Are we being asked the same questions over and over? Or is it simply the case that voting time is here again?
There doesn’t seem to be much clarity about what anybody wants right now. Brexit or No Brexit. Hard or soft. Devolution or centralised control (from Westminster or Brussels). Open tolerant society or retreat behind virtual walls.
What strikes me most about the volume of noise being generated is the complete lack of any coherent view as to what British society ought to look like. Instead we get masses of vested interests focusing on their pet issues.
So why is this happening? What has changed or is missing?
In transactional terms there is an abundance of parent or child behaviours, with very little that is adult logical and rational going on. Political splinter groups are behaving like naughty children, seeking to play off one parent versus the other. Parental types are telling others to stop being naughty and get on with something else. The result is that voting time is here again.
It’s almost as if it’s a case of “Summer has arrived – let’s ask the people something to keep them engaged”.
Overall this smacks of avoidance of leadership – despite what the leaders themselves would have us believe. It would be better if coherent statements were made, based on facts rather than spin, before asking the electorate to jump off a virtual cliff or advance into No Man’s Land. This is reminiscent of the behaviours of the Generals on the Western Front in 1916 – and we all know what a disaster that turned out to be.
So what questions should we be asking of those who put themselves up for office? Should we look at “what’s in it for me/us”? Or should we be asking how their style and behaviour might result in the sort of society we would be comfortable with? And how will we ever know what that should look like if all we ever get are one-dimensional questions?
At what point will debate return, where we get to set out the palette of measures against which to judge the options on offer? That is what appears to be missing. Whether that’s in the UK, the USA, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany or France – to name but a few obvious current examples.
Concentrated voting power
The longer this goes on the stronger becomes the case for a wider democratic process to describe the desired outcome. We are concentrating power in fewer hands than for a generation. All the while against a backdrop of appealing to the common voter’s supposed desires. Leadership is noticeable by its absence. Otherwise it would be relatively easy for the man in the street to describe where we are going and what the end result is expected to look like. Instead there simply isn’t any consensus.
You don’t have to like the leader but you ought to have belief that they know what they are doing. That belief comes from a shared vision. Note that it has to be shared. So how are we to share our vision(s) if we only get one-dimensional questions? Until that changes it will continue to appear that voting time is here again.