As Norman Tebbit continues to relive his Thatcher years and Ed Balls tries to put the clock back to cloth cap socialism, politicians need to drop the knee-jerk Big Party position, and take a long, cool look at what’s going on around the world – aka, The Big Picture.
This is not just one more recession from which there will be one more recovery. Some jobs in the West have gone forever; in the UK, whole industries have gone forever. In this environment, the Tory Right must stop automatically assuming banks are a good thing – and the liberal Left must drop the idea that public sector spending per se is a good thing. Both views are wrong today.
A great many bank activities and stimulus programmes are utterly dysfunctional and unproductive. Both sometimes protect dinosaur industries – and jobs – that need to die.
The question is no longer spend v cut for governments. Rather, the issues going forward are for the citizenry – IF they want to take responsibility. These are consume v save, replace v mend, drive v walk at the low end of existence. And lead v follow, invent v copy, try v give up, and new frontier v comfort zone at the more stimulating end.
Are our politicians and business leaders accepting this challenge? A few are – but most won’t: either because they’re dense, or they just can’t accept change.
Of course we need better leaders and legislators: good enough is no longer enough in any walk of life. But to make our legislators work harder and our bankers obey the law, we must first of all set ourselves higher standards. And that begins with getting more involved in order to insist on higher standards from them.
Most people – understandably – don’t want to do this. But for a time, until the worst of the coming disaster is over, we are all going to have to. Our parents and grandparents didn’t want to in 1939, but most of them rose to the occasion. We owe it to them to do the same.