People enter politics to improve citizens’ lives

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Sir, I fully agree with Janan Ganesh (“Britain’s political class deserves a breather”, January 2). Today’s politicians in the UK and other countries seem to be automatically assumed to be incompetent, corrupt and self-seeking. I disagree.

I studied politics at a British university years ago and I well remember the chairman of the National Association of Parish Councils giving a talk one day where he said (I paraphrase) that “many [UK] voters think people enter politics for self-glorification or even money. This is incorrect. The daily work of parish councillors, district councillors, county councillors and MPs is mundane, trying to solve almost insoluble issues and takes up many hours a week. These people are mainly motivated by the belief they can improve the lives of ordinary citizens, not by money or glory.”

Having attended as an observer many parish council meetings in a village in the UK, I can fully confirm the hard work and the utter lack of glory or money.

I agree with Mr Ganesh that citizens must keep politicians under “vigilant trust”, but the automatic and frequently abusive comments nowadays that politicians are corrupt and self-seeking is unfair in my opinion and should only be alleged if there is compelling evidence to support this view. If we frighten off “the good” from the political process in the UK, the US and other countries, we will assuredly end up with “the bad” and pay a heavy price in the future.

Richard Peach
Barcelona, Spain



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