I surprised myself by agreeing with some of the statements made by Douglas Murray, contributing Editor of the Spectator (not a person I ordinarily support!) on BBC Question Time last night (26 minutes in). Here is my (probably inaccurate) transcript of what he said:
It is very striking to me and this isn't a criticism of David or the producers of this programme, we have now two questions and they are both about procedural issues of politics.... but this is a world away from what most of care about. >applause< Most of us who are interested or slightly interested in politics, we care about all sorts of things, how our children are educated, how the NHS is or isn't going to work, a whole set of things... and instead in this country... we end up discussing how much George Osborne spent on a hamburger. It is such a pitiful situation for a state like Great Britain to be in!Given what he said, I was taken aback by the self satisfied ferocity of David Dimbleby's response who asserted that the order and content of the questions was determined by the audience. Which missed the point of what Douglas was saying altogether.
As I saw it, he was expressing exasperation with the general focus on the process of politics and the ethical choices of politicians rather than what politics ought to be about: policies, outcomes and building a better UK. It was an exasperation that chimed with the audience who applauded him.
Now I know I have done my bit to focus on the 'process' and ethics of the behaviour of my PCC and I will remain on his case! However, I have been acutely aware of all the while I have been doing this that matters of his decisions are perhaps not receiving the degree of scrutiny they deserve. I am also aware that I am contributing part of the general 'plague on all your houses’ view of politicians.
I still think that the behaviour of politicians deserve close scrutiny since it helps us, as electors, to make assessments of their morals and probity. But politics is about far, far more than this!
In my next blog post I will focus on a particular policy matter that the Thames Valley PCC is highlighting.
Meanwhile, this blog post is call to everyone not to be (too) distracted by the ethics of burgers, the jungle japes of some MPs or even the messy business of selecting parliamentary candidates. I am not saying ignore these issues. But I am saying please do not ignore the more important (in my view) issues of policies and the impact of these on the lives and destiny of us all.