The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Lib Demmery

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 29, 2009 @ 23:35

I managed to obtain the template version of a Lib Dem Focus that they use on our training days. Interesting stuff, don't you think?

I managed to obtain the template version of a Lib Dem Focus that they use on our training days. Interesting stuff, don't you think?

Yesterday I chipped in with my Local Lib Dem Focus “Team”.

A team comprising three people, one of which is me.

This is Lib Dem local politics at its finest. Pavement politics. Dog shit. Broken streetlights. Potholes. You name it, we’ve whinged about it.

And, apparently, it works.

Well, it seems to. And though I don’t think we invented pavement politics, it is often attributed to us. And, naturally, much copied.

Using it, customising each leaflet for the different parts of the ward, we have managed to gain a toehold in an area which once had three Tory councillors. It now has two, and we have the third. We hope we can turn the whole area yellow in the next few years. Between the three of us. Oh, and maybe a handful of other older people who deliver maybe five leaflets in their street. Bless ’em.

It is such a disingenuous business though. Not necessarily because of the obvious things, like the much heralded bar charts, but because of their very nature. They talk incessantly about local issues that have no bearing whatsoever on people’s principles. Is the issue of whether the proposed new Sainsbury’s is going to have a petrol filling station attached all that important really when there are people dying in Afghanistan?

The answer… yes. Yes, it does matter.

It is astonishing just how well received a local rag, no more than two sides of A4, which purports to be addressing extremely parochial issues, can be. The electorate – and we’re talking about the very specific group that vote in local council elections, i.e. pensioners – seem to enjoy seeing someone fighting for them.

But while we pretend that it’s all about bus stops and flytipping, meanwhile we, of course, have an agenda. We want power not purely for selfless reasons. Who does? We want it so we can influence the agenda and direct budget priorities towards the kind of things that make us tick.

Yet does any of that feature on those Focus leaflets slipped through the letterbox on yet another wet summer afternoon?

Not a chance.

And yet that is actually what politics is all about. When you talk to any of us, the politicos of this world, we all want to achieve something. But in order to do so, it is somewhat necessary to adjust ourselves slightly to get ahead in the world. You can do very little as a councillors, but you can do a damn sight more than you can on the fringes, sniping in letters to the local newspapers (if they still exist, of course).

But underneath it all runs something else. We treat it as a game, with aims, objectives, strategies. An opposition to seek out and destroy, often by any means necessary. Hence the dirty tricks that arise from time to time. And, as everyone knows, all games have winners and losers.

Oddly enough, us Lib Dems seem to be on the losing side more often than not.

We must be masochists at heart.

That – in a fairly long nutshell – is what it means to be a Lib Dem at the coal face.

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