Politicians and society

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I have wondered at times about the thought processes and inclinations that make some people want to become political leaders. Every society needs some folks to step forward to do the job, so one might as well accept the notion that human beings should hold their politicians to account as much as possible.

The profession attracts quite a few who feel a strong sense of entitlement, but that sort of energy can only carry aspiring leaders so far on the path to the pinnacle of influence in the corridors of power. The best leaders are usually motivated by a love of their heritages and by something that makes them want to make a contribution that will enhance the lives of those who follow them.

One of the difficulties of today is the fact that we have become complacent about the systems that have served particular societies for several centuries. When democracy was adopted by several nations and worked well as an idea, the principle of “one man (or woman), one vote” was not practised in the strictest sense of what it should have entailed. In the British Parliamentary system for example, the House of Lords only had unelected members who came mainly from privileged backgrounds, until the government led by John Major introduced some changes.

In retrospect, I can see that Mr Major in particular has conducted himself with dignity and finesse in his role as a political leader. He chose to be a member of the Conservative Party – a club of folks who are not renowned for progressive thinking about many issues of our times, yet this political party has produced two female Prime Ministers – something that other British parties would do well to reflect about.

Is it time for a new set of alignments and positions in political parties? Democracy isn’t about to be discarded as a system, but the politicians can make some changes in terms of engagement, bearing in mind that modern voters are possibly more empowered than their forbears. Is there any such thing as an “average” voter? And if so, is this voter always being clearly informed about what is beneficial in the long term for the society he or she lives in?