Fringe Box



Letter: All Politicians Are Not the Same

Published on: 6 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 6 Jan, 2024

From: David Roberts

In response to: How I Was Motivated By ‘The Donald’

Pete Bennett makes a very heartfelt New Year’s plea against cynicism and in favour of political commitment.

Having worked with many politicians, I don’t buy the facile but now common view that they are uniquely dishonest. I can think of just as many private businesspeople, celebrities, journalists and others whose moral standards are abject. But politics is conducted in public, and limelight does have a way of attracting risk-takers, egomaniacs and charlatans who would be less visible in “normal” walks of life.

False prophets thrive on publicity and political instability and the last 15 years have seen a unique set of crises (the financial crash, Brexit, Covid, Ukraine…) that have promoted and rewarded populist rabble-rousers.

These self-styled strongmen offer few solutions but like to build their personal power by undermining trust in institutions and by whipping up artificial conflict between two imaginary constructs: “the people” (defined as anyone who supports them) and a fuzzy, varying set of enemies including “the establishment”, “wokery”, “bureaucracy”, parliaments, judges, the BBC, the EU, international law, benefit claimants, migrants and foreigners in general.

I’m optimistic that, in the UK, we have finally passed “peak populism” and are starting to recover from this collective madness. But overseas the signals, ranging from Poland on the one hand to Argentina on the other, are mixed.

The world is still full of ghastly authoritarian leaders – Putin, Xi, Modi, Erdogan, Orban etc – who are desperate for us to give up on liberal democracy but whose own long-term futures look far from secure. This year’s 50 national elections may show which way the global wind is blowing.

Meanwhile, let’s not run up the white flag on freedom by parroting the mantra that “all politicians are the same”.

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Responses to Letter: All Politicians Are Not the Same

  1. Olly Azad Reply

    January 7, 2024 at 12:54 am

    Hold await response to email

    If only I could truly convince my mind to stopping thinking that Politicians are rogue and vagabonds, perhaps the wording is harsh, but the majority of them don’t seem get it, whether it’s on crime, housing, immigration and notably the cost of living crisis. They pay lip-service brilliantly when in power and when sat in opposition promise the world and the kitchen sink too.

    Nowadays with an array of social media platforms like the Dragon NEWS, the public are well placed in making informed decisions on who to trust and what to label as dishonest? As I am not a member of any political party and as we head into General Election mode later this year, I for one will look into substance and deeds over any gimmicks and fanciful party slogans thank you very much.

  2. Olly Azad Reply

    January 8, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    I struggle sometimes when it comes to convincing myself that politicians are not all the same. The recent Covid enquiry and it’s findings were far from flattering for the government, and in the case of the Health Secretary caught “red handed”.

    The Post Office scandal that had been brewing for the past 10 years is another woeful example where the public could be excused for feeling cynical because politicians are reluctant to own up to their failures? However, I appreciate that at times they are caught between a rock and a hard place when making decisions. But being transparent and accountable to the people should be foremost in their consideration, and more so being in public office.

    With all political parties gearing up for general election mode later this year, regardless of cynicism, scepticism or voter apathy, or thinking they’re all the same, democracy should not be deterred in any way and we must continue to use our democratic vote wisely.

    Just look at the face of Donald Trump in the letter. What does it tell us? As for his famous slogan “Make America Great Again!” – the jury is still very much out.

    • John Perkins Reply

      January 9, 2024 at 7:46 pm

      A minor point: The Post Office Horizon scandal has been brewing for 20 years, or even longer.

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