Is Politics the “Game” For You?

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O I have the job for you! But you will need shoulders as broad as an elephant’s, a hide as thick as a rhino’s, the stamina and heart of a lion, the honesty and integrity of a saint – and the purity(of heart and soul) of a child! If you reckon you have all of these attributes, then you’d be a smash “hit” in politics – because that is what is expected of you.

Oh, and then there are the little matters of being available (to your constituents) 24/7, 365 days a year – and accepting intense public scrutiny of both your public and private lives…..and those of your family members and your staff, as well.

And all this for (in most cases) about half what you could expect to receive, in salary or wages(and other benefits), if you applied the same attributes, qualifications and credentials to holding down a decent job (requiring similar commitments) in the private sector! In your private life outside of politics, you (or your neighbour) may well get away with being a womaniser, a wife-beater, a Dole-bludger, a welfare hypochondriac, a joy-riding car thief, a habitual liar, a thieving fraudster…. or a serious felon, like a sex offender or even a professional “hitman” – without your neighbours (or friends) getting too much “overheated” by it all.

But that won’t “wash” once you become an elected MP….no sir… and nor should it of course. What this highlights, however, is the absolute hypocrisy that applies to our demands and expectations of our so-called “elected elite” compared with those us out here in “Civvy Street who we are, seemingly, prepared to make allowances and excuses for(as regularly as necessary)when it comes to our own personal sins, shortcomings, and other transgressions.

I’m not suggesting that our elected elite shouldn’t be subjected to strict scrutiny concerning their integrity, and their ethical and moral standards – and in most cases, the “shonks” aspiring to become our MPs are sorted out (and sifted out) by party endorsement and pre-selection processes.

However, the trait of human fallibility kicks in at times, and some doubtful characters “slip through the cracks”. This can become more of a risk where “Independent” candidates are concerned of course, but generally, the selection processes work to our (public) benefit.

Apart from the public v. private income differences which can apply, the biggest drawback to us (the public) getting the MPs we deserve (not just those on offer) is the level of very invasive public scrutiny of their private and public lives that our “elected elite” (and their individual family members and staffers) are subjected to, every day they hold office……and sometimes, even long after they have flown the political coop!.

In a working life of almost 40 years (cut short by health issues) I was involved in politics at various levels of public office for almost 20 of those years, and I can attest to the impact this level of invasion of (personal) privacy has on everyone involved.

I and my wife and family had to endure the indignity of being named in Parliament on a couple of occasions for alleged “dodgy” activities we had absolutely nothing to do with. The impact on family and friends can be very hurtful – and very divisive….and you never forget these things! So spare a thought for the aspiring MPs who will seek your vote on October 31 – and spare them your barbs, too, until their bona fides (or otherwise) are established.