The Debate which Wasn’t
I thought that Cameron did less badly than Milliband.
My problem with political ‘debate’ in Britain is that there are no colours nailed to the mast. I blame the electorate more than the politicians. Sadly, I think that our electorate is dismally stupid. They have never, for one second, asked themselves questions like these:
Is inequality good or bad – or simply a fact of life?
Is taxation good/bad/necessary/a necessary evil?
These unasked questions make it impossible for me to engage with the so-called debate on our political platform.
The NHS features heavily in the ‘debate’. Brits are prohibited from questioning its provenance. It is our ‘national religion’. It sucks. The NHS is founded on the principle that no-one should ever feel the slightest anxiety about falling ill – duh?
Is it right that government should take from those who have and give to those who have not? Madison said ‘No’. Successive US governments have denied his principle: I cannot undertake to put my finger on that article of our Constitution which mandates provision for the purposes of benevolence (I paraphrase). He was right. Government is not about benevolence, though much of our ignorant electorate think it is.
Right government is about protecting us from tyranny. But they tyrannise us.
We are not given the principles by which our parties would govern us. They are easy to determine. The left has a single pernicious principle: government can and should ‘do good’ whenever and wherever it can. And they know? Who are the opposition? Perhaps it is not the job of government to ‘do good’ whenever and wherever it can. This is not a question we ever hear articulated.
The sickening consensus does not address any fundamental questions. We cannot have a meaningful policy debate without going much deeper than Paxman takes us. He is clever; he can make anyone look stupid. Paxman never challenges us to think about whether the NHS is a good thing. I think it is a very bad thing. And I’ll tell you why if you challenge me.
It is a horrid fact that first principles are almost never discussed. Programmes like Question Time are conducted on the assumption that you should be obliged to pay for any misadventure that befalls me. Perhaps we should talk about this assumption. Has it been established? I don’t think so.
In Britain there are two factions: Labour (and the Lib/Dems) accept it as a given. Conservatives (badly represented by the Tory party) are hesitant. Both major political parties are for governments doing stuff. Everything government does costs us.
We are approaching a general election. The outcome may be bad or catastrophic. Ever since 1945 we have had catastrophic Labour administrations, followed by anodyne Tories, which have (sometimes) improved our economic situation – a bit.
The problem has always been the electorate – you and me. The left always appeals to the individual’s self interest. The right (the inarticulate right) fails to appeal to first principles.
I would love to hear a politician who wants my vote appeal to my political principles. They characteristically appeal to (what they perceive) be my self-interest. And I am insulted.