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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Politics is not a profession - part 8

This time it's Simon Heffer in The Telegraph who writes the words:

The generous system of salaries and allowances has ensured that people with a vocation tend to avoid politics, and those who seek a career – with all the cynical manipulation of the electorate it entails – are drawn to it like maggots to rotting flesh. It has also meant, on both sides of the House, that the inexperienced and unqualified predominate. Is there a link between that and the terrible state of our country's finances? Of course, as there is a link between a second-rate political class and our poor schools, our bloated public sector, our sporadic health service, our demotivated police force, our cruelly exploited Armed Forces, and so on. The worst sort of politician is the professional politician, and the present system of remuneration ensures we have them in abundance.


Savonarola said...

True. Sad but that is the way it is. And there is no way back from here. Periodic dead cat bounces but GB's best years are behind it.

We cannot blame the politicians. The seeds of our destruction are within all, or the majority, of us.

In a hundred years we will rate a couple of paragrphs in the 2110 edition of 'The rise and fall of nations' by Paul Kennedy 1V.

Newmania said...

Yes I liked the maggots bit, it was a bit aimless as an article though

Anonymous said...

In the late Roman republic, politics came to be dominated by on-the-make spivs who saw high office in the city of Rome as a ticket to a provincial governorship - with all the attendant opportunities for extortion, bribe-taking and plain old theft. This money could then be invested in buying votes to advance one's position yet further.

Some Romans, like Sulla, tried to reverse things, to put them back on an even keel. Their efforts won the republic a temporary respite but, in the end, the republic rotted from the inside out. The series of civil wars which destroyed the republic were not fought between the forces of liberty and tyranny or republicanism and monarchy, despite Cicero's lovely rhetoric to the contrary; no, these wars were fought between competing oligarchic camps of politicians who each sought to exploit the system, the army and the public for their own selfish ends and to exclude their rivals.

When Brutus struck Caesar down on the senate floor, he didn't do so for the sake of the republic and as a warning to tyrants. He struck so that he and his friends and allies and clients could get a larger share of the pie, a better seat at the trough.

In the end, the professionalisation of politics and the universal acceptance of a politician's fundamental right to pilfer the public finances (all in the name of redistribution, obviously) led to one ineluctable result: the politicians became monarchs and the public purse became the private playground of them and their supporters.

Late republican Rome or modern ZanuLabor Britain? There's not much between 'em, really.

it's either banned or compulsory said...

Nice summary anon 23:48, comparisons between Romes fate and our own can be very revealing.