Politicians are a rum lot aren’t they? They pretend to like us all, whereas they probably despise the bulk of us, tolerate a group of us, have a bit of rapport with a few of us, and certainly can count their true friends on the fingers of one hand. We ought to feel sorry for them really, but we tend to resent the bulk of them, stomach a group of them, appreciate a few of them, and certainly would not admit to being friends with any of them (and hate is too strong a word, before someone mentions that word!).
There is a basic problem with ‘elected’ politicians isn’t there (well in the UK certainly and in many other countries like America, as well)? They desperately need our votes. They don’t get elected if they don’t get our votes do they? This leads to serious consequences you see. Many of those standing for election are prepared to be what they are not; are willing to say what we want to hear; are primed to assume views like ours; are minded to take a stand on issues that is popular with us; essentially sell their soul to the devil if you like, and be all things to all men (as the idiom goes).
Ah you will say, but they can’t all be like that can they? There must be some of them who have genuine principles, a number with transparent authentically held views, those whose true purpose is to honestly serve their communities to the best of their abilities, persons whose talents match their ambitions? Well, one would hope so, but are they in the majority or the minority, which is the main question isn’t it?
The biggest damage to the reputation of the United Kingdom’s politicians came-about five years ago, in the so called MP’s parliamentary expenses scandal – this saga (triggered by the Telegraph newspaper) was when a shed load of them were basically caught-out claiming money they weren’t entitled to (and in some cases did so ‘illegally’ and had to face the due process of law). Before this happened, it was generally accepted worldwide that there was little corruption behaviour within the British political system. Unfortunately this event tarnished ALL politicians here with the same brush. But was this fair? How did all of that come about, you might ask?
Well, many think that it all resulted from the smoke & mirrors approach that seems to beret our political organisation and elite. The salary of MPs had been insufficiently increased, but they were at the same time, erroneously led to believe that they could ‘milk their expenses’ – indeed the rule seemed to be ‘claim ANYTHING’ and just ‘see if it is approved’ (a surprising number of normally ‘seen as decent’ individuals, got caught-up in this, didn’t they?).
How to fix? Our UK MPs should simply get paid what they are worth at ‘modern’ salaries – double at least – and expenses need to be ruthlessly truncated and replaced with modern features (like say Westminster hostel accommodation for MPs).
Most of us never really get to meet (let alone get to know) our national politicians like MPs – the best you can hope for is a quick doorstep greeting (accompanied with a request for your vote of course!), or a town’s market place photo-opportunity introduction. The problem we have in judging the ‘veracity’ quality of such people is due to our potential differences in political views – if you don’t agree with their particular dogma (left wing, right wing, or whatever), it is often difficult to accept that they are ‘authentic’ politicians isn’t it?
If you haven’t met any of the British so called parliamentary heavyweights (nor indeed such equivalent foreign dignitaries) be assured you haven’t missed a lot. Just trust your own personal instincts when you vote for your delegate and the government.
[Public perception is possibly that only twenty percent of politicians are genuine conviction representatives; the truth though is probably that is the wrong way round’ – and that the figure should be about eighty percent, don’t you think?]