1964: Mary Poppins – Stevenson
Financial planning is not something that nations do terribly well, as we have all observed over the last couple of years. Last weeks local council elections did little to highlight much, although depending on your political leaning, perhaps your interpretation will differ. The London mayor vote boiled down to the predictable two-horse race, with Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone collecting 84.3% of the total vote. The LibDem candidate Brian Paddick came in fourth behind the Green candidate Jenny Jones, sharing between them only 8.6% of the total first choice vote – of course this is the result of those that decided to vote (about 2.2m), the majority (3.6m) didn’t actually vote at all. The average “turnout” being 38%. So whilst Boris pulled in 1,054,811 first choice votes and Ken 992,273 (according the the BBC site) even Boris’ votes only really amount to 18% of eligible voting Londoners, fewer than one in five. For those worried about the rise of the BNP, they achieved 28,751 votes or about 0.5%… one in two hundred Londoners. The wider local council elections reflected much the same. France of course has now decided to oust Mr Sarkozy preferring Mr Hollande, to sort out their economy, much to the chagrin of Germany who had hoped France to be a major partner in seeing through austerity measures.
It would seem that the public at large are not happy with austerity measures (frankly who is surprised by this insight? and who couldn’t have predicted it?). The problem for us all is that politicians will seek to implement policies that please people and defer the the inevitable changes that need to be made, principally that spending more than you earn is not a sustainable way to run either personal or national finances. Ideologically, there are of course alternatives to a simple “cut public services” approach. It would seem to me that politicians have failed to communicate the severity or significance of the national and international crisis unless changes are made. They have failed to grasp the nettle, so-to-speak and have offered little vision for our increasingly inter-twined futures. The medicine may taste nasty and may be very unpopular, but to date, few have offered any credible alternatives. Politicians have failed to provide us with the much needed spoonful of sugar to sweeten the bitter taste… we are in need of a Mary Poppins, in which you will recall the delightful Mr Van Dyke failed to convince with his attempted cockney accent – our politicians and those in Europe need to walk the talk.
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