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Politicians in Britain and beyond suffer from a crisis of incompetence

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When Labour member Diane Abbott told a radio interviewer that her party planned to recruit 10,000 new police officers at a cost of 300,000 pounds a year, she cast doubt on the future of Britain’s political opposition.

As the shadow home secretary, an office that oversees crime and punishment, among other responsibilities, she should have been more prepared. Instead, when she was pushed to explain how she’d be paying those officers, given that her figures put their individual salaries at just 30 pounds a year, Abbott melted down.

She finally found the prepared figures, and later blamed the media for reporting on her gaffe.

Should Labour prevail in Britain’s upcoming parliamentary elections, Abbott would be in line for one of the government’s most challenging offices. But by revealing her incompetence so publicly, she made her already-struggling party even less electable. And Britain will suffer without a competent opposition party.

Competence is the point. The Abbott debacle illuminated a real danger: Across the West, parties that profess far-left, far-right or populist policies are a menace not just for their extremism but for their incompetence born of contempt for experience and lack of understanding of complexity.

By degrading elected........

© Reuters