Something I’ve been musing about lately is, ‘What is the perfect politician’.
To many, this may be a simple answer. The perfect politician is a professional, well-spoken, charismatic and confident individual. With some of these characteristics being met within the modern-day, I think it’s important to note that to many the perfect politician has changed and been twisted into something that previous generations deemed to be a disgrace and something that would not receive much power. Within this post, My goal is to address what the perfect politician looked like historically, examples of twisted and different modern-day politicians and finally will this new wave of difference change or revert back to its historical roots.
First off it’s best to address the history of what made the perfect politician. An example to demonstrate what historical politicians looked like, is to look at politicians from the 19th century. From my studies of Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, I can say that the prime minister that was elected wasn’t anything like we see today. William Pitt was the prime minister when Britain went to war with France after the French Revolution. Ideas were swarming the nation of revolution and liberalism. Pitt passed laws so that these ideas would be suppressed and he would not give in to the ideology of populism and listening to much to what the people wanted. Furthermore, regardless of the way and means that the Prime Minister would have been elected, there wasn’t nearly as much controversy and fear when one was elected. Therefore a politician back in history would be able to pass legislation without worrying about serious repercussions and the idea of giving in to the will of the people wasn’t seen to be a common affair.
Now modern-day politicians can and seem to be the opposite of what was sewn
in history. To explain this I’ll use examples of politicians that have completely thrown off the scale of what a politician should look like. First, there is Boris Johnson the UK Prime Minister. Regardless of being a bright individual (studying classics at Oxford), he has arguably had the most controversial part of any British prime minister and before he was in the race to become the next Conservative leader, no soul within Britain thought he would be the leader. I believe Boris Johnson is a good example as to the turning point into what a politician should look like because of his controversial past. This is the same as another example I’ll use, of Donald Trump. Both of these figures have had massively controversial and different pasts to the point that at any other time, this would’ve led them not to become the leader of their respective nations. So why are they, leaders? I believe this is because we are entering an era of massive change and this has affected what we look for in a leader. Trump was elected because America wanted something different and he said what he thought regardless of its effect on people. At any other time, this would’ve killed a campaign, but he won. The people want something different something unique and that’s where these leaders come in.
I think the view of a modern-day politician has turned into a “man of the people” (or woman) and overall someone who doesn’t do what they are told to do by the ‘organisation’. This was the basis of what Trump was elected on, saying he would do controversial things such as build a wall between Mexico and the United States. However, this has been seen to have not been the case recently as he has not been able to do almost anything he promised to do and in some cases, looks to be one of the most ordinary Republican presidents to date. Furthermore, Boris Johnson’s ambitious aim to “get Brexit done” has led to him having the support and helping him secure his job as prime minister. He does not show any characteristics and similarities to that of a Conservative leader. It has not happened in the past that we have seen a Conservative leader talk about the will of the people. He does this because he is not a Conservative, he is a populist. This has led to a morphing of the view of the perfect politician, as it is just what the people want. When Trump was elected, America wanted something different. Trump delivered that by promising ambitious things and doing outrageous stuff. Within Britain when Boris Johnson was elected, the nation wanted Brexit to happen. Boris Johnson promised and made it his mission to make this a reality, causing him to ditch traditional conservative values and become a populist in order to get the support of the people. Therefore the perfect politician is just what the people want at a certain point in time.