I’ve been re-reading a book I bought a few weeks ago called “From Arrogance to Intimacy”. It’s another step in the journey of us understanding more deeply how and why democracy has become a charade in this – and many other – countries. I find myself deeply saddened by a potent mix of arrogance and incompetence, in which each of these seem to prop the other up. Recent examples include: David Babbs (main man of campaign group 38degrees) who was treated with complete contempt by a group of MPs last week (“You’re not here to challenge, you’re here to be challenged…”); our District Planning Committee agreeing to a new food store and chip shop despite near universal local disapproval and rejection by the Town Council, with no one from Frome voting (and my comments disregarded because they were deemed ‘political’); and the inflexible arrogance of a similar committee who have now caused a highly acclaimed local herbalist to give up and head for Cornwall – in the process behaving unbelievable arrogantly and aloof. I could go on and on and on…..
Why, once elected, do so many people leave behind the idea of being chosen to serve and represent? Why and how do they suddenly become experts in so many fields? I suspect the answers link both questions: They don’t become experts, but feel the public require them to be. In the vulnerable position of being unable to admit their ignorance, they fall back on an arrogance that feels – and is – protective, but creates distance. Once again, we have built something which fails to mirror that which we treasure and respect – intimate relationships.