Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Belief Of The British Political Class In Its Own Exceptionalism

Reports that Downing Street is 'blocking' enquiries into the historic activities of the bootleg butty banning Bilderberger Balls should come as no surprise.
All members of the British political class seem to share an overwhelming belief in their own exceptionalism. Coming as he does from a religious culture where his father's social status as a Kirk minister might have made him an object of veneration from the cradle, it's hardly surprising that Gordon Brown would consider himself to be an exceptional individual, regardless of whether or not he ever did anything exceptional - which he never really has. It's the same with Balls - either he really does believe himself to be head and shoulders above everyone else, or somebody else does.
This unfounded arrogance, this staggering lack of humility, also has other manifestations. When push comes to shove, Douglas Alexander is just a nice wee posh boy from Bishopton who had the good fortune to be born into the Glasgow University Labour Club elite that also produced John Smith and Donald Dewar. Perhaps it's a consequence of growing up surrounded by that elite; but both he and his sister seem to possess almost unshakeable, and yet almost wholly unjustified, confidence in their own abilities. What have they ever done? What books have they written? Where are their newspaper articles? What actually makes them think they can perform to any kind of standard in jobs which involve giving away billions of pounds of taxpayers' money when they appear to have absolutely no relevant managerial experience? On 'Question Time' on 27th November, the wee man did a passable imitation of a dancing bear - there seems to be no party line which he will not toe, no indefensible act of economic juju which he will not defend, and all done with the grey, robotic, almost inhuman charmlessness which also characterises the whole of the British political class; and like a dancing bear, it was a horrible performance to watch.
Perhaps our politicians' universal belief in their own exceptionalism is a consequence of the professionalisation of politics, a trend which has inevitably led to politicians spending more and more time around other politicians and less and less time around other members of the human race. That way are detached, charmless elites born. All professions develop traditions, and look after what they perceive to be their own interests; yet politics is still so important to us that it cannot be left to professionals, particularly professionals who think they're better than the rest of us.
As a very general rule of thumb, there are five areas of endeavour in which the insight of the amateur is almost always more valuable than that of the professional. These are politics, religion, economics, history and the analysis of pro sports. We need politicians; a world run by bloggers would be an appalling, hellish chaos. That not's the answer. Many of our politicians might indeed be exceptional individuals - yet too many who are not think that they are, a detachment from the realities of everyday life which will only harm us in the long run. If our professional politicians become a clique, it will not be long before they begin conspiring against the public.
There are those who think that this has already happened.


Blogger PJMULVEY said...

There is a very similar phenomena in the USA. Although various states have enacted term limits it does not apply to elected officials from a state serving in the federal government. I also deplore the political family dynasties that have become a marked feature of American political life....Bush, Clinton, Kennedy, Daley, etc. These dynasties also intermarry creating with each successive generation a more exclusive and privileged class with access to wealth (Clinton's worth hundreds of millions since leaving office 8 years ago!) and power. Corruption, power and pursuit of wealth have created a class of gangsters that rival the aristocracies of old.

30 November, 2008 18:49  

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