Thursday, 2 November 2017


Politicians, a bit like policemen, are indispensable to society. Every society has them because we need leaders and organisers for the smooth running of complex or even simple societies. However, getting the best people for the job is the truly difficult part. We need sympathetic, incorruptible, intelligent people who are willing to listen to their public and act for the general good and be totally truthful to their electorate. What do we get? Self seeking, power hungry, corrupt people with very little interest in the public they serve. The only thing the two groups have in common is a modicum of intelligence. The problem with that is that today most politician's intelligence is directed towards themselves, their power, their pocket and their survival in power. Here, I am not talking of just British politicians. Look at any country around the world and you will find the same type of people in positions of power. The less transparent the country the more corrupt, at least Britain still has a free press that does not fear to expose corrupt politicians, so they do have to be more devious than most. However, even in Britain, many of the people we entrust with power are corrupt.

Britain's Private Eye is probably one of the best newspaper at sniffing out corruption and every fortnight it manages to expose members of parliament, local councilors and business men. I'm sure that if the men and women in power in the UK could get rid of that newspaper they would. This type of pecuniary corruption can be exposed and regularly is, but it is the corruption of thought and deed that is so pernicious to society. Since 1928 'war' has been illegal. It was declared so by the Kellogg-Briand Pact in Paris and the signatories all agreed that that is how it should be in a modern civilised world. The Pact is still valid and in force today and is signed by most countries in the world, but who would believe it? Since then, of course, we have had the Second World War, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war to mention but a few. So, in fact, this great ideal, aimed particularly at saving civilians from harm, has actually meant nothing to the leaders of countries. They regularly sign up to these ideals, take the plaudits when they get home and then ignore them. Given a chance the general public would always vote against any kind of conflict. It is always Jo and Jane public who suffer most. The politicians and fat cats come out on top, usually having made fortunes and always remaining safe and well fed whilst their voters, followers, and workers get ruined and starve.

Look at all the conflicts going on today. The Syrian war is a damn good example. Here, there are many 'leaders' all with their own factions and followers and together they have decimated the country. Ask the average family what it's all about and they may well have a vague idea but all they want is peace to get on with their lives. Out of a population of 23 million there are not a million fighters including the Syrian army. The rest of these poor people have been put through hell because of politicians and leaders and their often ridiculous ideas of how society should be run. The new caliphate state, ISIS, is a classic example. It grew out of discontent with the government in Damascus and Baghdad but it's leaders were far crueller and more despotic than Assad or Hussein ever were. To rule over the land they took, they needed to recruit psychopaths from all over the world to fill their ranks because the local populations didn't want to know. Look at towns and villages in Syria now, they have been reduced to heaps of rubble. Do the leaders care? I don't think so.

Yemen is another country that could probably manage without a government at all. It is still quite tribal and although there are minor dust ups between tribes and families, in general they got on with life, living off the land quite happily. The population is now subject to this proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State allies on one side and what they call the big evil Iran on the other. Who is suffering? The general population, and if you were to ask them what they want more than anything else, the one word they'd give is PEACE. This poor, faction ruled, country is probably the greatest humanitarian disaster of the past 50 years and no one is prepared to step in and help the poverty stricken, disease ridden, starving populace. Who is to blame for their situation – politicians.

A long while ago I drove through the deserts of Saudi Arabia right down to the Yemeni boarder. I drove from Jeddah north through Jordan, Syria, Turkey and what was then Yugoslavia. I was with my wife and two young children and we camped all the way for six weeks whilst we visited the sites in each country. Everywhere we were greeted with kindness from the local population often receiving gifts of fruit and vegetables. Not once did we have the slightest inkling of distrust or dislike. In every country we were received with kindness by the locals. It is never the people who cause wars, it is always the politicians. The people seldom want to follow their leaders into conflict situations. If they did there wouldn't be as many refugees in the world as there are today, they'd stay at home to show support.

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