Monday, 3 September 2007

The adversarial principle in society - Politics and the media

The title above is the subject of a debate being presented by CEDR and others on 11th September. I am looking forward to it very much as it is an area that I am increasingly troubled by.

A few weeks ago, I read about Cameron promising "Bareknuckle fights" over the NHS. That will help the A+E wards, then. Bareknuckle fights?

Peter Haine, for the other team, had been at it ahead of the Welsh Assembly election last year, same bareknuckle metaphor.

This weekend, we have the ever-macho William Hague making threats to Gordon Brown that he would be "In for the fight of his life" once any election campaign began.

What is it with this ridiculous posturing, this violent, threatening, pugilistic rhetoric? It is supposed, no doubt, to rouse the party faithful and show strong, fearless leadership. It comes across, however, as nothing more than playground taunting.

It is embarrassing and could well be contributing to the public disaffection with politics generally. There needs to be a new dialogue between our parties and the electorate, one that respects the electorates intellect rather than assuming that they can be whipped into a frenzy with this conflict laden, ugly, playground banality.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the seminar. Here's hoping it is the start of a new conversation.

1 comment:

Alexander Massey said...

Politics has long been perceived as an arena for exercising power, and therefore as a space of conflicting power positions and behaviours.

It is not a place that traditionally I have perceived as looking for win-win. Ironically, behind the scenes, I think there are many cross-party friendships and collaborations. Publicly, this seems to be frowned on by the parties.

Essentially, I would like to see politics to move away from 'taking positions', which leads to power-plays and seeking 'power over', to encouraging an understanding of true power as 'power-from-within', and interdependence.