The public has been outraged about the MPs expenses. Many are calling for early elections, while others want to sort out this mess before they can fully decide who they want as their elected MP. Some want all wrongdoers to step down or be forced out. Still others are calling for more reforms and better leaders.
Now, I can honestly say I enjoy mocking and criticising politicians and government. They need criticism in order to keep them in line. There would not be much fun and game if politicians and the government were perfect. Fortunately for me, we do not live in a utopian society. And that’s something we need to remember.
I’m afraid that with all the whining going on, all the intellectual arguments being presented, people are forgetting that this is not a perfect world or a perfect country or a perfect government system. I’m not using this as a defence for the government or MPs. But I would like the public to always keep this in mind when they do criticise.
I have stated before that I do not have the answers. No one does. Plans and promises from politicians are not true solutions. They’re all trial and error. Sometimes you learn from your own mistakes, sometimes you learn from others’. When things go wrong, yes, we all like to poke fun. Some stand up to say, “I told you so”, but they probably don’t have any better idea. Or, perhaps, their idea would not have been any better.
But, let’s be practical. No one is definitely sure who will be in power after the next election, whenever that may take place. We do not know which way the tide is turning with the economy and how that will influence the vote. There’s speculation that both sides are running scared. Whatever the truth is, the public will need to accept that they will have tough times ahead.
Regardless of who’s in power, we need to realise that whatever changes are implemented, someone somewhere will suffer the consequences. I repeat, this is not Utopia. You cannot expect that all the current crises will be resolved overnight. We need to be prepared for tax hikes (yes, I hear a collective moan – mine included) as well as spending cuts. We are in a financial quagmire and it will require desperate measures. I’m sure all sides would think I’m crazy, but it is the truth, and it’s better to hear the truth now than for it to be hidden behind empty promises.
It doesn’t mean we have to accept things as they stand or will stand. It means that now is the most important time for people to tell their MPs what they expect. But be aware that you are only one in millions of people out there. Everyone has different priorities and not everyone’s priorities are going to be met. Politicians will need to prioritise as well. Hopefully, the MP you select will represent your priorities appropriately.
Right now, my priority is not for the rich. I would hope that all MPs will understand that. They may not have liked the 50p tax rate for the rich, but the priority is not in reducing that for now. My priorities are for jobs, medical care, education, and safety.
Jobs need to be saved, jobs need to be created – and I don’t mean the silly work schemes. I mean real jobs for real people. They need to encourage and support new, local businesses that can boost employment.
I would hope that funding is not taken away from the medical sector. We need to ensure that our health care system is robust. We’ve had many issues recently related to poor care and that cannot continue. My family may be blessed (knock on wood) with relatively good health, but medical care should be a priority for everyone.
I’m not convinced that recent suggestions for change in the school system and education are much of an improvement. I am disappointed to see that education has dramatically declined on both sides of the Atlantic. We need to ensure that our children get the best education, not just so that they can be prepared for the future, but that they can be competitive around the world.
We do need to protect our borders as well as our streets. We need to make sure that terror threats are handled appropriately and that crime is controlled. Public sentiment is that we’ve wasted money on the ID scheme. Unfortunately, the government will not reverse their decision because most of the money has already been spent. Though I saw no problems with it, my view of the ID cards was not the government’s intentions. We need to protect ourselves and our children. We need to ensure that abuses, physical, sexual, and neglect of everyone, but especially children and the elderly, are properly and compassionately treated.
Forgive me if my priority is not in increasing benefits for single moms. Most of the benefits schemes should remain at status quo for now. I would do away with prison compensations and get tougher with benefits cheats. I would also freeze the BBC license fee. Some may want to sit around during the recession and be entertained by the TV, but I would not miss it. Even if I did have a TV, I would be satisfied with continuing with the current programming, so there does not need to be any budgetary changes. However, if the BBC were to use that excess money to hire a lot of new staff, then I would agree to the increase. (As long as the staff gets a reasonable salary.) I’m still waiting to hear more about how the government will go after the tax havens. That would surely help increase the government’s reserves.
My priorities may not be the same as others (and they are not in order of importance) and they are not intended to exclude any other programmes. I am simply trying to point out that with all the hundreds of areas that government needs to address, those are my biggest concerns for now. I’m trying to be practical and I know that I won’t be able to have everything as perfect as I would like it.