21 Pledges

March 21, 2010

Yesterday I went to The Battle for Politics, a one-day public summit, organised by the Institute of Ideas. With regards to the upcoming general election the debate dealt with the question of voting, especially with the “none-of-the-above” option in mind. Many people are of the impression that none of the political parties have clear ideological differences anymore, a phenomenon not only visible in the UK. In fact, it is much more about politicians and personalities, partly due to media coverage of politics, so one can’t blame them. Nevertheless, there are still many unresolved issues, which is why the IoI came up with 21 Pledges for Progress 2010 which people should put to their local MP’s and find out where they stand on it. Some pledges I find really worthwhile are:

Revoke unnecessary and nonsensical health and safety rules and guidelines in the interests of countering today’s risk-averse, safety-first climate of fear.

Limit the police’s power to detain people without charge to 24 hours rather than 28 days, in the interests of civil liberties and due process.

Abolish the monarchy and the House of Lords in the interests of a fully elected legislature and executive.

Support the arts financially, for their own sake, in the interests of liberating them from ever more prescriptive and politicised instrumental demands.

The Battle for Politics also touched on other issues such as immigration, the welfare state and the relationship between science and politics. All very interesting and way to much to recall it all here. What became clear to me though was that I am always fascinated by accumulations of knowledgeable, passionate people who care for something and are not afraid to stand up for it. I love the English debating culture and hope to take some of that skill with me should I return to Germany at some point.

I was especially intrigued by Brendan O’Neil, editor of political online magazine sp!ked, whose anger and passion impressed me. Check out the site and get some really good insights and witty, sharp comments about what’s going on around us.

Politics are important and should concern all of us. Sometimes they can be fun and entertaining as well.

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