Monday, October 10, 2016

In the court of the lizard kings

It is tempting to think of the elite as reptiles, particularly politicians. Thick skinned, cold blooded, forked tongues, they have all the characteristics. Unfortunately, the truth is much worse. To comprehend that they are human, like you or I, but still choose to behave and act in that way really defies comprehension.

Even given that they are Tories, the behaviour of the right wing during the EU Referendum, the ensuing leadership hogfight and party conference was amusing and depressing simultaneously. It’s a hard feat to achieve but it showed the depths some are willing to plumb in their caustic passion for power.

Unfortunately, the Labour Party has been worse. Sacrificing stalking-horses, denying legitimate members a vote and arguing childishly. All whilst trying to provide a legitimate candidate to challenge Corbyn. For his part JC has been successful at motivating a social movement but woefully lacking at strong leadership, conducting a sharp anti-government dialogue and forming a coherent and supportive cabinet - areas that are fairly essential when we need a credible and effective opposition.

I don’t know what the roadmap to becoming a politician looks like but I imagine it takes a lot of tedious graft. An interest in news and political theory which perhaps develops into some desire to be of greater use to society, percolated through studying politics and history at a Russell Group University, most likely Oxbridge.
 By the time you’ve sat through enough party meetings and taken part in constituency activities you probably have to court the elders for the chance to be the candidate in some far-flung outpost. No doubt you’ll know how successful you’ve been in toadying and obsequiousness by how ‘safe’ your potential seat is. 

Should you clamber far enough up the pole to spend long hours in a sub-group or committee, working on plans that have little or no chance of becoming policies, perhaps you’ll have caught the attention of powerful individuals who propel you towards the front or back benches.

By the time you’ve gone through this quagmire it is possibly to be expected that you’ll do literally anything to stay in that position of power. Somewhere along the way you’ll have lost sight of the desire to do good and benefit your constituents. You’ll just want to continue to sit near the top table, to retain your power. We hear so much about the ‘Westminster bubble’ I have to assume that it has impenetrable mirrored walls, facing inwards.

For every Jo Cox it seems that there are hundreds of Amber Rudds. Ms Rudd and I are of a similar age and her work with The Snowdon Trust and on FGM no doubt exceeds any of the good deeds that I have performed in my life. The dichotomy of this work and her ability to paraphrase Mein Kampf with chilling ease at the Tory Conference displays the dreadful truth of being an MP, it’s obviously complicated.

I’d like to believe that all MPs exist to improve our lives though reality often seems to disprove this. I’d like to think that they believe what they’re saying and it’s not simply a clarion call for undecided voters and extremist support. I’m sure we may all have done things to hold onto jobs that occasionally go against our principles and possibly keep us awake at night. I just often wonder how politicians sleep at all. Presumably, like other lizards, they do it with their eyes open. 

No comments: