Friday, January 12, 2007

Talking about politics

... is very much like talking about the weather. You can talk about it with everyone you meet, you can rant at great length about the bad things, you can go on telling people "when I was young, everything was better" ... and you can't change it.

What I don't like about politics is that they are made by politicians. Now you might rightfully point out that this is what politicians are for. That's true, of course. But politicians in most countries are politicians by profession. In other words: They make a living by making politics. While I would never deny a dentist, shoemaker, vendor or other 'normal' professional the right to make a living by doing his or her job, I don't really think people should be making politics like that.

I don't have anything against the idea of people getting paid while they are members of parliament (and better paid by the state than by lobbyists). They usually have a family and can't do the job they've done before while being politicians. From my point of view there should be a limit both to the payment (which is far higher than the average people make in Germany) and the time they spent as members of parliament. Besides, it would be a lot more difficult for lobbyists to get their job done with the politicians changing more often. I'd suggest four years – that's one reigning period – for the government (and we'd never get 16 years of Kohl again) and eight or twelve years for local parliaments (counties or cities). After a couple of years they could become members of parliament again, but not ongoing for twenty or more years. As most of the actual governing is done by officials and bureaucrats anyway, there shouldn't be any problem in this. For one thing there would be a lot more different people making politics and that might just solve more problems (because more different people would try to find a solution and everybody thinks at least slightly different).

This is not going to happen, of course, but one can dream. I'd also like to get everybody kicked out of both parliament and his or her party the moment it is proven that he or she has taken money from lobbyists. And yes, you might say I only want this because I (like a lot of people) don't have a lobby. But I also think that people official working for all inhabitants of one country should not take money from groups only representing a little part of this country.

The sad thing is that in the past things sometimes were better, because people who wanted to become politicians needed to be rich – or at least well off. Those people only made politics that suited them, but, on the other hand, they were not susceptible to bribes (and thus to lobbyists). While this system was inherently unfair, at the same time it was much more difficult to indirectly influence politics. Today that's different.

As you can gather from this post, I don't like politicians very much and, like a lot of people in Germany and elsewhere on this globe, I don't trust them. Even though I think that Angela Merkel is doing a very good job, as far as politicians go, I don't like her as a person much either – and I don't like her party at all.

I know politicians are a necessary evil in a democracy and sure don't want to live in an absolute monarchy or tyranny, but that doesn't mean I will say "everything is going as it should" – as long as it doesn't.

No comments: