Our Political System
As society became complex a need arose for delegating individual responsibility to those who could devote themselves to serving the needs of the society. A system of service and control developed wherein those who served were given specific jobs and those who controlled represented the interests of the society and were responsible for seeing that that purpose was served all the time. These people were vice-regents of the community: they were meant to behave within the norms and precepts of the society, and any power they exercised was delegated to them. There was thus an unwritten contract between those who delegated authority and those who accepted to serve.
With the passage of time a breach of this contract has occurred. Politicians now behave as if they are a class by themselves. A week may be a long period of time in an ordinary citizen’s life but it is deemed to be too long in politics. It seems, therefore, that there are quite different codes and circumstances by which politics and politicians are governed. Politicians and those they represent are now moving in different orbits and like stars they come face to face only at periodic intervals. It is in the very nature of the situation that the interests of the two will not be the same at all times.
Politicians and the electorate should not be preoccupied by personal ambition or the interests of the ego; all have a social obligation to discharge and must adhere to the values of honesty, openness, fairness and justice and compassion, which are not for negotiation or compromise.
The present adversarial system must be superseded by a system of understanding, co-operation and assistance and consensus. Members of Parliament should be free to vote in accordance with their beliefs and the genuine interests of those they represent.
People gathering to bring about such changes should have certain standards:
a) Human beings are born with abilities and need time and appropriate circumstances to develop and attain their highest potential.
b) To attain this potential is a personal as well as public responsibility.
c) A human being needs education, health, a home and work. Ignorance, illness, a poor environment and idleness destroy this potential and prevent people from expressing themselves and making their contribution to life’s process.
d) The power to serve people should no longer be curtailed by lack of money, most of which is currently created by the largest banks who profit by lending it at interest.
Call for Action
If we examine the developments that have taken place in our society in the last fifty years, then the picture that emerges is that of a progressive decline in the welfare of our people We are moving in a state of virtual oblivion with the result that a great majority of our people live on subsistence level, engrossed in problems that life at such a level creates.
Another section of our society, considered to be its backbone, is kept busy with dealing with the problems that are a creation of our socio-economic system. A small minority works under the impression that it manages our affairs through a system which it regards as its exclusive domain. We have reached this stage, and if we fail to take the remedial measures now, we will soon lose whatever semblance of freedom we have and become part of a conglomeration too big and too distant to understand or operate.
There is an urgency about reversing this situation and in order to do so we shall have to work outside the mainstream political parties, who are opposed to such change and will resist and undermine it. We need to build a government which genuinely desires to serve all the people.
If enough good people prove to be willing – indeed determined – to fight the next election on this basis, a new horizon will be within sight.
Mohammed Naseem, 2001
This paper is being circulated at the request of Dr Naseem, who has served the community in Handsworth for many years as a GP, and the wider community as chairman of the Central Mosque in Birmingham. Some of you might have seen him in the recent television programme filmed there as part of a series on Islam.