Saturday, January 20, 2007

Time to consider change?

Its been an interesting few days in national politics, for starters there was the arrest of Ruth Turner in the cash for honours investigation.

There was also the entirely insane furore about the "racism" on Big Brother. I'm still none the wiser as to who said what, nor do I want to know. There was some discussion about it on this weeks Question Time. The condemnation was quite forceful but seemingly only represented a certain section (or sections) of society. The vast majority of people were not heard. That said, the politicians all took the same approach.

I take no view on this as I'm not aware of the facts of the matter but think its important to note that not everyone shares their views nor does that mean the only alternative views are those of racists.

There was discussion on Newsnight about "Green Corporations" after Tesco made its announcements on helping to reduce climate change. There was a fascinating discussion between an MD (Innocent Drinks) and someone from a 'Green' organisation.

In particular, what interested me were the views of the MD. Typically one would expect his views to be entirely profit orientated with just a nod to the environmentalists. On this occasion I felt his views were quite the opposite and that he (and therefore his business) did indeed consider the environment to be of critical importance - perhaps at the expense of the all important profit margin. Nice to see evidence of true ethics within business for a change!

I then watched David Cameron's latest Q&A video on WebCameron and whilst I didn't share all of his views, I did think he at least appeared to be a far more representative politician than Blair. Certainly, the very fact he participates in this blog and therefore with the electorate is a massive improvement on the way the Labour government has operated over the last 10 years.

Today I've been reading about a U.S citizen who has taken issue with federal income taxes. Of course, you often hear of "crackpots" taking a stand on what at first glance appear to be rather unlikely causes.

In this case his point of view is fairly straightforward - "show me the legislation which compels me to pay this and I will".

The legal issues surround the 16th amendment to the US constitution. Essentially, he feels (as do many others apparently) that it contradicts the 1st-8th amendments. Whether he is right or not I have no idea. I fear things could turn nasty in this case as he's barricaded himself into his home and taken up arms.

However, its led to another concept - If his state taxes have been paid, what purpose do the Federal Taxes serve? Some would argue they lead to big, unrepresentative government - something that could be argued on both sides of the Atlantic.

Is it now time that we reviewed our entire structure of government? From representation to rights and responsibilities and everything else. For example, is Parliament the best way to run our country? Should the citizens now have a direct say in the running of the country (i.e. not having to lobby a representative who will almost always do what their party or own opinions dictate) but each having a right to vote or introduce legislation. Do we need a formal, written constitution? Do we really need a small group of people dictating which things are "good" and which are "bad". Are taxes really the best way to deliver the underlying services we all need? Is economic growth always the best thing for the nation (or planet)?

This country has a proud history and we should never lose sight of that - does that mean we should rely on history and tradition to keep us going into the coming centuries and millennia? No civilisation has lasted forever. Change or die, sink or swim, I think its time we started looking at our nation as a whole and considering how and why things should be done rather than just doing them for the sake of it.

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