I am now 42 years old. When I was 17 I needed an extra higher to reach my goal of getting to University and I persuaded the history teacher to take on a class of higher Modern Studies. Thanks to her I got an A in my higher and changed my University Course from History and English literature to Modern History and Politics. And I began a life long interest in politics. So a huge thanks to that teacher as she was the only one in the school who believed that without a o’grade she could teach a class higher Modern Studies. This was in sharp contrast to the geography teacher who I had a massive fight with when she told me it couldn’t be done! It was done, we all passed and the rest is history as it were.
But my point other than great teachers are the ones that listen and solve the issue by listening to eager but no doubt cocky teenagers as they can see the potential within. No my point is that since then I have had a great interest in politics. But despite wanting to believe in one party, work for it and support it to the hilt in the 20 years plus since I have been a political floater! Supported one party more than another but not enough to join it and pin my colours to the mask. That has always disappointed me but not as much as current politics .
When I was studying politics we studied at great length the class society and I participated in many tutorials on the subject. At the time there was a belief that perhaps British society was changing and we were becoming a classless society. This topic continued into my early twentys and I studied marketing at night at Napier University. Yet again there was great discussions that demographics in the country were changing making the old systems null and void. At the time I went along with it but looking back I was to niave to see that this was not the case and that we do indeed live in a class society. I was just surrounded with people similar to me and hadn’t noticed it.
Politics though in these days was full of people from a range of backgrounds who represented all classes in parliament and government. So for me it was the policies that prevented me from joining any party.
Today its different. I have grave concerns about the current leadership in all of the main political parties. All the main political leaders have privileged backgrounds and wealth that I can’t imagine. My concern started with the current double act of Cameron and Clegg. My daughter and I laughed that we couldn’t tell the difference between them and that hasn’t changed. If one of them is talking on the radio I am unsure which one it is. But that it not my concern my concern is that we seem to have reverted two hundred years and it is the privileged classes or upper classes who are now ruling this country. I can’t relate to them and fear that they don’t relate or understand me either or many parts of this country.
I listened incensed when Nick Clegg made the announcement that the middle classes were not affected by the current economy. Sir George Younger had me spiraling through the roof when he said we have never had it so good. I don’t know anyone in my circle of friends who have not been affected in the past couple of years. I know that I am at the time of life that even if the economy was good I would have lots of out goings as we have a family to support but there is no doubt in my mind that it’s been made tougher by the current economy. So it insenses me that the deputy Prime Minister who is a millionaire in his own right and will never worry that he has run out of money at the end of the month or can’t afford a new hobby for their child when asked. Or that the deposit for the holiday is gone as the heating breaks down can say that we have not been affected. Quite simply he can’t relate to it as it’s not his life and unfortunately he is not surrounded by people around him who can relate to it. Equally how does he relate to the single mother who has just escaped an abusive partner? Someone who is long term sick. Or the father who would love to work and support his family but can’t get a job despite his best efforts?
And take the cuts? If you don’t use the facilities that are going why will you miss them? I suspect very few in government have used local swimming pools, libraries or even local schools. So have no real insight into what the loss will mean to communities around this country.
So yesterdays talk about the “Big Society” had me once more thinking about the current political situation in this country. And it’s not just the current government all three main political parties now have leaders with very privileged backgrounds. This would be fine if there was also a mix of other backgrounds surrounding them but currently this is not the case. Or if it is I am unaware of it as the only voices I hear I can’t relate to.
However I feel that there is a glimmer of hope in an area that I have not always had great admiration for the Scottish Parliament. I grew up a passionate Scot and when I was younger I admit I was all for Scottish Independence. My views on this topic have dramatically changed as I realise the huge ties that we have with England and I am against Scottish Independence and hugely oppose any anti-English sentiment. However I was delighted when we got the parliament back and waited eagerly for it opening. Since then I have been neutral towards it. For me it has done moderately well but the level of debate could be improved. However I was lying in bed last night and thinking about my concerns about the current political situation and I realised that actually one huge positive for the Scottish parliament is the fact that it does represent Scotland’s population. For me that is a great thing and should be encouraged and built upon as we all make up a world from the top to the bottom. Finally in the 20th century the UK parliament had that representation having been ruled by a male upper class for hundreds of years. I currently fear for it in the 21st century and hope that it will again represent us all. As rich or poor, black or white, male or female we all make up this country and we deserve to have our views and thoughts represented.