General Election: A Little Perspective Edition

The General Election is finally coming to a close today, as people head to the ballot boxes to cast their vote.

The campaigns have neither been all that informative nor edifying – with plenty of baseless hyperbole banded about by all sides.

We are told that Labour crashed the economy the last time they were in power and will do so again. And I suppose they also crashed the US and European economies at the same time? The truth is, whoever was in power, the economy would have crashed then eventually recovered.

We are told that the Conservatives will destroy the NHS. They will privatise it, say Labour; putting profits before people. But both parties have introduced more private providers to inject some competition and choice into the health service. Besides, it’s the profit motives of Aldi and Asda that puts food on my table each day, not a National Food Service. The interesting debates about healthcare are obscured beneath these emotional bleatings.

Whoever wins, they’ll pursue some daft aims they neither can nor should achieve. They’ll also neglect some really important things. How do we build enough homes to stop the younger generation being priced out forever? What do we do about our appalling productivity record? How should we adapt to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population? What should Britain’s role in the world be, and are we prepared to pay for it?

Ultimately though, politics has very little to offer in the important things in life. It can’t make someone fall in love with you. It can’t give you a sense of rhythm, or make your jokes any funnier. It can’t bring loved ones back from the dead. It can’t make people more polite and considerate.

As Samuel Johnson said,

How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

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