The public isn’t apathetic about politics – they’re just fed up with politicians. From the juvenile baying at Prime Minister’s question time to the sleaze surrounding MPs’ expenses, voters are rightly disillusioned.
From the constant sniping and insult throwing between the main parties to the attack campaign advertising, politicians need to realise their own poverty of aspiration: it’s not enough to say “We’re the least bad option”. We need to talk about how we fix the problems we face rather than protest at their presence.
I’m really not surprised that the public are completely tired of politicians and politics in general. There are far too many career politicians who are more interested in climbing the political ladder than serving their constituencies and who do not bring with them the benefit of years of experience in an industry or trade.
So, I understand the public’s anger. I really do – I get it. And I also get that my party is as guilty as any.
I too am fed up. That’s the reason why I’m standing for parliament. I don’t believe politics should be practiced in this way. I want to advocate a new kind of politics. I want to practice the kind of politics where my policies stand for themselves, where I don’t insult the other parties or candidates. Almost every political debate I’ve watched for the last 20 years has produced more heat than light. Labour’s policies were not enacted in malice; however profound our disagreements about tax, the rich, business and the economy, every discussion amongst politicians should surely start from the idea that (almost all) politicians are in politics for the right reasons. If we act like we think ‘the other side’ are idiots, no wonder the public eventually thinks we all are.
Punch and Judy Politics
Over the past few weeks on Facebook, supporters from other parties have been quite vitriolic and I’ve been accused of denying free speech when I have deleted their posts that contained profanity, despite inviting them to re-post without the swearing. I do not see this as an issue of free speech but one of common decency.
I get that they are not impressed with the government or perhaps even with their current MP. The onus is on me to actively demonstrate that I am different from what they may perceive to be the typical Conservative candidate.
I refuse to retaliate and sink to the level of the lowest common denominator. I refuse to practice Punch and Judy politics and I hope all my supporters and volunteers adhere to this approach. This isn’t about the moral high ground – it’s about saying that I care enough to want to fix the real problems we face. Sometimes I think people who simply want to abuse ‘The Tories’ are spoiling for a fight when they should be looking for solutions.
Due to the high profile of our constituency, we are drawing not only national but also international attention. Only this week we, along with other parties, were interviewed by the international news channel CNN. We have the eyes of the world upon us and we should ensure that we conduct this election in a dignified and honorable manner. We have a unique platform that we should all use to benefit the constituency and not to be an embarrassment on a global scale. Boston and Skegness is a great, affordable place to live whose industries feed the country. I do not deny there are problems, but we talk ourselves down at our peril.
I have respect for all my fellow candidates and anyone willing to stand as a Member of Parliament. I will not disrespect them by throwing insults or by negative campaigning. Constructive criticism of their policies or their legacy is acceptable and is part of my job but the criticism should be limited to that. I believe that we all want to do the best that we can for this constituency. We may just have different ideas about how that can be achieved. And that is both good and healthy.
Come May 8th, whoever is elected as the Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness has to represent everybody in the constituency and I believe this will be far easier if the MP can look them in the eye knowing that they haven’t spent the preceding weeks insulting their political beliefs.
Gandhi is credited with saying, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” With that in mind, I’d like to create the following Boston & Skegness Constituency Election Pledge, which I promise to uphold:
Ideally, the other Parties’ candidates will also sign up to this pledge and perhaps then, this constituency can lead the country in practicing a new kind of politics. The world is watching.