Monday 16 June 2003

A cure for stress

A few weeks ago I discussed something written by Joyce McMillan and said that her articles usually started well but that it was "only a matter of time before her instinctive establishment-leftism kicks in."

Dave Fordwych commented:

On Joyce Macmillan, I too find her infuriatingly silly most of the time yet just occasionally [but all too infrequently] I find myself in complete agreement with her.
In this article, Ms McMillan has identified a real problem - that of stressed-out politicians:
....the kind of intense pressure on frontline politicians that (Alan) Milburn acknowledged in his resignation letter: the pressure to show an air of calm certainty and political mastery 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when advocating intensely controversial policies; and the pressure on family life and relationships that inevitably increases the chances of scandal arising.
Joyce proposes reform of the various electoral systems in the UK, reform of the internal workings of political parties and "reform of all the 19th century mechanisms of democracy and policy-making that are failing to withstand the relentless pressures of 21st century media culture." Well, maybe these "reforms" are necessary but there is a much easier way to solve the problem of stressed-out politicians that probably wouldn't occur to an establishment figure like Joyce McMillan.

What we need to do is to reduce the state to its (arguably) legitimate role of protecting people against aggressors. When leviathan has been cut down to size and most of its functions returned to civil society, any necessary unpaid and part-time politicians will be found from the ranks of talented people who have proved themselves in the real world.