Friday, February 27, 2009

And in the red corner...

There are flaws in my character, my perfective yeomen.

Yes, this is difficult to believe, but sadly there are matters on which I find it difficult to motivate myself to pontificate. Such is the problem with my 'chosen' topic of the day.

As I prepare for the ever-hastening arrival
of my session at the Oundle Festival of Literature, I have found it increasingly difficult to tackle the research for today’s post - political blogging.

Anyone with the stamina to follow my blogs will know that I am not averse to tackling the odd political topic, but I am with
Winston Churchill when it comes to our democratic structures when he said "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

The 'problem' as I see it being that the British democratic system is based on an adversarial system. This means that we are often treated to politicians trying to score verbal points while other members of parliament bay like rabid dogs caught in a thunderstorm.

With the parliamentarians behaving like verbal street fighters at the big set pieces like
Prime Ministers Questions, it is easy to forget that most of the real work is done using reasoned debate be it in committees or the floor of the house.

The reason for my disquiet about the research on political blogging, is that when I go and read some of the political blogs out there, they seem totally pre-occupied with the verbal point scoring and very light on the reasoned debate and the provision of alternate solutions. This causes me to quickly lose interest and go back to my quest for diplomatic blogs.

However, it is political blogging that is by far the most mature of the on-line web logs. The recent
Presidential campaign in the US was characterised by the use of the internet and blogs to mobilise support, push issues up the political agenda and of course, raise funds for the candidates. In at least one instance, the use of blogs is credited with having set the political agenda which unseated the incumbent Republican Senator.

OK, so I have to provide you with a few interesting links. First port of call would have to be
Guido Fawkes, a very irreverent political blog that concentrates on the tittle-tattle of the Westminster village. Then there is the be-spectacled dome head, Nick Robinson, who writes one of the many different blogs that now appear on the BBC website. You could do worse than visit Ian Dale’s site which seems reasonable enough, but also includes some fantastic links in his blog.

As this is a kind of a political post, I would like to finish with a political comment of my own. At the moment there is a lot of fuss going on about the pension being drawn by
Sir Fred Goodwin, the former head of the disgraced RBS banking giant. After being forced to resign as the bank imploded under the weight of losses in the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, Sir Fred chose to draw his pension. Now the world and their dog are crying foul and saying the money be returned.

This would set a most dangerous precedent. A pension is a contractual right that sits alongside your salary. It is not provided based on performance, but as part of your contract of employment. It is therefore a right. If the government start withdrawing a pension for an individual, it is setting a dangerous precedent that we could come to regret in future should some big corporate decide to use this precedent to their advantage.

No comments: