'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I think most people who have dealt with me think I'm a pretty straight sort of guy, and I am.

No, not me.

The words of Tony Blair, very early in his premiership, when a lot of people thought this to be true. It took a while for the Bliar theme to emerge...

But I'd like to think it could be about me. Or anyone who takes an active interest in politics. I'm not talking about professional politicians. I'm talking about the people who push leaflets through doors week in, week out, who organise fund raising lunches all year round, and yes, even people who blog in an effort to get the message out.

But actually, nowadays, I'm not sure people outside politics would say that about any of us.

I was reminded of the Blair quote when I was reading Martin Kettle's terrific piece in The Guardian last week entitled "Heard the one about the corrupt, lying politician?". Do read it, but the basic sentiment is that 20 years of political satire in this country has given politicians a bad name. Here's a sample...

"And what is Hislop's principal message? Week in and week out, it is that most pretty much all politicians are corrupt, deluded, incompetent, second-rate and hypocritical. Hislop's message is delivered with enviable deftness and wit, and very often it is irresistible. But it is also good-naturedly merciless. And extremely repetitive. There is never any sign that Hislop allows of exceptions; or that he has a political hero; or even, with the occasional honourable mention for Vince Cable, that there are politicians whom he respects. The impression he always gives is that today's politicians are uniformly unworthy of their inheritance, not to be compared with some previous golden age of statesmanlike effectiveness."

Now of course, politicians don't exactly help themselves, not with expenses scandals, bare faced fibbing, and ,er, broken pledges (ahem, shuffles nervously).

But I do think that the satirists do play their part too (it's a little chicken and egg, but still)...And I think we do all end up tarred with the same brush.

I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for us. But just sometimes, when I'm shoving leaflets through doors on a wet saturday morning, it would be nice if I thought people were a little more positive about politics.

I'm also aware this is probably a sentiment not shared by many others!

1 comment:

  1. It feels like there is actually an ideological dogma in some media which makes bashing anyone mildly associated with the right inheriently moral. It's rather sinister, as this vitrol-fueled rant demonstrates.