As we approach the General Election later this week and then a few days later reach the end of 2019 it is a good moment to reflect on the last decade and the way in which it has impacted so many lives in a way that has deteriorated our society. The beginning of the 2020’s will offer our nation and those of us who want to contribute in some way, a chance to draw a line in the metaphorical sand and agree to put right some of the damaging issues that have taken place. Whilst we are focusing on the election and trying to anticipate what the outcome of our vote and the votes of millions of other people will have, our North Atlantic colleagues are no doubt focusing on the plans to impeach President Trump as a tactic in the run up to their Presidential Election in early 2021. My online dictionary defines impeachment as a Noun with the meaning “the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something” and “a charge of treason or another crime against the state” It appears that both of the two main parties taking place in this election and some of the others have certainly referred to the actions of both Johnson and Corbyn as being attacks on our state. However if we focus less on the individuals and more on the actions of the political parties then it would seem we are in the territory that could easily be seen as part of an impeachment in our nation too.
The reality is that our Governments impeachment challenge is less dependent on Court cases and more related to the need to change structures that will enable the validity and integrity of the political elements of our nation to be improved. Some people obviously want the new Government to set out our departure from the EU and others want the opposite. However I suspect most would agree that we want some level of competence to emerge from the way our Parliament operates and displays itself. A removal of the Government and Opposition bench profile and new type of behaviour from the new cohort of MPs would be a great place to start if only there was willingness for them to do so. We then need to find some new ways of gathering our nation’s views which should come from a public set of groups such as Community Juries or Community Assemblies. Clearly an alternative is a series of referenda but these need to be dealt with in a way that avoids the mistakes made by Cameron and his team when they set out to the EU referendum in 2016. Given that our nation voted for us to leave the EU back then may lead us to our departure but unless that happens in the next 22 days, the earliest we can leave will be in 2020 which will be noticeably four years after the referendum. In those years a great deal has happened and also failed to happen and just as the validity and integrity of what is about to be the third Government since that vote is highly questionable, the actual promises set out by both the Vote Leave and Vote Remain campaigners also lacked in validity and integrity. Whatever the next Government does it should acknowledge in a way that the previous two Governments failed to do, that our request for a decision and the basis of our decision was out of touch with what real options lay and indeed currently lie on the table.
Once the infrastructure of a valid and integrity based form of democracy is achieved or at least begins to be set out, we could then expect to see effective decisions on a range of vital subjects which impact many or even all of us. These include climate change which at least one political party is clearly unable to engage with despite being in Government for nearly a decade. These people are potentially about to enter another five year period depending on how this week’s results emerge! The same is true of adult social care which the same party claims can only be resolved using a cross party approach. Whilst that could work in theory, so far their unwillingness to engage in cross party approach over Brexit demonstrates that they are incapable of doing so and in any case this is a classic example of how communities could contribute in a very effective way. Then there are other themes such as how policing is resourced and interconnected with other parts of society and how education and youth provision can avoid being laid out to match the ideas of high profile politicians who clearly fail to grasp what will help society appear to be better supported.