With the news getting worse and worse for Labour, it’s too easy to think that the problem is Gordon Brown. The problem is actually politics. The key ingredient of politics is the idea that all of society’s ills can be cured politically - a cookbook where the recipe for everything is to boil it. Gordon Brown believes in the power of the state to fix anything.
If the Conservative Party shares Brown’s clear belief that politics can cure all of society’s ills, then they will ultimately do no better when they are back in power.
Great political leaders entrust the citizenry with building not only successful lives but families, communities, schools. The leader builds the conditions of trust in society, and lets people get on with orchestrating their lives.
People used to feel the need for a strong state to protect themselves from ‘evil’ business people. Corporations were faceless entities who exploited. Enter the phenomenal rise of the SME over the past decade. More people are running their own businesses than ever before. ‘Individual capitalism’ – whether SME’s, sole proprietorships, start-ups or family businesses - is fast replacing ‘big business’.
The Internet has enabled this unstoppable force – entrepreneurship. The
As people take greater ownership over their professional lives, and decide to quit the big company and long commute for a portfolio career working from home, or set up an ecommerce business wherever they live – they no longer tolerate a nanny state. Standardisation and centralisation is so last century. Individual tastes and preferences are being catered to thanks to the freedom of the Internet as never before. We will want to organise our communities locally. We’re getting addicted to individual empowerment. In a society where 1 out of 4 people work for the ever-expanding government sector, this won’t be easy however. Government workers don’t have an incentive to see the state downsize.
The role of government is destined now more than ever to deal with the big stuff – foreign policy, defense, law and order. How we teach our children or are healed or run our towns will be done by the local community where individuals can have the biggest say. When we manage as much of our lives as possible, the state’s role and its corresponding need to tax declines. We all win. Play this one long or short, but the individual is in the driver seat in society as never before.