What politicians have to say for themselves

MPs in the commons (Catherine Bebbington)For around 12 years now, I’ve been puzzling over the way party politics digs away at trust, undermining the very ground all politicians need to stand on. There are two pretty damaging side effects of being in perpetual attack mode. First – if the overall impression is that everyone thinks everyone else is untrustworthy or wrong, then why believe any of them? Second – people tend to follow the example set by others with more authority, so ‘attack mode’ becomes pervasive. Neither of these produces much public service of any good…

Those I speak to mostly seem to feel political dysfunction has the inescapable power of a black hole – what can they do, caught in this viscous cycle?

So, together with a philosophical friend, I’ve written to all British MP’s (at least those I can find addresses for) with an invitation to put their best foot forward and publicly set their shoulders to the virtuous circle of good work which certainly goes on. You can find the project on a website I’ve called ‘Dear All’ here.

If enough politicians take personal responsibility for setting trustworthy standards of constructive behaviour, the culture of the House will shift in that direction. Parliamentary politics should get better. That’s the theory. Let’s see what they say.