Saturday, 8 May 2010

Give us enough rope...........

So there we have it. The result of the UK’s General Election is, err, actually a non-result. Having waited five years to exercise our democratic right, we have managed collectively to deliver little better than confusion and disarray. I was speaking with someone the other day about the prospect of a Hung Parliament and we agreed that if this turned out to be the product of our Election then it would be interesting to see ‘which one we got to hang first!’

Things are, sadly, more serious than that though. If we had the luxury of being able to drift gently through calm azure waters while we made up our collective mind then this would not be an issue. However, we happen to inhabit a time so perilous to our national well-being, with seas so grey and choppy that this was possibly the worst of the potential Election outcomes.

I have in previous posts banged on about the deficit and the need for us to have come up with something coherent and convincing as to how we are going to address it, but with the Greek troubles now fully broken on the world, the economic imperative has just escalated once more. I am convinced that markets were already tired of waiting for some clear and decisive action from us and had pinned their hopes on the Election as marking a punctuation point between what has gone and what is to come.

With the lack of a definitive working result, we can expect perhaps a few days’ grace from international markets before they take the Pound out and shoot it in the street. Now therefore has to be a time when we bury some of our ideological differences for a while and get on and begin to deal with the elephant that is now threatening to squeeze us out of the room altogether.

I was struck with the Public’s reaction to the televised Prime Ministerial debates recently. The ‘worms’ that we were told were a display of leaders’ popularity and appeal were a telling indicator of what I feel is an alarming comfort-seeking urge that we need to overcome. All too often we saw the worms dipping into negative the moment the individuals actually began to engage in any real debate . People interviewed afterwards told of how they became disengaged when leaders argued with one another. I am puzzled by this. Surely what we want most of all from our leaders is for them to show us that they genuinely believe in their proposals being the most appropriate for the conditions we find ourselves in? Yet we somehow find it unattractive that they should seek to stand up for those ideas, seeing this somehow as a bad sign.

I think that we, the Electorate have to wake up a little and sniff the beans. The world we live in has a number of very difficult issues that we need to deal with right now. Not facing up to these issues will not make them go away. The tragedy currently playing out in Greece is a perfect illustration of where we inaction could lead us. Only so much can be swept under the collective carpet. If we keep on denying that problems exist, sooner or later they will blow up in our faces and take us and our carpets with them.

It is time that we faced up to the fact that not all in the garden is rosy, that it is acceptable and indeed healthy for Politicians to have differing views on these issues and to seek to debate them and persuade us that they are right. We don’t need to be sold schmaltz – we need to be convinced, with the facts, that the chosen course has merit and will deliver us a better and more sound basis from which to move forward. I am afraid that these facts and the real disagreements they will no doubt bring with them may be unpalatable for those who seek a comfy, soft consensus, but that is the reality.

We spent far too long appeasing a certain Mr. Hitler, because the alternatives were too hideous to contemplate, but we still ended up having to go through with them. The current state of our nation’s finances is rather similar and divides opinion in a similar manner, but decisive action is nevertheless essential. And soon please.

We were given the rope; I only hope that we haven’t hanged ourselves with it.