“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;” (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
Perhaps the most important factor shaping the world’s response to the Covid-19 virus has been our attitude to death and dying. If we’re ever going to establish a mature society, we will have to develop a mature attitude to our own mortality … and learn to discuss it openly, as the natural end to all lives. As my own initial contribution to that debate, I’m republishing a blog post I wrote 10 years ago on a short-lived social media site called Uncivilisation.
How can we hold government to account when democratic processes are inadequate and Parliament is above the law?
For all its strengths, Britain’s current political system seems to be incapable of providing government fit for a mature society. Over the last few decades, a self-serving, opportunistic culture has developed at the heart of our political establishment which has relegated good government to the realm of nostalgia.
The turmoil of the last two or three years has been distressing and confusing for many people, but it has at least exposed the inadequacies of our current political system to a much wider audience. Many who previously didn’t question how our country is governed now recognise that, whatever happens with Brexit, we need fundamental change, not just in our relationship with Europe but also in the way our domestic politics works.
So why, in all the discussion of a People’s Vote, does everyone assume it must be all about our membership of the EU? Continue reading
There’s been endless discussion recently of the different varieties of Brexit we might end up with, and dire warnings of what will happen if we leave without a deal. But one ominous scenario seems to have largely escaped people’s attention: what happens if we leave (with or without a deal) but the withdrawal decision is subsequently ruled invalid by the courts? In that case, we could go through the immediate turmoil of withdrawal, only to find, a few weeks or months later, that we have not in fact left. Continue reading
The last two years have laid bare the inadequacies of our current political system and many people who were previously fairly happy with how our country is governed now recognise that, whatever happens with Brexit, we need fundamental change, not just in our relationship with Europe but also in the way our domestic politics works.
For now, though, most people find it hard to look beyond the looming deadline – and that’s a large part of why the current problem seems so intractable. Continue reading
The 2016 referendum feels like a long time ago now but Parliament is perhaps, at last, trying to have the discussion that (in my innocence) I’d assumed would follow the shock of the result. Is it too much to hope that, before committing ourselves irrevocably to a profoundly disruptive course of action, we might take the time to properly understand what the country voted for?
The political establishment were quick to embrace the result as the will of the people and promise that it would be respected. But that haste allowed us no time to reflect on what the vote actually told us about the public’s real wishes, no time to answer the obvious question: does that poll constitute an instruction from the public or does it simply demonstrate that the country is in two minds on the subject? Continue reading
I’ve not posted anything here for a while, largely because I managed to switch off from politics for several months. But then last November, in the run-up to the ‘meaningful vote’ on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, my wife said she was going to write to our MP about it. So I thought maybe I should write to her as well.
So much for switching off from politics.
Anyway, four months on, after thinking about little else other than Brexit ever since, and having written letters to numerous people in the hope they might, just conceivably, take some notice of what I have to say, I decided it’s time to put up some more posts. And who knows, if I manage to catch the attention of an audience, I might start posting regularly.