To comment on British politics, Twitter maybe the perfect platform. It’s one of the ways commentary and observations can keep up with the pace of change. So febrile is the current landscape of British politics that it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen next. Naturally, there’s thousands who will volunteer their views. It’s a wonderful entertainment but probably not terribly helpful.
What makes a good politician, or at least what makes an effective politician in 2022? Let’s forget what makes a great politician because that category is only ever seen in the story books.
Setting our situation in the context: however good a person maybe they will make errors and have failures. Let’s not get hooked on the ridiculous idea that perfection is out there to be found. That’s the territory of ideology and fanatics. There’s too many of them in Twitter-land.
What makes a good politician? I think it does come down to fundamentals. There is a big word that stands out in any community. It has done throughout history. It’s that simple but sometimes illusive quality of TRUST.
It’s not enough to stand in front of a group of citizens and espouse trustworthiness. It’s not enough to say – trust me, I know what I’m doing. There must be believability built on sound evidence. That’s a record of saying things and doing things that are correct, consistent, and coherent.
Not easy to do. The frenetic speed of News is like a hungry monster wanting to be feed minute by minute. Say too much and arguments are pulled apart ruthlessly. Say too little and the vacant space is filled with speculation.
Getting beyond the blah blah blah of ephemeral commentary is not so easy. Trust and communication can’t be separated. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say must run through every message.
Am I being naively contradictory? To start, I emphasised that it’s human to get thing wrong now and then. If public communications must meet unobtainable standards what hope does any politician have in this new media world?
Well, there’s a balance to be struck. That’s where we are – way off balance. Like a wobbly wheel spinning on a worn out axal. Both the wheel and the axel need replacing.