As the election looms, all the political parties persist in talking to the electorate as if they were well informed. The repeat the party jingoistic mantra come what May! No its not a text mistake. The lady PM is the worst offender.
Politics, when it comes down to it, is pretty simple. How big is the national cake in cash terms and how are we going to divide it up. What is more simple than that?
Well unfortunately, that is not the complete picture, but it is a good starting place. So where do we stand on the eve of the “Brexit” election?
Question 1. How big is the cake? Will Brexit make the cake bigger or smaller? a) short term? b) longterm?
Question 2 What are the key issues in cutting up the cake? NHS, Social Care, Welfare, Education, Defence, Environmment, Cutting taxes etc, etc, Which of these, in order of ascendency?
Question 3 How do we make the cake bigger?
Question 4 How do we make sure we don’t use up the cake and have to borrow?
If any politician made it his or her business to address these questions then the electorate would be a lot clearer and better informed. It is if little use in talking of a stronger economy, or sfeguarding the NHS, because most voters have no idea what these concepts mean, except of course from a purely selfish stand point. For many it’s their share of the cake that counts. My cake, my choices and my surplus or my debt!
This is precisely where Margaret Thatcher succeeded in her appeal to the ordinary voter, it was the simple message (some argued too simple, but it won elections) of balancing the household accounts which almost every body understood.
Of course the detail is devil made, however the cake remains the reality. When the UK voted to leave the EU the implication for the majority was that it would increase the size of the UK cake. Nobody since then, has bothered to confirm or deny this, or perhaps even know if this is true or false.
The biggest domestic issue is the NHS/social care in its autonomous regions, England, Wales, N.Ireland and Scotland. The demand exponentially grows in all the regions, the cake will never be big enough! Maybe money is not the answer.
Where money is not (most likely probably not) the answer then surely the solutions should be the subject of cross party analysis , scrutiny and development. No point in shouting, ‘protect the unaffordable’, but that’s what they all do. These sacred cows that are bigger than the cake, we persist in living in cloud coockoo landin regard to them! It will take political courage to take these intransigent problems into the cross party hinterland. Because, by so doing, it will take away one of the biggest emotional chants embraced by all the political parties. Thus, perceived by all, as a huge political risk.
Let’s start, and for this election at least, stick to defining the size of the cake, its definition, and how we eat it!