Imagine there were a political party – let’s call it the Piberal Lemoncrats. The Pib Lems are a minority party in government at a time of austerity, and they are trying to reform the benefits system.
The government comes up with A Policy to save some money. But everyone who’d be involved in implementing This Policy on the ground predicts that it’d be a disaster – unfair, difficult to implement, and probably won’t save much money. Lots of Pib Lem members, who work day-to-day on these issues or have experienced them first hand, think the same thing.
Nonsense, says the leader of the Pib Lems (Mick Clogg). The Policy will work, he argues, and what’s more it’s fair. Some members sort-of go along with this, to the extent that The Policy is described as socialism.
And so, The Policy becomes law and is implemented. Lots of Pib Lem councillors, who are having deal with The Policy at the sharp end, point out that it’s going terribly. They are quietly ignored, or assured that they are wrong, and told to call The Policy by its correct name. Pib Lem Conference comes around, which passes a motion pointing out that The Policy isn’t working and asking for it to be changed. Nothing happens for another year or so, except for occasionally voting against Opposition attempts to abolish The Policy.
Then, a report comes out, nice and official on good quality paper which repeats all the things that everybody, inside and outside the Piberal Lemoncrats, has been saying for the past two years about The Policy being a total car crash. “Aha!” Mick Clogg announces. “I see now that The Policy is a disaster. Who could have predicted? How could I have known before now? We should now get rid of The Policy. You see, When The Facts Change, I Change My Mind.” And he awaits praise for his wise handling of the whole thing.
Can you see why people might find the actions of the Piberal Lemoncrats and Mick Clogg rather frustrating?
Thankfully, this is a completely fictional story which could never happen in a mature democratic party in Britain.