Sunday, 20 February 2011

Signing on the dotted line ... ...

When Mr Ed Miliband produced a document of blank pages called a Fresh Ideas Pamphlet for Labour supporters to suggest new policy proposals, it seemed like a good way to get views across.
Now the two Eds, Miliband and Balls, have come up with another form to fill in before shadow ministers do or say anything in public. This involves getting specific approval on the precise words they intend using, especially ones about money.

'The public has a right to expect us to adopt a responsible and thorough approach. We hope this process will support rather than hinder your work in developing a clear and ambitious agenda for a future Labour Government’, they say.

This is all well and good. There has to be a consensus of opinion in these matters so that the party are all singing from the same proverbially hymn sheet and everything is open, transparent and not misleading.Yet there is something disturbing about having all your words and actions vetted before they are put to the public. It seems to be more censorship than necessary discipline and I wonder where this will end.

Our government is renowned for bureaucracy and especially towards paperwork.
Forms have been brought in for the police, teaching, the NHS and many others, which control and restrict how these jobs are carried out. The police are kept away from the public, nurses away from patients and teachers away from vital contact with the children. One further step and we as citizens will be filling in forms about our beliefs and our morals and have vetted what we intend saying to our own families. Freedom of speech will become something from the distant past – if there ever really was free speech in this country. Maybe the census forms this year will surprise us by asking what hasn’t been asked before.

Perhaps the paperwork that Labour politicians are being asked to do will keep them busy and off the streets towards the next election. Maybe we will then have a fresh new government at both local and national levels.


Anthony Cowin said...

Have you ever seen a Peter Cook film called, 'The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer'?

I often think about this when stories pop up about public consultations, ideas from the streets, send us your views on how to run the country and referendums for everything.

Maybe it's all an ingenuously evil plan by the Machiavellian Ministers in Whitehall. Maybe not, but if you have a chance to watch this film your mind may be a little more unsettled next time you read another story like this in the press.

Because if we are headed where this forty year old satire predicts then god help us all. (Well that's if God is open to cross party dialogue to strip away ideological thinking and bring ideas back down to street level thinking) Or something like that.

Lexia said...

I haven't seen that film Tony, but I'll have a look for it.

I think governments and "the powers that be" use basic psychology in these matters where we are led to believe our ideas and opinions are respected and useful.In reality all that happens is that they put into practice what they wanted anyway,but we have supposedly had the opportunity to be "listened to". We are not heard though, and so called consultations are often in process or even completed by the time the public hears about them.
Democracy rules - ok ? ;)

Diane said...

Was just dropping by to add a follow back, and ... you're in Rotherham! I work in Rotherham and live in Barnsley. Nice to "meet" you. :o)

Lexia said...

Good to meet you too, Diane. I am "following" you now :)