The prospects for lasting change

The most satisfiying aspect of coalition government is that politicans are being forced to adopt policies they dislike.Those policies are probably closer to what we need to embrace as a first step towards rebalancing our national priorities.

That is why electoral reform is prbably the most important item on the national agenda for 2011. Let us look forward to the referendum in the spring when the first small step in that direction is put to the electorate.

Already the vested interest groups are rasing their clamour of ‘Vote No’ because they can see their opportunities to dominate the strings of power being removed.

The sad aspect of British politics is that instead of being inspired to vote in favour of a party because of the vision and fairness of their policies, trends seem much more to be influenced by ‘this lot have messed up yet again so we’ll give the others a chance’. Also, once in power, politicians are so influenced by media reporting that they continually shift around, desparately trying to protect the voting prospects of their party at the next ballot. In fact we have been used to five year long election campaigns – no wonder the general populace is so disenchanted. We know the big guns are only in it for themselves.

At least, with a coalition there is shared blame to shoulder and some of the unpopular decisions are taken. If we can move to a system where first-past-the-post is consigned to history, there is the prospect that even more of those hard decisions will be tabled.

If we do not embrace this opportunity to break the Westminster switching cycle, the future holds unseen perils because the world order is changing at a rate that has never before been witnessed. Our time at the top table of world affairs (the G8 and other major influences) is destined to come to an end unless we really get our act together and reinvent ourselves as a nation that produces what the rest of the world considers ‘must-haves’.