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Kennedy & Galloway, plus “Get Back to Work, George”

spiked-politics | Column | What Kennedy and Galloway tell us about politics now

An interesting and provoking article as ever from the good folk at spiked-online, talking about the two political stories of the week: Kennedy’s resignation and the storm over Galloway’s time in the BB House (see previously).

The thrust of the article is that politics in Britain is so without substance that the unimportant fate of two ancilliary players shows that we’re in the age of “presentational politics” – your demeanour and the show on which it’s exposed are more important that policies and, god forbid, delivery!

Do read the article, but some quotes are too good to miss! On Kennedy:

Kennedy can be seen as a politician for a time when politics lacks meaning. With no competing visions of the future, political life has been hollowed out. Without any wider sense of purpose in changing society, politics has become an end in itself – the aim of being in power becomes simply to remain in power, rather than to achieve political ends. Being a politician thus becomes another professional career, where one can get on as in other careers through personal characteristics rather than public actions – and can just as readily be brought down by character flaws.

And on Galloway:

It was odd to hear Galloway introduce himself to his fellow contestants as the leader of the British anti-war movement. After all, his appearance on the show only confirms that in reality there is no such movement to give him a platform, so he is going on ‘reality’ TV to advertise for one. For all his grassroots pretensions, Galloway has a good eye for today’s celebrity politics.

Mick Hume
doesn’t exactly spare those of us who’re campaigning to get George to pay some attention to our constituency, noting:

That said, many of Galloway’s critics only confirm the lack of meaningful alternatives available. They complain that the MP ought to be looking after the drains and other local problems of his east London constituents rather than gadding about on the box. It seems that the alternative to showbiz-style political posturing is now the small-scale municipal managerialism that passes for ‘real’ politics.

This is missing the point. The body politic is sick and tired of ‘initiativitis’ and the grand, sweeping gesture: life on the street is what matters. I’d have thought that the founder of Living Marxism wouldn’t appreciated the focus on drains, cleaning and making the many, small differences in people’s lives that add up over time to a noticeable and useful change.

If you look at the comments on the Pledgebank page to write to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (go, Hana, go!) then you’ll see the view that it’s OK to have a crap MP just so that you can cast an ‘anti-Blair’ vote! One moment’s gratification = 4 years of non-representation! Is that a fair trade?

On a final, lighter note, check on the “Get back to work, George…” petition page 🙂