Thursday, March 19, 2009
Guido explains himself: 'Guido wants to depoliticise more areas of human action, increasing the non-political space in our society and culture, for which a necessary precondition is the discrediting of politicians by exposing their venal, self-interested behaviour.' I'm with him on depoliticising things - out of boredom really - but his 'necessary precondition' is a non-sequitur. On the contrary, Guido's enormous success is based on the fact that people are ever more drawn to politics by gossip and scandalous exposes. People love to see Paxman crush a politician and they evidently love to read Guido's tales of cynicism and petty corruption. It is precisely because these things increase the interest in narrowly-defined politics that I find them depressing. No, the way to depoliticise things is to reject career politicians. Too many of our Westminster masters know nothing but politics. They are repeatedly making errors of ignorance and they routinely mistake petty office politics for the real thing. They see Westminster politics in all things and, as a result, they are barely capable of functioning in the real world. Politicians should be well-read, cultivated, thoughtful, active in society and, ideally, they should write or translate poetry. Above all, they should be part-time. Then we can start depoliticising things.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:51 am