Friday, 19 January 2018

Why Politician-Bashing has to Stop

Afternoon - hope you've all got your eye in and are in good form.

If you're looking to start your own blog or set yourself up as some sort of social or political commentator then here's a bit of useful advice being offered by somebody in the know, totally free of charge. A really 'fast forward' way of securing some sort of fanclub, cheap validation and a bargain basement round of applause is to latch onto the 'anti-politician' line of argument, crank up the distortion on your amplifier and screech into the microphone as loudly as you can. You can come at it from either end of the spectrum, both of which have their own brand of anti-politician type populism, but as is always the case with Toddler Left and Toddler Right, the formula is the same.

If you're coming at it 'from the left' then you need to bang on about how 'the political elite' have 'betrayed' the ordinary people of this country through its cosy relationship with 'the rich' and big business. Scapegoats include 'the 1 per cent', male or white privilege, the entrepreneurial class (many of whom are of course 'class traitors' by Toddler Leftist logic) and of course, those career politicians who have 'let this happen'. If your diaper happens to lean 'to the right', then simply substitute these scapegoats with immigrants, foreigners, 'political correctness gone mad' and politicians ignoring 'the silent majority' and 'the white working class' in particular.

All of this is perfectly doable on an easy-to-digest 'by numbers' basis and with very little original thought whatsoever. You'll become more popular than this site within about a month and probably go on to achieve some sort of mainstream recognition while accumulating a bit of a fanclub and the desired reviews in various publications, both positive and negative. I'm not even charging a fee for the spot of first class 'consultancy' you've just been given, so please simply remember me when you clean up at the Total Politics awards, or appear on Question Time - "without whom", and all that. In fact I'm pretty sure this is what a lot of 'political commentators' are actually doing.

I'm back writing not to service personal ego, but because I know that having used the blogosphere in the past as a tool for rationalising my own thoughts, I have something far more profound to talk about 'this time' than I did when I was actually 'somebody' within the Libertarian corner of the blogosphere six or seven years ago. Unfortunately, I engaged in a bit of crude politician-bashing of my own back then, partly because what I was saying had more than a grain of truth to it and to pick off the low hanging fruit that was 'the political class' to create a feelgood vibe among our readers. It was a cynical, stupid and counter-productive thing to do, something I rather regret.

To be clear this doesn't mean that I have a fundamentally different view of politicians to that which I previously held. Look, career politicians in particular, those who have precious little and in some cases virtually no 'real life' experience, are  of course a pretty dismal bunch on all sides and perhaps the old maxim of "if you've nothing nice to say then say nothing" can apply here. Nor am I saying that the particular actions of individual members of Parliament, public figures or indeed governments should not be analysed and criticised robustly if needs be, as and when they occur. This stuff is in the public eye, frequently impacts all of our lives and is quite rightly fair game.

What I changed my mind about circa 2 years ago was this depiction of 'ordinary people' as 'victims of politicians' as if we're all suffering from some collectivised version of battered wife syndrome. If you look at the Toddler Left and Toddler Right, both appropriate self-righeous victimhood at every chance that presents itself, usually on the basis of nothing more than membership of some 'oppressed group' that they feel has been 'betrayed' by politicians and is therefore 'owed something' for what most sane, rational adults would be inclined to conclude is an imaginary or made up reason rather than a real one. 'Politician-bashing'  merely feeds and amplifies this sense of victimhood.

A good analogy would be with the 'unlucky in love' type individual who has maybe half a dozen short lived relationships and reaches a conclusion along the lines of 'all the same' or something like that. Now it may seem 'nice' to offer validation and a sympathetic ear to someone in that position but it's quite apparent that once you're into relationship four, five, six then they are either the unluckiest person on earth or at they are at least a partial cause of their own problem and in need of some introspective time out of the game to work that out. They might be picking 'the wrong types', be poor relationship-builders in some way, have unrealistic expectations, 'issues' of their own or whatever.

Saying "there there, it's not your fault and I'm sure you'll meet the right person soon enough"  is probably what they want to hear, but is ultimately going to lead him or her down the path of doing anything other than the work that they almost certainly need to. It will either lead to a form of messiah-seeking, a rather unhealthy quest for that 'special' individual who is "not like all the others" or the polar opposite, a narcissistic retreat towards isolation and self-imposed Spinsterism, the whole 'nobody is good enough for me' thing. Either way, the sense of self-righteous victimhood (and therefore entitlement) ends up being re-enforced rather than challenged.

Politician-bashing is just another variation on this ridiculous princessery, one which I'm rather embarrassed about ever having participated in. Setting ourselves up as Cindarella outside the ballroom at five to midnight, waiting to be 'swept off our feet' by the latest 'messiah', then claiming victim status for ourselves when they don't deliver the 'utopia' they promised us is pretty desparate, especially when we then delude ourselves "don't worry, Mr or Miss Right will win the next election - and if that doesn't work out then it's not our fault either". The 'first move' here is not politicians magically changing their behaviour, it's actually us uplevelling as individuals.

When we do that work then two important changes occur organically. One is the immediate rejection of victimhood based solely on group identity rather than real events that might have occurred in real people's real lives - I find it striking that while we embrace such nonsense as Black Lives Matter and LGBT, we seem to have become less empathetic towards each other on the individual level. Secondly, once we reject the Utopia that career politicians believe that they have to promise us in exchange for our votes, the question of what purpose they serve (if any) becomes one we can ask rather loudly, one I'm struggling and am honestly not that keen to find an answer for.

So...why not replace RepDem with Sortition and deal in this new reality ourselves?

I understand to an extent that the language of "betrayal" and "it's not your fault" provides something of a warm glow, but it's astonishing how many otherwise sane, rational and intelligent people engage in social and political issues with a mindset that they would find lamentable in others as and when they came into contact with it in 'real' life. "Left wing victimhood" has brought Momentum to the brink of running the country and the government preferring to keep a lame duck leader in office rather than triggering an election they would probably lose. "Right wing victimhood" gave us 'the Donald' and the misfortune of a squalid Brexit that happened for all the wrong reasons.

It's an unhealthy sort of silliness that I should never have gone near and be assured I will not indulge again. Please pull me up if you notice any 'slippage' on that point as I'd like to think we're above all that on here.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I'll leave you with some appropriate music. Catch you on Sunday.

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