Politics | Where has our Liberalism gone?

Quite a few of us like to think of ourselves as Liberals. However, in that context do we have the right understanding of liberal?  Some people would suggest, that identifying yourself as a liberal is a cover to hide your true political allegiance. Usually, they think that you’re someway between the left and right and you have no idea where you are going. But you are more than likely a very nice reasonable person who won’t harm anyone.

Teenagers and young adults like the concept of Liberty. The thought and idea that you are free to come, go, and do as you wish is part of their desired lifestyle. In fact, I too thought like that many years ago. The thought of been unshackled from the state and authority allows us to be free to do what we please. We can pursue a chosen lifestyle based on personal liberty. That could mean any of the following:

  • drinking excessively
  • taking drugs and engaging in activities society finds unacceptable
  • becoming an international jewel thief
  • becoming a hippy and living off the land
  • joining a commune
  • sit and watch TV all day rising only to sign on for welfare
  • becoming a communist and refuse to work or participate in any social activities until the revolution becomes a reality

If we were a genuinely liberal country that means you are free to pursue your hedonistic lifestyle of sex, drugs, drink and Rock and Roll to your ends be it. However, when you are in your pit and find there is no help to cure you of your lifestyle where do you go when you don’t have the finance to fund your rehab? If you wish to pursue a lifestyle based on liberal ideals, then you should expect a Liberal society to treat you as such. Therefore, no one interferes with your lifestyle and no one is responsible when your lifestyle failures catch up with you.

Therefore, liberalism affirms the superior value of individual freedom. Why should liberal society pick up the tab for your drinking and drug taking sheer stupidity – whoops sorry, your liberal preserve?

Liberalism identifies with anti-social behaviour, where crime is committed against people, economic institutions and the state. While the vast majority live life with virtue and consideration, there remains the assertion that there is a very liberal section abusing what a socially responsible progressive society has to offer. Therefore, Liberalism falls short of the standards it seeks to pursue in an organised liberal state.

Since the sixties we have seen the introduction of more and more laws, which prohibit our freedom. We are liberal in mind but not liberal in our governance. The British concept of freedom of speech has given way to the mindless bestowing of political correctness by the liberal left. Careful what you say so as not to offend.  Hence, our ideals of Liberalism are under constant abuse.

There are those in society who choose to live here escaping regimes and religious intolerance. Once here they abuse our liberal freedoms to attack our liberal freedoms. Therefore, the newcomer uses our tolerant society against us, and slowly but surely they attempt to erode our liberties. Due to their actions, we replace out liberal privileges with harsher and stricter laws that erode our freedoms.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did much to erode our values. Every time an incident occurred, there was a knee-jerk reaction to bring into law another statute. Did they never consider using existing legislation to combat the problem?  Government contains too many lawyers who for some reason need more law as a means to justify their existence.

Such are the times with constant threats that stifles our liberalism. Our Liberal Democrats are anything but liberal. I’d be surprised if any member of the Lib Dems understood the concept of liberalism. Neo-liberals don’t believe in big government. Small government is allowing people to manage their own lives free from big interfering government. Neo-liberalism seeks to dismantle the institutions of the state

As I said, we are liberal in thought just not enough to allow Liberalism in Government. Liberalism by its very existence would be seen to give too much of our selves away. The British with all their history could be declining Liberal policy to protect ourselves from the prospect of even more critical European Union government. In the EU, we have ego driven politicians seeking to impose their many values on broader European society.

Liberalism might need something smaller to work. Its theories and aspirations might not have much to offer at an individual level. Therefore, Liberalism might need to find a new direction.

We’re all liberals; it’s just a case of mind and matter. You won’t matter as long as I don’t mind. Go live your life only don’t disturb mine.

Politics | Getting rid of Professional Politicians

Members of Parliament; those we elect into the great house have not fared well in recent years. The expenses scandal, which broke highlighted how, many use Westminster as a gravy train claiming expenses to maintain moats, fix roofs, buy their dog food and on we go.

The problem today is the system in Westminster incentivises people to get re-elected, instead of doing what needs what is right for the electorate. Follow this link to read what allowances British MPs have at their fingertips.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salaries_of_Members_of_the_United_Kingdom_Parliament

As a result, professional politicians, engage their role for gain rather than following a genuine desire to participate in public service. They like the power of the office, which they are reluctant to surrender.  When the election comes around they give the electorate the same old same old; promises and more promises to do what is right for the communities. Of course, when they are re-elected and step back inside the hallowed halls of Westminster they are bombarded from all sides by special interest groups who want the attention of your MP to promote debate, further, an ideal which benefits no-one (but there is money in it). Westminster becomes a symbiotic gathering of pressure groups, journalists searching for scandal and finally MPs who strut around the place lending an ear to those who don’t care while ignoring the needs of the people who placed them there.

So, is the time right to get rid of the professional politician?  That may be easier said than done. In getting rid of the present bunch, we only replace them with trainee professional politicians. In other words, we change the faces but not the lust for power and the temptation of corruption. The fact is if we want real change the entire system from top to bottom must change. After that it no longer befits any MP to consider pursuing a long time career in politics. Get rid of incentives, lobby groups and any other organisation, which thinks it is right that parliament supports minority interests.

The most natural step and the one in my judgment most likely to have an impact are to impose term limits.  I appreciate the benefits of continuity, and that there is a certain amount of expertise that’s helpful in the legislative process.

If public service is of interest, the salary and benefits should not be your first consideration when standing.

The point of anyone standing is for the good of the people who elected the MP. I would suggest that to stand there should be a few stipulations.

  • The selected Prospective Parliamentary candidate should be from the area they represent
  • They have previously been active in community programs and be aware of the problems or concerns of the community
  • They should have no less than ten years working experience
  • They can stand for no more than two terms
  • While in office they are responsible for decisions regarding the budget, in other words, they cannot spend or borrow money to fund ideological causes but can support community causes
  • That at least twice a year the electorate will be able to vote on referendums to democratically decide on issues, which affect the population
  • Any MP committing fraud or found to be a party to fraud can be subject to trial by jury
  • To meet transparency and to keep check on expenses that the local constituency funds the salary of the MP

 

Enacting term limits on MPs will not only require a policy change but will change the face of British politics. Some of the knock-on effects will be the diminishing and severely disrupted relationships between Lobby Groups and MPs. Lobby Groups will need to work harder to create and seek new relationships with ever changing faces. It also means that Lobby Groups will be less able to influence MPs who can only stand for two terms.

Some might argue that imposing term limits; we lose the continuity of the professional politician’s experience. However, is that not the point of the non-partisan civil service? The expertise of permanent Civil Servants who have served at the highest levels with a variety of ministers and prime ministers over many years should be providing unbiased advice and support.