The Non Election Panic. Shock and fear induce panic. What happened when Gordon Brown changed his mind says more about our current politicians, in all parties, which was enough to worry any sane person, because they were not worried about the state of the country, about the seriousness of our financial situation, they were worried about their jobs, or the fact that they might just get into Parliament. There was nothing like the hurry in which everything was done, our current situation proves that. But what it did demonstrate was that these people were not coolheaded in an emergency, and that their priorities are not our priorities.
When the Gang Of Four appeared on the scene, they were the politicians who inaugurated the Liberal Democrats, they were experienced, intelligent and articulate,. I have had a lot of time for the LidDems. I liked their approach, their politics, they were middle-of-the-road and sound, the problem that they had to fight to be accepted politically, was basically because of our mainly two-party politics, rather like Northern Ireland, people were afraid of splitting the vote.
Sir Ming, a week or so earlier had the whole party in the palm of his hand, not only because of his character, his reputation and his rhetoric, but because he was the most experienced politician currently available. He was backed by the old guard, and between them they were putting up a fair show on the understated understanding that there would be quite some time before the next election, and also their entry into power.. One of the reasons for his departure was given in the press as his age. Sir Winston Churchill only resigned when he was 81. I am an average guy, certainly no whiz-kid, but when I was Sir Ming’s age I was a joint winner of the British Design Award. That ageism rubbish does the LibDems no favours, nor the country. I have repeatedly said that it is almost impossible for those of us who are not political animals to keep up with all the new faces on the front benches. I believe a lot of these faces have insufficient experience of political wrangling to be able to hold their own when the heat is on. In Random Thoughts 37, I criticised Sir Ming for his presidential bearing , but in the context of what I have written here, it may have been the only way of achieving decisions. During the panic no one seemed to be too clear where they were going.
With the speed of living that we have today in every environment, it would seem logical that there is not time to hone politicians in the way they were in the past, when Prime Ministers were much older when they were promoted, and therefore served many years in the ranks, and in different governmental departments. It seems that today one is promoted at an early age, makes a pile, and then departs, not necessarily leaving things in a better state than when one arrived. Perhaps the time has come for professional politicians, in a way that we have professional managers in many other organisations.. After all, the amount of money being handled by the government is greatly in excess of those organisations which are paying huge salaries and large golden handshakes.
If we have to pay our top politicians top wages to get quality and managerial experience coupled with Political nous, in general, not just the odd person, then so be it, it is a small drop in a huge bucket. Professionals in many spheres have studied their subjects in depth, including, in many cases, the underlying rudiments and sources. Why not politicians, they carry incredible responsibilities, they seem to have no watchdogs, other than the public and the Press, and there is no comeback if things go wrong, unlike in other walks of life.