens, and it goes as wrong as some people suggest it might, the great British public may well look for someone to blame. And yes, that may include politicians, but more likely it will include those who are different, those who stand out.

And, of course, if it does end badly, what will become of those who rely on support from the State? There’s hardly likely to be funds spare to fund the welfare system we currently have, and I doubt that the NHS will be sufficiently funded to keep pace with demand.

But I am not really a campaigner. I’m the person that enables campaigning by freeing up the rather more passionate to focus on that. I’ve always rather seen myself as the political equivalent to a village telephone switchboard operator, connecting people who should be connected, directing people with questions towards people with answers.

So, perhaps the solution is to focus on the stuff that I understand and can make a useful contribution towards. And, stop worrying about the other stuff...

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