The shape of this week means I didn't post anything about last Sunday's excellent event with Brian Taylor talking about politics, the general election, public opinion, the role of the media and a host of other stuff. The thing that stuck with me, which I already knew but it was refereshing to hear, was how complex politics really is and how different it is making pre-election statments and implementing government actions.
Among his examples was the tension between providing centralised, expert hospitals and local, small, friendly hospitals. If you ask people what they want then i'st the big centre of excellence at the end of their road... an impossible solution. It got me thinking a bit about so-called post-code lotteries and the further complexity of parts of the UK operating semi-autonomously which further complicates the whole picture. There are some medical procedures that are available, say, in England but not Scotland (or vice versa no doubt) because juggling the books (along with population sizes, per capita spend and localised health anomalies) mean the expenditure cannot be jusitified. This then raises ethical dilemmmas for health boards/authorities over access and so it goes on. Complicated. No easy answers. No obvious solutions. We all want the 'best' (whatever that means) on our doorstep and are quick to assert what we think are our 'rights' to access whatever it is we perceive is in our own interest.
If you then multiply this complexity by education and transport and arts & lesiure and all the other myraid topics it is a wonder the politicians mange to do anything at all.
On balance though, with all its flaws and foibles, I am glad to live in Britain and in a part of it where some level of local autonomy seems to work well. For all we love to grumble about them, it seems to me that both Westminster and Holyrood do a pretty good job on the whole. (I still think it's high time England had its own governance or at least its people asked if they'd like it, but that's another story)