Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Political blame game.

The more I indulge in politics, especially concentrating on the local scene, the more I am seeing more and more incidents where debates can end up being platforms for point scoring or rapidly descending into blaming everyone else.

It has become more and more of a phenomena over the last few years- or maybe I'm just noticing it now! Maybe it has been going on for centuries.

During the war of 1812 was Lord North's administration blamed for losing the colonies in the first place?

As the bombs fell on Berlin, did Interior Minister Frick release a press statement blaming Stresseman for Versailles?

I should like to raise my hand and say that I have never been partisan or tried to score points for my party. - I can't though- Often it comes back to siding with the Conservatives in defending the Coalition or on occasions agreeing with Labour over a misguided policy of Medway Council.

I do try and stay out of a blame game though.

I've watched many a debate dissolve into an argument as to whose fault it is. I was talking to someone last week about the train fare rises and the political side of it. I told him I was tired of the blaming and squabbling and he responded with;

The only ones who care about that is you guys.

It is true.

As a commuter I want answers and solutions to the problems not someone to blame! What am I to do with someone to blame? Vote for the other party in four years time because of a policy twenty years ago- especially when the other guy hasn't any better suggestions!

Charles Kennedy wrote that people do not appreciate or understand the game of "Political Rugby" that seems to be modern politics and all it does is alienate the electorate who are watching them on BBC parliament. One of the issues of this country is is that the electorate feels very detached from government as if they are moving in separate worlds.

It could be argued that this is very true, even of the local council! Politicians (both local and national) seem to be more interested in point scoring and party politics rather than looking after their constituents!

Even issues that both parties agree on can break up into arguments. I once saw a discussion about the Hoo Peninsula Airport, on which a Tory and Labour councillor agreed upon (that it was a bad idea) dissolve into an argument as to who was to blame for it, who wasn't going to do what and the effectiveness of local MP's and yet at the bottom of it - All three of us agreed on the issue but it put casual readers, even myself off, the subject entirely.

It is one thing understanding where a bad policy or incident occurred. It is the nature of learning, identify a problem and work on solutions. However sometimes it does seem that we get bogged down in the past rather than looking to the future and solving the problem.

We must remember who we are here to serve... Not our parties, not the chief whips but the people and what they want and what is good for your constituents. That's why I have the utmost respect for Greg Mulholland (LD) , Julian Huppert (LD) and Tracey Crouch (Con) who all voted against the government on "Tuition fees"
and for the benefit of their constituents and their beliefs.

It is also sad, and I've said this many a time before hand, that Good/ Excellent constituency MP's lose their seats because of their party affiliation when it comes to the General Election. Be they Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem. It seems the electorate would often rather swing votes to another party just so "they" don't get in and cut their nose of to spite their face, suffering five years under a complete pillock just because he is not one of "them".

More importantly, effective opposition needs to be constructive. It seems the current Labour opposition, and to be fair the Conservatives were the same when they were in opposition, seem to be concentrating in criticising Government policy without actually coming up with alternatives. It is easy to sit and jeer at someone and to say;
"You're wrong!"
It takes a sharper intellect and more vote worthy party to come up with alternatives to the Government plans. Take the Conservative vs. Liberal and Labour battles of the 1920's over the policy of Protectionism or the Liberal vs Conservative on Lords reform. Alternatives and compromises were made, for the good of the country and policy was passed. If you're in an opposing party you can say;
"I think that you aren't doing enough... BUT have you thought about doing this?"
Again the people suffer as the Government or elected representatives continue to act as they see fit and so for four maybe five years it is the electorate that suffer.

MP's (and councillors) are selected from among the people, voted for by the people, to represent the people and they shouldn't forget that their primary allegiance is to the people they represent and dedicate the time they use sniping and trying to gain political kudos for themselves and party, to helping those people and come election time your good work will be remembered.

1 comment:

  1. The origin of the blame game seems to have stemmed from the need to win votes, and the dirty tricks played by some outgoing governments.

    I am not over-keen on it myself, and have blogged in not dissimilar terms to some of what you have written here, while still understanding why it happens. My old "Jottings" column (on my former Councillor website) offer some clues to this, for example how the Libs/Lab used to run Medway Council's Scrutiny committees. There are several others.

    However, it can be a useful tool as well, as often it is only by understanding where, how and why a particular problem originated that a solution with a decent possibility of succeeding be devised. I could cite examples from my own experience as case studies...