Sunday, 14 May 2017

Is the record stuck? The issue of leadership

Those of us who recall vinyl records for our music can remember when scratches on the surface caused the needle to get stuck and it repeated the same portion of a track over and over again. That is what the UK elections seem to be about. Despite efforts by some politicians to move on, much of the British News media is stuck on BRExit and Corbyn's ability to be Prime Minister. Of course there is the usual themes of the Conservatives are better financial managers (not supported by the economic facts – see https://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/economic-competence-revisited.html) but the crunch really should be what type of society do we want.

The issue with Theresa May is that she is stuck in a record of strong economic management and the need to be strong for a 'hard' BRexit. So far, she seems to have shown little willingness to listen and seems dogmatic on an approach to exit that doesn't seem to be taking into account realities. As a leader, she seems to welcome the use of military force and unwilling to hear messages that suggest the economy and society might be racing in the wrong direction. Her message seems to be trust me, I know where I am going but what I see is that she hasn't a clue where she is going or she is totally unable to communicate it.

Is Jeremy Corbyn and Labour the solution? I see Jeremy Corbyn as a leader struggling to maintain his own principles in the face of a parliamentary party that largely disagrees with him and a membership that seemed to back his ideals. The result is policy that is neither what he really wants nor what the parliamentary party desires. As a compromise there is no clear message to the public and for better or worse what appears to be weak leadership. Corbyn seems to be in a no win situation unless the parliamentary Labour Party listens more to its membership and less to its concerns about gaining power.

What is a viable solution? The Labour party seems to have ruled out the possibility of a progressive alliance with other parties who hold some similar views. Labour like the Conservatives seems to want to hold on to a first past the post electoral system even though this clearly favours the Conservatives. The Conservatives seem to be able to support diversity and disunity in their ranks better than the Labour Party. Unless Labour is able to work with a diversity of views on the left, I see the UK continuing with a Conservative government and a race to 'hard' BRexit. The solution has to be in the melding of a stronger opposition grouping, a progressive alliance, to the Conservatives. One that is prepared to allow diversity of views but not allow itself to be disabled by that diversity.

I doubt whether either the Conservatives or Labour could work as a minority government having to negotiate policy with minor parties or each other for the best for the UK. The idea of government and opposition is so ingrained in British politics that they do not know how to arrive at a consensus to deliver government that is the best interests of the nation.

I see neither major party leader as someone I really want as Prime Minister and neither party as the government that I want to see leading during this time of upheaval. I want to see neither party having a majority in the house and I would prefer that none of the minor parties entered into a formal coalition. What I would prefer to see is that the minor parties would pledge to support the highest polling party on any vote that would bring down the government but would have the freedom to vote according to their party policies on any legislation brought before the house. However, this takes a different attitude to those shown at present by the Conservatives and Labour.

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