OK, perhaps a decent outline of the problem that I have with the left.
This year the British left has a particular reason to mourn, for three substantial writers have gone – Harold Pinter, Adrian Mitchell and Bernard Crick. All reached out far beyond the world of politics – to theatre lovers, children, literary addicts and general readers – but each regarded life as inescapably political.
To moderate this even further, the problem that I have with certain manifestations of the left. I don\’t regard life as inescapably political. I regard those who do as at best dunderheads with little understanding of the joys that life offers and at worst thieves of such joys from others. For they would use the political system to insist that others do as they wish, not as those others themselves would wish.
Politics is all very well in its place, that place being very much on the periphery of life. Yes, we need a system of choosing those who we decide should be responsible for the scut work in our society. We also need a system to collectively decide what is that scut work which needs to be done collectively and with the monopoly of legitimate violence which we accord the State.
To regard life as inescapably political is to extend that place well beyond what is reasonable or even rational. As the wise man said, politics is the art of gaining power without merit and that\’s hardly a basis upon which to found a life well lived, is it?