“A new politics: We need a massive, radical redistribution of power” (David Cameron)

Aprovechando el debate sobre mal uso de fondos públicos por parte de parlamentarios británicos, y lo que se conversa en Chile al respecto, los dejamos con esta reciente columna (publicada en The Guardian el 25 de mayo) del líder del Partido Conservador inglés David Cameron, autor de un ejemplo de renovación política digno de destacar. Agradecimientos a Hernán Larraín Matte por el dato.

“The public reaction to the political crisis over MPs’ expenses is far too serious to be assuaged by any instant package of measures, or even the sight of MPs paying the price for unethical behaviour. I think the British people’s fury at politicians today indicates a much deeper problem in our political system, that’s been growing for years. That’s why the Guardian’s A New Politics debate is so important. It’s vital we examine the deeper political problems Britain faces, and consider all potential solutions. And while I think much of the recent excited talk of “revolution” is overblown – we need to keep a cool head and a sense of proportion – we mustn’t let ourselves believe that a bit of technocratic tinkering here, a bit of constitutional consultation there, will do the trick. No, this crisis shows that big change is required. We do need a new politics. We do need sweeping reform. But we’ve got to get it right.

We should start by trying to understand what’s gone wrong. Of course, the immediate trigger of anger over expenses is the realisation of what some MPs have been doing with taxpayers’ money. But the fundamental cause is, I believe, different. It is in fact the same thing that made people so angry about the bankers who got rich while they were bringing the economy to its knees. It’s the reason people are angry with councils that fine them for putting their rubbish out on the wrong day; with the NHS managers who shut down a much-loved maternity unit; with the local officials who are super-efficient when it comes to chasing up your council tax bill, but super-useless when it comes to giving your child a place in a good school. It’s the reason so many innocent citizens mistrust and even fear the police – the very people who should be protecting them – and why so many people increasingly feel that the state is their enemy, not their ally.

The anger, the suspicion and the cynicism – yes, with politics and politicians, but with so much else – are the result of people’s slow but sure realisation that they have very little control over the world around them, and over much that determines whether or not they’ll live happy and fulfilling lives. In media, shopping, travel, entertainment and music, we have huge choice and control provided by many organisations that offer us incredible service and value. But when it comes to the things we ask for from politics, government and the state, there’s a sense of power and control draining away; having to take what we’re given, with someone else pulling the strings.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the powerful simply left the powerless to get on with the rest of their lives. But in Britain today, a growing culture of rule-following, box-ticking and central prescription robs people of the chance to use their judgment or take responsibility. And an increasingly Orwellian surveillance state (symbolised by the simultaneously ineffective and intrusive ID card scheme) reminds people that the powers that be don’t trust them.

Progressive Conservatism

Our philosophy of progressive Conservatism – the pursuit of progressive goals through Conservative means – aims to reverse the collapse in personal responsibility that inevitably follows this leeching of control away from the individual and the community into the hands of political and bureaucratic elites. We can reverse our social atomisation by giving people the power to work collectively with their peers to solve common problems. We can reverse our society’s infantilisation by inviting people to look to themselves, their communities and wider society for answers, instead of just the state. Above all, we can encourage people to behave responsibly if they know that doing the right thing and taking responsibility will be recognised and will make a difference.

So I believe the central objective of the new politics we need should be a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power: from the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities; from the EU to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy. Through decentralisation, transparency and accountability we must take power from the elite and hand it to the man and woman in the street. Yes, as many Guardian commentators in their contributions to A New Politics have argued, that means reforming parliament. But it means much more besides. The reform that’s now required – this radical redistribution of power – must go through every public institution, not just parliament.

We should start by pushing political power down as far as possible. Politicians will have to change their attitude – big time. Politicians, and the senior civil servants and advisers who work for them, instinctively hoard power because they think that’s the way to get things done. Well we’re going to have to kill that instinct: and believe me, I know how hard that’s going to be. It will require a serious culture change among ministers, among Whitehall officials – and beyond. With every decision government makes, it should ask a series of simple questions: does this give power to people, or take it away? Could we let individuals, neighbourhoods and communities take control? How far can we push power down?

It’s by asking those questions that you arrive at our plans for school reform. Right now, parents just have to hope for the best and take the school place they’re given. You sit there waiting for the letter from the local authority, hoping you get your first choice of school, or at least hoping you avoid the schools at the bottom of your list. One of the most important things in your life – the education of your children – is largely out of your hands. Our reforms will take the power over education out of the council’s hands and put it directly in parents’ hands, so they have control.

We’ll end the state monopoly in state education, so that any suitably qualified organisation can set up a new school, and any parent who isn’t happy with the education their child is receiving can send their child to a new school – backed by state money, including a new extra payment for children from the poorest families. This is the kind of redistribution of power that will be the starting point for a Conservative government: transferring power and control directly to individuals.”

Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/25/david-cameron-a-new-politics

2 comentarios to ““A new politics: We need a massive, radical redistribution of power” (David Cameron)”

  1. Juan Andrés Says:

    Cameron es seco. Buena columna!

  2. Returning residents Says:

    It’s an remarkable piece of writing in support of all the web users; they will take advantage from it I am sure.


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