John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, September 03, 2006
  Politics and Change
One thing I find interesting as a subject for study are the mechanisms for achieving change in society.

There are issues which are the subject of party political debate: such as the initial decision to go to war in Iraq, tuition fees and remain the subject of party political division.

There are other issues such as stopping free lunches for volunteers on benefits, nuisance phone calls and public family law (MSbP) which are not the subject of party political divisions.

What is interesting is the mechanism for achieving change where a party political division does not exist. The issue of Free Lunches, for example, was relatively straightforward. The problem was a bureaucratic decision somewhere in the middle of the Department of Works and Pensions. Sufficient political pressure needed to be created to ensure that change occurred. The rules were changed and that was it.

The issue of Silent Calls is more complex. Ofcom basically have been uninterested in stopping silent calls. They are, however, a substantial nuisance for many people. Gradually the rules have been tightened up, but there is no evidence of them being properly enforced. I have put a question in to Ofcom as to what they are doing and await the response. Ofcom should respond to pressure.

One of the more interesting debates is that about Public Family Law. There are so many aspects of this that have gone wrong over the decades that it is surprising the system is in such a mess. There are campaigns involving semi-coordinated court cases that review the law in respect of questions such as "is MSbP a proper syndrome". These questions are complex questions as there clearly have been cases of parents fabricating symptoms. In many ways these battles are more interesting than much that appears in the media. There are complex legal issues that have substantial impact on people's lives. Yet they are hardly ever reported in the mainstream media. This may be because of the complexity of the issues alternatively it could be because the focus is on the political sphere with its in built ad hominem fallacies.

An Australian Supreme Court case was one of the key decisions here. Also the fact that the World Health Organisation do not identify FII as a diagnosis also is important. What effect that will have in the UK is harder to determine because of the secrecy of the process, however.
 
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