ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Educate Your Opponents!

Updated on December 21, 2011

Genuinely Ignorant

Britain has for all of my .lifetime suffered from "tribal politics". There are a significant number of people who vote for a particular party in any election. If they are really unhappy they may not vote, but normally they vote and they vote for their party. Elections are won and lost in the middle ground, but if you cannot galvanise your core vote you automatically lose. So politicians learn to encourage their core vote and to attract the middle or floating vote. In 2005 Labour was thought likely to lose the General Election because so many Labour supporters were unhappy about rampant immigration and the second Iraq War. The Conservatives decided to galvanise their core vote by stressing themselves as "the nasty party" as opposed to Labour's alleged incompetent liberalism. The Conservatives galvanised Labour's core vote, rescuing Labour.

Not surprisingly there are myths about the other side. The Left sees the Tories as willing lapdogs of the rich exploiting capitalists. There is some evidence to support this view. The Right see the Labour Party as the protectors of featherbedding work practices, the feckless, and the incompetent. There is some evidence to support this view.

This hub is not about the detail supporting and surrounding the views of both sides - I would need a book for that!

Michael Heseltine was a self made millionaire who founded the hugely successful Haymarket Press, publisher of many magazines. When he was Environment Secretary he visited Liverpool and was utterly shocked by the state of housing in Liverpool and the economic catastrophe of a once proud and prosperous port. He made the Department reconsider its approach to Liverpool and really tried hard to work with the local authority to regenerate Liverpool.

Thirty years later Ian Duncan Smith, who had already been leader of the Conservative Party in opposition had a similar experience. He was appalled by the state of housing in and the economic catastrophe of a once proud and prosperous city. He set up the Centre For Social Justice to examine what could be done about this national problem.

Both of these men were competent experienced politicians who in their 50s discovered poverty and deprivation in their own country. How could such intelligent people have been so blind? All credit to them that they wanted to do something about it, but how could they have been so ignorant?

Political Geography

There are large parts of the country where one party has been in control for generations. The mining villages and the industrial areas were the heartlands of Labour, and the agricultural areas and the wealthy areas were the heartlands of the Conservatives. Given the need to stroke the "core" supporters, who tend to be in the heartlands, politicians tend to spend a lot of time in their heartlands. Or they spent time in the battleground seats that swung back and forth deciding elections and choosing the next government. There really was very little point going into the other party's heartlands except as a stunt.

So it is that these intelligent and perceptive men really did not know what their opponents knew.

It was not a dialogue of the deaf so much as simply not looking at the same landscapes.

Boot On The Other Foot?

Are the Conservatives uniquely stupid uncaring and ignorant? Is it conceivable that the Labour politicians have their blind spots, too?

Most Labour MPs are former teachers, lawyers, jourrnalists or trade unionists, with a sprinking of former charity workers. They are elected from the heartland or in the marginals. Very few have significant managerial experience. Virtually none have the experience of running a significant business in the private sector, of meeting a payroll each week, of fighting for contracts and trying to make sales. Exporting is simply a foreign territory to them. Yet when the political pendulum swings these folk become Ministers for Trade, Finance, Exports, Agriculture, Education and Training and the like.

Is it possible that by simply not understanding the problems of the wealth generating economy these Ministers make decisions that are less than perfect? Their civil servants, who are supposed to guide them, frequently know not much either. The bland lead the blind.

"What Is To Be Done?"

There are socialists who go into commerce and industry and are very successful. Apart from the demands of the business in which they work and the social pressure not to support the socialists, another problem arises. Age 35 or 40, they are already earning more than a Member of Parliament. Why give up a secure job where you see your family every night to undertake a career that is precarious, not particularly well paid, and where there is little upside? These comrades may give to the party, but they get on with their careers. They may emerge as unpaid advisors to their local MP or the national party or even as advisors to Ministers, but they do not themselves become MPs.

The answer has to be for MPs and would be MPs to be given opportunities to see how the other side operate. The Centre For Social Justice has begun running opportunities for politicians to visit charities, and to meet the people who are helping and being helped over a two day or 5 day period. There is a "twinning" exercise where MPs from safe seats visit a safe seat of the other party and are shown round by the MP.

We still need opportunity for the socialists to visit big businesses and multinationals to understand what their issues are. Often they are dimensions and miles and decades away from what the socialists think the problems are.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • gjfalcone profile image

      gjfalcone 

      6 years ago from Gilbert, Arizona

      Thank you for the education regarding the politics of Britain. It sounds as though there are similarities with respect to party loyalty and the independents here in America. Likewise, the bland lead the blind. Personally I couldn't decide if America's politician were incompetent or simply corrupt. Shockingly I discovered they are both. Those in power, have and shall always be, reluctant to relinquish such power. I enjoyed reading your hub, best wishes.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)