And now for something completely Different – How Politicians Think!

The other day I had an email from a local Tory candidate saying that I am “becoming the darling of the Tory right since almost all of my Conservative friends seem to be reading your blog daily.” It feels nice to be appreciated, even loved. Alternatively, this Tory candidate may have very few friends. I am safe in assuming that I have more friends in the Tory Party than I have in the Lib Dems.

My Tory candidate correspondent says he/she was told that I had ‘outed’ him/her as The Tory Tipster. He can be assured that I don’t ‘out’ anyone (although I did once mistakenly quote someone who had sent me a Direct Message on Twitter).

My correspondent accepted that my “intention was to be scurrilous rather than malicious”, saying that I had been “very kind in (my) references ever since so all is forgiven.” I think that is a fair summary of my approach. I have respect and admiration for politicians of all parties (Lib Dems apart). I enjoy the company of people of different political persuasions, and I enjoy the cut and thrust of political debate and activity. I respect the time and effort most politicians put into serving their communities.

Politics can be cruel, such as when a diligent councillor is tossed aside by the electorate because of trends at a national level. I try not to be cruel (except to Lib Dems) but given the emotional energy most politicians and activists expend in pursuit of political ends, the merest hint of criticism or poor prospects is magnified in their minds.

So why do ordinary people put themselves this thankless, gruelling, unpredictable experience? Most do it because they want to make a difference to their communities. They might think they can do a better job than the incumbent, or have a burningnsingle issue that they wish to promote.

Once elected, there is a seduction, either through co-option into an establishment or a self-seduction that, once elected as a councillor, one has become ‘special’. I have referred before to one of the leaders of the anti-poll tax movement who, the da after being elected, laid his poll tax because “as a leading citizen I have to set the correct example.”

A danger for all elected politicians is complacency. A sense of entitlement can develop (look at the parliamentary expenses scandal). Locally, some councillors stay on well beyond their ‘sell by’ date when a graceful exit would do them credit and their party a big favour.

Some politicians and activists can lose their sense of humour. They love to read about themselves but hate it when they are treated with irreverance. Others, to their credit, seem to enjoy some noteriety. Momma Grizzly, for one, seems to like her moniker. Even Le Toothbrush, I am reliably informed, “can live” with that name, but I have been discretly advised to go easy with La Toothbrush as Mike’s blood is known to “boil”.

But once I have exhausted my views and limited knowledge of local politicians (some may say I have long pastvthat point), I may just turn my attention to Council officers ….

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One Response

  1. Meanwhile, the Argus online Council Elections section manages to turn a Brunswick Tory into a LIbDem on its listing, and plays havoc with the alphabet in Central Hove.

    As for Brunswick, it is likely that David Watkins will gain LibDem votes and Uklip will do likewise with Tory and even Labour ones.

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