When Expecting Politicians To Have Principles Is Considered Unreasonable


Damn those stubborn idealists

Sometimes satirical American news site The Onion strikes a little too close to home.

The latest case in point is an excellent News in Brief story from last week, entitled “Precious Little Voter Needs To Feel Inspired By Candidate“:

CLEVELAND—Noting how important it is for him to find a campaign that stirs genuine optimism and enthusiasm in its supporters, sources confirmed Tuesday that precious little voter Adam Higgins needs to feel inspired by a candidate. “To be perfectly honest, I just can’t bring myself to vote for someone I’m not excited about,” said the delicate little flower, who simply has to experience an authentic and personal connection to a candidate and believe in his wittle-bitty heart that the candidate’s message will legitimately move the country forward in meaningful and significant ways. “Policies and experience are certainly important, but a candidate has to have a vision I truly believe in. I’m only going to cast a ballot for someone who actually provides real hope for the future of this country [because I need to feel all snuggly-wuggly and special].” Sources further confirmed the fragile, dainty buttercup feels he absolutely must vote for someone who is trustworthy and competent.

The Onion’s fictional Adam Higgins sums up this blog’s attitude nicely in a single paragraph. Let Semi-Partisan Politics be a refuge for dainty buttercups everywhere!

But maybe it is time to give up on our dainty buttercup ways and embrace the cold hard reality of politics, where even fundamental positions on issues as consequential as the future of our democracy are nothing more than bargaining chips to be picked up, traded and discarded as politicians seek to advance their careers.

Maybe if people like me – those who think that political ideas and governing ideology actually matter, and that there is nothing mature or laudable about “pragmatically” lurching from crisis to crisis, dealing with each one on an isolated, ad hoc basis in pursuit of favourable newspaper headlines – simply shut up and got out of the way, the whole system would suddenly start functioning much better.

Actually, no, it wouldn’t. It is for the political class to change their ways, not the citizens who many politicians have so conspicuously failed to serve. Give me Jeremy Corbyn over Ed Miliband any day, even though his politics are anathema to this blog. And give me Margaret Thatcher over almost anybody in the Ted Heath tribute act of a government we currently have in Britain.

The most unnerving Onion headlines and stories are generally those which in the the course of recent years have become impossible to distinguish from real life, or those which invert reality so that the offensive and unnatural is considered normal.

This is one of those stories.


And no, this blog does not support Donald Trump.


Political centrism

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One thought on “When Expecting Politicians To Have Principles Is Considered Unreasonable

  1. Douglas Carter March 26, 2016 / 10:01 AM

    This is something I’ve been thinking about and observing for some time. There’s a curious settled understanding out in loginland that our politicians have been lying to us for decades, and so we’d might as well accept it.

    This is the strangest thing. The same people wouldn’t expect it from their bank or their employer – and naturally if they lied to a Government department – say, HMRC – they could expect a knock at the door and eventual accountability at the courts. But Parliament is uniquely permitted to lie to you, and effectively expects your personal convenient acquiescence to the practice? Other allegedly passionate defenders of democracy will round on you that you might expect otherwise?

    Just in recent and ongoing weeks, the Prime Minister enlists Parliament to emit and perpetuate a litany of lies and outright defiance of fact with a willing alliance of MPs to carry it. The lies being allies in the case of remaining in the EU. No MP willing to challenge this as specifically anti-democratic, fannying about the edges so as not to rock the boat of party unity. And yet, so many of these same MPs are those who would make voting compulsory?

    It’s worth reminding some of those MPs that people in the past have started putting bombs in buildings for very considerably fewer faults? Habitual, open lying began with Blair and Brown. The current era begins to resemble that of the USA in the latter days of LBJ, when his administration began to employ routine dishonesty to ensure continuation of the conflict in South East Asia. It’s not impossible that UK politics might be nearing its historic Nixon moment?


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