Wednesday, 28 September 2011
In Defence of Politics
Nonsuch HP caught this programme on Radio 4 the other night and found it fascinating. Professor Matthew Flinders set out to challenge the public perception of politicians as corrupt and selfish, by arguing that the vast majority of them are extremely hardworking, and are under great pressure to make decisions (and often compromises) on our behalf over very challenging issues.
"Politics succeeds because it generally ensures stability and order:" he writes in an accompanying article, "it avoids anarchy or arbitrary rule...Politicians urgently need to rediscover the moral nerve and capacity to speak with the authority and weight of their predecessors. At the heart of this rediscovery must be the acceptance that the "the first business of government is to govern", as Churchill put it, "which may at times call for the deliberate endurance of unpopularity". "
Politicians such as John Bercow and Tony Blair made contributions in support of his thesis, but not everyone agreed. The Telegraph's Peter Oborne, for example, believes that politicians inevitably become isolated from the world around them and naturally put their own interests first. Strong views indeed - and there will doubtless be more of them over the next two programmes. What is your opinion of all this?