The government cannot win
Much though I find the policies of the incumbent government largely appalling, I’ve always been bemused and saddened by the treatment of the government of the time by both the media and the opposition. Here’s why.
The opposition and certain sections of the media (in this, they are one and the same—hereafter referred to simply as the Opposition) generally disparage the policies of the government. They pick holes. On the odd occasion, they might counter with their own stance on the matter. But disparage they will.
Yet if the government changes its stance with respect to the policy in question, they are accused by the Opposition of performing a U-turn—oh the shame.
On the proposed reduction in prison sentences, this is exactly what has happened. The proposal a few weeks back to increase the sentence “discount” from 33% to 50% in cases where the defendant makes an early guilty plea was met with anger and rhetoric, rapists being the headline of choice.
Today, the government has reversed that proposed policy, to cries of a U-turn from the Opposition.
I would much prefer a government that listens to public opinion, whether official by way of consultation or otherwise, in determining its final stance on policy issues, particularly on the more important and wide-reaching ones. There should be no shame in admitting a change in direction. But the farcical nature of politics in the UK (and likely in many other countries) means that shame abounds. Jeers in the House of Commons is one of the things upon which our nation’s shame is founded.