03 August 2011

Who cares about policy?

Mick Hume writes that political life in the UK:
...becomes less about what you believe in or achieve, and more about how you appear, where you are seen and who you consort with. Personal image and style become all-important. That is why we find ourselves in a bizarre situation where a Tory prime minister can, on a given day, get more stick in the media for refusing to tip an Italian who did not deliver cappuccino to his table than for failing to deliver anything much in the way of a government programme. How British politics became trivial pursuits, Mick Hume, 3 August
Mr Hume talks about our celebrity political culture, which is partly a result of the lack of any ideological underpinnings to political parties. For me, though, ideology is at least as removed from society's well-being as celebrity. In either case, the interests of ordinary people are removed from the political agenda. Politicians are driven by ideology or by their wish to associate themselves with celebrities, either as an end in itself, or as a means of staying in power, or to distract the masses from matters of substance.

Ideology, celebrity, or the interests of the rich and powerful: in every case the drivers of our politics are not delivering meaningful outcomes to ordinary people. Social Policy Bonds, aside from their efficiency, could re-orientate politics entirely towards the achievement of social and environmental outcomes. Under a bond regime, politics would focus on the targeting of such outcomes, their relative priority and their cost. All actions set in train by such policymaking would be subordinated to the achievement of these outcomes. Ideology, celebrity and other nonsenses - currently absurdly important - would be seen, accurately, for what they are: self-indulgences.

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