Tuesday, 19 May 2009

THE EMBARRASSMENT OF BEING A POLITICIAN

I came into politics to do things not to be something. A good income (and these days a VERY good income) is a welcome change after years of debt and forsaken career opportunities, but it doesn't provide my motivation. I would do the job for half as much.

I don't expect to be popular, except perhaps with party members; I've been hearing people say "you politicians are all the same, out for what you can get," for 35 years now. But I do like people thinking that the position I hold should be given a grudging degree of respect. Outright scorn I really can do without, especially as my conscience is pretty clean and I know that I have declined opportunities taken by other MEPs to make shedloads of money.

Yesterday I was touring the North West by train, stopping at stations for a quick photocall with party members while displaying my "MEPs' expenses - Make them Open and Honest" petition. At each halt I was happy to tell colleagues how relieved I was that when a journalist phoned to ask about expenses I didn't need to cower in fear because they usually started with the words "we hear you are one of the reformers...."

But it's a sad day when I am embarrassed to be in the company of someone displaying party colours ("Look mum, there's a politician!). But I was. Joined by my fellow candidate Neil Corlett, who was (bravely) sporting a yellow rosette like every candidate proud of their party should have the confidence to do, I behaved like Peter disowning Jesus, manoeuvring him into positions where he was least likely to be seen, or so that I was best able to pose as being entirely independent of the "looney" on the same station platform.

2 comments:

Barrie Wood said...

Chris,

I am withdrawing from political activity temporarily as it is not possible right now to engage with people in a positive fashion. That we are, on the whole, not as bad as the other two main options is not a rallying call to the masses is it ?

Look on LibDem Blogs aggregated and the discussion of who the next speaker might be. People in Rochdale, Torquay, Liverpool or wherever don't give a stuff about this. Activists, let alone elected personnel, are often so out of touch with what 'real people' are talking about - this is but one example.

Julian H said...

"I would do the job for half as much."Really? There are lots of charities that would like to see the proof of that pudding!