Ryeview – May 2005

The crucial issues not on the agenda

John Clark writes…

First published: May 2005 – Gazette & Herald

What Britain needs is a General Election. No, not the excuse for democracy that we have just had. Not one where only one in five of the population got the government for which they voted. Not one where the whole time was spent throwing personal insults. Certainly not one that ignored the major issues facing Ryedale, Britain and the whole World.

Despite my efforts to the contrary the following issues were some of those not on the agenda.

  • Climate change – reducing CO2 emissions/traffic.
  • World poverty – 30,000 children die every day.
  • Ending of the so-called British Nuclear Deterrent
  • Dumping £20,000million of food into landfill in Britain every year
  • Farmgate Prices – farmers paid less than the cost of production for milk.
  • Public Transport.
  • A livable minimum wage.
  • Redistribution of wealth.

Many of these issues are having a major impact on the survival of the human race and in some cases, the planet as we know it. Without solutions some will cause such large human tensions that the consequences will be intolerable. In others the planet will simply become uninhabitable. These issues needed to be publicly discussed, debated and then voted on by the British electorate.

I am forced to suspect that most of these issues were not tackled because the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Tories all either enjoy damaging the environment or have more than their share of the nations income/wealth. Most political leaders appear to have no qualms about flying from city to city let alone continent to continent. No wonder they want more airports and cars on roads. It is either that or maybe they think that pointing out the truth will lose them votes.

‘We need to reduce our use of petrol/diesel’

‘We need to have less overseas holidays’, are not popular election winning slogans.

These issues involve ‘political leadership’ and ‘courage’ – thus we don’t have them. One example from this campaign came when I questioned the need for MPs to be paid £60,000 for a part-time job. All the other candidates sprang to the defence of this abuse of public money.

  • “there is no job security”
  • “we mustn’t undervalue the job”
  • “£60,000 is needed to attract the right kind of people”.
  • “I’d be taking a cut in money”.

No similar noises were made when I raised £6,000 as insufficient for the Basic State Pension for a couple. Maybe if the pension were higher we would attract the right kind of pensioner. Maybe if the MPs salary were lower we would attract the ‘wrong’ kind of MP – surely an improvement on the present situation.

The General Election campaign in Ryedale confirmed my thoughts that politics have become a management exercise. It was all a question of suits, offices and files. Visions of the future were absent. Maybe Liberal Democrats, Labour and Tory believe there is no future thus it must be pointless facing these major challenges. I hope they are wrong.


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