I don’t really have a top worrying headline to read on the news this week there are many. The first headline that sticks out to me is one about the DUP or Democratic Unionist Party have decided to yet again reject a deal on Brexit for Northern Ireland, this means that for a further unspecified time there will be no local elected representatives of democracy sitting in power in Northern Ireland and instead leaving major decisions on how to run things within Northern Ireland to British Civil Servants and the British Government.
The politics of Northern Ireland are complex and not easy to resolve but by refusing to take part in the decision making process being the decision that they choose to make is not really one that benefits the people of Northern Ireland and does not ensure there is political accountability in the long term.
I really am a strong believer in political representation, you vote, others vote, those elected then collectively come to a decision on how best to run your council, parliament, country and though at times I might not like what a local council or national government does at least I and others have collectively been involved in the decision making process that resulted in the decisions that then effect me and others taking place.
I even possibly somewhat naively like to think, that sometimes the more insane and off the wall decisions that an opposition party make against my own views and opinions means that there are more chance for those decisions being rejected, ridiculed and voted against in the long run. One such decision that is looking like a slow car crash of a political decision at present is the Illegal Immigration Bill which plans to make those that arrive in the UK via irregular routes ie via a small boat across the channel from France or in the back of a lorry will if caught be detained for 28 days and then deported.
In 2022, 45,755 men, women and children crossed the Channel in small boats to reach the UK, most of whom then claimed asylum. Nearly 3,000 people have already made the crossing this year, with official estimates expecting more than 80,000 this year.
In 2022, a total of 20,446 people were detained at some point. Official statistics show that 47% were detained for seven days or less. The current detention capacity in the UK is about 2,286, according to estimates by the Refugee Council, so detaining everyone crossing in a small boat for 28 days would require extra capacity.
It would also be very expensive – it costs about £120 to detain someone for one day so detaining 65,000 people for 28 days would cost £219m a year, and that’s before the additional costs of building more detention centres.
The UK Conservative government when it comes to delivering a policy or service or implementing government decisions is very much the McDonalds of the political world, it provides cheap and somewhat inedible and unhealthy solutions to serious and as yet undigested problems.
The arrogance of wealth and inequality that exists when it comes to global poverty and even local poverty is astounding. People with money often say they must keep all of their wealth and the feckless and poor don’t deserve any of their money or that there is never enough money to solve the problems of the poor. Though I agree that politics is the art of what its possible in a world of finite resource. This does not mean that in an attempt to solve a problem you in fact take a decision and create a solution that will then only make the problem worse.
Global poverty and inequality is a huge problem. Often exacerbated by trade barriers, forcing poor countries to not be able to trade with wealthy countries on an equal footing. In many ways people are designed to fail and live within poverty depending upon which country they live within and how much money their parents have when they are born and which country they are born into.
People fleeing global poverty, war and climate collapse and starvation will only continue over this century and a UK government MacDonald’s Big Mac bite sized government policies, will in no way satisfy the apatite of the global community or be a serious solution to serious political problems facing the world. Yes we must do what we can with the limited resources we have. But be under no illusion about just how much we must be prepared to do and if the system that we lives in sustains both poverty and climate damage then just tinkering around at the edges is not a valid solution to these global problems. I fear that if things get worse which they could and are likely to do the western northern hemisphere is more likely to try and fail to shut the door to the worlds problems while those very same problems persist in battering down that very same door.
I don’t think and write about these things because I am a pessimist I think and write about these things because they are real issues, affecting our times and people across the globe in the past, present and future. Though some in power might not wish to worry about such problems or see solutions, I am happy to continue to try to speak truth to power and continue to vote for those that I hope and believe can be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.