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  Politics - Who To Trust?

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  Montreux Festival July 2024

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Politics - Who To Trust?

p-1119

The two main parties stance on the Gaza conflict are similar. Despite the death and destruction, the conclusions of the ICJ and ICC, Israel still receives the total support of the UK and USA governments. They still insist on supplying deadly equipment which kills and maims innocent people every day. How can this be justified when over 36,000 people have been killed, over 81,000 injured, 70% of homes destroyed; schools, mosques and hospitals obliterated; and many Palestinians now suffering from hunger and disease? Over 150 United Nations staff have been killed, 150 journalists killed (and some of their families), over 250 medical staff killed, and the list goes on…The Occupied West Bank has also suffered with over 500 killed, nearly 9,000 jailed without cause, with homes and infrastructure destroyed. Israeli settlers continue to steal Palestinians’ land and property while also killing and injuring innocent owners. The world is watching, waiting and protesting and I wonder when the major players will start to listen and act…

p-1217

ON DIFFERENCE

In recent weeks it appears that the Labour party is attempting to stop certain left-wing, independently-minded and loyal Labour MPs from standing in the July 4 election. While I am not an Abbott supporter (through her sending her children to fee-paying private schools) her treatment by the labour leadership is nothing less than incompetent and cruel. There is a lesson here for Labour. Back in Boris Johnson’s reign over 20 skilled, experienced and independently-minded Conservative MPs were thrown out of their party due to their disagreements with Brexit and Johnson. Looking back this was the point when the Conservative party and Johnson began their steady demise. The party lost its cutting edge and creativity through these MPs and others who became afraid to dissent or offer alternatives. No business or party can survive and prosper for its customers and population with fixed future views. There has to be an element of questioning and difference of opinion - the lifeblood of any enterprise, especially government. Labour under its last leader also suffered from its hard left socialist mainstream stance and look what happened in the 2019 election - a record loss. Different ideas must be accommodated and seriously considered for a country’s future that looks increasingly uncertain and turbulent. Dogma and/or autocracy will not work but a genuine broad church of people and ideas will. And the leader that embraces this while exploiting the talent and variety of ideas available to him has more chance of succeeding for his party and its people.

p-501

ON AUSTERITY

The common answer for ministers when times are difficult is to cut back, austerity. It’s easy, relatively quick-acting AND WRONG! The last 14 years has seen the the negative results of austerity running through the arteries of all our major public services. The problems caused will take at least decade to fix, and in some cases may be unfixable, so was there an alternative when the need for austerity was decided? Politicians as ministers are seldom technically qualified in their areas of responsibility. For that they are reliant on the civil service who may or may not be qualified to offer solutions. I believe the best alternative strategy is to examine in detail every public service with a view to, instead of cutting costs exclusively, to render each service more efficient and fit for the future. Instead of an army of ’special advisors’ I would have employed some of the world’s best efficiency process experts to extract the best results from existing resources without cutting back or spending more expensive and limited revenue. The Covid pandemic illustrated how poorly and expensively government spent. Over £100 billion was wasted on ineffective equipment, facilities, processes (such as tracking) and fraud - £100 billion which could have been more effectively spent in other key/vital areas. The UK NHS has one of the lowest number of scanners in Europe which translates into longer waiting times for patient analysis. This is just one example but there are many more. Yes, investment is now critically required but first there has to be in-depth investigation to establish improved systems and investment requirements.

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