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Live! - Opinion

This article is an opinion piece and should be taken as such. It is highly likely to be biased, but either the article itself or the ensuing discussion will probably be entertaining. Live! takes no editorial line on opinion pieces.

How did we get into this mess?

Oct 29 2003 22:12
Barry Edmonstone
A war, university fees and now the Tory party: where have all the good decision makers gone?
The seat of power isn't what it once used to be.

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?

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Discussion about “How did we get into this mess?”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Oct 30 2003 06:29

Hear hear!

Sorry to sound like an old whinger, but this place has really gone down the pan. There was a time when people had a choice, that people actually had the ability to influence their own futures through the choices they made, and the people who led them. Self-determination meant a whole lot more.

Now we just have a choice between 'bad' and worse', and until something happens and we return to having a real difference between the politics of the Government and those of the opposition things will continue to decline because there is nobody to speak out for the interests of the people (as opposed to the interests of the MPs' bank managers/egos/whatever). Nobody gives a s**t about the man in the street until it comes time to cast his vote - and once that has been done nobody fulfils their pledges because it is much easier to take the backhanders that come with office than to even attempt to honour election promises.


2. Sam   
Oct 30 2003 10:22

Question: How did we get into this mess?

Answer: Tony Blair and New Labour

3. n/a   
Nov 04 2003 11:55

Question: How did we get into this mess?

Answer: It's always been messy.

It's strange. After the Cold War, a period of relative peace and optimism ruled, with the general appearance of the world as less threatening / dark than it used to be. Now it's back to the 1950s in terms of hostility / darkness, only this time there are no good guys, just really bad guys (Bush, Putin, Chirac) and even worse guys (Saddam, Sharon, Bin Laden).

Question: Where are all the good decision makers?

Answer: They weren't good at teamworking, networking, and other funky exercises, so they all got fired.

4. Sam   
Nov 04 2003 12:39

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth.

Don't worry - in the biblical post-apocalypic era, it's unlikely that George and Tony will be around.

5. n/a   
Nov 04 2003 13:36

Errr, as atheist, I don't believe in the post-apocalypse. The apocalypse is just about as far as humanity will go, I think


6. Sam   
Nov 04 2003 16:53

I too am an atheist, however i have read many religious texts... They're quite fun really... I don't read them that carefully though, as any fule wood no. The correct quote is "Blessed be the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Sons of God" - it's actually the meek who inherit the earth.

My point was more, don't worry about the war mongerers, they'll kill each other eventually.

7. gunge   
Nov 04 2003 18:52

Now there's an enlightened opinion - trouble is history tends to show that unless you're Switzerland you pretty much get done in anyway, so hey, you might as well get stuck in from the start - that way you get a bit of practice in for round 2.

8. Sam   
Nov 04 2003 20:26

Surely in terms of wars Britain is on Round 3... and we came out tops in all the previous wars too!

Feb 08 2004 16:17

We got into this mess by refusing to look at the mess and never deciding to clean it up. But that is always everyman's choice.

Closed This discussion is closed.

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