• Rob Butterfield


Leaders of the modern world... really?

Exchanging fact for emotion.

Whoever said politics was boring? As a kid it certainly used to be; it was a thing that grown-ups talked about and I didn’t much care for it. By the time we got to voting age I guess many of us had our political bias influenced by our parents views and voting habits – unless of course you were a student and it was the done thing to support some of the more ‘liberal and peaceful’ viewpoints that often went against the ‘grown-up’ ideal.

Me? I left school, got a regular job and voted one way or the other as I saw fit. Back then it all seemed very clear cut, left or right, labour or tory, it was all quite simple… and we mostly believed what the politicians told us, so our decisions were based on hard and fast political policies.

How different things are now; can we actually believe anything we hear spouted from the mouths of a party representative? Do televised political debates make you seethe with anger and frustration as one side claims their ‘fully detailed policy’ to be right while the opposition rubbishes it with gay abandon? And then an ill-informed member of the public pipes up “but what about the butter mountain of 75?” I despair, really, I despair…

It seems that we live in a world (and sadly it is the whole world not just our wonderful not-so-United Kingdom) of fake news, questionable morality and venal personal agendas. In fact, we are well and truly living in a ‘post-truth world’.

I’m actually fascinated by ‘post-truism’ – a scenario where decision making is based less on fact and evidence and more on feeling, emotion, preference, tribe, loyalty or grievance. Objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotion and personal belief.

This era of post-truth politics leads us to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion we desire – and that’s dangerous, surely?

Social media has a lot to answer for too. It’s still being strongly denied that the Russians had a hand in getting Donald Trump elected as President of the United States of America through spurious on-line activities and, if you choose to believe it, social media played a big part in the outcome of the much debated and highly contested Brexit vote. I mean, think about it, Trump is President… let that sink in, Trump is President of the most powerful nation in the world. And, if that’s not unbelievable enough, we have a situation where the leadership of the UK is currently being fought out between BoJo and Hunt largely because we’re no closer to resolving Brexit due to PM May tabling the same poorly negotiated deal three times in some vague hope that politicians wouldn’t notice (strong and stable my arse!). It seems like only a few years ago we would have thought this whole unlikely scenario implausible and now, every day, the political news is a complete shit-fest of absolute bollocks.

I’m not declaring my allegiance for any political party; truth be known, if we had a General Election tomorrow, I would have no idea where to cast my vote. Frankly the whole political circus and the clowns within have left me somewhat disillusioned. The system is broken and I for one have no idea how to fix it.

So, it seems that ‘post-truth politics’ is winning and I find myself drawn to radio and tv debates, social media rantings and even the odd spat down the pub because I have somehow become emotionally affected and engaged in what I see and hear every day. It’s time poorly spent mostly, time that I’ll never get back and perhaps most importantly, time invested that will reap no benefit or reward in terms of political outcome. The world is changing and I fear not for the better and I feel hopeless in my ability to do anything about it. So, for now anyway, I’ll just keep my head down, play some bass and optimistically reap some reward in the joy that it brings to me and hopefully others.

Rant over. Have a nice day x

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