Let’s face it, 1984 was not the best book ever written but it did provoke a few thoughts. Another, in my view better work, was Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 which dealt with a similar theme – the manipulation of the people by the single party state.
My worry is that we now have the single party state in the United Kingdom.You might think that I referring to the rise of the SNP in Scotland when I say this and, to an extent, you would be right. The SNP landslide has produced a political state where no other party has any real significance north of the border.
What worries me more is the state of play south of the border. Thanks to the Scottish situation there is no chance of any single political party other than the Conservatives of holding a majority. Indeed the maths of the last general election has shown us that even the SNP and Labour together cannot form a government.
The advantages of this scenario are that at least a single party holding power can get things done. Coalitions simply don’t work effectively. The experience of the last 5 years has shown us some of the drawbacks, but if you want to really see how things get bogged down then look at countries like Italy where there are so many names on the ballot paper that there is never an effective coalition in power.
Non-Scottish UK is now in that situation. No-one can challenge the Conservatives. Thankfully, Cameron is not Thatcher. In my opinion, Thatcher was a great PM but she was constrained by having effective opposition. One wonders what she might have done if when found herself in number 10 today?
Effective government is constrained and balanced government. It is not about absolute power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.