|  Uncategorized   |  Cynicism, men and democratic deficits….

Cynicism, men and democratic deficits….

Most political parties have now published their manifesto’s – in various formats and with a broad range of policy priorities. Some more progressive and radical than others – usually infleunced in part at least by level of expectation of actually ‘winning’. The furthest ‘right’ private company / party is yet to publish their manifesto yet are occupying more airspace than would ever be afforded a centre left-leaning party with the same electoral powerbase (1 MP and a handful Councillors). It makes for good TV I am sure but seen alongside the pervasive narrative that ‘all politicians are the same’ undermines our democratic processes and institutions.

Clearly all politicians are not ‘the same’ – and the various policy pledges do offer a range of pictures of what the future might look like. It is true that the legacy of Tony Blair’s mantra ‘you only win from the centre ground’ still pervades – so we have long lost the ritualistic ideological debates in favour of: stability, competence, rules etc. This has helped create a vacuum that ‘the media’ are much happier for some to fill.

There are live lessons in Europe right now where far right / populist parties have made significant gains in European and in regional elections (in Italy at least).

Feels like dangerous times and personally I’d welcome some real democratic reform: lowering of the voting age, introduction of proportional representation and actual regulation of politicians compliance with the Nolan Principles / Standards in Public Life.

In terms of my world of work – clearly the Lib-Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have more progressive (or at least visible) positions on drug use, policing and treatment approaches. Labour and Conservatives mostly offering a continuation of current status quo.

No-one seems to have considered the drying need for a National Alcohol treatment strategy – which seems like a gaping hole given the levels of alcohol related harm and deaths.

And then we get onto ‘men’ – and the Euros Football Tournament whereby pubs are experiencing near record bookings and domestic abuse charities are preparing for huge spikes in demand.

I also see that Farage seems to have excused one Reform candidate’s racism and suggestions that ‘we’ should have appeased Hitler – as ‘pub talk’. I’ve spent a lot of time in pubs – indeed managed one for a number of years in my youth. Don’t remember ever feeling the need to be quite so racist or objectionable though….

‘Not all men’ obviously but ‘nearly always men’. Underwhelming bunch.

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