Politics & Society
May Wed 05, 2010
The alarming call of all main party leaders for change and renewal is the sign that a “new beginning” is needed, not much in our political arena, but in our society as a whole.
Firstly, a break between politics and our society is evident. The gap between them increased over time with only 61.4% voters in the last elections, compared with 77.7% in 1992 (and more than 80% in Italy). Two reasons may make us believe in a change of trend: the introduction of ministerial debates broadcasted in television which brought the political debate into British households and the difficult situation of the economy, with people more concerned about who will be ‘in charge of’ a recovery plan.
At the same time, the ministerial debates are transforming British politics into a three-man race – similar to presidential elections in the United States – where ‘potential ministers’ are not granted any major opportunity to express their views in specific areas that will be under their remit in a political system where the Prime Minister does not have ‘unlimited’ powers as in a presidential state – e.g. the Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. Minister of Finance or Secretary of the Treasury) has a significant power in deciding the budget and is second in command as far as power is concerned. And this shift may actually distance people from politics, especially if they do not find any of the three main leaders able to attract their vote.
This broken relationship between politics and society mainly suggests that the first step for us citizens is to understand that we can contribute to build this society by exercising a vote which will determine the approach used in handling the main issues in this country. Key to this decision and the exercise of vote itself seems to be the understanding of our needs and the ones of our society because one political party may favour a development more than others. These elections then represent the opportunity to look at our society and critically identify the current situation and therefore its most urgent needs.
Living outside Britain, one might think that this country represents an opportunity for many people coming to live here and an example to follow for the management of other countries. However, serious issues in our society are coming under light and some misunderstandings need to be clarified. Here I only report three as a matter of example.
Firstly, the “less-than-perfect” banking system has revealed that tools are at the service of man; and, when man does not use them according to his true needs, the results are visible to our eyes. The real issue here is that, after all that happened, we have not learnt anything and we continue our ‘business as usual’, trying to find the most profitable tool to quickly increase our own benefit (highly frequent trading is only an example). For sure the solution to this problem is not an extra 10% of tax on all investment banks as the Liberal Democrats are advocating.
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