Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A brave new world - "ConDemNation" all round then?

Today we stand at the precipice of a great unknown, for the first time in British history we are governed by a "full" coalition government between the Centre-right Conservatives and the "far-left" Liberal Democrats, so where does that leave us?

For the first time, at least in my lifetime, heavily-paid and highly-respected political commentators have no past to contrast the political landscape we now face against, in short, today - they don't know what's going to happen next, any better than we do; no one does.

I'm sure you would have gathered from my past couple of entries that I was excited about the political scene at the moment and I'm happy to say that, despite the doom-sayers claiming that the world would end if we had a hung Parliament, I'm reasonably optimistic about the opportunity about the prospect of a more plural and conversational form of government. In David Cameron's own words, we will see a coalition government that serves and does not master and we will all have to work together to create a Britain based on 'Freedom, fairness and responsibility'.

Some people are interpreting that negatively, but I feel the arguments against Cameron and Clegg's vision, as just as some of them may be, are neglecting to see the opportunity. IF you complain, that Cameron is a "toff-elitist", who only gives a damn about the rich and the affluent, you are doing yourself an injustice. What I'm trying to say, is we live in a society which may not be broken as David Cameron ignorantly claimed, but we live in a society which is increasingly devoid of aspiration beyond fame-chasing.

IF Cameron is protecting the rich and the affluent and asking those who aren't to start helping themselves, then why not help yourselves?! Why not get rich, get affluent and if you don't make it over night, you will be supported whilst making the effort.

I'm no conservative supporter, nor am I a fan of David Cameron - the man has made me swear for the past two years. But the heart of Cameron's words tamed by Clegg's vision, I don't see snobbery, whether it is there or not, I see a strong belief that we are capable of better. We are capable of much more than we have become through walking the roads of apathy, of protectionism, of "them" versus "us". Great Britain was once the leader in manufacturing, innovation, literature, law, medicine but now all we churn out are pop-idols, football stars and eccentric chefs. Anything short of that and we're benefit-hugging couch-dwellers watching pop-idols, football stars and eccentric chefs.

For fear of being too judgemental and critical, we talk about people being 'at risk of obesity' instead of talking about people who eat too much and don't do enough exercise. We talk about people being 'at risk' of poverty, or social exclusion as if obesity, alcohol abuse, drug addiction, random acts of violence — were uncontrollable external events like a bird-flu or bad weather. We can choose differently, but we've been dictated to and ignored for so long that we act as if the responsibility is no longer ours. Of course, circumstances — where you are born, your neighbourhood, your school and the choices your parents make — have a huge impact. But the problems our society is facing are often the consequence of the choices people make and fail to make.

I believe we have an opportunity to better ourselves and recapture the spirit of aspiration, community and productivity that our grandparents were children of.

Who can argue against that?

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- Mr Devo

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