Yesterday morning the doorbell rang. “Good morning” I said, greeting the strangers on my doorstep with a smile. An elderly couple stood before me, “Why do you think that the government is so corrupt?” they asked. My smile disappeared, and a look of confusion found its way onto my face, whilst I struggled to come up with something intelligent to say.
Don’t get me wrong, I am usually too happy to blame the government when something goes wrong, but this felt like an unwarranted attack, my guests showed no evidence of corruption. I still desperately wanted to fit in, say something clever and get on their side, however the words escaped me. I confessed my ignorance and acknowledged that I wasn’t a “fan” of their work. Oh, how I wish that I’d said something more creative; I can still see the look of disappointment on their faces.
If only I expressed my thoughts that politicians seem to spend half their careers attempting to gain power and the latter half trying not to lose it. The legitimacy of the question, its matter-of-fact nature didn’t even cross my mind.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t explain the reasons behind the actions of people I’d never met. Whatever the answer was, I was stumped; it was too early. Admittedly, it was a little after 10:00, but I was still in my pyjamas and dressing gown; it was Saturday, after all. (Come to think of it, I’m surprised they thought I’d offer anything remotely incisive!)
The visitors then recited a line from the Bible: ‘Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.’ which made me think that they had answered their own question, that no one can be wholly good or wholly evil, making everyone a mixture of the two. (Being non-religious and never having studied the Bible with any great detail, I may be exceedingly ignorant!) But at the end of the day, politicians aren’t so different to you and me, right? So maybe corruption is just an inherent flaw throughout the human race? Or are politicians naturally more greedy, more self-serving than the rest of us?
By this stage, I was deeply confused, and pleased that I wasn’t asked such challenging questions every day. Glad that I wasn’t a politician.
It’s a tough job, with everyone in the country watching you, assessing your work and whether they like you. I’d imagine becoming a politician is a bit like going back to school. You’d join a group and you wouldn’t make friends with anyone else. You’d have to constantly be worrying about your image and reputation. Then there’s all the jeering, when you make a silly remark in front of the whole class, which will probably lead to you being kicked out your gang. No matter what people say, in politics image is everything. Politics is a popularity contest.
On a serious note, the plans that were announced earlier this week for the TV debates before the next election, involving seven parties, are a farce. I don’t see how it won’t evolve into a shouting contest, with them all arguing on screen. And how will any party succeed in winning a majority vote if it’s deemed that these seven parties have similar chances at the election? Surely the government will become a coalition between four parties, if this is truly the case?
Uncomprehending, confused and worn out, (I do realise that the first two mean the same thing, but I thought I’d better include both to highlight the extent of my headache) and still unaware of my visitors political beliefs, I needed a lie down; it was time to go back to bed.