Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fixing Broken Britain

Excuse me, I have a question. Don't hold your head like that. I know I often say I have a question when really I mean I want to impose my opinions upon you but live with it. There will be no views at the end of this.

So let me get it straight in my head. Conservative political philosophy includes the important view that governments should intervene less. People should be freed from legislation, red tape and bureaucracy to be able to run their lives. We should be given freedom.

OK so far? Good. Come back with me to about 1962 or 3 and my friend Bill has been invited round for tea. I say 'my friend.' My friendship with Bill, and my sister's with his sister Roxanne (I've changed these names by the way), was based on the fact that our respective mothers and fathers were friends. When our parents wanted to meet up we had to play together nicely.

I was given quite a lot of freedom by my parents and my sister and I enjoyed a large play-room which was not either of our bedrooms and which was always a mess. Every now and again a parent would come and supervise its tidying but by and large you had to walk on toys to get across the room. Lots of things got broken and Bill said, one day, 'You break everything.' He was right, although it has taken me nearly half a century to get round to acknowledging it. I wasn't naturally tidy or careful.

Some time later I worked out that I wanted to be tidy and careful with stuff and have been ever since. I think that 'some time later' may have been about seven years or so.

So my question is this. If your political philosophy is not to intervene and your economic philosophy is to lower taxes and let people keep as much of their money as possible, how will the play room get tidy and the toys get fixed by themselves? Are they willing to wait the inordinately long time for all the people to come to their senses in this big country. Have they noticed that after a major upheaval (Iraq, Haiti) citizens are more likely to loot than play nicely? Stuff gets broken. I only ask.

And if you have dealt with that one then a follow up. How much of a toy has to be broken before it is described as 'broken.' The aerial snaps off a model car. Broken? The paintwork gets scratched. Broken? The passenger door falls off when you open it. Broken? Grandma stands on it. OK it is bust now. She was a hell of a woman, but you get the question, I hope.

I suspect that describing Britain as broken might be, do you not agree, just a wee bit premature? It is a very big toy to allow a nation to play with unsupervised. And if most of it still works reasonably well, yet the potential incoming government are going to describe it as broken and try to fix it without money or laws? Maybe magic wands would be as likely to work? Do you not agree?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The question that has to be asked is how is broken defined when it is in the interest of the person defining it, for something to actually be broken.

What springs to mind is the music industry, the NHS and society in general.

Although I would not encourage illegal downloading, I would question how much damage this has actually done to the industry, since if you add up the times something has been killing this industry you would have expected it to have died out ages ago! Is it not just the case the industry would of liked these extra sales, which often in this case the absence of illegal downloading does not equal extra sales.

Also if our NHS and society was described in better terms would not our politians and police force have to work harder to justify the money we pay them?

When someone tells me something is bad I always have to question their motives if they are the same person who corrects these bad things.