Who Watches the Watchmen

Exploring whether the political system lends itself to short term self-interests

The essay explores whether the British political system is indeed setup to foster short term thinking, thereby preventing sustainable policy implementation.

Author:
Gaurav Prinja
Publisher:
Elephant Ideas
Date:
December 21, 2021

Background

In 2016, Vote Leave campaigners in the UK told the public that remaining in the EU would bring about a mass wave of immigration of criminals from Turkey. This was nothing but a lie and one which brought about Brexit. Five years later, the after-effects of this decision have been acutely felt in a shortage of HGV drivers to transport fuel.

Lies by politicians clearly have a major impact on our lives. But why are they morally problematic from a dharmic lens, and what does dharma tell us about stopping them?

Key Points

Politicians are likely to seek ongoing political power and be re-elected. They thereby balance the need for long term policy implentation with their need to showcase their "achievements" in their election cycle. The House of Lords should theoretically help ensure sustainable policy implementation, but, at best, they are seen as an annoyance to the process rather than an effective gatekeeper. The role of the electorate is complex, as they too can be influenced by the short election cycle.

Longer term thinking

As a pessimist in human behaviour, especially that of people with politcial power, perhaps the only remedy to short term policy thinking is to conceptulsie a new structure that not only prveents short term thinking, but actively encourages long-term decision making.

Footnotes

Simon Sinek, Finite and Infinite Games