A few days ago, when I watched the movie The Iron Lady in which Meryl Streep brilliantly portrayed Margaret Thatcher, I was reminded that defending her government’s position, by reminding the opposition how apparently poor they had previously been, became her main tactic during Prime Minister’s Question Time at the commons. Poor old Neil Kinnock would quite regularly have the stuffing knocked out of him as the Iron Lady would hit him with a barrage of facts as long as her arm.
There was an interview on morning TV today, in which I noticed the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, appearing to be defending the actions of his government by, if my peripheral hearing was working properly, contrasting them against the record of its predecessor. I say ‘peripheral hearing’ because I was not really paying it much attention. In this country, you can turn the TV set on, pretty much any Sunday morning, and hear the same kind of fruitless debate if you have the stomach for it.
Rather than listen to the man, I decided to take the dog for a walk and, as we walked through the park, I noticed how full the stream had become after the recent rain. As I watched it racing by, I was reminded of something a very wise person (may have been the Buddha) once said, that a stream is constantly changing as the water rushes by; it is never the same stream from one moment to the next, and yet on another level, it is the same stream.
Actually, I think the Buddha probably didn’t make that observation, on reflection; he probably asked someone to go look at the stream and report back – that was more his style. But in any case, it is true that the stream is, today, the same stream that I saw yesterday and the day before, and so on. But it is also a different stream because so much has changed between yesterday and today; not just the water either, there are various other processes, such as erosion, to take into account.
So, I am feeling very philosophical as I realise that the political situation in the UK is just like the stream. Is it any wonder that, these days, young people are so disillusioned with politics? It seems that it doesn’t really matter anymore which of the available parties gets elected here in the UK, they are so close to each other in terms of their philosophy, all clamouring for the middle-ground. Neither of the big parties wants to pursue a radical agenda, all of which means that it is largely irrelevant who gets elected.
Some things, it seems, don’t change!