13 Responses to “Politics is boring and irrelevant”

  1. Ben Cobley says:

    Hello Peter, forgive me for a bit of copy and paste but I just appended this comment (since subtracted and added to) to a piece by Emma Burnell on Labour List and thought it tapped right in to what you are saying – most important point is the last one in my view. Anyway, here it is:

    The main issue as I see it for us in opposition is about trying to be at least vaguely interesting to the general public. Ed for example is a lovely fella, but presenting him as a robot in a suit for the TV cameras does not make him or us look anything other than really, really dull. Thank God for Maurice Glasman and his eccentric, sometimes wrong but at least interesting excursions (he is on Any Questions tomorrow by the way – and I thought he’d been told to be quiet and keep his head down).

    Politics, remember, is at root about heart and soul and passion. The current political scene shows a complete dearth of all three. In the Labour Party at least technocratic instrumental thinking has taken over the farm and is reaping a harvest of genetically engineered politics in which the means (winning elections) have become the ends. It’s all very well trying to sneak back into power by being boring and letting the other lot make a mess of things, but membership will erode away and soon the boot will be on the other foot and we will once again be facing the flak and looking clueless. The existential question, “What are we here for?” is the most important one facing Labour at the moment and needs to be addressed before all others.

  2. Peter Owen says:

    It’s the careerist political elite that’s boring and irrelevant – not politics.

  3. paul barker says:

    I think youre misinterpreting your feelings. Its not Politics thats boring but Labour. Seen from the outside it looks to me like youre falling out of love with your Party, one day you will relise suddenly that its over.

  4. Peter Watt says:

    Ben and Peter – I agree!

  5. Ayub Khan says:

    Getting ordinary people involved as MP’s will make it far more interesting. If all we have are Career politicians and by that I mean those that have graduated through the party machinery on the basis of their academic ability rather than any real life experience it is not going to change. I’m sure that Blair did not want this to happen but unfortunately those around him probably felt that ordinary working class folk did not have the intellectual capacity to become MP’s or be big players in the party. Having a life outside politics and then entering it I am sure will make it much more attractive.

  6. Livy says:

    …but otherwise OK?

  7. Gary Elsby says:

    Politics does matter and it is wrong to think that a person worried about a gas bill is not at all concerned about how Labour goes about its business.
    The electorate thought that Labour was so bent in its approach to the working classes that it didn’t want it to run this Country.
    The public saw through cash for peerages and doors being opened for Eton friends of Madelson and parachuted into ‘safe seats’.
    It is irresponsible and reckless to not give the credit that the public deserve in showing the Labour Party the door.
    The public are very much in tune with what goes on and will act once again accordingly to deliver its verdict.
    Labour took this Country down the road of a massive debt and current cuts are the result.
    The other result came later and Labour has been asked not to run the Country for the duration.
    If Peter Watt is to blame his audience and his electorate for Labour’s demise, he would be very accurate.

  8. Real Chris says:


    Another boring and irrelevant article.

  9. AmberStar says:

    @ Peter Watt

    The last Labour government over promised and under delivered in too many areas.
    That’s pretty much it… not much more need be said to explain why people are so turned off by politics & politicians.

  10. Ralph Baldwin says:


    You summarise it well with your concluding paragraph. Though the example ued was not the best as the subject matter in question is designed to make politics more interesting, and being seen as a test on how much trust there will be between those who cling on vainly to the delusion of power within the party and the membership (which means very little in thereal world but is incredibly important in assessing the attitude the Party collective Leadership displays to members and the public in general..potentially.

    I think your title should have been “political parties” rather than politics. If you meet people on the doorstep you soon gain their enthusiasm and intrsted when you raise subjects of concern to them, such as the real economy, the local shops, local jobs, skills and perceived attitude of the young, pensions, working conditions, health, environment etc.

    What seems to have occured and there is nothing new in my mentioning it, though there has been absolutely no attempt to address this; is that beyond god-awful ovr simplified and patronising off-key buzz words and dogmatic labels, modern senior politicians utterly fail to gage and grasp the subject of politics itself in the main.

    The political parties at the senior level and in local government hve become blatently self-interested and blinded to the world around them.

    In attempting to become “middle class” or “elite” our Parties Mps have merely become blatently nepotistic (a sign of being unable to compete in the jobs market and have any faith in the economy at all as well as being unable to behave professionally in a democratic environment), closeted (we saw how MPs behaved during the expense scandal despite the fact everyone knew they had tried for three years to keep the truth from their public employers which was blatently ludicrous and very far away from being “normal” even in addressing it). It could only be described as blatent contempt for the world outside the Westminster bubble which was VERY detectable at an emotive level.

    I still remember with horror the Newsnight episode before the General Election when Ed Balls, Gove and whoever the Lib Dem was were talking about education and were compared with thre senior professionals in the field, at the end of the programme everyone ws laughing at the politicos who failed to grasp in any way, shape or form the issues relting to the topic, education. Any parent would have been worried.

    Tower block of Commons on Channel Four left me nauseous and sad, it was a clear indictment of the position of “Labour Party MP”, it was truly incredible that our Party that should be a sybmol of pragmatism and applicability would become more stuck-up and out of touch than the Conservative Party. A real emberresment especially when you consider the quality of MP we have in general.

    On the environment and Europe, we have an appallingly low quality narrative that ‘aint going to impress anyone, including the Chinese, it was the cynical attempt by Ken Livingstone to increase the taxes of cars under the “green label” that helped Borris win the prize. The 2 degree thing at Copenhagen is best forgotton…..

    We really are getting juvenile level stuff that makes our people look dumb and worse, it is all done with an air of conceit which implies they are blatently telling those people around them they are less intelligent. Mps who are dumb telling people they are dumber.

    So Parliament has been hung, Scotland fed up with Westminster interference went SNP, BNP were elected for the first time in Europe.

    In the media we are inundated with the soap opera of yesterdays beneficiaries of it all, none of whom have very much to be proud of as their legacies have been exposed for what they were (Lord Reid G4S Security (and all the lovely things he did around this), Milburn and Hewitt with health private contacts and lobbying events).
    This was the very behaviour Tony Blair and the PLP promised to quosh, and create a modern political age, not a puritanical one as the public can be very forgiving, but at least one that would come close to being termed “professional”.

    Instead we were stuck with weak, sad and pathetic right across the spectrum with more clumsy blatant cross party dodgy wheeling and dealing.

    Meanwhile the public were left behind. In a better place, the real world.

    As I have said time and again, the first Party to the prize will be the one that acts as though it understands and can relate to and with the real world, and show some credibility with markets as opposed to blind dogma and worship. It is not a lot to ask but it has been interesting measuring the “restistence to it” in the body apolitic. A stubborn, conceited irrational refusal to serve the public and do the right thing, for us all. But then greed is irrational, conceited, is it not?

    So yes, political parties in Parliament are boring, ineffectual and irrelevant in the main and the political class currently chasing their own tail on the occasions they can extract their heads from the dark, unplesant recess of their own backsides.
    Which of course, as a result of the power they have over the Party itself, renders local parties weak and unable to do that which they need to grow and become4 relevant again.

    So lets hope Ed can ref-ound rather than re-flounder Labour and that he surrounds himself with people who are committed to the Party first, and do not use it as a platform to elevate their own seriously inflated sense of self-importance whilst deluding themselves badly that they are “elite”, they are not, they don’t come close to even being “average” or even “acceptable”.

  11. Roger says:

    To adapt Trotsky’s line on the dialectic: you may not be interested in politics – but politics is certainly interested in you.

    Take for example my 18-year old niece who got her exam results yesterday and failed to get the points she needed for her university course.

    Had it not been for the last election she would have just retook her exams, re-applied and got in again next year.

    Thanks to politics she now is faced with the awful choice of finding another place on a course which she doesn’t want to do in a place where she doesn’t want to go or paying a very price indeed in debt for her gap year.

    But like most teenagers she seems to see political events that are derailing her life as natural cataclysms over which she has no control whatsoever.

    Its not inspirational politicians we need – its politicians who can talk directly and with real credibility to people whose lives have never been more different to their own and convince them that they are not corrupt liars and that they can change the world for the better.

    Once Labour had a strong cadre of working class trade unionist MPs who could do that job and keep the party almost literally earthed – but these have now almost entirely disappeared and been replaced by middle class idealists and careerists who know no other life than politics and talk to the media and not to the people.

    It will take a generation but lets try non-graduate short-lists: or more practically ones that exclude candidates who have not spent at least 3 years working in a field other than parliament, think tanks, the law, academia, the media or public relations.

  12. Nick says:

    The problem lies with the mess you have left behind.

    1,000 bn in borrowing.
    A 1,200 bn black hole in the civil service pension ‘fund’. There isn’t one, but I presume you want people to be paid.
    2,400 bn black hole for the state pension

    Likewise for the state second pension, nuclear decomissioning, ….

    All on an income of 600 bn a year (tax revenues), and current spending out of control.

    Now I can’t get a mortgage of many times my income, particularly if my spending was out of control.

    That’s the disaster of Labour.

    The Tories and Lib Dem are carrying on with the lies I’m afraid. That means its going to go wrong in a disastrous way, rather than awful way.

    There is no way you can pay out on all these promises.

    The same as any Ponzi.

  13. Nick says:

    Thanks to politics she now is faced with the awful choice of finding another place on a course which she doesn’t want to do in a place where she doesn’t want to go or paying a very price indeed in debt for her gap year.

    Just wait till she gets the bill for her share of government debts (pensions included)

    What politicians fail to realise (one or two do), is that the only thing that matters is how the mess they have created gets paid for. The current strategy is to act like Mr McCawber in the hope that something will turn up.

    Here is a test. Ask any politician what the current value is of the state pension promises. Not a single one will tell you. Any party, it doesn’t matter.

    When the state pension is the second largest liability the government has run up, that is a tad surprising.

    [The largest is bailing out those with no savings in their retirement]

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