Not really, more a reassessment in the light of the last few days. I believe that national and international government requires considerable political experience covering most circumstances. This was a feature of the governments of the distant past, and should be borne in mind at a time when political change seems to be on the horizon. In those days also life was slower and there was more time to make considered decisions, not hysterical reactions.
In the latter years of Conservative government one recognized a lot of the names and faces on the government front bench, and the opposition bench. Today I question how many people who are not politically inclined, can name more than a couple on each bench. During the last period of Blair’s dictatorship, plus our current government and opposition, there have been so many changes and so many new faces, coupled with extreme apathy that I suspect very few are known as they were in the days of Major and Hague. The old guard has disappeared, even the bully boys of Tony’s reign, John Reid and Peter Hain.
The current leaders by their age have comparatively little political experience, compared with those even in Tony Blair’s initial ’97 Cabinet, quite a few of whom were either moved out of office or resigned, which says a lot for Tony Blair’s single-mindedness. Now, while I suspect some of the old guard are keeping a watching brief, these three young men will have to tread very carefully if they don’t repeat the mistakes of recent years. Vitriolic rhetoric is not enough, logical and reasonable substance is what the electorate demands. It is noticeable for example that David Cameron was a back-room man from 1988 at the age of 22, until 2001 when he entered parliament. Today he talks mainly in the first person, and the other two have not been exposed sufficiently for the electorate to assess their capabilities, nor the capabilities of all their shadow cabinets, and indeed that of the current opposition.
It is fairly clear from recent events that the current government will behave like silver birches, and sway gently in the wind of popularity, and only make decisions when absolutely necessary, to avoid losing office, in the hope that in the meantime, the new boys will make sufficient gaffes, for New Labour to survive at the next election.
The problem of governing today is complicated by the close scrutiny of the media, which is instant, selective and often biased, the sheer speed of communications and of the daily life of the electorate, this all induces thoughtless reaction by the government, and apathy amounting to almost resentment in the electorate, because a lot of the policies inflicted are both unpopular and sometimes unreasonable. The rise in international conflict, population movement and terrorism, together with the problems hamper budgeting. What is needed is a Parliament, where the balance of power is not completely with one party, where reasoned debate and common ground for action and legislation is achieved, and knee-jerk responses are a thing of the past.