The malaise of the modern
political system is caused by three factors which are intrinsic and
affect the entire body of politics.
Factor one is the apparent
distance it maintains from moral considerations. The assumption
seems to be that solutions can only come through political means and
if any moral element is required it needs to be provided by some
other agency. The result of this dichotomy is that it is never
possible to apply an integrated approach to any human problem. A
human being is born free and is basically a moral being. No amount
of force can change its pattern of behaviour unless it is dictated
by its own concept of right and wrong. It would, therefore, never be
possible to find a human solution in a moral vacuum.
Factor two is the divisive
nature of our political system. Perhaps it was Mr. Wilson who once
said that it was the duty of the opposition to oppose, and the
saying very aptly reflects the conflict structure of the present
political system. The nation, it seems, goes through an expensive
procedure which ends in producing a body of people who have to be at
logger heads with each other. It is, therefore, hardly surprising
that nothing much can be done in an atmosphere where peace of mind
is always absent. The system perpetuates itself on the feeling of
discontent which each party tries hard to generate in order to
attract public attention. The scenario is most uncomplimentary to
the wisdom of the human mind.
Factor three is the
pursuit of power as a legitimate goal of the political effort. Such
acknowledgement ipso facto concedes the right of any other
consideration to interfere with the achievement of this aim. It is
not surprising that other groups, e.g. criminals who pursue similar
aims in a different context, are never convinced of the impropriety
of their position and feel justified in being ruthless in the
pursuit of their objectives.
If in this context we
consider one more factor of an extrinsic nature, namely, the supply
of money, it further compounds the situation and we have a system
which most certainly can never work. The political power in the
present system neither creates money nor controls it. Its entire
effort is limited to regulate its supply as best as it can. It,
therefore, has always an excuse of not having enough money at its
disposal to justify its failure or to silence its critics. Having
said that we would now present the effect this basic situation has
on our affairs at home.
Paradoxical it may be but
the fact is that crime is a progressive factor of our progressive
world. There is no doubt in the sincerity of those who have been
responsible for its control over the past few decades, but it seems
unrelated to the factors of crime generally accepted as the reasons
for its occurrence. The pressures generated by our divisive and
incisive political system tend to create a desire to produce a
comforting picture by manipulating the statistics. Successive
governments have been guilty of such manoeuvres in different areas
of government responsibility. It is problematical if any government
achieves anything in its time. The work is done by civil servants
who simply adapt policies to suit the party in power.
All parties in the
parliament have a responsibility to make a conjoint effort to solve
the problem of crime. Parliament, unlike a wrestling arena, is not
for entertainment. It is for the serious business of national
interest and concern. If people who are elected to do the job fail
to do so then they have no moral right to be there.
There has been a
frightening development recently, i.e. the crime barons are now in a
position to take on a state. This must not be dismissed as happening
in a third world country. If we only look back at our views during
the last fifty years then most of the things we never thought could
happen in Britain are happening here today. The terrain and
circumstances may change the pattern of challenge, but the effect
would he the same - a, government and a people existing by the leave
of the criminals.
The old adage that unity
is strength does not require any explanation. It is plain common
sense. However, if parliament which is supposed to be the mother of
the nation is nothing but a sad spectacle of Caesar being
continuously stabbed in the back, then how can we prevent the north
and south divide, antagonism between management and work force,
nationalistic separatist movements, divisions based on race,
religion or colour. Intolerance and injustice are the results of a
state of mind. Minds can only be reached through ideas, through a
logic which clearly determines the right and wrong in a situation -
in short a moral philosophy.
In the prevailing
political climate, moralising is unfashionable, moral programmes are
outside the pale of political activity. There is a need for positive
conviction, a commitment to a moral programme to solve the social
problems that confront us. Without such a programme it cannot be
done, it has not been done, it will not be done. There is much more
racism, much more sexism, much more fear in society than we are prepared
to admit. The charade of hand shaking and baby kissing
that we see every five years before an election is no evidence of
the concern for the affairs of the nation.
A just and fair society
cannot exist without a freedom of expression which allows every one
to have his or her say in matters which concern people. This is the
only way to judge public opinion, it is the only way to exchange
views and reach an understanding. Without understanding we cannot
have tolerance, without tolerance we cannot have a peaceful society.
Freedom of expression
entails availability of different media for expression of views. In
our country there is no law which censures this availability. Media
today is controlled by those who have an arbitrary power to allow
what they favour, and disallow or misrepresent what they disagree
with. It is a nicely wrapped dictatorship of the worst kind against
which no effective redress is available. Every injustice leads to
resentment, every resentment leads to discord and discord is against
the national interest.
The freedom of expression
naturally finds its limits in what is best described in the words of
Lord Erskine who said: "Our law has adopted this as the rule: sober
argument you may answer, but indecent reviling you cannot, and
therefore the law steps in and punishes it."
A democracy is not a
democracy if it is not open. No conceivable harm can follow if all
the processes of government are open to the public's view. Public
participation and support is only possible if the public knows about
what is going on. If government is based on truth, fairness and
justice then it has no need to hide from public view. Sir Claus
Moser once applied for a position in the department of Statistics
and was rejected for reasons of security because of his German
origin. Yet the same person was appointed head of the same
department by Mr. Wilson when he was the Prime Minister. How does it
work in the higher echelons of power? Are there any rules? Is there
a concentration of those who manage to find favour? The public has a
right to know because it is their lives which are ultimately
affected by these decisions. An absolute openness with appropriate
provisions for people to observe, to question and challenge is a
must for the proper functioning of a democracy.
Our judicial system is in
need of an urgent review because justice is not available to all.
The very rich do not need its assistance, the very poor have a kind
of recourse, but the vast majority which constitutes about two
thirds of the nation cannot afford it and has to suffer in silence.
This is not fair, this is not justice.
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