Being in Britain, I guess at this moment in time I’m probably more optimistic about politics than a lot of Americans seem to be. The British political system, which has its roots in the Magna Carta of 1215, is one of the oldest democracies in the world.
The system may not be perfect, but it mostly works, most of the time. One of the great things about British politics is that it’s not just a two party system e.g. it’s not just ‘us and them’. It is a multi-party system with 11 different political parties currently holding seats in Parliament, giving a wide political spectrum to give a voice from all sections of society.
For example, although the Green Party may currently only have just one seat in Parliament (out of a total of 650 seats) their voice is a loud voice and does influences public opinion which in turns has influenced policy making for both the Conservative and Labour governments in the past.
Albeit, as a Socialist I’m not thrilled with having a right wing Conservative Government in power at this time; but I can take solace in the fact that thanks to Labour (left wing socialist party) we do have (since 1948) a comprehensive ‘Welfare State’, most notably the NHS (which the Brits love), its founding principle being:-
• Comprehensive healthcare free to all at the point of use.
The NHS is funded from taxes and all doctors and nurses are public employees, so it cuts out the fat profits for the CEO and shareholder of health insurance companies, and therefore the costs paid by the British Government is only $3,000 per year per person; which is cheap compared to the medical costs in America.
Therefore, my feelings about politics today, although not ecstatic, are on balance, quite positive; with an element of some optimism for the future e.g. Labour’s current policy is to renationalise the railways when they get back in power.