A monthly rant by The Ocelot’s resident Grumpy Gruff The Goat. This month he tackles - politics and press.
Here’s the deal. You’re a politician. You come up with a plan. You try to enact said plan. But the press lambasts that plan. They really have a go at it. These same journalists then start having personal attacks on yourself about said plan.
Campaign groups are formed. Said plan loses popular support.
And although you genuinely believed that the plan would be for the greater good, you listen to the people and their arguments and you back down from that plan.
You are then lambasted by the press for being a U-turning flip-flopping politician of no conviction for listening to the people. It’s basically a damned if you do or you’re damned if you don’t scenario. You can’t win.
In British politics, you can’t ever change your mind. You can’t ever listen to the evidence and the people and back away from a proposal as the press will have your guts for garters. And there’s many a journalist, mainly hanging around Northcliffe House, who are wearing a plethora of politicians’ guts instead of garters. For the hacks these garter guts are worn with pride like cannibals wear skull necklaces.
A politician should be able to listen to evidence and change their minds. It’s what good business people do every day. Instead politicians are forced more and more to carry out their, sometimes, ill-conceived ideas because otherwise they will be hung out to dry by the national press. This has meant that unpopular policies have been enacted even after the politicians themselves have stopped believing in it just because otherwise their whole career will be shot down in flames by the very same newspaper that was campaigning against that policy. In extreme cases that can even lead to invading another country. Iraq anybody?
Nobody is perfect. Everybody is fallible.
We don’t want knee-jerk politics where we are ruled by what the press is having a go about from this day to the next. We want proper politics where people are able to make well-informed decisions for the greater good. We want those decisions based on facts and not scaremongering done by hacks who are only after the next headline-grabbing story.
We need grown-up politics. We need to treat our politicians like grown-ups and most of all we want the press to act like grown-ups.