What do you want from British politics, really?

British pundits are right to wrestle with foreign policy issues such as Syria, but what do we want at home? There's a vacuum of ideas waiting to be filled

The Commentator
On 28 August 2013 16:03

Confusion is part of the debate British people have as a nation. It is the alter-ego of the kind of certainty that has provided for so much misery across the water in continental Europe. But pundits are plainly at a loss as to what to make of British politics in the second decade of the 21st century.

Right now, the issue of the day seems to be Syria. But is it really? Internationally speaking, the way we project ourselves outside our own borders reflects who and what we are. But who and what we are is in dispute, not least in terms of the way the British political process forms government in Westminster.

It is to the Westminster form of government that a good century and a half's worth of Brits have (recognisably) allied themselves. That stretches the collective memory a long way. So, let us be here and now, and ephemeral. No serious set of opinion polls for at least a decade has offered the prospect of majority rule for either the Conservatives or Labour at a general election.

The polls are either wrong or they're right. Who actually believes they are so wrong that one of the two major parties has a serious chance of winning an outright majority at the next election? What? A deafening silence?

In the old parlance, the debate in Britain was between "Labour" and "Capital". That was a weak, quasi-Marxist construction, and it never held, completely. But it did enough to give majorities in Parliament to one side or the other.

The fact that that no longer works is in some respects, yet in an under-the-water kind of way, acknowledged by the more serious players in politics, media, think tanks and academia.

But no-one seems to have the answers. No matter. Good answers only have a chance of coming to the fore if good questions are asked. So, here's a starting point from The Commentator (and we will be pursuing this issue): If Labour versus Capital no longer works, what does?

By the way, if you're mired in the Westminster village and you don't get this point, just be aware of an American concept called "Eminent domain". It means your village (not Westminster itself, just your little village) is about to be bulldozed for the greater good... Now, think on...

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