I had no ambitions to get into politics. I’ve spent most of my life wanting politics to be something that happened quietly and productively, somewhere else, leaving me free to get on with writing books and exploring Druidry and generally doing the stuff I value.
I have no desire to be in charge of anything. I’ve had small tastes of power, in Pagan volunteer roles laden with responsibility. I did not get much of a power kick. I did get a lot of anxiety about doing the job well enough, and managing the responsibilities. I’ll run things if needs be, but leadership is not something I enjoy for its own sake, only for what might usefully be achieved.
Politics is an invasive business. It is not prepared to leave me alone to get on with my work. It is politicians who sort out the laws to protect creative content. I understand from The Society of Authors that the UK affords the shoddiest creator-protection in Europe. VAT on ebooks really hasn’t helped, thank you politicians. Laws about ‘orphan’ works have further undermined copyright. Then there’s all the blocking and banning, and as a Druid author I have to worry that growing censorship will shut down access to my site, and if companies are allowed to buy and sell access more specifically, that could squash me. Then there’s the Trans Atlantic Trade Agreement, which I feel threatened by. As an author, politics has not left me to get on with it.
As a Druid, the natural world matters to me. I see both the sacred and the pragmatic aspects of our essential, life-support systems. I see how politicians are willing to sacrifice the clean air and the safe water for the sake of a quick buck. I see how economic growth is valued above tackling climate change, and as a Druid, this makes me very uneasy. How can I go around being a Druid and be non-political, when politics is trashing the planet?
I would be the first to tell you that I don’t have the knowledge or the training to handle politics. Then I look at the people in positions of power. Climate change denier Paterson in the Environment job. Gove handling teaching, who hasn’t grasped that you can’t make all children perform above average. Osbourn, whose austerity cuts turn out to be very expensive indeed. It’s hard to protest that I’m not clever or informed enough to do a better job, in face of what I see happening.
So I joined the Green Party some years ago, and last year I took on a much more active role, and I’m going to be doing a lot of campaign work. I’ll be supporting EU candidate Molly Scott Cato, economics spokesperson, with a doctorate in economics. She’s knowledgeable, and sensible and doesn’t spend her time shouting random abuse or airing unsubstantiated opinions. I like informed, evidence-based policy, and I like people in positions of leadership and responsibility who know more about it than I do.
I’m tired of people in power who are just in if for the power trip and the opportunity to make themselves and their friends very rich. I’m tired of having to listen to uninformed fantasy and drivel from people who refuse to read, listen or think but who are so overconfident in their own prowess that they still feel entitled to tell the rest of us what to do. I want politicians who are wise, noble, well-informed, responsible and good human beings. That means, until we get to that place, I’ve got to pile in, and try to make some kind of difference. Then, hopefully, there will be some sane and relaxed space in which I can get back into the rest of the business of being an author and Druid.