Saturday 14 May 2022

The politics of personality

rather than policy have been rather too obvious recently.

We seem to have a choice between a man who makes no secret of the fact that he is a committed Christian of the "fundamentalist" church and a man who boasts about being brought up by a single mother in social housing.

I am not sure why these things are so important. I do not go along with all the beliefs of the man who claims to be a committed Christian even though I strongly agree with the general tenets of the Christian faith, those of "love one another" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".  Nor do I go along with the idea that being brought up in social housing by a single mother somehow qualifies you for the top job in politics - especially when a closer investigation shows that this is not quite what it seems to be and you went to a very prestigious Catholic high school.

The former man has been denigrated right along for his beliefs. Christianity, especially that particular type of Christianity, is not seen as acceptable by many.  The latter man has constantly raised his background as somehow making him worthy to take on the role but not everyone likes it.  

Not so long ago we had another Prime Minister who is also a committed Christian. He was heavily criticised for adhering to his beliefs with respect to things like same-sex marriage, his support for someone (wrongly) accused of sexual misconduct, and much more. Even his long-standing volunteer activities were criticised. It was as if all these things are unacceptable. We had a Prime Minister who was  a heavy drinker and who had an affair which resulted in divorce. We had a Prime Minister whose rudeness, although it rarely reached the press, was legendary among those who had contact with him. I could go on.

So, what do we really want from a Prime Minister? Under our system we do not choose (vote) for the Prime Minister. We might know who it will be but the party which forms government is the party which chooses the Prime Minister. The party chooses the person they believe will win them the next election, the person they want as their spokesperson. 

This should also be about the person best able to act as leader, decision maker, and representative of the government. It should also be about the person most competent to represent the country on the world stage. We need an intelligent person, a person who is on top of all the necessary facts and figures, a person who is able to speak fluently and handle those "gotcha" questions with ease. They need to be likeable, friendly, "everyone's mate", have no beliefs that anyone can possibly disagree with, and so much more.

I am waiting for such a person to appear. This is how the politics of personality works...except I am not sure it ever has or can.


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