Improving the political system and those wanting to be in it

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From: Father Neil McNicholas, St Hilda’s Parish, Whitby.

TOM Richmond’s article “Wrong, wrong, wrong...” (Yorkshire Post, May 1) prompted me to wonder why it is that every government that comes to power in this country manages to turn the electorate into raving cynics.

It’s what I call “Animal Farm Syndrome” – that wonderfully prophetic Orwellian theory that no sooner do they take over the farm than the pigs unfailingly turn into the humans they fought to evict.

Several years ago when I was in a previous parish, we had a primary school located across the road from the comprehensive school. (Now before I go any further, and to avoid being sued for defamation, I should add that over the years that comprehensive school has vastly improved itself, so much so that it is now one of the highest achieving schools in the area and is a credit to everyone involved – especially its head teachers over those years).

At the end of the academic year, I used to be invited to celebrate a school leavers’ Mass in the primary school and I used to ask the kids “Who’s been to France?” and a scattering of hands would go up.

I’d then ask “How many of you became French as soon as you crossed the Channel?” This time no hands would go up (thankfully or it would have spoiled my talk). And I’d say: “And so why is it that when you cross the road and go to the comprehensive school you suddenly become rude and obnoxious? We never see the nice, polite children who leave this school ever again.”

And they’d giggle embarrassedly because they knew exactly what I meant.

We seem to have had a succession of governments in recent times that we were glad to see the back of. We couldn’t wait to vote them out of office and to elect instead what we were convinced, by their pre-election rhetoric and sincere promises, would be a far better alternative ... but it never was and never is.

What happens to those we voted for when they cross over from being the Opposition to being the Government that suddenly one day, without anyone really noticing it happen, all of a sudden you can’t tell the “pigs” (no offence meant) from the “humans” anymore? Everything you were expecting has vanished without a trace and what you are left with is no better than what you had before.

Everything you pinned your hopes on when you exercised your right to vote, turned out to be a complete waste of time.

And it happens all the time. There doesn’t seem to have been a Government in living memory that hasn’t followed its predecessor down the same slippery slope where it promised the electorate, whether by intent or policy, it would never set foot (or trotter). And here we go again.

It’s no wonder Mr Richmond – and he’s not the first in these pages – is already predicting the demise of this Government at the next election, but the sad reality is that there doesn’t seem to be a viable alternative to lift us out of our cynicism.

From: David W Wright, Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

WHILE being no supporter of David Cameron, I do feel that the present trend of labelling him and his colleagues as being “posh boys” is a negative attitude and reminiscent of the British trait of class warfare/envy/egalitarianism. Why do we therefore not label Miliband, Balls and the Labour cronies as being “comprehensive/working class kids”?

In the current parlous state of the UK, we need the best people to lead and run our ailing economy, irrespective of education and upbringing, and we should strive to recruit the best qualified people to run the country. But here lies the problem – how do we encourage the best people to enter the sleazy world of politics – witness the current charade of the media/telephone hacking activities – which is enough to frighten off genuine public servants and erstwhile politicians?