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Why can’t political parties act for the common good?

19th May 2014


The way politicians squabble in parliament, on news programmes and TV platforms like Question Time brings them all into disrepute. It is terrible PR for them, their parties and indeed the country.

After all, who hasn’t winced at the near-schoolboy escapades at Prime Minister’s Questions?

Some of this posturing is inevitable, but when it comes to the big issues that affect this country, it just isn’t good enough.

Take pensions as an example. In 1997 Gordon Brown introduced reforms to the pensions system.

Recently the Independent Office for Budget Responsibility revealed that these changes had seized an unimaginable £118 billion from our pension funds … a sum of money that would otherwise have cushioned retirement for hard-working savers.

The fall-out is we have seen virtually an end to company final-salary pension schemes. Such schemes now exist only in the public sector, all of which is of course funded by you and I, the taxpayer.

It is an area that the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour fundamentally disagree on. Whatever plans one side come up with, the others will shoot them down in flames.

Surely it is time to end the PR damage this does to our country and those who rule us?

Only two years ago we ran a wonderfully successful Olympic Games. The committee in charge had serious business experts leading it and running it. They got the job done within budget and ahead of time.

Why can’t we have more consensus politics? Take the pensions issue, surely it is not beyond us to appoint business brains to head up a committee and look at what really is the best system for this country. If necessary, co-opt four MPs from Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives and charge them with coming to an agreement that work for everyone.

It would cut out the petty squabbles that belittle parliament and with real experts, paid a proper commercial salary for the job, we have a chance of devising a policy that lasts, does not waste money (constantly changing policy every time a Government changes hands), and has buy-in from all the public.

The same philosophy should apply to infrastructure projects and other issues which currently sees huge sums of money disappearing through political differences.

Is it too much to ask political parties to act in the common good? At the very least it would clean up the PR mess they have created.

Phil Hall was editor of the News of the World and is chairman of PHA Media



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