June 12, 2008

Outside the scope of the Simultaneous Policy

The lead story in the UK today is the resignation of an opposition politician (David Davis) to force a byelection which he says he will contest on the sole basis of the government's plan to increase the time that terrorist suspects can be held before the police have to file charges. The government won a vote in Parliament yesterday increasing the time period from 28 days to 42 days. See:

So what does this have to do with the Simultaneous Policy? Not a lot. Which is the point I want to make. The vast majority of politics is outside the scope of SP.

SP is intended for those issues where governments cannot take action because they fear doing so would put the country at a competitive disadvantage and so lose investment and jobs. Climate change is a good example of where action is compromised. For example, the British Confederation of Industry pressured the UK government to go to court in Europe in an attempt to loosen limits on polluting companies. See: UK victory rips hole in EU's pollution trading scheme. Although that attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, the CBI was saying just last month "All of us support the case for the auctioning of carbon allowances to sectors where this does not threaten their international competitiveness."

The CBI has campaigned against unilateral action in the past by suggesting that investment and jobs can easily drain away to other countries. Although to some degree it is bluster, businesses do shift investment and jobs when it improves their profitability and governments are justifiably wary of not responding to pressure from business leaders.

Most issues are not affected by destructive competition between nations. The detention period is an example. Countries have very different approaches to detention and the way investigations are conducted. SP is not intended as a method to impose a view on other countries and so it would be inappropriate for Adopters to propose a global limit on detention without trial, for example.

That's not to say that some may wish to do so, as is their right. But such a proposal is unlikely to gain widespread support.

think we can trust SP Adopters to only back policies that are necessary to address global problems and are sensible. No disrespect for Esperanto speakers, but that proposal gained just 13% support in the last round of voting (perhaps suprisingly high, but then the overall number of voters is still small). SP is not going to impose Esperanto on the world.

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