Had coffee with a well-informed and politically aware lady this morning. She told me that some years ago she had decided that politicians were so disreputable that she had decided never to vote for one ever again. I have other friends who behave in the same way. Personally, I cannot understand why anyone should think all participants in any lawful activity are corrupt and dishonest. Or good and honest either. She added that anyone who wants to be a politician must be so egotistical and flawed that they don't deserve a vote. Someone famous once said something like that. Anyway, she wanted some assistance, and I agreed to help - with enthusiasm.
Reason I comment on the above is its relevance to a rather good article by Peter Oborne in today's Telegraph about 'modernism, rather than 'morality being the dirty word of politics. . He is a very thoughtful columnist. There is style of modern politics that leaves its practitioners looking shifty and untruthful. Its 'The Party Line'. Its the agreed form of words that each party's spin department prepares for constant repetition. For many people, when an answer looks to have been prepared before the question is asked, it does not convince. It becomes a language that only other politicians relate to.
Perhaps its aversion to the 'Party Line' that draws me to issues that have a genuinely ethical dimension and to the free vote - which ironically, as a PPS, convention dictates I take no part in. Anyway it leads me into debates where I oppose 'presumed consent' for organ donation, and decriminalising 'assisted suicide' - though the ethical dimension is so contemptuously cast aside today that I always try to frame arguments around practical aspects of the debate. This aversion to the 'Party Line' makes me a 'contrarian' as well. Whenever I've listened to half a dozen speeches saying much the same thing, just cannot resist the temptation to take a different line. Now, where is my blackberry.