We shouldn’t hate politicians

Not all politicians are corrupt and to tar them all with the same brush is damaging to our society and democracy.

I’ve written an article today about education issues impacting on the forthcoming county council elections. Each of the main parties’ spokesmen on education, Ivan Ould, Don Wright, and John Legrys, have quite clearly entered politics because they want to make a difference, not because they want to become famous or fiddle their expenses.

Ivan, a councillor full of integrity, says that while campaigning, the response from potential voters has been shocking.

Many people don’t want to listen because they are, at best, disillusioned with politicians, at worst, of the opinion they are all on the make. This is simple not true. To propagate this belief does us all a disservice and will only result in even fewer people going to the ballot box, or, perhaps worse still, voting for an extremist party.

We, the media, have a great responsibility. When valid investigations simply become entertainment and another excuse to have a laugh at people who were brave enough to enter public life, we’ve gone too far.

There are some thoroughly obnoxious people who enter politics – I’ve met and written about several of them during my time as a journalist – and exposing how some of them have wasted taxpayers money on their expenses is a valid and important piece of journalism. Those who’ve done so deserve everything they get.

But they’re not all like that. The three councillors I’ve mentioned above, and many other MPs I’ve encountered during my work, are honourable, well meaning people.

If we forget that, we’re in trouble.

About Ian

A journalist working in Brussels
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5 Responses to We shouldn’t hate politicians

  1. UK Voter says:

    I have argued that the ‘expense scandal’ is but a culmination of the steady decline of the relationship between politicians and the public. Many believe that MP’s in general and this government in particular is not listening to them and that there is nothing that they can do about it. So, now apathy has turned into antipathy. Politicians from all parties need to understand the fundamentals if they are to restore confidence and that will mean a damn sight more listening than talking. I also think some new blood in parliament is necessary, either through deselection within mainstream parties or the voting in of genuine independents. In other words, the mainstream can offer us alternatives (new blood) within their own ranks or we may choose to vote for so called cleanskins.

  2. Crossland says:

    I agree that the media are largely to blame for the ill feeling towards politicians. The furore around expenses is a good example of this: there are far more pressing issues in the world today (unemployment, Sri lanka, the death of uk manufacturing) and a disproportinately large amount of parliamentary time and newspaper inches is covering a few thousand pounds of misappropriated public money.

    I think the national press has an unhealthy obsession with life in ‘the village’ and this perpetuates the impression that this is what voters most care about. It’s not. I think my MP does a reasonable job most of the time. I couldn’t care less about where my mp bought his carpet or how many lightbulbs he’s claimed on expenses: I just want him to get on with running the country.

  3. Crossland says:

    I forgot the break up of Peter Andre and Jordan in my list of issues.

  4. AJ Cann says:

    So who are the Leicester cleanskins? We should be told!

  5. UK Voter says:

    It’s a fair question, but not one I can answer since I don’t live in Leicester. My point was more general and that is, a new batch of MPs’ could provide parliament with a new lease of life, a new perspective and yes, help deal with the tarnished image many encumbents, some deservedly so, some not, have to deal with.

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