I have a very, very low opinion of career politicians which has been formed by observation over many years. Over the last few years of watching the Blair government, it has fallen to an all time low - off the scale! Most people in the country think exactly the same which is one aspect that explains the historically low turn out in elections. People are so sick of watching helplessly as whichever politicians they vote for, policies stay much the same and things just continue to get worse. The Government of course will tell you how things are getting much better, often backing their claims up with 'statistics' but these statistics never seem to tally with everyday experience.
Politicians are great at jumping on bandwagons. Did any career politician voting for the ban on handguns really think it would make any difference or did they just do it in the light of public opinion at the time? Did Michael Howard really think Ann Winterton's 'cockler' joke was racist or did he just see the PC bandwagon go by and decide to jump on it in the hope of gathering a few PC votes?
Which brings me to the greatest sin of the politicians - they don't tell the truth. But how do you know when a career politician is lying? Easy - his or her lips are moving! I think that the fact that most politicians are a bunch of devious, slimy, self seeking liars is the biggest cause of voter apathy. There should be an extra box on the bottom of all voting papers marked - NONE OF THE ABOVE ARE GOOD ENOUGH - then the turnout at elections might just increase!
In May 2007, the House of Commons voted to exempt itself from the Freedom of Information Act. Their excuse was that they needed to protect the correspondence between themselves and their constituents from disclosure. Of course this was already protected under the Data Protection Act. So if one law didn't work then why should another? In reality their shameful antics were to protect their inflated expenses from disclosure.
Sharp eyed readers will have noticed that I keep referring to 'career politicians'. There is a reason for this. I think that 'career politicians' are one of the causes of our problems. They leave school, go to University to study politics or law (as it sounds a doddle - no nasty maths or physics to contend with). Some get their degree, then go on to get a researchers job for a politician or political party. Flushed with success they think - hey I could do this MP's job.
Some become solicitors or barristers or go on to teach law. Basically training in law teaches you to lie convincingly for your client. What better quality for a budding MP! But in reality of course, in following either route they have no experience of real life, of how the real world works. They haven't done a days real work in their life.
And that in my opinion is why government is so bad these days. Politicians have no life experience. They have mostly all followed the routes I have described above.
Years ago, more people came into politics later in life after they had achieved success in another walk of life and had life experience. And in those days of course, the world generally worked!
To prove my point, here are the career routes taken by the politicians in the forefront of politics today:
GORDON BROWN - UNI - TEACHING - TV - POLITICS
HARRIET HARMAN - UNI - BARRISTER - POLITICS
ALISTAIR DARLING - UNI - SOLICITOR - POLITICS
DAVID MILLIBAND - UNI - THINK TANKS - POLITICS
JACK STRAW - UNI - NUS - BARRISTER - POLITICS
JACQUI SMITH - UNI - TEACHING - POLITICS
DES BROWNE _ UNI - SOLICITOR - POLITICS
ALAN JOHNSON - TESCO - POSTMAN - UNION LEADER - POLITICS
HILARY BENN - UNI - ASTMS - POLITICS
DOUGLAS ALEXANDER - UNI - RESEARCHER - POLITICS
JOHN HUTTON - UNI - TEACHING - POLITICS
PETER HAIN - UNI - RESEARCHER - POLITICS
RUTH KELLY - UNI - WRITER - BoE _ POLITICS
HAZEL BLEARS - UNI - SOLICITOR - POLITICS
GEOFF HOON - UNI - TEACHING - BARRISTER - POLITICS
ED BALLS - UNI - ECONOMIC WRITER / ADVISOR - POLITICS
ED MILLIBAND - UNI - TV - RESEARCHER - POLITICS
TONY MCNULTY - UNI - TEACHING - POLITICS
PETER MANDLESON - UNI - BYC - TV - POLITICS
CHARLES CLARKE - NUS - POLITICS
DAVID BLUNKETT - UNI - TEACHING - POLITICS
DAVID CAMERON - UNI - RESEARCH - PR - POLITICS
Complete lack of real life experience!
I have held this view for many years. I had not seen it mentioned anywhere else until I read a book by Peter Oborne called 'The Triumph of the Political Class' (see 'Further reading' at the foot of this page).
As I read it I realised he was saying the same thing but what I called 'career politicians' he called 'the political class'.
As I have continually pointed out throughout this site, the main three parties are all much the same and have much the same policies these days. All ineffectual as none have the guts to take on the PC Brigade and come up with the policies that would actually make a difference to our problems.
For what it is worth though, here is my take on them.
The Liberal Democrats
Unfortunately very much into the EU and the Global Warming Swindle. So more taxes and central undemocratic control are the buzz words from them. They do seem to make the right noises about crime & justice though but this is easy to do when you are in opposition and have a open goal to kick at. In government I fear they would be as the clue in their name suggests; 'liberal' being defined in my dictionary as "tolerant, favouring only moderate social reform, not strict". They generally seem to quite nice but very naive people. They have some very dangerous policies such as offering an amnesty for illegal immigrants already here. See what I mean about nice but very naive? This would be a clear message for another wave of illegal immigrants to set forth for our shores, being fairly sure that one day the same would happen again.
This has certainly been the worst government in my living memory. Politically correct to the roots, it has engaged in a whole raft of PC policies and social engineering, and taxed us to the hilt to pay for it all. Has achieved some improvement in the NHS but at an enormous cost and has no sense of value for money. It seems determined to remove the light from anyone's life by stopping humour, pleasurable pastimes and taxing / nannying us at every opportunity. Now totally under Gordon Brown's control, I don't expect any great changes.
Blue Labour / Useless Tories (The Conservative Party)
Once the natural party of government in the UK, they lost their way after the demise of The Blessed Margaret (Thatcher). The ERM crisis in the mid 90's did further damage to their image and then came the sleaze, which was ruthlessly exploited by Labour's Mr Clean (or Tony B-liar as we now all know him) to remove the party from office. (How nice it would be to return to those low sleaze days!)
Completely outclassed in the PR department and portrayed as the nasty party, it totally lost confidence in itself and what it stood for. A succession of leaders further muddied the waters and then in 2005, David Cameron decided if he kept quiet about policy and just copied New Labour then there was a chance they would be re-elected without anyone noticing.
Listen David, a party without policies is just unelectable (see recent bye-election results) but a party without principles isn't even a party anymore. That is what a political party is - a collection of people joining together around a common set of ideas. So sort out some principles you believe in (hopefully traditional conservative ones) and go for it. If the people don't like them and don't vote for them - then it's up to you to convince them that your principles make sense.
On the face of it a single issue party - withdrawal from the EU - a noble aim. But this is not a serious party, merely a vehicle for the benefit of the MEPs that head it. The leadership has no intention of doing what it says on the can.
It was so shocked when the "Robert Kilroy-Silk factor" got them 12 MEPs in the June 2004 European Elections when over 2.5 million people voted for the party. Robert Kilroy-Silk spent the rest of the summer trying to get them to build on their success and come up with some domestic policies ready for a 2005 general election - but to no avail. He even offered to be its leader and was politely shown the door. So he left and started his own party - Veritas.
So UKIP continues just making noises about Europe while voting for those measures in Europe that promote its own standing & finance. Lots of the UKIP members have realised this now and since Nigel Farage has been leader, the party has been plagued by resignations of members and even whole branches.
Robert Kilroy-Silk left after the party failed to get a single seat in the 2005 general election. A genuine attempt to do the right thing though - just read their core values. But without a rich sponsor, it has an uphill struggle to get publicity and get known.
A rather squalid party whose leader loves to have a 'guard of honour' consisting of six skinhead thugs whenever he appears on TV. The subject of some BBC under cover reporting where members were seen describing how they loved 'paki-bashing' and Griffin was saying nasty things about Islam. He and another member were quite wrongly prosecuted for their remarks about Islam but thanks to the common sense of a jury, they were acquitted. It is worrying that Gordon Brown's response was to remark that the law needs changing then!
They continue to make gains in local elections and came 4th in the 2007 Sedgefield bye-election. As they stand now, they remind you of the National Socialist Party in 1930s Germany and would probably produce a civil war were they elected. However, with a sensible, high profile leader and a good make-over, they would probably be the only party capable of overthrowing the 'Lab-Lib-Con' party.
It is also shameful that anyone belonging to this party and working in the public sector will be persecuted by their employer. This really needs challenging in court.