Politics used to be more fun, but then so did much of the world. Even in the middle of an atrocious second world war Churchill found a wry humour in an Agincourt warriors’ signal that his two bow-draw fingers were still intact. From Macmillan’s “Our people have never had it so good” to Wilson’s duplicitous “The pound in your pocket” the hyperbole engaged a satisfyingly cynical humour that modified our worst feelings.
‘Human’ we would, equally cynically, mutter – and move on. Even Margaret Thatcher’s “The lady’s not for turning” raised a smile, one soon doused by ‘weapons of mass destruction’.
The events of the recent election campaign in Britain raise no smiles. From cynical – and, as it turns out, wrong – political judgment to violence expressed as was never dreamt of in the word democracy, the worst of people and their leaders have turned fundamentally nasty. The only word to describe today’s politics is ‘deadly’. The only possible outcome is destruction. There is a terrible price waiting to be paid for our corruption of life.
The most recent round of destruction for UK began with Brexit. How anyone who opposed Brexit could then support the decision with “Brexit means Brexit” is beyond me. Brexit is not some trivial, inconsequential matter of passing relevance. It is a statement of importance equal to the parable of the Good Samaritan. You can’t be thief and victim at the same time. It is small consolation that Brexit will end up being Mexit, without a credible successor. Brexit will turn out to have been the most expensive, politically stupid, waste of time since lemmings jumped off a cliff to drown. Is the dye really cast?
If the UK Prime Minister could say her pro-Europe stance was wrong because of a doubtful poll perhaps she can say “maybe my ‘wrong’ was wrong”. In agreement with the other major parties, she should hold a free secret vote of Members of the House of Commons (not Referendum or General Election) on whether UK should revert to remaining in the European Union. Members of Parliament, duly – and recently – elected must lead their constituents, not the other way round. Mother of Parliaments might look less of a Mother of Procrastination.
In the United States the sound of Trump has echoed so vehemently that the question has now changed from what is the elephant in the room to ‘is there any room in the elephant?’ May’s Brexit was never going to compete for sheer bravado with Trump’s overseas excursions but example remains the biggest teacher. She has followed where he led.
Where do you go after ‘deadly’? If there was an easy answer we would all see it. For years we have advocated greater voter education. Currently people vote for what will give them the most money and what they need to get rid of as a perceived obstacle to achieving that. That is neither responsible nor decent. They must vote for the representative who they assess will ‘lead us towards our goal of a successful, harmonious and flourishing society?’
To get rid of something you must have a viable replacement. A goal is a destination, identifiable because of your purpose. The majority of people are decent, honest and peace-loving. Unfortunately they are also often without purpose and silent. We do not want them becoming violent just more purposeful, focused and assertive.
Perhaps that is exactly what is gradually happening? I do hope so.