SKAN­NON: Plenty of rea­sons to be skep­ti­cal about change

The Woolwich Observer - - COM­MENT -

for com­mon goals. Every wasted tax dol­lar, every politi­cian fo­cused only on keep­ing his job, every en­ti­tled civil ser­vant, every in­ci­dent of cor­rup­tion erodes the cred­i­bil­ity of gov­ern­ment.

Any hope of re­gain­ing even a mod­icum of pub­lic trust starts with each level of gov­ern­ment get­ting its fis­cal house in or­der.

Thanks to decades of con­certed ef­fort, many peo­ple have bought into a set of di­min­ished ex­pec­ta­tions about the role of gov­ern­ment and, more trou­blingly, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of shap­ing a bet­ter so­ci­ety. We’ve had democ­racy re­duced to the oc­ca­sional trip to the polls. We’ve seen gov­ern­ment re­duced to man­age­rial func­tions, where de­bate is con­strained to a few well­worn top­ics. We’ve seen the econ­omy re­duced to fis­cal pol­icy – dereg­u­la­tion’s the or­der of the day as the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try sets the agenda. We’ve seen cit­i­zen­ship dumbed down to pas­sive ob­ser­va­tion, at best.

Fewer of us bother to vote, let alone take an in­ter­est in elec­tions. Far fewer still look past the slo­gans and lat­est com­plaints. But if we’re go­ing to have a bet­ter so­ci­ety we need to think about the fu­ture 10, 20, 50 and 100 years down the line. The road we’ve been on for the last three decades, driven by the neo­con­ser­va­tive cor­po­rate agenda, has di­min­ished our qual­ity of life. We have to look past du­bi­ous vote-buy­ing pro­grams, im­me­di­ate tax cuts and par­ti­san­ship.

Where the likes of Trump and, yes, Ford, fol­low­ing in a long line of would-be and pur­ported lead­ers, of­fers the cult-of­per­son­al­ity, maybe we’re now ready to look for lead­ers to shape a shared vi­sion that’s good for the many.

In last week’s elec­tion, cer­tainly a change was needed to do away the cor­rup­tion, il­le­gal­i­ties and dis­re­gard for the pub­lic, but we have yet to see the sub­stance that’s emerged else­where. If it does, maybe we’ll be less skep­ti­cal of the change we got June 7.

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