Saturday, May 31, 2008

Talking Politics

I forgot to alert you to this morning's edition of Radio 4's TALKING POLITICS (the last ever edition) in which the subject of voter disengagement was discussed. I love this sort of programme as it's rare that you ever get a twenty minute discussion on anything on the radio. Sheena McDonald interviewed Tony Benn and then there was a discussion between Anne McElvoy, Liam Fogarty and myself about why people feel so disconnected from Westminster politics.

Listen to it HERE and let me know what you thought of the points which were raised.


Anonymous said...

Sheena used to be Gordon Brown's girlfriend and if Tom Bower is to be believed he treated her very badly. (Strung her a long,no commitment, would not acknowledge her publicly, two timed her etc.)

I wonder what she thinks of his troubles now?

Raedwald said...

Yes, caught it live and thought you made some good points Iain.

A real commitment to Localism is crucial, not as an electoral gimmick but if the Tory party is not to go the same way as Labour.

The Tory party lost over a million members between 1979 and 1997 - largely, I think, because Thatcher was forced to accrue power in the centre to push her agenda through the rainbow left in the town halls at the time. The result - the disempowering of local Conservative Associations, local councils and intermediate institutions, was too much for a Tory tradition firmly rooted in Localism and members left the party in droves.

As Fukuyama might have said, we've reached the end of ideological politics, of political tribalism. Time to remember the message of the party's intellectual gurus, Ralph Harris for one.

If Labour is to survive in any form over the next decades it not only needs to ditch Brown but its entire centralist Big State agenda; if it does so, the fight for the ground between the parties will be 'More Localist than thou' - from which we can all only win.

Anonymous said...

I thought the dislocation between the public and Government was quite simple. Many of the decisions that affect our lives are taken elsewhere (Brussels) and concerning those decisions that are taken at Westminster, the public are ignored (Iraq).

So why get engaged in the political process?

Anonymous said...

Listening on iPlayer now. What a great invention (Radio 4, that it).

Little Black Sambo said...

An excellent discussion, especially yourself, but there was not one single reference to Europe. When most of our laws are simply imposed upon us without scrutiny, is that not at least likely to affect the way we think of Parliament?
Are Labour & Conservatives and the BBC somewhat reluctant to stir up interest in this subject, and if so, why?

Anonymous said...

Last ever edition?


Anonymous said...

watching the 1983 rerun on parliament channel, it seems the good people of Bristol East had no problems whatsoever engaging in the political process...

Anonymous said...

Slightly O/T but there is a significant move towards 'localism' by four Chief Constables, reported in today's Times: "Top police boycott official paperwork".

This also made the front page of the paper edition, and I was very surprised that no editorial comment was made. I don't believe it is exaggeration to say that their action amounts to a form of 'official revolution'.

In effect they have said to (unfit for purpose) Jacqui Smith's (unfit for purpose) Home Office: "We have determined that your target driven culture, and associated excessive paperwork, is causing us to fail in our duty to the public and so we will no longer do your bidding."

Given the utter incompetence of this entire government, I think we might all be better governed if every chief constable and every local authority chief executive took the same line on every instruction received from every government department.

Anonymous said...

There's a Facebook House of Commons
which looks like it's actaully being taken quite seriously by quite a few young people..

Anonymous said...

Anne McElvoy is a star.

She's obviously an insider. But she's not afraid to wield the scalpel and the axe on her confidantes. She never fails to tell you something you didn't know or put an interesting interpretation on events.

And they appear to love her for it.

What did she come to the radio studio in?

Black leather catsuit and leather whip, I'll bet.

Anonymous said...

surely just " me", not "myself".

niconoclast said...

Typical of Benn to blame the media rather than the politicians.One of these days an interviewer will take this absurd,illiberal paranoiac, delluded fantasist to task.

Anonymous said...

A few interesting points made by most of the folks.

Although would suggest the nub of the issue is politicians lack of accountability to the public. Currently accountability is achieved by an arcane & glacial process by which voters get a single chance every 4-5 years to replace the incumbent. In between that there is little to force MPs to listen to the public. The cynical public and arrogant MPs both know this. Although there are plenty of solutions it's not in the MPs interest to change the feedback process. An unfortunate situation for the public and ultimately for the MPs who lose their jobs.

Anonymous said...

You're all still missing the point, and I'm glad. I am even more glad that I don't think you will ever get the point. The reason why I am so glad is because of what is now slowly but surely filling the void created by your lies and ignorance.