I’m sitting here, staring at a blank screen - deadline fast approaching - expected to come up with something to say about politics. And, unusually for me, I’m finding myself not wanting to. This is strange, as throughout history, politics has been filled with philosophers, commentators, polemicists and orators who were essentially the professional, socially acceptable version of the guy in the corner of the pub who has an opinion on everything. So why am I struggling?
Let’s get to the reason I’m writing this here blog. Recently I took part in an incredible event. I was commissioned to write three poems for a poetry slam surrounding the debate over the EU. Now THIS was something I related to. A room filled with young people - all engaged and very much switched on - democratically engaged and offering their opinion on the world. THAT is the kind of politics I relate to.
As it happens, I’m very much in favour of us remaining in the EU.
I think if we remove ourselves from it, a lot of rights related to work, health and anti - discrimination would be under threat from an increasingly right-leaning attitude toward regulation and so called ‘red tape’. I also think the world is increasingly moving closer together and to jump out of the EU on some ‘this is our corner of the world’ attitude, would be to remove ourselves from the conversation at a time when we very much shouldn’t.
However, that last paragraph sounded very much like politics and still, I have an issue with that term. The word ‘politics’ itself doesn’t have many positive connotations. Think about its uses - ‘I love my job but I hate the politics’ or ‘you clearly did that for political reasons’. When I think about the word politics I associate it with terms like strategy, ideology, cleverness etc, but rarely do I actually associate it with the issues that face us day to day.
I’ve never really been too keen on labels.
I suppose I consider myself toward the left. I’m immensely pro-immigration and diversity - in fact I view any success this country has, as being based on it. I’ve been a lifelong supporter of causes surrounding civil liberties and human rights. I support a welfare state and a publicly funded, free at the point of use, health care system that is universal for all. However, I also don’t hate markets all the time and I’m not anti any private ownership (unless it’s a sphere that is quite clearly for the public like: health, welfare, education, etc).
I guess - essentially - I’m a liberal (pesky labels again) in a time when liberalism isn’t too trendy. I believe that the individual and society ARE the same thing and find it hard to relate to a world that seems to be moving toward polarising those two mutual aspects of human nature again.
The only time I relate to ‘politics’ is when it isn’t politics at all.
It’s when it’s public discussion; such as the event I took part in with Beatfreeks last week; people talking about the issues that matter to them. People taking part in passionate discussions that don’t exclude. Everybody at that event was so engaged and, if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve ever believed, at any point, that I live in a time where people are apathetic - I think we could all just do without the politics.