Ed Miliband is right to say that Britain "is sleepwalking to disaster because of a failure to recognise that climate change" is the cause of the recent bad weather, but the news hardly comes as a surprise, when it is clear that sleepwalking has, for a while, been the national pastime of our politicians. Just as a recent historical work correctly suggests that early 20th century politicians were in effect sleepwalking their way into the first world war, Miliband highlights only one of a number of disasters the UK seems content to continue to do nothing to avoid.
Take, for instance, the inequality issue, with the mega-rich able to squirrel their wealth away from HMRC, evade paying for all the services they enjoy in Britain, and no political party daring to suggest even a 5% tax on their trillions, seemingly satisfied with Britain`s disgraceful 28th position in the equality league table of 34 countries. Just like the private rental sector being largely unregulated, the increased poverty ensuing can only lead to social unrest in the not too distant future, especially as social mobility is another object of politicians` somnambulism; can`t imagine why politicians are loath to intervene in the admission procedures of Oxbridge, or to end the dominance of private schools in public life!
The government might be more awake to the continued privatisation of the NHS,which they are engineering, but the majority of the population seems unaware of the situation. Sleepwalking could apply to the continued misuse of public funds, with billions being spent on Trident renewal, with no possible future use, with all potential enemies cunningly having moved the goalposts,and all because of politicians` posturing and desire to be seen at the "top table". Whilst this happens, of course, they continue to ignore the essentials, like flood defences and air pollution, and the obvious problems this will cause. What about state education? Labour have meekly allowed, with somnambulists` opposition, Gove`s plans for the return to a two-tier system to progress, whilst everyone sits back allowing the Tories to break up the welfare state and to return to a situation, where the role of the state is akin to that of 1948.
With confidence and trust in politicians at an all time low, will the 2015 election record the lowest turnout ever, with the under 30s responding to Russell Brand rather than Cameron, Miliband or Farage? "Sleepwalking to disaster" could not be more apposite, but, sadly, not enough alarms are ringing! They were loud after World War II and Attlee was bold enough to respond; the lessons are obvious, Mr Miliband.