Tuesday, October 07, 2014

What do we expect from a Government?

There is a discussion to be held next week on the need for an alternate government.
It is worth posing the question: What do people expect from a government? Why do we need one in the first place?

The nation state is something that evolved over time. At its most basic, the role of the state is to provide common services that would not otherwise be available and to maintain the peace - some semblance of law. 

Today we expect rather more, the state sets economic and monetary policies that have a huge impact on the lives of people, therefore we rightly hold them responsible for the management of the economy. This is an abstract concept that many citizens may find difficult to grasp but it can be broken down into more basic questions.

  • Are there sufficient job opportunities? If there are, why are so many seeking employment abroad ? 
  • Do we have an affordable cost of living? Not many will track their expenses in detail but have citizens been able to save more, and perhaps invest, over past few years?  Are they enjoying a richer or more varied lifestyle? Do they have to get into debt, credit card or otherwise to meet household expenditure?
  • We have witnessed some improvement in roads but how do you find the bus and train services? How useful are the new roads if you cannot find a bus? 
  • How do you find the health service and the schools? What was your last experience in a Government hospital ? The police? How easy is it to put a child into a school ? And why must we pay for tuition?

These are only a few questions that occurred to me, there will be plenty of others that we may ask.

Different age and socio-economic groups will have different problems, but if we start to think about what we may expect, we then get a yardstick with which to measure the performance of the Government.
Nine years in office is a long time.  How far has the current regime provided answers to your problems? Have the problems become better or worse?  

Ask the right questions, then you will know if you need an alternate Government.

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