I have a problem. A serious problem. I’m beset by some kind of political depression.
It’s not because I fear the result of the UK’s forthcoming general election – even if Labour wins there will be scant optimism. The battle is about who cuts what, when – aside from occasional forays into whether Brown is a bully or whether Cameron u-turns on marriage tax. Brown is battered, Cameron is weak, and Clegg is non-existent. Will even 50% of the population be enthused enough to vote? A heavily indebted, inward looking, security paranoid, deeply unequal population needs some cause for optimism, but where is that to be found?
In the meantime workers are ranting about refinery closures in France, increases in pension age in Spain, and everything in Greece. Meanwhile in Brussels everyone is playing silly power games about a nomination to Washington, and everyone is trying to undermine the High Rep for Foreign Policy who was supposed to help the EU play a greater role in world affairs. Fat chance. [UPDATE: more on the strikes in The Economist here]
To deal with all of these things 2 things are lacking: incentives and leadership. To deal with any of these issues we need strong, optimistic and visionary leaders, at national and also at EU level, people who can show that solidarity or common EU action or whatever is in the interests of everyone. People that can create a narrative that brings together business and worker interests, people that can persuade the baby boom generation that they don’t have to mess up absolutely everything for the generation coming after them. Where are those people? Or maybe it’s because the incentives are wrong within political parties, hence preventing those people emerging?
Beyond that all of this is intensely personal. Here I am, a political motivated individual with good skills (particularly when it comes to internet politics) and I’m effectively pottering around the edges. I’m designing websites for politicians but the sites do not come close to pushing the boundaries of net politics as all the individuals concerned are in the same restrictive structures that prevent the emergence of visionary leadership… Since the Atheist Bus Campaign I have no major, concrete online deliverable that I can point to.
Offline is no better – I just cannot bear political meetings that are filled with bla bla for hours on end, never-ending lists of reasons why X or Y cannot be accomplished, and interminably dull speeches designed by speakers to make themselves look intelligent rather that actually getting to the crux of an issue. It all depresses me enormously.
But what the hell is the conclusion of all of this? What should I do? I’m an intensely political person, driven by ideology and some desire to make the world a better place (oh how naive that sounds). But I’m terribly lacking inspiration and ways to do that just now.