Home > Comment, Current Affairs, Politics, Rants > Let’s Swap the ‘Big Society’ for a Big Laugh

Let’s Swap the ‘Big Society’ for a Big Laugh

I read a fantastic article in last Saturdays Times by Tanya Gold. It concerned the BIG Society that Mr Cameron is imagining, but seems that no one else can. The article was written with wit and gusto, and had me chuckling in to my cup of tea while choking on cigarette smoke. But it got me thinking.

It was the writers last few comments that began it. She talked about how the ‘Big Society’ could only be a concept that could be dreamt up by someone that had never wanted for anything before, and has no real idea about certain demographics in our society. I have been thinking about this problem for a while, and it is one of the reasons I try and avoid dabbling in politics – it’s just so frustrating!

Why? Because it has been my humble opinion for years that the gap between politicians and people is too insurmountable for us to bridge without desperate measures. The ‘Big Society’ of Cameron’s dreams is so opaque a concept that it is less a policy and more of a vague idea. It is hard to imagine a world where everyone’s nice to each other, bravely soldier the burdens simply in virtue of the fact that they’re there, when you come from a reality where some, or a few, or many, or everyone, aren’t pleasant to one another.

This was actually pointed out over 2000 years ago by Plato in Republic. At the conclusion of one discussion he informs his interlocutors that those who rule must receive no benefit for ruling. For those who rule must not rule because they want to rule, but because it is best for society. Hence we had the scandal over MP’s expenses claims, we should have seen it coming. Because it is so easy to let them get on with running the country, which I assume must be very boring, than to get more actively involved, so we let them get a few benefits here and there. But a couple of houses? I don’t think so… This is the problem with the notion that society should shoulder that extra burden, we vote for MP’s in virtue of the fact that we don’t want to do to shoulder ourselves!

Of course, I know there must be a few intelligent, witty, charismatic and idealistic individuals entering British politics every year, but the problem is by the time it takes them to get anywhere where they can remotely make any changes to the system – real changes like reducing stupidly high MP salaries, or a proper voting system referendum – they’ve spent so long striving and battling their way up the ranks that when they are eventually promoted they’re not particularly likely to say: “Now I’m here I think we should abandon all the benefits being here rewards us with.” Clearly after working so hard they too want to enjoy these benefits too. And unfortunately, no matter how hard they try to hide it, they lose their sense of humour very early on. A shame, because with a touch of humour we could have the best political system in the world. Ruled by people with wit, charisma, intelligence and idealism – no, not Plato’s Guardians, but comedians!

Good joke I hear you cry, but wait for it. I know most us love good comedy, especially political satire, impressionism, and panel shows – ‘Bremner, Bird and Fortune’, ‘Mock The Week’, ‘Have I Got News For You’, and ‘Brass Eye’ spring to mind. And the reason comedy is so funny is that 90% of the time it is so clever. All the panellists on these shows are sharp enough to disect our society, our politics and what is wrong with them with not only intelligence, bur humour. They are some of the keenest political analysts in the our country, and they are intelligent enough not to go into politics, but to make their living making people laugh about politics. This is a wonder in itself, because to make a lot of us in this country laugh about politics they first have to make us understand politics. This is something politicians in countries all over the world think is generally beyond most of their voters, so they either don’t try, or over-simplify issues, an insult either way you take it.

So lets get the comedians in to power. Of course, there’s no guarantee that comedians could run the country any better than our current politicians, but it might make people take more notice. Through engaging with an audience, a good comedian can get you to understand an issue, laugh about said issue, and actually come away liking them too – wow, who in British politics can do that?

 

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