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Friday, 14 October 2011

The Trivialisation of Politics

As the British economy continues its freefall and social relationships become more exploitative and less humane, the political class is fiddling with Twitter and the press constantly finds trivia on which the focus.
Yesterday the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to allow themselves to use electronic devices for text-type messaging while attending debates and queuing for the division lobbies. Anyone who has seen proceedings on TV will know that for the overwhelming majority of the time the mass of MPs are not present in the chamber: that they cannot be telephonically continent for a few minutes a couple of times a week shows a pathetic contempt for their core role to give attendance and attention to representing their constituents.
Meanwhile the sad story of concealment by the Defence Secretary gives the press plenty to 'investigate', and to fill pages with speculation. And now we hear that the cabinet 'enforcer', Oliver Letwin, behaves like a nutty vagrant in Saint James's Park, distributing official but non-sensitive papers round the public waste bins. We must assume that the Cabinet Office has both an adequate system for emptying waste paper bins and for the proper disposal of confidential waste: Letwin is presumed to be using the latter so why is he not using the former in the usual way? The answer is more likely to be found in deep psychology than in conscious rationality: but it is symptomatic of a malaise among those who hold the primary responsibility for the fate of the  nation and may not be coping terribly well with the strain.
The political class as a whole is 'on probation' and patience is nearing exhaustion even in this most tolerant of nations. Can the penny drop before the situation becomes irretrievable? Or are they too intractably obtuse and thick-skinned to  get it, ever?

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