I’ve always believed that politics should be about the issues at hand. There is nothing more vital to a free and fair society than open and honest debate, where people are free to disagree with one another without fear of suffering personal attacks.
This is never more important than during an election.
We often don’t know a lot about those who put their heads above the parapet and stand for election, aside from what they tell us about themselves – and lets face it we’ve all seen our fair share of misleading statements, half truths and sometimes downright lies from politicians over the years.
As a result, when these hopefuls are campaigning, it’s the debates with constituents and with other candidates that really bring out the individual behind the glossy manifesto and the practiced smile. It’s the interactions they have with each other, on the doorstep, on the radio and on social media, that really help to inform our opinions on what sort of leader they would be.
What i’m trying to say is, it’s important that – just as with MHK’s – candidates practice what they preach.
I don’t want a candidate who talks about change, who then goes on to act in exactly the same dismissive, petty and unprofessional manner as some of our current administration.
I don’t want a candidate who talks about being open and transparent, who then hides behind private groups on social media to direct personal attacks at others. In fact – I don’t want a candidate who engages in personal attacks at all.
Politics should be about the issues and policies – there will be heated debates, strong disagreement and polarised opinions, but it should never become personal. If you disagree with a policy, a decision that was taken or a particular point of view, just say so – and tell people why. Be honest, stick to your principles and stick to the issues at hand. There is nothing wrong with a healthy debate, it’s the only way we can really understand all the points of view and make sure we’re taking the right way forward.
Why would anyone vote for a candidate who can’t articulate their position in a mature and professional way? How could such a candidate expect to gain the respect of other MHK’s – who they will have to work with in order to further their own policies – when at any moment they could launch into an unwarranted personal attack?
A Member of the House of Keys is elected by the people to serve all the people – not just those who they happen to agree with. Will a candidate who readily gets personal with those they disagree with be just as willing to represent those very same people?
Our election hopefuls should remember that what they say about others reflects more on them than anyone else.