Politics has lost its ‘connection’

Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001
Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001

As someone who doesn’t get to vote this time – but will next –reading the news has been little short of depressing recently.

The gloom began with the triggering of Article 50, a concept that seems almost unanimously opposed by my generation. It still somewhat irks me that the views of people my age were swept aside by the powers that be, despite the issue arguably affecting us more than any other stakeholder.

But it certainly isn’t the end of the world. It might be the end of Europe, but Britain will soldier on in the way it always has. What worries me more is the lack of connection between politics, basic human principle and common sense.

One example of this being the ‘Tampon Tax’, which was one of more notable controversies of recent times. Perhaps unlike you or I, policy makers brand Tampons and all notable substitutes as luxuries. This classification become somewhat more odd when we consider some of the items that our government classes as necessities. Crocodile meat, toffee apples and helicopters are all viewed as more essential than a product that half of the population has relied on throughout their lifetime.

At the time, then chancellor George Osborne batted away criticisms by promising that £10 million generated from the tax would be given to charities that benefit women. However, new evidence has emerged suggesting that £250,000 of this sizeable figure has been giving to anti-abortion group LIFE. Despite the organisation not always acting for the betterment of women’s rights they have been allocated one of the largest amounts, arguably undermining the campaign and tax as a whole.

Further emphasis of basic human nature abandoning the political world comes with further cuts to bereavement payments. In short, the changes will mean that families who lose a loved one will see thousands erased from their future benefits.

The heartless move will only add to the anxiety brought on by financial turmoil to add to the already burdensome and unimaginable sense of loss felt by the families of cancer victims.

The only overt defence of policy from Mrs May has been that the adjustment will benefit taxpayers. At the same time, the Prime Minister appeared to be frantically attempting to pin the policy on one of Osborne’s last fiscal budgets. It would appear that no-one truly wants to claim responsibility for the cruel decision.

Recently, politics has seemed different.

The House of Commons no longer seems like the coliseum of thought it once was. Prime Minister’s questions has lost its passion, day-to-day debate has been so much more mundane than usual and even Dennis Skinner has been quiet lately.

Now, more than ever, we need politicians that are willing to fight for what they believe in instead of simply passing the buck. We need individuals that act for the betterment of society, as opposed to the betterment of their own career. Perhaps most importantly, we need an opposition to the government that spends more time scrutinising the executive than arguing internally.

-- Patrick Gembis is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds