Politicians are useless. And they keep on being useless. This is why the economy failed, this is why we have so many enquiries into this disaster or that calamity. Charlie Fairservice tells us that its ultimately our fault for voting tribally and having misguided loyalties to political parties.
In the course of human events it is pretty common for things to go right, wrong and anything in between. Whatever the result it is also handy to understand why – We in the UK are wonderful at holding inquests when 400 tonnes of Pendolino hurtles through the buffers at Euston and heads off towards Russell Square or if a bunch of our multicultural friends go on a fertiliser blowout spree in the West End.
When was the last time we had a public enquiry into something that was a success? I mean it may be hard to discern the last time when something successful actually happened in the UK but I think the point holds principally because of pride and hubris. If anything goes wrong there must be a reason; if everything goes right it must be down to my consummate skill and ability. Nothing to do with good luck, timing and blind ignorance of the underlying reality. No sir. Not one bit.
And this is why we are in this economic blender at the moment. I would contend that this is not so much a Great Depression or Super Recession, or Real Humdinger of a Down turn as a Great Con.
And we are all in on it and we are all responsible for it. Gordon Brown, Thatcher, Reagan, Kohl, you, me and that odd fellow who sits outside the post office drinking strong Danish lager (brewed in the UK under licence) barking at passing traffic.
We failed to hold our representatives to account. How many of us have trundled into the voting booth to cross a box because of party and not because of person? If we have then we have demonstrated the intellectual ability of a chimpanzee. See a pretty picture of an oak tree or red rose and make a big cross. Good boy. What a clever voter we are. Have another banana and/or subsidized opera ticket. Thousands have gone to an early grace for our rights to vote and we have reduced our vote to a worthless scream of prejudice every 5 years. For 80% of the voting public the following credo applies: no matter who the candidate, no matter what the policy, my vote is cast.
We then end up with useless MPs who steal from us and fail to do their jobs – scrutinising legislation, holding the government to account, representing their constituents and defending their rights – as they are too busy ensuring that they keep the party happy, keep the whip and maintain their selection for the next chimpanzee banana contest. “I’ve always voted Tory/Labour. They’re better than the other lot.” Or whatever lie gets the voter to the booth.
These representatives then proceed to demonstrate the same attitude to voting in Parlaiment as we do in the booth. They failed to hold opposition or government to account. How many MPs have voted not on principle but because the party have ordered them to do so? And a government not hel to account can do what it likes.
Our governments mismeasure economic indicators and ignore institutional bias for transient gain. How many of our governments put honesty before opportunity? Gain before truth? The ministries, the Bank of England, the FSA have overlooked the reality to concentrate on perceived wisdoms and ideology. How many times have the relevant authorities done other than carry out government policy rather than independently regulate their remits? And this goes on and on and on and on and on.
It is for the same reasons the RBS board didn’t rein in Fred Goodwin, the shareholders didn’t rein in the board, the FSA didn’t rein in the company, the government didn’t rein in the FSA, parliament didn’t rein in the Government, the people didn’t rein in the parliament. We put fiction and an easy life before truth and hard work and this is the result; repeated millions of times over across the world. This is not a credit crunch nor a US subprime mortgage problem nor an economic downturn nor, for that matter, a freddled gruntbuggly.
Fixing the economy is not the solution because the economy is not the problem. It is the philosophy behind our democratic processes that has lead to this, combined with specious policy and slack accountability. This must be fixed, but even now nobody dares mention the failure of all government in this catastrophe – government and opposition – and this is ultimately why this collapse is occurring. The markets are doing what electorates and the media have failed to do for decades: holding the governments of countries to account.
Unless we, as a people, start doing the same there will be no improvement and there will be no solution.