The first time I ever heard of a government #shutdown
, I thought it was a joke. But no, in America the government can actually be shut down in times of peace. I still have difficulties grasping why you would want anything like that, but let's just agree they do things differently at the other side of the pond.
There is no such thing as an official shutdown in the #UK
, but I think we can agree that their government doesn't do much either at the moment. There's a very, very important decision to be made, but the government is paralysed, seemingly waiting for the matter to resolve itself.
There is one striking similarity between the UK and the US, and I'm not referring to the rather ironic "united" in the name. No, they both have a political landscape that, for all means and purposes, consists of only two parties. Let's call them Left and Right, as that seems to be the popular distinction these days. We might as well call them Black and White, because that's what it means in politics: nowadays you're either Left or Right, Democrat or Republican, Labour or Tory.
The effects are bizarre. Whatever one party wants, the other will block. Cooking the other's goose is the highest goal, governing the country comes second. In computer terminology we call this a deadlock, and it's one of those things every software developer will want to avoid at all cost.
Sure, Pelosi's letter to Trump ("let's postpone the State of the Union till after the shutdown") and Trump's response ("let's postpone your 7-day excursion till after the shutdown") are entertaining, but American government has sunk to a level that would fit well into a Monty Python sketch. And how about all those Tories that voted no confidence agains May in december? Those same people rejected the no-confidence vote against her yesterday. I can almost hear Michael Palin say: "it's not dead, it's resting."
Wouldn't it be a lot easier if there were more parties involved? Add some grey to the black and white. Add a third (or even fourth) party to the mix and suddenly there's not one Mortal Enemy anymore, but two parties that you probably share a few ideas with. Instead of Mortal Kombat, the game changes to something like Warhammer, where you actually have to work together to achieve your goals.
If there are more parties, there's room for more opinions and ideas in politics. Parties would actually have to represent what the majority of their voters want, instead of waging a trench war against one opponent. Do voters change their minds, or does society as a whole change its mind? Then parties that hold those ideas will grow, so those ideas will get stronger support in government.
Imagine an American party that wants stronger border security without a 3000km Berlin Wall. Or a British party that prefers no #Brexit
. I'd like to see what would happen.