Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Political Panto


It is pantomime season and it is no longer restricted to the stage of popular theatres. It has now spilled over into the political arena like a tidal wave. From the wake has risen a series of supposed political messiahs that think this is their chance to rise. It is a damning indictment on the mainstream parties that such polarising players, who trade in substance and strategy for hypocrisy and hyperbole, are gaining such credible footholds 

UKIP, despite any negative press that comes their way, continue to make headway in the political scene. Some of the negative press they get is twisted to suit a negative agenda but the fact that some makes such an effort means that they have no other credible answer to their policies. The worst thing is that they hardly offer anything radical. Their primary policy is to leave the EU. For a country that tends to lean towards left wing politics, they seems to be a growing antagonism towards the European Union, which is effectively socialist at its core. UKIP is a symbol of a lot of people's disillusionment with the current establishment.

Then there is Russell Brand. A comedian that has become something of a self proclaimed crusader against the political status quo. Fine, except he isn't. He is a narcissist that repeats the problems we all know but offers no solutions. He claims to be a man of the people, while he enjoys his lavish lifestyle and, in fact, uses his crusade to further line his pockets. While his gripes about politics have merit, his idea that everyone can live affluent lives is grossly flawed. If everyone had good incomes, the cost of living would go up. Then those who are on the lowest incomes would fall back into the poverty trap. If he had a credible plan on how to make things better, he would stand for office. He gets traction from the previously apathetic and the Sun. The soapbox he stands on is an odd mix of sanctimony and sewerage. Talking for the 'little people' is easily done and is not to be commended. Talk is cheap. His idea is we shouldn't vote. That is not a solution. It is a devaluation of our citizenship and the freedoms that our forefathers fought for.

Finally, there is Joey Barton, who somehow managed to get himself a place on Question Time, a political show that seems to be trading in substance for potential sensationalism. He is not credible. His behaviour in the public arena doesn't suggest that he is some wise paragon of all things political. Yet, by virtue of his viciously verbose nature on Twitter, he has vaulted himself from sporting thug to man of the people. This is a man that put out a cigar by stubbing it near one of his colleague's eyes. I could list his indiscretions but I don't need to. He doesn't have a competing list of pros to counter them. None. Yet we give this man a stage to air his views and a crowd swarm towards them.

That is the problem. These, and others, have risen off the back of political apathy. Why? Because we have turned politics into Punch and Judy. We want the party we vote for to savage the other. We want to demonise the people we don't vote for. I hate to break this to you but everyone has at least one good idea, even Farage, Brand and Barton. The Tories have good ideas. So do Labour. And the Lib Dems, the Greens, the nationalist parties and so on. The problem is we are adverse to the idea of compromise and accepting the middle ground, so all benefit. If you don't accept that, then you can't complain that politics is a farce. You, like Farage, Brand and Barton, are part of the problem and we don't need problems. We need solutions.