Only the Carrot Cake Diaries……

14 Mar

One of my biggest bugbears with politics these days is the notion that one party has a monopoly on ideas, that ambition is somehow the virtue of just one ideology.

During party conference season, for which as part of my job I generally go around them all, the view that ‘only party X can/will/would…‘ is some of the most narrow minded soundbites I see.  It frustrates me immensely.  Ironically, this is not a position that is exclusive to just one party.  I’ve seen it repeated right across the political spectrum over the past couple of months.

Perhaps the most bizarre use, and one that actually made me quite angry, was when I saw the claim that ‘only Labour can deliver equality.’  Now I do not doubt the commitment, passion and track record of those behind this slogan toward delivering equality but clearly they do of others based entirely and simply on the colour of their rosette.

Ignoring for the moment the utterly ridiculous fact that equality, yes equality, is being used here to create political divide, this is a position that is just factually incorrect.  Whatever you think of the previous Conservative and Lib Dem coalition’s record on equality, and I am certainly not a defender of it, you can’t ignore the fact that it was those parties that brought forward legislation on equal marriage.  That this landmark policy became law with the support of Labour and Plaid MPs on a cross party basis is a testament, if one was ever actually really needed, that equality is a notion above party politics.

The above is of course only a representation of the falsehood of this tired and short-sighted position.  One that all parties are guilty of.  I don’t wish to sound preachy here.  In my former life working in party politics I am sure I practiced this bizarrely insular approach at times.  I have the benefit these days of being able to view things through a more neutral and less tribal prism.  I’ll be honest with you.  From my experience working with Assembly Members and MPs every party has some fantastic politicians who are willing to work towards thinking independently, willing to engage and willing to work towards what is best for their communities and for Wales irrespective of their political colours.

Of course one party may have better ideas.  Of course one party may have the best vision.  Of course one party may have the best policy platform.  However, the sooner we all accept that not one party; not one person and not one side of the political debate is the only ones that can offer solutions, or that they have the only solutions, the better and more constructive our political debate will be.

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