At 7pm this evening Iain Duncan Smith was consigned to history as a former leader of the Conservative Party. This news should not concern me, I am not a natural Tory voter, but for some reason I have been left with the feeling that something has gone wrong, not only for one of our political parties, but within the country as a whole.
Stepping back to September last year, the changes are striking. Back then, Britain and America were still talking to the UN about weapons inspections in Iraq. The Rector hadn?t let the cat out of the bag about top up fees or his plans to merge with UCL. Whilst most people in the country still thought of IDS as some new internet company.
A year on, my best friend from school has served a tour of duty in Iraq. I?ve been to the House of Commons to question my MP, (Labour: Greenock & Inverclyde) on why he thinks larger tuition fees will create a more open higher education system. I have graduated and discovered an interest in politics, focusing on how this country is run. What I?ve discovered has not been pleasant.
What I?ve seen makes me wonder about how we run the country and make the critical decisions. From the last year the question I?ve repeatedly encountered is `how did we get into this mess?? This question is central to all three of the topics above.
For Iraq how could we have been part of such a just crusade only a decade ago? From a war to free a sovereign nation from the grip of a cruel dictator how did we slip into the abyss which led a very different coalition back down the same path this year? Mistakes were made the first time around and the old phrase ?if you?re going to do a job do it right? comes to mind.
On tuition fees the options have now become clear and simplify down to, pay more to go, let less people go, or let some people pay more tax. For once this is a good fight between the three main political parties. However, all of these options have been borne out of the crisis in university funding which has undermined one of the best higher education systems in the world. I have to ask why? All I?m left with is the fact that over the last 30 years no group has had the foresight to see the growing problem or had will to do anything about it.
For the Tory party the problems also started decades ago with the demise of Thatcher, the ghost which raised its head again today. First she was disposed of; then Major was selected and dispatched, followed by the safe choice Hague and now the unknown Duncan Smith. Each change was a bad decision made by the selfish and imposed on the majority.
Each of the ?crises? above resonate with the same two themes. Along the way bad decisions have been made, allowed to propagate and grow resulting in even worse decisions being made. At the same time the voices of reason have been ignored. Those calling for understanding or greater thought have been ignored and left behind, and those in control soldier on against ever increasing problems.
Growing up I believed in Great Britain, a country that knew how to defend its interests, both at home and abroad. Britain was a country that produced good, honest politicians and made decisions that led the country from success to success. Even when things went wrong there was always a man (or women) to take up the challenge. Some would define it as the Churchill spirit, so why do I feel tonight as if all the good decision makers have gone?