Friday 30 April 2010

The general public

Politicians need the general public. But at a safe distance. When standing for the council, I often expressed frustration because the public's simple questions usually have complex answers. And people don't usually have time to listen - certainly the media doesn't, and the media is always watching the leading politicians.

The sad thing about "Brown's gaffe" is not so much what he thought about a specific voter (any of us could be caught out sometimes if people heard what we really think) but the attitude the political elite have to one of voters' real concerns: immigration. Raising the issue commands the response "bigot" if not "racist". It's one of the most frequently raised issues on the doorstep - especially amongst the young - and there's a lot of reasons for that (perceived pressure on local services, unfair prioritisation for services, focus on multiculturalism rather than integration, too big a growth in population numbers in too short a time) mainly arising from the fact that we have not had proper controls over immigratuion for some time (apparently as a deliberate policy).

The political parties are mostly afraid to address the issue because of the "r" word - but they must if they are to prevent tension growing - and a further pressure on public finances. And in avoiding the issue they show a contempt for the general public, which is just as harmful as the expenses scandal in devaluing politicians in the public's mind.

1 comment:

Troy said...

I saw an interesting perspective on this yesterday which suggested that immigration should be more sensibly seen as an environmental issue rather than a race issue in this densely populated island.