Reaching for the sky is dangerous in politics

3 mins read

I don’t assume people wake up one morning with the burning desire to become a politician, a disciple of democracy ready to defend the public and serve a greater cause.

There’s also the age-old issue of whether politicians are made or born to lead us as intelligent, honest and humble specimens of our race.

What motivates someone to get involved in the political system, to be part of the establishment and bureaucratic arm-twisting that must be done to get results?

Is the political animal simply a natural predator searching for the power to guarantee their supremacy at the top of the hill, safe from attack.

Would it be too cynical to view politics as an arena of envy and brinkmanship where the weak are crushed or corrupted while the few enjoy the spoils of war?

Do we expect too much of our leaders, attributing superpowers to them that they do not possess? Why should we expect their truths to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Maybe the problem in Cyprus is that we have no expectations from the political class; they are but vessels from which we can extract favours or a leg up the greasy ladder of career and ambition.

No political theory has all the answers. Those who believe dogma to be paramount despite what the facts tell you are where progress fails us.

An equal society is always going to be more equal for some than others; justice is in the eye of the beholder.

Cyprus politics acquiesces in its stability, transactional mindset, clientelism, tribal political philosophies, disregard for gender, diversity or multi-culturalism.

Politicians can be trusted if they are doing it for the money, privilege, status and wield influence.

Those that want to change the world, ‘make a difference’, appeal to the working class, be your friend, right injustice and see integrity as a virtue are the ones to really worry about.

Because MPs will get nowhere in a system that eats its young, punishes the weak and grabs power with an assassin’s smile.

Don’t rock-the-boat politics is where Cyprus is sailing right now.

Voter apathy

Voter distrust, apathy and disenchantment with corruption is at record highs; add another thick layer of COVID-19 frustration and angst, and Cypriots are not in a happy place.

No wonder voter turnout could reach a new nadir in the 30 May general election when the electorate has the privilege to vote in a free and fair election.

I say that because it might as well be rigged if the result is always the same. Democracy is fickle like that.

Granted, younger candidates are staking a claim for parliament with a wide variety of independent runners, but the outcome will have a familiar ring to it.

Middle-class professional males will dominate the victory parade with women a distant second, behind the odd curiosity of somebody who stood for something they believed in.

It isn’t easy to separate what the parties stand for in a social context or understand what they would do better.

They love to immerse themselves in consensus politics, carrying on where the previous administration left off in keeping the established order ticking like clockwork.

The political debate gets heated over the Cyprus problem, but none of them would have careers without it, so better to perpetuate the disagreements.

None of these so-called visionaries has been able to deliver us from division; their track record suggests they no longer have the tools to end it.

There also seems to be an absence of issues that get the public engaged in political discourse.

Are candidates taking a stand on the dysfunctional education system, gender inequality, poverty, domestic violence, racism, child sex abuse, youth unemployment, getting a sex change on the NHS, or long-covid?

Watching the back of someone’s neck is more awe-inspiring than political debate in this country, which revolves around the dinosaur parties criticising each other for crimes unsolved.

As they all feed in the same trough, it’s a phoney war of words to keep a biased audience happy; there is no converting the neutral.

Only those with a strong political allegiance would endure TV/radio slanging matches that create a tidal wave of numbness.

I don’t doubt that people care and want to make a difference; I’m not sure getting involved in Cyprus politics is the best place to do it.

Sure apathy is the biggest enemy of democracy, allowing dictators to rule because people would rather routine than chaos or unpredictability.

As many have died to make it happen, we must vote, but the establishment sure doesn’t make it easy for us to believe we are doing the right thing.

The entertaining aspect of the snooze ballot is the leaflets and billboards of aspiring candidate MPs calling for us to ‘reach for the sky’, ‘embrace change’ or ‘share the vision’.

Are you kidding me?