Friday, 16 April 2010

The Politician's idea of Future

And so those of us in the United Kingdom are now in the midst of a general election campaign, with all the politician's trying to woo the public to vote for them. The present incumbent of 10 Downing Street, Gordon Brown, has chosen as a main strapline, that he and his party are for the future! But a politician's idea of future is rather different to mine. They have a very short time horizon, corresponding to the next 5 year term of office. This is a pity, given that many of the big issues that they need to face for the good of the country and deal with are much longer term ones.

None of the candidates have very much to say about the pensions crisis which is simmering. On economics they talk about the current huge deficit but only chip away with token suggestions of how to save a few billion here and a few billion there, when the problem is at least an order of magnitude bigger and will take more than the next few years to deal with. On health, they acknowledge new drugs and treatments but again there is no long term strategy for dealing with what these issues together with the demographic trends are telling us. Financing care of the elderly features in manifestos but in debate is usually left as something important that needs attention ... yes but what? The information technology strategy is also piecemeal whoever you listen to, and rather lacking in ambition when it comes to the penetration of a super fast broadband infrastructure. Energy security and the environment is yet another long term issue that could do with better answers and ideas. In fact most areas featuring in the manifestos of the parties would benefit from consideration beyond the parliamentary timeframe and perhaps some consensus between parties, leaving philosophical and ideological differences clearer and real choices to the electorate more apparent.

My clients, whatever their industrial or commercial sectors, almost always have some foresight to want to explore the possible disruptive futures over the longer term of decades... it's not at all obvious that our political parties either do the same or when they do, make use of it.

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