Most people who enter politics do so because they are driven by passion and ideas. Yet today’s political world is not one in which either can flourish easily. The political process is like a wind tunnel in which only the most streamlined characters survive.
It’s a worldwide phenomenon – as we can see in the Australian election campaign. Was it Julia Gillard promising tougher border protection and Tony Abbott a new taxpayer-funded paid parental leave scheme? Or was it the other way round? Why did the opposition leader feel the need not only to bury WorkChoices but also to cremate it afterwards, when any undertaker could have told him it was the other way round? Does the Prime Minister really feel comfortable repeating her campaign slogan every thirty seconds in her speeches? And do politicians really like kissing all those babies?
To any ordinary human being, modern politics must be a nightmare. No longer does it seem to have the impact on a world that politicians want to change for the better. Instead, it has become an endless chore of news grabs, pseudo-debates, and media posturing.
It takes a certain kind of character to thrive in the political amphitheatre. But the more important question is whether we want to be governed by people who enjoy this political madhouse.
(Thanks to The Centre for Independent Studies, www.cis.org.au )