3 March 2010

Waddaya mean 'seen as'?

Daniel Finkelstein's article in today's Times contains the following almost perfect paragraph:
The cynicism about politics is so pervasive that it embraces almost all political activity. Use a statistic? It’s a lie. Cry on television about your dead child? It’s an election gimmick. Attack your opponents’ policy? You would say that, wouldn’t you. And this cynicism extends to the media and our coverage. So not only politics, but news about politics, is seen as a fiction inside an untruth wrapped in a piece of spin.
Replace cynicism with 'clear-sightedness', delete almost, and replace seen as with 'recognized to be' and it would be spot-on. But then the rest of the article and, indeed, all political commentary would become superfluous.

Surely, the key point is that the cognitive dissonance of British politics faithfully reflects the society that has made it what it is. Although there were some aspects of the Thatcher anomaly that tested it, as a general rule it is political suicide to hold up a mirror to the electorate.

We have the politicians we deserve: petty even in their corruption, bitchy, and arrogantly ignorant.

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