Originally published at The Daily Touch
Typically in Britain there is culture of, to put it lightly, mild dislike towards our politicians. The mere mention of the word “politics” can spark a list of reasons why many of them, again putting it lightly, can shove their head up somewhere irregular. Why is this? Are we a nation of citizens disillusioned with our politicians, and if so, what needs to be done?
Switch on your television, open up a newspaper or fire up the internet and you will be knee-deep in political sleaze. Stories of money being exchanged for honours, unelected influence, or spent on replacement toilet seats, duck ponds and hotel room pornography. Some of those who did not require state-funded pornography engaged in less than appropriate sexual relations with co-workers.
It does appears that there is no end to the stupidity of some politicians. As I am writing this it has just been announced that former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and his ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, have been jailed for attempting to pervert the course of justice. In a cunning plan devised by the pair Vicky Pryce would take Chris Huhne’s speeding points, thus allowing him to continue his career unabated by the fact that he is a complete idiot; because that is the intelligent thing to do really. It is this kind of ingenuity from British politicians which reinforces the belief that our economy is in safe hands.
It is not just their short-sightedness and immaturity that leaves people grating their teeth over the morning paper. Money talks and the newspapers talk about money. Political scandals are almost always followed up with figures on how much it has cost the taxpayer. Chris Huhne’s prosecution process cost a total of £117,558. To put that in perspective, that would buy you 107,851 packs of Rich Tea biscuits (or 59,074 packets of Duchy Originals if you are Chris Huhne). This is the kind of information that will infuriate the public, who are busy struggling to pay gas, electricity and water bills. No-one wants to hear in the midst of an economic crisis that the money from their wage packets has been spent slapping a politician across the wrist.
So what can anyone do? Surely we, us individuals, are powerless. How about voting? Well we only have three parties to realistically choose from, and one of those, the Liberal Democrats, have now become a synonym for the word “unreliable”. General Election turnout figures seem to suggest that a huge proportion do not regard voting as important. A massive 35% of the country did not bother to vote in 2010. Depressingly this was a better turnout than the 2005 election, where 39% of the country decided that their vote was about as strong as Nick Clegg’s spine.
Maybe though, we can take some comfort in the fact that politicians caught up in scandals are torn apart in a fantastic display of public scorn and media fury. They inevitably lose their job and end up the butt of every joke until the emergence of the next scandal. Yes, it is disgraceful that many of our politicians can’t help but spend tax-money on candy bars, visiting Nazi fancy dress parties and generally make fools out of themselves. I will truly start to worry however, when the public is not outraged by such things. So long as the public demonstrate they can be angry, they are emotionally engaged, and whilst they are emotionally engaged they can make a difference.