David Levy – Do you believe in the government, and does the government believe in you? – May 17

We invest a remarkable amount of trust in politicians and the political system. Seldom do we evaluate the quality of choice and the calibre of those we vote for.

In the past it was a matter of believing in the educated elite as providing those who, like cream, rose to the top. Today, they have a greater ability to do better than politics and often choose to enter the business world, but some stay and become party men.

It is a strange and unusual experience to find a person of conviction who stands firm on issues even if that means going against the grain of party. Most take the salary, turn up, vote and have a reasonably well paid job as MP and then walk in the corridors of power seeking opportunities to sit on Boards of Directors for 12 days out of the year. Some, like George Osborne, milk the talking circuit and do very well thank you.

I was wondering, are these people worthy of our trust in them and do they actually do the job we the electorate sent them to Parliament to do?

Of course the current understanding is that the public are a pain in the posterior and should be kept as far from influence as possible. They do this via public consultation, convincing us with the accepted wisdom that this is how the public influences decisions and policy.

This is a fallacy kept afloat by Government agencies which either use the tactic of buying off interested NGOs with a seat at the table, or by blackballing those who are a nuisance.

This choice of a seat at the table chosen by most of the NGOs has failed to deliver results, so I tend to avoid the rhetoric of these busted flushes. The only time they can readily speak out is when they are in accord with Government policy — such as pro-Remain in the Brexit debate, or in support of the 2050 Climate Change Act which has been responsible for delivering a pro nuclear stance.

The gullible nature of leadership of the NGOs has been one of the biggest concerns that have been revealed in the past decade.

So the public is in a position of nil influence and the Government agencies aim to keep this status quo, and they have a millennium in years of experience to frustrate the uninitiated. What they fear most is the legal challenge, but it is rare that any NGO takes this route — if NGOs take charitable money it is impossible for them to challenge Government policy.

The whole system is rigged in favour of business as usual and I would value any comeback from you that points the way for progress in promoting public influence.

At this moment in time I am frustrated with the poor quality of environmental advice the Government is being exposed to. All they are doing is listening to themselves and to business interests. Science has been side-lined.

David Levy

 


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