With corruption in the police, Scottish Independence and the greatest act of appeasement since Chamberlain to occupy David Cameron, you might forgive him a bit of mucking about on Twitter to relieve his stress levels. But what Cameron’s now infamous selfie reminded me of was how important ego and perceived charisma has become in the world of politics. Politicians are obsessed that we have to “relate” to them, see Cameron’s insistence that he likes the Artic Monkeys for evidence, and we the public are obsessed with the idea that our leaders should be likeable. Never mind that Gordon Brown has some great socialist values and cared deeply about poverty, he looks like a cave bear so we cannot possibly take him seriously.
But there is inherent danger in judging a book by its cover, after all it was all 1990’s pop tunes and champagne when “President” Blair first grasped power. Back then he was the fresh-faced, football playing new hope for Britain, before revealing a concerning penchant for war mongering. Cameron tries to impress us with his puffed up trickery but he should really concentrate on the problems within his own party and country before trying to be BFF with Barack Obama.
The despicable sight of Russian Empire building unfolding, predictably unchecked, before our horrified but weary eyes, is frightening and no amount of “action shots” of Cameron on the case will convince anyone that the events in the Ukraine don’t reveal a cowardly act of appeasement. I don’t want a war but I do want some honesty from our leaders and not just hollow words designed to disguise the fact that the UK and Co. are just protecting their interests in oil. Our politicians’ rhetoric is all about maintaining appearances and Cameron may be saying he is going to show Putin who is boss, but Putin is laughing all the way to Crimea, knowing there isn’t a thing Cameron will do to stop him.
We are all occasionally attracted to the superficial (I have a corduroy jacket with paisley lining that I’m rather partial to) and this seems to extend to our modern-day politicians. They do a fine line in tricks that Patrick Jane would be proud of. The Nigel Farages and Boris Johnsons of this world may offer a cuddly halcyon charm to some but underneath it all lies bigotry, and bigotry is bigotry whichever way you package it. It’s important to look beyond the surface of the politicians need to charm and impress and look at what they really think and stand for.