Being a self-appointed observer and satirist of all things political, there are times when your zest is terminally dampened. Collective missteps by those who seem hell-bent on deciding our collective direction would do that to you. It all becomes especially worrisome with the increasing evidence these so-called leaders may not possess the necessary talent or character.
In those low moments, I, like many out there, resort to Social media to vent my frustrations. This was my best effort on my latest gripe:
That sobering moment you slowly realise that come 2015, it will either be D.Cameron or E.Miliband. #falsechoice #sadpolitik
Surely, we must all find it baffling that a country laden with so much talent can only produce such limited leading men. Worse still (unless some seismic party leadership battle erupts), we are somewhat stuck with them.
Oh yes, in case you are wondering, this means that in totality, these two could be our principal political actors, for close to a decade. After a decade of Tony Blair and Gordon, what could be more sobering?
It brings to mind the great quote from Mother Theresa:
"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful....."
Having said that, perhaps I am blowing the wrong horn here and maybe my personal bias is leading me to wrong conclusions. I only say this because it appears that when it comes to everyday political events, I am continually out of step with the majority of my friends and colleagues.
Last night a few of us gathered in a pub and went hell for leather. These were the 5 topics that just wouldn't go away:
1. Syrian Crisis
Unlike most of my mates, I happen to think Obama has played a blinder in the way he hung the Syrian issue in Putin's wardrobe. I don't agree with anyone who says Russia is now dictating the diplomatic pace in the ongoing crisis, as one cannot wear that crown unless they are continuously pro-active and Russia has been nothing of such. If Obama had not threatened military action, Putin will still be twiddling his thumbs...period.
I was also in the minority when it came to Cameron's handling of the same issue. I happen to believe closing the door on bringing the matter back to Parliament (if required), is indeed political sour grapes at its worst. Real leaders learn from success and failure, treating both outcomes the same. Throwing the baby out with the bath water is for a grassroots political embryo, not someone who inhabits Number 10.
2. Damien McBride's Memoirs
My good friend, Ola, believes Damien McBride's book is an explosive expose, which will send shock-waves through the UK political system. I happen to disagree. Politics in any country is the playground of scoundrels. Clearly, there are varying degrees, which means a fixer in the UK is not exactly going to employ the same tactics as one in Russia, but destroy careers they both will.
Smear campaigns are the lifeline of modern-day politics. There is no morality among dishonourable individuals. Anyone who expects anything else is frankly deluding themselves and any politician, who claims to be honourable, is just a politician who hasn't climbed high enough.
As for Gordon Brown, McBride's former boss, he always struck me as a disgruntled grizzly, who couldn't understand why people only visited the Labour Zoo to see the cute little smiling animals like Tony Blair. Be honest, if it turns out he knew about McBride's shenanigans, you wouldn't exactly fall off your sofa.
Talking about the book's prospects, perhaps, if McBride had been Blair's fixer, it may have been worth the read. Unfortunately, in its current format, it is doomed to fizzle out with the Labour Party conference.
3. Foreign Policy
Now this is always a very interesting topic, drinking hole or not. Inevitably though, I also found myself at odds with the majority on this one. My position goes something like this: why do we have to continue pretending there is some moral code behind our international relations?
Why Saudi Arabia is a friend but China is seen as a country we cannot fully trust, is simply beyond me. If a regime of oppression or clandestine support of terror were the red lines, why are we pally-pally with a country where people are still being beheaded and evidence shows said country is as much a "supporter" of terrorism as say, Iran, who we cast as the devil incarnate?
The majority in our seating appeared to be saying we need to lie in bed with certain inhumane regimes, because they are the enemies of our enemies, and as such are invaluable to our cause. I don't have a problem with that, but it would be prudent to stop preaching to other nations on their dodgy associations.
If we continue down that path, we will be justifiably accused of hypocrisy and our influence will steadily wane.
4. Death Penalty
The group looked visibly appalled when I suggested this ultimate punishment has to be returned in the UK.
"How can you trust a very suspect police and CPS to bring the right people to court? Can you imagine how many innocent people who could be hanged or shot with lethal injection for crimes they didn't commit," asked an otherwise quiet member of the group.
In reply, I attempted to clarify by stating people, who systematically killed children and those who indulge in senseless, wanton killings like the Woolwich hacking, should be sentenced to death. There is nothing to understand about individuals who feel they can take the law into their hands and visit hell on the rest of us.
"They need to be silenced...permanently," I shouted.
The deafening silence that greeted my sole emotional moment meant I was embarrassed into buying an extra round. Sure, it was bribery, but then no one was refusing my forced generosity. They probably thought it was a price I had to pay for being cantankerous all night.
Little did they know I was saving the best for last.
5. Animal Extinction
Okay, this one was a bit of a strange segue for me, but I decided to engage all the same. There were a lot of animal lovers in the house and it would have come across as rude otherwise. But seriously, why do we obsess so much about polar bears and tigers disappearing? This surely is the circle of life...we come and we go. 99% of the species that have ever existed are now extinct anyway, so why all the hullabaloo about some funny-looking monkey in the Amazon?
I must confess this was my most unpopular period of the night, but I was determined to see this one through. Fifteen minutes of vitriol later, I was still standing, albeit surrounded by speechless shaking heads. The unkind comments about dogs couldn't have helped. I guess for the average animal lover, people like me clearly have a defective gene which dictated my lack of empathy for those 'beautiful' creatures.
If the truth be known, I thought the exact thing about them. My neighbour, who so happens to be present, definitely has the defective gene that doesn't make him realise he should not be kissing anything that licks its own testicles. But then, each to their own.....
As the group broke up, it was clear the energy had changed considerably. It would take a week or so, but I was certain things will be the same again. It's an unchanging cycle and in two weeks from now, everyone will be itching for another group drink and we shall do this once more.
You know people always advise that one should avoid talking about politics and religion. I guess they should have added animals onto that list.
Of course next time, just to spice things up, I intend to complete the full house. I will be questioning creationism.....just for a laugh.