In Search of…Real Political Parties

As I write this, word that The Liberal Party of Canada has just won in that country’s elections is hitting the news. The Liberal Party of Canada is well, liberal (as opposed to conservative) on the political spectrum. Liberals typically advocate change, social services, the environment, education, etc. For example, the Democrats in the US, who are on the opposite side of the Republicans, are liberal. It is the same in the UK, where you have the Tories and the Labour party (liberals). You will find this kind of binary pro-change, vs pro-status quo debate going on, represented by political parties, in most all mature democracies.

Not so in the Philippines. What we have in the Philippines is a Liberal Party that is far from being liberal. In fact, like other Philippine political parties, it has no ideological underpinning at all, more a gathering of convenience among temporarily like-minded politicians, centered around a rich leader/benefactor.

Ironically, what the LP stands for in the Philippines is the status quo. More of the same, befuddled, uninspiring, vision-less, muddling along that we have seen the past 6 years. The Aquino administration’s greatest accomplishment was selling the perception that corruption has improved. Sadly, that will not be enough to carry us through the next 6 years. Real work and real reform has to be done. The global environment is less benign, as evidenced by sputtering growth in China and Europe. Exports will be hit. El Nino will hurt agriculture. OFW remittances, which have kept the Philippines afloat in a grand tide of consumerism, are slowing down.

03_BonnieTyler_1As governments across the region fasten their seatbelts, competitively devaluing their currencies and cutting interest rates to counter slowing growth, the Philippines remains ignorantly bullish, focused on politicking for the upcoming elections. This is not the leadership we need.

In the beer houses of my youth, there were several “anthems”. One of the memorable ones by Bonnie Tyler is appropriate to our condition now. As Bonnie Tyler once sang, and let me paraphrase, “we need a hero. We’re holding out for a hero”

That hero better come soon.

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