Modern Politics -Stand Up, Suck Up and Shut Up
The problem with politics at the national level is that whenever national politicians are interviewed on television or on programmes such as Question Time they are seen as being well polished avoiders of answering the question.
Put in simple terms they come across as very earnest, committed and completely dishonest and insincere people who will always put their own self-interest before that of the public and will say anything to hide their true intentions.
At the national level it has been the steady decline in honesty over decades which have in turn as the elections results show led to a fall in those engaged with the political process.
Membership of political parties, all be it with the occasional spike, has declined, apathy has become the new norm and those electing to exercise their democratic right by not voting has reached an all-time low.
What the lack of trust in politicians has led to of course is a democratic deficit that has allowed unscrupulous and quite frankly dishonest and uncaring people to rise to positions of power.
You would think that the political establishment would be worried about the decline when in fact it may well be that those in charge of political parties may well in spite of their protestations secretly be welcoming it because it strengthens their own position.
While this was happening at the national level the checks and balances to what we have seen is an abuse of position in Westminster by locally elected people from all parties at the Local Authority has been effective.
Or at least it used to be the case.
What we have seen over the past 10 years is an increase in the politicisation of Local Politics with all parties sending their “young guns” to the shires and districts to gain front line political experience.
Effectively we are seeing Local Authorities being used as a training centre for those who have been identified by the party machines as potential Members of Parliament.
The ‘chosen ones’ will invariably have been to University where they have obtained a degree in politics and/or media and in some cases both as a joint degree followed by a period of time working for an MP or MEP as a researcher or advisor.
Once they have proved their loyalty and established their political credentials they then get a role in the party central office before being drafted to an appropriate local authority to advise the party leadership in the area.
This leads to them being rewarded by being given a ‘safe’ seat, usually at the expense of an incumbent Councillor, who heaven forbid are discouraged from complaining about being moved, all of course for the ‘interest of the party’.
All that is then needed is to pack a selection process and the ‘chosen one’ becomes the Parliamentary Candidate and given a fair wind to Westminster and the benefits it provides.
There are of course the other ‘ambitious’ local Councillors who circumvent the ‘chosen one route’ and work at a local level in support of the ‘chosen ones’ and by providing they remain compliant will at the worse through patronage swell their own bank balances and at the best advance through the system.
A real case of “another fat cheque for four years” attitude that as I wrote about two years ago was a statement made by an elected Northampton Councillor following the 2011 election.
The whole system relies on those who are locally transplanted not under any circumstances challenging the central party knowing that their role is to implement without question central Government policies irrespective of the impact on local people.
In fact anyone who ‘goes natives’ and puts the people before political dogma can kiss goodbye to any further advancement within the party machine and structure.
The changes have sadly undermined local politics and democracy, and as a result have either discouraged or put local people with local interests at heart from engaging in the system.
It is why we have seen an ever-increasing scepticism and cries of ‘they’re all the same’ whether national or local.
Cries that quite frankly are difficult to argue against because it has a very significant ring of truth.
In effect the rules of modern politics for those who wish to progress within the political machinations and machinery are simple,
Be obedient to the party,
Forget about the public,
Treat it as a tax payer funded career,
Suck Up , Stand Up and Shut Up – when ordered to do so.
And most important of all,
Submit, Conform and Never Ever Deviate from Central Party Control.