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The song remains the same

Lavinia Thompson squares up to political reality

The political party conference season is almost over. We’ve had those from Labour, the Tories – somehow perhaps missed UKIP’s and the Green’s along the way – and now we’ve got the Lib-Dems’, which is taking place, or has just taken place [it’s difficult to tell] in Glasgow.

In a masochistic sort of way, I’m becoming quite excited by the prospect of the 2015 General Election next May. In their desperation to put clear blue water [as I think the phrase is] between themselves, the main political parties are becoming increasingly manic in their search for defining new policies on the main issues.

In such a situation it is easy to get confused.

Let’s be honest – no political party, or set of beliefs, or moral code system – has an exclusivity upon intelligent adherents. Or, perhaps to put it another way, there are hordes of uber-intelligent people in this world who are quite capable of taking up with political creeds at either end of, or even anywhere along, the entire spectrum.

In theory at least, I guess democracy ‘works’ [even if only at the ‘least worst’ level] because there’s no guarantee that being more intelligent than him necessarily makes you more likely to alight upon the right solution than the next guy. In fact – in practice – I guess it’s de facto just as likely that a thick person, as opposed to an intelligent one, will come up with the right solution to any given problem.

And what’s a ‘right solution’ anyway?

Arguably, the only way to test which of two or more proposed solutions to a given problem is ‘best’ is to set up a series of different but parallel universes, in which you could run an experiment of each of the options side by side – buffeted (as they would be) by subsequent ‘events, dear boy, events’ – to their ultimate conclusion and then compare the results.

Since that’s not going to happen – in other words, there’s no proving which of a number of possible solutions in the right one, only opinions on the subject – all we have to go on is hot air.

At this point, let me put forward a truism. There’s no guarantee that any – still less all – hot air is right.

There are experts and opinion formers worthy of general respect who support the Tories’ approach to the economy, just as there are similar who support Labour’s view. And presumably, there are others similarly worthy who support the economic views of the Lib-Dems, the Greens, UKIP and Uncle Tom Cobley … if indeed any of them have any.

Whatever events successively buffet the UK economy, each of these intellectual positions will see the outcomes and effects through the prism of their chosen principles and perspectives. And still throw mud at everyone else’s, denying that they have any merit.

Call me over-cynical, but is it not possible that none of these different perspectives are right (and therefore also, by extrapolation, none of the others wrong)?

This is dangerously close to suggesting that it doesn’t matter which party win the 2015 General Election, because – whatever their colour – they’re no more likely, or unlikely, to guide the country to prosperity than any of their opponents?


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About Lavinia Thompson

A university lecturer for many years, both at home and abroad, Lavinia Thompson retired in 2008 and has since taken up freelance journalism. She is currently studying for a distant learning degree in geo-political science and lives in Norwich with her partner. More Posts