Monday, 15 April 2013

Riding the mood

Medieval hermit's cave at Cratcliffe Rocks Derbyshire

On the whole, really successful politicians seem to be those who nurture a political mood into dominance, identifying themselves with it on the way. Mrs Thatcher for example. Others climb aboard an existing mood and peddle it as hard as they can.

Yet the old political moods have changed. They have become self-indulgent, needlessly anxious and possibly a little weary. Too many mood-riding politicians merely pretend they are able to curb unease and suck away those responsibilities people no longer appear to cherish.

Dividing these strategies into left, right and centre now seems more about marketing than any real political divide. A problem which many of us struggle with as genuine political choice vanishes like snow in April May.

There was a time when social class drove the political mood, but not so much now. Political moods have become diffuse and effete, their class-based grittiness smoothed away by prosperity. With little to say beyond general condemnation, dealing with modern political moods is difficult. 

Political moods now seem tailored to sway the uninterested and gullible in favour of powerful people and institutions.  A connected world has made them more bureaucratic and sentimental - more trivial than even a few decades ago.

As always it isn't easy to tackle moods armed only with words. It seems the only way to avoid being swept along by political moods is to avoid being moody – so to speak.

So we’re back with detachment again.

Yet virtually none of us can be wholly detached like the unknown hermit said to have lived at Cratcliffe Rocks. Even he must have had some contact with the outside world, whatever his mood as he gazed out of his lonely cave in the Derbyshire hills.


James Higham said...

Dividing these strategies into left, right and centre now seems more about marketing than any real political divide.

Yes and no. I'd divide them according to malcontentedness and status quo.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the marketing analogy points the way - modern motor cars all look much the same and work about as well as one another. Hardly worth the bother visiting the showroom, just choose a colour to match one's cravat and order online. Same with the ballot box.

A K Haart said...

James - I don't disagree with malcontentedness. A modern disease.

Roger - and if the colour of one's cravat gives away one's voting preference, the case for online voting is made.