Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Politics does not have to be dirty

Writing in The Press this morning, Chris Trotter argues that politics is essentially dirty: "Bluntly, "dirty politics" is the only kind there is".

I reject this proposition absolutely.

I'm not doing so out of naiveity; I agree with Trotter on the essentially Hobbesean pact which underlies democracy, that its a gentler way of solving issues that used to be solved by civil war and murder. And I've read my Machiavelli and agree that being an effective ruler may sometimes demand immoral methods. But that doesn't mean that all is fair and that we should accept what we have seen. To point out the obvious, if being an effective ruler demands immoral methods, one can always choose not to be effective - or not to be a ruler. In the C16th when Machiavelli wrote, that choice was effectively suicide, or at the least impoverishment and exile. In the modern era, the consequences are rather less severe.

Our politicians make choices. How far they are willing to go to get what they want and to stay in power is one of those choices. The ruling clique in the National Party has clearly chosen to delve into the sewer and behave like sociopaths to keep themselves on top. Other parties - and indeed, others in National - would clearly make a different choice. The choice as to which ones get to run the place, and therefore how much of this toxic crap we have in our political system, that's up to us.

I can't stress that last point enough. We get to hold politicians accountable for their choices. And in 31 days, we'll have a chance to do just that. So, if you reject National's dirty politics, vote the fuckers out. And hopefully, whoever replaces them will get the message that this sort of shit just isn't acceptable.