Politics matters – here’s why…

November 7, 2012 7:05 pm

Every political activist has, at some time, asked why they bother. Friends and family often can’t understand it. Often we can’t understand it ourselves. The crisis of politics, which I’ve written about before on these pages, is huge – arguably more serious, and bigger, than the financial crisis. It spans continents and infects the political and social environment of many major democracies. Barack Obama will never have to stand for election again, but in his acceptance speech, he gave a fantastic and concise explanation of why politics matters. This will (probably) be the last mention of Obama on these pages today – but it’s a good onem I promise. Here’s the quote:

‎”I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym or – or saw folks working late at a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organiser who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift.

You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter.”

That should ring true to anyone who has ever worked on the campaign. Or to put it another way:

“Some may belittle politics but we who are engaged in it know that it is where people stand tall. Although I know that it has many harsh contentions, it is still the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster. If it is, on occasions, the place of low skulduggery, it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes.”

Politics matters.

  • AlanGiles

    “Some may belittle politics but we who are engaged in it know that it is where people stand tall. Although I know that it has many harsh contentions, it is still the arena that sets the heart beating a little faster. If it is, on occasions, the place of low skulduggery, it is more often the place for the pursuit of noble causes.”Politics matters.”

    Pass the sickbag, Alice!. An attempt to paint Blair as Obama.  How Tony Blair could have even used those words without blushing – after the Iraq war, the cash for peerages debacle, the blind eye turned to expenses frauds, the personal greed and avarice, and so many other things, really shows that he missed his vocation – he should have been on the stage. In what capacity, it is for the individual to decide for themselves.

    What is “noble” about old men buying themselves £8000 TV sets with public money, then blaming the aberration on their “OCD”, or having their moats cleaned, or submitting false invoices for cleaning work never done?

    • Chilbaldi

      As Obama said of Tony Blair: “sizzle and substance”

  • IAS2011

    Politics has to build from a foundation that reflects the Fairness and Justice that reflects a democracy, along with good ethical standards that pursue social mobility improvements amid the harsh reality of social challenges that people face and a policy that ignites Capitalism… but with a Conscience(??).

    In order for politics to be Trusted it needs to preside on a system where MPs have a Legal and/or Statutory Obligation to Represent its constituents. This will be its strength! This will be its bedrock! Then progress can begin, as a direct result of this fundamental Change.Similarly, the Leveson Inquiry has been motivated by politics, aimed at raising the question of whether the News media should have Statutory Regulation. But, how can this momentous moment be victorious without the same question being asked of our political system – MPs –  and how the parliamentary Ombudsman (though further independence will be advised) can play a significant role in measuring the quality of MPs Representation and dealing with complaints from constituents who feel that their MP have failed them. Isn’t this accountability necessary? After all, it is MPs whose role is funded by the Public purse, while the News Media corporations are private companies. Isn’t it clear that the Leveson Inquiry has everything to do with the fixation by the press on celebrities and elites of various kinds? Surely, we all know this has nothing to do with ‘ordinary people’ whose desperate ‘voices’ are begging for attention amid their BIG and powerful stories that never seem of interest or focus by the press. I should know. I’ve tried for years to get a BIG story in the press. Why is it so difficult to achieve? Simply because it’s about ‘who you know’  and ‘who you are.’So, shouldn’t the spotlight now be placed harshly on the wavering foundation of our political system whereby MPs get paid £65,000 pa without having any existing contract to bind a fundamental responsibility with the public… under Democratic ‘terms and conditions? 

    Democratic Progress can only ignite when a fundamental Change strikes it.

Latest

  • Featured Miliband announces plans to scrap the Lords – and introduce an elected Senate of Nations and Regions

    Miliband announces plans to scrap the Lords – and introduce an elected Senate of Nations and Regions

    In a speech to Labour’s North West regional conference in Manchester, Ed Miliband will announce that a Labour government would abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected Senate. That has (broadly speaking) been Labour policy for some time. But there’s a twist. Miliband wants this new Senate to be a representative body made up of those from all of Britain’s Nations and Regions, as part of a new constitutional settlement to be decided by a constitutional […]

    Read more →
  • News Miliband speaks out on anti-semitic abuse targeted at Luciana Berger – and calls on social media companies to act

    Miliband speaks out on anti-semitic abuse targeted at Luciana Berger – and calls on social media companies to act

    As we reported last week, Labour MP and Shadow Minister Luciana Berger has been the victim of a sustained torrent of disgusting online anti-semtic abuse. Ed Miliband has hit out at Berger’s abusers today, calling on social media companies to be more proactive in tackling sustained, orchestrated abuse. He told Jewish News: “The anti-Semitic abuse that Luciana Berger has experienced over recent days is utterly appalling and has absolutely no place in our country. We must have no tolerance for this vile […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers

    The debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers

    Big numbers abound in housing debates and rightly so. Two-hundred thousand new homes – the number the Labour frontbench has committed to building annually – is a response to the housing crisis that is starting to approach the scale we need. But the debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers. To make the point, look at the extreme case of ‘buy-to-leave’ homes that are bought off-plan as investors’ latest fancy and sit there empty in […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The mansion tax is a progressive tax and Labour in London should support it

    The mansion tax is a progressive tax and Labour in London should support it

    For those of us who believe in progressive taxation the last few weeks in London Labour have been pretty dismal. We seem to have an array of Labour MPs (mainly wannabe London mayoral candidates) and council leaders rushing to the press denouncing the proposed mansion tax as a’ tax on London’ (or if they were more honest a tax on the rich parts of London). Yes the promotion of the Mansion Tax has been inept and it would more accurate […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It’s time to put the Green Belt back on the table

    It’s time to put the Green Belt back on the table

    The UK’s housing crisis has finally been recognised across the political spectrum as an issue that needs urgent attention. Yet despite this consensus, political inertia on housebuilding has seen subsequent governments fail to create policies that address the issue coherently and strategically. Labour’s recent Lyons Review demonstrates a commitment to house-building, with a target of constructing 200,000 homes a year. Yet while the Review recognises that the housing crisis is not evenly spread, requiring different solutions in different places, there is […]

    Read more →