Thursday, May 07, 2015

Election fever..

Well, today is the day for all aspiring politicians in this great nation. I'll be slipping out later this afternoon to put a cross in a box (not that it makes a whole lot of difference where I live); tactical voting is about as useful as a chocolate teapot around these parts, Tory stronghold would be putting it mildly, still it's the thought that counts.

Key issues for me this time around would be,

The Economy: Can't do much unless you've got some wonga to spend. I think the best tac is probably somewhere in between the Tories and the Lib Dems on this no one else seems to have a clear plan to me. Parties on the left don't seem to have learned the fiscal lessons of the last 10 years (some might say longer) although are probably not quite as bad as the media paints them to be.

Secularism & Free Speech: We need more, not less, Tories and Labour don't seem that bothered and appear keen to maintain the status-quo; recent comments from both are mildly alarming, particularly around topics such as "Islamophobia". The Lib Dems seem to have the most progressive position on these issues although the Greens are quite good on this front too; the Tories are (as you would expect) entrenched in the establishment and Labour seem to tell people what they think they want to hear (see cartoon above)

Education: IMO it's critical that we sort out (i.e. improve) our science and technical education landscapes; our future prosperity and quite possibly future breakthroughs applicable at the global scale depend on it. Our system seems to be stuck in its ways, (good) teachers are underpaid and under valued and there seems to be a lot of accountability being avoided across the board in all sectors. I think that Faith schools are a sinister idea and very bad for our society but only the LDs and Greens want to end things like compulsory prayer and educational discrimination on religious grounds.

Business: The tax burden on small business is still too high; progress has been made in the past few years but there is still a culture of cronyism and privilege within certain corners of our investment and banking sectors; raising money is harder and more expensive here than it should be and much harder than in competing economies such as the USA. Personal incentives around creating companies, investing and building businesses are better than they used to be but still not good enough to tip the balance in terms of making innovation pervasive as it is in other parts of the world. The Tories have the best story here (although it could be better) the other parties generally under value entrepreneurs IMO.

Science: Needs more money and more support and we should be tougher on harmful pseudo-science in the public square, things like climate change denial, fake medicine and organisations that fleece the vulnerable with false promises and claims. More flag-ship projects (like transport infrastructure) at the national level and more support for grass-roots and crowd funded initiatives.

Health: Someone needs to get a grip on the NHS; chucking more money at it doesn't seem to achieve much and I can't believe they still haven't properly computerised (how many billions have been flushed on that project - and I don't understand why) All the parties seem to value this institution but none seem to have a clear plan to put it on a decent growth and modernisation path.

As usual, as clear as mud! I read one commentator today saying that he felt like someone who needed an organ transplant but only had a bucket of tripe... I think I know how he feels.

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