I heard Lucinda Creighton on the radio last week, a lot. What was that Reform Alliance conference about? She claimed it was to hear the views of the ‘people’, of the ‘man and the woman’ on the street. It did strike me that as well paid, elected representatives of the people, the views of their constituents are something that they should already know. Maybe they just wanted to hear different ones.
The media, of course, were obsessed by the notion that this could be the start of a new political party by a band of thwarted but ambitious politicians…and they have a point. If you have political notions, you need politicians to fight for and implement them…if you live in a western democracy.
This is the problem for the Claiming Our Future campaign, set up a couple of years ago. Like at Alliance for Reform conference this last weekend, over a thousand people attended the first Claiming Our Future conference in October 2010. Proposed policies for a more equitable tax, and democratic system have been developed. Working groups were established. Local meetings were organised to ensure grass roots representation. And activities are still taking place (www.claimingourfuture.ie). But it’s difficult to see how all of this us takes forward without a political vehicle to drive it.
I think there probably does have to be a new political party to forge change…and when I say new, I don’t mean reconstituted or revamped, and when I say change, I mean the introduction of equality and justice in our society with transparent political systems. But that’s easy to say. Who wants to be a new politician? Not me, certainly not after watching Borgen.
Borgen is the Danish political series. It is the nickname of the Palace which houses all three of Denmark’s branches of government, the Parliament, Prime Minister’s office and the Supreme Court..I could not endure what Birgitte Nyborg, the female PM, did in terms of her family, her colleagues and indeed her political values. I know she is a fictitious character, but it seemed a very much based on practical real life. I could not make all those political compromises, work with the rabid right wing , give up my relationship, give up my family, endure the fatigue, the awful negative press, and the responsibility for my child’s ill health. And I suspect, to be good in politics these days, you need to be able to do so and more. To be a successful leader you need particular qualities which enable you to be decisive, ruthless, shameless. For me, that’s the irony. Once a leader develops these skills, integrity, equality and transparency are undermined.
Borgen started each episode with a quote. My favourite was from Winston Churchill:
‘Success is not final. Failure is not final. It’s the courage to go on that counts’
I guess that’s what we all have to do whether we are a disillusioned Irish electorate, a disappointed Irish politician, or an unemployed Irish individual. It’s all a massive, never ending journey, and success or failure, it doesn’t stop. We’re all a part of it, so we might as well make the best of it.
I have also been reading Donna Tartt’s novel, The Golden Finch. I enjoyed it. It’s long and maybe over complex. But, there is a similar theme. Nothing is as it seems. There is no end plan. Life is the struggle, the doing. Having ‘power’ ‘ money’ or ‘where with all’ to change things may seem to be the ultimate objective, but it’s not. Movement or change comes in the wake of struggle.
As a writer, when I stare at white blank pages or screens sometimes it’s a challenge to remember that. So, keep on struggling, everyone, and all will be revealed …unless it’s Amber, the RTE serial…don’t get me going about that!