Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Regrets of Digby Jones

The comments from Digby Jones a couple of days ago underscore something that I have thought about many senior politicians (especially those in government) for some time now. They often become automatons just talking within very narrowly defined constraints and as frustrating as that can often be for the rest of us, Jones has pointed out how soul destroying it can be for those actually directly involved in it.

I can't really imagine what it must be like to have check your every thought and utterance against a huge list of things that must not be said or even hinted at and to consider how everything you may say could be (mis)interpreted before opening your mouth. After a year or so Digby Jones had had enough and who can blame him?

I have to say though that politicians have made this bed for themselves. As I blogged the other day, Shriti Vadera's comments have been leapt upon by opponents such as Alan Duncan to make political capital. I wonder if Alan Duncan will reflect on this the next time he says or does something that is used against him by his opponents. I doubt it. I suppose to them it is all just part of the game. Never mind that it is exactly this sort of thing that makes people like a good friend of mine feel that "They are all the same".

Of course politically, they are not all the same. There are often distinct positions being carved out by the different parties but it often ends up obscured by nonsense like the nuances of what was meant by "Green Shoots" and the manufactured outrage that accompanies it.

I am grateful to Digby Jones for giving us his inside view from the very recent past. I would hope that his comments would give some of his former colleagues pause for thought but I suspect they are too busy deliberately misinterpting their opposition's latest position to even really notice.

Oh, and in case anyone is thinking that as a Lib Dem I am being hypocritical, I know that we are not immune from this (it is after all a deeply entrenched part of the political psyche) but I genuinely feel that we are not as guilty of it as the other parties and we usually try to engage with the issue at hand.

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