Sunday, 9 May 2010

Our big fat Greek Wedding

So the Tories and LibDems are in talks. 


Heinous, parlous and despicable treason we cry. But wait a minute - isn’t there more to this than meets the eye?

Labour said our economy was key, the Conservatives colluded when rounding on Liberal Democrats, whilst the Independents fought their corner too. All in all, a good time was had by all, dishing the dirt at everyone else. Meanwhile our debts went unpaid and back at the ballot box, Britain remained undecided, terrified at the prospect of voting it wrong: will I be a burden on government spending – a deep and immediate cut to the soon to be penniless dole queue; or get the banks to lend to me - I’ll give you recovery alright! 

And so we were split... right down the middle, with different views on what constitutes fair. Not that I’ve anything against the Greeks – they invented democracy - but thank goodness news of their debacle broke before polling day, for here was a rude awakening. Bipartisan Britain, thrashing it out until every last one of us pays, is not the kind of society for which our ancestors fought.

Debt brings out the worst in people: guilt, blame, fear, exploitation – most insidiously, it paralyses innovation, our one guarantee for recovery. In September last year, Relate published a YouGov survey in which 25% of families and a further 22% of couples were arguing more because of the recession - small wonder that in our national household we don’t yet agree. Of course, there is the issue that not one of the parties gave the electorate a detailed debt reduction plan – in no small part accountable for the third or so of voters who simply did not turn out. 

But it is precisely this lack of trust in individuals and process which brings us to where we are today. All too aware that another election is both unaffordable and unwise, why is it only in politics we see battle lines drawn? Where are the major multi-nationals succeeding with claims that all competitors are liars? We simply don’t act so irrationally, when it’s a question of work - and, ultimately, work is what every single one of us wants Britain to do. 

As any reliable counsellor knows, the key to tackling debts is to discuss openly and early who may weather which storm. A default on repayment is far more damaging than no repayment at all, so the priorities we choose have to be achievable by all. In the careful negotiation of inherently opposing views, there is scope for an exchange of ideas in which new policy is formed and in this the potential to harness rather than divide our deeply troubled society. The era of emotionally intelligent politics is upon us.
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