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It’ll all come out in the wash

by J. C. Greenway
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We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be

-Kurt Vonnegut

Having trounced the troughing politicians so well, and given the ‘dead tree press’ a run for their (lack of) money, the next battle has been declared against the spinmeisters.  This is one endeavour that everyone, regardless of the direction of their leanings, should aid and abet.

Spin and influence is a distortion of the political process.  It puts the image of democracy above the practice of the doctrine and leaves the common-or-garden voters like you and I looking comparatively less attractive than Ann Widdecombe in a line up of Miss World contestants.  Put simply, we haven’t the yachts or the kudos to compete with the oligarchs for influence with people who can only be persuaded to care about us once every five years on pain of losing their gold-plated lifestyles.

However, it is difficult to see this campaign seizing the popular imagination to the same degree as the moat-clearing, home-flipping, child-employing one.  Let’s not forget that only mere months since the Telegraph revelations that ‘rocked Westminster to its foundations’ (™ = every single newspaper), it is still business as usual in SW1.

I consider it laughable that my fellow citizens will be dismayed by the lengths that politicians go to curry favour with privileged persons or to buff and gloss their dismal actions.  Given half a chance, we would also suck off Alan Sugar for a tilt at the big time and we are all amateur spinmeisters now, obsessed with painting ourselves in the best possible light.  We promote just how damn cool we are, utilising every tool from FaceBook status updates and profile pictures to Twitter meanderings.  We are celebrities!  We have FOLLOWERS!!!  We star in the production which is our own lives every day.

Blame Big Brother if you like, or those faked fly-on-the-wall documentaries so beloved of proper famous people, like Kylie and Madonna (twice) and even Geri, but the knowing wink is everywhere.  People are so aware of being watched and rated that no occasion is too mundane not to be catalogued instead of enjoyed.  Photographs used to serve as a reminder of events, now they are proof: you were there, having a good time, looking amazing.  They present the correct image of You Inc to the global audience who, if you could but notice, are all so tediously worried about their own image they barely have time to consider anyone else’s.

So it would be hypocritical to deny our politicians the right to behave as badly as we do ourselves, to hold them to a higher standard of behaviour than we achieve.  In this shallow, vapid age it seems we have the politicians we deserve.  Be honest, how many of us would turn down an opportunity to put a 40” plasma screen telly on expenses if we thought the boss was looking the other way?  While wishing good luck to those seeking to boil wash UK politics, I think the final result will show our blackened, torn laundry is beyond repair.

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