One reason why we all want to be politicians, and 5 why we don’t!

One of the stand out messages from the evidence we received during the course of The Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy last year was that everyone was very disillusioned with politicians, and wanted to vote for policies not people. Great!! We cried, and then Representative Democracy (and the fact that we don’t actually all want to vote on all policies) came into play.

One reason why we all want to be politicians:


Five reasons why we don’t:

1. We don’t have time to hear all the arguments for and against, we just want to say what we personally think

2. We quite like our privacy

3. We don’t want to stand up and yell at people surrounded by green leather, mahogany and gold (well…)

4. We don’t like being generally judged because of our job (parking ticket inspectors notwithstanding)

5. We want to do stuff we are good at – usually not politics (politicians take note) and we prefer job security

There are many more…

In representative democracy we vote for people and we have to trust them to vote generally in line with what we believe, or we toss out representative democracy. So this year when you are working out who to vote for, use one of the very many apps and websites out there that will tell you which way party politicians vote for in areas that you care about – and bite the bullet (ballot). I like using Vote for Policies but I have to say, I have done this a couple of times in the last few months, and I always get different results! My views are not changing, but the party politics are – nothing stands still. (This is kind of why it is so important to sense check who you are voting for and stop calling yourself a Tory or a Liberal – or whatever, because you might just not be!).

Also, get engaged with consultations on topics you care about when they are at the stage that you can influence the outcome.

Pour coffee into sachet

There is something bothering me about politicians…

Surely not everyone who goes into politics is corrupt – yet that seems to be the general opinion. What happened to the person who was so determined to help the lives of himself/herself and fellow citizens? So much so that they dedicate themselves to public service? I refuse to believe that every one of them fell foul of some  mystical spell that turned each of them into self-serving , corrupt individuals.

We citizens are not stupid; explain what you (politicians) are trying to do, why and how – and we will get it! We may not support every policy as an individual, but if you explain the background – we will be able to compute what you are saying (and argue intelligently if necessary).

This works in international politics as well.

Politicians are not a breed or animal any different to homo sapiens – there is no barrier except one that is perceived or projected.

So why do we find it so hard to communicate? Why are we more content identifying and vilifying the one rotten apple, thereby brushing aside the fact that we need to understand and support the earnest intentions of the rest of those politicians who are determined to make some sense of the management of this country?

The job I choose to do is around enabling this explanation to happen, but I am increasingly frustrated by the reluctance to listen. I can enable communication until your ears bleed, but if there is no willingness to listen then there seems little point.

Democracy relies on the intelligence and candidacy of the community – should we not start taking account of our own actions?

It is too easy to lay blame at the door of corruption – pour sugar into sachet… we need to wake up.