What the political parties have done for us

Thursday, 4th August

uk-parliament

Few political decisions with right or wrong answers

• WHILE proportional representation, PR, might prevent such disasters as Thatcherism, it will never provide any solutions.

That’s because there are few political decisions with right or wrong answers. As we’ve clearly seen in the last couple of years, politics has two main facets: party policies and the need to respond to changes in the world around us. And that means the targets are always moving and those in power have to respond accordingly.

Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has had massive impacts on global and local energy and food supplies which our present government has had to react to. How badly they have done so is a matter for discussion elsewhere.

The main issue where PR could help a little is that parties have their own agendas and having a broader range of ideas active in a government might stop some of their worst excesses, such as Margaret Thatcher’s Tory party and its various appalling decisions in the 1980s.

Many of these are still affecting Britain today: witness chaos in the energy supply sector where dozens of companies are now active, many owned by governments outside the UK!

But in Thatcher’s time even Labour was too scared to say or do anything to stop her. And even when they did gain power, they changed none of the fundamentals of Thatcherism, hence the collapse of the banking system a decade after Tony Blair was elected!

Coming to more recent history, don’t forget we had the Tory/LibDem coalition and we know how useless that was: they changed nothing and gave us George Osborne and the austerity policies, which are a major part of the reason for poverty in the UK and the state of a health service deliberately starved of funds.

David Cameron’s Brexit referendum was the main progeny of the latest shambles. A government with a more balanced group of representatives might have been less aggressive in pursuing those awful ideas, but I certainly would not be too certain.

We need a government with real principles and the guts to pursue them, and we haven’t had anything like that since 1945.

DAVID REED
Eton Avenue, NW3

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