I’m often asked why I haven’t gone (and won’t go) into politics. A strong-minded, passionate and opinionated woman like you would make a really good politician, people tell me. You clearly know your stuff and you want to help people; you’d do a brilliant job, they say. Politics really needs more people like you to get involved, they say. You’re obviously intelligent and articulate and opposed to social inequalities – you’d make a great local councillor or perhaps even an MP, they say.
And to all that I say NO.
Aside from the fact that I’d be a rubbish politician because I actually care about people, I will never go into politics because I think that political power is a fundamentally dangerous thing in the hands of politicians. And power of any kind should never be left to the tender mercies of those who actually want it. That’s just asking for trouble.
Consider these small facts: the majority of politicians in Westminster are male, and the majority of them are from relatively socially and economically privileged backgrounds. The addition of political power/influence to this simply reinforces the social and economic power and privilege they already have – and this, almost inevitably, corrupts.
And as Lord Acton (1834-1902) sagely put it:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men” (1887)