Wednesday, 25 March 2015

If You Want to Run a Country, Grow the Fuck Up.

I am quite openly disappointed with the state of politics in the UK. I think a lot of stupid decisions have been made in the time I've been paying attention to it, particularly in the last five years. I think that not enough is being done to educate people about politics for the general public to properly understand it, unless they go out of their way to learn. Which is difficult because political journalism is in an equally pitiful state.

Most of the things reported about politics is either scare-mongering or stupid. A lot of the governmental decisions reported are the ones that wind people up or cover up something more serious or just make it look like politicians are doing something more than wasting tax money. Of the rest, most political news is only scandal - MPs have been claiming expenses they're not entitled to or having sex with someone their not supposed to, somehow.

Or it's gossip.

Recently I was flipping through a Metro and saw an article that had no other news but that a Labour MP thought Ed Milliband was a wanker.

I don't really care what anyone thinks of anyone else. People are entitled to their opinions. And Ed Milliband isn't doing a great job of making Labour look great right now. So it's not an unreasonable opinion to have.

But it's not the kind thing that political journalism needs to be focussing on. Most of the places that actually convey useful, worthwhile information are private blogs that are committed to making sure that someone reports properly on politics because the media sure as hell isn't going to.

More importantly, it's nothing like professional to talk that way about the representative of your own party. Firstly. it makes him look childish and immature. And it shakes people's faith in the whole party. How can anyone expect them to run a country if they can't even keep their own MPs from calling them petty names?

I tried to find the article on Metro website, but I couldn't find it online. But it's not like there aren't plenty more instances of MPs slagging each other off like stroppy teenagers.

Nick Clegg was a guest on Adam Hills's The Last Leg recently and got a huge laugh by intimating that he thought Boris Johnson was more tosser than statesman. Which doesn't generate faith in the his commitment to the coalition, but it was at least on a comedy show, designed to make people laugh rather than educate people about the political situation of their country. In that kind of setting, it can be excused.

But when politicians and MPs bickering at and about each other makes the mainstream news, then it makes the country as a whole look petty and silly. If the people in charge of running the country can't even treat each other with respect, as adults and colleagues, as people who have a serious job to do and need to work together to it, then how can any of the general population feel comfortable depending on them?

It's getting worryingly common seeing people with this kind of authority behaving like toddlers. It's no wonder the UK is in worse shape than it has been in years.

Right now, the person who seems to taking politics seriously - and getting attention for it - is Eddie Izzard.

His intention to run for London mayor has been publicised for a while now. The vast majority of interviews concerning it focus on how he'll make the shift from comedy to politics work. But when he speaks about other politicians, he does it with respect even when he disagrees. He said of David Cameron:

“He is center-right, so I’m okay with that. He’s not my party — ‘It’s more about the few than the many.’ He said he wouldn’t take apart the National Health Service, and he sort of did.”

And that's it.

He doesn't call him a prick or a wanker or a tit or a waste of public funding. Which I sometimes do. By speaking frankly and tactfully, he acknowledges that it's up to Cameron to make the decisions he wants to while he's in power. He isn't petty or childish or mean. He recognises the difference in their political views and the right of people to hold views that contrast to his own. And he doesn't judge any person's character or personality because of it.

He knows that there isn't space for bickering and name calling when it comes to something as  important as running a country.

I can call politicians a tit. I am 21. (For three more days.) I am less than a year out of university. Most importantly, I am allowed to be immature sometimes because I am not in charge of a fucking country. Comedians can call politicians a tit. It's their job to make people laugh. And the fact is, it makes the general public feel good to mock the people in charge, the people who make the rules that in turn make them feel exploited.

It's different if you are also a politician. If you have any responsibility over other people's lives, you have to work together with the people who are supposed to be doing it with you. You don't achieve anything by squabbling. And you definitely can't be trusted with governing other people's lives if you don't understand that.

Izzard is about the only person behaving like an adult and it's ridiculous that there aren't more people treating the government of our country like the serious deal that it is.

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