On Politics

Stephen Fry is a genius.

He was on “This Week” last night. This is what he had to say.

You may find some of the words distasteful, or a slight hint that he is an apologist for the government, but I doubt many sensible people would fail to be chastened by his words. (OK not many sensible intelligent people).

It’s a put down to those who view political types as a separate alien species. Why do politicians do so many bigoted, knee jerk things, well because so many of us, the people, are stupid and ignorant and rant on about things without thinking. And we see things that are our own responsibility as SEPs. Of course Stephen included himself as one of the ignorant masses. We don’t as a whole, try and do something about the state of the world, we just sit in our armchairs and complain.

Actually this is slightly unfair to my readership, 99.9% of whom do do a lot to make the world a better place, whether it be preaching peace and tolerance and sensible policies through the Lib Dems, providing a much needed provision to society through Scouting and Guiding, giving over half their garage[1] to food for the homeless, or helping refugees lost in a country only slightly less hostile than the rest of the world. I am as it were preaching to the choir here.

However while actors and comedians like Stephen and Jeremy Hardy can tell it like it is, politicians can’t, witness the upset when Chris Davies MEP used some unwise remarks to describe a somewhat unpleasant constituent. And we are back to Stephen’s polemic. As the late Linda Smith might put it, there are some unpleasant people, who “shouldn’t be given the oxygen of oxygen”. But the system, ie you and me, won’t allow the policymakers to come out and say it, because scarily enough there’s a lot of them and they all have the vote. And while some of us recognise the limitations of polite society, nay even demand they be enforced, to others this makes our representatives look shallow mealy mouthed and wishy-washy.

This passage particularly impressed me:

Take this week, for example. Suppose you’re prime minister, you’ve got all these illegal immigrants. What are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to hide the true facts?

That’s hardly something the public would accept, so you campaign and you say “we don’t know how many there are – let’s do something about it”, and then you’re accused of incompetence.

Well, of course you don’t know how many there are: they’re illegal immigrants. Do we expect magic from our politicians? We’re not going to get it. They’re just human beings like you and me.

The whole illegal immigrant furore is based on two things, ignorance and hysteria, and it doesn’t help that the papers Stephens polemic cuts like a knife through the lie that illegal immigration is a situation that is dangerously out of control. How are you supposed to know how many illegal immigrants there are? By nature we don’t know they’re here as otherwise they wouldn’t be here. That’s one piece of ignorance. The other is that immigrants, and by association aslyum seekers are a dangerous problem. That is our hysteria, growing on a feedback loop via the press, and broadcast loud to our representatives in westminster. Who mistakenly think the good people in Britain are worried about it and want something draconian and stupid done. So they try and do the least stupid thing and still get it wrong.

While I give a lot of my time to politicians, (I have written letters to nearly the MPs who have represented me and given time and money to the Lib Dems) I am glad I am not one. It would take a sick mind not to be chastened by Stephen ‘s words. Thank you for reading, I feel better now, and thank you Stephen for your well considered and cathartic piece.

[1]Actually that’s relatives not readers.


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