It is an eternal question asked: do politicians have complex minds – even: do politician’s have minds. This is illustrated by an article which appears on Conservative Home, one authored by Charlotte Leslie who is Conservative MP for Bristol Northwest. Her article, which in effect is about free speech, is headed: Immmigration, NHS. And all the other subjects we are not meant to talk about.
On the subject of free speech Leslie writes:
Nowhere is the Religion of ‘Not Saying’ stronger than in politics. For years, The priests of this religion decreed to their congregation, the politicians, that ‘Thou shalt not talk about Immigration’. So we didn’t. But the facts happened around us. Our silence did not change the reality we wished to ignore. But then other people did talk about it. Then UKIP was born. And we all now acknowledge we should have been talking about it, and acting on it, a lot, lot earlier.
If politicians who claim the right to govern us – and in so doing decide to dictate that which we can and cannot say or do, have ‘paid court’ to the priests of the religion of ‘don’t talk about this, that or the other (the Third Sector?); then what exactly is the point of having – and paying for – a group of people that are supposed to govern us?
Turning to the NHS, Leslie writes:
Now it is the NHS at the heart of our sacred taboos – and heaven forfend if you sin and are fool-hardy enough to point out that the Emperor has no clothes: that a system designed in post-war England simply is not equipped to deal with the explosion in population, rocketing costs in ever advancing treatment, and an exponentially expanding elderly population with complex co-morbidities, coupled with a much greater ability to rescue infants from death who would previously have died, together with a generation with ever increasing expectations of having what we want ‘here’ and ‘now’.
Just who is it that has not prepared – and/or ignored – matters such as an explosion in population, rocketing costs in ever advancing treatment and an expanding elderly population which understandably will be making more call on their health service, if not our political class? Who is it that has created an expectation of the desire for ‘here’ and ‘now’, if not our political class? Our political class are all guilty of considering the NHS has the same status as a cow in Hindu religion; but then our political class will do anything to not offend a religion – think Muslims? Unless of course it is those Christians that believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman?
At the root of the dilemma of politicians like Charlotte Leslie is representative democracy – a system in which we are told politicians are elected to represent the views of their constituents. Why would any politician bother to represent the views of their constituents when the system is actually about their adhering to party policy at the insistence of their whips coupled with personal progression up the ‘ladder of power? I am not intimating that the wish to climb the ladder of power was the reason for her entering the world of the House of Commons, but surely she must understand my reasons for posing the question.
As an example of which let us consider another Member of Parliament who I have, in the past, criticised: Chloe Smith. From 2012:
Her voting record is 100 per cent loyal, and she doesn’t believe in creating artificial ideological divisions that she believes don’t really exist. “The government is going in the right direction, which means it gains my support and, crucially, that I’m proud to be both in government and a local MP. By supporting this government in the best interests of this country, I believe I’m also representing the best interests of my constituents and all those who voted Conservative. (Emphasis mine)
When did Chloe Smith ask her constituents whether, by supporting the government, she was actually representing her constituents? Who gave her permission to give ‘carte blanche’ to everything that the government proposed and did?
Aprpos my preceding article on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, in suppporting this Bill – which presumably Chloe Smith will do – is she representing the views of her constituency?
It is perhaps unfair to single out Chloe Smith, but unfortunately she is but endemic of our political class of all parties in that they will – with a few exceptions – toe the party line.
At the end of the day (to coin a phrase and with apologies to John Ward) either our political class – of which Charlotte Leslie is a member – stop weeping on our shoulder or ‘grow a pair’.
Until such time they do, perhaps they would do us all a favour and ‘zip it’!