Why I am not in politics

I spent last year being quite politically active at a local level, and it taught me a lot. One of the main things I learned was that I couldn’t sustain it past last autumn. I’m not good at late nights. By about 8.30pm my concentration is generally very poor, and late nights have a dire effect on my body. Can’t do it. Local politics means Party meetings (evenings) Council meetings (evenings) council committee meetings (evenings) and I looked at how I was coping with two meetings a month and realised that there was no earthly way I could keep doing that, much less add to it.

So when the opportunities came along to stand for seats on the local council, I did not step forward.

I’d like to be politically active – my Gran was part of a town council for years, and I care about politics, local and national. I want to make a contribution. I would dearly like to follow in her footsteps, but she was quite a powerhouse and I am not. I get very tired, and I can’t concentrate at night well enough to do meetings.

Of course it isn’t just me. Lots of people have little or no scope for getting involved. There are reasons that a lot of people in local politics are older – no young children at home to disturb or accommodate. People who are retired often have the time to spare, and the means to handle the meetings. Try getting into politics without a car – it was obvious I’d have serious trouble standing as a parliamentary candidate in a rural constituency with little public transport. I didn’t stand – the party picked the older guy with the car, who is better at late nights than I am, although in the end he didn’t make it to voting day either. Of course having a car helps with those late night meetings, but you’ve got to be able to afford it, and not everyone can.

It’s not easy combining politics and child care. Politics and anything more involved than a 9-5 job. Shifts are not feasible. The very nature of the system makes it very hard for a lot of people to step up. It’s not a coincidence that a lot of people in politics are older guys from affluent backgrounds. They are the people for whom it is most feasible, and so it probably never occurs to them to look at who can’t work with this system, which voices are silenced by it, who is excluded. I think a bit of reconsideration would go a long way. If we don’t hear from a more diverse range of people, we won’t get a diverse range of issues and concerns properly represented.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

5 responses to “Why I am not in politics

  • bish

    What you say makes a lot of sense. Even after those who can manage it take on the roles, it’s still hard to engage with the constituencies they represent for exactly the same reasons. I’ve got an informational event coming up and I’ve decided, rather than do the standard presentation at a fixed time, we’d have an open afternoon-into-evening drop-in, so that those coming home from school with the kids, those coming home from work, and even those with the day free for whatever could all come and get the same information. I wonder if it will up numbers.

  • eilidhnicsidheag

    I have the same problem – local Green Party meetings start at 8 pm, but I usually can’t go out in the evenings because of ME/CFS. Same problem with most Pagan groups. It can be very frustrating!

    • Nimue Brown

      There’s no reason why either couldn’t meet now and then of an afternoon, coffee moots are perfectly viable, but these things are run when it suits the people who run them, which often means it takes someone who can’t do the evenings to call an afternoon gathering – moots are not usually high maintenance to run if they are just social…

  • Christopher Blackwell

    One could get the idea that politics was never designed for ordinary people. The very built in inflexibility suggests that to me. Had the system been built to have the ordinary people take part in it, it would have had to have flexibility built into it to fit the variety of needs of ordinary people.

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