Iain Dale wrote last week about the adverse comments he received when twittering some appreciative comments about a political opponent.
The worrying bit about this is not in making politics divisive and generally unpleasant. It is that we are not open to learning from experience and one another. Instead we have to be right and can never admit to having got things wrong.
Two important areas where this applies.
1. The Economy. Labour cannot admit that the financial regulations were ineffective during the boom years, nor that the recessions were abolished, merely postponed by the central banks. Gordon Brown is responsible for setting up a tripartite structure that was fundamentally flawed. He was also responsible for creating structural deficits through “only borrowing to invest”. To admit that he was wrong, would mean be blamed for recking the public finances for the next generation. The consequence is that the bankers carry the full blame. Anyone who does agree is siding with this greedy and unscrupulous minority.
2. Climate Change. Anyone who did not agree with the scientific consensus was considered delusional, a political extremist, or in the pay of the oil companies. Now that the science has been shown to be suspect and biased, there is no possibility of a climb down without loss of face.
This country will be poorer for a generation because those in power have built a false image of infallibility. Further, if the climate change exaggerations are not forgotten, the impact will be much longer than that. The Conservatives should learn from this.
Finally, I hope that Iain Dale should keep on appreciating the good things in the Conservative party opponents, criticizing the conservatives who he thinks as wrong, as well as recognizing (and apologizing) his own errors. The general political debate is richer for it.