Friday, 11 July 2014

What makes a politician?

What makes a person want to be a politician?  Is it the prestige, the power, the opportunity to improve things, or is it just about money?  Governments the world over seem to be much of a muchness.  Deceit, bullying, arrogance and smugness appear to be traits of some politicians in every government.  Who do these people think they are and why do we let them get away with it?  They are not our bosses, not our owners.  They're supposed to work for us.  We pay them, so why don't we have a say when it comes to perks and pay-rises?

In the "civilised world", governments are always speaking of cut-backs and down-sizing to try and save the country money, yet they don't cut back or down-size their own salaries, perks and pensions.  They're quite happy to take their twice or thrice-yearly pay increases, regardless of whether or not they're earned or deserved.  They certainly don't need them; how could they when they pay for literally nothing?  The increases aren't small either - usually over 10 per cent.  While they take that with one hand, with the other they decree wage earners will get only one or two per cent a year because "times are hard" and people "must manage their money better" and "learn to economise".  Sure, they know people are struggling - well, they say they do - but they're hardly in touch with the real world.  When one's getting several hundred thousand dollars a year plus perks (meaning we the tax-payers pay for their accommodation, cars, petrol, air travel, clothes, etc. etc.) they lose touch.  When you don't pay your own power or fuel bills, why on earth would sky-rocketing power or petrol prices affect you?  From that lofty position it would be easy to make the assumption the great struggling unwashed public don't know how to manage their money.

I'm sure there must be "good" politicians, people who went into the game because they want to do good, and the salary and everything that goes with it is just the icing on the cake.  I'm also enough of a realist to know one can't change things without jumping through hoops and you just can't jump when your ankles are tied.  It must be incredibly frustrating at times, seeing how things could be fixed but being unable to do anything about it.

Okay yes, constantly being interviewed and attending meetings would be tiring.  Yes, the hours are long and one's in the public eye, every grimmace, facial tic and smirk reported upon.  But gee, working days are long for everyone.  Working one or more jobs to make ends meet, with all the travel and child-care costs that entails, missing out on your kids' special days because you have to work or sleep, knowing the onus is on you to pay for everything - that's tiring.  Struggling is tiring.

Our ancestors were miners, sawyers, agricultural labourers, blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers, soldiers; they knew what hard work was.  They emigrated to make a better life for their families.  Far as I know, not a one of them ever ventured into politics.  Who'd want to be a politician?