Rebellion is not the basis for a progressive political outlook. Progressive
politics is about trying to solve the problem, not complaining that someone else
has failed to. It is about coming forward with practical ideas, in the knowledge
that cynics will try to dismiss them. It is about being a participant, not
merely an observer. It is about, in Eleanor Roosevelt's words, "lighting the
candle rather than cursing the dark". By simply cursing the dark, Monbiot
contributes to the very cynicism and disengagement from politics that he makes
his living writing about.
I remember at the time thinking that it was laughable but I long ago stopped paying attention to anything coming from a Labour minister on the grounds that it will tick one of the following 3 boxes
(c)All of the above.
George however, has decided not to take it lying down and has devoted his entire column today to a good old bitchslap.
I believe there is a vast public appetite for re-engagement, but your
government, aware of the electoral consequences, has shut us out. It has reneged
on its promise to hold a referendum on electoral reform. It has blocked a
referendum on the European treaty, ditched the regional assemblies, used
Scottish MPs to swing English votes, sustained an unelected House of Lords,
eliminated almost all the differences between itself and the opposition. You
create an impenetrable political monoculture, then moan that people don't engage
It is precisely because I can picture something better that I
have become such a cynical old git. William Hazlitt remarked that: "Man is the
only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with
the difference between what things are and what they ought to be." You, Hazel,
have helped to reduce our political choices to a single question: whether to
laugh through our tears or weep through our laughter.
Good old George.