At some point in their life everyone hears the phrase ”actions speak louder than words”. This is one life lesson we must all take on board and is in my opinion the most appropriate piece of advice for the leaders of today to take into account.
In my opinion, it is an admirable aim to attempt to reduce significantly the debt of our sovereign nation. However, arbitary cuts are not constructive to the continued operation and growth of our economy in the UK. What the politicians must remember is that they must lead by example, while they continue to live in lifestyles of reasonable affluence their constituents are scrimping and saving to make every penny last; this appears to be more representative of a feudal system than the modern 21st century.
Furthermore, this is the epitome of why the ‘Big Society’ will not work; until the average constituent sees the bankers, the millionaires, the non-doms, the peers, the MPs and big business owners taking their share of the responsibility for their parts in the economic crisis, and until they begin to understand their responsibilities to society which is greater considering their wealth and positions there will be no motivation to do anything further from the average citizen. Why should a 32 year old married mother of two who stays at home looking after her children, who now has to work part time as well as her husband working full time and cannot afford to even go on holiday in the UK, be inclined to start volunteering for charity? Especially when her MP who used his/her expenses to pay for their mortgage, decoration and maybe a duck pond or gardening services, cannot find the time to give a few hours a month volunteering for a local charity.
In the end, the actions the government takes now will eventually lead to hardship and struggling for large sections of society. In principle, the cutting of the budget deficit is the right thing to do; getting one’s own house in order and reducing debt rather than continuing to splurge on uneeded or inefficient projects is a good idea. However, when this is being done by a government it is important to analyse carefully the eventual repercussions. Significant factors such as the effect of cuts on future generations, the impact on the already prominent social divide and the future economic implications of cuts should be considered carefully in the course of debate. Yet, any cuts taken do not sit well when those in power, with authority and living in reasonable affluence appear to have little understanding of the plights of their constituents.
In the last 18 months the coalition government has felt the brunt of many people’s anger at the cuts, many see them as excessive and being used to disguise political motives, however, there is no arguing the fact that our budget deficit is enormous and there is sense in reducing it; the argument centres around by how much the government should be cutting programmes.
For many the cuts in Education funding and the hike in tuition fees was inapropriate; especially against a background of pay rises for Vice Chancellors and the manipulation of power by bankers, politicians and more recently the NoW scandal, all groups which comprised of a number of individuals who had gone to university at the expense of the state not having had to pay for their degree. It should also be noted that it is the taxes of the current university students which will be funding the retirement and pensions of these politicians, their generous state pensions will be coming out of our pockets. However, it should be recognised that many graduates who end up in lower paid jobs will not have to pay back much of their loan and some won’t pay anything due to raising the point from which you begin paying from £15,000 to £21,000.
For others the NHS reforms are the key policy which shows how out of touch the politicians are; many of them have private health care and do not rely on the NHS yet they are voting in a Bill which doesn’t have the support of the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practititioners, the groups of professionals who will be most affected. These organisations think the legislation is flawed and doesn’t address key issues adequately and want the government to make substantial changes to the legislation.
And then, to throw fuel on the fire, the recent revelations about a certain Mr Adam Werrity and his unfettered access to our Secretary of State for Defence has brought up numerous questions as to whether our government actually is connected to reality! Once again we find ourselves with a government which appears to be out of touch with the electorate. Whilst their rhetoric claims that they know what their constituents want, their actions say different.
I would argue that the Westminster bubble, a community of politicians, activists, the party faithful and lobbyists merely serve to convince each other that they are right and allow them to seek justification for their policies and legislation but fails to encourage politicians to go further afield to their constituencies to measure the response to the legislation. Ultimately, the hot air around parliament and Westminster serves to get the politicians high on their own ideas and increasingly presents an image of a government out of touch with the electorate. I would even suggest, if Cameron is lucky and actually acts we might even be able to see the start to giving some backbone to his ideas for the ‘Big Society’; especially if ministers recognise their responsibilities to society and are encouraged to take a lead in volunteering for charity for a few hours a month. A revolution of ideas never happened without some concrete action. So, remember that life lesson Cameron, act to set an example; as they say ‘actions speak louder than words’.