Saturday, 2 August 2008

Breaking the boom and bust cycle...

. I was reading Charlotte Gore's latest musings on another week of Labour back-biting and a thought occurred to me. Charlotte asked if it was wrong to be enjoying this spectacle and I suppose from a partisan point of view the distress of the opposing team is always a cause for semi-secret joy. Speaking personally there is a slight tinge of sadness/bitterness as well because as many of you know I was actually a Labour activist in 97. I suppose then the writing was already on the wall; we should have known things could only get worse when Blair started slyly junking things like electoral reform.

However, a good reason not to enjoy the current dogfight is that it is emblematic of a Boom and Bust cycle of politics which can only contribute to things like rising apathy and disaffection with politics in general. In this cycle a government enters office riding high on the expectations of a weary population and, crucially, with a thumping majority which realistically guarantees a three-term minimum. They govern and invariably assume an aura of invincibility as victory follows victory. However, once the leader of the charge disappears a weak and tepid government follows which turns in on itself as people invariably do when their livelihoods are threatened and that feeling of certainty dissipates.

David Cameron's Conservatives may well benefit from this next time around if the current polls and general feeling in the country are anything to go by; something which regardless of your view of them is bad for politics in general. In the first phase of the cycle the government pretty much does as it pleases, confident it can get away with pretty much anything no matter how unpopular it is; in the second the government is powerless to do anything and is blown off course by the slightest of breezes.

One party dominance is thus bad for democracy all round. In the first phase the governing party dominates the debate stifling dissenting voices and in the second it is completely clueless. I think we should be making more of this and building momentum for the changes to the electoral system we all want to see; rather than crowing at Labour's distress we should be using it to build momentum for real and lasting change....to torture a cliche we should make it happen.

1 comment:

Charlotte Gore said...

Well that answers my question ;)