Wednesday, 3 November 2010


So, I'm speaking to someone and the subject of politics comes up and they, in the misguided belief that they're being iconoclastically cynical, say "Oh, that's the thing with politicians, they're all the fucking same, aren't they?" I am a loving and gentle soul who would like to see the various peoples of the world holding hands in amity, singing in harmony and dry humping rainbows in unity, nevertheless, in a moment of fury, I say "Really? So Idi Amin, the former dictator of Uganda and Ed Vazey, Minister For Culture, Media and Sport are essentially identical in your book, are they?" 
There is a point here. Firstly this conversation never actually happened and I need to be more accurate in distinguishing between Real Things Which Actually Happened and Clever Things I Wish I Had Said. Secondly that when people say cod-cynical things like "Politicians are all the same," they are being stupid and careless to the point of harming the world where I live. 
What they actually mean when they say things like this is "I don't really know very much about politics because I've always been more interested in watching The Bill, masturbating or learning to cook Moroccan food than I have in taking the time to pay attention to the big newspapers." They feel ashamed of saying this though. There's a slight, embittered part of me that thinks that they are being ridiculously sensitive, I mean, for fuck's sake, I don't know a lot about knitting and yet somehow I avoid saying "Yeah, that's the thing about cardigans, they're all the fucking same," whenever the relative merits of King Charles Brocade and Inverness Diamonds are under discussion.
This part, however, is petty and has little regard for the derivation of people's idiocies. Why is it that no one is embarrassed to be ignorant of knitting and yet there are huge swathes of people who feel belittled by their political ignorance? I think it's because they are told to feel this way. People involved in and interested in politics tend to argue that politics are important and affect all of our lives. To an extent this is true. We are all affected by politics, however, in a liberal, multi-party, centrist democracy the effect is often peripheral and people can get by ignoring politics, in much the same way as I get by ignoring my bank statements. In honesty, politics are often little more than a gossip-y diversion built into a totem of intellectual worthiness. People are made to feel small for knowing fuck all about them when it should be perfectly acceptable for someone to say "Sorry, I know fuck all about politics,the whole subject bores the tits off me." 

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