Comments by UK Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, that Governments across the Western World have suffered political paralysis due to the financial crisis, leaving them overwhelmed, should not be accepted as an excuse for a lack of vision and leadership says David Brownsey-Joyce.
The UK Coalition Government hasn’t even run a full Parliamentary term yet and already it’s coming up with excuses for their own inadequacies or at least that’s how it feels. When you have a minister going on TV and saying Governments have been left “overwhelmed” by the scale of the financial crisis perpetrated by people addicted to risk, just look at the current UBS investigation, and by fools who take up loans they cannot possibly afford, to live a lifestyle based upon a ‘I want it now’ culture, you get a little worried.
I don’t worry about their ability, long have we had Governments in place that were governed by individual morons, I worry about their level of conviction.
Across Europe and the US we have Governments in place that are committed to making tough decisions. They are cutting public services and trying to resuscitate our economies. I want to know that they will stick to their plans. I don’t want them to make u-turns or second guess themselves. They don’t have that luxury because they don’t have any spare money to throw at an alternative.
So the axe is being wielded rather spectacularly or very specifically, depending on the country and their political makeup, but it doesn’t matter what Western country, the axe is falling on public spending and the level of opposition is rising, and when the axe really starts to fall, which it hasn’t yet all we’ve seen so far is a lot of talking about it and consultations, that’s when we will see real opposition.
So the question becomes what will Governments do? Will they use this opportunity, knowing that they will never be as unpopular as they are now, or will they lose their nerve and scale back on their agendas?
In the UK I fear that they will scale back on their banking reforms as lobbyists will bring pressure to bear on a Coalition Government whose partners are in conference season mode, where they will spout dogma from opposite ends of the political spectrum and rally against each others’ injustices. Their leaders will do their best to hold it together and push through reforms that the UK desperately needs to avoid another financial crisis and to maintain their position as one of the financial trading capitals of the world.
The reason the UK holds such a position is that it is regarded as safe, better to ensure long-term stability through short-term pain from the banking sector than go through another banking crisis.
Maybe this is where we are all going wrong, we have politicians that are thinking about the next four too ten years, they don’t know how to think beyond that time period as they are all stuck in systems where they have to get re-elected.
Currently we have politicians that are trying to balance making the tough choices with ensuring their re-election for the next term but perhaps that is where they are wrong. Perhaps that is why they come out with continual drivel that makes us wonder whether they actually believe in the agendas they are pursuing. Perhaps we need to give politicians a little dose of reality and explain to them that a lot of them will not be re-elected because they are making tough choices as part of Governments ensuring their countries get back on a sound economic footing, perhaps we need to explain to them that they should use this electoral death and seek an honourable political death, making a lasting difference to their countries and doing all the things they were afraid to do before.
Oh if only we lived in such a world, where politicians were brave and did not just worry about re-election, what a world that could be.