Whether returning from a day out with a plethora of items not on your shopping list or simply receiving poor substitutes – that you don’t want – in your home delivery from the supermarket, shopping lists can be as much a balancing act as political manifestos.
Griping is a sport I believe the UK could win Gold at both the summer and winter Olympics. A key ingredient in political based griping is the humble manifesto. If a party does something not explicitly contained within its manifesto then people will gripe; much as others will bemoan the government for doing something it promised to do in the first place, if they happen to disagree that is.
Next the humble U-turn; if reversing a decision promised within a manifesto, there will likely be uproar. Regardless of whether it’s the right decision or not, people will become outraged that a government dared to incur the ‘wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing’ as per the words of Toby Ziegler.
It may be some time before we accept as people, a government demonstrating strength by feeling confident enough to show weakness. Dependent on who you speak to, making a U-turn seems to be quite an abhorrence, whether it happens to be a manifesto issue or not.
A manifesto must contain enough content in order to avoid any given government from running out of things to do in power. Otherwise a party would be harassed by the people following perceptions of inactivity. No matter how fast, slow or effective a government is, there will always be perceptions of ‘broken promises’ at the end of a Parliament.
The media isn’t the problem in this situation, I have to be brutally honest and state that it’s the people. There may be people who are easily sucked into the hype and propaganda peddled by news organisations and political parties alike; however, there are just as many if not more who are very much able to make their own minds up.
Raise questions about both actions taken and opportunities missed. If you disagree with the actions of a government then by all means ‘release the hounds’. Though please remember that fox-hunting is outlawed, so it’s hardly fair to hunt MPs around Westminster no matter how exciting it may be to some.
Don’t forget that a week is also a long time in politics and it takes longer than a week to write a manifesto. It stands to reason that the political landscape is neither concrete nor stands still between the publication of a manifesto and the arrival of a subsequent Parliament. Situations change and people need to recognise that manifestos are Amazon wish lists, not shopping receipts.
There’s a subtle difference between being annoyed at someone for making a wrong decision and the act of being annoyed because you simply didn’t get your own way. Big ‘P’ Politics is the profession inhabited by those we elect to office, playing small ‘p’ politics is something we all do in our day-to-day lives.
Too much energy is expended on attacking governmental actions in reference to a manifesto. Since we all play politics, perhaps focus needs to be placed on the current and not the past. Judge a party more on its actions – or lack thereof – not just purely on their pledges alone.